Nothing in this article offers "historical" facts or historical
empirical wisdom or process.According to the writer Level A is the day to day
litany preached without the need for any doubt,research or historical
reference.The writer states that Level A is the "obvious truth of the
gospel". If the truth was so obvious why write the article? Level B can be
dismissed entirely because it is "anti". "Kimbell remarked that
the church isn't eager to expose its members to such problems" because the
"church isn't some sort of floating seminar in historiography". If
that's the case then why write this article? I was expecting some historical
enlightment in Level C. The writer states that level C is the synthesis of
Levels A & B. But there was nothing put on the table to be sythesisized!
Level A was blind acceptance and Level B was blind unacceptance! So what does
the writer say about the synthetic byproduct. "The claims of the
Restoration do, in fact (none given so far)stand up to historical examination,
(none cited so far), although very likely by divine design" Note by divine
design, not by historical relativity.He concludes that the "truth is
neither so blazingluy obvious nor so indisputable as to compel acceptance"
His "compel acceptance" is the real "tell" of his article,
like back to Level A. Obey!
I am in the synthesis level. As a graduate student, I am challenged daily in
the historiography. I have found that my studies have strengthened my beliefs
rather than weakened them. If you are disappointed that Dan Peterson didn't
hold your hand and take you to every (or any) A and B level places, all you have
to do is read the comments section in the news online every day for the past
year. If you want level C, you are going to have to get busy and dig for it,
though it is easier and harder because of the internet. If you need answers go
look for them. I don't have a testimony of history, to many imperfect people on
all sides inhabit it. I do know that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day
Saints is truth restored.
Commonman - likewise to your "knowing" that it is truth restored, me
and the rest of the 99.9 % of the earths population "know" that is
isn't. So who is right?
@scojosI'm not sure if I was able to follow it but I think this is what
was meant. A is... shall we call it... whitewashed history, or
basically only the positives presented. B is the dirty history which
doesn't inherently mean the church is false, just that these are the details
that are dwelt on by antis and avoided at times by members. Something like
Joseph Smith character flaws. Obviously none is perfect save Christ so his flaws
don't necessarily mean he's not a prophet but those flaws are things that
members frequently ignore and generally aren't presented in sunday school, but
are brought up frequently by antis. The idea of C is that with the
combination of A and B you get a complete history to work with that isn't biased
in favor or against the church from which to work with.
scojos, I think you need to re-read the article, because I don't believe that
you're accurately representing what Peterson wrote.Brahmabull, do
99.9% of the world's inhabitants really claim to "know" that Mormonism
is false? Do you have survey data to back up your claim? I'm curious to know
whether the polling percentages were at all different in northern India and
southern India. And how, exactly, do the results from the island of Sumatra
compare to those that you or your source got on the island of Borneo?Personally, I'm astonished that 99.9% of the residents of such places have
even HEARD of Mormonism.
Commonman is right, for those who desire to be ranked in the arbitrary and
make-believe categories presented here. You do have to "dig" for this
sort of synthesis. Have you ever watched a professional hypnotist at work? He
doesn't do much at all, other than petition the desires and beliefs of his
subjects. _They_ do all of the (shall we say) "digging," and at the
end of this effort they find a sure witness of every word that comes from their
master's mouth. Can you see this? Yes, we can. Can you smell it? Hear it? FEEL
it? Indeed, without question!How do we know that "Level C"
is not more a reflection of desire than of reality? After all, the Catholic
apologist (among others) makes his religion stand equally firm under the
scrutiny of historic inquiry; its adherents also convinced in part by the
personal experience of the Holy Ghost and the confirmed miracles of God that
THEIRS is, in fact, the only saving Church on the face of the earth. How now
shall I believe?
The Restoration stands up to history. Versus Reformation. The cry of the
reformers were the 5 solas:1 Sola scriptura ("by Scripture
alone") 2 Sola fide ("by faith alone")3 Sola gratia ("by
grace alone")4 Solus Christus or Solo Christo ("Christ
alone" or "through Christ alone") Soli Deo gloria ("glory to
God alone"1. Sola scriptura is the teaching that the Bible is the
only inspired and authoritative word of God and is the only source for Christian
doctrine. Roman Catholics and the Reformers both agreed that the creeds
were statement of faith based on the Scriptures(Bible) only . Example of 2
things not restored, Baptism for the dead and pre-existence of souls had been
condemned by early church councils. Polygamy is sin; The Fifth Commandment
(EX 20:12) "Honor your father and your motherâ¦ Not your other
The headline reads "The Restoration stands up to history" but inside
the piece, the author admits "There are areas of ambiguity, even unresolved
problems, in church history." If that's a Level A lede and a Level B
observation, what would be the Level C takeaway? Whatever it is, by definition,
wouldn't it render the headline inaccurate?
