Lawyers, Inc. vs. Faith

My sophomore English class at Brighton High School was a disaster. The school was using a failed but trendy new system where hundreds of kids were in a big open space and split up into rotating groups, moving every few weeks from one teacher to another for different pathetic units that supposedly taught us English while we watched lame movies or engaged in other dull “labs” or whatever. Felt like chaos. Like block scheduling and other ill-informed experiments that sometimes advance administrators more than students, whatever we were doing there couldn’t possibly make us better at reading, writing, or grammar (a dreaded g-word that is almost as despised in American schools as that other G-word).

The demographics of the school were pretty good. Lots of suburban kids from generally healthy families in the southern extremes of Salt Lake City. In theory should have been a pretty tame group of kids, though there were some rough elements (I have a scar as a reminder of that from one of my most traumatic stories in 7th grade). Demographics notwithstanding, big, unwieldy groups without much structure can be a recipe for trouble. One day as the mass of classes in the open “pod” were dismissing, a student got into a loud argument with a teacher. Kids gathered around to watch. There were dozens of observers with quite a few nearby eye-witnesses who watched the shouting escalate into physical violence as the student grabbed the teacher near the neck. The teacher, possibly applying some improperly understood scene from a kung-fu movie, attempted to break the student’s hold by thrusting his hands upward, but with his thumbs sticking out so he caught the student’s arms with his thumbs. This broke the hold and both thumbs. Ouch.

The student was prosecuted for physical assault. Dozens saw it happen. I think it was just grabbing and shaking the teacher, not actual choking, though I don’t remember that clearly now–it’s recorded somewhere in my journals if I want to review the story. But it was definitely a physical attack of some kind and the student was clearly the perpetrator. He was convicted. However, he came close to escaping legal punishment. I was apparently the only witness during the trial that was able to withstand the questioning of the defense attorney.

My father sat in on the trial and told me what happened to the multiple other witnesses who came in. One by one, a skillful lawyer was able to pick at little details in their story and find gaps, uncertainties, and apparent contradictions and use them to create mountains of doubt. Things like, “You said there were 5 people in front of you, and now you are saying you had an unobstructed view? You first said the teacher was wearing plaid, and now you say it was a white shirt. If you are so wrong about all these basics, are you sure you saw anything at all? Earlier you said this lasted five minutes, but now you are saying it happened so quickly and was only a few seconds. Were you even paying attention at all?” In the end, according to my father, the room full of witnesses was essentially reduced to one. Had it been a better lawyer or a more complex event, I’m sure he could have tripped me up as well.

Lawyers can be great at what they do, but in a court setting, their objective is not to discover the truth, but to represent a client, sometimes at all costs. I see the mind and tactics of lawyers in some of the recent anti-Mormon attempts to attack and dismiss the vast body of scholarship and evidence from the many witnesses of the gold plates of the Book of Mormon. Taking mistakes in quotations, uncertainties in documentation, easily resolved apparent contradictions or errors, and turning them into mountain of doubt where there should be none. It is amazing what skilled lawyers can do to a body of witnesses, but that doesn’t remove the reality of what they saw and in many cases handled. Richard L. Anderson’s vast body of scholarship on their lives and integrity is dismissed out of hand as just a big book from a true-believer, without addressing the arguments and evidence. Nitpicking at minor issues is the name of the game, but it’s a lawyer’s game, not that of a seeker for truth. The consistent witnesses of the Book of Mormon deserve a lot more study and respect. They were far better and witnesses than what we had at Brighton High.

Update, June 18, 2014:

In my experience, many lawyers are men and women of integrity and some passionately seek for truth. I just noticed an intriguing example of this wherein one nineteenth century lawyer grilled one of the Three Witnesses to determine if their account might have been fabricated, delusional, imaginary, or otherwise less than real. It was a young lawyer’s first cross-examination, sincere and intense. Daniel Peterson shares he account in his important essay, “Tangible Restoration: The Witnesses and What They Experienced” (presentation at the 2006 FAIR Conference):

The young James Henry Moyle, who had just received his law degree from the University of Michigan and was returning home to Utah, took a detour to Richmond, Missouri, for the sole purpose of interviewing David Whitmer. When he saw the Witness, he implored him to tell the truth. He told Whitmer of the sacrifices that his family had made for the gospel’s sake, driven from state to state and finally pulling a handcart all the way to the arid desert of the Great Basin.

