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  1. One thing I think is interesting is that I think for some group of people (including not just John Dehlin but several other folks who eventually have faith crises and abandon religion), it won’t ever make sense to engage with religion outside of the “secular” claims, effects, and impacts. I think that’s why that keeps coming up.

    …But I think this can be worked with to try to synthesize something with what Loyd and Dan are trying to say.

    I think John’s basic argument is that we can’t get away from the secular claims, effects, and impacts of religion because (as he sees it), people join religions because of “secular” claims, effects, and impacts. People make fundamentally life-altering decisions because of those secular claims, effects, and impacts. John’s contention is that without those secular claims, effects, and impacts, Mormonism in specific (or religion in general) would be less appealing.

    So, for both Loyd and Dan, who wish to assert that there’s something to religion (religious claims, effects, and impacts) that have merit that is separate and distinct from the secular, and persist despite whatever is going on in the secular (to use the extreme example…if we concede the worst of the secular accusations against Joseph, we could concede that maybe he should have been jailed…but he could still be a prophet at the same time), the question is whether or not that religious value could persist even in full disclosure of secular issues.

    It seems John’s answer is a strong: “no”. To use the modified Old Car Zion analogy with Loyd’s quick response, people won’t care how comfy the seats are if the car doesn’t isn’t an ambiturner. People will not spend the price of a car for comfy seats, but they will spend the price of a car if they think the car can take them places (and can turn both ways, etc.,)

    However…I’m not sure that the church itself, Loyd, or even Dan actually think the answer to that question is “Yes”.

    Here’s my breakdown:

    1) The church continues to promulgate a narrative that includes secular claims. Institutionally, for whatever reasons, the church is still committed to that. (Maybe it’s because, as Loyd discusses, the church has fallen prey to its own conceptual confusion. But I suspect this conceptual confusion is so thoroughgoing precisely because it helps the church institutionally — it helps them persuade people to join.)

    2) For Loyd, the argument is a little less strong, but I took Loyd’s comments about myths not being “self-conscious” to imply that there is value to not be forthright about the fictitious nature of mythic events. That is, even if myths have value while not having literally occurred, that value can be obscured or destroyed if one goes around saying, “Now, this didn’t happen, but….”

    3) For Dan, there seems to be a component of “living into” religiosity. The problem is that this takes time and it’s difficult to accomplish. Even if Mormonism “points outside of itself,” it’s not easy to ascertain that truth (which also probably supports why the conceptual confusion has become so prominent in the first place). The higher truths of religion may be incredibly valuable, but they are also incredibly difficult to access (all that pesky ineffability)), and you generally can’t directly impart that value. So, myths are inculcated as scaffolding to covertly prepare people to live with the religion long enough to prime them for the those higher truths.

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