Saturday Session Thoughts

Hawkgrrrl Mormon 118 Comments

These are just a few quick observations from today’s sessions, not every talk, though, nor every observation.  I also want to direct attention to the excellent notes by Mme. Curie.

E. Scott

  • The porn warning, usually reserved for Priesthood session, goes mainstream.  Sisters, this is what equality feels like!
  • The analogy of trying to taste a grape (revelation) while eating a jalapeno (experiencing strong emotions like anger or passion) was interesting.  He was advocating stoicism, and it reminded me of that Greek philosophy.
  • He suggested teachers should sometimes close the manual and teach through the spirit.  Were the correlation committee’s ears burning?

E. Bednar

  • It was nice to hear some real life examples of a high ranking leader’s failed FHE attempts.  I particularly liked “he’s breathing my air.”  What parent hasn’t heard that sibling complaint?

Pres. Uchtdorf

  • Lovely talk about how to become a disciple of Christ and the importance of love.
  • Referred to “heavenly parents,” which reminded me of what my 11-year old son said the other morning when I mentioned the idea that we have a Heavenly Mother.  He said, “Well, I never heard of her!”

E. Oaks

  • This talk might be best understood when compared to E. Oaks’ much-criticized interview on homosexuality.  He tempered several of the things that were uncomfortable to people about those statements, including:
    • rather than “mandating” what parents should do about wayward children, he said parents were entitled to their own revelation.
    • he said it might be extreme to shun wayward kids (and also extreme to ignore their behaviors)
    • he used cohabitation as an example, not homosexuality, indicating that chastity was the issue, not the specific way in which the law of chastity is broken (IOW, placing homosexual and heterosexual violations of the law of chastity on equal ground, where they theologically if not politically belong).

E. Hales

  • This was an anti-atheism talk about Korihor.  E. Hales was confident that those who pray to know if God exists will believe that he does.
  • I just saw the movie The Invention of Lying last night, which was somewhat atheist, but also totally awesome.

E. Callister

  • Contrast of JS’s flaws with those of Peter in the NT was a nice idea, although none of JS’s actual flaws were discussed.

E. Kent Watson

  • Temperance in all things.  He obviously stole my “Moderation in All Things” Post.  Seriously, dude.  Just ask next time.

E. Packer

  • Did this talk while seated – is his health failing?

I also noticed a LOT of uses of the word “believe” in place of “know.”  This could be becoming a new trend, and if so, I applaud it!

What did you think?  Any thing you particularly liked or didn’t?  Discuss!

Comments

comments

Comments 118

  1. I was able to listen to almost all of the talks today and I really enjoyed the ones that I heard. I loved the emphasis on God’s love for His children and the overall importance of loving one another. I liked the talk about not being a hypocrite by expressing love at church, but not at home and I also the talk about consistency being the most important thing in relation to FHE, scripture study, etc. rather than having the “perfect” lesson, or experience.

  2. I also noticed a LOT of uses of the word “believe” in place of “know.” This could be becoming a new trend, and if so, I applaud it!

    That would be a VERY welcome change!

  3. I only heard bits and pieces, but the one thing that disturbed me about E. Callister’s talk was the emphasis on “what Joseph knew when he walked out of the grove.” What about the multiple accounts of the first vision?

    The apologists would have us believe that Joseph’s understanding of the nature of God evolved over time. But, that means when he “walked out of the grove” he didn’t know all those things.

    You can’t have it both ways! Either his understanding evolved, which explains the different (and always getting better) versions of the vision, or the different versions of the vision is a problem because he told people something different than what he learned when he “walked out of the grove.”

    Maybe I’m not explaining this well, but it really bothered me.

  4. Also, I can’t remember who said it, but one speaker mentioned God’s progression, and I was reminded of the newest Gospel Principles manual. That concept has been removed. So in the future, the attentive convert who goes through Gospel Essentials class may be a bit bewildered upon hearing this doctrine in Conference. Not to mention any young children who are not taught this at home or at Church.

  5. Elder Callister’s talk seemed to hint at historical issues and JS’s flaws, but gave no details. Then, he dismissed any concerns over these non-described issues. I fear that many orthodox members will use this as an exuse to treat disaffected members in an unkind way.

  6. Priesthood session. I was enjoying Pres. Monson’s message about anger and then he started off on the Thomas Marsh “milk stripping story.” He took it even further then Elder Bednar did last conference. This time he stated that Thomas Marsh was not only responsible for the persecution of all the saints in Missouri but also triggered the “extermination order.” Wow. So taking Pres. Monson’s admonition to not get angry, I did a mind trick. I imagined him and church historians in his office after Elder Bednar’s use of the story last conference and having a good laugh, and then this conference trying out a inside joke/prank by one upping the rookie Apostle by taking the yarn /dastardly make believe deed of Marsh even further. That way it was entertaining for me and I was not “angry.” Message sent.

  7. Pinkpatent (#9) – Unfortunately, they are not really likely to address the legitimate concerns of the church history in a General Conference setting, mostly because of the confusion that it would cause. Can you imagine if they started to go into details about JS’s polyandrous relationships over the pulpit at GC? That said, I would have hoped that they would have backed off from making comments about the “minor flaws” of Joseph Smith. Even if you aren’t going to admit that the historicity concerns are legit, please don’t trivialize people’s issues by calling them minor! I find it ineffective to tell individuals dealing with doubt or concerns that they are “selling their birthright for a mess of pottage” or to “just pray it away”.

  8. The talk that made me most sad was Elder Oak’s. Indicating that “The wrath and fury of God are proof of His love for us” only gives abusive husbands a new excuse to use on their “unruly” wives. Plus, I disagree fundamentally with Elder Oak’s comments that God’s love for us is conditional on our obedience. God loves us no matter what – recall all of the scriptures of how God’s arms are perpetually open and awaiting us. Perhaps a better analogy than God’s love being conditional might have been that God’s approval for our actions is conditional.

  9. #12 “Only gives abusive husbands a new excuse to use on their “unruly” wives – a bit of a stretch given the broader context of the conference’s emphasis on Christ-like love, discipleship, etc. Perhaps it would be helpful to review the text of the Priesthood sessions where the Bretheren save their harshest criticism for anyone not treating family with love and respect.

  10. Madam Curie, I also worry about the message from Elder Oaks. If I was inclined to try to force my disaffected husband to “shape up”, I would certainly find justification in his words. It seemed like he was trying to put a righteous spin on unrighteous dominion. And yes, I do think women can exercise unrighteous dominion just as much as men.

  11. Madam Curie, I loved Elder Oaks’ talk – mostly because it is SO hard to talk about the balance between love and law, justice and mercy, inclusion and morality, etc. Seriously, it’s brutally hard – and I thought the entire talk as a whole did a masterful job of walking that very fine line.

