Can You Feel the Love?

The Deseret News ran an article entitled Women Talking to Bridge Religious Divide, reporting how some women in Salt Lake, tired of religious tension on a variety of issues, are taking a personal approach to just getting along with their co-religionists in other faiths. Is this all it takes, women talking? If only we’d known sooner!

Seriously, I was kind of touched by the article. One of the women “has lived in Utah for 18 years, so she has felt the undercurrent of tension that sometimes exists here,” a tension that generally stays just below the surface but occasionally erupts.” Personally, I think there are promising signs that some of that tension is dissipating–the Olympics were a big festival of unity, local Christian ministers joined together to denounce the recent tactics of overzealous Christian street preachers at Conference, and recently the Tabernacle on Temple Square hosted an Evangelical preacher addressing a mixed audience of Christian Christians and Mormon Christians. Of course, I don’t live in Utah, so perhaps some of you are in a better position to judge whether things there are changing.

Women talking can only accelerate this beneficial process of “bridging the religious divide.” The rules the women adopted were: “Speak honestly, keep what is said [at the meetings] confidential, speak without any intention to change someone else.” Hmm, sounds a lot like friendship to me. Later, the women reported some of the things they learned: “The non-Mormons in the group say they have learned how hurtful ‘Mormon bashing’ can be and that not all Mormons think alike. The Mormons in the group say they have learned that phrases like ‘the one true church’ can be hurtful, too. Both have learned to recognize triggers that can put people on their guard.” Personally, I have found blogging to be a great way to learn to recognize triggers that set people off. I have become quite proficient at not offending fellow Mormons when I discuss LDS history and doctrine.

Comments

  1. Dave writes:

    “Personally, I have found blogging to be a great way to learn to recognize triggers that set people off. I have become quite proficient at not offending fellow Mormons when I discuss LDS history and doctrine.”

    Hmm, I might take out one word myself, to say:

    “Personally, I have found blogging to be a great way to learn to recognize triggers that set people off. I have become quite proficient _at offending_ fellow Mormons when I discuss LDS history and doctrine.”

  2. “The rules the women adopted were: “Speak honestly, keep what is said [at the meetings] confidential, speak without any intention to change someone else.”

    Now, if only we could have those rules in Relief Society!!

  3. Interesting post, Dave. You seem to imply that women meeting together have acheived a level of harmony than men could not. I’m not sure that’s really so, but if it’s true it’s an interesting statement about difference between female and male interaction and how men and women also view religious beliefs.

  4. Good post Dave. Thanks for the link. Living in Nebraska all my life, I rarely think to check out deseret news.

    Steve, I didn’t get that feel from his post or the article. This is simply something that women decided to do. I’m sure men could do the same thing. Most of the men I know are more argumentative or debaters so that part might be a challenge, but I think anyone could start similar groups to this in thier community.

  5. David King Landrith says:

    I have a hard time taking stuff like this seriously, because it seems to me to indulge grievances. All this let it all out so that the healing can begin approach strikes me as a product of 20th century luxury. Moreover, attempts to legitimize such indulgence (like Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, which is commonly interpreted as positing that once you have enough spare food, self-actualization—whatever that means—becomes as important as food) strike me as hollow and lacking in perspective.

    The question of healing only arises when you don’t have anything better to do anyway. If you have time to focus on how bad you felt yesterday (or how bad somebody made you feel yesterday), you don’t have enough on your plate for today.

  6. DKL,

    Your final paragraph is one of the stupidest things I have yet to read in the bloggernacle–and that’s saying something. If you have time to focus on making unsupported, blanket statements of little use to anyone, you don’t have enough on your plate for today.

    Please know that I am writing not out of irritation, but in a genuine attempt to get you to try harder to engage the topic or save me from the boorish remarks. It sort of like hearing a small child swear–some might find it amusing, but it’s a stupid trick.

  7. DKL:

    I don’t know if you live in Utah or not. If you don’t, then you have no idea the real tension and pain that can come from both sides of the religious divide. If you do live in Utah, then I have absolutely no doubt that you’re one of the Mormons contributing to the problem.

    If only we could all be as thick-skinned as youa nd call attempts to avoid pain and grow together in understanding a luxury. It just doesn’t work that way. But hey, who needs understanding? It’s not like Zion means we’ll be of one heart and one mind. Oh, wait…

  8. Et tu, Kaimi? Alas, if only you knew how carefully I prescreen my posts and comments before I hit the “post” button.

    Steve, I believe men “achieve a level of harmony” through Church basketball as opposed to mere verbal communication. For Canadians, hockey does the job of expressing affection through mild aggression.

    Mathew, I think you need to try a little harder to “feel the love.” Personally, the dumbest things I have read in the B’nacle have been on the LDS-law list, but I don’t know whether that truly qualifies as part of the B’nacle or whether that actually dates to the Dark Ages of the Net (i.e., “BB,” Before the B’nacle).

  9. David King Landrith says:

    Mathew: If you have time to focus on making unsupported, blanket statements of little use to anyone, you don’t have enough on your plate for today.

    There’s wisdom in this maxim, Mathew, and I think we agree on it in principle. Our difference is probably over its application.

    John H: I don’t know if you live in Utah… or have [any] idea [of] the real tension and pain that can come from both sides of the religious divide… If only we could all be as thick-skinned as you and call attempts to avoid pain and grow together in understanding a luxury

    I fully appreciate the irony in your attempt to hold me up as a role model, John H, but I do not think that this is about being thick-skinned.

    There are things like Hann’s Mill, Buchanan’s Blunder, and the Mountain Meadows Massacre which cause real rifts between communities. On the other hand, if we had to wake up at the crack of dawn and do farm-work until nightfall to keep our family from starving, I think (a) there’d be a lot more conformity, and (b) we’d spend a lot less time insulting and being insulted by our neighbors.

    I’m not advocating a return to an agrarian economy—I, for one, enjoy the unprecedented amount of disposable income and leisure time afforded our generation on America. But I think that we shouldn’t let misuse these luxuries by getting bogged down in harboring resentment and grievances. And when we do (as we are wont to do), we should certainly keep it in perspective. Catharsis works against this by legitimizing petty grievances that people should actually be ashamed to whine about. I think that this is tacitly recognized by the use of a title of this thread, which leverages a popular parody of group therapy.

  10. In Mr. Landrith’s defense, I think it is at least a defensible position to question the depth and justification of these wounds whose existence we all seem to have happily assumed.

