|Me studying on the Isle of Patmos, Greece|
A while back someone asked me how many people read my blogs. I checked the statistics a week ago. As of Dec 20, 2021, I've had this many page views: 1,020,855.
That's only on blogger. Most people read my posts on moronisamerica.com, on my Amazon page, or in other places that repost or quote from my posts.
I can't break out how many separate viewers there are. I don't know if that's a lot or a few, relatively speaking. But it's a milestone that has prompted a new approach.
I will continue to use blogs as my online note system that I can access from anywhere on any device, and I'm fine with people reading along. I'm happy to respond when readers write with questions; often those questions prompt another blog post.
But there are even better ways to encourage people to become engaged learners.
As readers here know, I've also written several books. Some of my presentations are online as well.
Despite my efforts to be clear about my ideas, perspectives, and intentions, however, there are critics out there who continue to misrepresent what I think and express. Ever since I first got involved with issues of Church history and Book of Mormon historicity, I've been surprised at the intransigence of many LDS scholars, intellectuals and historians. They have a rigid "not invented here" approach that, in my view, has led them to create what I call the M2C/SITH citation cartel that has done much to uneducate and miseducate the Latter-day Saints generally--especially those who don't read English and therefore cannot access historical documents themselves.
An unfortunate example is the Joseph Smith Papers (JSP). As a resource, JSP is phenomenal. JSP cannot be praised enough for the incredible work they've accomplished in assembling and presenting historical documents and related information.
However, their editorial comments are permeated with efforts to accommodate M2C, SITH, and other personal opinions. It is unfortunate, and completely unnecessary. The same biases have seeped into curriculum, including CES and BYU.
In my view, Latter-day Saints who seek to be "engaged learners" embrace good information but do not defer to the opinions and rhetoric of the agenda-driven intellectuals. Predictably, many of these intellectuals take offense or feel threatened at the idea that ordinary people can make their own informed decisions that differ from the consensus of the scholars.
Some people claim that I'm trying to persuade people. That's a red herring fallacy because I merely report and encourage people to learn and think for themselves.
Here's what I'm interested in:
(1) accumulating and presenting relevant facts from history, archaeology, anthropology, geology, geography, etc.;
(2) assessing those facts for credibility, reliability, context, etc.;
(3) explaining how I interpret these facts;
(4) explaining why I agree or disagree with alternative interpretations.
I'm perfectly happy to have people disagree with me. I enjoy rechecking my work frequently, and I've adjusted my thinking many times as I gain new information or learn a better interpretation, hypothesis, etc. I will continue to do so, and encourage everyone to do the same.
I don't understand the psychology that I see so often whereby people are threatened or become angry because someone has a different interpretation of the same facts, but I do understand why people feel threatened or angry when someone points out their factual or logical errors.
In January I'll post my FAITH model for historical analysis and my new format for 2022.
Meanwhile, Happy New Year!