Cwic Show- Identity Politics, BYU & LDS Scholarship

'Identity Politics, BYU & LDS Scholarship'

Critical Theory is now a dominant ideology throughout academe and is one of the foundations of the Social Justice movement and Identity Politics. It's controversial tenets draw on anti-family solutions for the perceived ills of society. So what happens when this ideology spreads to a place like BYU or LDS scholarship? And how does the LDS Church's Family Proclamation stack up against this ideology? The two seem to be on a collision course.


 Hanna Seariac is the host of FAIR Mormon's "FAIR Voice" podcast which can be found here- 


 Raw Transcript

would you say in your opinion that that
critical theory
and elements of post-modernism such as
deconstruction do not support the church
irredeemably so yes they do not support
the church
all right so hannah you have uh put out
a a petition on
that is about bringing byu back to being
christ-centered having a christ-centered
education why do you
why did you feel the need to do this
when i first got to byu
i was in a i was working as a research
assistant in the faculty center
and during this time i saw that there
were ratings for a
particular professor that talked about
how she thought the family proclamation
was wrong
and these students felt uncomfortable
then i started thinking about the
differences between byu and other
religious universities i had attended a
catholic college for a year prior
and i had my own experiences with
professors who would say that
what i consider fundamental doctrines of
the church and i think what the church
considers fundamental doctrines of the
to be wrong so then i had this in the
back of my mind for the
next two years and then the honor code
protest hit and that really just
ignited it so it really started off for
sure yeah yeah as a family proclamation
okay so so
did this did was this something you
found because i'm trying to track back a
little bit
when some of this kind of thing started
this was
right right when you got to byu this was
you started experiencing this
yeah it was within my first semester
okay and that has continued since i mean
you've gone through
you're now a graduate student you've
done your undergraduate at byu
and this is something that has continued
each year that you've been there
yeah every single year and i've heard
more experiences from other people too
what what is the message sometimes that
you're getting out there with a family
there's a lot of different messages i've
gotten the message that
if you're a woman you should defy the
roles that the family proclamation
and i'm not saying that every woman
needs to be a stay-at-home mother but
i've definitely had professors tell me
i express my desire to be a stay-at-home
mother that's a waste of talent
it's a waste of intellect um so
definitely a lot of stuff personally
about generals and i've heard
a lot of different professors say that
to other students um with regards to
sexuality and marriage
um there's two there's a twofold element
there right like so
there's the element that people will say
that you know the family proclamation
could change it's
wrong right now it's like the priesthood
ban and it'll change later on
and the church will repent of it i've
heard that a lot and then the second
that i've heard is gender is not eternal
and that you can choose your gender
um even though what where is the backing
from that coming from how would
you know i mean that that's of course a
a newer idea very much a newer idea
in all of humanity um
where is the idea that that is an
eternal principle coming from
the idea that gender is an eternal
principle yes
yeah i know the idea that you can in
eternity choose your gender
sure yeah so i'm just guessing i would
say that it comes from gender theory
i would say that people who started
and simone dubois would be looking at
those theories and saying hey
gender is a social construct as opposed
to something that is eternally given to
and that's where you have the element of
choice because if it's something that's
eternally given to you
then you can't choose it obviously so
then you have to go to the
realm that it is a societal construct
and that
is the foundation of disagreeing with
family proclamation is and of course the
obvious issue there
is is biology is one thing definitely
um of course that idea is moving into
science also
you see all the the interesting things
on twitter and other places right now
where the two plus two equals five have
you seen that yeah
yes i have it's like it's like there's
this idea that you have to thrust
in a a deconstruction
of math and science and everything else
to to prove that there's no absolutes
oh definitely yeah everything has become
relative because
you have relativity in a system that
does not
believe in god and i think in order to
have true
identity politics to have true
transgenderism be pervasive you cannot
god at the center and i think that's one
of the critical parts of gender theory
would you say that you go back to gender
theory but would you say in in what
either your own thoughts on this or
maybe what you've got from talking to
that that that critical theory and
and post-modernism are at the
are the foundation of these new ideas
yeah definitely i mean it all stems back
from marxism right this idea that you
can deconstruct society and deconstruct
the family
in order to reconstruct a society that
is more equitable where
equality equals equity sorry equality
equals equity and that i
that fallacious idea is the foundation
of all
other theories that i think we see
promoted especially in the humanities
and social sciences
just just just of interest here d how
have you heard foucault or derrida
referenced in uh in any of your courses
yes i have very often
very often too often but in a positive
way in a teaching
way like this is what we're looking at
and and this is how you need to look at
what you're learning yes this i i've
taken a number of theory
based courses yeah which
classics doesn't do it because classics
naturally doesn't have that much
theory in it but other humanities
disciplines definitely do
okay which i find and uh for those that
don't know if you go back and look at
uh michelle foucault and and jacques
derrida and others there's there's
there's really i mean to me as i look at
them and i'm certainly no
expert on philosophy or or or literature
but uh it just seems to me that that
it's when you bring the critical theory
from the early 20th century and then you
add on the postmodernist from the 60s
and 70s
you get this this you know i mean to go
to dairy dust specifically you get this
whole idea of deconstruction
and you start pulling apart the texts
and and really what you're saying is
you're pulling apart speech
also and and saying that you know going
against for example plato
right and saying that there are no true
