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Discussion of the documents may be more descriptive than analytical.
As one who has been on the front lines of modern Mormon apologetics, Michael Ash is well positioned to comment on the ways in which the endeavor has been executed, for better and for worse, on the Internet. He notes a great deal of confusion among Mormons over what apologetics actually is and whether it is a useful undertaking. Much of this is due, contends Ash, to the fact that on Internet message boards, a wide variety of methods may be used, and those involved have varied levels of expertise and professional demeanor. It can become easy to paint all Mormon apologetics with a broad brush based on a limited number of on-line experiences. If those experiences are with individuals who are not careful in their methods and intemperate in their approaches, the entire enterprise may receive a black eye.
It is easy to see how critics and mainstream Mormons alike could conclude from these various verses that the Book of Mormon describes a phenomenon whereby the skin of the unrighteous actually became darker until they repented, when it then became lighter. In response to the critics who claim that Mormons are racists, apologists have developed a number of alternative interpretations of these verses, suggesting that these verses should be read metaphorically or that they refer to cultural rather than physiological differences.
Conflicting perspectives thesis statements
Similarly, if one were to respond with historical evidence to an argument that the witnesses of the plates on which the Book of Mormon was written did not really see the plates, Ericson might say that this is an exercise in historical scholarship and not “apologetics.” Yet again, by the ordinary meaning of the words, defending with historical documents the claim that there were witnesses who saw the plates helps to defend the religious claim that the Book of Mormon is the word of God.
Ericson’s argument that apologetics cannot be used to support religious claims also depends on such narrow definitions of religious claims and apologetics that it is not relevant to a discussion of most criticisms against the Church. For example, in what is generally called Christian apologetics, it is commonly argued that Mormons are not Christians. This argument might rely on creedal statements about the Godhead, or it might point to various scriptures that are interpreted by creedal Christians differently than Mormon Christians. Presumably, Ericson would not object to a Mormon responding to this argument, but he would likely call the exercise one of theology and not of “apologetics,” since it addresses theological claims and not “religious claims.” Nevertheless, the effect of a Mormon response to this argument would be to defend what most people would likely say are core religious claims of the Church.
Introducing Conflicting Perspectives Thesis Statements
I invite the reader of this review to compare Densley’s conclusion that a chapter about women in apologetics written by a woman apologist “harshly” criticizes apologetics to the conclusion found in the chapter itself,
I think it necessary to provide a sample of the chapter’s content from one of the women Densely completely ignored throughout his wandering review,
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Conflicting perspectives thesis statements
–“Furthermore, when theology and historical research are used to respond to critics of the Church, this scholarship can help create the space within which spiritual conviction can thrive.” Ericson and I have a difference of opinion on this point that is addressed in my review. And with respect to the remaining quotes, I see no need to respond as they all simply represent areas of disagreement.
Conflicting perspectives thesis statements
–“An exception to this may be where the Book of Mormon and the Doctrine and Covenants specifically indicate that witnesses should be relied on to establish the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon.” Apparently Ericson is claiming that the witnesses who handled the plates had merely a visionary, and not a physical, experience. If so, I disagree with the assumption Ericson is making in this regard. Furthermore, Ericson’s other comments regarding witnesses are similarly based upon an assumption with which I disagree.
But, atthe same time, Ramayana can give much also to non-Hindus.
–“Loyd Ericson attacks apologetics . . .” I can understand how Ericson may find the word “attack” to be a bit strong. I tried very hard to adopt a moderate tone in my critique and in retrospect, I can see how the tone would have been even more moderated if I had used a word other than attack. Nevertheless, I do not see this as misreading or misrepresenting Ericson’s piece as he is explicitly arguing against the use of apologetics.
If we go to traditional societies, the situation is different.
As the author of “The Role of Women in Apologetics,” and a founder of FairMormon, I am saddened that I feel constrained to write this. A reader of this review would have no way of discerning that over half of the chapter that Densely criticizes and rewrites is interviews of women explaining their journey and heart felt motivation to defend their faith. Instead, the reviewer’s interest centers around a minor section of the chapter exploring possible data driven reasons why more women don’t engage in apologetics. Throughout, he misstates, misuses and misrepresents my data and content.
ReligiousEducation in The Primary School (London, Simon & Schuster)
It is not surprising that Ericson would disagree with my assessment of the chapter he wrote as well as my assessment of the book in general since he is the editor and works for the publisher. However, to claim that I was misreading or misrepresenting nearly every chapter, and doing so with malintent and bad faith, is utterly unjustified. Ericson produces no evidence to support this extreme statement. It would indeed be egregious if I had, for example, used a quote from the book, but omitted language from the quote so that the author appeared to say just the opposite of what was intended. However, I have done no such thing. Instead, Ericson points to a few instances where he seems to have misunderstood what I have written and some instances where we may have an honest difference of opinion. But the fact that I do not agree with everything Ericson has written does not mean I am misreading or misrepresenting him. It is possible for two people to understand one another and still disagree.
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