    Yeah, it was coming from a brilliant judge, so it was easy to get a message from some parts that I believe are not the message of the whole – but I took it as ONE expression of the need to balance what was being preached so dominantly in at least four other talks. There were at least four talks that focused almost exclusively on the need to love others (and a couple of more where that theme was at least central to the overall message). I saw Elder Oaks’ talk as a simple admonition to realize that full, deep love includes more than JUST the touchy-feely, warm fuzzies – that sometimes (rarely, but sometimes) it also includes disappointment, firm stances and even anger.

    I agree with that, even as I agree with the other talks (and, frankly, Elder Oaks’ talk) that the dominant expressions of love should NOT be that side of the coin.

  12. “It seemed like he was trying to put a righteous spin on unrighteous dominion.”

    Fwiw, that message isn’t in what he said at all. Anyone can spin anything to make it say what they want it to say (not saying that’s what you were doing, pinkpatent and Madam Curie), but Elder Oaks simply didn’t “put a righteous spin on unrighteous dominion” – and I guarantee he wasn’t trying to do so. I guarantee that.

  13. I always try to give the benefit of the doubt. So, I will go back and listen to his talk again. I love to hear Elder Oaks speak, his voice is so great. I guess I am sensitive to stuff like this because of DH’s disaffection. Thanks for pointing this out, Ray. I will revisit. I want to see and hear the best of what our leaders have to say. I do remember him saying that it is not right for parents to disown their children.

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    The other redeeming element to Oaks’ talk was that he talked about self-destructive behaviors. I think most can agree that it’s not loving to enable self-destructive behaviors; however, I think a good chunk of the criticism of this talk points to a real problem people face: “Lord, protect us from your followers.” IOW, what will some church members (unwisely and ill-advisedly) use this talk as justification to do?

  15. Yeah, Hawk, that is my only concern about it (and it is a valid and real concern) – but I can’t fault Elder Oaks for saying what he said. Those who are going to misapply are going to misapply – both inside and outside the Church.

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  17. Is there going to be a follow-up thread about Sunday’s sessions? I am especially interested to hear people’s thoughts on Elder Holland’s talk re the Book of Mormon on Sunday.

  18. brjones-

    I am surprised that there hasn’t been a follow-up on Sunday’s sessions. FWIW, I loved Elder Holland’s talk and his conviction in what he said. How did you feel about it?

  19. I wonder what prompted Elder Holland’s talk? I was dissapointed to hear the Thomas B. Marsh milk story told again during the Priesthood Session.

  20. I found Hollands line of reasoning problematic if the target audience was those who are considering leaving the Church. If his target audience was the already believing crowd, then his talk was just a tailgate party. There was some cheerleading, and he also burned the other teams mascots, but very little serious analysis other than a brief report on home team conditioning.

  21. #25 – I felt the same way, Cowboy. I don’t see how it’s helpful, or Christlike, to call names and cast aspersions on people who reject the BofM or leave the church. He called nonbelievers “fools,” and their justifications for rejecting the BofM “pathetic.” Then he went on about how people who leave the church must crawl out on their bellies like gutless cowards who know the BofM is true, but just don’t want to live it. I have always found Elder Holland to be bellicose and adversarial, and I think this talk took that propensity to new levels. I agree that it was basically a rah rah talk for TBMs, and one that is meant to demean and marginalize those who have problems with the church and the BofM. I’ve already heard from one active member friend who is concerned that she may need counselling because her husband does not have the level of testimony of the BofM that Elder Holland forcefully argued a true believer MUST have. My biggest gripe with the talk is that there was very little substance. He resorted to anecdote and used massive assumptions to back up his contentions about JS and HS and how their actiosn relate to the truthfulness of the church.

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    I think the one strength of E. Holland’s talk was that he focused on the “divinity” and the spiritual power of the BOM. Arguments about authenticity were not really offered, just ‘burning the other team’s mascot,’ as Cowboy pointed out. But if the focus is just on its spiritual power, that’s a very personal and appropriate way to look at it. I grant you, he took swipes at the non-authenticity camp without offering anything substantial to that conversation, but whatevs. Obviously, he doesn’t give any credence to that camp, so it is what it is.

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    “people who leave the church must crawl out on their bellies like gutless cowards who know the BofM is true, but just don’t want to live it” Wow, I must have been paying too little attention. I’ll have to go back and read the transcript on this one. I have to agree this is pretty divisive and unnecessary, but when you are burning a straw man, what the hey.

  24. #28 – Obviously that was my interpretation, although he did say that people who leave the church must “crawl” out. I just don’t understand what the point is in demeaning and marginalizing those who don’t have a testimony of the BofM. He didn’t reserve his vitriol for academics who have attacked the church. He specifically included members who leave the church. So it’s more important to rally the true believers than it is to encourage those with doubts to hang in there? I don’t get it. I’m an idiot and I’m going to rot in hell? Well, that sure makes me eager to reconsider the BofM and the church. That talk was red meat for a partisan crowd, and nothing more.

  25. Well, I would like to see a post about E Holland’s talk as well, but I’m not sure I’m the one to do it. Here are some brief thoughts:

    1. I agree with EH that the BoM is a powerful witness of JS no matter how you spin it. I agree that I haven’t found a satisfying explanation of it either (including JS’s).
    2. However, I tend to fall on the side of it being a 19th century text and that we just haven’t come up with the right explanation (and maybe never will).
    3. JS and HS dying for their beliefs is not an evidence of the BoM being true in my book. We could apply this same argument to other religious leaders and I don’t think it would hold water. Shoot, we could apply this to many people who die for their ideals and it doesn’t make their ideals right. What it does say is the JS and HS believed that what they were doing was right.
    4. Emotion, emotion, emotion. An appeal to emotion is how one sells religion. Always has been, always will be. No one elicits more emotion in me than Elder Holland. But for me, this just doesn’t mean something is true. I have let go of that idea as I realized that many of my prior feelings (not necessarily related to Mormonism) led to irrational and false claims.
    5. What about the Quran? It has been scrutinized at least as much (and probably more) than the BoM. What explanation do we give for it? What happens if we accept Muhammed’s claims as we are wont to do with JS and the BoM? We are not embracing Islam or Islamic teachings in the LDS church. Do we reject Muhammed’s claims? There are no good explanations by critics for it either. What if we say, as we commonly do in Mormonism, that Muhammed only had part of the truth, but not a fulness? Couldn’t we say the same for the BoM? I find it extremely difficult to reject the Quran as being from God, and hence not becoming a Muslim, while admitting that BoM is from God as JS described and remaining Mormon. Just doesn’t work for me. In my mind, if I accept the BoM, I should probably give credence to the Quran and consider that God could be the author of both. If that’s the case, then what does that do to our exclusivity claims? Or was Muhammed just a stepping stone for Arabs to Mormonism?

    Overall, I liked conference, but there were a few things that bothered me. I didn’t like EH’s attitude toward unbelievers, and I was a bit bothered by Elder Hales criticism of atheists just before claiming we ought not to criticize others for their beliefs. I also thought it was strange how E Cristofferson talked a lot about getting rid of all the laws to govern our behavior, yet he was part of a campaign to write a law in the constitution governing personal relationships.