forms and no true essence
and that everything is just your
experience and
based especially on your identity
everybody has different truths right
yeah and so these things have kind of
been pulled together
and it's it's really a fascinating thing
to watch
how fast this this it seems like a lot
of us has been
have been asleep on these on these
topics to see how pervasive
this new ideology of of critical theory
in post-modernism has has you know
infiltrated the
the academy and and gone through the
and you would think and it probably has
to some degree you know
byu would kind of be a little bit immune
to that
because it's there's so many there's so
much of that
ideology that is against the gospel
that you would you would think there
would be a little bit more of a buffer
zone there but
at the same time if you're if you have
professors that are
out learning and getting their
undergraduate and their especially their
graduate degrees in other places
they come back and work at byu you're
going to get a lot of that
eventually at byu as well
oh definitely yeah and i would say that
it's most pervasive in humanities and
social sciences
for sure have you seen um an example of
of of the family proclamation being
criticized in class then
yes i have and have you have you seen
people stand up to that at all
um i have personally stood up for it and
then i've had a couple of friends who
have but
i've been in classes where people will
people will openly criticize the family
proclamation with the professor and
very few people will say anything and
then after class ironically
people will come up to me and be like i
really agreed with you i just didn't
want to say anything
right and that's yeah you know it's
interesting i'm going to bring this up
if i've got it here there was a
a recent poll that was done by the cato
institute it says a third of americans
say that they are personally worried
about losing their jobs
or missing out on career opportunities
if they express their real political
americans in all walks of life have been
publicly shamed pressured into
ritualistic apologies
or summarily fired so
yeah i mean and especially if you're 18
19 years old
um you know you're not you're not you're
not likely to stand up and and
and say something on that now a couple
of things that i'm gonna bring up about
your petition here that you specifically
said this is a by the way
you and get his name right here
tristan mourier yeah okay
and and if am i right and saying he's
he's the one that went to the protest
and started reading the family
that is him okay okay good
good company i keep yeah okay i'll get
to that in a second here but you say
here we
join with many others in asking that the
university consider whether or not
they fulfill the mission statement which
is to assist
individuals in their quest for
perfection and eternal life
um do you feel that byu has
started to miss the mark on that a
little bit that they're not fulfilling
their mission statement
i think to a degree they aren't um to a
degree that
they to the degree that they allow
professors to say things that are
contrary to what the gospel teaches they
are i've had a lot of really good
professors who i felt like
did tell us how to live the gospel in a
productive way but i've also had
experiences where professors would say
openly that the family proclamation is
wrong so i i think it's a bit of a mixed
i will say on an administrative level i
do wish we saw
a bit more gumption in supporting the
than we often do i think that there can
be a delay in time
support or support and gum um from where
gumption office of president worthen and
perhaps the honor code office too and
and the communications office as well
um i i do think that they can pretty
much the administration
pretty much the administration yeah i
mean i wrote a letter to them so i'm
okay saying that
um but i do think there's a lot of great
parts about byu the maxwell institute
also i think
could use a bit of a revamping in terms
returning to old-school apologetics that
will strengthen
okay i'll get to that in a second too
here's more that you've got on on the on
the petition here here it says moreover
even certain official official actions
taken by byu have been out of accord
with the clearly stated principles of
the gospel to the point
where the church has had to issue
i'm guessing that you're talking about
the gay issue
yes we are here okay will you go over
that just in case some of the audience
doesn't know about this sure so there
yearly honor code protests not to sound
sarcastic but their yearly honor code
protests but this year it was a bit
so they issued a new honor code that had
less prescriptive language
and then certain students went to the
honor code office and they asked
hey does this less prescriptive language
mean that people who are gay can date on
the honor code office did say yes to
that we have recordings of them saying
yes actually
um so they said yes to that and then for
the next two weeks
there was just recordings they said yes
to what to allowing gay students to date
on campus
tristan went in and recorded his
conversation with another
this is in the honor code office and
they said
uh uh that that you're gonna go ahead
and have affection for example with with
same-sex same-sex individuals yes and
date and all that stuff right like you
would on almost every other campus
yeah almost except for some good
catholic ones
um but anyway so then the honor code
office said that there needed to be a
clarification and then there was this
two week limbo
where nobody knew what was happening and
then the church commissioner
issued a statement and said no the same
standards still apply it's just less
prescriptive language
and then very large protests ensued
where people came from all over utah
and it started off as just saying that
they wanted to keep the original honor
code policy but
it turned into something much larger it
turned into protesting the church and
there were signs that said things like
if i go to hell i'll see the q15 there
or too
or president nelson and president oak
should die in a car crash
so it very quickly left the realm of
saying just we disagree with the honor
code too we completely disagree with the
it's funny i was having a discussion
with one of my my kids and that's what i
was going over when i first had heard
about this
oh so i had this this discussion with my
child my child my
my daughter actually and i said
okay i i can tell you something right
that there is something more
and and because there always is it's
it's never just the issue that is the
invitation so to speak
right now we might look at this kind of
like we would see the current protests
i think if if you look at the current
protest there's people out there with
good intentions
and they're fighting for people they
love and they're supporting them and