I said to him: “I was born and reared in the Church and I do pray of you to let me know if there is any possibility of your having been deceived. I am just commencing life as you are preparing to lay it down, and I beg of you to tell me if there is anything connected with the testimony which you have borne to the world that could possibly have been deceptive or misunderstood.” I further said, in an earnest youthful appeal, that I didn’t want to go through life believing in a falsehood, that it was in his power to make known the truth to me. His answer was unequivocal. There was no question about its truthfulness. The angel had stood in a little clear place in the woods with nothing between them but a fallen log—the angel on one side and the witnesses on the other. It had all occurred in broad, clear daylight. He saw the plates and heard the angel with unmistakable clearness.

“He was the first witness I ever attempted to cross examine,” Moyle wrote many years later, “and I did so with all the intensity of my impelling desire to know the truth. The interview lasted two and one-half hours.” The young lawyer, who subsequently served as assistant secretary of the treasury in two federal administrations, came away utterly convinced of David Whitmer’s sincerity.

The witnesses to the plates insisted that what they had seen, heard, and in many cases touched and handled were real. Some critics, often relying on highly questionable hostile sources and neglecting the weight of scholarship on the topic, have attempted to suggest that the witnesses sort of imagined things and didn’t actually see with their physical eyes or touch anything tangible. This revision of history utterly fails to explain the impressive historical record and the reality and sincerity of multiple lives standing as witnesses of what was and is real. Peterson’s article helps summarize a few of the key points that have to be neglected by the critics in reaching that unwarranted conclusion.

Related resource: LDSFAQ Page on the Witnesses to the Book of Mormon.

Author: Jeff Lindsay

40 thoughts on “Lawyers, Inc. vs. Faith

  1. Another science worshipper, eh, Ernst? I for one am sure glad there's more to life than science. The best a scientist can ever say is, "I'm not wrong yet" [Richard Feynman]. When God reveals truth, we are finally able to know something. I thank God for calling Joseph Smith and showing him a bit of truth. I thank God that he found reliable witnesses who have his back.

  2. I'm no more a science worshipper than you are a lawyer worshipper, but scientific methodology surpasses the methods of lawyers and apologists for establishing what is probable.

  3. As bad as it sometimes can be, imagine how much worse our justice system would be if we had witnesses saying, "Well, the defendant's face was covered with a cloth, so I didn't see it with my physical eyes. But I saw it clearly with my spiritual eyes."

  4. Orb, I think you refer to Rev. John A. Clark’s wistful recollection of an unnamed attorney (there we go, another attorney gets into the act) who claims to recall an alleged statement from Martin Harris that simply doesn't have any basis for support. Harris saw them with his real eyes. Not covered in cloth. That bogus statement, tossed around these days by critics as if factual, reflects the type of desperate revisionism that motivates today's post.

  5. Jeff, I wasn't referring to anyone in particular, merely suggesting what a mess we'd have if we sought truth in the courtroom the same way so many do in religion.

  6. I have often been challenged by Anti-Mormons, even some who themselves claim to be Mormons (yes you can be both) even when I'm simply sharing my personal testimony. This is the strangest thing because my testimony that this is God's Church upon the earth is not something up for debate. Nobody will change me by telling me what is inside my heart is false. You can debate with me all day long whether or not you think women should still be wearing head coverings, but to challenge me on a lifetime of Spiritual experiences? That's not going to happen.

    Perhaps the Anti-Mormons ought to take advice from the old saying, "Those convinced against their will are of the same opinion still".

