Thursday, December 17, 2020

Overview


Mormonstories.org provides a podcast, an analysis of LDS truth claims, the Thrive Project, Faith Crises resources, and a section on Understanding Mormonism.

We think Mormonstories provides an important service for people who question their beliefs and who want to know more about the Restoration, including the Community of Christ, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and other Restoation groups, as well as Christianity generally.

Decisions to join or leave any organization involve multiple complex considerations. The stakes are even higher when joining or leaving a religion. We are all free to believe whatever we want and we are free to choose whatever organizations we want to belong to or affiliate with. Ideally, we make informed decisions.

John Dehlin demonstrates genuine empathy and understanding for the people he interviews and supports. We applaud that approach. Every organization should do the same for its members and others. 

However, we think John has evolved away from openness toward a dogmatic editorial stance that confirms his own biases and does not provide his audience with an honest variety of perspectives. We're not here to debate, but to offer some alternative perspectives. 

By "alternative perspectives" we're not referring to FairMormon and similar sites, with whom we disagree on some important issues.

Overall, MormonStories focuses on the views and theories of LDS intellectuals as represented by what we call the M2C citation cartel, including FairMormon, Book of Mormon Central, the Interpreter, BYU Studies, and Meridian Magazine. This group, in important ways, have repudiated the teachings of the prophets and caused confusion. We think MormonStories has pointed out some of the problems created by the citation cartel.

Usually, people who share the same assumptions reach the same conclusions. For that reason, we examine the assumptions behind the conclusions.

We will discuss and explain alternative perspectives in each section of our review.


Podcasts

This section discuss some of the podcasts on Mormon Stories. It is regularly updated. I'll try to keep them in order.

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1385: THE LEGAL CASE FOR MORMON CHURCH FRAUD – GADDY VS. THE LDS CHURCH JANUARY 14, 2021

This podcast was mostly an interview with RFM (Radio Free Mormon) about the amended complaint in the Gaddy lawsuit. I blogged about the original suit in 2019, expecting it to fail on a motion to dismiss, which it did. 

The amended complaint adds a new theory that would probably be no more successful, except for a few developments since the original one was filed. 

The "stone-in-the-hat" narrative (SITH) is now quasi-official. The Ensign quoted David Whitmer on the subject a year ago, which I blogged about here:

https://www.bookofmormoncentralamerica.com/2020/01/january-2020-ensign.html

and here:

https://www.bookofmormoncentralamerica.com/2020/01/january-2020-ensign-more-to-discuss.html

The Saints book establishes SITH, as well. SITH was an emphasis at BYU Education week in 2019, about the time when I first posted on the lawsuit.

https://www.bookofmormoncentralamerica.com/2019/08/byu-education-week-peep-stones-vs-urim.html 

It seems to me that the plaintiff can rely on the revisionist LDS historians who have repudiated what Joseph and Oliver taught about the translation and the New York Cumorah. Through the academic cycle, these scholars have persuaded younger generations that Joseph didn't really translate anything, but merely read words that appeared on the stone-in-the-hat.

The alternative interpretation, as I've explained in detail elsewhere, is that Joseph used SITH as a demonstration but actually translated the ancient plates with the Urim and Thummim.

My prior posts about this lawsuit:

https://www.bookofmormoncentralamerica.com/2019/08/peep-stone-lawsuit-and-m2c.html

https://www.bookofmormoncentralamerica.com/2019/08/peep-stones-part-7.html

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Truth Claims

Here we discuss each of the truth claims posted on MormonStories.org. Click on the active links to see the discussion. Because the Book of Mormon is the keystone of our religion, we have started there and will address the other topics as time permits.

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From MormonStories (my comments in red):

Mormonism is a religion largely based upon faith inspiring stories. In 2013, the LDS Church began releasing a series of Gospel Topics Essays, to explore frequently questioned aspects of its doctrine and history. Following upon prior works, the Church recently published Saints: The Standard of Truth as the first in a four-volume history. While many have lauded the Church’s efforts to enhance openness and transparency, others feel that the Church’s narrative remains incomplete or excessively apologetic.

Some of us think Saints was written to promote an intellectual agenda that repudiates basic teachings of the prophets, including the New York Cumorah and the translation with the Urim and Thummim (the Nephite translators that Moroni provided with the plates). 

Mormon Stories Podcast is excited to announce a new project entitled “Examining Mormon Truth Claims.”  Over the next 12-24 months, we will explore various LDS topics in both written and podcast form. The primary audience will be Mormons who are investigating their church’s truth claims. The intent will be to author the essays that should have been released by the LDS Church; essays that tell a story, are accurate and robust, and yet succinct in length.

This objective has not been met because the essays on MormonStories focus primarily on the teachings of the intellectuals, not the original teachings of the prophets, as we show in each section.

The Book of Mormon

The Book of Abraham

Joseph Smith Translation (JST)









Faith crisis resources

 Here we review the faith crisis resources from MormonStories.org.

Understanding Mormonism

 On this page, we discuss the section on MormonStories titled "Understanding Mormonism."

The THRIVE project

 Here we discuss the THRIVE project provided through MormonStories.

Overview

Mormonstories.org provides a podcast , an analysis of LDS truth claims , the Thrive Project , Faith Crises resources , and a section on Unde...