Smoot indignantly denies he ever brought up "aggressive apologetics":
Young Smoot wrote:I said positively nothing about "aggressive apologetic tactics." And I said positively nothing about moving away from or returning to said apologetic tactics. Bokovoy is reading into my words something that isn't there. He's constructed a straw man out of my comments.
Bokovoy's assessment of Smoot's perspective was prompted, of course, by Smoot's reference to Jeremy Runnels and John Dehlin as two representatively appropriate targets of apologetic efforts. Smoot, however claims that he is all about the issues, not about the personalities. This means that it is necessary to start with the names of the people who are getting the issues all wrong and then track their activities on Facebook, so that you can cherrypick and distort their words in order to paint them in the least flattering light possible--which is exactly what our own Rollo Tomasi showed that Greg Smith, MD did to John Dehlin in his unfortunate personal attack on Dehlin.
You see, being aggressive is not just about calling your opponent a cotton-headed ninnymuggins. It is also about misrepresenting that person's words and actions so that they are marginalized or even cut off from their own community. If John Dehlin ought to be excommunicated, that is for the Church to determine through its own ecclesiastical process and resources. It is not the job of a Brigham Young University journal to seek volunteers in amassing creepy dossiers on them and then cobbling together a disingenuous portrait of them in order to ensure that everyone, particularly the person's bishop and stake president, has the "right" idea about the sinner. Last time I checked, that mechanism was not in the leadership handbooks or, more importantly, the D&C.
For a very skilled analysis of Greg Smith's hit piece on John Dehlin, go here: http://mormondiscussions.com/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?p=689282#p689282
Now, Smoot is not stupid. Far from it. Maybe he is forgetful, I don't know. It may also be the case that he is incapable of recognizing that Greg Smith's novella-length eisegesis of John Dehlin is aggressive. We have all seen how the apologists go ballistic when they feel someone here has gotten it wrong. Somehow, however, it never occurred to anyone that misrepresenting Dehlin through carefully edited quotes taken out of context might be offensive or deemed aggressive. Above all, Steve Smoot, who in raising the names of John Dehlin and Jeremy Runnels could have never imagined that he was referring to "aggressive apologetics." Perhaps he is just a very literal kind of guy and needs help imagining how others might feel.
Or does he? Could it be the case, as one might surmise from Smoot's own language, that he wants to have his cake and eat it too?
Young Smoot wrote:It is, in my opinion, ludicrous to think we can help people with faith crises the most optimally without taking the bull by the horns, and directly addressing and confronting the accusations being made and the issues being struggled with. Sometimes that might require a little more "aggression," if only because it means aggressively confronting and exploding anti-Mormon falsehoods or exaggerations.
So, by golly, sometimes it is necessary to get aggressive. Now, Young Smoot would have us think that this simply means countering misinformation with appropriate zeal, but a number of Smith's savvier readers remain unconvinced. Greg Smith's mangling John Dehlin's words is certainly more than simply correcting errors. His claim that Laura Compton is deceived by Satan is not simply a correction of errors she made in her argument. Misrepresenting or labeling your target is, indeed, aggressive.
Then Smoot takes a turn in his argument that I find most misleading:
Young Smoot wrote:Thankfully, the Brethren have had the wisdom not to entertain any such appeasement policies, and have instead opted to take the bull by the horns with the new Gospel Topics essays. The essays are exactly what the doctor ordered when it comes to helping people who struggle with these issues. And they are, in a large degree, exactly the opposite of what the "new direction" and many of its proponents want to do when it comes to apologetics.
I have to hand it to Smoot. The young man can craft a truly skillful deflection.
Let me ask this, how many of these new topics essays focus on the words and actions of individual, living members of the LDS Church? Is there an essay on lds.org about John Dehlin's doctrinal errors and suspect behavior as revealed from quotes of his Facebook postings? Correct me if I'm wrong, guys. If you can find such a thing, then I think we'll be forced to concede that the Mopologists are right in line with the Brethren in the practice of appropriately addressing incorrect information about the LDS Church.
Yeah, they really aren't.