    By the way, on the topic of science vs religion, I suggest you take a look at a few of Dennis Polis's videos. The man is a Catholic Christian scientist who earned his PHD in theoretical physics at Notre Dame and is absolutely brilliant. He has a very convincing claim that the existence of God can be objectively proven to exist. Many other non-Christian scientists have debated him, but I have yet to see a single one not get beaten by his arguments.

    When you consider things like conscience awareness (something other than our brain controlling concience), simulated reality theory (it's more likely than not that we are living in a simulated reality by some higher being or reality), dark matter and the multi-verse (dark matter is evidence for infinite dimensions), I now feel that the "scientific" evidence that God exists is quite a bit easier to find than evidence to the contrary.

    Dennis Polis lays out most of this clearer and more scientifically objectively than any I've seen in his writings and videos.

    You can find his YouTube channel here:

  7. @Orb

    I've seen that one tossed around for a very long time. It's been debunked years ago. Get some new material dude.

  8. @Illuminated, if it's not up for debate, then why even share it. No one cares if you're not willing to even discuss it openly. I can walk into a 7-11 and declare "Circle K is a much better establishment! This is not open for debate because no one will change my mind!" and what would it accomplish if I'm not willing to discuss it?
    As for the Martin Harris thing, you guys are acting like his is the only witness called into question. Case closed! One quote came from a person you've never heard of, therefore it must be false! No other debate, however substantive or accurate, will be allowed! Stop being desperate!

  9. "if it's not up for debate, then why even share it. No one cares if you're not willing to even discuss it openly. I can walk into a 7-11 and declare "Circle K is a much better establishment! This is not open for debate because no one will change my mind!" and what would it accomplish if I'm not willing to discuss it?"

    People often like to share things they believe in. Why should everything be a requirement for debate?

    People do care. It's difficult in the world we live in to know if people truly believe in something they are discussing or are merely trolling, being paid for it, or want to start a fight. I care when someone shares their testimony in the Gospel. In fact, I care much more about a person's true and genuine convictions than a point that needs to be argued.

  10. When a person is closed-minded and clearly wrong in the face of insurmountable evidence, I feel sorry for them. So testify away, the stunned silence you often receive is simply pity.

  11. "insurmountable evidence" like the claim that Martin Harris had a cloth over his eyes and used his spiritual eyes to see the plates?

    Or is that the surmountable kind?

  12. Methinks the attacks on Martin Harris are desperate. Let's grant that he had a cloth over his eyes and was totally bamboozled (He wasn't, but assuming here). That leaves the other two, Oliver Cowdery and David Whitmer, who also claimed they had a spiritual evidence.

    And the anti's miss the point–there were two experiences. God's not an idiot (despite certain Anti-Mormon's desperate attempts to make Him so). The testimony of the 8 witnesses had no spiritual mumbo jumbo at all. They conclusively prove that Joseph Smith had the plates. The Three Witnesses prove that Joseph Smith had divine help with said plates. Both experiences were necessary. If all we had was the testimony of the 8, the antis would be screeching about "Joseph had something, but how do we know it's from God?" With the 3, we have them currently screeching "Hallucination!"

    Why would Joseph have needed to pull an elaborate flimflam with fake angels if he had the plates only? Just show them.

    Both experiences work together, and that is why they are so devastating to the Anti Mormons. You can't just wave the 3 away when the 8 are there. And vice versa.

  13. @ Anonymous 12:46
    Are any of the other witnesses besides Martin Harris called into question? I hadn't heard that they were.

  14. Ryan, it's easy enough to google for yourself. I'd recommend the CES letter too, but you may want to do your own searching.
    It doesn't help that nearly all of them were related to Joseph, and nearly all of them had a financial stake in the book, and none of them actually signed their name to the so-called affidavit. All signatures were clearly by the same hand, probably Oliver's.
    But don't let me stand in the way of someone's heartfelt testimony that's not open for debate in the first place.

  15. I do find it ironic that critics are portrayed as lawyers "neglecting the weight of scholarship on the topic"

    How many unbelievable "roll your eyes" answers are used to explain away LDS challenges?

