Hard Issues Move Us Forward

I just listened to this 2008 interview from “The Drew Marshall Show“.  It features Mormon scholar Robert Millet and Evangelical scholar Jim Beverly.  I really liked this interview.  Beverly and Marshall ask Millet a number of questions I would put to any Mormon if I were to have an hour long discussion with them.  In many ways their discussion mirrored a recent post I wrote that clarifies a number of misunderstandings that Evangelicals have about Mormonism.  They also touched on a number of topics that cause problems with Mormon truth claims.

At the end, Dr. Millet says “We only make progress when we can talk about the hard issues.  We may not come away agreeing on everything but at least we can come away with more a little more respect for one another’s view.”  I agree wholeheartedly.

Give it a listen.

Direct Link

Advertisements

112 thoughts on “Hard Issues Move Us Forward

  1. Tim, thanks for providing this audio. I like Millet’s concluding remarks as well. As I’ve talked and observed communication between those of different faiths, I’ve noticed that “progress” and “moving forward” can be interpreted in different ways by different people. Those who have the goal of taking down Mormonism, for example, can partly agree with Millet because dialogue on the hard issues will make progress in exposing Mormonism for the false religion that it is, and it will help things move forward towards achieving that goal. In other words, they may feel that they can use relational dialogue or combative dialogue or apologetics and polemics or interfaith dialogue and conversational approaches; they can be equally versatile and proficient in any method to advance their goal.

    I too like Millet’s statement that “We may not come away agreeing on everything but at least we can come away with more a little more respect for one another’s view.” Unfortunately, there are Mormons and Evangelicals who would disagree and may find that “respect” has nothing to do with it and gaining “respect” for someone’s false beliefs is really irrelevant and non-productive.

    Incidentally, I would like to point out that the discussion that resulted from the various interlocutors really was able to happen because of the civility and respect that each person had for each other and it was due partly to the event at the Salt Lake Tabernacle where Beverley and Millet first met each other. Again, another benefit of these events.

  2. Thanks Tim. That was fascinating. I was surprised how clumsily Millet handled the King Follet Discourse business. There’s a reason it was never canonized. Why would paid clergy like Millet give it the same weight that folk Mormonism does? He might as well have been expounding on Adam-G-d nonsense or past anti-grace rants.

    He was on the money that it was Pres. Benson’s encouragement of serious Book of Mormon study that catalyzed a radical change in LDS church emphasis back to grace in the last generation. Bizarre how few LDS see that. I often wonder if Pres. Benson intended that. Whatever the intent, it’s been a welcome change.

    I found the ignorance on both sides about what is know about human entries into the Americas appalling for academics who would wade into the subject in a public forum, not even close to a scholarly discussion.

  3. Shame Seth for even thinking of digging up that Mormon apocrypha, especially after GBH hammered the nails on the coffin and filled in the grave. Let it lie.

    We even have apocrypha which unfortunately made it into our canon. I’m wondering when the BofA facsimiles will be decanonized (keep the book as a fig leaf). Have we LDS ever officially decanonized something? I was thinking the 1990 dumping of BY’s anti-grace rant from the temple liturgy is a kin to decanonization but not the same because the liturgy isn’t part of our published canon. Anyway, those embarrassing facsimiles gotta go and the sooner the better.

    My wife’s in Dallas with our youngest at an Irish dance feis and I’m bored.

  4. Gordon B. Hinckley is no longer with us Steve.

    And if all he left us with is a Larry King interview on this subject, I’d say those are pretty weak-sauce coffin nails.

  5. Seth,
    Correlated Mormonism isn’t any more likely to resurrect the KFD than BKP is likely to come out of the closet before he passes.

  6. Have we LDS ever officially decanonized something?

    Sure. One of the earlier D&Cs (I think it was the 1835 edition) had a revelation laying out monogamy as the church’s official position. That eventually got de-canonized to make room for D&C 132.

    Also, the Lectures on Faith used to be part of the D&C, and those were taken out. Read them and you’ll see why.

    Lots of things have been de-canonized. Who knows, maybe someday the church will say good-bye to the PoGP.

  7. Jack,
    Thanks for that info. You’d make a good Mormon Studies Prof.

    It’s both amusing and ironic that the bogus PR monogamy section was dumped for D&C 132, which in turn should have been decanonized long ago too, or at least stripped of the polygamy part.

    As far as Book of Abraham, I could see the church compromising by dumping the facsimiles but keeping the Book. The apologists say the longer scroll Smith worked off of is still missing and that the BofA may have come from that. But there’s no defending Smith’s interpretation of the facsimiles. They’re just flat wrong.

  8. Polygamy is a beautiful idea Steve that simply states there is room in the human heart for more than one person.

    I think the revulsion to it is informed more by insipid movies like “Sleepless in Seattle” than any real understanding of human love and relationships.

    As for the interpretation of the facsimiles, the problem is that everyone is looking for an Egyptian translation of them.

    News flash – Abraham wasn’t an Egyptian. Neither was the papyrus of the Book of Abraham written while he was actually in Egypt, but centuries later – probably by a Canaanite scribe.