    OTOH, I really loved Elder Ballard’s talk in Priesthood session. It was honestly about the best talk I’ve heard in the past two years or so. I also loved the encouragement to us, by many of the speakers, to continue to serve, love, and treat others with love and dignity. I also thought it was interesting, and overall a good thing, that Pres. Uchtdorff elevated education to commandment status.

  26. I think what makes the talk more interesting is when it is contrasted against his commentary to Helen Whitney, of the PBS broadcast “The Mormons”, where he indicated that the Church really has no hard feelings against those members who do not entirely believe the Church’s claims. Based on the tenor of his recent talk, I think that stance is now more debatable, particularly given the groveling imagery conjured by his “crawling” analogy.

  27. “Failed theories about its origins have been born, parroted and died. From Ethan Smith, to Solomon Spaulding, to deranged, paranoid, to cunning genius. None of these frankly pathetic answers for this book has ever withstood examination. Because there is no other answer than the one Joseph gave as its young unlearned translator…I testify that one cannot come to full faith in this latter-day work and thereby find the fullest measure of peace and comfort in these our times until he or she embraces the divinity of The Book of Mormon and the Lord Jesus Christ of whom it testifies. If anyone is foolish enough or misled enough to reject 531 pages of a heretofore unknown text teaming with literary and Semitic complexity without honestly attempting to account for the origin of those pages somehow, especially without accounting for their powerful witness of Jesus Christ and the profound spiritual impact that witness has had on what is now tens of millions of readers, if that’s the case, then such persons elect or otherwise have been deceived. And if they leave this Church they must do so by crawling over or under or around The Book of Mormon to make their exit.” Jeffrey R. Holland

  28. [You say] there are stark choices in beliefs about the origins of the book. Explain why there’s no middle way.

    … If someone can find something in the Book of Mormon, anything that they love or respond to or find dear, I applaud that and say more power to you. That’s what I find, too. And that should not in any way discount somebody’s liking a passage here or a passage there or the whole idea of the book, but not agreeing to its origin, its divinity. …

    I think you’d be as aware as I am that that we have many people who are members of the church who do not have some burning conviction as to its origins, who have some other feeling about it that is not as committed to foundational statements and the premises of Mormonism. But we’re not going to invite somebody out of the church over that any more than we would anything else about degrees of belief or steps of hope or steps of conviction. … We would say: “This is the way I see it, and this is the faith I have; this is the foundation on which I’m going forward. If I can help you work toward that I’d be glad to, but I don’t love you less; I don’t distance you more; I don’t say you’re unacceptable to me as a person or even as a Latter-day Saint if you can’t make that step or move to the beat of that drum.” … We really don’t want to sound smug. We don’t want to seem uncompromising and insensitive.

    … There are some things we can’t give away. There are some foundational stones. If you don’t have those, you don’t have anything. So the First Vision, the Book of Mormon, those are pretty basic things. …

    Helen Whitney Interview With Jeffery R. Holland, as posted on the PBS website:http://www.pbs.org/mormons/interviews/holland.html

  29. Sorry. Didn’t get all of it copied.

    “In that sense, the book is what Christ himself was said to be a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense, a barrier in the path of one who wishes not to believe in this work.” Elder Jeffery R. Holland October 4, 2009 General Conference

  30. Re Hawkgrrrl #27
    “But if the focus is just on its spiritual power, that’s a very personal and appropriate way to look at it.”

    Yes, I agree, but that wasn’t the thing I took away. I felt that he was testifying to, and ultimately claiming that it was as authentic as JS said. I thought he was testifying to JS story of its origin at least as much, or more, than its spiritual power. You’re right, he didn’t offer arguments (well he offered one), rather just claimed it to be so. But maybe I am overly sensitive to the topic or something and had a bit of confirmation bias in there. I will need to read it.

    And I agree with Cowboy and brjones that the attitude towards any skeptics, not just academics, felt a bit mean-spirited. Definitely not what I have come to expect from EH.

    In any case, this won’t be good for my personal familial already-strained relationships. Gives them a bit of ammo. Ughh!

  31. I have a great fondness for Elder Holland, which is why his talk was so painful for me. I love that he loves the BoM, so do I. But, as the wife of someone who no longer believes, I would loved to have heard more “Let’s find things we can agree on”, and less “Criticisms of the BoM are pathetic”.

    I wish the GA’s could understand how those kinds of talks break the hearts of people like me. I am a believer, but the person I love most in this world, whom I am bound to by vows and sacred covenants and is the father of my children, is now among those who do not believe. I felt like Elder Holland was saying that my DH was somehow flippant, or cavalier, and just one day decided to stop believing. Nothing could be further from the truth. DH’s loss of belief broke his heart. Do the GA’s think that DH, and people like him, came to their conclusions on a whim? Can they not imagine that these people would love to see any scrap of evidence, no matter how small, that could help them to believe again?

    I love the BoM, and I believe, but my belief is based strictly on my faith and my having been raised with all things mormon, just like I was raised with my siblings. The BoM prophets are like part of my family. But faith and familiarity are not enough for everyone. Some people need more. They need evidence, however small it may be. If the GA’s insist that the BoM is a historical account of a civilization, then they should understand the need, by some, for artifacts, and other evidence that the civilization existed.

    Sorry to be so long, but I was so moved by Elder Holland’s talk from April conference, and I have such affection for him, that his message was difficult for me to hear. My DH is not trying to exit the church, on the contrary, he is struggling to stay. Consiliatory speech would go a long way to helping him, and me, in that struggle.

  32. “Do the GA’s think that DH, and people like him, came to their conclusions on a whim?”

    Elder Holland clearly believes this. He could scarcely hide his contempt for anyone too foolish or pathetic to see the obvious truth. Frankly I found his tenor a little shocking.

  33. Re #37
    “Elder Holland clearly believes this. He could scarcely hide his contempt for anyone too foolish or pathetic to see the obvious truth. Frankly I found his tenor a little shocking.”

    I think this is jumping to conclusions a bit too quickly. I also was not fond of the attitude, but this church is not going to make belief in the historicity of the BoM optional any time soon. This talk drives home that point. I view it like this: the church often makes strides in a particular direction, and then they pull it back as if seeking the right balance.

    For example, with SSA things got much better for a bit, then E Hafen pulled them back. E Holland talked a lot about not marginalizing those with wavering testimonies of the BoM, and then he pulled back. It really feels like they are just seeking for the right balance. One talk to give comfort to some, another talk that seems to undermine that point hence catering to a different crowd.