    No archaeological evidence found in North America? It all took place in South America

    But what about the Hill Cumorah? Two hill Cumorahs.

    But didn't the prophet teach North America? We disagree with him so he wasn't a prophet at that moment, he was speaking as a man, it was just his opinion.

    Too early for wheels and horses? Misunderstanding. Chariots were dragged around by deer.

    Doesn't the BOM say God is eternal? Only eternal in his teachings.

    Didn't Joseph have many wives? Misunderstanding. There's no eyewitnesses to actual sex, so they were probably just close friends.

    Didn't Joseph confirm the Kinderhook plates as genuine? Misunderstanding. For reasons unknown, in this one instance, William Clayton misquoted Smith.

    Didn't Smith say the Book of Abraham Papyri was written by Abraham's own hand? Misunderstanding, these are the WORDS of Abraham's own hand, not actual penmanship.

    The list goes on and on and on

  16. Not in North America? Says who? LDS scholars dealing with the Book of Mormon overwhelmingly place it in Mesoamerica, which is definitely in North America.

    Two Cumorahs – so some people assumed the tiny hill where the plates were found was Cumorah, but that's not what the BOM says and not required by anything definitive from Joseph. The text gives one and it has an outstanding, real, tangible candidate in Mesoamerica. This is not a serious objection to the Book of Mormon.

    Now you can spew out lots of other arguments for any faith and claim victory, but for those seeking to understand, there are answers, some easy, some complex, just as in any field of learning. For those who want to learn, there are resources and answers of varying quality and clarity, and some very interesting evidences in support of key issues.

  17. Orbiting Kolob, hold on a second. OK, you didn't realize you were quoting anyone in particular, but the details of the little scenario you recited offhand do have a very particular and highly questionable source that has nothing to do with the tangible reality of what the witnesses experiences. I'm really curious to understand where you got this meme about a seemingly deluded person seeing things under a cloth without using physical eyes, which you recited in the context of Book of Mormon witnesses and with the statement that this is somehow the way many people seek truth in religion. This is not a part of my religion nor how the witnesses experienced religious truth about the reality of the plates. So how did you pick up this concept as representative of our or perhaps someone else's religion? Whoever told it to you might benefit from understanding its origins and lack of relevance.

    That there are things we don't currently see, such as God, gravity, and gluons, I freely admit, and that faith is required to accept God or gluons, I also admit. But the pursuit of religious truth can include examining reliable evidence such as the many consistent testimonies of Book of Mormon witnesses and many other evidences relevant to the debate over the Book of Mormon. No blindfold cloth is required, though faith and patience will be.

  18. Say what? Faith is required to accept gravity? In the same way faith is required to accept the autenticity of the Book of Mormon?

  19. Seems to me if you're following a god/leaders/church that can't stand up to the scrutiny of mere mortal attorneys you've got bigger problems than who actually saw golden plates which disappeared before their existence could be verified in a way that would stand up in just 200 years.

    We have Shakespeare's folios, Roman's and Greek's columns and arches, Neanderthal skeletons, Chinese stone armies and Egyptian papyri. Is there anything to give credence to the writings of a man convicted of scamming his neighbors?

  20. "Is there anything to give credence to the writings of a man convicted of scamming his neighbors?"

    Yes. Use the test that Jesus recommended – "by their fruits ye shall know them".

  21. Okay, anon @9:36, let's examine those fruits:
    • First off, a leader who lied when he wrote the Articles of Faith, wherein he states that Mormons believe in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law of the land, all the while he's practicing polygamy and even going so far as to marry women who were already married (clearly illegal on the latter, maybe not on the former, but still).
    • A church so full of narcissism that they're more concerned with the rest of the world calling them Christians rather than actually acting like Christians when it comes to basic human rights. Go on, ask a Mormon elder or high priest, off the record, how he feels about gays.
    • A church willing to spend over one billion dollars on a mall (cumulatively more than it's ever spent oh humanitarian aid). A mall which features scantily-clad women in its own ads and which houses establishments which serve alcohol.
    • A church which constantly shifts its doctrines and beliefs through a PR wing. Listen to yesterday's episode of RadioWest to hear some ridiculously unclear answers from a PR representative of the church.
    • A church which is currently lead by a man who has not directly testified to the supposed truthfulness of the Book of Mormon or Joseph Smith over the pulpit in several years.
    • A church which sends children into the world wholly unprepared for questions about doctrinal or historical matters, only to return home depressed and confused.
    • A church run by elderly white men, most of whom at the top echelon are related to each other.

