Phony Baloney on Brian Hales

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_Kishkumen
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Phony Baloney on Brian Hales

Post by _Kishkumen »

Brian Hales' publications on polygamy continue to be at the center of a bogus controversy regarding his amateur status. This week, Young Smoot made a contribution to the discussion when he reported that Andrew H. Hedges of the Joseph Smith Papers Project "endorsed" Hales work during a recent roundtable discussion of how to teach the difficult topic of Joseph Smith's polygamy.

You can find the post here:

http://www.plonialmonimormon.com/2016/03/another-endorsement-for-brian-hales.html

Hedges states:

Hedges wrote:I would hope that every teacher who's going to have his or her students read these essays [the Gospel Topics essays] would also have looked at the sources behind them. Look at Kathryn Daynes's book More Wives Than One. Look at Brian Hales and his research. Look at what The Joseph Smith Papers have put out in bits and pieces. If a teacher has done his or her homework along these lines, he or she will be in a position to better answer those questions.


You will find this in the published version of the roundtable discussion: Andrew H. Hedges et al., "Discussing Difficult Topics: Plural Marriage," Religious Educator 17, no. 1 [2016]: 21.

Oddly, Smoot seems to be brimming with joy, or rather, Schadenfreude, at this development. Evidently, he imagines he is sticking it to those who were not mentioned by Hedges. Jeremy Runnells? George D. Smith?

Young Smoot wrote:Notice, however, whom Hedges does not even mention, let alone recommend.


But, let's back up a bit and reflect on the "endorsement" Young Smoot is orgasmically excited over.

1. It is made by a scholar working for the LDS Church. Andrew Hedges is a smart guy with excellent credentials (PhD, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign), but he is also working for the Joseph Smith Papers Project, which is:

staffed by scholars, archivists, and editors employed by the Church History Library of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Salt Lake City, Utah. The publisher of the project’s print and web publications is The Church Historian’s Press, an imprint of the Church History Department of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.


See http://josephsmithpapers.org/aboutTheProject

So, would we expect an employee of the LDS Church to endorse a book that posed a real challenge to the LDS Church's faith claims and reverence for its founder?

2. Hedges was participating in a roundtable which was aimed at exploring how to teach the history of plural marriage to students. What kind of event was it? Was this discussion a session of the American Academy of Religions' annual meeting? The annual meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature? Or was it a meeting for CES employees? Who were the students in question? Teens in an LDS seminary program? Non-LDS college students in a non-LDS Religion course? I would guess that we are talking about Institute or Seminary students. In other words, LDS kids.

If so, what would one expect an employee of the LDS Church to recommend to other employees or members of the LDS Church at a meeting sponsored by the LDS Church regarding the teaching of Joseph Smith's "plural marriage" to LDS people?

3. The discussion is published in Religious Educator a BYU journal, which is

an academic journal with a focus on the restored gospel of Jesus Christ, Latter-day Saint scriptures, and Latter-day Saint history. Its goal is to provide carefully prepared, inspirational, and informative articles that will benefit a broad range of Latter-day Saints who love the gospel and its teachings. Some articles showcase the results of ongoing research and exploration. Some are written with gospel teachers in mind. Others will have a devotional interest. All are written from the perspective of the Restoration.

Published three times annually, the Religious Educator seeks to reinforce readers' personal testimonies that God lives, that Jesus is the Christ, and that the Prophet Joseph Smith and all the prophets who have followed him were commissioned by Christ to direct his Church.


See https://rsc.byu.edu/tre

So, what was it that Young Smoot was excited about?

I am having a difficult time figuring this one out.

Oh, but don't let that stop the high-fives!
"Petition wasn’t meant to start a witch hunt as I’ve said 6000 times." ~ Hanna Seariac, LDS apologist
_Aristotle Smith
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Re: Phony Baloney on Brian Hales

Post by _Aristotle Smith »

I don't trust Hedges at all. I took a Church History class from him in the late 90's while at BYU. While covering the Book of Mormon translation one of the students asked what is known about the actual process or translation. Hedges' reply was that not a lot is known and that there are not that many sources. Therefore, the best we can do is to assert that it was translated by the gift and power of God and move on. At the time I thought it a reasonable answer. Now I know better. I have to assume that someone who has a degree in LDS church history would know that we actually have quite a number of first hand accounts about the translation and that we therefore know quite a lot about the process. I find it exceedingly more likely that to be honest Hedges should have said that there are not many sources that support the party line, therefore the best we can do is assert the that it was translated by the gift and power of God.