    First of all, some of the gripes of the ladies in the article do seem unjustifiable. As in expressing surprise that all Mormons don’t think alike. Or in being offended that the LDS church claims to be exclusively true.

    Of course it’s true that Mormons in Utah, and even the church itself, have done some things to occasionally offend our neighbors, and for this we should be humble and apologize where appropriate. But is it really stupid to suggest that a significant percentage of these grievances are trifling and trivial? Or at least to call for a higher-degree of self-examination before seeking therapy and apology for the putative wrongs?

  11. Let’s give these ladies a little credit. They’re not doing “therapy,” they are just being friendly with women in other social or religious groups that they wouldn’t ordinarily come in contact with. And they are doing so for the laudable notion that just getting to know “the Other” can dispel misconceptions and create good feelings to replace the stereotyped views that fuel the incessant carping that goes on in Utah between Mormons and everyone else.

  12. David King Landrith says:

    My point is (in its simplest form) that creating a forum for whining and voicing illegitimate grievances legitimates them.

  13. Well said Dave.

    I would also point out that President Hinckley has counseled us to stand in holy places and stand together with like minded individuals, to reach out to others of different faiths and to focus on the commonalities we have.

    According to the article, this is part of what these women are doing. Like so many other aspects of putting faith into action in the church, we as men could learn a lot from these sisters.

  14. David King Landrith says:

    I’m not convinced that we’re standing in holy places when we’re whining, Charles.

  15. Aaron Brown says:

    Call me old-fashioned, but I still can’t get over my initial shock at the notion that “women are talking.” Should we even be allowing such a thing? We’re teetering precariously on the slippery slope to sin and debauchery, my friends. At this rate, women will be praying in Church soon. Scary!

    :)

    Aaron B

  16. Dave, I do give these ladies credit, and believe it or not, I support such endeavors. But you have to have the context of the Salt Lake City resident, where we are constantly hearing about new attempts to bridge the religious divide. It’s pretty much half of Rocky Anderson’s platform.

    Now, if there are real problems (and there are) between the religious communities in Salt Lake, let’s address them. But when they have to do with the fact that the LDS church claims to be the only true church, we ought to be confident in saying that we don’t think that particular grievance deserves a lot of discussion. Same goes for similarly trival or unfair criticisms.

    I’m with President Hinckley– it would be very un-Christian to ignore those who have received offense from us– real or perceived. But from a policy perspective, we need to be able to divide between the important problems and the trivial ones.

    Pardon me if my use of the word ‘therapy’ sounded derisive. These meetings, as well as the much more publicized city-sponsored meetings are literally meant as therapy– settings in which people can air mild complaints and try to build understanding. This chance to complain a little is presumably therapeutic for those involved. But that’s about the only benefit they offer. (yes, that is a good thing, but not to the level you’d expect from such a huge city project) Would you disagree?

  17. DKL says:

    My point is (in its simplest form) that creating a forum for whining and voicing illegitimate grievances legitimates them.

    Mat says:

    That is a point that few will disagree with. It isn’t what you wrote in your original response, but if that was your intent, I’m genuinely glad you revisited your thoughts and clarified them. I object not to the idea that we give the grievances over the religious divide in Utah undue weight–that is a proposition worthy of debate–but that a space for introspection and healing should be replaced by activity and work. In the context of the religious divide this approach may or may not have merit, as a general proposition it strikes me as absurd.

  18. David King Landrith says:

    Thanks Mathew. I’m pleased to have made you genuinely glad.

  19. Don’t be so whiny DKL;)

  20. I suspect many complaints are less real concerns about what is expressed than just getting someone to hear them. While single I had a fair number of non-member or inactive friends and most of the complaints about Mormons were amazingly silly yet very vicious and vindictive. (They didn’t know I was a Mormon) By and large it reduced to an “us vs. them” mentality. I think just being able to feel like the other side heard them and was listening would have been enough.

  21. David King Landrith says:

    Just hearing you say that makes me feel better, Clark.

  22. I agree, Clark. That’s why I think these meetings do some good, despite the shallow complaints that make up the majority of the dialogue there. This is therapy, in the non-pejorative sense of the term.

  23. Gentlemen: may I commend to your attention Elder Ballard’s talk, “The Doctrine of Inclusion,” from the October 2001 General Conference, in which he mentions, among other things, children being socially excluded because they are not members of the Church, friendship being feigned for the purpose of proselyting, etc.

    (Not that it should *have* to come from a man to be considered something other than a “shallow complaint”…

    Grrr.)

  24. DKL says:

    My point is (in its simplest form) that creating a forum for whining and voicing illegitimate grievances legitimates them.

    I say:
    If there are grievances, things that make people unhappy, why shouldn’t the people involved seek a means by which they become happier?

    Isn’t it hypocritical to be “whining” about what others are “whining” about?

  25. Wow, maybe there’s something wrong with me, but I’m genuinely surprised at the attitudes displayed here. Given not only Elder Ballard’s talk, but also the many, many, MANY admonitions from President Hinckley to not be self-righteous and to be inclusive to others, I’m surprised at the willingness to dismiss marginalization as shallow.

    Are some people just whiners who are shallow? You bet. But there are some real concerns that people have and they’re legitimate. If someone doesn’t let their kids play with other kids because they aren’t Mormon, that doesn’t exactly strike me as being shallow. (And before we dismiss this as my unreliable antecdote, remember it’s not mine – it’s Elder Ballard’s.)

    And in Utah, there’s far, far more to it than just thinking that Mormons think alike or being offended at the “one true Church” notion (gee, I can’t imagine why people would be offended when their neighbors think they’re going to hell unless they believe the same things they do – how shallow!) There’s a Mormon-dominated legislature that passes laws to remove all sex ed from schools (vetoed, thank goodness), or that makes it near-impossible to find a wine list in a restaurant, and that most recently wants to be the only state in the Union that removes the no-fault clause, insisting that there needs to be more “shame” in divorce (their word).

    Don’t forget President Hinckley publicly asking schools not to hold activities on Monday night. Or the gazillion local governments that close public services on Sunday, like public transportation, public swimming pools, even parks.

    We can debate all night whether these things are the right thing to do or not, but it’s pretty undeniable that they have a much greater impact on people’s lives than those who label this sort of thing “shallow” seem to realize.

  26. David King Landrith says:

    Kaycee: If there are grievances, things that make people unhappy, why shouldn’t the people involved seek a means by which they become happier?

    I believe that the hyper-sensitivity to grievance is symptomatic of a decadent society. As Bertrand Russell said, “Boredom as a factor in human behavior receives, in my opinion, far less attention than it deserves.” Boredom is, I believe, a factor in grievance mongering.

