Episode 101: 2010 Mormon News in Review

John Larsen is joined by Zilpha, Tom and Glenn to discuss the top 10 Mormon related news stories for 2010.

Episode 101

156 comments on “Episode 101: 2010 Mormon News in Review”

  1. Oz Reply

    Excellent choices for your top 10.

    Just a quick comment about the mormon.org. I thought it was well done also. I heard that the goal was to cater to middle class people who naturally are pretty normal, everyday types, with good morals…the good neighborly type who may find these ad’s to appealing to them.

    There is a guy in my ward that was featured on one of these ad’s, and I asked him how he was approached and what the experience was like. He was in Utah, prior to moving to our ward. His Stake President in Utah works for the church, I think he said PR, but he definately had worked on this campaign. The Stake President had submited his name and a couple of months later they contacted him and setup a shooting day. He said they spent about 4-5 hours of filming him at work and at home, and long interviews…Q & A about his life, career, church, testimony, ect. He said it was a really cool experience. He did say, that he was a little surprised by the editing, because, according to him, half the sentences you see in the ad, he never said. He said, they cut and combined a few things from different answers he gave, but there were a few where he felt they literally strung together words to make sentences…not just parts of phrases, but literally words. He thought it was a bit amusing. I know the church has a goal in mind, but come on now!!!

    In regards to Packer. I agree, he just wants to go pimp style, drop the bomb on all of us, slap us upside the head and call us all to repentance, and then shake the hell out of the True Blue Righteous for not being more righteous.

    Good Job guys!!!!

  2. Martelo Reply

    Hey Guys,

    I absolutely agree with John about the Ogden Temple, and not just because I also received my endowments there. I’m an architect and work for a firm that has done some, and is currently doing a few more temples for the Church. I have a bit of an inside perspective about how these things work. I also had a hand in preparing the construction documents when the angel Moroni was added to the Ogden Temple 10 or so years ago.

    As a designer I spend a lot of time thinking about our church architecture. I’ve spent many a tortured sacrament meeting looking at the burlap, windowless walls, wondering why? why? why?. I think the Ogden Temple remodel is a shame. I really loved its gaudiness. As with a lot currently out of fashion, but thoughtful architecture, I think the Ogden Temple would have been much more appreciated 50 years from now. I hope they don’t touch the Provo Temple, though I’m sure it’s a goner. I can go on and on about my frustration with the way our temples are designed, but I’ll just leave it at that.

  3. Kia Reply

    I have really enjoyed mormon expressions podcasts. However, Ive noticed that it seems that once one has “seen” the truth of the mormon past and becomes a post, ex, partially believing, and more, that you become liberal especially on the gay marriage issue. I noticed this in Johns comments on prop 8 in this discussion as well as other podcast here and in other places as well. I just want to say that I know all the issues and problems with church doctrine, history, and hierarchy issues and I dont take the mormon way as truth anymore but I am still conservative. Id say Im still a social conservative but moderate to liberal mormon. Over the past year all the mormon truth claims have crumbled but I dont think Ive become politically liberal. Sorry, just something I’ve observed as I’ve become acquainted with this post TBM community, I don’t believe anymore but haven’t changed my moral or social values.

    • Anonymous Reply

      I guess you have a point. It makes me curious: What non-religious-based reasons do you know of to be against gay marriage?

      • Anonymous Reply

        Doesn’t matter what ‘non-religious-based’ reasons there are. It is either a sin or it isn’t.

        But the problem is Prop8 was that 5 judges overturned the will of the majority on what is really an issue of morality. That didn’t happen that way in MA or Canada so the church reacted differently. But when judges can in effect legislate on matters of morality, well then there will be problems long term.

        • Anonymous Reply

          @darkmatter20,
          Read Kia’s post again: “Ive noticed that it seems that once one has “seen” the truth of the mormon past and becomes a post, ex, partially believing, and more, that you become liberal especially on the gay marriage issue.”

          Kia is wondering why people who no longer accept the church’s truth claims, then go liberal on issues such as gay marriage. Those people have often recognized that “sin” is invented by religions to control their people and uphold their “moral code”.

          So using “sin” as a reason will not persuade those people who no longer believe that the “moral code” is divine or anything but man-made.

          Again, if people can’t come up with any reason other than “sin” (which is objective) than they shouldn’t be surprised when people who reject the notion of “sin” decide that all consenting adults deserve the same rights. Who am I to tell my neighbor they can’t marry whom they choose?

          Gay marriage is not an issue of morality, as the judge pointed out. It is an issue of liberty. Of human rights. It may be morality to you, but not to a secular thinking person. Like it or not, America is supposed to be a secular nation – not a Christian nation.

          Take your last sentence and turn it around like this: When RELIGIONS can in effect legislate POLITICAL matters based on their PERSONAL moral views, there will be problems long term.

    • Jay Bryner Reply

      I just started watching 8 the mormon proposition. I’m still not convinced about gay marriage, but I am pretty uncomfortable about the propaganda effort with prop 8. This film makes me sad.

  4. Anonymous Reply

    I’ve enjoyed these podcast and only wish to add one comment here. Just like your resident TBM there on the panel I see things from a different perspective and find a few of the comments off track. For example the comments on Brian Mitchell, you guys seem to see how you and us were or are like this guy because he followed revelations. However you neglected to consider what some shrinks think about him. Dr Welner, who is far from LDS, said this about Mitchell:

    “”Brian David Mitchell is someone who had severe personality disorders, narcissistic and anti-social….there is no questioning that he was bright and thought that he might have a better future…and as someone who had psychopathic qualities …he stumbled into the structure of the LDS and that was good for him and it was healthy for him, it gave him an opportunity to rise and gave him an opportunity to have structure. But we are who we are, and he reached the place where he could only go so far and the way he was could not be boxed in that LDS place. The natural graduation, for him,…who had his pedophilic demons, was through that fundamentalist LDS schism track…and he went along a path that could accommodate him. Somewhere along that line, where he could express himself in a grand way….that path….intersected with his pedophilia, which was part of his life at some points and not part of his life at others. And it’s when that path intersected with his pedophilia that [has] brought us to the point where we all meet here today” [33]” from wikipedia Brian David Mitchell page.

    You did mention one of the shrinks who considered him insane who said that its impossible to distinguish between fundamentalism and mental illness but ignoring what the prosecutions expert witness said makes your comments biased against the final results of the trial, and being bias against the final results of the trial means that you tacitly support the defendant, who was found guilty on two counts.

    And saying that Ed Smart ‘scares’ you…well, really, that guy couldn’t scare a fly.

    I think ignoring especially Dr Welner’s summary is indicative of your general anti-Mormon stance in almost all your analysis.

    But listening to these podcasts is entertaining and revealing. Revealing because it shows how our modern 21centry apostates function and entertaining because there are so many ridiculous conclusions and ideas that are simply laughable.

    Cheers, and Happy New Year to you all!

    • Glenn Reply

      You make very good points about Dr. Welner. His analysis should not be ignored. Thanks for sharing it.

      I was the one who said the Ed Smart scares me. I’m not really sure why I feel that way, but the two reasons I spoke of had to do with the shattering of my philanthropic dreams when he brought Mitchell into his home — that certainly scared me when it comes to my children (although I certainly don’t blame him for what happened to his daughter by any means — it’s just scary). And the second thing is the degree of certainty that just scares me generally whenever people are so confident that they just absolutely know what heavenly father is saying to them. I lost that absolute certainty somewhere along the way — not through unrighteous living of any kind — but through pondering, and praying, and studying the scriptures (specifically 1 Cor 15 for a gospel doctrine class I was teaching, if you want to be specific). But that’s another discussion for another time, and unless you have experienced it yourself, all I can expect is that you will continue to look at it as anti-mormon — cuz that’s how I used to understand it as well.

      Anyway, I just wanted to thank you for sharing Dr. Welner’s comments and also let you know that I didn’t intend to imply that Ed Smart was scary in the sense that he would frighten insects of any kind.

      • Anonymous Reply

        “I didn’t intend to imply that Ed Smart was scary in the sense that he would frighten insects of any kind”

        Had me laughing out loud!

