They are both Daniel Peterson.
I am hardly able to stay afloat amid this wash of insights and this flood of observations. I have to say that, while I don't have much of value to add to it, I think this is one of clearest statements of our fundamental situation:
Yes, I think this captures so much more than the ecosystem here. All the world's fast becoming Twitter, and all the men and women merely profiles.
I find myself in agreement with this:
My reverence for real philosophy requires me to ask some preemptive forgiveness from some of the more skilled adepts of that science in this forum, like the Dean and the great Stakhanov. If they can grant it with a calm expression, I thank them; if with laughter, I join them.
Our problem is not of epistemology but of the performative use of it. I certainly have experienced much of this as a Mormon, and often as an after-Mormon, for that matter. I could never utter the phrase "I know [the Church is true/Gordon B. Hinckley is a true prophet/Joseph Smith was the true prophet/the Book of Mormon is true/etc.]." I was interrogated (that's what it felt like it, anyway) more than once by ecclesiastical bosses as to why I would not just say it as an act of will, if not of knowledge—"A testimony is to be found in the bearing of it," according to B. K. Packer. I tried to wiggle out of this know/not-know constraint by using the word "believe," but of course in a Mormon context it was insincere.
Of course the opening post sends scents of the creed that hundreds of millions of Christians recite every week in one form or another—but as part of some larger performance. In the Roman church, the credo is not an insignificant feature yet it is still a small part of the mass, which culminates in the Eucharist itself. In traditional Judaism, the declaration of God's oneness (not couched as "I know" or "I believe") in the shema is also a communal statement (adonai elohênu= "the lord is our god"), and even in Islam, the profession of faith, the shahāda is always the prelude to something else. But what for what liturgy does Mormonism's "I know" testimonial open access for the average member? (and I think we should readjust our expectations of what the average member is: people who go to the temple and pay tithing are actually a kind of sub-elite part of the membership, and most members don't have access to those sacral spaces). Let's just assume that the sacrament is the central of worship on Sunday, in theory. In practice, nobody knows what to do with it, and no one really sees how it is connected to all the testimonies and stories and "ward business" and hymning. Structurally, it's an interruption.
What's uniting all of these, though? I'm sure some New Maxwell Institute fellow or other has a theory, but I'm just talking about the practical experience of it. If we go by that, the most intense emotions surround or emanate from the testimony bearing—or in other words, the performance of a personal epistemology. All of its attendant problems are dealt with here much more nimbly than I could handle them, but I wish to add the suggestion that, whatever those problems are, they are compounded by the centrality that the performance of epistemology has in Mormon life and thought-world. The personal testimonial that someone knows or even believes that something about the Church is true is a very weak joist, yet upon it are hung what passes for liturgy in Mormonism. It's also what sustains whatever mythic qualities Mormonism has (the testimony is how you know the mythos about the gold plates is true). It's the glue that holds the members to the hierarchy ("I know that so-and-so is a true prophet" or "that the Church is true"). It's considered a necessary link between partners in a marriage. And on and on.
Of course we are all familiar with the rehearsed response that we have to interpret testimonies, according to the tenets learned in Religious Studies graduate seminars, as speech-acts that are part of the ritual language of Mormonism ("take them seriously, not literally," in other words). But of course that is exactly what the problem is. To say, "We believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of all things visible and invisible" is plainly not an empirical claim (which is not to say that it is false). The points of reference here are in another realm entirely, quite outside ordinary and accessible experience. But to say "Lyndon Baines Johnson appeared to the ancient inhabitants of Sri Lanka and taught them about the Great Society" contains referents that can be accessed empirically, and on those grounds it is a false statement. Mormonism has made statements like that the load-bearers of theology, ecclesiology, liturgy, morality, and even personal relationships.
My only quibble then is with the parenthetical qualifier "to the extent that they are abused" because the misuse of ordinary categories of experience for some other thing, whatever it is, is so pervasive a feature of Mormon life and thought that "abuse" of empirical modes of thinking is what characterizes their use at every extent.
The Church really needs a liturgy.