    I don’t begrudge anyone their happiness. It’s that there’s a legitimate question as to the legitimacy of the grievance. Just like a some two year old will look around the room to guage whether or not to cry when they get up after a fall, adults often take their cues from others when they determine what should make them unhappy. The bottom line is that many adults would be happier if they were simply told to shut up and move on.

    John H: There’s a Mormon-dominated legislature that passes laws to remove all sex ed from schools (vetoed, thank goodness), or that makes it near-impossible to find a wine list in a restaurant, and that most recently wants to be the only state in the Union that removes the no-fault clause, insisting that there needs to be more “shame” in divorce (their word).

    So some Utahns have to suffer under a democratic government that makes decisions they disagree with and frequently find silly? Well, so do I. If you’re going to live in a democracy, you’re going to be in the minority sometimes—it’s simple math. This is what makes me an American: I live in a democracy that entails losing political issues with dignity.

  27. DKL:“Just like a some two year old will look around the room to guage whether or not to cry when they get up after a fall, adults often take their cues from others when they determine what should make them unhappy.”

    Interesting comparison. So what? I believe that people have a right to feel how they feel and that repressing your unhappiness leads to more bad than good. No one has the right to say that someone is “faking” their feelings.

    I’m not saying that we shouldn’t control ourselves. We all repress some things… we have to in order to exist in society… but that doesn’t mean we have keep all of our feelings buried. Or tell others to keep theirs that way.

  28. David King Landrith says:

    I agree that it’s their right to waste their own time, Kaycee. I think we agree that they have the right to cry on each others shoulders all they want.

    My points are that (a) I don’t take their endeavors very seriously, and (b) they’re not likely to accomplish what they’re setting out to accomplish, and (c) their efforts (however well intentioned) may well be counter-productive. Rather than re-iterate my reasoning for these points, let me instead refer you to my earlier posts.

    And surely the mere profession of emotion doesn’t place the emoter above reproach. I do think that people have the right and occasionally the obligation to point out when we believe that people are “faking.” One easy example would be the con man (oops, is this the universal he?) who puts on some emotional front to draw in his victim. But even on a personal level, we’re all acquainted with (more or less) manipulative people. In any case, when I have the ability to make someone happier by informing them that they’re making mountains out of molehills, I do so.

  29. John H: There’s a Mormon-dominated legislature that … most recently wants to be the only state in the Union that removes the no-fault clause, insisting that there needs to be more “shame” in divorce (their word).

    I think you are wrong here John H. Those religious zealots in the New York legislature *never did pass* the no-fault divorce law that the Utah legislature is trying to repeal. In New York, you have to have grounds for divorce, or else you have to execute and file a settlement agreement and live apart for one year before a divorce can be sought.

  30. “So some Utahns have to suffer under a democratic government that makes decisions they disagree with and frequently find silly? Well, so do I. If you’re going to live in a democracy, you’re going to be in the minority sometimes—it’s simple math. This is what makes me an American: I live in a democracy that entails losing political issues with dignity.”

    DKL:

    So if you lived in Massachusetts you’d accept gay marriages with no problem? With dignity, that is? Or you’re suggesting that anyone who objects to laws being passed because of the legislature’s religious beliefs, they don’t have dignity? Come on, you can do better. Instead of continuing to paint the issue with a broad brush, insisting that it’s just silly and that those who complain do so without dignity, perhaps you could see the perspective of others.

    You’re part of the bloggernacle, so I can therefore assume you don’t think discussion is completely useless. Or is it only worthwhile when it entails issues you think are important or “dignified?”

    And of course I’ll assume that if you lived in Massachusetts you’d gladly accept gay marriage with dignity.

  31. Greg:

    You may be right about the no-clause issue. I haven’t reviewed each states’ laws. The Tribune reported in an editorial that Utah would be the only state. They may need to do their homework and I ought to stop believing everything I hear.

  32. Greg, I’m amazed that you remember all that from BarBri!

  33. DKL,

    “My point is (in its simplest form) that creating a forum for whining and voicing illegitimate grievances legitimates them.”

    What right do you or any of us have to state that thier grievances are illegitimate to begin with? If a person or group of people have a grievence they should be able to voice it. There may not be a specific agenda in these meetings, but if a better understanding among those involved surfaces then I would say they are a success.

    Society’s reaction to various issues is rarely created by a committee. That is society doesn’t sit around a table and determine things like, no football on Monday nights, religion A’s children can’t play or date religion B’s children. These are things that slowly come about as individuals make choices. When those choices are made out of fear and ignorance they can erupt into social policy that was never ratified but becomes generally accpeted. These kinds of “isms” are rarely good for society and if these meetings help to avoid such problems then they have a value. Even if you do not see the value.

  34. Very well said, Charles.

    DKL:

    I realized I came across harsher than I intended in my last post. Apologies. Though I still remain baffled at what appears to be your “Suck it up and deal with it” attitude. Perhaps I’m misunderstanding you, or we’re just too far apart on this issue to appreciate each others’ perspective.

  35. David King Landrith says:

    John H: So if you lived in Massachusetts you’d accept gay marriages with no problem?

    Funny you should mention that, John H. It just so happens that I do live in Massachusetts.

    John H: With dignity, that is?

    You won’t see me going to any support group to cry on anybody’s shoulder about it, if that’s what you mean. But behaving with dignity doesn’t preclude further participation in political/election processes. (I won’t say anything further here, since most of what I have to say regarding this topic has generally proven worthy of editorial cleansing—if I’m still no smarter, at least I’m more cautious.)

    And I don’t think there’s any need for you to apologize. But since I’m not interested in arguing over this, I’ll accept your apology and leave it at that. Even so, I haven’t taken anything you’ve said so harshly that I’ve even had think about sucking up and dealing with it.

    Charles: What right do you or any of us have to state that their grievances are illegitimate to begin with?

    I’m not sure what you mean by this. I am entirely within my rights to state my opinion as to the legitimacy of other peoples grievances. And I’m entirely within my rights to advocate the legitimacy of my opinions regarding these grievances. Moreover, your implication that I’ve somehow violated people’s rights (and thereby aggrieved them) by discussing my rather low opinion of their grievance petitions strikes me as the exact type of grievance mongering that I’m railing against.

  36. Well, here’s my take. Being insulted is like being unworthy. It’s something that probably shouldn’t happen in any case, in that if you have a perfect understanding of the situation, you’d understand that 95% of the time the offending behavior wasn’t really about you anyway.