Other problems were things like glossing over the actual history of Nauvoo. Classes like his contributed to my impression that either 1) we just didn't know much about Nauvoo or 2) that whatever happened there just wasn't very interesting or informative. Of course both of these assumptions are completely false; but the imprimatur of BYU was very effective at enforcing these assumptions.

By the way Dan Vogel took him and his brother to the woodshed for their review of Vogel's The Making of a Prophet. See here:

http://signaturebooks.com/seeing-throug ... -w-hedges/

Ironically, his was my favorite religion class at the time because I felt like I actually learned something, that it wasn't just a Sunday School class masquerading as a college class. Unfortunately, that class too was just another Sunday School class, albeit with better camouflage.
_Philo Sofee
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Re: Phony Baloney on Brian Hales

Post by _Philo Sofee »

Nice link to the Vogel comments of the review. Thank you!
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_Kishkumen
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Re: Phony Baloney on Brian Hales

Post by _Kishkumen »

Aristotle Smith wrote:I don't trust Hedges at all. I took a Church History class from him in the late 90's while at BYU. While covering the Book of Mormon translation one of the students asked what is known about the actual process or translation. Hedges' reply was that not a lot is known and that there are not that many sources. Therefore, the best we can do is to assert that it was translated by the gift and power of God and move on. At the time I thought it a reasonable answer. Now I know better. I have to assume that someone who has a degree in LDS church history would know that we actually have quite a number of first hand accounts about the translation and that we therefore know quite a lot about the process. I find it exceedingly more likely that to be honest Hedges should have said that there are not many sources that support the party line, therefore the best we can do is assert the that it was translated by the gift and power of God.

Other problems were things like glossing over the actual history of Nauvoo. . . .


Oh, yes! Now I recall that Hedges' review. Nasty business that. Well, what you say about your class with Hedges is certainly consistent with what we see here. Hedges displays a ready willingness to omit anything that would challenge someone's testimony. Of course, in this situation practically any Church employee would feel obliged only to mention those sources that bolster a testimony. Indeed, that's what the whole event was about: putting out the brush fires caused by the Church's own online essays. The next step is to guide the students to a more comprehensive scholarly source that reaches faith promoting conclusions.

What is really interesting here is the way that Young Smoot insults the intelligence of his readers. I mean, you would think he were actually making fun of apologetics. To treat this, so brazenly, as some kind of independent scholarly endorsement instead of what it so obviously is--an apologetic reading recommendation for testimony salvage--looks like the work of a master spoofer. Is Young Smoot really on the side of the LDS Church in this? Or is he gesturing to the silliness of it all in the guise of boosting Hales' reputation?

It's getting increasingly difficult to sort this out.
"Petition wasn’t meant to start a witch hunt as I’ve said 6000 times." ~ Hanna Seariac, LDS apologist
_Maksutov
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Re: Phony Baloney on Brian Hales

Post by _Maksutov »

Kishkumen wrote: Hedges displays a ready willingness to omit anything that would challenge someone's testimony. Of course, in this situation practically any Church employee would feel obliged only to mention those sources that bolster a testimony. Indeed, that's what the whole event was about: putting out the brush fires caused by the Church's own online essays. The next step is to guide the students to a more comprehensive scholarly source that reaches faith promoting conclusions.

What is really interesting here is the way that Young Smoot insults the intelligence of his readers. I mean, you would think he were actually making fun of apologetics. To treat this, so brazenly, as some kind of independent scholarly endorsement instead of what it so obviously is--an apologetic reading recommendation for testimony salvage--looks like the work of a master spoofer. Is Young Smoot really on the side of the LDS Church in this? Or is he gesturing to the silliness of it all in the guise of boosting Hales' reputation?

It's getting increasingly difficult to sort this out.


Brother Smoot seems to be following in the DCP footsteps...can't leave the exMos alone but won't engage them directly. We'll see if his sock shows up here soon. :wink:
"God" is the original deus ex machina. --Maksutov
_grindael
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Re: Phony Baloney on Brian Hales

Post by _grindael »

Mike Marquardt recently wrote a review of the new Papers book, and has some interesting things to say in it about what they gloss over there, or just leave out. It'll be published soon. They have done a good job releasing documents, but they are still quite apologetic to Joseph Smith, though they do it much more subtlety than Hales or Smoot, who are rabid apologists. They also (for all their degrees) make a lot of mistakes. They sure did when they tried to analyze the "Caractors" photo that I found in 2012. They got it totally wrong. I'm finishing a book on the Joseph Smith "Caractors" which will be published soon.
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_sock puppet
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Re: Phony Baloney on Brian Hales

Post by _sock puppet »

grindael wrote:I'm finishing a book on the Joseph Smith "Caractors" which will be published soon.

That will be good to have a comprehensive and cohesive treatment of that topic.
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