an amount of empathy there and then
there's others that are up to absolutely
no good
yeah right and and there's i think you
need to clarify that
but i had said this is going to turn
into something different
by the time it's done and sure enough it
right and and and it went from
the protester at byu and and then they
went to salt lake right
yeah they went to the church office they
went to the church office building in
salt lake and then they also went to new
york temple
the new york temple yeah they had a
protest outside the new york times
interesting how many people in that
were were students there byu
tristan yeah tristan told me that he
thought it was
probably half and half at best um he
said that a lot of the people that he
talked to were from salt lake and
being on twitter i saw a bunch of people
who were not by
byu students who just came to the
protest from ubu or from salt lake or
where wherever
okay so in in in my opinion i think that
people ought to be able to protest
on those things if that's what they
really feel you know yeah
um were you there at the protest i did
go to one of the protests yes
okay what were you what are your
thoughts about what you saw there my
thoughts about what i saw there are
there are a lot of disaffected people at
byu who i have seen mostly in humanities
and social sciences
they tend to all major in sociology not
saying that the sociology department is
bad just saying that they tend to major
in sociology
um or english or other humanities
courses other humanities disciplines
um who basically have
believed for a while that the family
proclamation wasn't true and they have
held these beliefs for a while
and they found an opportunity to protest
that was my that was my experience and
they also seemed to be disgruntled with
the church
on a lot of different other issues um
and to just not really want the church
to stay the same
and to quote-unquote progress towards a
inclusive quote-unquote inclusive
um atmosphere okay all right here's
another thing that you said here in in
the uh
uh in the petition it says we ask
for an assessment of whether or not the
university encourages courses
clubs panels conferences events and
to align themselves with the latter-day
saint religious values
do you have something specific in mind
there yeah
this this discussion for us mostly
centered on identity politics
we believe that there are a lot of
different instances
where the university will host events
that are for
gay people and i'm not saying that we
don't need events for people who have
same-sex attraction
but i'm saying assigning the identity of
gay i think
diminishes the identity that we have in
christ because
we believe as a church as stated in the
family proclamation that we have two
essentially that we're divine children
of a heavenly father and a heavenly
mother and that we
have an eternal gender male or female
and that and this this one even points
back to our divine identity right
obviously because there's heavenly
father and heavenly mother
um so we've seen a lot of events on
campus that
seem to encourage the lifestyle that
goes along with the term gay as opposed
to saying that you have same-sex
and just in courses too we've seen a lot
of courses that will use critical theory
in a way that isn't critical of it but
it is
praising it promoting it to the point
it can't resemble the gospel of jesus
christ okay
so i'll let me just go over a little bit
of background for
for audience members here who don't know
about critical theory
you know critical theory basically comes
from the frankfurt school
um from germany uh it was mostly
marxists who then tried to adapt that
into a western marxism
uh in the early 20th century that seems
to have kind of morphed in when
when you add in michelle foucault and
jacques derrida and others
uh that are from the 60s and the 70s
and this idea of deconstruction and this
idea of
of of post-modernism and and you pull
those together
and you kind of end up with identity
politics today
that are kind of out of that fountain or
those fountains
of of idea you know those two ideologies
as i see it
yeah and and so
you have uh when you talk about
gay right your your one thing i see one
actually that you had mentioned is that
identity is crucial
and so if we're identifying someone say
for example as gay
or heterosexual or anything else
you know there's a lot that would you
would kind of goes along with that
instead of saying someone has a same-sex
attraction and and i don't know
what's best you know i i don't know i
haven't studied that a lot
but it seems to me that when you say
this person has same-sex attraction
you're not saying there's a complete
identity there as you would if you use
the term gay
maybe you know a lot of gay individuals
want that identity they want to bring
that all on
but there's a lot that goes along with
that is not just saying same-sex
and so whether it's whether it's
transgenderism whether whether it's
gay bisexual um lesbian etc
you're you're it seems like as we get to
this idea of identity politics
you're throwing labels out there on
people where it's almost like you're
categorizing them
separate from what you're saying
separate exactly a child of god
separate from an eternal gender
yeah and if we're all truly one in
christ we don't need other identities
right because i believe
that we're all members of the body of
christ and i think once we
add on these other identities i
understand that
the attempt of it is to give
terminology to someone's experience but
i think it ends up
segregating people and i think it ends
up creating divide and disunity because
people will think that because someone
is gay they are different
or because someone is heterosexual they
are different or because someone
is transgender they are different and i
think those differences stem
from identity being an important part
of our society as opposed to action um
it's interesting to say that there was
uh you've probably seen this but elder
a couple years ago had he was doing some
type of a fireside
and he said something that was seems
very controversial he said there are no
gay members of the church
and that can sound really ignorant but
when you listen to what he was saying
his point of view was exactly that he
was trying to say
we're all members of the church and
we're all
we're all children of god and he didn't
to put that label on somebody have you
seen that
i have yeah i was really inspired by
that and i think it comes from a
like a hebrew semitic idea too that is
pervasive throughout the bible what do
you mean by that
so semitic language structure is very
fascinating because
it does not have this concept of
identity you are not
something you do something so instead of
you are a father
it would be you father and that's the
best way to ex
to explain it so within the bible there
isn't really this concept of external