        But yes, it is a discussion for another day. I too wonder why people will ask questions, pray and study scripture and not hear the answers nor see them. I don’t share that view because in my experience, with that aspect of religion, both scriptures and prayers to me result in abundant and very clear revelations. I’d speculate sometimes that its because of the way God does speak to his children, as described in 2Nephi11 or by Isiah’s “still small voice” but then I have to stop and realize that I’m just speculating and putting words into their mouths, so I don’t know why this happens and why people loss the faith. However I don’t accept that its just because of some historic fact or reason. There’s always two sides to a story and history in and off itself won’t convince anyone of the truth of the church nor of its ‘falsehood’ -if you think it false off course.

        But thanks for answering.

    • Anonymous Reply

      “..there are so many ridiculous conclusions and ideas that are simply laughable.”

      I just want you to know your comment incensed me to no end. I am furious that you could have the gall to post such accusations and nonsense. I will post a proper comment in response to yours later but for now know that your words were very offensive to some of us out there trying hard to live with TBM’s and make it work.

      • Glenn Reply

        Walk it off Rich. It’s not worth the negative energy brother. The Dude abides, man.

        • Anonymous Reply

          Thanks Glenn, you are right. And using a quote from one of my favorite Coen Bros films really hit the spot. Cheers! 🙂

    • Anonymous Reply

      @darkmatter20 ,
      I was going to rant and rip you a new hole, fume and wet your digital face with saliva from my shouting. Then I realized Glenn is right: You aren’t worth the negative energy. Also, what you say makes sense from your point of view, which probably is very similar to what mine was a few years ago.

      So I apologize for letting what you wrote get me upset. I have a big ego too, so who am I to accuse you of being condescending or full of conceit? You’re just sharing your point of view, which makes perfect sense to you.

      The one thing I will do is respectfully recommend that you be careful of accusing people’s conclusions of being “ridiculous” or ideas being “laughable”. That is pretty harsh.

      We’re all doing our best with what we have. If some of us have come to different conclusions than you, please consider that everybody’s ideas or world views are laughable to some other person, somewhere out there.

      Enough of that.

      Finally, I do want to thank you for sharing the quote from Dr Welner. It was insightful and shed more light on the situation. I really appreciate it. 🙂

      Cheers! 🙂
      The Dude abides.

      • Anonymous Reply

        “was going to rant and rip you a new hole, fume and wet your digital face with saliva from my shouting”

        Uhmm, isn’t that what Satan did when Moses wouldn’t worship him?? Ok,Ok just kidding! 🙂

        Seriously though, that ‘negative energy’ is what I feel almost everytime I listen to these podcasts discuss different things, like D&C132, like church history, and many more. They seem to take the negative interpretation of things everytime (except for the resident TBM, Mike) especially when it concerns Joseph Smith Jnr ie calling him a pedophile and adulterer. And calling the prophet one honours ‘ an adulterer’ is actually very harsh to that TBM.

        However, I keep downloading episodes, so maybe I do have some negative energy in me already!

        Cheers,

        Thanks for the comment on Dr Welner words, made me feel a bit proud considering that I actually started that wiki page (as Wombat) and wrote most of it!!! 🙂

  5. Guest Reply

    I Live in Switzerland, so maybe I can comment a bit on the Swiss missionary issues. Switzerland is not an EU member, and obtaining residency permit is difficult. Also, I believe the LDS church is not an officially recognized church/religion here, which may make it even more difficult to get permits.

    However, it does seem that resistance to the church’s proselytizing has been building. I think in 2011 there are only 50 residency permits available for missionaries. These have to be shared between French, German, and Italian speaking missions servicing the country. As far as I know, the residency permits are granted a year at a time. I have spoken to missionaries in the last couple of years who were unable to renew the permit for their second year. They were living in the country illegally and were advised by the mission president to not wear their tags and say they were a “tourist” if they were ever asked.

    It has to be a difficult place to be a determined missionary. Their finding opportunities are limited. They were relying on “English lessons” until a couple of years ago, when a newspaper published an expose about the lessons and how the missionaries use them to get new members. It seemed to hang around the papers for a few days and was certainly bad press for the missionaries. Needless to say, they don’t teach English anymore.

    I suspect the church is fighting so hard because it is more important to maintain whatever ineffectual missionary presence they have here, so it appears “the work” is progressing. Countries are supposed to be opening up to missionaries before the second coming not closing down; right?

    • Glenn Reply

      Thanks for filling in the gaps — this is sort of what I expected. REgarding the progressing of the work, Zilpha made a similar comment, about the gospel filling the whole world before the 2nd coming (which could be argued with internet and radio and the proliferation of temple-building, I suppose), but I always grew up expecting that I would see the church begin to shrink in the last days, so I don’t know why I don’t hear this being discussed more as fulfillment and confirmation of the signs of the times — even things like the very elect (like John and Zilpha themselves, and projects like MoEx in general) falling away, and gentile nations rejecting the gospel — I thought that was part of the signs of the times as well. We really need to discuss this further. But thanks for the on-the-ground enlightenment. If I ever get close to Switzerland will you teach me how to yodel?

  6. FranM Reply

    I love your podcast. I listen to you constantly…. I am also one of those “liberal Mormons” I went through a religious gamut as a child, then was a Pagan/Wiccan for over 20 years, and decided the polytheistic thing didn’t work anymore and went looking for a church. After trying several different churches, the Mormons were the faith that worked for me. I am a democrat, I can’t stand Glenn Beck, and I’m ok with the warts the Church has, and I don’t think they should be hidden. I am glad you guys are out there.

    BTW, I don’t feel out of place in my ward being a part family member, going through a divorce, whose kids won’t go, and a democrat. Maybe that has something to do with living in the Pacific Northwest… The only people I have ever felt out of place around were from Utah…. we call the super conservative Mormons from Utah, that drive everyone nut Utardians…

  7. Swearing Elder Reply

    I “met” Mitchell and Barzee several times. In the year or so before the kidnapping I seemed to run across them a couple times a month, sometimes on TRAX (he seemed to get on and just ride back and forth) and many times on the University of Utah campus, where I worked. He never spoke a word to me, always just came up to me in his long robe and beard with his hand out indicating he wanted some kind of alms.

    Creeped me out every time, but I thought of him as a sad figure, not someone who would do harm. Too bad I didn’t receive personal revelation to take him down…

    • Anonymous Reply

      “Too bad I didn’t receive personal revelation to take him down”

      Too bad you didn’t see him with the teenager in 2002 AND realized that there was a $250 000 reward for her return!

      • Anonymous Reply

        Well, I don’t remember seeing him after the kidnapping. I moved away from Utah just a couple months after it happened.

  8. Anon Reply

    Not directly related but was wondering what the song is you play at the beginning of the podcast- tried looking it up by lyrics, but no luck- will check back here, thanks-

  9. Anonymous Reply

    I just want to say that as much as I love John, he really really went of the rails on his crazy train on this one.
    John your defending crazy californias “didnt file on time” lawsuit is ridiculous. Like Glenn said, this is a really nitpicky issue. California is known for being stupid in regards to legalistic minutiae. Your comparison of this with catching Al Capone is way over the top.

    The other crazy part was your going off on Packer on the gay issue. He is dead right on what he said, and any church PR guy who wants to appease the masses by softening the message should have his recommend revoked.

    • Jay Bryner Reply

      I just watched 8 – the mormon proposition last night. And I’m still in the same place I’ve been on gay marriage for a while.

      It makes me uncomfortable to outright say that being gay is a choice. It makes me uncomfortable to see the public relations / propaganda tactics used by the church to mobilize the political will for yes on prop 8.

      I’m not convinced by the arguments I’ve heard so far as to why gays should be married. The most convincing thing to me is the assertion that same gendered couples love each other the same way opposite gendered couples do. But I have such a hard time having empathy.

      Just as a ground rule, I replace ‘gay’ with ‘single mother’ and don’t say it if it doesn’t sound right. I also try to imagine the same advice given to heterosexuals, and if it would be bad hetero advice, its bad homo advice.

    • Carl S. Reply

      Mike you narrow minded a**hole! I hope you have a gay family member someday and realize how backwards your thinking is!

      John – Mike is going to be the downfall of your podcast. He needs to be removed.

      I grew up in Packer’s ward and I could tell you stories that would make you cringe.

      John and Zilpha – you are awesome!