Verdad - it is quite simple. 99.9% of the earths population is not mormon.
Muslims, catholics, and anybody with any other belief "know" that they
have the truth in their particular religion just as mormons claim to
"know" that their church is the only true church. Would those muslims
be involved in suicide acts if they didn't "know" that what they were
doing is right and true. Yet it can't be. Muslims, mormons, catholics can't all
be right. And a church that claims to be the only true church, yet only has 14
million members is quite rediculous.The main point is nobody
"knows"... they may believe with all they have, yet they cannot know.
What exactly was restored??? There was NO organized church 2000 years ago. This article doesn't stand up to itself.
Brahmabull, your reasoning is self-contradictory. According to you, 99.9% of
mankind "know" that Mormonism is untrue because they "know"
that their own religions ARE true.With this in mind, you say that
"a church that claims to be the only true church, yet only has 14 million
members is quite rediculous."You continue on to say that
"The main point is nobody 'knows'... they may believe with all they have,
yet they cannot know."By your own account, though, at least
99.9% of mankind -- and, in fact, maybe 100% of them, since your 99.9%
deliberately excludes the Mormons -- believe that they CAN know.Doesn't this, by your reasoning, make your position (that they CANNOT know)
"ridiculous"? If being a member of a relatively small minority (of
only fourteen million) makes one "ridiculous," what about YOU?If you respond that virtually every other human being is wrong on this
point, you fatally undercut your position that the mere fact of being in a
minority proves a person not only mistaken but "ridiculous."
How is the restored gospel in fact true?What evidence is there that
the Book of Mormon is truly a record of people who emigrated from Israel around
600 BC? What evidence do we have that the temple ordinances are
divine?What proof do we have that Thomas Monson has been chosen by
God?All of these claims and many others made by the LDS church are
just that, claims and not truths. After living my life on Level A
but then reading LDS church-sourced books and documents before the Internet Age,
I fought against anybody that was "anti-mormon" for the next 15+
years. I have since realized that by so doing, I was "anti-thinking"
and "anti-reasoned." I'm not on Level B nor on Level C
but rather on I guess Level D as I don't believe the LDS church to be any more
inspired than the Baptist or any other "church." I believe in God but
I don't believe that any human being on the planet speaks for God for another.
I view the LDS church as an organization that is comprised of mostly
well-meaning good people and leaders. I think that most though are too used to
just bowing their head and saying yes and are indeed, "anti-thinking and
Thank you for this excellent article. It was very enlightening and greatly
appreciated. The writer is well informed and makes perfect sense to anyone who
is not angry for one's own inward reasons. I too know that the Church of
Latter-day Saints is truth restored. It is indeed the exact same church that
Christ established on the earth prior to His crucifixion. God bless you, Dan
Peterson, for your in tact article.
Very interesting article. If Dr. Peterson finds out where Dr. Kimball's
original article can be found, I hope that information will be made available.
I would like to read Dr. Kimball's original article, but Dr. Peterson's summary
reflects my own opinion about LDS Church history.
Nice scholorly work Mr. Peterson. Unfortunately, I think you were writing
beyond the understanding level of most of the readers. They wanted you to
provide "proofs" about LDS history. To me that was clearly not the
intent of your article. I have enjoyed reading your articles, and look forward
to future submissions.
Verdad - the point I was trying to make, which apparantly you missed, is that
nobody can truly KNOW if their religion is the truth. See, if the muslims know,
and the catholics know, and the mormons know, then there is a problem. Clearly
they can't all be right. And you can't put your own beliefs (mormonism) above
others stating that you know it is right, and they must all be wrong. They can't
all be right, so how could they all get the witness that theirs is truth if it
isn't? Somewhere there is a problem with the method in determining what truth
is. 500 million catholics is pretty powerful - many I am sure are quite certain
that they have the truth. So people should stop saying they KNOW, because
clearly they can't.
