Saturday, February 05, 2005

quinn at uvsc

apparrently over at, if you post anything that goes contrary to its adminstrators view on absolute lds papal authority, then it will be censored. here is a post of some of my thoughts on the recent d. michael quinn speach at uvsc that provopulse deemed anti-mormon and subject to censorship to protect the little children of happy valley.


perhaps this won't be posted (mason chose not to post my announcement of this event).

last night, d. michael quinn (the leading revisionist historian in mormon studies) gave the annual eugene englad memorial lecture at uvsc.

while many may ignorantly call him anti-mormon, i found his lecture to be a wonderful testimony of the gospel and the church.

here are some tidbits as provided by the daily herald.

"I accept ... that a person who was once an ardent believer has confronted doubts, sometimes too great for the good person to maintain former beliefs in a religious leader, or organization, or community. I also accept the claim of ardent believers who say they have never had serious doubts. But when struggling with doubts sufficient to contemplate abandoning their faith, other believers consider doubt's next step: 'To whom shall we go?' "

"Some regard disbelief as a passive experience which just 'happened' to them, while others affirm that they actively abandoned a faith they had actively discovered to be false."

" . . . sadness is a common denominator in all accounts I have encountered by former believers in Mormonism or in one of its prophets. They have lost confidence, enthusiasm, trust, happiness, and a sense of belonging that at one time seemed the center of their lives. Anger is the next most common emotion . . ."

"Once former believers have defined themselves as victimized by Mormonism, they regard believing Mormons as of only two types: either passive dupes or active participants in fraud."

"In 1896 Apostle Heber J. Grant was severely 'tested' by the death of his 7-year-old namesake. He could not understand the unfulfilled promises of healing in priesthood administrations to his son. Moreover, Elder Grant could not 'reconcile' the death of his last surviving son with his own patriarchal blessings to have sons to carry on his name."

"I propose no answer for this question: 'To whom shall we go?', but simply acknowledge its power in the lives of believers who confront serious doubts. I have given only a brief summary of its effects as I have observed them in past and present. If I argue or anything, it is that unshaken believers, lifelong skeptics and self-confident academics should all stop devaluating the anguish of people they do not understand."

From his question-and-answer session:

"What is unique to Mormonism is the deadly fear that parents have that they won't see their kids again in the next life -- non-Mormons don't experience that kind of pressure."

"Church leaders have as much experience with the church's past history as anyone who graduated from seminary, so they are not trying to conceal any concerns or a great secret or mystery, because they are not aware of them. If they haven't acquired a knowledge of church history before they become a General Authority, they don't have time to acquire it."

"I sometimes wish there was more fear and trembling and searching for course correction among the General Authorities."

"Historians are notably bad as prophets, but I feel the greatest engine of friction and change in the future church will be international Mormons."

"I have tried to speak with both the voice of faith and the voice of an academic and I don't believe they are inconsistent."

"I miss the temple. I was a temple worker, and I miss taking the sacrament, but there are so many policies the church has that I disagree with, and as a member I remained silent or muted my objections, but if anything those policies have accelerated and I could not come back and again be silent."

"The church is a divine institution staffed by humans and I'm not being satirical when I call it a divine institution, I'm not speaking out of both sides of my mouth, I'm not speaking in code. I am a believer."

i have read several of his writings, but this was the first time i heard him speak in person. i was touched by his love for the church and his testimony of it (even though he has to express it as an excommunicated member). it's unfortunate that a few have tried to paint him as an enemy.


  1. Hi Tyler--

    Glad to hear you got to the lecture. I don't know why Mason at didn't think it would be of as much interest to his readers as Sons of Provo or anti-Ashlee Simpson stuff that he puts on the site.

    By the way, have you been folllowing the various things going on with the 100 Hour Board at BYU that your friend "Latro the Brigand" writes for? When I had first come across the Board ( -- seems to be down again at the moment) I really liked seeing how students were able to help each other out in such a forum. But I guess various "powers that be" felt that occasional discussions of same-gender attraction or NCMO or how undressed your roommate and his girlfriend have to be before it becomes an Honor Code violation you need to turn them in for (and 99% of the postings had NOTHING to do with ANYTHING like that. . .) were too much for the sponsoring BYUSA (and BYU administrators & alumni & others as well, I'm sure) to handle. So after being pulled off the Web for a month, the Board is (was ?) back in a very bland format. And the writers are not allowed to criticize BYUSA or even talk about "what happened" or anything. So not only are they being censored--they have to pretend a.) that they're actually NOT being censored or b.) that they really like being censored. I guess this is the sort of thing that leads to future D. Michael Quinns. . . (For an example of recent Board censorship, you can read this.)

    Anyhow, I'd be interested in hearing more about how you felt about the Quinn lecture--how many people were there? was the mood in the audience antagonistic to Quinn or supportive or both or neither?

    And did you manage to get to the film about Moore's visit to UVSC that same night as well? (although I don't see how you could have. . .)

  2. ciarin,

    i left the quinn lecture very touched. at the end of his paper, after reviewing how the doubts of others had both led some to losing faith and other to ever-strenghtening their faith, quinn plead "i hope that i will someday encouter such doubts." it was not only touching as a plea for even greater faith, but a testimony that what he has encountered in his research has not given him such doubts. he really seemed to be a man of integrity and sincerity.

    the room where he spoke was packed. people had to bring in chairs from the halls, and others lined the outside walls. it seemed that maybe more than half of the audience was not from uvsc (which is a great sign for the significance he has in mormon studies).

    most everyone enjoyed it. a friend told me he later heard one fellow proclaim it to be "anti-mormon filth". it makes me wonder if he heard the same lecture as i did.

    i had to leave the lecture before his q&a session to attend the documentary abotu the moore issue at uvsc, but i heard that he affirmed his testimony even more then (which is apparent in the above quotes).

    the documentary began after quinn's lecture, so i was able to attend both. it was pretty good and brought up the memories of all the excitement we had then. i only hope that the campus can find more of the same electricity with other issues.

  3. I heard Quinn was excellent! My parents went, but I was unable to attend, I was disappointed! Thanks for this post.

  4. I don't know anything about this guy, but here's what I have to say on your quotes from him.
    First, I completely agree that people should "should all stop devaluating the anguish of people they do not understand." I think a lot of times the leaders (or other people) try to tell us how to overcome certain temptations or how to deal with certain trials when they themselves haven't had to deal with those same issues. I appreciate their intentions in helping us, but it is important that they (or we, or me, or whatever) are sensitive to the fact that the feelings are unique to that person and not expect them to accept some quick and easy fix.
    Second, I have a friend (who chooses to remain anonymous) that worked in the Church History department of the Church offices, and who says that the GA's do, on a weekly basis, discuss issues in the Church History.
    I hope I actually understood that and that my comments aren't off base....

  5. PS: Your website sucks. Get rid of that stupid audio file. It's so annoying when I browse to your site and it just starts playing some retarded audio clip. At least have it off by default and then whatever moron wants to listen to it can click play.


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