  34. I don’t totally disagree with this, jmb. I don’t think it’s much of an excuse, though. I don’t see how it undermines the church’s position in the absolute truth og the BofM to take a magnanimous approach to those who struggle with it. No one who is paying attention would see it as equivocation if EH said simply “the BofM is true, and although there are those who may genuinly struggle to allow understand this, yet it is absolutely true.”. Then he could add his powerful personal witness. Piling on about those who struggle with the BofM, especially to an audience that already has such strong negative feelings to such people, is just being vindictive.

    With respect to my possibly misunderstanding EH’s intent, I would say that one of, if not the defining characteristic of EH’s talks, is his unmistakable passion and unguarded emotion. It was on display again in this talk, and I think it was pretty clear how he feels about those who question the BofM or JS and HS’s stories. His tone was very contemptuous, in my opinion, and his words were unquestionably so.

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    “Emotion, emotion, emotion. An appeal to emotion is how one sells religion. Always has been, always will be.” Perhaps this made it hard to taste the grape over the jalapeno (to use E. Scott’s analogy).

  36. brjones, I so hope that you are wrong about Elder Holland. I also hope that the GA’s can figure out that those who no longer believe do not live in a “disaffection vacuum”. They have husbands, wives, children, parents and friends. Their disaffection touches dozens of other Latter Day Saints. The church should be finding every possible way for these people to stay in the church, because when they leave the often take many others with them.

  37. #41 – Well, obviously I’m looking at this from my own perspective, and others will have their own. That said, in this particular instance, I’m the target audience of many of his remarks, and I can only tell you what my impression is. I also think it’s regrettable that his remarks, while they don’t seem to be intended to push people further out the door, certainly don’t seem to be intended to make people feel like they’re welcome, regardless of the level of their belief. I agree, pinkpatent, that the church should be at least letting disaffected members know that they’re always welcome to participate and to come back. Instead, EH hangs a sign that essentially says “unless you believe the BofM 100%, don’t bother.” Even more disturbing, potentially, is that his remarks were directed at active members as well. What is the active member to think today, who is completely active and loves the church, but who has not been able to develop a burning testimony of the truth of the BofM? EH just dropped the shocking news that he or she is not one of the elect, by nature of that lack of testimony alone. Like I said, I just don’t see any upside to a talk like this. If you take out the negative and cutting remarks, and leave the rest, his talk would be a beautiful and powerful testimony of the BofM and JS and HS. What point is there in the rest, besides the petulant disire to push back at those who have been critical of the church? The active members aren’t any more active or any more believers in the BofM, I suspect, as a result of this talk. As a result of his testimony and other uplifting comments, yes, but I don’t think the negativity contributed to that.

  38. The thing I really liked about Elder Holland’s talk was his conviction. I don’t see it as emotion as much as I do passion and conviction in what he is saying. I respect that he had the courage to speak what he deeply believes and wasn’t afraid of what others will say or think of him. I think the reason so many people like him is because when he speaks, you know that he believes in what he is talking about and he doesn’t waver. I think those traits are admirable and deserve respect.

  39. Only if you want to give it to him, Dex. FYI, I wasn’t talking about Hitler, I was talking about Elder Holland. For me, if EH is who he claims to be, which is a special witness of Jesus Christ, then it is his responsibility to speak boldly and to testify. The choice is always there to believe or not to believe he is who he says.

  40. I agree with you, Jen. That’s why I felt comfortable with my perceptions of his motives. He is generally very direct and does not suffer fools, and I thought his feelings and meanings were pretty clear. Actually, I don’t have a problem with the position that the BofM is true, and if you don’t believe it you’re going to hell. But to act like it’s evident on its face, and anyone with a brain will recognize it, and anyone who rejects it is pathetic, and to intimate that those who leave the church are scurrying away from the obvious truth with their tails between their legs is not only insulting, it’s ironic. The Joseph Smith story may be true, but to tell those who have trouble believing the BofM’s authenticity that they are pathetic and foolish is the height of hilarity. He may well take a lesson from the man himself who said, sincerely I believe, that if he hadn’t experienced it first hand he not believe it. I guess the church has come a long way to the point that those who don’t believe are faithless idiots. That’s progress for you.

  41. I know who you were talking about. Thanks. I’m simply saying some great men have been passionate speakers, and some horrible men have been passionate speaker. You seemed to define EH as a great man BECAUSE he speaks with conviction. That doesn’t make him good. He very well may be a good person, but not because he speaks with conviction.

  42. brjones-

    “Actually, I don’t have a problem with the position that the BofM is true, and if you don’t believe it you’re going to hell.”

    I didn’t get from EH that if you don’t believe in the BOM that you are going to hell, but to each his own.

    “But to act like it’s evident on its face, and anyone with a brain will recognize it, and anyone who rejects it is pathetic, and to intimate that those who leave the church are scurrying away from the obvious truth with their tails between their legs is not only insulting, it’s ironic”

    I think it honestly doesn’t matter how an apostle testifies, people are going to take offense. People were offended by the Lord as well and there just isn’t much that can be done about that. I think it is a choice to be offended and if you choose to see EH as trying to offend then that is the way you see it. I see him as a man who believes to his very core what he is saying and because of his calling, I think that the way he spoke was appropriate. For me, it was nice to see someone boldly testify and to see his strength and faith in the BOM. I am sure that others took offense, but again, I look at that as a choice. If a person has already decided that the BOM isn’t true, then I don’t understand why EH would be offensive, because they don’t believe he speaks for God anyway and what he is saying is rubbish. I mean really, you either believe in the BOM or you don’t. If you’ve been there done that, then why would you care what he has to say anyway?

    Dex-

    No, I define EH as a great man because I believe he is an apostle of the Lord and I have heard him speak over the years and watched how he has lived. I just love the added fact that he speaks with conviction and passion in front of millions of people. That takes a lot of courage and I respect it. With so many people these days being wishy washy, it is nice to see someone speak clearly and with a sureness about what they believe.

  43. Jen, come on. You’ve got to be kidding. First of all, I’m not offended by EH’s talk, for the very reasons you stated. That doesn’t mean I can’t recognize something as plainly offensive or insulting. I agree with you that apostates are going to have a tendency to read into what church leaders say, especially when they’re being addressed directly. That’s a far cry from this instance, though, where EH used the terms “foolish” “pathetic” among other language. If anything, you’re reading meaning out of his words. If anyone on this site responded to another person by calling him or her a fool or pathetic, they would hear about it from all sides. But when an apostle does it he’s just bearing testimony? That position is pure apology, Jen. As you said, we believe what we believe, but EH is no less responsible for his words than anyone else.

    I also really appreciate the attitude of members who say “well you don’t believe he’s a prophet anyway so what do you care?”. Then why do democrats respond when republicans attack them? Why do mormons care when evangelicals trash them? Why do christians even bother responding to atheists such as Richard Dawkins? It’s a matter of truth, is all. I personally think EH made a number of gross generalizations and some misrepresentations inhis talk. And seeing as he was speaking directly to, or at least about me, I think it’s appropriate to respond. Fortunately for EH, there are millions of members who will only hear a beautiful and powerful testimony, even when the words, on their face, say “brjones, your reasons for leaving the church are pathetic; you are a fool and have been deceived.”. I’m thrilled that such language strengthens your testimony, Jen.