    So asking what the pictograms mean in Egyptian is utterly irrelevant. What you need to ask instead, is how the pictograms would be viewed by a CANAANITE scribe who decided to utilize the illustrations in the story HE was telling.

    Seen in this light, the interpretation is utterly different. And, as usual Joseph Smith shows an uncanny ability to nail the ancient mindset. His interpretation is spot-on for a Canaanite scribe.

    And at any rate, I think the Pearl of Great Price is some of the best scripture we have.

    You seem to have a penchant Steve for removing all the interesting parts from Mormonism. I must confess I find what’s left to be incredibly dull and rather lacking in relevance.

  9. Come on Tim, this isn’t the first time you’ve heard me step up to bat for polygamy. This can hardly be a surprise to you.

  10. Seth,
    I just want a modern LDS Mormonism that makes sense, that I can teach with confidence and clarity, etc. If such a Morminsm would be dull, so be it.

    On polygamy, I somewhat concur, as my opinion is the west made a mistake condemning it (long before Mormonism), as it seems to be universal in our species and the natural order of things. Some men can afford to be studs, super breeders, whatever you want to call it, and we’re stronger as a species to let nature take its course and let the best genes freely propagate. On the practical side, it brings transparency vs. the closeted sexual antics we see practiced by many modern straight elite western men.

    Where I condemn Section 132 is making polygamy a religious principal or test of faith required for the highest level of glory in the afterlife. That’s ludicrous and never should have been canonized. Even where polygamy is legally recognized, in practice it is rare, reserved for men that can afford it. Mormon widespread polygamy was an abject failure that brought poverty to many. Then there’s Smith’s practices which even violate Section 132, were abusive to Emma and his flock, etc. My guess is had Smith not been assassinated, his movement would have splintered over those abuses and blogs like this wouldn’t exist.

    All that said, my rationale for decanonization is we long ago dumped polygamy, we don’t allow it even in countries where it’s legal today and leaving it in the canon is just confusing.

    As far as the BofA facsimiles, how to you defend Smith’s labeling obvious female characters as male? You don’t have to know any Egyptology to see Smith was flat wrong on that score. They’re an embarrassment to us and should have been dumped long ago. You’re an attorney and should know better than to defend the indefensible unless you’re getting paid for it.

  11. If a Canaanite scribe decided to utilize an Egyptian depiction of an ithyphallic deity to represent God the Father (Facsimile 2 Figure 7), I’m disturbed and you should be, too.

    I also really don’t think early Mormons viewed polygamy as “the idea that there’s room in the human heart for more than one person.” More like “the idea that there’s room in a man’s crown for more than one jewel, and a woman is best served by setting her jewel in the shiniest crown she can find.”

    But if that’s how Mormons today want to rechristen the practice . . . okay.

    Steve ~ Then there’s Smith’s practices which even violate Section 132, were abusive to Emma and his flock, etc. My guess is had Smith not been assassinated, his movement would have splintered over those abuses and blogs like this wouldn’t exist.

    It’s interesting that you bring that up, Steve. I just had a discussion last night with someone who said that he feels that JS’s death actually helped Mormonism, as he was running it into the ground with his secret practice of polygamy and other excesses. His death gave Mormonism room to breathe and figure out a new course of action.

    I’d never considered it before; perhaps it’s my BYU education, but I’d grown so used to people lamenting the things JS never finished because he died so early that I’d always just taken it for granted that his death was a bad thing for the movement. It seems that there is merit to that view though.

  12. If a Canaanite scribe decided to utilize an Egyptian depiction of an ithyphallic deity to represent God the Father (Facsimile 2 Figure 7), I’m disturbed and you should be, too.

    Sometimes I’m told I should be disturbed and I just can’t for the life of me figure out why. This is one of those times.

  13. Sometimes I’m told I should be disturbed and I just can’t for the life of me figure out why. This is one of those times.

    Okay. The idea of a pagan god with his erect penis hanging out as a representation of Heavenly Father does not bother Mephibosheth. The idea of this deity here . . .

    As the supreme sex symbol of gods and men, Min behaves with shocking promiscuity, which is hardly relieved by its ritual nature…His sacred plants were aphrodisiacal…and he is everywhere represented as indulging in incestuous relationships with those of his immediate family; he had the most numerous and varied religious entourage of all the gods, consisting mostly of his huge harem…The hymns, or rather chanting of his worshippers were accompanied with lewd dancing and carousing…to the exciting stimulus of a band of sistrum-shaking damsels (Nibley, Abraham in Egypt, p. 210; as cited at Mormon Think)

    . . . being used to represent God the Father gets a shrug from Mephibosheth.

    Any other takers?

  14. Ms. JM said:

    I just had a discussion last night with someone who said that he feels that JS’s death actually helped Mormonism, as he was running it into the ground with his secret practice of polygamy and other excesses. His death gave Mormonism room to breathe and figure out a new course of action.

    Just out of curiosity, was that an LDS person who had that theory or someone else?

    I’d grown so used to people lamenting the things JS never finished because he died so early that I’d always just taken it for granted that his death was a bad thing for the movement.

    Even within the Church there are opposing views. It’s not a mainstream view (and I’m neither advocating nor rejecting the idea), but I’ve heard it said more than once by fellow Church members that Joseph Smith may have reached a dead end in terms of what he personally could accomplish, and that’s why God allowed him to die.