identities outside of god
you are you are attached to god and what
you do
yes it can reflect on your attachment to
god but it isn't
who you are you are something because
you belong to god you are not something
because you do something
okay so where is the line on this
because in my opinion
i i would say that at a university
and i've taught my kids this i want
there to be a little bit of a liberal
approach because i want i want that and
i don't mean that politically i mean
than learning right i i want there to be
new ideas i want there to be
i i want there to be it's hard to learn
if if everything is just tightly you
know wound up and and everything is
exactly uniform
and and uh everything basically what you
end up with is regurgitation of
and and so i think that's important i
think we need new ideas and i think we
need people with
different backgrounds i think that's
important um
how do you balance that with with
staying with the doctrine of the church
and supporting what the church says
that's a really good question and i've
had a lot of personal experience
with this i'm writing a book on
anti-mormon literature so i read
anti-mormon literature every single day
fun fun yeah i would say the best way to
do it is you read everything like i
everyone should read the communist
manifesto i think that that should be
required reading
alongside the declaration of
independence and thomas paine's common
i think you should read everything that
you get your hands off i think no idea
should be off limits but i think the
difference is the crit the criticism
that you apply to the idea
i do not think that you should promote
ideas that are contradictory to the
church of jesus christ of latter-day
saints i think you should
read about those ideas understand these
ideas and explain the differences
between the gospel
and these ideas and confront them not
just merely accept them
or praise them would you say in your
that that critical theory and elements
of post-modernism such as
deconstruction are do not support the
irredeemably so yes they do not support
the church
um all right moving on from your
petition here
um where
where does byu go from here on
that's this really good question i think
we need to have a dialogue as a
university about
what we consider to be out of
out of hand for a professor to say i
don't want to dictate what the church
would do
because the church is ultimately
responsible for brick and mortar
university the board of trustees is the
quorum of the twelve apostles and the
first presidency
so i think there needs to be a dialogue
that takes place in an assessment of
what is going on at the university to to
ensure whether or not we think it is
acceptable for professors to openly say
in class
the family proclamation is wrong and if
that is the case
then i think we need to change a bit of
the mission statement of byu
and if we decide to keep the mission
statement the same and change
the values to be more in line with the
church and that's fantastic but i think
maxwell institute needs some revamping
um i think we need
clearer standards alarm alarm bells
there tell me what you mean by that
because that's something that you know
honestly i can see this is where it
applies to me
yeah right because because i even though
i'm not a student there anymore like you
and you're right in the middle of that i
i'm not
i'm not uh i'm not affiliated with
maxwell institute but i feel like i'm a
yeah right because i i read so much from
them and
and have pulled so much information from
them and learned so much from them
but you're not the first person to tell
me that yeah
in fact there's a lot of people that
have told me that
what's the issue there i think there are
a couple different issues um
first off i'd like to say that i think
the maxwell institute does do some great
work there are a lot of
i really do like the new theological
introductions to the book of mormon i
think those are fantastic
there's a lot of good work that maxwell
institute does but i think the maxwell
institute has definitely taken a more
secular lens
where not all of their work directly
supports traditional views of the church
and its doctrine particularly with the
book of abraham i
i'm sure you've heard of a lot of the
controversy that's gone on there but
there have been claims from
members of the maxwell institute or
former members of the maxwell institute
within their scholarship and publicly
that the book of abraham is not
historical that it's not
authentic and i think these claims can
be problematic
to apologetics of the church and i
actually just think they're untrue
beyond that they're being problematic
but i think we need
a return to old school apologetics
within the maxwell institute that
moves away from critical theory that i
see preventing them and i also think
they do tend to hire people who are very
outspoken against the church they have a
student in their employment who
basically says that the family
proclamation is wrong every chance that
he gets and i think that that's
not a wise decision for a religious
institution to make
in conjunction to byu and the church so
here's what i've noticed on that again
and i and i think some of my favorite
scholars do a lot of work with maxwell
um my favorite scholar does a lot of
work with maxwell institute too
yeah yeah so it's like i want to support
them and
they're doing a great job but at the
same time yeah
you certainly see what you see with any
other university department
nationwide right i i see all of these
new terms this new language that comes
out and whether it's on their
podcast or whether it's on in some of
their publications
um in their conferences
that they that they have i i
i mean it wasn't more than maybe five
six seven years ago when this started
but uh you start seeing those words
you know that go along with critical
theory and post-modernism and
and deconstruction and they're starting
to go everywhere and identity
right i've seen conferences where where
students or
graduate students they're they're
closely affiliated with them or they're
standing up and they're talking about
that they're excusing their their white
right i've seen lds scholars very
prominent lds scholars
stand up and talk about how great
post-modernism is
and and there are some good things
actually from post-modernism right it's
not like
a whole thing it's kind of like anything
there's there's a little bit of good
with a little bit of bad or a lot of bad
and uh i don't see that changing
i i don't in fact i think it's going to
get worse i
i just it just seems to me like if
you're in that world
of academia that's all the publications
that you subscribe to
all of your professors from wherever
you're from and wherever you are
it they're all it's extremely pervasive
especially in the humanities
and it's taking over science it's taking
over mathematics
it's engineering i mean you find it now