      • Anonymous Reply

        Carl S. I’d say you are a narrow minded a**hole! tying to defend sin when its indefensible.

        But I hope you do share some juicy gossip from Packer’s ward, I love hearing how human, normal and weak these guys can be. I think we tend to put them up on some unrealistic pedestal when they are just men with different backgrounds. some lawyers others, like Packer, probably damage vets from WWII

      • Fanson Reply
        • Fanson Reply

          Oh, page down, a couple of times after you click on the Salamander Society link . . . to get to the actual stories – just by pass all the biting satire, most of it is pretty silly and pointless IMO (I’d forgotten about all the goofy stuff on that site before I posted the link, sorry!)

    • Anonymous Reply

      “The other crazy part was your going off on Packer on the gay issue. He is dead right on what he said, and any church PR guy who wants to appease the masses by softening the message should have his recommend revoked”

      Packer is right on the gay issue, I agree with you there. But I suspect that church PR is trying to avoid another gay tsunamis flooding church offices with yet another useless petition -although they did still presented one petition after that talk and, off course, only church PR had to deal with it.

    • Anonymous Reply

      Exactly what was Packer right about? That being gay is a choice? Um, no. Please elaborate. The only thing he was right about was that he correctly spoke his mind. The so-called facts Packer laid out were all based on an outdated world view that has no place in today’s real world. How many times do we need scientists to prove homosexuality is not a choice before believing Mormons will accept the fact? Even Mormon scientists agree it isn’t a choice to be gay.

  10. Kiley Reply

    Great podcast!!! You guys always do an awesome job!

    I am not sure that the days of leaders like Packer and McConkie are quite over yet. Packer’s son was my mission president and might as well be a clone of his father. I think the difference is that, while those types of leaders are still being promoted to leadership positions in they church they don’t seem to be rising as high up in the ranks. That does not stop them from inflicting damage on all the people they are over even if they never reach the fame and acclaim of their predecessors.

  11. Fanson Reply

    I’ve never seen the Ogden Temple do I googled it and couldn’t close my browser fast enough once once the images came up.

    Wow! That is one UGLY building.

    Sorry John and Zilpha but I’m with the other guys on this one. Wow!

  12. Hallra7 Reply

    You spend a lot of time disproving evolution then immediately jump to it must have been my Christian god and Jesus Christ if we can’t explain it. You have no evidence for your conclusions.

  13. Jason Reply

    Mike, what you have said about the fossil record could not be further from the truth. The fossil record has done nothing but prove Darwin correct. These are nothing but regurgitated arguments that have been addressed ad nauseam by modern biologists. The only reason they survive is because people who want to disbelieve in evolution don’t take the time to read the latest books. Jerry Coyne’s “Why Evolution is True” would be a good place to start if you want straightforward answers to your questions regarding evolution, including concerns over irreducible complexity. While there are always dissenters over any issue, the overwhelming majority of scientists accept evolution as fact.

    Saying God created life solves nothing. It only transfers the question to “who created God?”

    • Mike Tannehill Reply

      What fossil record would you like me to look at that shows evolution? Darwins horse exhibit?

      • Gale Thorne Reply

        This is part of the fundamental misunderstanding of how evolution works.  Species don’t change within the life of a single organism, nor are the changes dramatic and all at once.  Species change slowly over time.  In short: Every fossil is a transitional fossil.

        When taken over time evolutionary changes can be mapped.  We certainly don’t have a fossil for every organism and there are gaps in the fossil record because fossils don’t form in every circumstance.  Some climates are really poor at producing fossils. But, not possessing a full and complete record of every organism or even representative samples of each and every species has not impaired our ability to produce a very robust map of the evolution of life on Earth.

        • Mike Tannehill Reply

          Thats just it Gale, there is no map ! What map? There is evidence that species appeared at certain time periods, but there is no evidence that a fish became a lizard that became a bird etc.. There is no missing link between apes and man because the link does not exist! Its all crap!

          • Anonymous

            Mike, if you really think there is no evidence for evolution, then you just haven’t looked very hard or stubbornly closed your eyes to it.  Don’t you think it is at least a teeny bit arrogant to think you are a better judge of that then the 99.9 percent of biologists, both religious and not (including the Mormon scientists who teach at BYU), and who have spent the better part of their lives actually studying the subject and coming to the conclusion that nothing they have learned and observed about biology makes any sense without the unifying principle of evolution?  Contrary to what you continue to assert, there is overwhelming evidence of evolution in both the fossil record and presently living organisms.  This is convincingly documented in literally thousands of books and websites, if you would take an honest look at them. 

            The creationist websites you are relying on for your arguments are notoriously dishonest and deliberately deceptive.  Any of the biology professors even at BYU would confirm that if you were to ask them.

            For competent and truthful information about evolution, check out this link, for example:

            http://evolution.berkeley.edu/evolibrary/news/060501_tiktaalik

            That particular link specifically addresses your fish evolving to lizard objection.  After reading that link, go to the home page of that site and explore the wealth of other evolutionary evidence, including information about the many and still growing number of known links between man and ape-like ancestors.  Like it or not, it is definitely not crap!  Even BYU biologists will confirm that!  There are, as I said, literally thousands of similar sites that convincingly and devastatingly debunk creationism.

          • Paul E

            Actually, there is considerable evidence in DNA analysis that further validates that evolution is a reality. That’s where the maps are. Take some time to read Relics of Eden – The Powerful Evidence of Evolution in Human DNA. Recent technological advances (the Human Genome Project for example) have allowed for significant discoveries related to evolution of all life. For example, whales and dolphins are actually related to the hippopotamus. These recent discoveries were only made possible through highly detailed DNA and gene analysis. Bottom line, start reading and you will quickly learn that creationism is a biblical myth. 

      • Anonymous Reply

        “Darwin’s horse exhibit”, as you so derisively called it (although perfectly valid evidence in itself) is very far from the only or even the most convincing evidence for evolution that is now available.  If you don’t know that, you simply have not tried very hard to find it, or simply closed your eyes to it. Sites like http://www.ucmp.berkeley.edu/history/evolution.html and http://www.talkorigins.org/ and numerous other sites (not to mention the many excellent books written on the subject) are so full of such evidence that it would take you a very long time to read it all.  This evidence continues to accumulate faster than any one person can keep up with it all.

        The creationist sites, on the other hand, as has been amply pointed out, rely very heavily on obfuscation, appeals to ignorance and outright dishonesty to promote their views.

  14. Anonymous Reply

    Seriously Mike?  I mean, in most respects you seem like an intelligent individual despite your giant blind spot.  Do some real reading and get back to us. Honestly.
    One of the problems with the notion of panspermia is that it just pushes the question back a level: where did life on earth come from? Life in outer space.  Where did life in outer space come from?  Um, er, I’ll get back to you on that.  And it’s the same with using a god as an explanation. It just pushes the problem back, and in that case, further complicates things.
    P.S.  Don’t quote or paraphrase the lying buffoons from the Discovery Institute.  It just makes you look bad.

    • Mike Tannehill Reply

      I never said I believed panspremia to be true. I only said that some scientists declared evolution to be false and proved it to be so.

      • Alan Reply

        Mike, when you wonder how evolution could have “guided” the creation of certain traits in organisms, I think that’s a hint of where much of the problem is.  Evolution doesn’t have a purpose, goal, or teleology.  It doesn’t say “How can I make the most complex eye possible?” The Behe stuff is simply nonsense, and disingenuous at best.  Only a desperate need to believe in a god can lead someone to take it seriously.

  15. Patrick Darby Reply

    Wow Mike…way to play right into your role of villain on the podcast. Is that the way you want to portray yourself?

    You know that these points are played out on countless forums across the inter-verse and the same points and counter-points are made. Why stir this hornet’s nest?

    A few years back at BYU there was one of those cycles in the school’s paper “The Daily Universe”, where someone dismissed evolution similar to your post here. Someone replied and was counter-replied in turn. In these replies, often the person would indicate which program he or she was in. I noticed a general trend that the Science programs were “Pro” evolution and the Humanity programs were “Anti” evolution.

    My interpretation of that and my own understanding from my science background is that the more biology education you have, the more you accept evolution as being the way creation works. And it doesn’t matter if God started that spark or not. From the very first amino acids to full on DNA, evolution guides the physical form of life.

