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"Sophie is concerned about placing trust and faith in men as opposed to God."

While this is a natural fear, it's simply not possible to do when applied fairly, unless we discount everything other than personal experience.

Most often I hear this from Protestants who take it to mean that we should value the scriptures instead of living prophets, to which I wan to respond, where did we get the Bible and other scriptures from? God's hand-written divinely preserved and untampered manuscript? Hardly.

What if Aaron and others had said to Moses, "I'm concerned about placing my faith in you , o man, instead of in God."?

I assume Sophie knows about it, but there is a French pro-LDS site that translates things from FARMS and FAIR and other useful stuff. They may write their own as well:

http://www.idumea.org

Thanks for the reminder, Ben, I'd forgotten about the Idumea site. I hadn't realized their "Etudes" section had that much FAIR material. Nice resource.

A very fine response, sir.

Mostly good advice, Dave. I am not sure of the wisdom in referring folks to FAIR and FARMS, though. Many exmos have found their way out of the church ran through FAIR and FARMS. You might as well send Sophie to Equality Time. She'll find it eventually anyway (if only I knew French). But, seriously, shouldn't the words of the prophets in official church publications, the scriptures, and the church's official web site be sufficient to answer all concerns? If the folks who are called as "special witnesses" can't satisfy the Latter-day Saint soul hungry for answers, what makes us think the apologists at FAIR and FARMS can do the trick?

EQ, the short answer is that official publications and scriptures obviously aren't enough, given that many people still have questions. FARMS and FAIR do a reasonable job addressing some of those questions for those who want a direct response written by informed Mormons. If that's what people want, there's nothing wrong with providing it. Think of it as good customer service.

And seriously EQ, any Exmo who tells you they left the Church because of something they read at FARMS or FAIR is just blowing smoke -- I'm surprised you would take such a claim seriously. Unless they actually believe it, in which case they are simply losing their grip on reality. Do you seriously believe that if FARMS and FAIR did not exist, the particular person making such a claim would have stayed in the Church and been a happy, practicing Latter-day Saint? Not a chance.

What they're really saying is they disagree with something they read in a talk or article. So why don't they just say that? They'd be more honest if they'd just say it rather than trying to shift responsibility for their own choice to leave the Church (which they're free to make) to someone else.

I'm not so sure, Dave. Obviously, I don't think anyone has left the church solely because of FAIR or FARMS. But I think there are more than a few who were TBM to the core and whose first exposure to the things Elder Packer doesn't like to talk about was at FAIR or FARMS. Alerted to the alternate, non-correlated view of history and doctrine, they became disillusioned with both the church and Mormon apologetics. Do some of these exmos exaggerate the effect FAIR and FARMS may have played in their exit? Perhaps. But I don't think it is unfair to say that, at least for some, their exit from the church was aided by FAIR and FARMS.

But you're using "aided" in a deceptive fashion, EQ. FARMS and FAIR didn't knowingly assist such a person to exit, they simply provided information that the person then used as they saw fit. Hard to fault FARMS and FAIR for providing information. I just don't buy the "FARMS and FAIR are unwittingly helping people out of the Church" line. I know it's a common claim at some boards, but then you hear a lot of hokey things at boards.

"I know it's a common claim at some boards, but then you hear a lot of hokey things at boards."
Well, I can't argue with that. Lol.

I don't mean to be deceptive. I don't think FAIR and FARMS are intentionally aiding people out of the church. But I wouldn't say that it is the information they provide that does the damage--it's the mental gymnastics sometimes emplyed by overzealous defenders of the church that I think does the harm. So, I do think that in some instances Mormon apologetics as it is practiced at FAIR and FARMS might do more harm than good. But that's probably a discussion beyond the scope of this post. And one that I think has been had around the nacle in the not-too-distant past (I seem to recall something at the now-defunct Mormon Stories blog on the topic).

French is the celestial langauge too. If Sophie's having these issues, aren't we all doomed to fall away in disbelief?

Although I remember the sole member in one town on my mission (South of France), who practiced "poligamie a la francaise" (married w/ gf and wife's consent) and who said he wouldn't come back to church until ETB became pres, because ETB would "restore true authority". I learned 15 years later there were 19 active members in that town, and that guy was the BP. So, although a little mixed up, he was true to his word and maybe there is still hope for the rest of us?

Dave, methinks you are a sensible person. Your middle name is not Earle, by any chance?

[This comment originally contained the entire text of the article "In Search of the Great Apostasy," by a Catholic apologist named Patrick Madrid. The article can be found online here.]

Wow! Skeptic, you've got me convinced. By Golly, I'll bet, from what you're claiming, one could go inside St. Peters today and see the exact same church Jesus had up and running back in his day. I wonder where Jesus got all those vestments and all the pretty gold stuff?
Mormon's claims may be a bit specious, but Catholic claims to be "the rock" on which Christ built is more so. A tiny little pox on both your houses.

Skeptic (#11), what a one-sided, simplistic and misrepresentational article. Three brief notes.

Point 1: The author's viewpoint in a nutshell -- "Mormons only believe all this stuff because they can't read the Bible correctly and revere Joseph Smith too much." Right.

Point 2: I'm a fairly well-read LDS with some assocation with FARMS and FAIR, and I'd never so much as heard of Robert Stirling. A google search doesn't turn up much. And just how did Gary Coleman "officially" represent the Church? Who chose him? What is it supposed to mean? Does the author wish to imply that this was the best the Mormons could do? Googling shows that Elder Coleman was a convert from Catholicism, taught CES for a long time, has a PhD in psychology from BYU, and become a member of the 70 in 1997. If he, "Talmadge", and McConkie are the authorities the author is arguing against, it's somewhat of an academic strawman.

Third: The author claims that "The fact that no historical evidence exists to corroborate th[ese] position[s] doesn't put much of a dent in the average Mormon's mental armor."

Just to pick one, let's take divinization. One Catholic researcher, a Dominican priest, wrote a MA at the Graduate Theological Union of UC Berkeley on the Mormon doctrine of divinization, comparing it to the early Christian doctrine of divinization. He concluded that the LDS doctrine strongly had history in its favor, so much so that he eventually converted and joined the LDS church. "No historical evidence" ? Only when you close your eyes.

Thanks for the link to the French site. I keep meaning to provide a French version of my own blog, and maybe I will someday if I ever get a ton of free time....

This thing you and Equality have going is great entertainment!!! This alone would be worth reading your blog for even if there weren't other attractions.

Perhaps for balance and further entertainment your readers might be interested in the perspective of the exmo who just wants to get along. ;)

It would be cool if you could add me back to your solo blogs list: Letters from a Broad... You kind of swept away the link during your last housecleaning because I was on hiatus, but I'll be back to active blogging in a couple of days, and I've got some fun stuff planned.

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