Richard Bushman and Andrew Kimball speak, and the Sabre Rattlers perform at the 2012 New York Mormon Stories conference.
I loved these two addresses. Thank you for sharing them. As an active, believing member who has embraced the Mormon Stories ethos, I gravitate to anyone who models the notion of a thoughtful faith and few do that with the grace and humility of Richard Bushman. The notion of ‘truth’ losing some of it’s hard edges over time is priceless.
I also thoroughly enjoyed Andrew Kimball’s articulate, self-aware story. I genuinely sympathize with his experience of having lost connection with deity and feeling the weight of his family history bearing down on him.
As a member I’m having a hard time with the fact that Joseph Smith “married” teenagers such as Helen Mar Kimball etc. How are you able to deal with that ?
Fantastic addresses. I listen to the whole think twice in a row.
A very interesting session. I did like Richard Bushman’s point about how facts can be created. Things seem obvious after the first person points them out. I don’t agree with him that Joseph Smith’s involvement in magic is a non-issue now because historians like him have come up with a good justification. I think it is still a very important aspect of his time. To me it shows that the people of the time were extremely credulous so I can see how Mormonism could flourish in that environment. I also don’t like the line of thinking that goes that because one thing was explained that means everything at some point will be explained away. I think it was Quentin Cook who used that same argument in this last conference. Because it was discovered that the Hoffman documents were a forgery that means any evidence against the church will eventually be shown to be a fraud. There are stronger and weaker pieces of evidence against the claims of Mormonism but on the whole I think they are quite damning. I don’t feel obligated to leave but I don’t see any reasons to continue to participate if I am not sure it is true. The church asks to much and gives to little for me to do that. It doesn’t make me a better person. In fact it makes me miserable. It is certainly possible that someday we will find some additional papyrus fragments that translate exactly into the Book of Abraham or that archaeologists will discover a city called Zarahemla with lots of chariots and horse fossils and a lot of writing in reformed egyptian. But in the meantime I am not going to stick around.
Without knowledge we continually walk in faith. If you want to find equally misleading information on Jesus Christ, Abraham, Moses etc., you can, it’s out there. If irrefutable evidence where available, you would have pure knowledge.
At some point you have to find truth through the spiritual core of your being. It’s just how God plays this game.
dang that autocomplete!!!…..The above should read:
“If irrefutable evidence were available, you would have pure knowledge.”
In response to Bushman’s remarks, of course all facts are subject to interpretation. It just so happens that most dispassionate observers look at the facts and conclude that it is more likely than not that Mormonism is not what it claims to be. I think the real question is, when considering Mormonism’s top 10 most problematic issues, do we stay or do we leave? Sure, some issues might be resolved in the future and others will not. But why grant Mormonism special patience that Bushman has given it? All faiths have problematic issues. Should the Jehovah Witness patiently wait and hope that his faith’s historical problems will one day be resolved? It cannot be the good in Mormonism that requires special patience above other faiths — many churches promote good that equals or exceeds what we find in Mormonism. I think there are deeply rooted psychological reasons (of which even the most intelligent are not immune) that explain why smart people grant Mormonism special status.