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October 08, 2009

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Figaro

Awesome post, Eric. I especially enjoyed the line about the GAs having a pulse being so inspiring to the faithful.

belaja

I think you nailed it on pretty much every point, E. Great post.

ClearThoughts

Wow. Brilliant post.

Sister Mary Lisa

I think you're spot on. Well-said, E.

Andrew

I found the discussion going on at Time and Seasons fascinating. Change a few names and the nuance of a few topics, and it is almost the same arguments that go on between liberal and fundamentalist Christians. Same story, different channel.

notpotable

I'm enjoying the post so far, but E, do you really think linking to bible.ca can be considered using a reliable source? They have a page called "Evolution's Magic Wand", FFS.

Lunar Quaker

Loved your post, Eric. Bravo.

Seeking Peace

Thank you, thank you, thank you

Truthseeker

Great analysis Equality. The best I've seen on the subject. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

Gina Wolverton

Great job!

Bill Scheurer

Bro. E., while I have nothing to contribute to your analysis of the talk itself, as for the delivery I saw none of the anger that you mention -- just a man very passionate about his topic.

Lyndon Lamborn

Loved the post, Eric. I tire of the "no evil man could have written this book" rhetoric mentioned in the regurgitated testibaloney of Hollands grandfather. First of all, none of the popular theories on how the BoM was conjured included Smith writing the book on his own. The most plausible theories include wholesale plagiarism and/or collusion of pious-minded men wanting to answer the popular religious questions of the day via a fabricated history. It is not the first time this has been attempted. If Rigdon indeed was a conspirator, for example, there is considerable evidence to suggest that he thought he was doing the will of God. I do not doubt that Smith may have eventually arrived at the same conclusion using 'the ends justify the means' rationalization.

Jim Whitefield

Well analyzed Eric. Jeff Holland is a man I have known for well over four decades – a man who once called me his friend. I am one of those who, upon the unwanted and devastating discovery of the truth, sent him conclusive proof of the hoax – including evidence of the impossibilities contained in the Book of Mormon. Following his request for more time to research my findings a year after my submission of the facts, I never heard from him again and I published my findings to which there has been and can be no rebuttal. This man knows the truth but does not have the courage to face it or to deal with it. The price would be too high for him. All he has is wrapped up in the delusion to which he chooses to continue to cling. He calls it the iron rod...

Sam

Jim Whitefield - You are the author of the Mormon Delusion books? Which volume deals with the Book of Mormon? Also, in a nutshell, what is the most convincing evidence against the truth and historicity of the Book of Mormon? Thanks in advance.

SomeExMoFo

This and GDTeacher's deconstructions of Holland's talk are well thought out and certainly highlight the lies, logical fallacies and deception. Now I can quantify the offensiveness of Mo leaders' messages which previously had only just 'not sat well with me'. And for this I say thank you for your great analyses.

Yet is it not true that JH is a religious leader playing to the emotions, not the logic, of his followers? Should anyone expect literary devices which strengthen 'belief' to also be logical? In MoLand even 'pious lies' are justified so long as the end-goal is met. The talk wasn't designed for you or me but for the inherently weak-minded 'sheople' and it probably accomplished exactly what JH intended, to strengthen the divide between believers and so called intellectuals.

I suppose Holland's antics are a good sign, actually. It means the church is hurting and Holland is simply upping the ante, climbing deeper in to their failed assertions, prolonging their inevitable demise.

Equality

"The talk wasn't designed for you or me but for the inherently weak-minded 'sheople' and it probably accomplished exactly what JH intended, to strengthen the divide between believers and so called intellectuals."

I agree with you, SomeExMoFo. Holland's talk was designed to push the emotional buttons of the faithful. It was not designed to engage the critical-thinking centers of the brain but rather to stimulate the brain's limbic area. This is really nothing new. But what struck me about this talk wasn't just Holland's usual oratorical deftness, but the reaction he was able to generate not just from those Latter-day Saints who are easy prey for the emotional manipulation but also from members of the church I know to be strong critical thinkers. I saw gushing Facebook status updates, for example, from well-informed Mormons knowledgeable about church history and well-equipped to recognize the many problems with Holland's "arguments." People who, if they simply engaged the analytical part of their brains, must have known that Holland was dissembling with half-truths and even outright fabrications nevertheless said they were "moved by the Spirit" and found the talk "powerful." It's one thing for the naive and uninformed to be bamboozled by blustery bloviating, but it's alarming to me to see some otherwise level-headed folks literally shut off the part of their brain that produces rational thought and let the primitive emotional center of the brain take over. The power of religion to manipulate even very sophisticated, well-educated people by prodding the primal centers of the brain fascinates (and sometimes frightens) me.

