Banner of Heaven: My Take (So Far)

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dastardly stem
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Re: Banner of Heaven: My Take (So Far)

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Kishkumen wrote:
Wed Jul 27, 2022 4:46 pm
What atheists and Protestants hold in common is an aversion to ritual. Indeed, I would say that many if not most liberal atheists are just graduated cultural Protestants. They hold to many progressive Protestant views while eschewing the "childish" beliefs of their fundamentalist conservative counterparts.
I’m not so sure about this, kishkumen. Atheists tend to have much more an aversion towards religious dogma, held by Protestants, as they might to meaningless seeming religious ritual. Some may say progressive Protestants eschew things like a young earth or a world wide flood, among other things but they certainly also hold to things like a supposed spirit or soul inside us, an afterlife, a loving god and the like. And let’s face it if there is anything that defines atheist is is a lack of accepting Protestant dogma. Ritual seems silly to atheists, not really worth much consideration relevant enough to have an aversion. Protestants hold aversion toward ritual nearly as if it’s dogma as an apparent form of holier than thou, since those religious types who love ritual aren’t holding to truth as they are. Oddly as I see it, that which you characterize as something in common appears to be the very thing that defines them as so different to me.
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Re: Banner of Heaven: My Take (So Far)

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Doctor Scratch wrote:
Thu Jul 28, 2022 12:02 am
Gotcha. I more or less agree with the majority of the takes on this thread—yours included. In the “pantheon” of Mormon-related art/media, I think this is one of the better entries. Overall, though, I thought “Big Love” was a better series.

One of my favorite moments was at the end of, I believe, the penultimate episode where Allen tells Pyre to go and find the “red book” (it’s the Tanners’ magnum opus)—I lol’ed at that part. What’s more, I’ve noticed that every single Mormon summary of the episode omits any mention of that book’s title. I guess the Tanners still wield that sort of fear/power over the apologists.
Big Love was much better, but I did enjoy this series as reasonably entertaining and thought-provoking. Both Banner and Love made me ruminate seriously on my experience in the LDS Church, despite the flaws of the shows. That tells me they got something right.

The Tanners part was interesting. It tells me the writers either don’t understand that history and data are not the same thing, or they just wisely chose the one source that provides maximum punch in revealing stuff the LDS Church really does not want members to see.

The irony, though, is that the Tanners are seeking to convert Mormons to another form of heretical Christianity, namely Protestantism. Any blunt Orthodox believer who knows their theology and Christian history views Protestantism as heretical, and I think they have a decent argument.
Last edited by Kishkumen on Thu Jul 28, 2022 10:58 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Banner of Heaven: My Take (So Far)

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dastardly stem wrote:
Thu Jul 28, 2022 2:30 am
I’m not so sure about this, kishkumen. Atheists tend to have much more an aversion towards religious dogma, held by Protestants, as they might to meaningless seeming religious ritual. Some may say progressive Protestants eschew things like a young earth or a world wide flood, among other things but they certainly also hold to things like a supposed spirit or soul inside us, an afterlife, a loving god and the like. And let’s face it if there is anything that defines atheist is is a lack of accepting Protestant dogma. Ritual seems silly to atheists, not really worth much consideration relevant enough to have an aversion. Protestants hold aversion toward ritual nearly as if it’s dogma as an apparent form of holier than thou, since those religious types who love ritual aren’t holding to truth as they are. Oddly as I see it, that which you characterize as something in common appears to be the very thing that defines them as so different to me.
It would take some time to explain this in sufficient detail. I was not saying that atheists do not have a problem with religious doctrine or that they have a bigger problem with ritual than dogma. I was talking about the overlap between Protestants and atheists (in the US) in cultural sensibilities about ritual. I stand by my view that our culture, largely shaped by Protestant cultural sensibilities, has that tradition’s aversion to ritual, and that this aversion is shared by non-believers. It is possible to be influenced by the larger culture without consciously understanding that fact.