When I studied math in my first few years of school, (kind of like the level A
study of religion) we learned to know that certain symbols represented amounts
and that with using the symbols/numbers we could know how much of whatever we
had. We learned to add, subtract, divide and multiply. It worked in life. We
could make money, buy and sell products and enjoy life. For most of us that is
all we needed to know of math. Then we were introduced to fractions
and there was algebra, where we learned that 1 + -1 = 0 ?! At first it seemed
that they had lied to us in grade school? One plus one does not ALWAYS make
two?? WHAT?? Then we were introduced to geometry and more "higher
math". What are all these letters doing mixed in with my math problems? Why
don't they just give us the facts to start with? Why are they "hiding"
things??? We may have felt confused and betrayed. If we manage to
not "quit school to run away and join a circus" (or todays'
equivalent)-- we may just get to level C.--- IF we hang in there to study,
listen well, and do our homework, trusting that the teachers probably know what
they are talking about, as their lives seem to be in order and we know of so
many who have graduated from college? Now, for some of us, a LITTLE
algebra is enough, we are more the business math type. We may decide we don't
really need calculus or physics (or to find the solution to every anti
challenge), because what we have/know, gets us where we want to go. We do not
have to spend our time on calculus problems etc because we can see that people
are a bit like plants, in that "by their fruits ye shall know them."
The fruits of the LDS are good. We enjoy our freedom and allow
everyone to make their choices & mistakes as we can usually return to school
even in old age (repentance). We just encourage people to not "drop
out" when they hit the higher math (level C), nor judge others as idiots or
worse. It has worked for me and now I like to think of myself kind
of like a free "math tutor", where I encourage others to check with
the whole flow of the Bible, see if the info source is canonized, (Journal of
Discourses is not) if the quote is in context, if this is just a
"strawman", or a distortion that ends up so distorted that it is a
lie. Does the promoter of this information have a conflict of interest, or maybe
they just trusted the person that gave them the info, though that person didn't
do their due diligence, but only accepted the professionally paid anti works at
face value? I don't enjoy higher math in real life, but I love the
Lord Jesus Christ and his gospel!
We are basically being told by Brahmabull that no one can know the truth about
things spiritual because it is all in the mind and nothing concrete. Yet, the
Lord constantly tells us through the Holy Scriptures (whether the Bible or the
Book of Mormon) that we CAN know the truth of all things. All we have to do is
ask and it shall be given to us. Knowledge comes from practical experience just
as much as it does through someone teaching it to us.The Holy Ghost
reveals all spiritual truth to us if we ask with a sincere heart, real intent
and with complete humility. Yet, others state this is hogwash, you can't know.
They refuse to acknowledge that this truth is able to be obtained. They simply
follow the ideas of the flesh versus the mysteries of God. It doesn't meet
their criteria so you can't know. THIS IS FALSE. You can know and it is able
to be obtained. Yes, I DO KNOW that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Saints
is the only true and living Church of Jesus Christ on the earth. That knowledge
has come through direct revelation to me.
Very true. The Restoration does stand up as genuine American church history.
However, the subsequent LDS church's falsification and whitewashing of it
certainly does not. And yes, Bill in Nebraska, I DO KNOW that the LDS Church is
NOT the only true and living Church on the earth.
Gramajane:Your example really isn't analogous to the
thesis/antithesis/synthesis that Dr. Peterson is presenting here. The antithesis
of addition/subtraction isn't fractions or algebra; they are simply expansions
of the basic mathematics. All of the thesis/antithesis was performed over
thousands of years. The thesis was performed primarily by the Greeks as they
developed mathematics. Then, and over the ensuing years, antitheses were
performed and theses proven or discarded and synthesis was achieved. In
elementary school through high school, you were the beneficiary of this
synthesis.The problem with religion is that it is so subjective. The
religious thesis/antithesis/synthesis journey is a personal journey that cannot
be fully shared with others. You cannot give your inner feelings to someone
else, you can only relate or explain them in the hopes that someone else will
have similar feelings. For history, it depends on the documentation that is
available. So much can be lost that this model can become essential.The problem with Dr. Peterson's article is that he begins with a premise that
the thesis is true, that the antithesis is a direct onslaught by evil people to
destroy the thesis, and that the synthesis will be acceptance of the truth of
the thesis with slight alterations to allow for undeniable antithetical truths.