    And I do think that being hypersensitive can increase grievances in its own right, without really lending to any solutions.

    But I also think that stating that a problem shouldn’t be there doesn’t mean that it shouldn’t be dealt with. DKL, I think that you’re right that a lot of problems shouldn’t arise. But, as a Church, we shouldn’t have problems with pornography or theft or dishonesty or lots of other things. We know better. But we have those problems. We don’t then say, “well, you’re pretty stupid for having that problem to begin with”, even though about fifty thousand bishops across the world probably think that on an hourly basis. We work through a problem that seems petty (and probably is) in order to come closer to Christ.

    All grievances are legitimate in the sense that their existence creates dissatisfaction and unhappiness, which is a real, objective problem. To say that people should self medicate or just not have the problem is technically accurate, but misses the point somewhat. It’s a pretty rare thing that a problem can be dismissed by calling it stupid or ignorant or whatever. Usually, that just makes things worse. So, we have a choice between stating our belief that a certain grievance is unjustified, or trying to do something to overcome it. I think, once you’re trying to overcome it through helping people through it, there’s a whole lot more room to say that the grievance isn’t all that big a deal, and it can be done in much nicer terms.

  37. Nate Oman says:

    Greg & John H.: Virginia has a similar no-fault provision to New York, requiring a one year seperation in the case of couples with children and a six month seperation with a seperation agreement for couples without children.

    Still, there is something delightfully ironic about those complaining about how odd Utah is compared with the rest of the country not actually knowing how the rest of the country does things. In the end, I suppose that it reinforces the original point more than anything: Utah can be a very insular place.

    Or it may just being op-ed writers getting the law wrong, something that has never happened ever…

  38. I think Nate’s point, above, is well made. I recall hearing people complaining about how you have to buy liquor at a government liquor store. They honestly didn’t know how common that is in Canada and the US. Lots of similar complaints about “Mormon influence” show ignorance of the rest of the country. (Utah is actually far, far more liberal with cigarettes than many places)

    But on to other issues.

    “No one has the right to say that someone is “faking” their feelings.”

    Why not? We do it all the time. We all know guys who were faking feelings for a girl so as to “get some.” We all are critical of them. Likewise we all know people who fake feelings to get what they want. I can think of numerous people among my acquaintances who do this.

    Quite short of there being no right to say someone is faking feelings, it seems that we all of necessity have to decide when someone is being honest with their feelings.

    That says nothing about whether they have the right to express these feelings, whether forged or sincere. Likewise it says nothing about whether it is useful to provide them a place to express such feelings. Personally I think people who forge feelings, sicknesses and other such things are looking to have attention paid to them. Letting them express themselves is often inherently useful even if I don’t buy a word they’re saying.

    “I believe that people have a right to feel how they feel and that repressing your unhappiness leads to more bad than good.”

    I think the above is a common view in our culture, but I don’t buy it. The claim that we all have to focus in on such feelings and communicate them also seems false according to recent studies in cognitive science. It is, in my mind, one of those false claims made within pseudo-psychology. But it has been widely disseminated and believed.

    That’s not to say that we always ought to repress the negative. Merely that focusing in on such things is rarely as helpful as some might make us believe.

    “What right do you or any of us have to state that thier grievances are illegitimate to begin with? If a person or group of people have a grievence they should be able to voice it. “

    As I mentioned above, it seems these are two separate issues which are frequently conflated. (Unfortunately so) I think we all have to decide if grievances are illegitimate. That’s how we decide how to respond to claims. However the issue of whether they have the right to express themselves is quite different.

    By claiming that we don’t have the right to judge a claim illegitimate you’re saying that people not only have the right to express themselves, but the right to be listened to and believed by everyone. It’s that latter bit that I disagree with.

  39. I’m puzzled where this conversation about faking hurt feelings or lodging phony grievances got started. There was really nothing in the article that suggested the women were holding a mutual gripe session, they were just exchanging views and trying to understand things from someone else’s point of view. I don’t see how anyone can think there was phony griping going on when there wasn’t, as I read the article, any griping at all going on. I suppose there are some people inclined to see any conversation between women as a form of gossip or griping . . .

  40. Dave,

    Don’t worry. It’s just DKL. When he watched Harry Potter and LOTR his favorite character was the troll.

    Let’s all help him to feel important.

  41. David King Landrith says:

    Actually, my favorite character in LOTR was the flaming CBS logo. It rocked!

  42. Not bad, DKL. Not bad.

  43. I don’t really have a dog in this fight, but I always feel a little sad when people rip on DKL without any basis. David has made legitimate arguments, most of which are debatable, but very few of which seem outright specious. How does that make him a troll?

    John H, I think it’s ironic that you seem to call on President Hinckley as support for our being more tolerant, and then slight him for asking the community to shut down on Monday nights. He’s a good example or he’s not.

    Further, you picked out my two examples of shallow complaints as if to imply that I don’t believe there are real grievances. If you go back and read my previous comments, you’ll see numerous admissions that there are real problems out there, and that these should be addressed. However, it’s fairly obvious to me that there are also illegitimate complaints that don’t deserve a lot of ink. Among them are the notions CITED in the article, not made up by me, that Mormons think alike, and that LDS claims to exclusive authority are hurtful. (And do we really have to argue about that? Does anyone complain that a hundred other religions think everyone else is going to hell? And isn’t it the duty of the complainer to do enough research to know that we don’t think she’s going to hell? Come on. Tell me honestly, do you think someone is justified in being hurt by our exclusive truth claims?).

    And by the way, no one here has supported those parents who didn’t let their kids play with the neighbors. That is a very hurtful policy, and it has been properly addressed by Elder Ballard, and should be addressed by the rest of us continually. Who in this discussion do you think agrees with those people?

    As for what Clark is saying, I agree, and here’s the middle ground: Admit that there are legitimate grievances, and recognize that there are also stupid ones. Those two observations combine to suggest that the official church, and the LDS community will need to learn to distinguish between the two. This distinguishing will necessarily entail some assessment of the sincerity and legitimacy of these peoples’ ‘feelings.’ No way around that. We should reach out to everyone who’s been hurt, justifiably or not, but we shouldn’t feel obliged to change in order to accomodate truly trivial whiners. Is that so controversial?