dentistry i've seen dentistry
you know and and it's so i don't know
that it
i don't see how that turns around unless
there is really a
you know board of directors really
heavily get involved with it
something that i've thought for a while
is i think
byu has become too concerned with being
a world-class
university um and i think there is there
are elements to that that are effective
where in the sense that fbi is a
world-class university byu can place a
lot of
good people in good programs and in good
work environments but i think at some
point we have to recognize that
brigham young university was never meant
to be like any other university this is
supposed to be an education in zion
and if we stop caring about what secular
academia thinks about us and we start
doing the work that would build the
church in the kingdom i think that's an
eternally more profitable route
than we are currently seeing in some
and so you're you're referencing mostly
maxwell institute there or
mostly maxwell institute or humanities
and social sciences
i would also include there too yeah okay
but we can leave out byu ancient
scripture and religious association i
think they do a pretty good job
all right so i wanted to get you also
put out an article
or somehow there's an article on on salt
lake trouble was that an opinion piece
you put gave to them about the name
oh yeah i did write that article okay so
so there's a little bit of a movement
um it's to change the name of byu
to take away the statues of brigham
uh i want to say the name i mean brigham
young university
uh because of some statements that he's
made about race
how prevalent is that how strong is that
i know i know
covid has come in and kind of slowed all
of this down i mean nobody's in town
yeah almost so that slowed everything
down but
but where where do you see that sitting
right now
so this is going to sound weird but i
feel like provo twitter has some
factions and this is the best way to
explain it
there is a progressive faction of
students at byu
who would say we need to remove all the
names we need to take down the statues
and i'd actually say that that faction
is quite small i think
the vast majority of people agree that
we need to keep the name of brigham
young university and we need to keep the
statues and that
despite what negative things brigham did
say that he did
a lot more good than he did bad and he
is of course a prophet
so i would say that it's a small
percentage but it's a very loud
and because they're so loud they feel
bigger than they actually are
okay so not a huge issue
i don't think it's a huge issue i wrote
the piece because of it was in reaction
to tossie young's piece
okay yeah
how pervasive would you say
that critical theory and and post-modern
post-modernism is at byu i mean yeah i
i would i would guess you know i just
guess because i read a lot about this
but i would guess in the humanities it's
extremely pervasive
yes and outside of that it's somewhat
pervasive is that correct
yeah and i i think it's a mixed bag my
department classics doesn't really have
a lot of critical theory in it um
and there are definitely especially
members of psychology and sociology who
members of that faculty who have reached
out to me and said that they don't like
teaching critical theory in their
classes and that they're grateful for
the petition
um but there are a lot of professors in
humanities and social sciences who do
that and i would say probably
a sprinkling of professors in religion
mostly centered in humanities and so
have you ever had a religious
professor say something about critical
theory or post-modernism deconstruction
no i avoid those classes that scares the
you know what out of me i mean
seriously i mean if if we ever get to a
point where a maxwell institute or
or pervasively at byu where they're
starting to go into critical theory with
the scriptures
yeah because that would be scary that's
happening at a lot of other religious
institutes right now right the i don't
know if you saw with the southern
baptist even
yeah southern baptist is one of the most
conservative groups anywhere they are
introducing critical theory into
into a way of reading the scriptures
yeah i mean i look at tabernacles of
that book that just came out and i think
that that's going to kind of set the
tone for what
some lds theologians will want to do
and i think that that's really sad that
we're starting to see
do you know how well that's been
accepted uh tabernacles of clay yeah how
well is it sold you know
um i think it's sold quite well actually
it has okay
yeah i think it's sold in circles or it
depends on your circle i would say that
there's a small
group of people in the byu circle who
adore it
um but mostly anti-mormons ex-mormons
like it is
or progressive and name only mormons
all right yeah and what about in the
i have no about critical theory in the
yes um yeah i think there are instances
of critical theory
of individuals in the administration
believing that critical theory and
attaching more identities to people is
the way to solve problems on campus
definitely so without a change right now
you see
that being more pervasive on on campus
i do because the administration is the
one they're the ones who approve
conferences and panels and events and
they've had numerous events that center
discussions um the process for getting
these approved you have to go through
the administration you can't just do it
on your own you can't just do it through
a department so i definitely think there
at least secondhand evidence at least
like second circle evans i don't know
of administration being sensitive or
supportive of
critical theory okay what can you tell
me about
gender studies at byu oh yeah this is
really interesting um my roommate's
actually how long has that been around
by the way
a lot of people probably don't know that
that's that's there at byu
yeah i i would have to wager less than
10 years
um it has to be fairly new
yeah um i from what i've heard from my
roommate gender studies is a really
mixed bag
you have some people who do it in a
church-sponsored way where
you can still have an element of gender
roles and you can still have an element
of gender identity which
that would be very hard to do in that
current field but then there are
instances where the professors seem to
love marxism and gender theory and they
think that these things should guide
academics completely and we'll talk
about the deconstruction of the family
as if that's a good thing and the
deconstruction of generals is if that's
a good thing beyond
obviously the necessary cultural
deconstruction that we need to do that's
just going beyond that mark into the
differences between our church and
secular academia
yeah that's uh interesting interesting
stuff i
wish we didn't i'm not again i'm not
that i i i don't care much about left