If I recall correctly, the French had a secular cult of Descartes with all the ritual trappings. It was a fundamentally atheist phenomenon, but the thoroughly Catholic culture of France imbued an atheist celebration of Descartes’ memory with very Catholic trappings.
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Re: Banner of Heaven: My Take (So Far)

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Kishkumen wrote:
Thu Jul 28, 2022 10:54 am
dastardly stem wrote:
Thu Jul 28, 2022 2:30 am
I’m not so sure about this, kishkumen. Atheists tend to have much more an aversion towards religious dogma, held by Protestants, as they might to meaningless seeming religious ritual. Some may say progressive Protestants eschew things like a young earth or a world wide flood, among other things but they certainly also hold to things like a supposed spirit or soul inside us, an afterlife, a loving god and the like. And let’s face it if there is anything that defines atheist is is a lack of accepting Protestant dogma. Ritual seems silly to atheists, not really worth much consideration relevant enough to have an aversion. Protestants hold aversion toward ritual nearly as if it’s dogma as an apparent form of holier than thou, since those religious types who love ritual aren’t holding to truth as they are. Oddly as I see it, that which you characterize as something in common appears to be the very thing that defines them as so different to me.
It would take some time to explain this in sufficient detail. I was not saying that atheists do not have a problem with religious doctrine or that they have a bigger problem with ritual than dogma. I was talking about the overlap between Protestants and atheists (in the US) in cultural sensibilities about ritual. I stand by my view that our culture, largely shaped by Protestant cultural sensibilities, has that tradition’s aversion to ritual, and that this aversion is shared by non-believers. It is possible to be influenced by the larger culture without consciously understanding that fact.

If I recall correctly, the French had a secular cult of Descartes with all the ritual trappings. It was a fundamentally atheist phenomenon, but the thoroughly Catholic culture of France imbued an atheist celebration of Descartes’ memory with very Catholic trappings.
Reverend, that’s an interesting connection I had not thought about before. I do like and use some rituals in my life, although not built around religion per se. I have a wall mounted candle holder in my living room. I light candles in it to mark the passing of a friend or relative. It marks their passage, reminds me that I knew them in life, and signals that life going forward will be different.

One of my gaming group annually has a group toast in which we recount the friends and family we have lost over the year. It’s a m of shared solidarity and sorrow as we acknowledge our losses and then move on.

Given that death is permanent for most atheists, I suppose it would make sense that atheists would develop tools around death.

I don’t find other religious rituals to be silly. I can see and empathize the comfort and reminders they bring their adherents. I just don’t personally benefit from them.
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Re: Banner of Heaven: My Take (So Far)

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Kishkumen wrote:
Thu Jul 28, 2022 10:44 am
Doctor Scratch wrote:
Thu Jul 28, 2022 12:02 am
Gotcha. I more or less agree with the majority of the takes on this thread—yours included. In the “pantheon” of Mormon-related art/media, I think this is one of the better entries. Overall, though, I thought “Big Love” was a better series.

One of my favorite moments was at the end of, I believe, the penultimate episode where Allen tells Pyre to go and find the “red book” (it’s the Tanners’ magnum opus)—I lol’ed at that part. What’s more, I’ve noticed that every single Mormon summary of the episode omits any mention of that book’s title. I guess the Tanners still wield that sort of fear/power over the apologists.
Big Love was much better, but I did enjoy this series as reasonably entertaining and thought-provoking. Both Banner and Love made me ruminate seriously on my experience in the LDS Church, despite the flaws of the shows. That tells me they got something right.

The Tanners part was interesting. It tells me the writers either don’t understand that history and data are not the same thing, or they just wisely chose the one source that provides maximum punch in revealing stuff the LDS Church really does not want members to see.

The irony, though, is that the Tanners are seeking to convert Mormons to another form of heretical Christianity, namely Protestantism. Any blunt Orthodox believer who knows their theology and Christian history views Protestantism as heretical, and I think they have a decent argument.
Kishkumen, I was a little surprised at your swipe at the Tanners. I suppose it is clear their material is short of being history. It is a bit more of a pile of stuff, some interesting some pretty minor. It is well short of academic standards for history. Their book Changing World of Mormonism does have some striking information which I (and I suspect many others) would not be aware of without their collecting and presenting it. I didn't find much if any concern about the idea of Mormonism as heresy in the book though they themselves have been painted and painted and painted as the archheretics by the church. I visited their store once years after I had left the church and still felt a twinge of fear.