  44. Fine, here’s an alternative scenario: The next door neighbor lets a Mormon family know, from time to time (in a polite and friendly way) that they are not Christian. And (of course) therefore not eligible for grace, forgiveness, and the Christian version of salvation/exaltation. Does the Mormon family have a right to feel mildly offended? Or would their complaint that it is impolite, even rude, to share those kinds of views (however sincere and well-intentioned) be just a trivial, whiny complaint?

    I think Mormons reminding non-Mormons that only they belong to the One True Church and Christians reminding Mormons they are not true Christians are fairly equivalent examples of people inflicting their own rather unwelcome religious views on other people. The reaction is not trivial whining, it’s a reasonable complaint about breaches of polite civil discourse, as impolitic as going up to someone in the grocery store and telling them they are overweight. The fact that some Mormons will bitch and moan everytime someone says that Mormons aren’t Christian, yet turn right around and trivialize similar behavior by Mormons, illustrates the kind of narrow thinking that the ladies discussed in the article are trying to overcome.

  45. David King Landrith says:

    I’d think it was a riot if one of my neighbors occasionally reminded me that I’m going to hell. And if I lived in a neighborhood where everybody occasionally reminded me that I’m going to hell, it would be all the funnier.

  46. David, assuming for the sake of argument that you would really find it amusing rather than offensive that neighbors periodically remind you that they think you’re going to hell, that’s plainly a rare perspective that can’t be the basis for standards of public conduct. It also explains why you find the reactions of others to be trivial or puzzling rather than legitimate. Nothing wrong with being thick-skinned about those kinds of remarks (it’s fairly admirable, actually), but it must be recognized that most people are not wired that way.

  47. David King Landrith says:

    And thanks for the moral support, Ryan Bell.

  48. Dave, I agree that that’s a fair comparison. Here’s the problem: In either the article you linked to, or its SLtrib equivalent, what was complained of was the fact that the LDS church believes it is the only true church, not the fact that people go around saying it all the time. There’s a huge difference.

    Being as honest I can be in the hypothetical you’ve given me, I would be mildly annoyed if my neighbors continually reminded me I was going to hell. However, imagining a different scenario in which they didn’t ever say this, but I still knew they believed it, I would feel quite unable to criticize these neighbors.

    In other words, if there are really LDS going around Salt Lake valley telling their non-LDS friends that they’re bound for hell, such people need to be smacked, soundly. What I perceive, however, is that there are those that take offense merely at knowing that we believe we are the only true church. We can’t apologize for believing that our church holds the exclusive authority to act in God’s name, and I would never expect a muslim or Baptist friend to apologize for their analogous beliefs, when not obnoxiously shoved in my face. Fair?

  49. David King Landrith says:

    Dave, I’m sorry my outlook baffles you, but it’s really how I feel. Who knows? Maybe I’m just stunted in some way because I wasn’t weaned correctly. Or maybe you’ll just get more sensible responses from people who aren’t actually going to hell.

  50. Dave: “Does the Mormon family have a right to feel mildly offended?”

    I’m not sure how to take that. Right in what sense? Surely they have the political right in our country. I’m not sure it is a helpful response in the least. Further, getting offended won’t get those gentiles converted and baptized any quicker. You have to love them in their apostate beliefs. (grin)

    Seriously though, such things may make it annoying to be around ones neighbors, but offended? Anyone offended for that is out looking for offense in my opinion. Of course lots will be offended. But I’m not at all convinced they are warranted in their offense.

    You are right that going around saying we are the only true church to our neighbors isn’t a terribly effective teaching tactic. However, to be completely honest, I don’t know any stable members who do this. Generally non-members find out indirectly or draw the correct inference from our teachings. (Or perhaps they visit a fast and testimony meeting one Sunday) But outside of an old woman on my mission coming into a bad case of Alzehemer’s, I can’t recall anyone doing what some claim.

    It isn’t, however, people going around shouting to non-members that we’re the one true church that gets peoples goats. It is the mere fact that most of us actually believe that. Merely remaining silent doesn’t resolve the issue.

  51. Clark, note the adverb mildly, which qualifies the meaning of “offended” so as to avoid the response you are illustrating. And are you seriously maintaining that most Mormons just shrug off the “you’re not Christian” jibes with a jovial chuckle (“Oh, those darned apostate Gentiles just don’t get it, do they?”). No, some get upset about it, in the same way that some non-Mormons get upset about the “One True Church” attitude vocalized by Mormons.

  52. David King Landrith says:

    Nicely put, Clark. You have a much better feel for the subtleties here than I do.

    Dave, the question isn’t whether people get upset. The question is whether getting upset justified. You seem to think that there is something maladjusted about loving those who curse you and refusing to harbor resentment.

  53. DKL, that’s a fine approach to apply to your own moral self-improvement campaign (and it would be nice if everyone made that effort). But if one applies that expectation to everyone else, you end up meeting other people’s legitimate criticism with a response like this: “If you were really Christian or charitable, you wouldn’t be offended by my offensive behavior, you would forgive and love me.” In other words, you marginalize their complaints, excuse your own offensive behavior, and, at the same time, classify them as apostate or un-Christian. That’s an admirable rhetorical accomplishment, but it rubs people the wrong way (to say the least). I think a better approach is to recognize that some complaints are legitimate (and yes, some complaints really are legitimate!) and take responsibility for the extent to which our own actions contribute to the problem (“Is it I?”). [That’s a generic “you” not a personal one; these are general reflections, not observations on DKL.]

  54. Agreed, Dave.

  55. Dave, I recognize many Mormons do get upset. I just don’t think they really should get upset. That’s the distinction I’m getting at. What makes sense logically and what we actually do because of our habits and so forth. Rationally, offense rarely makes sense.

    There are two issues at play. How we ought ideally react to things, and then how we ought persuade others. Our ideal reactions ought to be balanced by reasoning, not the immediate emotion of the moment. But in terms of how we act towards other people, we ought acknowledge that they, along with most people, will react irrationally and emotionally often drawing to worst interpretation of events possible. It’s a sad fact of life and we ought to react accordingly.

    That’s why I said earlier it can be inherently valuable to give people a voice even if their views and judgments are completely wrong.

  56. David King Landrith says:

    When I read the story about these ladies (I won’t call them ‘chicks’ because I consider that term to be a compliment), I don’t think, “If you were really Christian or charitable, you wouldn’t be offended by my offensive behavior, you would forgive and love me.” Instead I think, “Grow up, and get real.” When the grievance is illegitimate, the question of forgiveness should never arise.

    You keep wanting to make this about whether or not people should forgive each other, as though I’m trying to force forgiveness.