  44. I don’t think anybody would object that Elder Holland possess a certain magnestism when speaking can be very inspiring. I also don’t think anybody has a problem with his “passionate” belief in The Book of Mormon. My objection was that yesterday he used that passion to add insult to injury towards any Latter-Day Saint who was struggling with The Book of Mormon, or really any aspect of their faith in Mormonism much more broadly. Yesterday, they found out how pathetic their concerns over unresolved, and I stress UNRESOLVED, matters of historical conflict are. They were then characterised through denigrating imagery as those who would have to crawl under, around, etc, a Book, which he presumptuously contends cannot be reasonably refuted. Suffice it to say, passionately expressing feelings about ones religions; good. Passionately insulting those who don’t share your passion; not so good.

  45. Cowboy, I object to your interpreting Elder Holland’s words according to their plain meaning. Obviously all he was doing was bearing testimony, and any other interpretation you took away from his talk is due to your personal hangups. Besides, what are you doing listening to conference anyway?

  46. I’m trying, but I can’t get under, over or around this book that’s blocking my way. Maybe if I get on my belly and slither…

  47. Jen:

    “For me, it was nice to see someone boldly testify and to see his strength and faith in the BOM. I am sure that others took offense, but again, I look at that as a choice.”

    I think is worth being more specific about what exactly is causing offense. Nobody is offended at Elder Hollands testimony of The Book of Mormon. We are offended only at his direct insults towards those who do not share his belief. I am not offended at your testimony, nor you as a person, but you are respectful.

  48. For me, Elder Holland spoke words that I needed to hear and I was grateful for them. I have been living through the deepest trials of my life over the past several years and my faith in everything, especially God, has been severely tried. I don’t mind being called pathetic or a fool if that is what I am being. I like directness, and I appreciate people who get to the point. I respect Elder Holland and when I heard his words I was able to recognize something I have been missing for a long while. I remember sitting as a teen reading the BOM and having the words just flow through me and I felt the power in them. I had forgotten that for many years, and I have struggled in many ways. Elder Holland’s talk brought those memories to my remembrance and for me, his words are what it took to get through to me. I don’t feel it to be insulting, but refreshing to be brought back to a remembrance of something I had so easily forgotten.

    I understand that Elder Holland’s words are perceived as insulting to others and I can appreciate that. It is hard for me to understand though, how a person can feel insulted by someone that they don’t “value” in the sense of being an authority figure, but that is just me. I don’t tend to get insulted by people who I don’t value as having any authority or integrity. That has taken years of practice though and I also became very used to be called names everyday of my life for a long time and I think that I developed an ability at a young age to let things roll off my back and not get upset by it because otherwise I was constantly feeling negative.

    So, for me, Elder Holland said things I needed to hear and it was a positive experience for me. I am not unaware of how his talk is affecting others negatively though and I do feel it is important to hear and understand that side as well.

  49. I should clarify that I am not emotionally hurt by Elder Hollands comments. Rather, he made some intentionally denigrating remarks, so I took it that his intention was to denigrate those who members of the Church who aren’t sold on the message, such as me. Long story short, not hurt, and not impressed. If you were able to benefit from his comments, that is wonderful, but I think the sentiment behind his comments, and those to whom it was directed (you don’t challenge the authenticity of The Book of Mormon for example, do you Jen?) was fairly clear.

  50. Cowboy-

    I think that I have struggled with the BOM because I struggled with JS. Thanks for clarifying how you feel about what EH said. I am going to go back and listen to his talk again several times and try and hear it from a different perspective.

  51. From what I read, EH didn’t use the word “pathetic” to refer to any person. He used it to describe certain ideas, the “failed theories” of the origin of the BoM.

    And when he used the word “foolish”, he was referring to what I think is a specific intellectual action: the rejection of “531 pages of a heretofore unknown text teaming with literary and Semitic complexity without honestly attempting to account for the origin of those pages somehow, especially without accounting for their powerful witness of Jesus Christ and the profound spiritual impact” of that witness. My guess is that he is concerned that too many people have rejected the BoM based upon certain arguments or objections, without doing the due diligence of thoroughly looking at the other side. What is *intellectually* “foolish” or “dishonest” is to not grapple with *all* of the implications of the book’s origin and witness.

    I don’t think EH was talking to people who are spiritually struggling with the BoM, but rather to those who haven’t given the book a fair chance. Nevertheless, I’d agree that the words “pathetic” and “foolish” are loaded terms, and are too easily misheard or misconstrued. Which is unfortunate.

  52. It is always interesting to me that the interpretation of a talk or an article is always colored by our preconceptions. That two people can hear the same talk and hear totally different things. I just listened again to Elder Holland’s talk and this is what I came away with:

    1. He bore a powerful testimony of the book of Mormon.
    2. No mention about historicity. divine origin, yes, historicity, no.
    3. Said that the theories on any other origin of the book other than divine were debunked and pathetic
    4. That those who rejected the words of Jesus Christ found in the book were deceived
    5. In the last days, the very elect would be deceived.
    6. That Joseph and Hyrum would never have given up their lives for a deception
    7. that those who leave the Church would have to crawl over, under or around the Book of Mormon, much like those who do not accept Jesus Christ

    Nothing unkind or mean was said that I heard.

  53. Jeff Spector,

    Could I ask, what is your opinion of President Monson’s talk on Anger.

    1st the Horrific story of the abusive father

    2nd Thomas B Marsh?

    I have formed my own opinions but i’m struggling to rationalise a Prophet of God being so off the mark.

  54. Jeff:

    I would agree with your assesment. In retrospect, I think a large part of what compounded his words was the tenor of delivery. From a logical standpoint, the alternate theories on origins for The Book of Mormon have not been debunked, particularly the influence of Ethan Smith’s, A View of the Hebrews. Most LDS scholars reject them, but they have not been debunked, so to pre-qualify any of the common alternate explanations as pathetic was disingenuous. The manner in which he suggested apponents to the Book of Mormon would have to crawl around, was also an insult based again on that disingenuous assumption. He also assumed that Hyrum and Joseph “knew” that they were going to die in Carthage. I have no problem accepting that they understood the social gravity behind what submitting themselves the authorities entailed, I don’t however believe that they had any divine knowledge of what was impending. Despite Joseph’s famous declaration that he was going as a “lamb to the slaughter”, he was not “calm as a summers day”. If he knew that it was his purpose and mission to seal his testimony with his blood, then why would he have atttempted to save his own life. Why would he have been petitioning Governor Ford for protection. Just because a you can see a storm brewing, doesn’t mean you can predict the rain. While I don’t necessarily have an explanation for why a fraud would have persisted in playing the fraud, during their pending final hours, I can rationalize a few. You’re a religious fraud in some hot water, so you play the pious card, baring testimony to the guards, reading your scriptures and singing hymns (Isn’t that what Bryan David Mitchell does?) to come across as sincere.