Yes I am aware they support Protestant Christianity of a rather conservative type. That like most any religious view is considered heretical by some people. Unlike some other ministries trying to address Mormons, I do not see the Tanners as pushy about their faith or painting Mormons as evil.
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Re: Banner of Heaven: My Take (So Far)

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huckelberry wrote:
Mon Aug 01, 2022 5:16 pm
Kishkumen, I was a little surprised at your swipe at the Tanners. I suppose it is clear their material is short of being history. It is a bit more of a pile of stuff, some interesting some pretty minor. It is well short of academic standards for history. Their book Changing World of Mormonism does have some striking information which I (and I suspect many others) would not be aware of without their collecting and presenting it. I didn't find much if any concern about the idea of Mormonism as heresy in the book though they themselves have been painted and painted and painted as the archheretics by the church. I visited their store once years after I had left the church and still felt a twinge of fear.

Yes I am aware they support Protestant Christianity of a rather conservative type. That like most any religious view is considered heretical by some people. Unlike some other ministries trying to address Mormons, I do not see the Tanners as pushy about their faith or painting Mormons as evil.
I really didn’t intend it as a swipe. The Tanners have done lots of good things. They are decent people with a great deal of personal integrity. I like Sandra very much.

What I take issue with is the failure to distinguish between history and data. That is the mistake of the writers of the show, not the Tanners. Really, though, it’s just fudging for the sake of reflecting popular parlance.

If I am taking a swipe in any way, and I don’t believe I am, it’s in my fundamental disagreement with their implicit mission to undermine faith in a religion they do not belong to and their failure to recognize that old adage about people in glass houses applies to them too.

Modern Protestantism rejects much of Christian tradition in favor of the principles of sola scriptura and sola fides. That’s fine, but it is no more or less defensible than restorationism. It is, at the end of the day, just another Johnny come lately interpretation of Christianity.
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Re: Banner of Heaven: My Take (So Far)

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Kishkumen wrote:
Mon Aug 01, 2022 10:46 pm
huckelberry wrote:
Mon Aug 01, 2022 5:16 pm
Kishkumen, I was a little surprised at your swipe at the Tanners. I suppose it is clear their material is short of being history. It is a bit more of a pile of stuff, some interesting some pretty minor. It is well short of academic standards for history. Their book Changing World of Mormonism does have some striking information which I (and I suspect many others) would not be aware of without their collecting and presenting it. I didn't find much if any concern about the idea of Mormonism as heresy in the book though they themselves have been painted and painted and painted as the archheretics by the church. I visited their store once years after I had left the church and still felt a twinge of fear.

Yes I am aware they support Protestant Christianity of a rather conservative type. That like most any religious view is considered heretical by some people. Unlike some other ministries trying to address Mormons, I do not see the Tanners as pushy about their faith or painting Mormons as evil.
I really didn’t intend it as a swipe. The Tanners have done lots of good things. They are decent people with a great deal of personal integrity. I like Sandra very much.

What I take issue with is the failure to distinguish between history and data. That is the mistake of the writers of the show, not the Tanners. Really, though, it’s just fudging for the sake of reflecting popular parlance.

If I am taking a swipe in any way, and I don’t believe I am, it’s in my fundamental disagreement with their implicit mission to undermine faith in a religion they do not belong to and their failure to recognize that old adage about people in glass houses applies to them too.

Modern Protestantism rejects much of Christian tradition in favor of the principles of sola scriptura and sola fides. That’s fine, but it is no more or less defensible than restorationism. It is, at the end of the day, just another Johnny come lately interpretation of Christianity.
Kishkumen, I can see good sense in your comments. I am unable to shake a bit of caution about the Tanners. Perhaps they are committed to questioning the authority claims of the SLC LDS to an extent that they may be a bit unquestioning about some uncertain materials they share. Well considering the salamander affair they do do some good questioning.

I doubt they feel an obligation to review all material questioning their beliefs or make that a part of their business. . There is no shortage of such material in the world.

I gather you have positive interest in some ideas in early Mormonism and feel that they have value separate from those literal claims that the Tanners focus on questioning. I can at least relate to that . I do not see much consideration of such basic faith ideas in the Tanner materials . One could feel an empty place there.