Melissa

I totally agree with a lot of the things that you said, but I looked on the link you gave and at the video and it does look like the same book. He just holds it at an angle so that it isn't obvious that it says Bathsheba on it. There's not much point in him lying about it, anyway. Just thought I would point that out. I totally agree with the points you made, though. Great post.

Equality

Melissa, thanks for commenting. Did you click on the link to the discussion at the Post-Mormon site? There, if you click on the images, you can clearly see that there are two different books. The one with the inscription is the one the LDS church said in an earlier article in the Church News was the actual book that Hyrum Smith had with him at Carthage. It is clearly a different book than the one Holland held up at Carthage. Apologetic sites have acknowledged that there is an issue with the provenance and that more than one book has been claimed by the church to be the one that Hyrum had with him. Apologists, in an attempt to explain the discrepancy, have even argued that Hyrum Smith went around folding pages down in multiple copies of the Book of Mormon. I agree it is a minor point. And it's possible Holland really thought he had the right book and that the Church News really thought the book it featured earlier was the right book. It is interesting, though, at the very least, that Holland did not take greater care to make sure that he had the right book, or if aware that there were multiple books that had been claimed to be the "very book" that Hyrum had at Carthage, that he did not temper his remarks and say something like "the book I have may have been the very book Hyrum held..." Of course, if he had said that, his talk would have lost a little of its rhetorical punch.

Chris

In my opinion, I thought it was a pretty typical Elder Holland talk (coming from a 26 yr old active LDS member). But thanks for your review.

Josef K

"It's one thing for the naive and uninformed to be bamboozled by blustery bloviating, but it's alarming to me to see some otherwise level-headed folks literally shut off the part of their brain that produces rational thought and let the primitive emotional center of the brain take over. The power of religion to manipulate even very sophisticated, well-educated people by prodding the primal centers of the brain fascinates (and sometimes frightens) me."

Touche! :)

McLovin

"bamboozled by blustery bloviating"

Easy there Elder Maxwell.

D.T.S.

Why did it take me so long to find this article? I really enjoyed it - better late than never. Well written - thanks.

Tom

Holland suffers under his own delusion that the sheer weight of his emotive power will save the day. His vein popping delivery is a direct inverse of his lack of authentic evidence.

As far as he is concerned the method works. Mormonism survives on feelings and it is no surprise to see Holland taking the fall back position. When he is swamped with adulation from the faithful he will mistakenly assume that he has won.

His problem is that deliveries such as his talk are nothing more than magic chants and spells spoken in a desperate attempt to make the scary things go away.

His apparent anger or emphatic red eyed intensity can just as easily be interpreted as frustration. In spite of all of his bluster people still leave the Church. They don't crawl around the Book of Mormon. They simply knock it over with a flick of their finger. Holland doesn't scare anyone who is armed with reason. He could set himself on fire and he could still not rescue the Book of Mormon.

Molly

"And I didn't accompany Frodo up Mount Doom, either."

heh, heh.

Gunnar R.

Excellent post! I wonder if anyone has sent this post to Elder Holland himself, or otherwise made him aware of it. Surely someone has. If so, I would love to find out his reaction to it. Would it have made him apprehensive or fearful, or would he simply have basked in the comfort of the adulation of the faithful and the assurance that few of them would ever read it and fewer still would take it seriously if they did?

Whether or not he is aware of your rebuttal to his talk, I would find it hard to believe that he is unaware of the fallaciousness and inherent dishonesty of his arguments. What I would really love to see sometime is a high-ranking GA, such as an Apostle, mustering up enough courage and integrity to come out and admit that the entire edifice of LDS theology was built upon a deliberate and shameless fraud. When, if ever, was the last time that happened, and is it ever likely to happen in the near future? I find it hard to believe that none of the present day GAs are aware of the fact that they are promoting faith in a lie.

TylerMonks

I always find it interesting that Mormon dissenters dwell on bashing the faith that has produced so much good rather than moving on and pursuing their own new religious direction. It's like an ex-spouse that can't move on and search for a new relationship.

