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your use of the south park image got me all excited that perhaps matt and trey's brilliant portrayal was mentioned in the book, but alas, your review says nothing of it.

Sorry to disappoint, N. The South Park image is actually an allusion to my lament about the ubiquity of media misinformation and the seeming preference of so many people for comedy shows as a basis for their view of the world. I'm guessing we have different views on that point.

But, Dave, you know that parody can be the unkindest cut of all. That's why clever people are so quick to employ it.
If you are certain you are in the right, parody is a compliment. If, however, your parodied beliefs rest on shaky ground, its a vicious, painful cut.
Sorry to always state the obvious. I was never very subtle, nor particularly tactful.

Permit me another comment. One that won't sit well with the people on your site, Dave, because I find them pretty impressively intelligent.
I always notice that Mormons are quick to laud themselves on their interest in education and "intellectual growth". That is true, but only in a fairly narrow intellectual scope.
Mormons are zealous in seeking educations in safe subjects. Any detour into the subjects where a young person can "lose their testimony" are discouraged by mainline Mormons.
You can become an english teacher, but not a philosopher; an architect, but not an anthropologist; a nurse, but not a sociologist. That is of course a great generalization and there are certainly plenty of exceptions, but you know what the exceptions prove.
The thing that is most common to all religions, if perhaps a little less to Mormons, is the fear of intellect. Reason and intellect are the dangers most warned about from the pulpits of all religions.
Why would that be?

Duff, I'm sure it has something to do with the fact that there are a lot more jobs for architects and nurses than for anthropologists and sociologists. And I suspect that sort of advice passes rather freely from non-LDS parents to non-LDS students as well.

Do you seriously think any religion or denomination encourages its younger members (or any members) to delve into areas that are likely to cause them to "lost their testimony"? It's not just your habit of comparing Mormons to some real-world ideal standard that rings false; it's that you construct arbitrary and incoherent ideals for your comparisons.

You are correct, it is a universal religious trait to shield children from intellectual strivings. My whole point is that nowhere in any of the scriptures of any religion is the intellect a valuable asset. Obedience and submission are far more important that intellect and reason. Reason is a swear word in Mormonism and every other religion. And the mere fact that you folks are thinkers and intellectuals doesn't change that. You are exceptions and you know it. I assume. Or maybe the Church has changed since I left it. Somehow, I think not.

Duff,
I've not seen, in my experience or the experience of my friends of other religions, a trait to "shield children from intellectual strivings." However, as Dave mentions, I've seen an impulse to shield children (or maybe to shield dad's pocketbook) from unprofitable strivings. (I think of my dad's relief when I no longer planned on becoming a rock musician.) Your assertion than the all religions, including the LDS church, find reason to be a "swear word" is belied by, for example, BYU's (and Notre Dame's, and most other religious and formerly religious institutions's) inclusion of philosophy, sociology, etc., as degrees. Catholicism and Judaism have produced some of the most spectacular philosophy of which I'm aware (although I recognize that I'm undereducated in philosophy).

You are correct that religious claims are not reasonable claims; at the same time, they are not unreasonable. You clearly find the church to be anti-intellectual. I'll readily grant you that there are members who are anti-intellectual. But your experience with members doesn't resonate with what I have and still do see, so I can't accept your assertion unless you can back it up with more than, "[M]aybe the Church has changed since I left it. Somehow, I think not."

Duff: Any detour into the subjects where a young person can "lose their testimony" are discouraged by mainline Mormons. You can become an english teacher, but not a philosopher; an architect, but not an anthropologist; a nurse, but not a sociologist.

Umm. What? I never heard a single discouraging word while (temporarily) pursuing my philosophy major. Ditto for my math and physics ones.

I'll repeat a little observation I posted at Millennial Star a couple months back. Take a look at Table 23 of Doctorate Recipients from United States Universities: Summary Report 2003, found on page 86 of the PDF. The table details which schools previously awarded baccalaureate degrees to those who received doctorates in 2003. Brigham Young University was the alma mater for 1,065 of the 135,960 new PhDs that year.

What drew my eye was the breakdown according to type of doctorate awarded. Of the BYU alumni, 187, or 17.6%, received a PhD in the humanities. That is a slightly higher percentage than the nation's overall, 15.7%. It's been expressed several times that Mormons who pursue higher education predominately pursue business, medicine, engineering and science and avoid the humanities. That appears to be true, but it also appears to be no more true of Mormons than of Americans in general.

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