    During my tour of Restoration sites last summer, it was interesting to hear the views of non-LDS Restoration groups. The Community of Christ people basically ignore anything that Smith said or did in Nauvoo, and a Temple Lot apostle told us that Smith was a fallen prophet at the time of his death.

    I have no way, of course, of knowing any more than anyone else here what would have happened had Smith lived. But I think it’s safe to say at the Church as it existed in Nauvoo was unsustainable (due to persecution, if nothing else), and something like the exodus to the Salt Lake Valley had to happen for the Church to become more than a historical footnote.

    Mephibosheth said:

    Sometimes I’m told I should be disturbed and I just can’t for the life of me figure out why. This is one of those times.

    Ditto.

  15. I wondered if it was the hijacking of a pagan symbol for religious purposes. The thing about symbols is they can mean different things to different people. Just because Min was some sort of Wilt Chamberlain deity to the pagans doesn’t mean that’s what he was to some Caananite scribe, or to you or me. So yes, that gets a shrug, as it should from you unless you also find Easter eggs, the Cadbury bunny, Christmas trees, mistletoe, etc, also disturbing. I know that some Christians do, but I didn’t take you for one.

  16. It’s not the hijacking of pagan symbols that I object to, it’s the hijacking of pagan symbols that literally depict God in a pornographic manner that I object to—especially coming from a religious tradition that has virtually de-canonized a book in the Bible because it’s considered too lewd.

    But since it’s such an unobjectionable thing to do, next time I attend an LDS class that discusses the Book of Abraham, I’m gonna bring it up and see if the LDS people there agree.

  17. Ditto for me. It doesn’t bother me at all if a Canaanite wanted to use the ancient world equivalent of a stock photo to represent God the Father.

    Erect penis? So what?

    Jack, you’re the one who likes Song of Solomon – commonly held to be an allegory for God’s love for his church. So I don’t know what your problem here is.

    Steve EM,

    D&C section 132 does not make polygamy a requirement for entering the Celestial Kingdom. And Brigham Young didn’t make it a requirement either.

    You may have some speeches from George Q. Canon to that effect, but it’s not a valid scriptural argument.

  18. Besides, ancient Hebrew culture considered God in quite anthropomorphic terms. Is it really a big surprise that they would consider just as powerful sexually as in all other aspects?

  19. So if they censored out the phallus like they used to in previous versions of the Pearl of Great Price, you would have no problem with it?

  20. Jack, you’re the one who likes Song of Solomon – commonly held to be an allegory for God’s love for his church. So I don’t know what your problem here is.

    Yeah! Maybe Abraham’s use of an ithyphallic Canaanite god to represent the Lord is just a metaphor for God’s horniness for his church.

  21. Oh, I should probably clarify: I don’t personally have an objection to a deity being depicted with a gigantic erect penis. Most of my deities are admittedly sex fiends.

    On the other hand, it is completely ludicrous to try to justify Old-Testament-Era use of pagan images to depict Yahweh. Remember, this is the god who ordered mass murder when the Israelites depicted him as a golden calf. He isn’t cool with that kind of thing.

    Comparisons to Christian appropriation of pagan imagery at Christmas and Easter is nonsense: those are all from the post-Apostolic era. From a Mormon perspective, they were made by the damnable, abominable and thoroughly apostate Roman church.

  22. Erect penis? So what?

    I’m nominating this for a Brodie next year.

    Jack, you’re the one who likes Song of Solomon – commonly held to be an allegory for God’s love for his church.

    I also completely reject that interpretation of the Song of Solomon.

    Anyways, I’m gone for the day.

  23. First a question, then a thought…

    1)–I hate to reveal my ignorance…but where exactly is this phallus everyone is talking about?

    2)–Mormon polygamy was a good thing for one reason and one reason only. Big Love would never exist without it. 😛

  24. Erect penis? So what?

    OK Seth, let’s break it down for you nice and slow.

    Please, get a homoerotic picture of a well endowed man who is shall we say, ready for action. Then put it on your wall for all and sundry to see. When your wife asks why you put a picture of a man with an erect penis on the wall, please answer, “Erect penis, so what?”

    If she argues, please again remind her that this is just a symbol of God and his love for us and refuse to take it down.

    You’ll be filing for divorce shortly thereafter, but at least you will have stood up for your convictions.

  25. 1)–I hate to reveal my ignorance…but where exactly is this phallus everyone is talking about?

    See Here

    It part you are interested in is caption #7. Most Mormons see it as vaguely looking like one of the signs in the temple endowment (and the given explanation agrees with this). Unfortunately, it’s a phallus.

  26. “Polygamy is a beautiful idea Steve that simply states there is room in the human heart for more than one person.”

    But the women involved have to settle for only a fraction of a person in their hearts… not so beautiful for them, is it?