  55. I also think your point is valid, Jeff. I agree completely that everyone is going to interpret what they hear according to their preconceived ideas and individual perspective. I also agree with Cowboy that a lot of it had to do with his manner of delivery. All that said, though, I still fail to see where his divisive rhetoric brought anything positive to the table from a church or member’s perspective. He could have said the exact same thing while acknowledging that there are people who genuinely struggle, and encouraging them to be more faithful or have more faith, in loving tones. He could have pointed out that all the theories of the BofM’s authenticity have come to naught and no person or group has been able to thwart it in its mission, without labeling any alternate theories as pathetic or foolish, and by extension those who may subscribe to such theories. Would any member appreciate hearing critics label the Limited Geography model as a pathetic attempt to reconcile theories that have been disproved? Whatever you believe, for the most part people are just trying to genuinely understand the truth as they see it. I don’t understand the point in running those people down, even indirectly. I would be interested if anyone here can put forth a position as to how that enhanced his testimony of the BofM.

  56. #55 – Jen, I also am not personally offended by Elder Holland’s remarks. I understand that implicit in my leaving the church is the idea that my friends and family think I’m leading my family down a path to hell. As has been pointed out, we all look at things from our own perspectives. While it doesn’t bother me to be told that I am wrong, it does bother me to be told that my concerns about the BofM, or any other aspect of the church, are foolish or pathetic, and to be made to feel like I’m either a dupe or a weak sister because I just can’t keep from being deceived. I have many friends and family members who have at least paid lip service to the idea that it can be easy to be confused and there are numerous aspects of the church and its history that can be difficult to reconcile. Even if they don’t totally understand my concerns, they have the common courtesy to respect the fact that people have different struggles. The things the church asks people to believe and accept are quite fantastic. By no means does that mean they aren’t true; but they are fantastic nontheless. It doesn’t seem like a stretch to acknowledge, as Joseph Smith did, that it can be difficult for some to accept.

  57. Cowboy, 61 there is so much to comment on, I will just pick a few.

    “Most LDS scholars reject them, but they have not been debunked, so to pre-qualify any of the common alternate explanations as pathetic was disingenuous. The manner in which he suggested opponents to the Book of Mormon would have to crawl around, was also an insult based again on that disingenuous assumption.’

    I would say that most scholars and others who have studied the issue have rejected them as the origins of the Book of Mormon. there are similarities, but no direct link has ever been established by anyone, so Elder Holland’s statement is correct and some of the arguments, oft repeated, without research are, in fact, pathetic for that reason. You, perhaps, don’t like the word used in that context.

    “The manner in which he suggested opponents to the Book of Mormon would have to crawl around, was also an insult based again on that disingenuous assumption.”

    No, that was based on scripture, “(1 Peter 2:7 – 8)
    7 Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner,
    8 And a stone of stumbling, and a crock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed.

    And he didn’t refer to opponents, he refered to those who ‘leave the church’ who do not accept the words of Jesus Christ contained in and the testimony of the book.

    “If he knew that it was his purpose and mission to seal his testimony with his blood, then why would he have attempted to save his own life.”

    Oh, so he should have committed “suicide by mob?”

    I suggest you re-listen to the talk

  58. #60, “I have formed my own opinions but i’m struggling to rationalise a Prophet of God being so off the mark.”

    what are you talking about?

  59. $64 – I think the objection is to the reference to crawling out of the church, not to the book of mormon being a stone. It seems difficult to deny that the imagery of anyone leaving the church doing so on their hands and knees is demeaning.

  60. I guess one can find offense in whatever one wants to find offense. It is a scripture quote. What is the real difference between crawling and stumbling?

  61. Post
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    I have to agree with brjones and Cowboy that the approach EH used is unlikely to win new converts to the BOM among the disaffected. Rush Limbaugh is not to my taste – emotional rallying cries that are only targeted to confirm the partisan lines that already exist. But, perhaps I am not the target audience. I don’t believe every talk is really for every person. I got good things from conference. This just wasn’t my talk. If EH considers some of the arguments against BOM authenticity pathetic, well, some are. So are some of the arguments FOR it. I hold to a spiritual view of it, but that doesn’t make a logical view of it a slam dunk.

  62. It’s also from the Book of Mormon as well as the Old Testament

    14 And he shall be for a sanctuary; but for a stone of stumbling, and for a rock of offense to both the houses of Israel, for a gin and a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem.
    15 And many among them shall stumble and fall, and be broken, and be snared, and be taken. (2 Nephi 18:14 – 15)

  63. #67 – Jeff, give me a break. No one is asking you to concede anything, but your comments are ridiculous. There is a significant difference between stumbling and crawling, especially in the context of someone being deceived and leaving the church. If you don’t think it’s significant, then fine, but don’t try to misconstrue the plain meaning of the words he used.

  64. #70, how foolish of me not to realize how ridiculous I was being. Here I thought he was creating a word picture, where he really meant crawling…..

  65. Jeff, obviously he was creating a word picture, or an emotional picture if you will. But, emotional crawling is no less demeaning than physical crawling. In fact, it is far more damaging. Why is it so difficult for you to accept the fact the other people FEEL differently than you, THINK differently than you, and BELIEVE differently than you?

    I am sure that for many, including yourself, Elder Holland’s talk was a rallying cry. But, for others it was hurtful, dismissive, and discouraging.

  66. #71 – Jeff, you have no idea how ridiculous you are being, as evidenced by the fact that you continue on with your ridiculous and condescending comments. If you don’t think there was anything wrong with Elder Holland’s comments, then fine. You’ve stated that position. You don’t need to continue to interject every third comment that “one can find offense in whatever one wants to find offense.” Yes, we’ve found offense. You’re offended that we’ve found offense. If that’s all you have to add, perhaps you can let the rest of us engage in a discussion that is useful for us. You don’t need to continue to demean our concerns by continuing to repeat that they are unfounded. I’m sure there’s yet another thread out there that you can find where you can be the lone voice of reason, enlightening every other commenter that they are wrong and you, as usual are right.

  67. #65 Jeff

    Gorge A Smith; Gordon B Hinckley; David A Bedner all propagated the unsubstantiated “faith Promoting story” of Thomas B Marsh’s reasons for leaving the church.
    However not until now has the President of the Church (Gods Mouth piece) taught these fables in GC.

    I don’t want to sound too strong, I have long held the belief that Prophets aren’t perfect and are not always inspired but it is different seeing it first hand.