    Some fruits!

  22. * Two or more people co-habituating and calling themselves "married" (through their religion or what have you) outside the legal system is not illegal. Joseph couldn't possibly have done anything illegal if he did not obtain any kind of state marriage license for such marriages.
    * Ask God, Moses or Paul how they feels about gays (ie check the Bible).
    *I know of no other religious organization that dedicates as much to helping people as the LDS Church does. It's easy to simply narrow it down to pure dollars (which still far surpasses most other churches in the US), but through missionary service, infrastructure projects (as the city creek mall), educational programs (english-speaking programs non-natives for example), and so on. These programs are dedicated to helping people, both directly and indirectly. The City Creek Mall has greatly helped downtown Salt Lake to grow. Charity doesn't have to always consist of pure cash. How many other private organizations do you know of where its members can simply walk in to an office and, without signing any paperwork, walk out with a month of food supply? The Church takes cares of its members like no other.
    *The Church's PR wing doesn't set or change doctrine no matter what you think it says. Whether or not you agree with the messenger doesn't change the message.
    *I love it when the Antis sneak little falsities in their "long lists" of supposed "truths" to pad it. I take it you missed "Love—the Essence of the Gospel" in May 2014, or "Come, All Ye Sons of God " in May 2013, or "True Shepherds" in Nov 2013, or "Precious Promises of the Book of Mormon" in Oct 2011. All of these include testimony of the Book of Mormon by Thomas S Monson.

    Your last two statements are either anecdotal opinion (nearly every person who I've seen return home from a mission has been uplifted and strengthened including myself), or outright racism and age discrimination. Jesus' original church was full of "old white men" too, if you're attacking the Latter Day Church, you're also attacking the original one.

    From what I see, the fruits of the LDS Church are pretty darn good. Yours…not so much.

  23. As far as the financial aspect of charity goes, I would point out that a lot of that happens at the local level. Church headquarters reports on global relief efforts. It's hard to compile the data on local charitable efforts, but we can gather some information. In Canada it is required by law that charitable organizations report on their income and expenditures in order to maintain tax exempt status, and these reports are publicly available. I went ahead and took a sample of 300 wards/branches from Canada and averaged their charitable expenditures from 2012 (I did this a while back). On average, each unit spends roughly $140,000 US each year. That means those 300 units collectively spent over $42 million on charity in 2012. If we took that average as representative of the global church population, and given roughly 29000 units in the church,that would be over $4 trillion dollars spent in 2012 at the local level across the globe. However, that may not be representative of the global church. But even if 0.1% of that is representative of the average, that is still over $4 billion in one year across the world. That doesn't seem meager to me.

  24. @Illuminated
    • Would you allow a prophet to marry your mom? Your wife? Your married daughter?
    • I don't care what the Bible says when it comes to expecting me to hate and discriminate. I also choose to ignore the Bible when it advocates genocide. I don't feel wrong in abandoning the outdated parts of scripture.
    • Interesting what you've chosen to ignore. What of the Church's allowance of alcohol sales? What of the City Creek ads that clearly go against LDS standards?
    And there are plenty of other giving organizations. Investigate outside what you've been told. Mormons don't have a monopoly on charity or goodness.
    • Got it. I'll ignore the PR department, the church essays on their websites, and every other pronouncement that doesn't come directly from the prophet who, once again, doesn't testify of either Joseph or the Book of Mormon.
    • Show me in the Bible where it says Christ and his disciples were old white guys. Last I checked they were Middle Easterns of unknown ages.
    What of the charge that the top LDS leadership are all related? Does that not bother you? Why not? Do you refute this?
    And don't call me a racist.