That is a biased and dishonest approach to arriving at truth. Instead, the
thesis should be viewed dispassionately, the antithesis be given as much weight,
each researched and evaluated, those elements that don't pass inspection
discarded and the rest synthesized into the accepted truth, whatever it may
be.Everything should be evaluated, including feelings that you have
during each stage of the journey. For example, Bill in Nebraska claims that we
can "know the truth of all things" through asking Jesus. This is the
thesis. We know because the Bible tells us so. The antithesis: But how do we
know that the Bible is truthful? Pray to God to get the answer that the Bible is
true so we can trust it to tell us that God answers our prayers which tell us
that the Bible is true so we can trust it to tell us that God answers our
prayers . . . Circular logic. Synthesis would be to bring the two of these
together in a way that make sense personally, and that would probably come down
to a battle between feelings and logic. I personally side with logic, and Bill,
evidently, with feelings. The thesis/antithesis/synthesis model is
an effective tool when used correctly. Unfortunately, Dr. Peterson didn't
explain that method.
Bill - if praying about whether something is true or not were so reliable then
we wouldn't have different religions. You see, many catholics, muslims,
methodists, etc. will probably say the same thing you said about their own
faiths - that they KNOW that it is true. So how can that be?? To know means a
sure knowledge, so not all people who claims to KNOW can really know. It is a
faulty method. You will probably say that there is something wrong with those
other people of other religions who claim to know, because you know yours is
right. So who is right here?? Answer? nobody. You can't claim, Bill, that your
knowledge is somehow more sure than theirs can you?? I am sure people of other
faiths have taken similar steps that you claim to have taken to know the truth.
So their answer is at least as valid as yours. That is the problem with your
method - it cannot possibly be counted as reliable in any way.
Dr. Peterson seems to be saying that "it doesn't matter when we make
mistakes because we're 'only human'", so when the leaders make mistakes
give them some lattitude.That's all well and good, unless you're
amongst those against whom the mistakes are being made.Just
"look to the next phase" when our charity and good works override the
bad things we do.I don't see how you can say that the
"restoration" stands up to the test of time when you can't find any
evidence of a Nephite/Lamanite civilization and you don't have the supposed
plates from which the book of mormon was translated.Mormon leaders
are really lacking credibility these days. Sure, they may be good people, but
that doesn't excuse teaching things that never happened as if they were the
truth, nor does it excuse "mistakes" that harm people and drive them
away from religion.
Brahmabull ... The fact that they cannot all be right doesn't force one to
conclude that none of them are right. And we aren't dealing with hundreds of
competing claims to truth, which would lead one to conclude Truth is impossible
to attain. Catholics, Protestants and LDSs all agree that Christ is the way to
the Father. The essential truth, if one believes the testimony of witnesses as
reported in the Gospels. Their disagreements involve questions of the exact
nature of Christ, proper way to baptize (though not on the need for it), and
other issues one may consider not essential. We will not be condemned to eternal
torture because of our position on transubstantiation vs consubstantiation with
reference to the Sacrament, for example. A claim to Truth is not
also a claim to exclusivity. Confusion that it is is the reason people react
with anger to claims of Truth. "How dare your Church tell a Muslim he/she
is going to Hell?!" But of course the LDS Church doesn't believe that.
Catholics do; Protestants do. We can know Truth without knowing it
completely, exhaustively. I know my children, yet I don't know them totally ...
and I talk to them daily, was there when they were small. Based on written
testimony of 11 men who skedaddled when Christ was arrested yet regrouped and
preached His message unto the point of death, I believe the Tomb was empty and
that He has risen. This belief compels me to read His message and to follow it
as best I can, but there is no expectation or responsibility for me to know
everything about Him exhaustively. The only fundamental, core
question - for me - regarding the LDS Church is this: did Joseph Smith see, hear
and translate the things he said he saw, heard and translated. All other
questions discussed here and elsewhere are secondary considerations which have
or should have no influence in determining the truth or falsehood of claims made
by the Church. Did he, or didn't he? An open-minded investigation of
his life lead me to conclude that he did experience what he said he experienced.
But I never have believed that I had total, 100% knowledge of all issues
questioned by non-Mormons. Or of anything else, for that matter. Faith mixed with the small bit of Truth I do claim to know is enough for me.
Love this. It makes sense.