    I don’t want to stray too far from my original point, which I don’t think that you or anyone else has really addressed: Exquisite sensibilities that bruise at the implication of adverse judgment are the product of a decadent society. It’s what gives rise to the culture of victimhood, and it’s infantile. I’ve stated what I think the consequences of this are in my earlier posts. I’ll add at this point that legitimizing illegitimate grievances causes more problems than it solves, because it results in a stultified atmosphere in which nobody can disagree without anyone taking offense.

    Nor am I trying to excuse my own bad behavior by pushing the problem onto someone else. On the contrary, if we group this thread’s participants into sides on this issue, it’s those who believe that grievances can be resolved with resort to such facile solutions who have been the most shrill and hostile in presentation. (I don’t take offense to this, though you seem to be suggesting that I should, Dave. Even so, I can’t ignore the irony.)

  57. Ryan:

    My point in bringing up President Hinckley asking to not have activities on Monday night wasn’t an attempt to slight him. It was an attempt to bring some perspective to what I felt was a rather one-sided, warped conversation. Dave pointed out that he’s not sure how this discussion about whining and illegitimate grievances got started, and that was my perspective. I doubt any of us would disagree that there’s plenty of whining and hypersensitivity from both camps. My point was to suggest that there’s more to it than just hurt feelings because of someone’s belief – that these things do affect peoples lives through policies and laws, right or wrong.

    DKL:

    I respect your thick-skinnedness. I really do, and it’s a shame all of us can’t be more like you. I mean that. But Dave’s right, it’s not at all fair to expect everyone to take that perspective.

    I think Dave’s done a nice job of illustrating many of my concerns. My point wasn’t to paint Mormons as mean and nasty and non-Mormons as rightly aggrieved victims. It’s a two-way street. But from my perspective, I see Mormons as pretty damn sensitive about their religion and their beliefs. We do not take criticism of our faith well. I frankly find it hard to believe that even DKL could just chuckle off Jon Krakauer’s book, but given his unique perspective on life, perhaps he did. Dave’s point about Mormons getting offended when they’re told they aren’t Christian seems spot on.

    I can’t wait to see the outrage in a few months when Martha Nibley Beck (Hugh Nibley’s daughter) comes out with her book, “Leaving the Saints: How I Left Mormonism and Found My Faith.” It’s not remotely fair to the Church, and it’ll be a bestseller. But, I digress.

    From my perspective (FWIW), I essentially saw a group of Mormons telling non-Mormons to quit their whining and grow up and stop being offended. It was not unlike the pot calling the kettle black. But further discussion has helped me realize that some of the commentators on this thread just have a different perspective on getting offended. I appreciate that.

  58. DKL:

    Reading your latest post, I’m genuinely curious: Do you think the Church’s response to Krakauer was whining? Do you think they should’ve done it? And do you think it’s the result of a decadent society with too much time on their hands?

    (I’m referring to Otteson’s (sp?) response, not Turley’s.) The response was very PC-oriented. It was essentially a “how dare he marginalize people of faith.” Do you find other Mormon complaints, or the Church’s responses to not being called Christian similarly whiny?

  59. John, do you have a reviewer’s copy of Beck’s book? Can you be bribed? ;)

  60. DKL says: Legitimizing illegitimate grievances causes more problems than it solves, because it results in a stultified atmosphere in which nobody can disagree without anyone taking offense.

    Mathew says: I agree with that. The obvious counterpoint is that deligitimizing legitmate greivances also causes more problems than it solves–because it results in depriving the injured party an effective voice in societal discourse whereby injuries might otherwise be addressed.

    I would be interested in knowing who or what determines the standard of legitimacy? Courts often use a legal fiction known as the reasonable person standard when determining whether a person’s grievances stemming from their interpretation of words or events are, well, reasonable (think sexual harrassment suits). The reasonable person is not an ordinary or average person, but rather an appropriately informed, capable and fair-minded. But the reasonable person is based on the society in which he lives (and, incidentally, usually takes a objective view). For this reason, I don’t think that the reasonable person standard can be applied to DKL’s argument. DKL, as I understand him, believes that society’s decadence has produced a nation of people too prone to take offence. If a reasonable person were to find that the grievances are legitimate, that person is merely a product of a decadent society and can’t be trusted to make those kind of judgments so we can dismiss whatever conclusions he comes to.

    If we are worried about both giving voice to illegitimate grievances and denying voice to legitimate grievances (accepting for now that the harms in either case will be greater than the good), we ought to be trying to understand what the standard of legitimacy is and how it would be applied. I’m at a loss as to what that standard ought to be, however.

  61. I don’t have a copy…yet. I’ve been forced to hearing about it from friends who do, or perusing their copies.

    Actually, I wonder what its impact will be. On the one hand, she’s a superb writer and storyteller. She’s also an established bestseller and an Oprah regular. On the other hand, it’s surprisingly shallow and unoriginal. She drags up the same old, same old: Danites, polygamy, anti-intellectualism, etc. Apparently, she even hints that she’s afraid for her own life after writing this book.

    But she also shows a shocking amount of ignorance about this faith she was supposedly an insider in. (She was active for a long time and taught at BYU.) She claims that men are required to wear socks at BYU because ankle and leg hair is considered an extension of pubic hair, and is therefore sinful. Aside from being hilariously bizarre, such a statement makes it pretty difficult to take anything she says seriously. I can’t imagine even the most jaded ex-Mormon, from Ed Decker to Steve Benson, cooking up something that stupid.

    (FWIW, those that have copies and have told me about it, and have also shown me their copies, are hardly apologists. They can be pretty critical themselves sometimes, so the fact that they think the book’s a joke says something.)

  62. David King Landrith says:

    It’s funny you should mention it, John H, but just the other day Krakauer’s book came up on Dave Underhill’s other web site. As long as everyone’s in a thick skinned mood, let me take another opportunity to shamelessly promote my 5 page review of it, entitled “Through a Glass Darkly: Krakauer’s Dim View of Mormonism in Under the Banner of Heaven.” (I posted it there, too, and several people were actually kind enough to read it and offer feedback. At any rate, you may find my comments there interesting as well.)

    I’m pretty hard on Krakauer—I even call him a religious bigot in my closing paragraph—but I’m hard on him because his scholarship is lousy and I don’t believe he’s intellectually honest (for reason’s I point out in my review). Just the same, I’m sure he’s a friendly and engaging fellow who’d be quite fun and interesting to be friends with. And though I wouldn’t mind a chance to argue with the guy, I don’t need to cry on anybody’s shoulder about what he wrote.