  68. This is my first contribution to one of these discussions. Usually I just lurk. I wonder if the talk of EH was actually addressed to any of us. It seems to me however, this is one of the few occasions an appostle of the Lord pro-actively (Many in the world watching conference have never heard of these theories.) addressed a likely challange, discreditted it, and bore testimony of the truth. Just a thought…

  69. “I’m sure there’s yet another thread out there that you can find where you can be the lone voice of reason, enlightening every other commenter that they are wrong and you, as usual are right.”

    you’re probably right. See ya

  70. I am not sure that Peter had The Book of Mormon in mind when he declared Christ to be the “Stone of Stumbling”, or “Rock of Offense”. As for a direct link between the texts, there are some pretty pointed direct links, though I concede that matters are far from final. In manuscript found the description of rock covering the cave, and the use a lever to remove it, is bit coincidental, and is as equally profound as the supposed semetic complexities laden throughout The Book of Mormon. The similar conclusions and themes throughout “A View of the Hebrews” is also very coincidental, particularly when placed in the context of Ethan Smiths connection with Oliver Cowdrey and family, to be just dismissed out of hand. Is it absolute proof, no. Is it reasonable for speculation? Far beyond “pathetic” I would say. And those are the just basic, unexplained details that we are all familiar with, which have also been unaccounted for.

    Oh, so he should have committed “suicide by mob?”
    Jeff you are certainly aware of the fallacy of this statement. Did Jesus, therefore, commit “suicide by mob”. Of course not, but he allowed his mission to play out. Again, if it was incumbent upon Joseph Smith to seal his testimony with his blood, and he knew that going into Carthage, why the desperate attempt at petitioning Governor Ford, or shooting his assailants outside of their room, or issuing a recognizable sign of Freemasonry, that is none other than a plea for help, before either jumping from or falling through the jail window. Those are not the actions of a man confident that his mortal mission was complete.

  71. #75 – Maybe so. Like I’ve said, I honestly don’t have a problem with him addressing the issue. I don’t even have a problem with him discrediting theories that challenge the BofM. Obviously he’s a witness of the church and the BofM, so I wouldn’t expect anything less. I don’t think it’s offensive to declare unequivocally that any challenge to the BofM is absolutely wrong, or even that they are inspired by the devil. I just don’t understand why he had to go a step further and make it an attack on those who question the BofM based on such theories, and particularly those who leave the church. If his intent was merely to strongly discredit those alternate theories of the BofM’s origin, then it was very short sighted, because his condemnation caught up a lot of individuals who may wonder if such theories are true. Since when are people with genuine questions condemned in such strong language? And no, I don’t think you can separate the harsh language toward the theories from those who hold such theories. Maybe no offense was intended (although I don’t believe this to be the case) but as pinkpatent and jmb275 have pointed out, this kind of language makes life infinitely harder for those who have questions, and who are already in a tough position with loved ones because of those doubts. I don’t think it engenders an attitude of understanding or longsuffering, but rather one of impatience and intolerance. Maybe that’s what the church wants. Like I said, I just don’t understand it at all. It’s polarizing, when it seems to me that the goal is to bring as many people (non-members, ex-members, inactive members, etc.) to christ, through the church/gospel, as possible. I don’t see how this furthers that goal.

  72. BrJones:

    I would encourage you to rethink your dismissal of Jeff. I share your views, and disagree with him on many points, but I think his participation in these discussions is always beneficial to the entire group.

  73. Jeff-

    FWIW, I appreciate the comments you make and like hearing different viewpoints. I especially appreciate the way you broke down Elder Holland’s talk in comment #59 and I am looking forward to listening to his talk again with these points in mind.

  74. I don’t understand why Jeff keeps saying that if you are quoting scriptures it can’t be offensive. That makes no sense. If I said a millstone should be hung around Brjones’ neck and he should be thrown in the ocean for his views and it would be better for him that he had never been born that would be pretty insulting, wouldn’t it? I don’t think the “but it’s from the scriptures” argument would make it any less offensive.

  75. Yes it’s hearing different viewpoints I can’t handle, not someone telling me that when Elder Holland told me I crawled out of the church he really just meant I stumbled over the Book of Mormon, or that my interpretation of his remarks, even though shared by virtually everyone else in this thread, is my own paranoid imagination. Come back, Jeff. I’ll leave.

  76. Re: 79
    I agree with Cowboy. I enjoy the faithful perspective as well as the perspective of the critic. I truly wish we could maintain a higher level of discourse here that is more respectful and does not allow anger to take control.

  77. Re: 40 hawkgrrrl
    “Perhaps this made it hard to taste the grape over the jalapeno (to use E. Scott’s analogy).”

    Yes, you’re probably right. And not just for me, but for others as well potentially.

    “emotional rallying cries that are only targeted to confirm the partisan lines that already exist. But, perhaps I am not the target audience. I don’t believe every talk is really for every person. I got good things from conference. This just wasn’t my talk.”

    Very well said!

  78. #85 – Let me say this in a calm way that has nothing to do with anger. I have absolutely no problem with hearing the view of the believer, or anyone else. I would challenge anyone who doubts this to go back over the past year and read my interactions with any number of believers with whom I actively disagree, many of whom I have defended in their beliefs. I will be the first to admit that I have the capacity to overreact in certain instances, but to intimate that I can’t handle or am not interested in the perspective of a believer is false. I’ve had a number of run-ins with Jeff, who I consider to be generally defensive and condescending when his beliefs are criticized. For whatever reason, I have a hard time dealing with him, and inasmuch as it is detrimental to the dialogue, I will sign off. It has nothing to do with my capacity to deal with or appreciate, or interest in discussing, viewpoints that are different from my own. To the degree that this context supports it, it is completely personal with respect to Jeff.

    It’s all yours Cowboy.

  79. Dexter:

    Your on it now, I wished I would have been around for that one. I am sort of in and out now based on my schedule, so sorry I couldn’t be of help. If it’s any consolation I’ll go ahead and second whatever you said on that one.

    Brjones: I’m certainly not suggesting you don’t have a point. The talk did not leave me with a warm fuzzy on The Book of Mormon, as much as it made me think that Elder Holland is just arrogant.

  80. brjones-

    I think we all tend to have a person or people that we have a harder time dealing with than others for whatever reason. We are all human, so that is to be expected. I don’t struggle with Jeff and don’t want him to leave the discussion because others do. That doesn’t imply that I want you to leave the discussion either. Let’s just all work it out and be friends. 🙂 (maybe we could start a warm fuzzy jar)

  81. brjones
    I hope you don’t feel I was attacking you. My agreement with Cowboy is that I enjoy the faithful perspective as well and feel it adds value to a discussion about Mormonism. We all could do a bit better at maintaining better discourse here and not allowing anger and frustration to take control. I wasn’t trying to implicate you or anything.

    I sincerely appreciate your perspective at this site and do hope you will stick around, as I hope that Jeff will stick around. brjones, you have admitted before that you have a hard time letting a “poor argument” slide unchecked (even when it’s a trollish argument). One technique I have found immensely useful in such situations is to simply bite my tongue (or keyboard as the case may be). This avoids allowing a situation to turn ugly (as it has here). Jeff could certainly do the same thing.

