Monthly Archives: May 2008

The Court has Spoken — Again

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Today a panel of the US Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals (Denver Colorado) issued a ruling that is of special interest to FAIR and this writer. In a unanimous decision, the court upheld the earlier ruling of the District Court relative to the case originally brought by Utah Lighthouse Ministry against me, my company, my wife, FAIR, and FAIR’s president.

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The latest Olivewood fireside

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Last night I attended another in a wonderful series of firesides hosted by the Olivewood bookstore. Tyler Livingston was also there and took good notes, so I will refer everyone to here. The speaker used his knowledge of Mesoamerican languages and interpretations of murals, stela, and other Classic period art to draw intriguing parallels with various passages in the Book of Mormon.

Aren’t they all alike?

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Earlier this month I wrote a post detailing seven admirable things about Islam. Though the actual idea was my colleague Mike Parker’s idea, I thought it necessary for several reasons:

1. True Latter-day Saints know that there is good in every religion.

2. I wanted to show that LDS opinion on Islam was knowledgable and even-handed. Most Latter-day Saints I know are not willing to accept the worst of Islam just because some loudmouth says so.

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Seer or Pious Fraud?

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In my explorations, the first person to actually use the term pious fraud in conjunction with Mormonism was Mark Twain in Roughing It. Surprisingly, the reference was not to Joseph Smith, but to Brigham Young allegedly dressing up as Joseph Smith. This is Twain’s take on the narratives about assuming the prophetic mantle. More recently, Dan Vogel’s biography is essentially a book length defense of an earlier 1996 essay championing the pious fraud model as the most plausible solution framed by Jan Shipps in “The Prophet Puzzle:”

What we have in Mormon historiography is two Josephs: the one who started out digging for money and when he was unsuccessful, turned to propheteering, and the one who had visions and dreamed dreams, restored the church, and revealed the will of the Lord to a sinful world.

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The Stake President, Corroboration, and Belief

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On the “Setting the Record Straight” thread there was a comment made by MarkW that indicated that Tracy Bachman, wife of Tal Bachman, had independently corroborated Tal Bachman’s story of what was said by their ex-stake president.

MarkW said: Actually, his wife did speak publicly about this at the exmo conference. So there is corroboration from her. I don’t remember how specific or on-point it was, so we’d have to go back and review that. And while her witness would not be direct corroboration of Tal’s meeting with the SP it’d be corroboration that the SP did say the type of things in question to someone else.

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Seven admirable things about Islam

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I have lived for some time among Muslims in the Middle East during the 1980s and 1990s–and taught many of them here in the USA since the late 1990s. This contact has begotten enormous admiration for them. My colleague, Mike Parker, suggested that I post some reasons why I admire them. I thought that this was a grand idea. The only problem I have is choosing only seven reasons (Mike suggested five.). I won’t have space for many more. This list is in no particular order:

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Setting the Record Straight

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Tal Bachman, son of rock legend Randy Bachman, was raised in the Church. Through a crisis of faith, Tal decided to leave the Church in late 2003. Since that time he has been sharing his exit story with those who are curious and in various venues critical of the Church. (In the parlance of those who leave the Church, an exit story is their telling of awakening to the knowledge that the Church is no longer true for them. In many respects, an exit story is simply another type of conversion story or, more properly, a deconversion story.)

Part of Tal’s exit story revolves around his interaction with his stake president at the time, Randy Keyes. Tal often tells, with incredulity, how he heard from his stake president that he didn’t believe in different aspects of the gospel either.

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