    I didn’t bother to answer Dave’s question because the immediate response made me leery of hogging the forum (see, Dave? I don’t just “find the reactions of others to be trivial or puzzling rather than legitimate”). But since you’ve brought it up again, John H., the reason I started talking about whining and illegitimate grievances was the following part of Dave‘s inaugural post in this thread:

    Later, the women reported some of the things they learned: “The non-Mormons in the group say they have learned how hurtful ‘Mormon bashing’ can be and that not all Mormons think alike. The Mormons in the group say they have learned that phrases like ‘the one true church’ can be hurtful, too.

    I think this speaks for itself. But if it doesn’t, read my previous comments.

    So the other day at work, the coffee maker stopped working. Amid the speculation on proximate causes of the malfunction, a coworker said that it broke because “the Mormon Jesus hates coffee.” I thought this was uproariously funny. I chuckled about this for days afterward. Should I have taken offense?

  63. David King Landrith says:

    Mathew, I don’t think that there’s any objective standard for legitimate grievances, and I think that there is a lot of gray area. But a pretty good standard is implied by my example in an earlier comment. For any supposed grievance, if you had to wake up at the crack of dawn and do farm work until nightfall to keep your family from starving, would you still care? (I tend to agree with the roughly Marxist belief that manual labor purifies the soul.)

  64. John, thanks–at least I know to wait to get it in paperback :) I’m disappointed, but not especially surprised, actually. I thought _Expecting Adam_ showed weird misunderstandings of the church; there were so many ways in which her experiences were testimony meeting classics (expressed, of course, in a very different style), and yet she was positive she had made a total break with Mormonism.

  65. David King Landrith says:

    BTW, John H, I didn’t read Otteson’s (sp?) response. But I thought that Turley’s was not well written. He good enough on the history, he’s too boring and not nearly comprehensive enough.

  66. DKL,

    I accept that there is no truly objective standard, but I think there ought to be a close approximation. I think the standard you suggest is poor–I wouldn’t care about art, science or sex if all I was concerned about was keeping my family from starving. I probably wouldn’t care about God. You can make the argument, I suppose, that you might care about science to the extent it assisted you in putting food on the table and you might care about God to the extent you thought he could assist you in that endeavor, but those arguments sound intentionally disingenious.

    IOW, I find your standard to be largely useless because applied to virtually anything you would get the same results–we shouldn’t care about X because compared to the problems of a farmer on the brink of starvation it isn’t important. This has, in my mind, the same rhetorical weight as comparing someone to Hitler–it takes the extreme example and applies it indiscriminately.

    Perhaps I have misunderstood you? If not I don’t know how you can expect someone to take you seriously if you believe that legitimacy is conferred only by a problem rising to the level of starvation. If you believe that only this particular topic ought to be held to that standard, then I guess I would want to know why we have such a high standard for Utah’s religious divide and not for, say, the structural problems of Dostoevsky’s “The Idiot”.

  67. David King Landrith says:

    Mathew, I stand by my proposed standard for grievances. It is an adequate standard for distinguishing luxuries from necessities. And the extant to which a grievance is a luxury is the extant to which it’s illegitimate.

    And I don’t see what standards for the importance of art and sex have to do with anything. Art and sex are desirable (on certain terms), taking offense isn’t.

    And I also think you underestimate the creativity of humans who live at subsistence levels. Art, sex, religion, and war did not begin with the leisure time and disposable income afforded by 20th century technology. The settlers of St. George, Utah barely got by, but they bred like bunnies and built a beautiful temple (and many of them also harbored legitimate grievances from the days of their persecution).

  68. DKL,

    I stand by my statement that you have proposed a useless standard because virtually every human endeavor is a luxury to a man who works constantly to ward off starvation.

    Taking offense is legitimate on certain terms but not on others just as art and sex are legitimate on certain terms but not on others.

    Art and sex are important only to the extent that they too are deemed important by a man on the brink of starvation. I bring them up only to illustrate that your proposed standard disqualifies things that reasonable people throughout history have thought are important and spend a great deal of time thinking about–but at the end of the day, using your definition, they are luxuries.

    People who live at subsistence levels engage in art, sex and get nurse grievances against God and other humans. Some of these grievances are presumably legitimate and others are not. Presumably we have no legitimate grievances against God, but many is the starving man who has taken offense and cursed Him.

    Petty squabbles were common among the Mormon pioneers and we have all heard stories of people who left the church over what we believe to be illegitimate grievances when they needlessly took offense. Or does the fact that they were deprived of the material enjoyments we possess today mean that their grievances were legitimate?

    My point is only that we need a more refined standard–otherwise any claims to our ability to asses the illegitimacy of grievances themselves lack legitimacy.

  69. David: Art, sex, religion, and war did not begin with the leisure time and disposable income afforded by 20th century technology.

    Although Jared Diamond does claim that art, religion and civilization were possible because of leisure time and specialization brought about by agriculture and I suppose in a way technology.

    All the 20th century did was give more of us the time to so specialize. For instance few before the 20th century were really able to become scientists because of the requirements of work. Our prosperity in the 20th century has enabled a lot more to be able to do that.

    Also I think you miss Matthew’s point. If I don’t have time because of what is required for surviving, I won’t pay attention to such matters. The fact that some at St. George did have such free time avoid’s Matthew’s claim. The fact is that while life in such areas is hard, often agriculture and even ranching leaves time. Further some people who are subsistent earners, such as blacksmiths and so forth can allocate more time. So I think your example a bad analogy.

    Of course this is one of my wondrous tangents you take me to task over at times.

    I’ll stick to my claim though that the legitimacy or illegitimacy of grevances isn’t really the issue. For instance Beck’s claims about the church are almost certainly illegitimate, by and large. I suspect many members will be wildly upset at some of her accusations though – especially about her father. But my point is that why we upset and whether we ought be upset is different from we actually are upset.

    My own feeling is that there will be a load of responses to Beck, but that most of these will be motivated by missionary work and less by offense. Indeed I think a more dispassionate response is the best answer. When people get overly emotional in their responses to Mormon critics, the responses are almost always far less effective than they could be.

    Emotion far more regularly hinders our ability to achieve our goals rather than helps it. (They are exceptions of course, and we always do need something to motivate us, and that typically is an emotion of some sort)

  70. Rosalynde says:

    What a bizarre conversation! I think I’m of DKL’s mind, though I’ve not waded through all the iterations of the debate.

