This past week, the apologetic arm of the Mormon Church, (FAIR) Foundation for Apologetic Information and Research, met at its annual conference to present its latest apologetic arguments to defend the Mormon Church. The highlights, (I use that term lightly), of the conference were published by Deseret News in the most recent “Church News”. http://www.ldschurchnews.com/articles/57738/The-Book-of-Abraham-The-larger-issue.html
I feel bad for FAIR, having to defend an institution that hobbles its defenders with one uncompromisable premise. That no matter what the facts, no matter what the reality, no matter what the circumstances…there can be only one answer to all difficult questions…the Mormon Church is true.
In other words, Mormon apologists must start with the answer fixed and immovable and work backwards from that premise BEFORE the question is even asked. They cannot use standard methods usually utilized in truth discovery, such as rigorous examination, questioning, testing and scrutiny to come to a conclusion. No, they must begin all arguments with their conclusion first (that the church, no matter the argument, no matter how absurd the logic used, no matter how painful the mental gymnastics applied ... IS TRUE). The Church requires one uncompromisable rule, start with the desired conclusion (the church is true) and work backwards.
The problem with starting any search for truth using the straight jacket approach employed by Mormon apologists is that it requires them to come up with all kinds of bizarre, unbelievable explanations to defend beliefs that if subjected to any other standard method of examination would simply come to the conclusion that the belief is false…or simply put, Mormonism is not what it claims to be.
Take for example the apologetic augments John Gee used at the recent FAIR conference to apologize for the Book of Abraham.
“While critics of the Church often challenge the authenticity of the Book of Abraham in the Pearl of Great Price, they attach more importance to it than Church members do themselves” – John Gee, 2009 FAIR Conference
REALLY???? Critics attach more importance to it then Church members?????? WTF???
Sorry John, you’re selling, but I’m not buying. The bogus Book of Abraham is one of four “canonized” books of Mormon scripture. Last time I checked…it wasn’t the critic’s that canonized the Book of Abraham…it was the members of the Mormon Church. The mere fact that the church has made the decision to distant itself from the controversy surrounding the authenticity of the Book of Abraham, by attaching less importance to it…IS the direct cause of Mormon critic’s who have shined the bright light of truth on the bogus Book of Abraham…and it is that truth that has caused the Mormon Church to diminish the importance of the Book of Abraham out of necessity in the hope that by doing so the fraud will not be discovered by the general church membership.
But hey John….knowing that you are bailing water from a ship that is taking on water faster than you can bail…you then turn to your standard uncompromisable premise.
"The book of Abraham is true," said Brother Gee, author of A Guide to the Joseph Smith Papyri, at the end of his presentation. "I think it can be defended. I think it should be defended. But it's not the be-all-and-end-all of either apologetics or research or the scriptures."
There it is…you didn’t disappoint us…the Book of Abraham is true…a total dismissal of reality and its true despite not being what it claims to be….a translation of the writings of Abraham, by his own hand. BUT WAIT do I detect a sign of doubt???
You "THINK" it can be defended? Are you not sure it can be defended…are you growing tired of the fight in defending the undefendable?
But knowing that the Book of Abraham is beyond salvaging…and knowing that the Book of Abraham IS one of the many pieces of the Jig Saw that confirms that Joseph Smith was a complete fraud and charlatan…you then pivot your augment.
You say, "We cannot afford to lose sight of the big picture,"
And what, do tell is that Big Picture? Oh yeah…the answer to the question that was given before the question was even asked…that the church is true no matter what.
So are we done yet? Oh no…we’re only beginning…
Never one to fail…you then offer this gem.
"Now where is the Book of Abraham in this?" he asked. "It isn't. The Book of Abraham is not central to the restored gospel of Christ."
REALLY??? Can the Book of Abraham be a complete and utter fraud and Mormonism still be all it claims to be??? I DON’T THINK SO…
But rather than explore this gapping question you simply choose to continue:
"First, the arguments about the Book of Abraham have become so complex that even the best and brightest of critics end up arguing unwittingly in favor of the LDS position.”The Document of Breathings made by Isis is not the Book of Abraham, and most Latter-day Saints have never claimed it was," he said. "Can we agree on that issue and move on?"
I understand why Mormon apologists want to move on from this embarrassingly impossible to win argument…and of course latter day saints haven’t claimed that the Breathings of Isis were the source of the Book of Abraham for to do so would be to admit defeat…so can we agree on THAT issue and move on? Yeah sure, just as soon as Mormon apologetics admit that the Book of Abraham is a fraud…your getting close to doing so…but come on just come clean and admit it.
"Second, the critics do not deal with the issues arising from the Book of Abraham that Latter-day Saints care about. In that sense, their approach is legerdemain and bait-and-switch".
Are you suggesting that the Mormon faithful don’t really care if the Book of Abraham is what it claims to be? Umm I rather doubt that…
"Third, how the Book of Abraham was translated is unimportant. The Church does not stand or fall on the Book of Abraham".
Of Course, YOU would say that Joseph’s translation process is unimportant…lol…because the real translation confirms that Joseph’s version was completely bogus. This is why Mormon apologist have had to come up with the bizarre notion that Joseph merely used the papyri to “channel” God’s revelation…because the Book of Abraham is nowhere close to a translation of the Egyptian characters found on the papyri. But clearly the record shows that Joseph wanted his associated to think he could translate…(to perpetrate his fraud) why else would he go to such lengths to write long verses from single Egyptian characters that we now know were not even close to what Joseph said they were.
"And fourth, regardless of how the Book of Abraham was translated, it is a remarkable document that tells us more about Abraham's day than Joseph Smith could have known."
There you go again dismissing the translation process…lol…But I do agree with you that it is a remarkable document that makes some of the most bizarre claims in all of Mormondom. i.e., Kolob, loaning its light to our own sun which is just…totally false and just plain bizarre. Or the claim that one day in Kolob is equal to a thousand years according to the measurement of this earth, which is called by the Egyptians Jah-oh-eh….LOL it’s just plain silly gibberish Joseph made up because he thought others would think this was Egyptian talk. So YES it is a remarkable document…ah if one is truly interested in seeking truth rather than defending a fraud.
In defense of John Gee and FAIR, I have sympathy for them; they are bailing water from a ship that is taking on water faster than they can remove it. They have allowed their collective brains to be bent in so many loops and knots that they can no longer think critically. And with the availability of the internet…information is now accessible that had long been held from church membership.
FAIR is at a great disadvantage because it is literally crippled by the agenda restrains placed on it by the Mormon church…and if one of the members of FAIR were to dare come to a conclusion contrary to the “authorized pre-conceived answer”…they would quickly be excommunicated, cast off and dismissed (like we are) as wicked, pathetic, misguided tools of the mythical Satan.