    I tend to think early polygamy was less about studly men getting to snag all the pretty girls they wanted and more about getting those men to take responsibility for the legions of children they were creating. After all, there weren’t a lot of marriage “rites of passage” way back when, were there? Big weddings, written contracts… my guess is the big commemoration of the act took place nine months later… in many cases, with Mr. Stud long gone. Since God seemed intent on holding the Jews to a higher standard than the general “heathen,” it makes sense to me that he ordered them to “make all those women you’re bopping your wives, with all the privileges and protections therein.” Also seems like a more loving act to the 50% of His human creation that is on the other side of the “beautiful” equation of polygamy.

    All way before Joseph Smith’s version of polygamy, of course.

  27. clink, you are talking to someone who has long argued that polygamy will apply to both men and women in the afterlife, so that dog won’t bark.

    Does anyone else here find it odd that we’re using 21st century notions of “pornography” to discuss a hieroglyphic drawing from, what…. 600 BC?

    I’m sure I got that date wrong, but the point still stands.

  28. “erect penis?

    … the exciting stimulus of a band of sistrum-shaking damsels

    Talk about the hard issues moving us forward!

  29. Anyone,

    I answered Katie’s question, which included a link. I guess this is in the spam trap. If you could rescue it and then delete this one, I would be much obliged.

    Feel free to delete my earlier comment. I fed the Seth and I realize that may have been against park rules and regulations.

  30. “But the women involved have to settle for only a fraction of a person in their hearts… not so beautiful for them, is it?”

    clink,

    Why are you assuming that if a man has two wives each only gets half a heart? Do you really think that human feelings are divisible like this?

    How about this –

    Does a child with two siblings only get a third of mommy’s heart?

  31. David,

    To elaborate:

    Seth is a long-time commentor here who is generally well thought of and well-respected. The fact that you disagree with him and don’t seem to want to make any effort to get outside of your own head and give serious consideration to your own assumptions and reflex-biases is actually your problem, not his.

  32. Also, david, I’m sorry that you are so out of touch with what it means to be a human being that the idea of an erect penis is inherently objectionable to you.

    Furthermore, the fact that you would assume that any picture of an erect penis would be homoerotic has… implications.

  33. I believe David Clark has been around on this blog for a while Kullervo.

    I imagine he was just noting that it’s “easy to get Seth on a roll if you you push his buttons.” But thanks for the vote of confidence.

    I thought it was kind of bizarre that he immediately made the leap to a homoerotic poster too.

  34. Kullervo,

    You missed the point I was trying to make. I brought up Christian appropriations of pagan symbols not because I think they are inspired, but because I was sure Jack is not offended by them despite their original meanings. Apparently our Canaanite scribe was not offended either, but I guess God could have put a fatwa out on him too.

    David Clark,

    If I were you I would want that comment deleted just so nobody would know that I had ever made such a stupid argument.

  35. You missed the point I was trying to make. I brought up Christian appropriations of pagan symbols not because I think they are inspired, but because I was sure Jack is not offended by them despite their original meanings.

    Hmm, I think I see your point. You meant that if pagan appropriations were objectionable in general, than Jack would not want to touch Easter and Christmas with a ten-foot pole.

  36. No, she would celebrate Christmas, but wouldn’t have mistletoe, holly, or a Christmas tree in her house. She would celebrate Easter but not let her kids do Easter Egg hunts, or take pictures with bunnies, etc.

  37. I know there are Christians who are like that, by the way. If they were offended by our well-endowed stick figure gods in the scriptures obviously I wouldn’t be able to say much beyond, “I disagree.”

  38. Also, david, I’m sorry that you are so out of touch with what it means to be a human being that the idea of an erect penis is inherently objectionable to you.

    Furthermore, the fact that you would assume that any picture of an erect penis would be homoerotic has… implications.

    OK, Kullervo, here’s why I chose my words very carefully.

    First, I have no problem with nudes, male or female, when not presented as overtly erotic. I do have a problem presenting overtly erotic nudes in public spaces, because I don’t think children should have to be explained what is going on. Min, the Egyptian fertility god, is overtly erotic. He is a god of potency and fertility, much like the Greek Eros, whence comes the word erotic. Hence, for something in our society to be equivalent to a Min picture, it would be described as erotic.

    Now, the part you were most likely offended at was that I referred to it as homoerotic (since accusing Mormons of being homophobic and prudish is like shooting fish in a barrel). That was also a specific word choice on my part. Nudes are presented in different ways to appeal to different audiences. Lighting, angle, pose, etc. appeal differently to the different genders. That’s why porn tends to be made and marketed to females differently than it is to men. So, if the picture shown appeals to women, Seth’s wife might just think it was a great present for her, say “thank you,” and move on (or are you accusing Seth’s wife of obviously being a prude?). It had to be something less likely to appeal to her, and more likely to appeal to Seth. So, I used the word homoerotic, since that describes nude males that appeal to men.

    Now, this was mostly a joke, though in poor taste. And since I had to explain way too much, it doesn’t work. The problem is that the connection between the ancient Min and a modern equivalent as used in the joke is not obvious.

    So, I will change it to this. If Min is not offensive, then Seth should get a large poster of Min and hang that on his wall. The same conversation will ensue. After all, if it’s just a symbol for God, then who should care in the Seth household if there is a large poster of Min in his house? Or, in honor of Kullervo he could place a nice herm statue by his front door and offer the same explanation.

