This is an archived copy of a post written by Conflict Of Justice (conflictofjustice.com). Used with permission: Conflict Of Justice may not agree with any alterations made.
”Somehow, I’m supposed to rebuild my testimony on newly discovered information that is not only bizarre and alien to the Chapel Mormonism I had a testimony of; it’s almost comical.”(CES Letter)
Focus On How Facts Are Framed – The reason Mormon defenders are unsuccessful with many doubters is because they try to focus on facts instead of how the argument is framed. If you take all of the relevant facts in CES Letter, you could condense it down to maybe ten pages. The rest is how it is dressed to make a convincing argument, and this dressing is what makes people lose their testimonies.
For example, CES Letter talks about Polygamy/polyandry seventy-seven times. But would anyone even have cared about Joseph Smith’s polygamy three thousand years ago? Today in the twenty-first century, it is framed as evil because of modern taboos, abusers, and social practices. Anti-Mormons cherry-pick points of history and doctrine and attach a modern spin, making Mormons look sexist, racist, violent, and dangerous.
The frame deconstructs Mormon beliefs and replaces them with opposing and openly hostile beliefs, by appealing to doubters’ intellect, emotions, and spiritual vulnerabilities. The reason CES Letter‘s beliefs were deconstructed and why he wasn’t convinced by Mormon fact-checkers is because those fact-checks only tacked a few intellectual aspects. They did not touch the root of the matter. The frame was not addressed, and since they did not dispel it, CES Letter seems to assume that FairMormon agreed with the anti-Mormon frame.
“Not only do they introduce to Mormons “internet materials that magnify, exaggerate, and in some cases invent shortcoming of early Church leaders” but they provide many ridiculous answer… FairMormon and these unofficial apologists have done more to destroy my testimony than any anti-Mormon source ever could. I found their version of Mormonism to be alien and foreign to the Chapel Mormonism that I grew up in attending Church… Their answers are not only contradictory to the scriptures and teachings I learned through correlated Mormonism…they’re truly bizarre.”(CES Letter)
|See also:||How To Ask Questions & Not Doubt|
Yes, it is indeed despicable that anyone is polygamist. But it was a different type of marriage, probably not really sexual, etc… It is important to provide this kind of context and these kinds of facts, but that’s not enough. No amount of fact-checking will dispel the frame until you convince them that it was good for Jospeh Smith to be polygamist, that polygamists of the time were not perverts. You need to address the emotional and spiritual concerns. For the particular issue of polygamy, the frame tends to be rooted in the doubter’s sexual insecurities and ingratitude for the church’s patriarchal system. That is what needs to be addressed.
It is a daunting challenge for an internet website. But we can do this individually for ourselves. If our beliefs have been deconstructed by anti-Mormonism, we can look inward and root out the intellectual, emotional and spiritual issues.
How To Fight Deconstructionism – Marxism deconstructs truth to reveal class consciousness and reconstruct people’s beliefs to fit the Marxist ideology. Marxists start out by attacking the enemy’s beliefs on multiple flanks and by peeling them apart one by one.
The new truth is revealed by the deconstruction and an application of culturally specific antithical meanings. For example, when you hear the term “The West” you could think of a geographic region, or you could think “civilized society,” or you could even think of racist imagery. Connotations are about how the words are framed. This is the game CES Letter plays with “translate,” “horse,” and “chariot.”
“I was amazed to learn that, according to these unofficial apologists, translate doesn’t really mean translate, horses aren’t really horses (they’re tapirs ), chariots aren’t really chariots ( since tapirs can’t pull chariots without wheels ), steel isn’t really steel, Hill Cumorah isn’t really in New York (it’s possibly in Mesoamerica), Lamanites aren’t really the principal ancestors of the Native American Indians, marriage isn’t really marriage (if they’re Joseph’s marriages? They’re just mostly non-sexual spiritual sealings), and prophets aren’t really prophets (only when they’re heretics teaching today’s false doctrine).”(CES Letter)
They isolate a word into a constrained specific physical context. For example, when Joseph Smith “translated” the Book of Abraham facsimiles, that means he supposedly gave word for word meanings in the Egyptian context rather than a mere interpretation for how they relate to Abraham. The word “translate” couldn’t possibly mean anything except a word for word meaning of the Egyptian context. With the physical context isolated, CES Letter shows contradictions and builds a negative frame around church history. Then, they deconstruct social concepts of “prophet” and “tithing” and shift definitions to cast them in a negative light. Suddenly, the term “prophet, seer, and revelator” is synonymous with conman.
Following the Marxist deconstructive theory, Anti-Mormons attach emotions, abstract concepts, and an ideal. The simplistic binary antithes of physical evidence attach an expression, such as disgust or fear. New perceptions replace the deconstructed beliefs based on immediate aesthetics. Whatever looks right and fits our emotional state must be true. This new perception promotes a new Marxist, Satanic ideology.
How is a doubter supposed to reconstruct their faith after all of this “discovered information?” Well they can’t really. You can’t build faith on phony frames of word definitions and negative connotations. You have to back up and dettach the frame that Anti-Mormons have attached to the issues.
CES Letter Logical Fallacies
|Poisoning The Well||CES Letter says they want answers but attack FairMormon for answering.|
|Burden Of Proof||Why is it the church’s job or Mormon apologists’ job to convince you historical events are good or bad? If you “desperately needed answers,” look them up for yourself–not from anti-Mormon sites but from the actual raw historical documents.|
|Repetition||CES Letter repeats previous arguments in this argument. Redundant: “alien and foreign”, “concealed and hidden” CES Letter repeats several phrases several times within this argument, such as “at 31-years old” and their list of Mormon institutions they had took part in, which includes Church, Seminary, reading Scriptures, General Conferences, EFY, mission, and BYU.|
|Ad Hominem||“truly bizarre” “bizarre and alien… almost comical”|
|Etymology||The Mormon frame of what “translate” means is different than what CES Letter likes, so they reject it out of hand.|
|Appeal To Emotion||“I went into a panic. I desperately needed answers and I needed them 3 hours ago… the absolute shock and feeling of betrayal in learning about all this information that has been kept concealed and hidden from me by the Church my entire life…” (CES Letter)|
|Argument By Authority||CES Letter tries to convince us they are experts on Mormonism: ” I grew up in attending Church, Seminary, reading Scriptures, General Conferences, EFY, mission, and BYU… after 20 years of high activity in the Church? I wasn’t just a seat warmer at Church. I’ve read the scriptures several times. I’ve read hundreds of “approved” Church books. I was an extremely dedicated missionary who voluntarily asked to stay longer in the mission field. I was very interested in and dedicated to the gospel… after making critical life decisions based on trust and faith that the Church was telling me… After many books, seminary, EFY, Church history tour, mission, BYU, General Conferences, Scriptures, Ensigns, and regular Church attendance?” (CES Letter)|
Here is another example how Anti-Mormon use the Marxist deconstructivism to destroy our faith and replace it with Marxist ideology.
If there are errors in scripture, then they are contradictions and this opens up for a Marxist alternative. What is the alternative? Well, how about scripture that is always updating to fit modern times? What’s wrong with that? We can re-write verses to change the definition of marriage, to give women more “rights,” etc. This would be much more convenient for Marxism, because the Marxist ideology of universal salvation equates truth with a narrative that is always changing.
This is what we need to start addressing as Mormon defenders and fact-checkers, and as we nurture our own testimony of the gospel. Prevent each of these steps of deconstruction, and focus fully on emotion and spirituality, not just intellect.