I might think that boiling Christianity down to sola scriptura and sola fides is in danger of poring off the substance and keeping the dregs.
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Re: Banner of Heaven: My Take (So Far)

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huckelberry wrote:
Tue Aug 02, 2022 6:49 pm
Kishkumen, I can see good sense in your comments. I am unable to shake a bit of caution about the Tanners. Perhaps they are committed to questioning the authority claims of the SLC LDS to an extent that they may be a bit unquestioning about some uncertain materials they share. Well considering the salamander affair they do do some good questioning.
As Sandra pointed out, they took the documents already circulating underground and made them more available. They were pretty cautious and they did very much care about the authenticity of the materials they shared. They did not want to rely on falsehoods and fakes to appear to win against the Mormons in the short run.
I doubt they feel an obligation to review all material questioning their beliefs or make that a part of their business. There is no shortage of such material in the world.
It sounds to me like they are very happy with their current beliefs, and I say more power to them as far as that goes.
I gather you have positive interest in some ideas in early Mormonism and feel that they have value separate from those literal claims that the Tanners focus on questioning. I can at least relate to that . I do not see much consideration of such basic faith ideas in the Tanner materials . One could feel an empty place there.
I gave a paper or two at Sunstone that piqued the interest of Sandra Tanner and Ronald Huggins, two people I like and respect. I just don't share their views. When I was speaking about controversial topics, such as magic, they saw in what I was saying an opportunity to affirm their own negative views of Mormonism. One or both of them thinks that Mormonism is just a fraud and probably demonically inspired.

OK.

Fair enough.

But nothing I want to assist them in promoting because I don't agree with their views about esotericism. Yes, Smith was into magic and Freemasonry. That does not make him demonically manipulated, however. They have a tendency to lump esotericism in with Satanism, and I just don't think that is correct.
I might think that boiling Christianity down to sola scriptura and sola fides is in danger of poring off the substance and keeping the dregs.
The Christian landscape is very complicated. What a rich tradition or set of traditions! I say let people follow the religions that speak to their desire for meaning. To say that one tradition or another is evil is a gross oversimplification or distortion that I can't get on board with. The effort of the Tanners does fall in a tradition of anti-catholicism, anti-Masonry, and anti other religious traditions.

I am probably not a good Christian because I do not believe in groups calling their competitors demon worshipers like St. Paul and the heresiologists of old did. Such bigotry is unfortunately very much part of the Christian tradition.
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Re: Banner of Heaven: My Take (So Far)

Post by Marcus »

... I don't agree with [the Tanner's] views about esotericism. Yes, Smith was into magic and Freemasonry. That does not make him demonically manipulated, however. They have a tendency to lump esotericism in with Satanism, and I just don't think that is correct.

... To say that one tradition or another is evil is a gross oversimplification or distortion that I can't get on board with. The effort of the Tanners does fall in a tradition of anti-catholicism, anti-Masonry, and anti other religious traditions.

I am probably not a good Christian because I do not believe in groups calling their competitors demon worshipers like St. Paul and the heresiologists of old did. Such bigotry is unfortunately very much part of the Christian tradition.
this is fascinating and explains so much. I did not know that esotericism was connected to Satanism, in some people's minds. My objection has always been to the use of "esotericism" as a way to scam people, but it never occurred to me that some literally believe it is connected to Satanism--and that they believe in Satanism! I don't believe in anything supernatural, so by definition i don't believe in Satanism.
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Re: Banner of Heaven: My Take (So Far)

Post by Kishkumen »

Marcus wrote:
Wed Aug 03, 2022 8:07 pm
this is fascinating and explains so much. I did not know that esotericism was connected to Satanism, in some people's minds. My objection has always been to the use of "esotericism" as a way to scam people, but it never occurred to me that some literally believe it is connected to Satanism--and that they believe in Satanism! I don't believe in anything supernatural, so by definition i don't believe in Satanism.
Back in the late ‘80s, when I was a missionary, I would visit Christian bookstores and check out the literature criticizing other religions and cultural phenomena. There were many books identifying other religious traditions, the “occult,” and New Age as Satanic or demonic. Atheists can be critical of the occult and New Age on the grounds that it is all, collectively speaking, “snake oil.” Many Christians see these things as inspired by demons or the Devil. Nevertheless, the two sides often cooperate in their criticism of and attacks on “cults” or “new religious movements.” I see all such efforts as intolerant and arguably a threat to personal religious freedom. I am not a fan.

Yes, Christian critics of Mormonism, or at least many of them, see Mormonism as being “of the Devil” or literally Satanically or demonically inspired. To de-convert a Mormon and get them converted to their brand of Christianity is nothing short of saving a soul for Christ and a victory over Satan.
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