  39. Hahaha, I made you ruin your joke by making you explain it in excruciating detail.

    Or, in honor of Kullervo he could place a nice herm statue by his front door and offer the same explanation.

    Oh man, you just went from lame to awesome. Now I’m sorry I made you ruin your joke.

    The problem is that the connection between the ancient Min and a modern equivalent as used in the joke is not obvious.

    The real problem is that gay porn is not in any way, shape, or form the “modern equivalent” of the ancient Min. They only just so happen to both depict erect peenars.

    I mean, I have no clue who “Min” is, so I could be wrong here, but when my gods are depicted ithyphallicly, the point is not actually to titillate and arouse homosexual men. Even if it has that effect serendipitously.

  40. The problem is that the connection between the ancient Min and a modern equivalent as used in the joke is not obvious.

    LOL, thanks for proving the point.

    A picture of Min would go along fine with the brass Ank and ceramic Eye of Osiris that I already have in my living room. If someone asked me about it I could probably use Joseph Smith’s explanation or maybe explain how I believe God is the Father of billions of children.

  41. Given that Min is usually depicted as being approached by another ithyphallic deity (see this picture here) phallus-to-phallus, “homoerotic” isn’t exactly a bad word for it.

    JS identified the other ithyphallic deity as the Holy Spirit, but it was damaged and the phallus is missing from that side of the picture in Facsimile 2.

    Mephibosheth, I will get to your questions on pagan symbolism in Christianity later tonight.

  42. If someone asked me about it I could probably use Joseph Smith’s explanation or maybe explain how I believe God is the Father of billions of children.

    Which would be an entirely appropriate explanation for an ithyphallic statue of a god.

    We’re talking about gods of fertility, masculinity, fatherhood, and generative power. If we can step away from puritan ideas about human sexuality for a moment, the erect penis is the ultimate symbol of a god’s power to create, to make progeny, to build (erect!), to fertilize.

    This isn’t the same thing as pornography, and it’s definitely not the same thing as being casual or flippant or profane about sex. We’re talking about seeing sexuality in an extremely sacred and holy light, and seeing the deep and powerful connections between human sexuality, the whole of human existence, and the entire universe.

  43. OMGee, I totally remember awed conversations as a missionary where we poured over those facsimiles and were like, “Look, that’s totally temple-related.”

    And here I find out it was just some pagan god’s pee-pee.

    What a letdown.

    😉

  44. The real problem is that gay porn is not in any way, shape, or form the “modern equivalent” of the ancient Min. They only just so happen to both depict erect peenars.

    I acknowledge that there is not a straight line connection between Min and gay porn. It was only for the purposes of the joke that I framed it that way, otherwise Mrs. Seth R might get titillated, which would ruin the whole exercise.

    But, in light of Jack’s comment, I may be wrong about that too.

  45. “If Min is not offensive, then Seth should get a large poster of Min and hang that on his wall.”

    I don’t find Ted Koppel offensive either.

    That doesn’t mean I want to hang a poster of him on my wall.

  46. Mephibosheth ~ As far as holidays in my household go, we use a Christmas tree and stockings because they’re traditional and fun for the kid. We let her do an Easter egg hunt in April, again because it’s fun. That’s it. I don’t attribute religious significance to those events or attempt to rechristen them with nicer meanings and symbolism. If my daughter asks me where the traditions came from, I’ll pull all of my classics background in explaining them and say that we just do them because they’re traditional. We don’t even celebrate “Valentine’s Day,” we just call it Lupercalia and teach it for what it is in all of its erotic glory.

    If the other things that we do (like Advent) have their origins in sexual pagan rites, I don’t know about them, and I think they’re far enough removed from their context so as to be innocuous.

    In any case, I think there’s a huge difference between utilizing a symbol that was anciently and distantly associated with the fertility rites of another religion and taking an actual depiction of a foreign deity and saying, “This is God the Father.” I’m not even crazy about some of the early Christian efforts to affiliate Christ with Bacchus or Dionysus; I think they all deserve better than to be mixed up.

    I mean, you don’t hear me complaining about the huge “symbols of the priesthood” that dot the Salt Lake and DC temples, do you?

    Seth ~ clink, you are talking to someone who has long argued that polygamy will apply to both men and women in the afterlife, so that dog won’t bark.

    Yes, that is polygamy according to Seth.

    It would be nice if we could get back to discussing polygamy according to Mormonism, where that dog does bark.

    Jared C. ~ Talk about the hard issues moving us forward!

    You win. I don’t know what you win, but you win.

  47. I’m not even crazy about some of the early Christian efforts to affiliate Christ with Bacchus or Dionysus; I think they all deserve better than to be mixed up.

    Now you’re just trying to sway me to your side.

  48. Probably.

    Actually, over-conflation between Dionysus and Jesus is getting to be a pet peeve of mine. Yes, there are a lot of parallels, and yes, there are some scenes in the Bakkhai that should be uncomfortably familiar to readers of the New Testament, but there are a lot of lists out there on the internet purporting to show all of these things that Jesus, Mithras, and Dionysus have in common, but a lot of them appear to be entirely made up. I think a serious examination of the similarities–and the possible ramifications–is definitely worth considering and fully processing for both the Pagan and the Christian as well as the non-religious Academic, but gross exaggeration distorts the truth about two religions and in the end only serves the agenda of those who want to undermine all religion.