    When you belittle the evidence for evolution and show obvious holes in your understanding it drives those more knowledgable to sigh and turn else where for answers. So when Prophets speak as men in conference and show obvious human fallacy, it drives a wedge between a man’s faith and his sources of truth. It breaks trust.

    So Mike –  your sincerity is misplaced and you’re fighting the wrong battle. Let science do its job and bring us the blessings of better medicine, better technology. Let religion tell us how to be better people and love one another better. But don’t confuse the two.

    • Mike Tannehill Reply

      I agree with you that God uses science to do the things he does (I have never believed that God shakes his head and yells “Yapple Dapple” and poof theres whatever he wanted). But you state that you see evolution guiding things. What is your example? 

      • Patrick Darby Reply

        You missed my point Mike. The debate “where’s your evidence” is played out. Why re-hash that tired argument on this site?
         
        Maybe to re-state in alternate terms my point is that most people, faithful or not, that deal in biological science, including zoology, ecology, etc. have to recognize that evolution answers the most questions such as how do animals biologically relate to each other on a micro & macro scale, how to account for similarity in form & function.
         
        Creationism doesn’t do that. You can’t publish an article in a science journal and conclude “and therefore the pleochromatic patterns on the skin of cephalopods is the result of God made it that way.”
         
        So the debate isn’t that if you have faith then you’ll believe creationism. Many faithful people accept evolution and it doesn’t damage their faith in God. For faithful LDS, the damage occurs when Church leadership talks with their own faulty understanding in conference and the Holy Ghost doesn’t stop them. That’s when the damage happens. You’re ability to trust them dimishes and then you see more and more faults that you previously let slide.
         
        That’s why the Church is wise to stay out of the creationism vs. evolution debate. Because until the Lord himself publishes the Ultimate Guide to Life, the Universe, and Everything, church leaders are going to get it wrong and somebody is going to call them on it.

      • Patrick Darby Reply

        That’s ok. You’re amongst friends here…j/k. I didn’t mean to stereotype. It was just an observation from that specific editorial exchange.

  16. ff42 Reply

    Mike, 

    What a load of assertions!  It is this for real or is someone spamming your account? 

    Prophets have said that ‘the Fall’ brought physical death to the world, do you believe that?  If so how do you explain fossils (and please don’t feed us more BS that ‘God placed the fossils to test our faith’)?

    • Mike Tannehill Reply

      I believe that alot of things happened before Adam, and mankind that he brought about, arrived. Evolution was not one of those things.

      • Anonymous Reply

        There is far, far more evidence supporting evolution than there is for the existence of the Biblical Adam–like it or not!

  17. JohnBoy Reply

    I guess you missed the Dover trial. Irreducible complexity is a redherring.  Most evolutionary traits, including vision have perfectlyacceptable explanations now.  Here is a demonstration of the evolutionof the eye: http://tc.v21.cache1.googlevideo.com/videoplayback?id=cb60766ad0c65dbf&itag=18&begin=0&ratebypass=yes&title=Richard+Dawkins+demonstrates+the+evolution+of+the+eye&ip=0.0.0.0&ipbits=0&expire=1312799000&sparams=ip,ipbits,expire,id,itag,ratebypass,title&signature=70636AC0ADAEE7815F67E3D6C51AC0BB16CE975B.3D2D838E6570EA65F1BDFA2052A2EF62A8B069A3&key=ck1&redirect_counter=1The lack of an explanation for the origin of the first cell doesn’tdiscount evolution it only means we have more to learn how the organicmolecules eventually developed into a cell. Your statement that theCambrian explosion created species that didn’t evolve for millions ofyears is unsupported and perplexing. Does that mean you agree life hasbeen on the planet for millions of years prior to th fall?  That is abit unorthodox of you.At least you are almost all in with Joseph Fielding Smith andMcConkie. I get tired of people who pretend that Mormonism andevolution are reconcilable.Your refusal to honestly deal with the facts when they don’t supportyour conclusion instead of admitting they are apparent contradictionsreminds me why it is so hard to have meaningful conversations withTBMs. Honesty is only a virtue when it is convenient for Mormons.

    • Mike Tannehill Reply

      Your link, sadly, didnt work for me. I will watch it if you provide another for me.

      The science on the Cambrian problem is this: The best estimate for the duration of the Cambrian explosion is not 10 to 30 million years but 5 to 10 million years. That is the maximum length. When dealing with rocks half a billion years old it’s impossible to resolve times to less than 5 to 10 million years. What this means is that the explosion of animal life could have happened in an instant, but from our present perspective we cant narrow it down to anything more precise than a window that size. darwins disciples say that creatures that appeared before the Cambrian era failed to fossilize. they assume they were soft bodied creatures evolving like mad, but leaving no record because of their squishy microbe bodies.

      Alas, in 1984, Chinese paleontoligists discovered fossils just preceding the Cambrian era, and it turned out the pre-Cambrian creatures were extraordinarily well preserved. But instead of a glut of evolutionary ancestors, all we have at the outset of the Cambrian explosion are some sad little worms and sponges. The interesting thing about the organisms is that they are soft bodied, microscopic creatures – precisely the sort of animal the evolution cults claimed wouldn’t fossilize and therefore deprived them of their crucial evidence. But now it turned out fossilization was not merely in the pre-Cambrian era, the pre-Canbrian beds were positively ideal for fossilization – better than in the Cambrian period. And yet the only thing paleoontologists found there was worms.

      The Chinese fossil discovery was, as the New York Times put it, “among the most spectacular in this century.” Scientists were calling it “genesis material”. The discovery showed “that the dramatic transformation of life from primeval single-cell organisms to the complex multi-cellular precursors of modern fauna was more sudden, swift and widespread than scientists had thought.” For 3 billion years, nothing but bacteria and worms and then suddenly nearly all the phyla of animal life appeared withen a mere 5 to 10 million years – “as though they were just planted there.” Jan Bergstrom, a paleontologist who examined the Chinese fossils, said the Cambrian period was not “evolution,” it was “a revolution”.

      I understand that God works through science, and does so by way of command. I have no problem understanding that the appearance of the Sun and Moon and Stars in Genesis was the removal of bad atmosphere by way of the previously planted soil and plant life cleaning it up. I think once the earth was prepared God planted Adam here and began the life of Man. Life here was organized and brought about, it did not chaotically evolve. Theology declares it and science shows it.

  18. Tierza Askren Reply

    Mike, do you know something President Monson and the Quorum of the 12 don’t?  The LDS Church has NEVER taken a formal position on evolution.  BYU science departments teach evolution as FACT (which it is).  As many church leaders have accepted evolution as have denied it and anything either side has said about evolution has NOT been canonized. The interesting question is:  What will you do if someday the church does take a side and it isn’t the one you assume it will be?  I think maybe I should call you to repentance for taking a stand on something the Lord hasn’t seen fit to take a stand on . . . 

    • Mike Tannehill Reply

      I think that is because the brethren understand that organisms can develop small improvements on something that already exists, otherwise there would be no health clubs.

      If evolution is a fact as you claim show me a series of fossil records that show the progress. If each of the incremental mutations is more “fit” than what preceded it – which it must in order to survive – those traditional mutations should have stayed around long enough to leave a fossil record, before mutating their way to something better.

       Even better, show me one of the mistakes. A dog with webbed feet that liked to eat ducks and fish. Maybe a cat with gills?

      • Anonymous Reply

        One of the things that anti-evolutionists consistently fail to understand is that once you admit that “micro-evolution” can and indeed does occur, you have already lost the argument against “macro-evolution” or speciation.  There is absolutely no rational justification for precluding the possibility that small, generation to generation changes can be cumulative.  Over the vast geological time that the earth has existed even a series of very tiny cumulative changes can and inevitably will add up to a change large enough that no one who is both reasonable and honest could possibly not recognize as a new species.  Extremely compelling evidence that this can and has occurred is the existence of “ring species.” Try going to any evolution site like, for example, http://www.talkorigins.org/ and search the topic “ring species.”  There is a whole wealth of information on this topic alone.  I considered linking you directly to a discussion of one or several articles that discuss this topic, but I decided that if you are really, honestly interested in understanding evolution and why the evidence for it is so compelling, you wouldn’t mind searching out that topic on your own, while  if you are only interested in finding excuses to reject evolution, you probably wouldn’t give the links I could refer you to any more than a dismissive, cursory glance, if you even bothered to click on them at all.