The time and energy one spends deconstructing a faith must be exhausting and draining. I can't imagine

Move on!!!

Equality

TylerMonks,

Did you happen to catch the date of the post to which you left this comment? Do you see any irony in telling me to move on when it's been more than five months since my last blog post on Mormonism?

I assure you the time and energy I have spent in deconstructing my former religion was not nearly as exhausting and draining as trying to perform the mental gymnastics required to maintain belief in things that simply do not square with reality. I assure you that it is not nearly as exhausting to follow and embrace truth--wherever it leads--as it is to try to live a lie. An authentic life is far less taxing than a life spent trying to keep up appearances.

Thanks for your concern, though. Peace.

Questions...

Another aspect of why many of us continue addressing Church-related issues online and elsewhere, is to be of assistance to those who are still inside the Church, and encountering questions, cognitive dissonance, looking for honest information and analysis, etc.

The Church invests quite a bit of time and money in its missionary program, not to mention the time, money and sacrifice of the missionaries and their families, in proclaiming their message. Many of us have discovered that this message is riddled with errors and contradictions, misleading and omitted information, etc.

We feel it is our responsibility to share that information, just as the Church seems quite motivated to share what it thinks. So think of sites like this as a 'missionary outreach' to those searching for the truth about mormonism.

Becky

Fearmongering! Yuck. I'm not a fan. Can I quote some of this on my blog? Thanks for putting truth and sanity out there. You rock.

Moronildo

"Why all the yelling and arm-waving and empty rhetoric and angry testifying? Why the fear-mongering (warning of "destruction" and "dangers" and "deception" of the "elect" and "travail of the latter days" and such)? Why resort to the tactic of portraying those who have left the church as "crawling over or under or around the Book of Mormon to make that exit," conjuring the mental image of cockroaches scurrying over and around a book lying on the floor. Why the insults? Where is the "Love. Healing. Help. Hope." he talked about in the beginning of the talk? The whole talk smacks of desperation and insecurity. The truth of proposition is not determined by how vociferously it is stated."
Forgive him, for knows now what he's talking about. He's just trying to impress the sheeple, as usual.

DLA

Great post. I liked your comment that you "didn't accompany Frodo up Mount Doom, either." As someone coming out of 'fundamentalism (polygamy)' and Mormonism altogether, it is nice to find a blog that's informative without making personal attacks like so many others do. I do believe it is possible to show the truth and error in religion with "Love. Healing. Help. Hope." Keep up the good work.

Mister IT

This is excellent! I'm compiling a portal page regarding the issues surrounding this address in the documentation section of the Concerned Christians website. With your permission I would like to include this excellent blog (with reference link back to the original source of course) along with this newly released YouTube video deconstruction and analysis http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O57HTriXrIY&feature=PlayList&p=49F9B9EB968F55B0&playnext_from=PL&index=0&playnext=1 here's a link to the CC documentation forum for your reference: http://www.concernedchristians.com/index.php?option=com_fireboard&Itemid=42&task=listcat&catid=511

Please let me know if I can proceed. Thanks.

jack

you all really need to get a life! especially jim whitefield! i mean seriously, if you dont believe in this religion then why do you waste your time earnestly trying to disprove it. i mean the effort you go through. jim you obviously have been a member before, what is it that has got you so emotionally attached to this religion? maybe you've taken offense from a member, disagreed with a church principle or perhaps lost a love one, all obvious triggers which bring the weak to crumble in pride, arrogance or disappear.

whatever it is you all need to do something with your life. if you don't believe in the gospel then thats fine, but i believe and have the right to believe that you are rejecting the one thing that can bring you true happiness, you are fighting against the one thing you know to be true!

if a church member has offended you forgive him as the church directs, its not the church who has offended you its the person. if its a principle just think all shall be revealed in the next life. if its a loss in the family, think of the disappointment they may be suffering as they see you destroy nothing but yourselves.

god wants you to be happy! because i know that you are not!

Hoost

It seems like you have included a few comments in this article based on some of Mark Hofmann's forged documents (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mark_Hofmann). Notably the forged letter from Joseph to the Nauvoo Legion, and the forged accounts of the Witnesses to the golden plates. Please verify your sources on these points. If you are in fact references documents that are proven forgeries you should omit those points from your article.

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