    I’ve also heard that MN Beck’s new book is really, really out there–not only with bizarre accusations about the church but also with vicious and horrifying family revelations. I don’t know MNB, and don’t know at all where or why she’s coming from–and I will try to approach the book open-mindedly–but it sounds like this new book just amplifies some of the bizarre myopics of _EA_.

  71. Rosalynde:

    Martha Nibley Beck accuses her father of sexually abusing her as a child – while wearing a ceremonial Egyptian mask. Yikes! It isn’t the first time her accusations have been made public. Boyd Petersen does a remarkable job in dealing with it in a lengthy footnote in his biography of Hugh.

    It’s a lose-lose situation for the family, and I don’t envy them. The second someone claims to be a victim of sexual abuse, anyone who questions that person is seen as the scum of the Earth. So despite the many errors and problems in her book, that claim may help legitimize her story.

  72. I had heard about Beck’s accusations before in the DAMU. I thought it was interesting that a group that is usually very interested in painting the church in a negative light was very skeptical of the claim. The skepticism was largely a result of the “recovered memory” aspect of the accusation.

    Lose/lose, indeed.

  73. David King Landrith says:

    Mathew and Clark, I think that you’re both arguing beside the point. My example posits that work is required to prevent starvation, not that the workers are on the brink of starvation. This is why the St. George example is relevant. And my original statement regarding this stated that having to work constantly to avoid starvation results in (a) more conformity, and (b) less taking and giving of offense. I think that history bears this out. Increasing leisure time increases the amount of energy one can spend nursing grievances, and I think that this is clearly an unfortunate by-product of increased leisure time. My standard stipulates that these by-product grievances are illegitimate.

    Drummond’s point is only trivially true in that since we’d sooner be celibate or philistine than starve, given the choice between food and sex or art, we’ll choose food every time.

    We can continue to discuss my proposed standard, because I continue to stand by it. Even so, the question of whether we have a standard to determine the legitimacy of grievances in general does not impact the fact that certain purported grievances can be rejected out of hand. I do this when resolving disputes between my 4 year old and 7 year old all the time. And when people purport to be aggrieved by the claim that Mormonism is the only true church, I dismiss it out of hand—after all, where is their sympathy for the unsaved heathen?

  74. David King Landrith says:

    Rosalynde: I think I’m of DKL’s mind.…

    You know, you’re a brilliant gal?

  75. Rosalynde Welch says:

    Yes, DKL, you’ve discovered the key to my success… I simply flatter smart males in order to win their approval and thus their endorsement. And success is so satisfying…

  76. David King Landrith says:

    You’re very funny, Rosalynde Welch.

    And here I thought I had reason on my side. But even so, you’ve probably hitched your cart to the wrong jackass. Though it’s true that I’m easily flattered, surely my endorsement and approval won’t get you very far.

    John H, did you find my Krakauer response to be a whiny venting of illegitimate grievances?

  77. Ugh! I was disappointed to see that Terry Tempest Williams gave such a positive review of Beck’s book.

    From Amazon.com—-
    “Very sad. Very brave. Very true. Martha Beck has written a universal story for anyone who has confronted physical and spiritual abuse and freed themselves from the tenacious grip of patriarchy.” —Terry Tempest Williams,

    For Williams to write that Beck’s book is “very true,” lends Beck a lot credence since Williams is extremely well respected and is also considered by many in the scholarly world to be a Mormon (or least loosely affiliated) because of the things she writes in _Refuge_. Most people don’t know that she is inactive or even understand what that really means.

  78. DKL:

    I haven’t read your response yet, though I’ll get around to it. Whether it’s whiny isn’t really the point, though. The very fact that you felt a need to respond suggests you were bothered or put off by *something* in the book. It may not take the same form of frustration as other people, but you did feel a need to speak out – to say something. How is that any different than someone who wishes to speak out against the Church because they are bothered by something and just want to set the record straight?

    From your previous posts, I would have gathered that you would have felt the proper response to Krakauer would just be to laugh it off or ignore it. Responding would be a luxury of a culture with too much time on its hands (so ironic that we have this conversation about too much time while we sit at our computers and chat with strangers).

  79. David King Landrith says:

    As I stated earlier, John H, I don’t begrudge people the extra time and disposable income afforded to us by technology. So I don’t think that spare time can be classified as excess time (or too much time) until it leads to destructive behaviors—idle hands are evil hands, you know.

    The context surrounding my response to Krakauer is that a coworker kept asking me if I planned on reading it. Apparently, he felt that it was a water tight case against Mormonism, and he simply refused to believe that I’d read more bad/controversial/impugning stuff about Mormonism and Mormon history than Krakauer has time to document. Since I do quite a lot of writing in my spare (excess?) time, I decided that condensing my notes into the review would be a fun experiment in polemics (and my notes were too random and too long to go over with him at any rate).

    Outside of this framework, I’d have never bothered to read the book in the first place. Even so, my response attempts to convince the reader that Krakauer is sloppy and intellectually dishonest—quite simply, I’m right and he’s wrong. I’m not attempting to find middle ground or forgiveness or compromise.

  80. More support for DKL’s view of the world?–from Tom Friedman’s op-ed in Sunday’s NYT:

    “So I don’t want young Muslims to like us. I want them to like and respect themselves, their own countries and their own governments. I want them to have the same luxury to ignore America as young Taiwanese have – because they are too busy focusing on improving their own lives and governance, running for office, studying anything they want or finding good jobs in their own countries.”

  81. David King Landrith says:

    You know, Tom Friedman’s a brilliant fellow?

  82. I think we can both agree on that.

  83. Can anybody point me to more information about Beck’s book? Specifically I’m looking for the information about “recovered memories”, sometimes also called “false memory syndrome” or “false memories.”

    It’s well known that “recovered memories” are no longer admissible in court. (They were in the 90s when the pop-psyche-drivel was at its heyday.) That they should be admissible in a book published by a reputable publisher is a bit surprising. But hey, whatever sells books, right?

  84. Sorry Joe, I don’t think anyone here can really help you with what you’re looking for. Beck’s book is not really blog-worthy, IMHO.

  85. john fowles says:

    Steve, why not?

  86. It’s salacious and scandalous, but not anything doctrinally interesting or that raises any interesting questions. Sadly, Martha’s book is just plain boring.

  87. john fowles says:

    Is it blog-worthy to raise a voice in defense of the Church against baseless accusations and tired anti-Mormon arguments that do not address the weight of subsequent scholarly debate on the issues?

  88. Not on this site, it isn’t. I see that you’ve addressed it on yours, though, which is just fine.

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