        • Anonymous Reply

          I think the fact that Mike requested a ‘Crockoduck’ like creature as evidence for evolution is telling.  You and I see ring species as compelling evidence because it’s exactly the sort of thing that evolution as we understand it would predict.  Mike seems to think that evolution predicts all kinds of weird half-dog, half-fish things that haunt horror novels, and therefore is likely to quickly dismiss ring species and continue to attack his strawman theory.  Since we can’t even agree on exactly what it is we’re debating, there’s no point. 

    • Fred W. Anson Reply

      I think I that Prof for my first Statistics Class. He was hard to understand through the heavy accent (“Was that, ‘three’ or ‘tree’?”) but his illustrative jokes were always awesome!  

  19. Ed Reply

    As a very faithful Mormon, and one that some would consider an “apologist”, I am very surprised that you would latch on to the Intelligent Design arguments Mike.  Time and time again, faithful LDS evolutionists have shown that there is no fundamental conflict between evolution and the gospel.  The last thing you ought to be doing for your apologetic is trying to espouse the irreducible complexity arguments from ID.  This discredits your argument.

  20. Gale Thorne Reply

    Ed, I applaud your acceptance of science and wish that Mike would do the same; however, while Mikes position is clearly wrong I would claim that he is being more consistent with the doctrines of the church.

    I cannot myself see how to adequately reconcile the doctrines of the gospel with the natural sciences.  If the gospel is true then it must be true in an almost entirely metaphorical sense.  However that contradicts with what those sustained as prophets, seers & revelators frequently teach the membership – that the creation, fall, atonement, etc. are all literally true.

    How can we possibly square a literal creation, fall, flood, tower of babel, atonement & modern translations of “ancient” documents which what the strong methodology of science produces?  I’m glad you are accepting of science, Ed, but I don’t see how you make the entirety of the picture work without re-writing the entire narrative.  Between you and Mike I’m with you, but Mike is sadly more consistent in his acceptance of the church’s literal teachings.

    • Ed Reply

      Gale,

      This is a much bigger can of worms, and you’re right to a degree about re-writing the narrative to whatever degree it must be re-written.  But I take things piece by piece and come up with separate positions on each issue.  I don’t glob them all together and say that every issue must have the same answer, as you are proposing, that we must entirely make everything metaphorical.  I personally do not have to subscribe to evolution to the degree that some people do who are in total lockstep with science to be able to make the arguments I make.

      I am personally in favor of an eclectic mixture of directed panspermia and evolution in my personal beliefs.  But the bigger issue to me as far as apologetics goes is to identify the lowest common denominator for belief and reconciliation with science to be able to still be Mormon.  That is not the same as my personal beliefs.  And yes, the narrative can definitely be re-written to harmonize with a lot of stuff until you finally draw the line and say, we can’t go any further and even call ourselves LDS anymore.

  21. Hermes Reply

    I remember getting all worked up over intelligent design in my first anthropology class.  We had to write a paper discussing the future of human evolution, and I wanted to argue that there was no such thing, because we don’t evolve! (Hey, I was 18 years old and my science education included creationist textbooks from Bob Jones University.  Cut me some slack.)

    I ended up writing a long summary of Behe’s book (Darwin’s Black Box) which my instructor accepted (though of course he was not convinced).  But I kept reading scientific materials.  Today, I know better than to say that life doesn’t evolve.  Clearly, change happens everywhere, all the time.  (Viruses are mutating in hospitals and jungles across the world as we speak.)  The question is not, “is evolution real?” (the question I was trying to ask years ago), but “how does evolution occur?”  Does God place the first man and woman together in a garden in Missouri several thousand years ago (a garden which somehow ends up being relocated to the Near East, which also looks like the real point of origin for Old World civilizations believing in Adam and Eve)?  Does he hide all kinds of “false tracks” all over the place (fossils, inherited mutations in the genetic code), testing our faith in reality by making it hard to see?  Does he allow prophets to say all kinds of contradictory things about evolution for the same reason?  To quote Brother Packer, “Why would a loving God do that?”  

    Maybe he has his reasons.  But after 11 years, I am simply not buying it any more.  I don’t think we understand perfectly how everything in the cosmos comes into being.  But I know that modern scientists working within a Darwinian paradigm understand things like heredity and disease much better (in a practical way) than people who insist on treating Bronze Age mythology as some kind of final word on reality.  When a farmer wants to breed spotted cattle (evolution!), does he consult Mendelian genetics or Jacob’s sticks (Genesis 30:37-43)?  When he wants to treat those cattle for illness (so that they change their condition from worse to better: evolution again!), does he consult a doctor or a witch doctor?  When he wants to understand why they keep getting sick in spite of treatment, does he look at the intersection between genetics and epigenetics (evolution!) or does he   simply pray and hope for the best (evolution again!)?  At some point, human knowledge always runs out: we don’t understand evolution.  But, in my experience, creationist knowledge usually runs out sooner than non-creationist alternatives.  The creationist approaches knowledge as a monolithic thing that must be swallowed whole or not at all “because God said so.”  Evolution, in the creationist’s view, just happens (like everything else).  Why?  “Because of God.”  End of story.  The evolutionist is more flexible: he is willing to take whatever workable rules he can get and run with them until they fail to work.  His knowledge is relative and contextual rather than absolute and universal.  It is also much more empirically reliable.  (If it doesn’t work, it is vulnerable to being called out; ideally, it does not persist just because some old guys think it is really cool.)

    There is nothing really wrong with being uninterested in the latest scientific evidence for objective, rational reality.  I will go as far as to grant that science is just the latest form of human mythology.  But there is something wrong in making your own mythology (the paradigm you happen to use to understand evolution) the only authoritative viewpoint on reality, especially if you are going to insist that this mythology is above any objective critique.  Scientists want their understanding of evolution to be objective (i.e. maximally useful to all people with access to it), so they have to be vulnerable to being proven wrong.  Creationists generally just want to say, “I am right, so I don’t have to consider what anyone else has to say, no matter how useful or interesting it might prove.”  This is the death of culture (and, paradoxically, the death of faith, which cannot endure where there is no possibility left open for creative doubt).

    Today, I cannot help but believe in evolution.  Change happens.  I think there are many better narratives explaining change than what we find in the Bible (certainly) or in modern theories of intelligent design (which seem to exist chiefly to argue for modern biblical fundamentalism, though Behe escapes this trap).  I think that this is to be expected.   

  22. Kyle Harris Reply

    Okay really. I am starting to become more convinced that Mike is a planted troll by John. This has got to be one of the dumbest things I have ever read. If you are real, Mike I will just say one thing. To quote Christopher Hitchens, “You give me the awful impression of someone who hasn’t read any of the augments against your position, ever.”

    • james hafen Reply

      Yes, I have felt the same way for a long time.  Not that I think he was planted by John, but I think he really is just playing the role of antagonist for the sake of argument and contention.  

  23. Anonymous Reply

    There are more and more elephants born in the wild that have either no tusks or small tusks. This is because a negative environmental factor is selecting for elephants with small or no tusks. That factor is poachers, who hunt elephants with large tusks for the ivory.

    Elephants have very long gestation periods, yet even in our lifetimes there is evidence of evolution within this species.

    Did God create elephants without the genes for tusks, or did a variation in the genetics caused by a mutation allow those without tusks to survive the negative environmental factor of poachers?

    In 1000 years, if elephants are alive still, bones with tusks from the 20th century will be called hoaxes by Christians who claim God created elephants “as is”.

    Another example of evolution is the immunity of certain human pathogens to antibiotics and antivirals. If God created everything as it is, why the need to develop new antibiotics? Surely the organisms we are fighting are always the same as they were created by God, therefore penicillin would still be doing the trick. 

    The reality is that pathogens adapt to negative environmental pressures. Those that survive an antibiotic are mutations – different enough from the general population to be immune. The survivors live to pass on their genes. The diseases we fight today are not the same as those that existed when germ theory developed. They have evolved. The first antibiotics would have no effect on them today. Extend such adaptation over billions of years and you get more pronounced changes in the organism.