  49. I think Jack has stumbled upon the cause of the disproportionate number of gays among LDS. Smith must have received a revelation that those facsimiles would subconsciously turn many male youth gay leaving much less competition for the straight Mormon polygs. Sure explains why we have so many LDS flamers today.

  50. Steve~ confirmed jackass.

    Jack~

    Regarding hard issues. I just think Protestants and Catholics just get a free pass on erections. Think of how much hell LDS would catch if we had this picture in one of our churches.

    or this one temples:

    One little pictogram and we are thrown under the bus. If only we believed in the Trinity . . .

  51. Jared,
    Oh come-on! The LDS church has more effeminate men than any organization I’ve ever been involved in, and this has been the case for the 39 years or so I’ve been a member (was born Catholic). BYU is like flamer Mecca. I assume most are gay, but even if only a fraction of these light-on-their-feet types are gay, our church has plenty of homosexuals. Of course, many homosexuals are straight acting. I served w/ some great missionaries that I only later learned are gay (sadly, most tried marriage, and are today divorced and no longer LDS).

    I guess you’ve never walked through BYU’s HFAC? Trust me; it’s a bigger gay Mecca than even UNC-Greensboro.

  52. I’ve been thinking of this thread today, and I would like to apologize. I think I should have approached this topic more tactfully.

    I’m not a big fan of Book of Abraham apologetics. I think there are serious problems with the BoA and I hate seeing those issues brushed off or dismissed as no big deal.

    That’s no excuse for me to get testy over it though, and I’m genuinely sorry for that.

    I guess there’s little hope of connecting on this issue though, so sorry for bringing it up.

  53. Steve, I’ve heard you bring up homosexuality more than anyone. By your own standards against BKP that makes you gay.

  54. Tim,
    Note I don’t bash. I just think it’s amusing that a church that’s noted for condemning gays produces so many. BYU and especially the HFAC there certainly have more effeminate men than UNC-G that’s known as sort of a Mecca for that persuasion. Then back to BKP, with his obsession regarding women’s fashion, you can just see the cross dresser screaming to get out from under that repressed facade.

    I was discussing my BYU experience recently with my grown love child who attended there a generation after me (none of the kids I raised so far have gone there). We concurred the place hasn’t changed much.

  55. Steve, you are totally talking out your butt here.

    You don’t have a single shred of statistical evidence to back up what you are saying and you know it.

    You’re just saying stuff to get a rise out of people.

  56. So, statistical evidence is not necessarily the only kind of valid evidence in every situation, but when you’re talking about something like, say, the number of homosexuals in a given population, it is.

  57. Jack,

    I don’t think you have anything to apologize for. I’m also aware of the deficiencies of Book of Abraham apologetics, I just don’t think this issue is among them. I was honestly mystified as to your objection, but was thinking it either had to do with showing God as being distinctly male when you’ve shared your beliefs on that to the contrary or the pagan symbols that we’ve been discussing. I’m glad we’ve been able to discuss it.

    Now, back to your regular LDS & Evangelical Conversations (Motto: “All Penis, All Day”)

  58. Motto: “All Penis, All Day”

    Hooray! I vote that Tim changes the subtitle of the blog to this.

    Hey, Tim, can I have admin powers?

  59. No Kullervo.

    I just would like Steve to back up what he says. Some stats would probably help if he has any.

    He doesn’t, of course. But he’s free to prove me wrong there.

  60. “I do have a problem presenting overtly erotic nudes in public spaces, because I don’t think children should have to be explained what is going on. ”

    What are the chances that any kid is really going to look at the facsimile or at really old statues and even notice what’s going on?

    And, if they do, and they ask about it, or their parent notices them doing it, doesn’t it seem like a good idea to explain to them about love, and lovemaking, and how it is beautiful and important and sacred? Should we hide sex from our kids until they grow up and have to read Between Husband and Wife to learn that you really should take off your garments to have sex?

    My son is almost 4, but we already have frank, age appropriate discussions about sexuality and gender when it comes up or when it seems important to discuss.

    I think we use our kids and their innocence to make things that should be beautiful seem dirty and wrong. And I think that’s a shame because it means that so many people grow up with twisted views about sexuality, that then fosters the same problem.

  61. Can someone even link to this picture in question? Because I can’t find it. Maybe I’m just being unobservant.

  62. Steve seems the kind of guy that just gets off on being a rebel, hence he is a Mormon who thinks the church is generally out to lunch. Its like all the people that went to BYU that I knew that couldn’t stop complaining about not being able to wear a beard. If he left the church he would not be a rebel anymore.

    The whole sexual-orientation rant is just a game to try to get LDS to get upset with him and it obviously makes him feel good about his “rebel” status. His rants against Elder Packer seem to be just a way to lash out against the most ominous authority figure.

    I always look forward to intelligent discussion, or even witty nonsensical commentary, but childish rebellion is not a game I like to play, and I don’t expect much more from Steve.

