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Radio Free Mormon: 235: LDS LAW

RFM talks about his background in law from over thirty-years of practice, and applies those principles to the LDS Church. By the end, we start to get a good idea why it is the LDS Church seems to like to call lawyers to positions of leadership–especially over the Church Historian’s Office!


3 thoughts on “Radio Free Mormon: 235: LDS LAW”

  1. I enjoyed this podcast. I couldn’t help but think of the words from Stephen Sondheim’s Into the Woods whenever the word “beans” was mentioned.
    And when your mother died, your father deserted you
    Your father was no father, so why should you be?
    Now there’s no more fuss and there’s no more scenes
    And my garden thrives, you should see my nectarines!
    But I’m telling you the same I tell kings and queens
    Don’t ever never ever mess around with my greens!
    Especially the beans!

  2. Another great podcast!

    The leaders of the church must think that there is some kind of difference between how they believe and how the average member of the church believes. They think that if the members know the troubling things that the leaders know, the members will stop believing, otherwise there would be no need to suppress anything. A good example might be Joseph Fielding Smith and accounts of the first vision.

    So why is it that the leaders continue to believe despite knowing troubling things, and at the same time, don’t think that the members would continue believing if they knew what the leaders know? They must be “nuanced” Mormons, in some sense, and they don’t trust the members to be nuanced in the same way. What is that nuance? I have a theory.

    Remember Euthyphro’s dilemma? It can be phrased like this: is something moral because God says it is moral, or does God say it’s moral because it is? I think that the difference in beliefs between the average members and the leaders can be explained by a variation on Euthyphro’s dilemma. The members believe that a prophet says something because it’s true, while the leaders believe that something is true because a prophet says it. In other words, what the leaders believe is their own authority, which they have by succession. Everything else is secondary. They are reinventing Catholicism before our eyes.

  3. Many of the lawyerly characteristics that you identified in church leadership also apply to church apologists. LDS apologetics, traditional FAIR in particular, have much more in common with lawyers’ methods than with scholarship. They have a form of scholarship but deny the power thereof.

    For example, in scholarship, it is the responsibility of the scholar advancing an argument to identify the weaknesses in his argument and deal with them forthrightly. In apologetics, it is considered the burden of the non-apologists to discover the weaknesses in the apologists’ arguments, even if the apologists already know those weaknesses. As a consequence, the arena of apologetics is much more adversarial and similar to a court of law than an academic setting.

    The apologists in a sense are half scholars, advancing ideas without dealing with the disconfirmatory evidence. They leave that to the “opposing counsel.”

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