    We all feel inclined to defend our belief system and worldview at some level. I believe there is a place for this and it is not coincidental that we are hard-wired for this to some degree. OTOH, there is also great benefit (as science has shown us) to dispassionately question and analyze. In either case, we cannot elevate the level of discourse if we allow our feelings to cause us to speak unkindly, harshly, and disrespectfully.

  82. I echo the sentiment that EH’s talk was “just not my talk.” Actually, I’d go substantially further than that. EH mischaracterized the issues at play in Carthage, problems with the BOM generally, and I found some of his specific statements uncomfortably misleading or wholly inaccurate.

    For example: “If anyone is foolish enough or misled enough to reject 531 pages of a heretofore unknown text….”

    Hertofore unknown text……?” What of that 18 chapters of the book of Isaiah that are quoted directly from the KJV? And that whole part in 3rd Nephi seems a bit similar to the Sermon on the Mount? Not to mention the other hundreds of similarities with the KJV. But yet “Hertofore unknown text……” Really?

    It seems that EH, and the church, might be a little more humble when calling someone who looks at the BOM story with a raised eyebrow “deceived and pathetic.” The only thing more crazy than wondering whether a brilliant fraud used contemporary sources like Ethan Smith and Solomon Spaulding to assemble those 531 pages is EH’s (and the church’s) reasoning that they were “translated” from golden plates (that got taken back by an angel) through a stone in a hat (errrr, I mean Urim and Thummim) and reflect ancient history of the “PRINCIPAL” – err, I mean “AMONG” the ancestors of the American Indians.

    Finally, since discovering some of the issues with the BOM, I’ve often noted how some engage in mental gymnastics, bad arguments, straw men, and wishful thinking (sometimes in the form of FAIR and FARMS rebuttals) to “crawl over or under or around (problems with) The Book of Mormon” – with the end goal of rationalizing/legitimizing the BOM. It’s highly ironic to have the tables turned!

  83. brjones, Jeff, et al….laugh it off – be buddies.

    It’s not like any of these questions/issues have eternal consequences – oh wait…..

  84. AMEN! Who is Steve Evans anyway?

    By the way, when ya’ll say you’re leaving, we know you are still there or at least checking in, so just so you know, everyone says hi and we would love to hear from you soon! 🙂

  85. I left a nice warm, fuzzy song for everyone to listen to in comment #101. See if you can name most of the singers if you need something extra to do today. 🙂

    Off to the trenches…have a great day everyone!

  86. Post
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    Steve Evans runs BCC which is more heavily moderated than MM. If you haven’t been banned by Steve Evans at least once, you’re not trying hard enough. (JK Steve). FWIW, he’s never banned ME.

    BrJones & Jeff Spector – please don’t leave over this! Your POVs will be missed.

  87. Jen:

    I just watched your video. I was overcome with a wide range of emotion as I watched the singers from so many different backgrounds unite together in one voice for a common cause. In the midst of this presentation my mind began drift in the spirit of this unity, and suddenly I saw myself participating there as well. A few moments later, as I was relishing in this waking dream I looked to my right and there was Jeff Spector also joining me as a friend in song. This awareness jarred my senses and as I began to look around, not only was there one Jeff, but TWO!. That’s right, the former, as well as the Elder. Elder Holland too, was in attendance. We were all there, Hawkgrrrl was chirping her sweet heart out, Dexter was deliver a soulful solo in likes of Michael MacDonald. BrJones, in a practical manner delivered a simple yet appropriate harmony. JMB275, Pinkpatent, Mormon Heretic, and Jen, you, you were there too Jen. For a short moment Steve Evans appeared in dream, though he was not singing, he was in the control room pushing for a do over and was trying to the stop tape, but we just kept singing. It was a wonderful moment, as the United Order became song. In the midst of this sweet serenity, suddenly there a confused muttle. That’s right, Willie Nelson came in late on Solo, and then stumbled through it. But then it was back to beautiful music, but only for a moment, when Cindy Lauper came in additioning her voice as a Roseanne Barr sound alike. The music was beginning to fade, until suddenly the peace came to a sweet end, though the noise continued for several minutes, as Bob Dylan approached the microphone an ripped the beating heart right out of the song.

    When the song finally ended I took my place among the panel of judges, and had a short unanimous deliberation with Simon, Paula, and Randy, which resulted in a heretofore unprecedented decision. This week we would disqualify not two American Idol hopefuls, but Three. You guessed it, Willie, Cindy, and Bob, were issued marching orders staining the otherwise astonishing talent.

    The reason I relate this story, is because I learned a valuable lesson. Mabey we don’t “need” everybodies input.

  88. Aw, Cowboy. You were doing really well ’till the end there. I think we need to cut your above comment right after the United Order became song. And I hope I was there, too. (And I actually loved the heck out of Cindy in the vid. To each his own, right?)

  89. BIV – you were there, please forgive the omission. I wanted to include everybody, but quick typing and short memory yielded a dearth, so I composed the short list based on recent commentors. Honestly, how can we say that “We Are The World”, if that world excludes Vernal, and by extension those that are Bored in Vernal. Please accept my apolgy. I like your new picture by the way, it’s mysterious.

    Now for something I won’t apologize for. You have got to be kidding about Cindy Lauper! I can’t tell if she even takes herself serious, even for a moment, when she sings like that. You ought to Google Roseanne Barr singing the National Anthem, and see if you don’t find the resemblances striking.

  90. Hey Jen, I watched the video. Tortured my husband with it by playing the whole thing. Brought back tons of memories! Thanks girl!

    BiV, I officially demand that you be in choir! I need you near me, ’cause I can’t sing. 🙂

  91. Pinkpatent –

    Remember, it is not whether you can see, but that you can sing better than the worst singer(s). In this case, Willie Nelson, Cindy Lauper, or Bob Dylan. Your odds are pretty good.

  92. Ah Cowboy, the thing I love about that song is the variety in singing. Although I wouldn’t choose to listen to Willie, Cyndi or Bob alone, I do like their contribution to this particular song. In other words, I don’t think it would be the same if they weren’t included in it (hint, hint, to those who we are still hoping to hear from again!).

    pinkpatent-

    It brought back a ton of memories for me too! It was great to see Steve Perry singing again, I miss the good ole’ Journey days. I can still hear “Open Arms” playing at my junior high after school dance……..

  93. After 40 I stop counting! ha!

    Since we are COMPLETELY off topic now, anyone have any comments about Arnel Pineda vs. Steve Perry?

  94. Madam Curie-

    Ouch! It was hard to listen to those voices after hearing people who can sing! ha!

    brjones-

    I’m assuming you are watching the “Dancing With The Stars Results Show” and that is why we haven’t heard from you. I know you have to have an opinion on Arnel vs. Steve, I mean c’mon you were in the thick of the Journey Days were you not? 🙂

    Well, hopefully Mormon Matters isn’t going to become Mormon Matters Shatters. 🙁

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