  63. See, Jared, if I had blog admin powers I could just go in and fix that for you right now. Wouldn’t that be great?

  64. Seth,

    For educational purposes I have uploaded a pic with the phallus circled here. It’s not obvious because it appears to be coming out of his naval, which gives the appearance of a right arm being drawn in perspective.

    Depictions of Min in other hypocephalae show the “arm” coming out of the crotchular region. See here.

  65. I am all for it Kullervo, as soon as Tim pulls the trigger I look forward to”

    LDS, Evangelical and Pagan Conversations
    “Prepare to be Ithyphallicized!”

  66. It really should be considered the least problematic issue with the facsimiles for Mormons. God is already known as a man, and a good portion of Mormondom considers him to be a sexual being.

  67. I didn’t bring it up as the most problematic issue with the BoA. It’s really hard to choose a winner there. I just brought it up as one example of many.

    It probably is the funniest.

    Meph, I think that the issue sort of just annoys me because I spent 5 years at BYU with Mormons telling me any time the subject came up that the SoS isn’t part of their canon because “it’s pornography.” It’s like, you de-canonize religious pornography? Really?

    It has very little to do with my general objections to male deity in Mormonism. The whole thing does make Sheri Dew’s letter to me about how “penetrating” the priesthood is that much funnier.

    I always thought it was the figures other arm.

    So did Joseph Smith, apparently.

  68. It’s actually not even hard, according to proclamation on the Family: “Gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose.”

    If God is a man, God is a sexual being.

  69. Seth,
    Can I sight controlled studies that the LDS yields a disproportionate number of gays vs. other populations? No, of course not. Who would fund such a study anyway? And would such a study ever get published at BYU? But I am a BYU alum, a university in the heart of the Jell-O Belt, and I’ve been back to BYU several times since graduating. I’ve also been to UNC-G a few times, a renown gay Mecca of the Bible Belt. And I have multiple observations that BYU has far more flamers than UNC-G. Then there are a number of friends from BYU and my mission who have come out later in life. While my observations are of coarse anecdotal, an anecdote is a datum, and with enough datum, we have data. Hey, check out the comments to a post I did on this back in 2005: http://mormonopenforum.blogsome.com/2005/09/16/gay-pda-at-church/#comments

    So it’s a reasonable conclusion that the Mormon Jell-O Belt produces far more effeminate men than the Evangelical Bible Belt. Hey, stereotypes are only amusing because they’re generally true n’est-ce pas?

    Jared,
    You may be somewhat correct about me as under Jerry Rhodes thinking profiles, I’m a strong green and greens tend to run from conformity. There aren’t many greens in the LDS church. But I did leave once and sort of ex-d myself for a few years after falling off the LofC wagon shortly after my mission and went through my BYU years living off booze to relax and speed to get through my classes. Then the substance abuse problems sort of evaporated when I went to Univ. of Michigan for grad school, as if I was done rebelling against je ne sais quoi. But the LofC problems continued and I didn’t get right with the church until marriage to my LDS wife. BTW, I missed Mormon women and that’s how she ended up replacing a live-in gf. Now decades later, I’ve raise a family LDS and remain comfortable in it, even though I see need for many reforms and have developed more of an evangelical spiritual outlook. Where else would I go anyway and still worship with my wife? So staying LDS keeps peace at home, etc. I’m afraid the rebel in me died long ago. Think of me as an LDS Martin Luther, a reformer, not a quitter.

    As far as BKP, it’s not even debatable that his apostleship has been a net negative for the church. Hey, any fool can chase the flock away; it takes a shepherd to gather it. And BKP ain’t no shepherd. Just because someone is called of the Lord, doesn’t mean they can’t utterly fail at the calling.

    Jack,
    You have a letter from Sheri Dew discussing the penetrating Priesthood? Guess she’s not a lesbian after all?

  70. You have a letter from Sheri Dew discussing the penetrating Priesthood?

    Yup. Given that I was 17 when she wrote it, it’s a safe bet that it was an innocently unfortunate combination of adjectives and not intentionally meant to be laced with innuendo.

    Guess she’s not a lesbian after all?

    Take the pet for a walk sometime, Steve. Honestly.

  71. Maybe, but I don’t get why (other than spite). If it’s because of her status as a 56 year-old single, there’s hardly anything unusual about a 6’+ tall, career-oriented woman in a patriarchal church with a 44%-56% male-female sex ratio being unable to find a husband.

    Her homophobic remarks were unfortunate, but not really a solid marker of repressed homosexuality.

    She dated the father of one of my ex-roommates back when they were undergraduates. Dating the opposite sex certainly isn’t the final word on someone’s sexuality, but it’s a start.

  72. I’ve also been to UNC-G a few times, a renown gay Mecca of the Bible Belt. And I have multiple observations that BYU has far more flamers than UNC-G.

    Maybe you just moved in different circles.

  73. Although I will say that in my experience, a lot of Mormon guys are not really… manly. But that doesn’t mean they’re latent homosexuals.

  74. “Although I will say that in my experience, a lot of Mormon guys are not really… manly. But that doesn’t mean they’re latent homosexuals.”

    Agreed, but it’s amusing and perplexing nevertheless.