    Mike, nothing in your writing can be placed against the theory of evolution as an alternative explanation because it is as plausible as any primitive tribe’s explanation. The Flying Spaghetti Monster as creator is also as provable as your explanation. Your beliefs are not science. You can’t prove them, and they are designed to be impossible to disprove. However, being unable to disprove something doesn’t make it true.

    Mike, Hoyle’s calculation (if correct) ignores the obvious conclusion. THIS planet is the 1 in 1 with 40k zeros. Even then, there are so many suns and planets in the known universe, the odds are that there is more life out there.

    I find it strange that you refuse to accept evolution, even that which occurs before your eyes, yet you find it easy to believe that a extraterrestrial being with unlimited power zapped life into existence from nothing, and managed to include many obvious design flaws in his prized primates.

    There are Mormons I have talked to that say dinosaur bones came from another planet’s wreckage that was used to mold this planet. That’s just infantile. There are people who believe dinosaurs died out in Noah’s flood. That demonstrates a total lack of any comprehension of the time it takes to fossilize organisms. I’m always curious as to when Noah went to Australia, picked up all the marsupials there, then dropped them back after the flood.

    Anyone who believes the flood was global is in no position to criticize evolution.

  24. Aaron L Reply

    Here’s one more example of evolution that has been and continues to be observed by science as it is happening… just the other day I was reading a recent study about a scientist named Richard Lenski who has dedicated his professional career to studying evolution in e coli bacteria for the past 25 years.  Luckily e coli reproduce very quickly and he has been able to observe tens of thousands of generations in that time frame.  Like humans, e coli can only metabolize (eat) certain things.  They can metabolize glucose, but not citrate.  Lenski has purposefully exposed these e coli to just enough glucose to barely survive, while at the same time giving them an abundance of citrate, hoping to observe them evolve the ability to also metabolize the citrate. Sure enough, thousands of generations later he began to see changes occur that ultimately enabled his e coli to thrive in a citrate only environment.  He was even able to pinpoint the three specific changes in their genetics that were necessary to work in concert to allow this change to occur. (Bear in mind that some would argue that these 3 necessary changes would render the e coli’s ability to metabolize citrate irreducibly complex).  He even predicted when the changes would occur and was able to consistently reproduce his results.  It is evolution in action. There is a plethora of other scientific data that confirms the same evolutionary principles he observed. Do your homework Mike.  You will see that there is a huge body of evidence out there that supports evolution, and it is growing every day.

  25. Ed Reply

    This is a false analogy.  Because the reverse may be true because of incomplete science.  Such as, if some ancient person got a revelation from God that the earth was round, yet observationally, to that ancient person it is flat.  That person would be burned as a heretic.  Because, science manifested its flatness observationally.  Yet now, we know the earth is round.

    • Fred W. Anson Reply

      I see. So then it’s OK to just stay hunkered down in one’s “Tank” then? Is that what you’re asserting?  If so, may I be the first to say: “What utter nonsense!” 

      The reason why ancient “science” (and I’m using the term loosely since modern science as we know it didn’t exist in those cultures) believed that the world was flat was because they were in the “Tanks” of their tribal world-view.  As soon as those world-views were exposed to external evidence rather than coming out of their “Tanks” they attempted to pull the objective, external evidence into the tank and then silence it. 

      Ironically, the source of their “revelation”, the Bible, can be interpreted to say that the earth is flat (see Job 38:14 The earth takes shape like clay under a seal )  or round (see Isaiah 40:22, which says: “It is he who sits above the circle of the earth” ).  The core problem with their “science” was that they were using the Bible as a science textbook when it never claims to be. This too is “Tank-think”. 

      And incredibly, they’re still with us today: 
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flat_Earth_Society

      Should we go climb into their Tank with them Ed? After all I’m sure that they’re relishing just “clean”, logical and rational everything is down there and wondering why all those ‘idiots’ out there don’t join them.

      Now flipping the coin over, the same can, as you correctly point out, be true for Science.  However, science has a superb track record for learning from it’s mistakes and publicly attempting to correct them.  Religion, sadly, has not done as well in this regard.  

      Please bear in mind. I limited myself to the Mormon Tank in this context because this is a Mormon-centric website but as several posters have corrected assessed there are many, many, many Tanks out there – most prominently are the Scientific, Political and Religious tanks.  In all cases, as I said in the article: 

       Internal evidence that hasn’t been validated against external evidence can’t be completely trusted!

      The key to NOT engaging in “Tank-think” is to get out of one’s tank periodically and “reality test” it against objective, external evidence.  I don’t care what your “Tank” is – and trust me I’ve got mine too – you must do this or you head to San Francisco from Los Angeles and end up in the Nevada Desert instead. 

      And there is no shame in course correction, even several course corrections – rather, it demonstrates integrity, humility, and courage.

    • Fred W. Anson Reply

      I see. So then it’s OK to just stay hunkered down in one’s “Tank” then? Is that what you’re asserting?  If so, may I be the first to say: “What utter nonsense!” 

      The reason why ancient “science” (and I’m using the term loosely since modern science as we know it didn’t exist in those cultures) believed that the world was flat was because they were in the “Tanks” of their tribal world-view.  As soon as those world-views were exposed to external evidence rather than coming out of their “Tanks” they attempted to pull the objective, external evidence into the tank and then silence it. 

      Ironically, the source of their “revelation”, the Bible, can be interpreted to say that the earth is flat (see Job 38:14 The earth takes shape like clay under a seal )  or round (see Isaiah 40:22, which says: “It is he who sits above the circle of the earth” ).  The core problem with their “science” was that they were using the Bible as a science textbook when it never claims to be. This too is “Tank-think”. 

      And incredibly, they’re still with us today: 
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flat_Earth_Society

      Should we go climb into their Tank with them Ed? After all I’m sure that they’re relishing just “clean”, logical and rational everything is down there and wondering why all those ‘idiots’ out there don’t join them.

      Now flipping the coin over, the same can, as you correctly point out, be true for Science.  However, science has a superb track record for learning from it’s mistakes and publicly attempting to correct them.  Religion, sadly, has not done as well in this regard.  

      Please bear in mind. I limited myself to the Mormon Tank in this context because this is a Mormon-centric website but as several posters have corrected assessed there are many, many, many Tanks out there – most prominently are the Scientific, Political and Religious tanks.  In all cases, as I said in the article: 

       Internal evidence that hasn’t been validated against external evidence can’t be completely trusted!

      The key to NOT engaging in “Tank-think” is to get out of one’s tank periodically and “reality test” it against objective, external evidence.  I don’t care what your “Tank” is – and trust me I’ve got mine too – you must do this or you head to San Francisco from Los Angeles and end up in the Nevada Desert instead. 

      And there is no shame in course correction, even several course corrections – rather, it demonstrates integrity, humility, and courage.

    • Fred W. Anson Reply

      If I were hunkered down in the “Flat Earth” that’s exactly what I would say regarding someone else’s “Tank” that I could see through the port hole of my own Tank. “What fools can’t they see that the world is not round – just look at it! And my group’s books, speeches, and magazines prove it. Geez!”

      The reason why ancient “science” (and I’m using the term loosely since modern science as we know it didn’t exist in those cultures) believed that the world was flat was because they were in the “Tanks” of their tribal world-view.  As soon as those world-views were exposed to external evidence rather than coming out of their “Tanks” they attempted to pull the objective, external evidence into the tank and then silence it. 

      And incredibly, they’re still with us today: 
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flat_Earth_Society

      Should we go climb into their Tank with them Ed? After all I’m sure that they’re relishing just “clean”, logical and rational everything is down there and wondering why all those ‘idiots’ out there don’t join them and “see the obvious”.

      Now flipping the coin over, the same can, as you correctly point out, be true for Science.  However, science has a superb track record for learning from it’s mistakes and publicly attempting to correct them.  Religion, sadly, has not done as well in this regard.  

      Please bear in mind. I limited myself to the Mormon Tank in this context because this is a Mormon-centric website but as several posters have corrected assessed there are many, many, many Tanks out there – most prominently are the Scientific, Political and Religious tanks.  In all cases, as I said in the article: 

       Internal evidence that hasn’t been validated against external evidence can’t be completely trusted!

