There are 6 thoughts on “I Don’t Have a Testimony of the History of the Church”.

  1. The Holy Bible tells us that God personally chose David ben Jesse to be king of Israel. Well, that didn’t turn out so well. King David committed adultery and murder! So what should we understand about God and the Holy Bible? What I understand is God must work with what is available and he will not force men to be perfect. This article is well written and well thought out. King David’s flaws do not cause me to lose faith in God, nor do the flaws of ol’ Joe Smith the “…ignorant plowboy…” cause me to lose faith. Joseph’s flaws never came close to King David’s. Both were chosen by God for his purposes. In the case of Joseph, the end result is a “marvelous work and a wonder”. Rough Stone Rolling says it best!

  2. This really is a classic, so well thought out. I feel a caution still. Bitton titles a section, Do All Well-informed Historians Become Anti-Mormons? That would not be my only concern. A worse, more likely, more common outcome might be that the historian could become a Liberal. Liberals are similar to anti-Mormons, but hugely more toxic, because they are more subtle, sophisticated, achieve acceptance, and thus have greater access to the Saints. A Liberal group like the MHA will proudly, happily, openly showcase a book like Vogel’s, whose thesis is that Joesph Smith was a pious fraud, and may even—like the MHA—give it a prestigious award. Liberal wordcraft will trumpet unvarnished history—not a problem—but then refuse to include Faithful Perspective on unvarnished issues. That is what is stunning to me, and unforgivable. It seems nothing could detract from a deity-historian’s status more than appearing faithful to the Faith, or appearing as a mere purveyor of apologetics. Never mind that apologetics itself can insist on quality, thorough scholarship. Interpreter is proving that every day.

    We have Faithful Perspective in an official history now, with the Saints series. Though conversational, it hits the hot topics, and does it with Faithful Perspective. Wow, Faithful History can be thorough, and responsible, and unflinching. The narrative is true, it can be sustained—and yet be faithful—because it includes Faithful Perspective.

    Intellectual sophisticates will still hold to their Liberal culture though. It’s way too much fun. It’s so delicious to the natural man and the natural woman. There’s something about shock-value history; it gets you attention at symposia and living rooms where worshippers at your feet will consume every drop of ‘the narrative is not true/it can’t be sustained.’ You know, if it smells it sells. It’s got wow factor. All you must do is be exhaustive with annotated references and plethoras of word-dancing. But given that, you can sling your slant and layer your stylized apostasy.

    • It is a very large brush that equates Liberal (with cap) to anti-Mormon–but worse! I don’t know that I could agree with the capitalized epithet, let alone its equation to anti-Mormonism. Much of the scholarship evidence in Saints might have been considered liberal a decade ago. I agree that it represents good scholarship. Perhaps we should examine things critically rather than assign labels that promote ideology more than understanding.

      • Having read Liberal narrative since earliest Eugene England/Dialogue/Sunstone days, a pattern became clear. I came to an understanding. It is clearer still today. Your dismissive swipe at my observations—calling it ‘ideology’—ignores decades of pattern seen in bold-face as well as subtle-but-clear actions of the Liberal movement, which much deserves the capital letter. In fairness (if you’re interested in fairness), you might acknowledge that there is not space here for lengthy critical analysis, and that it is unfair to label a comment as ‘labeling’ or ideology simply because you don’t agree with it. I clearly explained why I believe that Liberal narratives are more toxic than anti-Mormon polemic.

        But God bless you, brother of smug chastisement! I wonder if your leanings are showing (not assigning upper-case L to leanings). You see, I do promote understanding—an important one I think. But it is an understanding that you disagree with. We disagree then. To try to label me as an ideologue is a cheap shot, only meant to silence. Long experience and years of observation has given me information, not mere ideology.

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