    One question every apologist should ask themselves: what if there is undeniable proof the LDS church is false?

  25. With respect to the witnesses, I went ahead and googled it and I looked at the CES letter. I didn't find any instances of David Witmer or Oliver Cowdery denying their witnesses. There was one quote from David Whitmer that seemed to contradict other statements to the effect that he had seen the angel clearly, and apparently James Moyle was dissatisfied. I don't see anything about Oliver Cowdery denying his witness. Everything else is an attack on Martin Harris. I find nothing from any of the 8 witnesses that can be construed as denying their testimony. Did I miss any?

  26. Ryan, how a ward spends their budget is not charitable giving. The pinewood derby cars subsidized by the yearly allotment don't benefit mankind in any significant way. You've made a huge leap. I can testify that my home ward has not spent $140,000 on charity. Has yours?

  27. I'm not talking about the ward budget. I'm talking about fast offerings. You wouldn't be able to testify as to those expenditures, as they are confidential. You can look up the reports yourself if you want.

  28. A couple other things- First, I did my math wrong. I had a brain fart and it should say "billion" instead of "trillion" and "million" instead of "billion" at the end. Admittedly, that removes some of the clout, but since those 300 units alone are already giving $42,000,000, I think we can safely say that the global total is at least that much.

    Second, in that average I gave I should admit that the standard deviation is large- on the low end one unit gave only $146 that year, while on the high end a unit gave just under $1 million. So if you happen to know your ward doesn't give anywhere close to $140000, that doesn't mean the average is wrong. At any rate, the Canada data suggests that the church, at the local level, is spending somewhere between $42 million and $4 billion every year (adjusting for inflation as needed) helping people.

  29. * I would absolutely allow God's mouthpiece to marry my mother, wife or daughter. You wouldn't? God asked for Abraham to kill his own son, so this is not unprecedented, and that's a lot harder than sharing your wife. God gave me everything I have in life, and he can take it away at any time.
    * You already have a problem with hate and descrimination though, when it comes to attacking another person's race ("old white men") and descriminating against my Church. You just use descrimination and racism when it suits you.
    * I've ignored nothing. When the church or any organization sends relief money, food or supplies to other countries, it could easily be used for the wrong people or be given to people who live wicked lives. That doesn't mean we stop giving charity simply because we disagree with how its used. I find it funny how Anti-Mormons critizice our charity because there are sometimes strings attached, but when there aren't you're still up in arms. You just can't win with people like you.
    And there are plenty of other giving organizations. Investigate outside what you've been told. Mormons don't have a monopoly on charity or goodness.
    * I never said the church had a monopoly for goodness did I? I said it was one of the largest Church's in the country for charitable giving. Stop setting up straw-men where there isn't. Perhaps YOU need to investigate the stereotypes you've been told about us.
    * You can choose to ignore it if you choose, but go read those ensign articles by President Monson where he clearly testifies of the Book of Mormon in every one.
    * Show me in the Bible where it says…
    So now what the Bible says is important again, is it? Got it. Best estimates of the average age of Jesus' apostles was about 30 years old. But the lifespan of men back then was 50…so by their own standard they were "old men" or at least in the last half of their lifespan. Also the apostles, Simon and Andrew, and James and John were brothers. I don't know of any brothers, let alone two brothers who are currently apostles in the LDS Church, do you? Labelling someone as an "old white man" in a derogatory manner is a form of racism. Plain and simple. If you're engaging in that kind of language, people might call you a racist. Watch your words buddy.

    One question every apologist should ask themselves: what if there is undeniable proof the LDS church is false?

    I'll answer this in a separate post…

  30. One question every apologist should ask themselves: what if there is undeniable proof the LDS church is false?

    I have asked that question, and I would bet every apologist and member of the Church has also asked that question. If they didn't, I wouldn't want them to be members. Part of knowing if its true is suspecting, at first, if it's not.