      The key to NOT engaging in “Tank-think” is to get out of one’s tank periodically and “reality test” it against objective, external evidence.  I don’t care what your “Tank” is – and trust me I’ve got mine too – you must do this or you head to San Francisco from Los Angeles and end up in the Nevada Desert instead. 

      And there is no shame in course correction, even several course corrections – rather, it demonstrates integrity, humility, and courage.

    • Fred W. Anson Reply

      If I were hunkered down in the “Flat Earth” that’s exactly what I would say regarding someone else’s “Tank” that I could see through the port hole of my own Tank. “What fools can’t they see that the world is not round – just look at it! And my group’s books, speeches, and magazines prove it. Geez!”

      The reason why ancient “science” (and I’m using the term loosely since modern science as we know it didn’t exist in those cultures) believed that the world was flat was because they were in the “Tanks” of their tribal world-view.  As soon as those world-views were exposed to external evidence rather than coming out of their “Tanks” they attempted to pull the objective, external evidence into the tank and then silence it. 

      And incredibly, they’re still with us today: 
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flat_Earth_Society

      Should we go climb into their Tank with them Ed? After all I’m sure that they’re relishing just “clean”, logical and rational everything is down there and wondering why all those ‘idiots’ out there don’t join them and “see the obvious”.

      Now flipping the coin over, the same can, as you correctly point out, be true for Science.  However, science has a superb track record for learning from it’s mistakes and publicly attempting to correct them.  Religion, sadly, has not done as well in this regard.  

      Please bear in mind. I limited myself to the Mormon Tank in this context because this is a Mormon-centric website but as several posters have corrected assessed there are many, many, many Tanks out there – most prominently are the Scientific, Political and Religious tanks.  In all cases, as I said in the article: 

       Internal evidence that hasn’t been validated against external evidence can’t be completely trusted!

      The key to NOT engaging in “Tank-think” is to get out of one’s tank periodically and “reality test” it against objective, external evidence.  I don’t care what your “Tank” is – and trust me I’ve got mine too – you must do this or you head to San Francisco from Los Angeles and end up in the Nevada Desert instead. 

      And there is no shame in course correction, even several course corrections – rather, it demonstrates integrity, humility, and courage.

    • Fred W. Anson Reply

      If I were hunkered down in the “Flat Earth” that’s exactly what I would say regarding someone else’s “Tank” that I could see through the port hole of my own Tank. “What fools can’t they see that the world is not round – just look at it! And my group’s books, speeches, and magazines prove it. Geez!”

      The reason why ancient “science” (and I’m using the term loosely since modern science as we know it didn’t exist in those cultures) believed that the world was flat was because they were in the “Tanks” of their tribal world-view.  As soon as those world-views were exposed to external evidence rather than coming out of their “Tanks” they attempted to pull the objective, external evidence into the tank and then silence it. 

      And incredibly, they’re still with us today: 
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flat_Earth_Society

      Should we go climb into their Tank with them Ed? After all I’m sure that they’re relishing just “clean”, logical and rational everything is down there and wondering why all those ‘idiots’ out there don’t join them and “see the obvious”.

      Now flipping the coin over, the same can, as you correctly point out, be true for Science.  However, science has a superb track record for learning from it’s mistakes and publicly attempting to correct them.  Religion, sadly, has not done as well in this regard.  

      Please bear in mind. I limited myself to the Mormon Tank in this context because this is a Mormon-centric website but as several posters have corrected assessed there are many, many, many Tanks out there – most prominently are the Scientific, Political and Religious tanks.  In all cases, as I said in the article: 

       Internal evidence that hasn’t been validated against external evidence can’t be completely trusted!

      The key to NOT engaging in “Tank-think” is to get out of one’s tank periodically and “reality test” it against objective, external evidence.  I don’t care what your “Tank” is – and trust me I’ve got mine too – you must do this or you head to San Francisco from Los Angeles and end up in the Nevada Desert instead. 

      And there is no shame in course correction, even several course corrections – rather, it demonstrates integrity, humility, and courage.

    • Fred W. Anson Reply

      If I were hunkered down in the “Flat Earth” that’s exactly what I would say regarding someone else’s “Tank” that I could see through the port hole of my own Tank. “What fools can’t they see that the world is not round – just look at it! And my group’s books, speeches, and magazines prove it. Geez!”

      The reason why ancient “science” (and I’m using the term loosely since modern science as we know it didn’t exist in those cultures) believed that the world was flat was because they were in the “Tanks” of their tribal world-view.  As soon as those world-views were exposed to external evidence rather than coming out of their “Tanks” they attempted to pull the objective, external evidence into the tank and then silence it. 

      And incredibly, they’re still with us today: 
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flat_Earth_Society

      Should we go climb into their Tank with them Ed? After all I’m sure that they’re relishing just “clean”, logical and rational everything is down there and wondering why all those ‘idiots’ out there don’t join them and “see the obvious”.

      Now flipping the coin over, the same can, as you correctly point out, be true for Science.  However, science has a superb track record for learning from it’s mistakes and publicly attempting to correct them.  Religion, sadly, has not done as well in this regard.  

      Please bear in mind. I limited myself to the Mormon Tank in this context because this is a Mormon-centric website but as several posters have corrected assessed there are many, many, many Tanks out there – most prominently are the Scientific, Political and Religious tanks.  In all cases, as I said in the article: 

       Internal evidence that hasn’t been validated against external evidence can’t be completely trusted!

      The key to NOT engaging in “Tank-think” is to get out of one’s tank periodically and “reality test” it against objective, external evidence.  I don’t care what your “Tank” is – and trust me I’ve got mine too – you must do this or you head to San Francisco from Los Angeles and end up in the Nevada Desert instead. 

      And there is no shame in course correction, even several course corrections – rather, it demonstrates integrity, humility, and courage.

    • Fred W. Anson Reply

      If I were hunkered down in the “Flat Earth” that’s exactly what I would say regarding someone else’s “Tank” that I could see through the port hole of my own Tank. “What fools can’t they see that the world is not round – just look at it! And my group’s books, speeches, and magazines prove it. Geez!”

      The reason why ancient “science” (and I’m using the term loosely since modern science as we know it didn’t exist in those cultures) believed that the world was flat was because they were in the “Tanks” of their tribal world-view.  As soon as those world-views were exposed to external evidence rather than coming out of their “Tanks” they attempted to pull the objective, external evidence into the tank and then silence it. 

      And incredibly, they’re still with us today: 
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flat_Earth_Society

      Should we go climb into their Tank with them Ed? After all I’m sure that they’re relishing just “clean”, logical and rational everything is down there and wondering why all those ‘idiots’ out there don’t join them and “see the obvious”.

      Now flipping the coin over, the same can, as you correctly point out, be true for Science.  However, science has a superb track record for learning from it’s mistakes and publicly attempting to correct them.  Religion, sadly, has not done as well in this regard.  

      Please bear in mind. I limited myself to the Mormon Tank in this context because this is a Mormon-centric website but as several posters have corrected assessed there are many, many, many Tanks out there – most prominently are the Scientific, Political and Religious tanks.  In all cases, as I said in the article: 

       Internal evidence that hasn’t been validated against external evidence can’t be completely trusted!

      The key to NOT engaging in “Tank-think” is to get out of one’s tank periodically and “reality test” it against objective, external evidence.  I don’t care what your “Tank” is – and trust me I’ve got mine too – you must do this or you head to San Francisco from Los Angeles and end up in the Nevada Desert instead. 

      And there is no shame in course correction, even several course corrections – rather, it demonstrates integrity, humility, and courage.

  26. Fred W. Anson Reply

    Well Mike at 58 comments (currently) and counting I must say that I admire your ability to light up a discussion board! 

    I think I may have to switch over to a dogmatic, over-the-top, TBM stance to win the blog “popularity” contest. 

    😉 

    (I keed! I keed!) 

  27. Kevin Sim Reply

    Fred,

    I had read your “Deconstructing Mormon Testimony Bearing” article, and in fact I read portions of it over again just now, though I skipped over the sections that I could practically repeat from memory.  I hadn’t read the mentioned “MormonThink article on this question” at “http://mormonthink.com/testimonyweb.htm”.  Wow, that article was long!  I started reading it just now, but after I’d gotten about halfway through it became obvious it was irrelevant to the point I was trying to make, so I just skimmed through the rest.

