Making blog public again.

I don’t know if anyone is really a “follower” of this blog anymore but I felt the need to put it back up online.

For anyone who stumbles on this blog, here’s the history of the blog in a nutshell:

I grew up in the Mormon church as a product of multiple generations of Mormons on both sides. However, after serving a mission and marrying in the temple, I began to discover other religions in a deeper and more open way than I ever had before. I wanted to learn about other religions on their own terms. Orthodoxy had always been with me, and as I learned and grew, it came to me more and more. Finally, by 2012 I was actively comparing and contrasting Mormonism and Orthodoxy in my mind, with the purpose of discovering which church I should be in.

I created this blog to explore questions and invite discussion. Unfortunately, when my father found out about the blog he contacted someone from FAIR (an LDS apologetics organization) to visit and try to discuss things with me. My parents do not understand my faith journey and did not take it well. I, in turn, did not take the intrusion into my blog well and it soured me on the whole experience. In any case, by that point my mind was basically made up. I decided to make this blog private and keep it from the world. Arguing on the internet was taking an emotional toll on me. Trying to decide what church is true is already stressful, and I was reading and studying for hours every day. The added stress of dealing with surrogates from my parents was much worse.

In 2014 I became a catechumen in the Orthodox church, and in 2015 I was baptized. You can read more about my actual conversion here. One month later, I took an academic and personal journey to Istanbul to see the Hagia Sophia. Everything fell into place for me. Then, in 2016, my wife and three children joined me in the Orthodox church.

I am truly happy, spiritually, mentally, and emotionally. Joining the Orthodox church was one of the best things that has ever happened to me.

Some last notes.

  1. I may or may not currently endorse any position I have taken in this blog. The point of the blog was to explore ideas.
  2. I am generally anonymous on this blog, though my identity is not such much “secret” as it is not that important.
  3. I am keeping the blog in place for historical and informational purposes. I will probably not respond to or comment on any post from now on. Please do not expect anything additional from me beyond what I have posted.

Lord, Jesus Christ, have mercy on me, a sinner.

The unenviable position of Mormon apologetics.

(this piece has been cross-posted from an older philosophy blog, Aristotle’s Revenge)

I have seen quite a bit of banter lately about Mormon apologetics lately and wanted to throw in my $0.02. Recently John Dehlin publicly stated:

I just want to go on record as saying that 20th and 21st century LDS apologetics (FAIR, FARMS, Maxwell institute) will go down as destroying more testimonies than any other single Mormon influence. That’s what happens when you blame the victim, or give very poor and evasive answers to credible issues.

Now I actually think this is unfair for a number of reasons. First, people don’t go to LDS apologetics unless they are a Mormon who is already struggling with their testimony (very few Mormons, ex-Mormons, or non-Mormons look to FAIR for casual, unbiased, light reading on a Sunday afternoon). So it’s hard to say that the apologists are really “destroying” these testimonies, as though they were completely whole beforehand and then the apologists strapped some plastic explosives to them and pushed the plunger. Second, I am not convinced that if there were no apologetic wing of the LDS church, we wouldn’t be seeing the same people exiting the LDS faith. It could be that the apologetic defense is ineffectual, or in John’s words, “poor and evasive,” but in this case they’re simply failing to stop a person from doing what they were already considering doing. Third, there is the implication that apologists bear the ultimate responsibility for other people’s testimonies. This is problematic to me because, if the LDS church is true in any sense, then ultimate responsibility for a person’s testimony rests with the person and God. To think that an apologist could somehow thwart the work of God (if that’s what it is) seems backwards.

However, it is the case that a modern LDS apologist does have a tough job to do if they really want to mount a case for Mormonism. In order to do so, they would have to do the following things: Continue reading