long ago ideas

“When we are tired, we are attacked by ideas we conquered long ago." - Friedrich Nietzsche. Long ago, Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery conquered false claims that the Book of Mormon was fiction or that it came through a stone in a hat. But these old claims have resurfaced in recent years. To conquer them again, we have to return to what Joseph and Oliver taught.

Tuesday, May 30, 2023

A Prince of Contention: Ben Spackman

A few days ago, FAIRLDS posted a presentation from their 2019 conference on youtube. People have been sending me the clip in which Ben Spackman labels "heartlanders" as "dangerous fundamentalists," which starts here:


There's a lot to like in Spackman's presentation. I think he does a good job explaining an aspect of scriptural interpretation and the process of revelation that everyone should be familiar with.

It's one of the multiple working hypotheses that I like to understand with clarity.

However, Spackman starts and ends with a contentious premise and motivation: his antipathy toward so-called "fundamentalists" whom he identifies as the "Heartlanders." 

Because of its relevance to the problem of contention, I posted a discussion of Spackman's presentation here:



To help eliminate contention, from time to time, we will look at some of the Kings of Contention, but today we'll look at a Prince of Contention. I refer to Spackman as merely a Prince of Contention because, as he said in his presentation, he did not make the cut in this meme he presented:

I don't recall ever seeing this meme before, and I don't know its origin. I don't recognize all the people in the collage, either, but some I recognize I wouldn't call contentious. But there are a few on there who qualify as Kings of Contention, as we'll discuss in upcoming posts.

The meme makes a good point, though. We could simply ignore everyone in the collage and have a perfectly harmonious and functional Church family. 

And yet, I agree with the scholars that academic discussion plays a useful role for many people (myself included).

The question I ask is, can the people in the collage interact with mutual respect, clarity, and understanding?

As Spackman's presentation demonstrates, some of them seem incapable of doing so. So far. But I hope to see the day when they do.

Hence my post: 



BTW, undoubtedly my NPC critics (the typical M2C/SITH Interpreters) will claim that I'm a King of Contention, but anyone who has read my work (as opposed to the caricatures created by my NPC critics) can see that I'm fine with people believing and teaching whatever they want, so long as they are clear about and own what they teach. Unlike my NPC critics, I don't think it's contentious to expect clarity and understanding to help everyone make informed decisions. I oppose censorship and obfuscation, not alternative perspectives, ideas, and interpretations.

Anyone who shares my desire for clarity and understanding does not, in my view, contribute to contention. Others are free to disagree, of course.


I had actually mentioned Spackman's anti-Heartlander comment in a post in 2019 because I had attended part of the conference (albeit not Spackman's presentation). 


In my 2019 post, I mentioned something I'd been told about the Q&A at the end of a session I didn't attend. I didn't mention the speaker or the title of the presentation, but after watching this video clip, I now can see it was Ben Spackman's. Here's what I wrote then.

The second funny incident was during another Q&A. The speaker was asked what he thought about the Heartland movement. I'm told he replied, "They're a bunch of crazy fundamentalists."

That comment says it all. Now, if you still believe what the prophets have taught, you're ridiculed by the FairMormon intellectuals as a "fundamentalist."

That pretty well sums up the M2C citation cartel.

Because I never read his blog, I didn't know at the time that my NPC critic Peter Pan (aka Mike Parker, aka Richard Nygren) accused me of lying because Spackman actually said the heartlanders were "dangerous fundamentalists," not "crazy fundamentalists." As usual, Peter Pan misrepresented what I wrote. Because I didn't attend the session and clearly explained that I was repeating what I'd been told (which after all was a fair summary of Spackman's rant) I wasn't lying about what Spackman said. I was reporting what I had been told he said. But NPCs don't actually think.

To make it even more fun, yet another anonymous person ("On the Other Hand") made a comment on the FAIRLDS youtube video referring to "Robert Boylan" as "a great and knowledgeable member of the Church." Boylan created the infamous racist false identity "Richard Nygren" for Mike Parker's Peter Pan, which Bill Reel exposed as we discussed here. 


Given the proclivity for pseudonyms Mike Parker and his friends have demonstrated, we can reasonably infer that Mike and/or his fellow Interpreters made the gratuitous comment praising Boylan.

The fun continues...


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