  75. Jack,
    So maybe Sheri was just too picky in her youth? I’ll buy that.

    It’s kind of sad because you see it frequently among the LDS. In a bigger context, one of my pet peeves is “experts” promoting late marriage nowadays. They ignore that for some people love only comes once, and that marriage is a reproductive relationship, a task that requires youth.

    There are a lot of high potential project guys available many believing LDS women won’t consider. Hey, my wife married one.

  76. Steve, I don’t know where you get your theories on social structure, behavior, and gender identity, but they reek of douchebaggery.

    And I say that as a liberal-leaning Methodist.

  77. Whitney,
    That’s fine. Whatever floats your boat. But let’s not confuse homosexuality with gender identity, a subject I haven’t raised.

  78. Until three comments ago you were conflating a lack of masculine traits with closet homosexuality. Since you’re apparently operating on the traditional binary expressions of gender, I don’t think I was mistaken understanding your comments as relating to gender identity. (Don’t worry, I took sociology and feminist politics, so I don’t need an explanation of the finer distinctions among all of these terms.)

    But my real beef is that you’re just not saying anything useful at this point. You make cracks that unmarried older women must be lesbians. You toss out that marriage is a “reproductive relationship,” which must be a rude awakening to those who are infertile or marry later in life for whatever reason. You’ve made gross generalizations about huge populations based on your experience–experience which, by your own admission, was hardly typical of other LDS males and is likely colored by other experiences you bring to the table. And the rhetorical flair you’ve used to express all of this is just rude, and if there’s a humorous flair to it, then I’m missing it, and so are several others who have already indicated as such.

    You clearly have a unique perspective to bring to the conversation, and I’ve seen you comment elsewhere, but if you’re just doing it to be mean or abrasive, I think you should find some other way to express your frustrations.

  79. Whitney,
    Oh come-on, chill. I already said whatever floats your boat.

    We seem to agree effeminate men, homosexuality and gender identity are distinct phenomena (although they can overlap). Sorry I didn’t articulate that earlier. If I’m mistaken on your perspective, we can agree to disagree.

    I can appreciate maybe one has to be unorthodox LDS to see what might be amusing and perplexing about the plethora of flamers in a church noted for opposition to unrepressed homosexuality. It’s the irony of: hey, if these guys are straight, they sure don’t care if you think they’re gay. All in a church were one of the slogans used to be (maybe still is) “avoid even the appearance of evil”.

    But to your other charge, I flatly deny making any crack about unmarried older women must be lesbians. My crack was about Sheri Dew only. It was indeed a crack, and I backed down from it. But I’m hardly the first to question Sheri Dew’s preferences. Jack was correct; it is Sheri’s past homophobic statements (as if she’s protesting perhaps a bit too much.).

    If you don’t feel marriage should be encouraged if one finds love in their early twenties or that a marriage is primarily a reproductive relationship, that’s fine. We can agree to disagree on that too. But don’t label me as offensive because I think the Dr Lauras of this world are full of crap promoting late marriage as good for all. For some people love only comes once and I honestly feel such universal advice to young adults is harmful. As far as infertile couples, they can adopt, employ sperm/egg donation, etc to fulfill the built-in desire most humans have to nurture the next generation; so I include them in marriage being primarily a reproductive relationship. Again, no biggy if you think I’m pushing a crock of merde.

  80. “Oh come-on, chill. I already said whatever floats your boat.”

    I guess that makes it OK then.

    Like when a Southern Baptist finishes a rant where he tells me Joseph was spawn of Satan and I’m going to burn in hell with:

    “grace and peace in Christ.”

    Or slapping a smiley emoticon on the end of an insult that actually, deep-down, you actually really did mean.

  81. Steve said: “But don’t label me as offensive because I think the Dr Lauras of this world are full of crap promoting late marriage as good for all.”

    I don’t think you are particularly offensive because you have unique opinions, I think it really comes down to lack of style, wit, rational basis for the opinions among other things.

    I think everyone just looks at you like you are the kid in 4th grade who always had to make a lot of noise or a big mess just to get attention. Sure, he had his opinions, but he never had any credibility because of the way he behaved and nobody really cared to listen to them. He tried to be funny but it so self serving that it was really was just annoying.

    If you really think the way you appear to, it just seems like your thought patterns are so obviously motivated by emotion (almost exclusively) that they aren’t really worth spending much time to consider.

  82. Steve,

    What exactly is your point in repeatedly asserting that respected leaders of the LDS community are secretly homosexuals? Or that a large number of men at BYU are gay? I mean, really, what is your point? Does this have anything to do with anything?

    Coming from a profession where I regularly confront the loudmouthed kid in the classroom who makes noise just to get noticed, I find myself totally agreeing with Jared. It is just annoying. You aren’t contributing. You aren’t offending. You are just annoying.

  83. Alex,
    First, I deny both of your charges but see how my comments could be so construed. So I can’t state a point about assertions I dispute. But as per your point I see no need to re-hash my comments to clarify any misapprehensions. As a whole they’re self explanatory.

    Seth,
    Do you honesty feel I condemned any participants here in the personal fashion you imply?

  84. No, my point was that trying to artificially soften harsh, rude, or mean-spirited comments later by saying “just kidding” or 😉 or “peace” or whatever else you want to use doesn’t really work in a substance over style sort of sense.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s