    My point had nothing to do with either article’s assertions that there are other explanations for the LDS testimony, or its assertions that sometimes people have had spiritual experiences that have led them to believe in things that are either clearly factually wrong, or that are in conflict with things the LDS Church teaches.

    My point was simply that if your assertion that one shouldn’t put one’s trust in a feeling is correct, then I really don’t see how anyone can ever know anything about God.  If the LDS method to find things out about God doesn’t give accurate information about God, then what does?  What method is there to find out the truth about God?  Or is there simply no way at all to know anything for sure about God?

    Kevin Sim
    kvnsmnsn.wordpress.com

    • Fred W. Anson Reply

      YOU WROTE
      “My point was simply that if your assertion that one shouldn’t put one’s trust in a feeling is correct, then I really don’t see how anyone can ever know anything about God.”

      MY RESPONSE
      Kevin, it amazes me that when you make statements like this how blind you appear to be to your Mormon conditioning. This statement is pure unadulterated Mormon dogma, can’t you see that?

      Let’s see if we can gently get you out of the Mormon Tank shall we?

      I was raised in a Nazarene household where one’s relationship with God was primary, central, and essential. Our family life revolved around church activities and very little else. And I was NEVER, not once, taught that feelings were an accurate “GPS system” for truth – in fact, I was taught that feelings would mislead you, lie to you, and get you into trouble.

      My Father, who had a Master’s Degree of Divinity from a Methodist University, would quote Bible passages like this to make his point:

      “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?”
      — Jeremiah 17:9

      “He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool: but whoso walketh wisely, he shall be delivered.”
      — Proverbs 28:26

      He would then point out that the bible is clear that we cannot trust our hearts in matters of truth.

      He then taught that feelings were like a “barometer” that one could as a kind of “first alert” system for danger, or the need to change, or the need to continue. He didn’t deny that they’re real, he didn’t deny that God CAN use feelings however, he stressed that, per the Bible, they had to be tested.

      I would ask him, “So.. how are we to test the spirit that produces these “feelings” (burning in the bosom, etc.) to be sure they are of God?”

      He would tell me The Bible gives the answer – it tells us:

      “Test all things and hold fast to that which is good”
      — 1 Thessalonians 5:21

      “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.”
      — 1 John 4:1

      “…if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed.”
      — Galatians 1:8

      “…I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.

      For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him…

      For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ.

      And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.”
      – II Corinthians 3&4,13-15

      And the objective, absolute “plumb line” that we are use any truth claim or subjective feeling is the written word of God – the Bible.

      “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”
      — “2 Timothy 2:1

      And the Bible gives us a case study of how this worked in the primitive church:

      “These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.”
      — Acts 17:11

      YOU WROTE
      ” If the LDS method to find things out about God doesn’t give accurate information about God, then what does? What method is there to find out the truth about God?”

      MY RESPONSE
      So, I, not growing up in a Mormon household was conditioned to believe taught that you could LED by God through feelings, those feelings had to be tested against the Bible. In short my father’s answer to your question would be: “You know God through BOTH faith AND His revealed word, the Bible.”

      That’s a good answer IMO. However, after years and years and years of watching wacky religious people beat each other up over their “superior” view of what the Bible says versus the other guy’s “inferior” view, I’ve taken what my father taught me and “stepped it up a notch” and added, “And occasionally you have to test it ALL against external reality to make sure that your ‘compass’ is really working”. And THAT is something that religious people – including myself from time-to-time – don’t do very well.

      This is an area where religionists – ALL religionists, including myself – can do better.

      Again, Kevin, no one is saying that feelings are irrelevant, or should be ignored entirely, however, what everyone – my father, MormonThink, Gunnar, and I – are all saying is don’t take them as “truth” just take them as “input that needs to be ‘reality tested’ against objective, external evidence”.

      And Kevin, I really think that you need to give that MormonThink article another try. It addresses this whole question rather nicely by examining the VERY Mormon conditioning that you can’t seem to overcome.

  28. Ed Reply

    I have no idea how you confused me with an apologist.  I have nothing to defend or apologize for.  I only state my worldview, and state how I believe you have flaws in your logic.

    • Anonymous Reply

      What else could I have concluded from your final sentence, “You people have made a bad bet.  And you will be sad in the end that you bet that way.”?  That sounds an awful lot like a version of Pascal’s Wager to me.

  29. Ed Reply

    Hey there Fred.  Got my eyes wide open.  I’ve listened to most of the Mormon Expression podcasts.  Been around the block for quite a number of years.  I’m actually a weird mix of TBM, Skeptic and NOM.   I’ve been in and out of apologetics circles, and got fed up with them.  I’m a Mormon Stories junky.  I don’t care what you think to tell you the truth.  I live my own life in spite of the flaws of Mormonism, inside of Mormonism.  When a belief finally becomes absolutely absurd, I change it.  But there is nothing absurd about waiting and being patient for evidence to appear over time.  There is nothing absurd about choosing to live a life to be faithful.

  30. Ed Reply

    Fred, I have no idea about your background, and I guess I don’t care much, or whether I was “projecting” something onto you.  Then why you are such an anti-Mormon type if you were never Mormon?  Frankly, It isn’t my problem what other people choose.  It isn’t my problem what other people believe.  It isn’t my problem anymore.  They can become a God or a devil.  Its not my problem. I burned myself out trying to be a “missionary” to help a friend for a decade that went rabid anti on me.  He isn’t my problem.  You aren’t my problem.  Defending my point of view against your charges isn’t my problem  I have no more apologetics to offer.  I frankly don’t give a damn anymore.

    • Fred W. Anson Reply

      Ed, if you don’t care then why did you comment?

      I’m not sure if you’re lying to me or yourself but obviously you really DO care.

      And my background is really not great mystery I’m slowly unpeeling the onion here is my blogs. If you read my articles, my personal history relative to Mormon Studies has already been discussed in at least one article-  this one: http://mormonexpression.com/blogs/2011/07/11/falsely-accused-my-life-as-an-anti/

  31. Anonymous Reply

    Fred, here’s what the Dalai Lama says:

    My confidence in venturing into science lies in my basic belief that as in science so in Buddhism, understanding the nature of reality is pursued by means of critical investigation: if scientific analysis were conclusively to demonstrate certain claims in Buddhism to be false, then we must accept the findings of science and abandon those claims.”
    – the Dalai Lama, The Universe in a Single Atom

    How can you reconcile that with your claim:  “Well the Dalai Lama certainly has a “testimony” of reincarnation and Tibetan Buddhist metaphysical truth claims which run counter to and in despite of any and all external evidence so, yes, I would have to say that the shoe fits in his case too.”
     

    • Fred W. Anson Reply

      The Dalai Lama is the leader of Tibetan Buddhist is he not? 

      Could you please show us which Tibetan Buddhist metaphysical claims that he abandoned due to scientific analysis and has purged from the religion?  

      Exhibit A: 
      Doe he or does he not have a “testimony” of reincarnation – the doctrine that is foundational to his office as Dalai Lama? 

      If he doesn’t then why doesn’t he denounce the office and step down NOW as religious leader (just as he has stepped down as political leader)?  

      If he doesn’t have a “testimony” of Tibetan Buddhist metaphysics then why is he still doing enpowerments and initiations? 

      Personally, I think that the logical conclusion is the one that I’ve already given.

      • Anonymous Reply

        Do you firmly believe in the divinity of Jesus Christ and the reality of the atonement?  If so, can you honestly say that there is any firmer, scientifically verifiable basis for your “testimony” than for the Dalai Lama’s?  Sure, it can be said that the Dalai Lama’s belief in reincarnation is not supported by hard scientific evidence (which is enough by itself to make it irrational), but I don’t think it can reasonably be said that he holds to his beliefs despite the evidence, since (as far as I can tell) science has not yet found any way to objectively and conclusively confirm or disconfirm, or even reliably test those convictions.  The same can be said for the basic tenets of Christianity.  If anything (as far as I am concerned), the basic tenets of Buddhism are slightly less implausible than those of Christianity (but very slightly less, to be sure).

        The one tenet of Christianity that is undeniably admirable and valuable is that of dealing honestly and charitibly with others, as we would like to be treated ourselves.  However, that is very far from unique to Christianity.  Buddhists preach that tenet as fervently as any Christian.

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