and right politics
yeah neither do i i do care about the
same and and i'll fight pretty hard
against either one of them
right on either side of it and and and
this is just
really a very concerning
trend that that you know these these
these uh this neo-marxist critical
uh post-modern deconstruction foundation
and ideology that is so
anti-family it is so anti-family and and
those that
you know there's no apology from those
that started these movements these
philosophers and
and political scientists that started
these they're all anti-family
yeah and and everything sprouts out from
it's just so obvious and people need to
know that when you hear
things that are coming up from you know
about critical theory if you're a
know where you know learn about these
people learn about
frankfurt school learn and learn about
michelle foucault
and jacques derrida learn about their
lives and where these ideas have
sprouted from
and uh it's it's no wonder that
that the fact that the proclamation on
the family is is dead center
on on the attacks from this definitely
because the the ideology is definitely
against it
yeah marxism says that the root of all
stems from the family so if you have the
root of all inequality stemming from the
family the family
becomes the number one thing that you
need to deconstruct in order to
construct equality
and in this case they would define
equality as equity so
all these philosophies however much good
you could garner from them from certain
aspects of them are rooted in this idea
that you can deconstruct things like
family you can deconstruct things like
gender and sexuality
and you can push boundaries to the point
where pedophilia is acceptable where
to the point where children are schooled
together apart from their families and
there isn't this
idea of stability or two two people
being in union with one another because
all marriage is prostitution according
to karl marx
yes yeah exactly exactly it's it's a
it's an oppressive hierarchy
very patriarchal which is what dairy dos
says also and he goes into logocentrism
it's all about
the patriarchy and and masculinity
and uh of course derrida and foucault
were both both signed on to the the
french proclamation that wanted to get
rid of the age of consent
exactly yeah you know it's like 15 years
old isn't young enough
let's completely get rid of the age of
consent so that is
an eight-year-old can consent to sex
yes like their
their contemporaries also supported this
it wasn't just
them like if you look at simone dubois
she supports them and she says
explicitly that she felt like the age of
consent should be removed too
so it's not it's not just a matter of a
couple people within the ideology it's a
matter of the ideology
yeah yeah that's exactly right and and
unfortunately it has been
it has been uh um
very strongly adapted in now not only
the academy but i mean it's it's in our
media everywhere
uh it's in government uh and now it's
starting to move into big business
so oh definitely this uh the uh
what was the uh well i'm trying to think
of the the big protest
in new york ten years twelve years ago
uh wall street yeah occupy wall street
occupy wall street this is not your
occupy wall street anymore because all
these large companies are
are getting on board oh definitely with
critical theory well listen is there
anything else that you wanted to cover i
was i was i had a question for you about
you you focused on you your your study
is on greek and and
yeah is that right yeah i do greek and
latin and have you looked at all or
studied at all
uh the word pieces for faith i have
studied a bit probably not as much as
you have
well i haven't studied that much but i
just had a question for you because
faith is
the the concept of faith is really
important to me and
for me i look at it specifically as
trust right
federal it comes from federi and
um it's interesting i ran i ran a word
in the old and new testament so you've
got the hebrew and then you've got the
greek right
and if you run if you run the two words
and trust
trust overwhelms faith drastically in
the old testament
right it's you get the word trust
everyone all of a sudden decide this
this word faith is gone
almost and then when you go to the new
testament it's the reverse it's not
quite as
high of a discrepancy but it's mostly
faith and then a lit you know a little
of trust the word trust that's in there
and so it seems to me
that that
and and there's a few different words
for trust and a few different words for
faith in hebrew as well
but it just seems to me that there is a
change from the original language as to
how that moved into the english
from the latin and and how we
don't as much identify faith with trust
what are your thoughts on that do you
have you would you say peace this is
i would say stressed and i think we can
think about this in framework of
covenantal relationships right because
in the hebrew bible you have such a
large er
old testament whatever you want to call
it um have such a large
emphasis on the covenant between god and
israel right god and the people of
israel so that
that covenantal language renders it more
effective to say that you trust in
something as opposed to you have this
concept of faith which
seems amorphous for the average jewish
because for them faith was entirely
and then this is totally a hannah theory
so this could be completely wrong but i
think within the new testament
when we talk about the plain and
precious things that were lost we are we
often are talking about ordinances and
covenants right and that's why we had
the book of mormon and doctrine in
incumbents because they restored the
ordinances and covenantal language that
is necessary so within the new testament
you have this concept of faith that is
not completely
borne out because it does really still
mean trust and is supposed to emphasize
the new covenantal relationship that you
have with christ that mirrors the
relationship between the god and the
people of israel but at the same time
the ordinances and covenants were
beginning to be lost as early as first
century like
we we see evidence of paul grappling
with trying to understand what he should
and should not do which i think is
evidence for the fact that ordinances
and covenants were lost pretty early on
um so you see this removal
of relationships i think in large part
from the new testament not
not to the degree where it's unnecessary
like where it's not borne out within the
new testament but it's just not
as pervasive as it is within the hebrew
bible and that's why the book of mormon
restores it well of course
after after 70 you don't have the temple
anymore exactly yeah you don't have the
example anymore
covenants you know it's you know you
don't have that center
where you're going through those things
yeah so then faith has to become
less relational and more of a concept
