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Dave, FARMS is not outreach, as I understand it. FARMS is aimed internally to members, not externally to people wanting to know more.

Another spasm of FARMS bashing. FARMS has its place, Dave. While Millet is making friends with the Evangelicals, FARMS and other LDS academics are simply doing the research required to assure them that LDS claims are not spurious. At least that is the evaluation of two Evangelical scholars, Mosser and Owen, in this article about how the advance and quality of LDS scholarship (the content of which Evangelical Mormon-bashers are simply ignoring but which simply cannot be ignored), much of which is published by big, bad FARMS.

I suspect if an objective "goodwill generated per dollar of expenditure" measurement were done

I'm curious where this implied goal comes from. Which of the threefold missions of the church is helped best by this goal? Certainly not missionary work because the main thing that generates good will with other churches is the assurance we won't try to convert their members. Perhaps perfecting the saints -- but not if we go so far as to accept false doctrines to get along (which is an edge I think Bro. Millet teeters on the brink of at times), and temple work is largely unaffected by the subject...

Geoff, how about the Golden Rule? How about "blessed are the peacemakers"? Paul didn't rail against pagans, he appealed to their beliefs and their altar to the unknown god. I don't think corporate goals (the "threefold mission of the Church") should displace commandments. "Peace on earth, goodwill to men" implies a commitment to peace and goodwill on our part if we are preaching that message, the good news of the gospel.

John, your reliable and steadfast defense of the FARMS Review is dutifully noted. What exactly is their mission? Ben S. says they are not outreach, they are "aimed internally to members." You say they are trying to "assure [Evangelicals] that LDS claims are not spurious."

Dave,

Another story:

Building Bridges

Hi - I don't mean to threadjack here, but I've been wondering why Mormons don't recognize the importance of Palm Sunday.

Yesterday at church, none of the speakers mentioned that yesterday was Palm Sunday. I think this unnecessarily sets Mormons apart from other Christian religions - and is further justification (to them) that Mormons are not Christians.

Regardless of the public relations aspect, why do you think Mormons don't celebrate Palm Sunday or Holy Week? I was educated in parochial schools, and I remember learning that Palm Sunday was an important event since it teaches us how fickle people are, and how quick they are to support evil, because after being welcomed with hosannas on Palm Sunday, Jesus was put to death a mere seven days later.

Anyway, sorry again for the threadjack - just wanted to see if anyone out there had similar feelings or insights. Thanks.

I think you're being unfair to FARMS again Dave. Certainly some things they write make me cringe. But technically its typically only a few authors.

I'd disagree with you as well. I think many at FARMS were positive towards the New Mormon Challenge even if they obviously disagreed with it.

Regarding Palm Sunday, our primary children sang a song in Sacrament meeting in which they waved green paper palm cutouts :)

The focus of my post was the good things Millet is doing -- I just brought up FARMS to show the contrast and to voice my support for the Millet approach. The extent to which people identify FARMS with "the Church" shows the extent to which the apologetic mindset now defines how too many Mormons think about Mormonism vis-a-vis Christianity as a whole. Millet's approach is a badly needed corrective, in my opinion. We've got plenty of FARMS types; we need more Millets.

Nothing personal against FARMS people. I've had several as profs and they are fine people and capable scholars. I just think that apologetics is generally overvalued in the Church at the present time and that its proponents fail to acknowledge any of the bad feelings that their activities stir up. Not all, just some.

I truly wish more people "identify FARMS with 'the Church.'" Perhaps then people wouldn't have such odd issues with topics like evolution. But alas, I think that despite my optimism, few people even know of Sorenson's LGT. I wish FARMS was more influential.

Of course nothing against Millet either. I think he brought into discussion some very important topics like grace that were perhaps neglected too much. Further his background in a divisive part of Louisiana probably helps him no small amount. (I actually taught his mother and brother on my mission, although I must confess to never having met with Millet himself)

Anyway, I think all avenues are fruitful. Indeed I think FARMS is more diverse than it is often given credit for. If anything I'd like to see even more diversity. But I honestly don't think apologetics is overvalued in Church. Rather I wish more people were aware of the ideas. I think the seminary program in particular hasn't embraced the mindset that all the diverse views in FARMS brings to our theology.

I think Millet vs. FARMS is a false dichotomy. We need both.

Both it is, then.

Group hug :)

The kneejerk reaction of some to support FARMS appears to ignore the specific matter Dave mentioned, that FARMS generally can't name an ex-LDS Evangelical minister without first reciting a string of disparaging adjectives.

If this is true (and I do not know--I don't read the FARMS Review), just what part of the mission of FARMS is furthered by disparaging others? If one FARMS author selected the first words of the paragraphs for an essay so that their first letters spelled out "BUTTHEAD", how does that advance the essay's arguments?

Mark:
A) it's not true, Dave's exaggerating. He doesn't tend to read FRB either.

b) butthead didn't appear, but it was going to be used to illustrate the silliness of claiming that literary complexity in the BoM happened purely by chance.

Mark, while that episode does linger in the background of my remarks, we've been through that particular episode before on previous posts here. I was hoping we would just end up with "both are needed."

Me, exaggerate? Hardly ever.

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