Morley wrote: ↑
Tue May 30, 2023 6:52 pm
John, I give you full credit for wading in here, attempting dialogue, and conducting yourself in a civil manner. On the other hand, because you write with a barely disguised condescension (that I'm not sure you even know is there), I personally have a difficult time taking you seriously.
I went back, bought your book, and read it, to see if there was something I was missing. However, after doing so, I don't think I was wrong. It has the same tone you carry here, that of an educated, I've-got-a-PhD-and-you-don't, ward bishop speaking to his congregants, without addressing any specifics. In my reading, you never really address any issues any deeper than "Having faith in God is like having faith in riding a bicycle" or "On the God/Santa issue, when you discover your dad is Santa, is that really so bad? He is kinda like Santa, and God is kinda like your dad."
I'll admit, however, that the problem is probably just with me--and the fact that I'm almost certainly not the audience you're writing for, neither in your book nor on this board.
Yes, I've been told that my writing is overly authoritative. I'm not quite sure why that is or how it happens, but apparently my writing often comes across that way. You aren't the first person to notice that. I had an LDS publisher interested in my book. They said they loved the content but hated the tone. They wanted me to rewrite it to give a more exploratory feeling. Unfortunately I'm not a trained writer, so I didn't think I had the skills to do that. Truthfully, I was also maybe just a little tired of writing it and didn't want to do what felt like starting over. I would like to think that only my writing comes across as condescending, and that I'm not like that in real life. I understand, however, that may not be easily recognizable in oneself.
As far as the content of the book goes, it probably isn't surprising that you didn't find much that interested you. My intent was not to write a book full of air-tight apologetic arguments. I essentially just wrote the book I wish I had when I was struggling with my faith. I was a logical thinker that really wanted to make all the jumbled puzzle pieces fit. It took me quite a few years before I realized I was playing the wrong game. I was supposed to make a collage, not complete a puzzle. It turns out in life that things just don't fit all the time.
Anyway, the assumption of the book is that the reader is already a believer who is trying to add just a little more rigor to their beliefs. It is intentionally vague, because I find that when you leave exercises to the student, they get more out of the textbook. The book doesn't really convince people who aren't already trying. It wasn't ever really intended to. Also, I find that when people get bogged down in arguing specifics about a theological issue, all that really takes place is arguing.
I'm still curious about your response to how your humility at finding that you were having a difficult time figuring out quantum mechanics while getting your PhD in physics is what kept you in The CoJCoLDS, while my teen-aged pride at realizing that I was no better than my Black brothers-in-arms, who were being kept out of the priesthood because of their skin color, was my undoing.
I've thought about this one a bit. After the conversation on this thread about faith, I wonder if a similar thing happens with pride and humility. Those words can encompass a wide array of human conditions. When I said a few pages back that I thought pride to be the common characteristic with people who leave the church, it is certainly possible what I am witnessing is just a firm decision that has already been made. That could certainly come across as prideful. When I consider humility as the thing that kept me in the church, that could just mean I was unsure and had no idea who to trust. That may have made me more willing to weigh opinions carefully and dig deeper in order to learn more. In that context, I could see how my firm conviction that the church is true could come across as prideful to you, just as I might view other's firm conviction the church is false as prideful. On the other hand, I know people who seem to have firm convictions about almost everything, often without really thinking much on the topic. Anyway, I'll have to contemplate that one some more.
Thanks for you candid response. I really do appreciate it.