which leads
you to apostasy when you see faith not
as the concept but
i do find the word faith really
interesting that's just really
interesting because
i think we we consider it as something
that we have
um because of the way that it's written
in the new testament not a relationship
that we form
yeah and that's of course what trust
would be yeah and that's why i should be
right at the center of the relationship
that's what it is exactly
and and uh anyway i i go over that over
and over again because that's just
something that i've learned that that
i've experienced
and uh you know if you look at it as
faith is trust and not belief because
sometimes pieces is translated as belief
yeah in the new testament and a couple
other options there too
but but a lot of times you'll see belief
and it's the same word
pieces or variation of it that is that
is uh
used for faith and uh faith
you know again fideri means trust
that's where the word comes from and uh
anyway plain and precious things there's
something else that might be
plain and precious that's lost a little
bit from from translation as well
yeah definitely yeah because we're a
pastel right like that's the greek word
that means like i believe in or i trust
in it's not
when when they say that i believe in
it's not this mere belief that they
like hold within their mind and in their
hearts it's more of
a rel it's more of a description of the
relationship between them and god so i
think that
that connotation is often lost when we
talk about belief and when we talk about
faith and trust because really
all the words to at least in my
understanding seem to point back to
that covenantal relationship that you
overall now that you've got this
affiliation with fair mormon
where would where would you say that
lds apologetics is at right now i think
lds apologetics is kind of going through
a crisis actually
i think you have a disparate group
you have disparate groups right because
you have fair mormon and i would say the
interpreter foundation which
are a bit more traditional but then you
also have organizations like
faith matters and stun stone that are
more progressive
and you're seeing this really big divide
groups of lds apologists like they
called some of them i'm not considered a
neo-apologist but they call some people
who are about my age neo-apologists
because they reject the historicity of
the book of abraham in the book of
and they'll say that joseph smith was a
prophet who wrote inspired fiction
so we're seeing a crisis within
apologetics where is that mostly
because i haven't seen that as much in
the book of abraham yes but i've only
i have friends that believe that
honestly sure yeah same here
yeah where where are those people where
are those voices at
um a lot of them are independent voices
a lot of them i would say would be
associated with faith matters would be
the place that i would look for them
okay that the book of mormon is not
yeah that is becoming a more pervasive
dallas oaks has a really good address on
it um that you can find in your
religious studies center okay yeah i'll
look for that that's good so
so you think it's in a bit of a crisis
right now and it's
is it is it the same thing we're talking
about as at
byu i honestly think so i think you have
groups of people who are looking to
apply purely secular standards
to spiritual texts and when you do that
then you
will come up with a different result
than when you acknowledge that
when you're doing religious apologetics
not not that your scholarship
should be disingenuous but you should
also acknowledge the nature of the text
demands that you see it in a different
way then you see a historical text
which is so odd because yeah
it's it's a paradox because the
the the exact training that you get to
do that with
also says that there really is no truth
to that
exactly it's it's it says that there's
different ways to look at the truth
and there are different truths and yet
they end up with a truth
exactly right something different and
that's the problem with it there's no
way you know like with with uh
deconstruction you can deconstruct
but something is going to fill the void
you know
something will always fill that void and
even though you're trying to get rid of
a an absolute truth an eternal truth
which is really what deconstruction is
it's it's it's you can't do it it's just
the laws of nature of physics of
humanity whatever there's always
something that is going to fill in the
void because we all have values and we
all have a values hierarchy
right that would exactly put into place
and so it always fills that void
the secularism that you see there i
again i think that there's this
this this the same idea right this you
get this really good stuff
and this really bad stuff that come in
together yeah and
i like like i love where maxwell
institute is in a lot of places
in a lot of ways because there's there's
the training the trained theologians so
to speak or the trained
scholars that are that are uh bringing a
lot of this information
they do a fabulous job and
in in in bringing in some ways of
looking at things and i'm thinking
particularly of one
scholar who i will not name that is one
of my favorite scholars
yeah and yet
when it comes down to what's most
important about
what his interpretation is and what he's
looking at it which is
christ it's not there
it's not there and and i just
it's so frustrating to me that uh you
know i think there's a brilliant mind
and and yet it's not at the heart of it
it's the most important thing isn't
and and is not placed up at the top you
know and
and that's that's what we're all going
to have to start dealing with a little
is is trying to sift through the good
and the bad i think
with that too like two of my favorite
scholars i'll just name them john gee
and thomas weymouth
are affiliated with the maxwell
institute and i really respect the work
that they do
i think in large part my criticism of
the maxwell institute would be my
criticism of
a lot of apologies generally apologetics
generally which is
what you mentioned about christ being
removed from it because i think
oftentimes when we engage in trying to
prove or disprove
truth claims about the church or claims
that anti-mormons make about us
we move too far into a secular sphere
because we want to show
empirically that we are 100 correct we
want to use logic and reasoning which i
think we should use and i think those
are important
but we sometimes do it at the expense of
the nature of religion
and we're in this environment now where
we don't acknowledge that as a valid
warrant to have
as you said everyone has perspectives
and everyone has biases
but you know in the 15 and 1600s it was
a valid warrant to have
to work off of the presupposition that
god is real
and that he is a living person that was
an accepted warrant amongst scholarship
right because