    I believe without a doubt that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is the Kingdom of God's best representation upon the Earth. It's not perfect, has members with a lot of imperfections, but it is still His Church in the most effective way that it can be with imperfect members.

    The way I look at the Church is the way I look at a fine tapestry or mural. If you stand very close and examine every detail you will probably find errors, cracks, and blemishes. Mistakes by the painter. But standing back and seeing the "big picture", you find that it is beautiful and inspiring. The Church has mistakes when you get out the magnifying glass, but the beauty of all its components working together is a think of wonder and amazement to me every day.

    It's not perfect. But really, how can it be? It's managed by people with imperfections, even if it's led by a perfect Being. Expecting it to be perfect is being unrealistic.

    Appreciate it for what it is: it has brought joy and hope to millions around the world. It does good by helping people in need. It keeps my kids doing the right thing, it helps me to stay true to my wife, it helps us make wise financial and life planning decisions. The Church is a force for good on this earth, not evil. Even with a few bad apples, it's fruits are by a wide margin, good.

  31. @ Anonymous 10:18

    Is one of your hang-ups really based on whether President Monson has testified about the Book of Mormon or Joseph Smith?

    Truthfully, would it make any difference to you if he did?

  32. Mazel, your response to Jeff was a perfect example of how even printed words are misunderstood and misquoted…

  33. "* I would absolutely allow God's mouthpiece to marry my mother, wife or daughter. You wouldn't?"
    …and that's where I stopped reading. Of course not.

  34. This is a hilarious case of the pot calling the kettle black.

    Are all of FAIR's members lawyers?

    Are we still redefining the word "horse" and playing pretend?

    It seems like pro-Mormon logic applies to everything but itself. But go ahead, accuse the "anti" side of acting like lawyers for pointing out things that don't make sense when you aren't emotionally invested in a belief.

  35. Om, I can only wish there were a "like" or "thumbs up" button. But it wouldn't make any difference. They'll never get it and if they thought they might they'd twist themselves back into pretzels to make sure it wouldn't happen.

  36. When I first encountered the Mormanity blog many years ago, I was amused by a post extolling modern revelation without a single example of modern revelation. I rushed to the comment section to share the humor to find many had already beaten me to it so I did not comment.

    Once again, many commenters beat me to it. Pot calling the kettle black. Look who is talking. Take a look in the mirror. The person behaving like a lawyer has a disdain for those who behave like lawyers. Sighhh. This post only makes one wonder how much self-hate the poster may be experiencing.

    With regards to the Strangite witness, it is not clear who in the apologist community is parroting who Mormanity/FAIR/Daniel Peterson. Daniel Peterson appears to be the major content originator. They reject the Strangite Witness for two principle reasons. 1. Digging up the plates is not declared to be a supernatural experience. Ooops, Peterson and company just rejected the BoM 8 witnesses as well then. 2. Unauthenticated, unfounded rumors ala Rev. John A. Clark indicated the experience was a fraud and witnesses repudiated their testimonies. Ooops, just rejected the BoM 3 witnesses if a single rumor is all that is required.

    On Mormanity in 2006 Peterson implies witnesses of mass apparitions of the Virgin Mary could possibly be debunked if scrutinized and then suggests that valid witnesses require both a supernatural experience and a physical artifact, which apparently he believes has only occurred in Mormonism. Despite being well read, he has apparently never read of Anne Lee, Sacred Roll and Book, etc, or for that matter current events:

    The “evidentiary value and strength” of the Strangite witnesses is much stronger to an objective fact finding jury than the BoM witnesses, but of course Mormanity most likely knows this, his behavior indicates he just does not care what the truth is.

  37. Oh, the Strangite one is my favorite. Has nearly the exact same arguments for its validity as Mormonism, but we can dismiss Strangite testimonies because, well, for all the reasons we can dismiss Mormon testimonies.

    I'm sure Jeff is 100% aware of it, too. It just doesn't click. The brain doesn't work on logic when there are huge emotional barriers.

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