the college and university system in a
western context was founded for the
of studying theology and studying
um so i think we've we've undergone the
societal change where those warrants
have been replaced
by warrants that we just can't accept
and we try to use those particular
to analyze texts and to interpret
religion we'll come up with something
completely different
and divorced from the truth yeah you
know i i
i have kind of a system that i use for
study and i have these these four
interpreters i call them and then i've
got what i call these quick principles
and and two of those interpreters one is
what i call the nehor principle
and basically what it is is
it's it's removing christ to some degree
or completely
right and you can go through
history with with with the old testament
especially with with the book of mormon
and then going into paul
especially uh in the new testament and
it's just
over and over again i think if you're if
you're reading
under the text so to speak you're going
to see this this continual
move away from christ it's like what
we're studying now with come follow me
yeah right it's like everybody that
descends from the nephites
all of them are antichrists so to speak
every single group that moves over to
the other side politically
is is is no longer christian
right and so there's always a constant
move there to me there isn't
a natural a natural
decay in that doctrine that you have to
hold up
and and the other one another one of
these principles that are interpreters i
talk about
is the higher and lower law and so
exactly what you were saying
in looking at things from a secular
position that's the lower law it's
important right it's physical things
it's observation it's the scientific
and it's very important and and you need
but you know when you go back and you
think about the historicity of the book
of mormon
and you start going to that secular area
that lower law
where you're looking at well how is this
done did he see every word on the stone
did he look at it in a hat did he ever
use the urim of thumb
how was the scribe taking all this
information down did they ever see any
you know
that's all interesting and it's
but as soon as you lower yourself down
into that area
you're you're going to lose what's most
definitely and which is you know them by
their fruits right you're getting you're
going to know from the book
itself and in reading that is i and i
say the same thing about the book of
abraham right and i'm no expert at that
and i
i i've read quite a bit about it and
it's it's production and what they
they're different theories and there's
not much known but
the book is real right the book is real
and the in the book the book is inspired
and and the principles to me as i study
it are are
pretty incredible but you can't let
yourself get down into the
which is sometimes the fun stuff right
yeah getting down into those areas and
it is fun but it's
not it's it's a little dangerous
so it's it's a little bit dangerous to
move down there so
i agree because we're talking about
texts that were written thousands of
years ago
that were recorded thousands of years
ago that we don't have the original
copies of
that we don't understand things about
the transmission that the archaeology
hasn't been uncovered or lots of it has
been destroyed so you're never going to
be able to completely
prove a book and i think that's a
fallacious way of thinking is people
will ask
you know if the book of mormon is true
why don't we have coins
and these questions are important to us
to a degree
but you cannot virtually prove the
historicity of any ancient text
because it just falls short so what are
you left to use
to prove the historicity of a text well
the answer would have to be testimony
and seeing testimony as a valid
takes a lot of intellectual rigor right
you have to basically backtrack on david
humes on miracles and you have to
talk about the difference between
testimony and confirmation bias and all
that stuff but i think that that's an
important facet of apologetics that
we sometimes miss out on and i think
that might be the most important facet
i would say also in between that because
i think that is the highest
call it a different level of
knowledgeable knowledge
but in the middle of that also has to do
with like alma 32 right
oh definitely yeah it's i've tested this
i've used
faith because i believe that faith needs
to be proved i
i believe in evidence oh definitely
believe faith is a hundred percent
evidence-based i just don't think it's
physical evidence
evidence yeah right and so it's it's
it's like
i can read the text and i can try this
out i could try out the principles of
the gospel
and and work with them and i can see
what happens
what happens to my life right when i
the principles see those those are real
things and to me again going back to
faith it's
they're unseen things but they're real
they're as real as anything
and and so to me i as i read the book of
mormon as i read the book of abraham and
i go through what the lessons that are
that are gleaned there
are and and apply them to my life right
that that's a proof and it's a lot
stronger than finding some
relic in guatemala or
ohio that that has the word nephi on it
exactly yeah i totally agree because the
the whole point of having faith is for
christ to change you
into a different person and for you to
enter into sacred relationships that are
sanctified by his atonement
and if we we forget that that's the
and we think that the point is finding
like yeah finding something with nephi's
name on it you know if we think that
that's the point
then we're missing out on the highest
law and i do think evidence is still
important definitely
but um before we end
plug for your podcast tell us a little
bit about that
awesome so i host the fair voice podcast
on fair mormon
we started up a couple weeks ago it's
super fun we do
apologetics we talk about how to be an
apologist we do interviews with
various scholars we've done an interview
with john gee we've done an interview
with spencer marsh
should be a really good time um one of
the cooler segments that we do
is we do responses so we do responses to
anti-mormon literature and we do
responses to pieces of scholarship that
don't necessarily think are is anti but
we just think is
incorrect we have come follow me
segments just a ton of stuff and if you
want to be on the podcast or have
anything that you think would be podcast
or questions that you want to ask me you
can email h-s-e-a-r-i-a-c okay i'll put that
description there
that that address down in the uh down
the comments of of this episode so thank
you so much i really appreciate you
taking the time
thank you and going over this with us i
think that people will be very happy
with what they hear
awesome thank you so much


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