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Posted by: nevinpratt ( )
Date: August 12, 2017 11:12PM

Bushman: "The dominant [Church history] narrative is not true..."

OK, I'll bite... in a few hundred words, what exactly *is* the dominant narrative?


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Posted by: Leaving ( )
Date: August 12, 2017 11:45PM

The dominant narrative is the one that the members are exposed to the most.

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Posted by: steve benson ( )
Date: August 12, 2017 11:46PM

And what is that official LDS Church narrative (or, if you will, doctrine)? That is a good question, for which there is no definitive or reliable answer--at least not as served up by Mormon Church headquarters.

And that is because official Mormon Church doctrine conveniently morphs in the moment, with the Mormon Church regularly changing, rejecting and denying its record of multitude nutty narratives, as expeditiously needed at a given point in time in order to satisfy the immediate requirements and agendas of LDS Inc.

And it does so all in the name of its god-fraud kabuki machine (with "kabuki" being conveniently re-defined as "a traditional [form of] drama [modeled after the Japanese] with highly stylized song, mime, and dance . . . performed only by male actors, using EXAGGERATED [empahsis added] gestures and body movements to express emotions, and including historical[ly] [TWISTED] plays, domestic dramas and dance pieces."

And that takes us to Bushman:

“'. . . A Reconstructed Narrative'

"Richard Bushman is a prominent LDS historian and considered by some to be the 'world’s foremost scholar on Joseph Smith and early Mormonism.' During a recent fireside, Bushman responded to a participant’s question regarding whether the traditional understanding of Church history is accurate.

"Question: 'In your view do you see room in Mormonism for several narratives of a religious experience or do you think that in order for the Church to remain strong they would have to hold to that dominant narrative?'

"Richard Bushman: 'I think that for the Church to remain strong it has to reconstruct its narrative. The dominant narrative is not true; it can’t be sustained. The Church has to absorb all this new information or it will be on very shaky grounds and that’s what it is trying to do and it will be a strain for a lot of people, older people especially. But I think it has to change.'

"The following month, Bushman elaborated on his meaning with the following statement:

"'I consider "Rough Stone Rolling" a reconstructed narrative. It was shocking to some people. They could not bear to have the old story disrupted in any way. What I was getting at in the quoted passage is that we must be willing to modify the account according to newly authenticated facts. If we don’t we will weaken our position. Unfortunately, not everyone can adjust to this new material. Many think they were deceived and the Church was lying. That is not a fair judgment, in my opinion. The whole Xhurch, from top to bottom, has had to adjust to the findings of our historians. We are all having to reconstruct.' . . .

"Who is this new 'Joseph Smith' and what constitutes this 'reconstructed narrative'? For those who are unaware, 'Rough Stone Rolling' presents a 'Joseph Smith' that differs dramatically from the 'Joseph Smith' taught by past Presidents of the Church. According to 'Rough Stone Rolling':

-"'Joseph Smith was “involved in magic' (page 53)

-"The Prophet’s involvement in 'magic . . . was a preparatory gospel” (page 53) and 'Remnants of the magical culture stayed with him to the end.' (page 51)

-" Joseph Smith suffered from 'treasure-seeking greed.' (page 51)

-"The Smith family were drawn to 'treasure-seeking folklore' and saw astrology and magical 'formulas and rituals' as connected to their spiritual well-being. (page 50-51)

-"'Magic and religion melded in Smith family culture.' (page 51)

-"Joseph Smith Sr. was an 'oft-defeated, unmoored father' (pg. 26-27) who 'partially abdicated family leadership” (page 42). His “life [was] blighted by shame' (page 42) His 'life [was] blighted by shame” (page 42)

-"The Smiths were a 'struggling family.' (page 106)

"The proposed 'reconstructed narrative' of LDS Church History as well as the life and character of the Prophet Joseph Smith is admittedly a departure from the traditional or 'dominant narrative' given to us by past Church historians including Willard Richards (present at the Carthage martyrdom), George A. Smith (cousin to the Prophet Joseph Smith), Presidents Wilford Woodruff and Joseph Fielding Smith.

"What would the testimony of a member of the Church look like who holds to this new image of Joseph Smith and Church history? Many tout 'Rough Stone Rolling' and Richard Bushman’s new history as an aid to faith in crisis. Could this new history lead to, rather than help, a crisis in faith? When describing the faith crisis Bushman experienced at Harvard, he explained, '[I am] not someone who has a "simple faith" where just everything is absolutely true beyond any doubt.'

"[From a] [t]ranscript of an interview with Bushman]:

"Is Bushman alone in his perspective? Ronald S. Barney was the Executive Director of the Mormon History Association and has previously served as an Associate Editor of the Joseph Smith Papers. He admires the work of Richard Bushman, including 'Rough Stone Rolling,' and has likewise called for a 'new era' in how we view Joseph Smith and Church history.'

“'. . . We Are in a New Era'

"[From a] '[t]ranscript [of an interview with Barney]:

"'I think new Mormon history will serve for a period of time but I personally believe we’ve passed that. Ummm, I think we are in a new era. And I think this book that uhhh, Laura Hales] uhhh, conceived is something that will be representative of a way to think about this period of time that, uhhh, that we are in.

"'I’m working on a, a book that I’ve been working on for many, many years on, uhhh, Joseph Smith and one of the, the tail end of it is going to be about the historical legacy of Joseph Smith. As I try to look at that and how Joseph Smith has been represented over time there is such a clear point of departure in what has happened in, in the last few years than what, than all that happened previous to this.

"'I think we will see that, uhhh, distinctly in the future as, uhhh, we cast our eyes, uhhh, back toward this period of time. ("Laura Hales & Contributors," in "A Reason for Faith," Benchmark Books, 11 May 2016) . . .

"Are There Answers?

"The historians mentioned above are a small sampling of this new movement within the Church but they are prominent and well-respected. Bushman and Barney, for example, were two of the recent authors of the new book, 'A Reason for Faith.' According to the editor, Laura Hales, 'A Reason for Faith' was published as a companion to the recent 'Gospel Topic' essays on and features scholarship from some of the best experts within the Church on these topics.

"[From a] [t]ranscript [of an interview with Hales]:

"'Let people know, we don’t have definitive answers. We had a really hard time finding a title for this book. We had to have some help, but one thing that every single author was insistent on was that the words “truth” and “answers” did not appear in the title, because these chapters are open ended.

"'They’re meant to summarize the best scholarship. It doesn’t, I mean, there’s countering scholarship and that’s sometimes listed in the extra resources. But it’s a good solid basis for someone like me who had nothing, not a drop of oil in their lamp. ("Laura Hales & Contributors," in "A Reason for Faith," –\Benchmark Books, 11 May 2016). . . .

"LDS Answers

"When held against primary sources, credible history and the scriptures, does the 'reconstructed narrative' promoted by Bushman, Barney . . . and many other LDS scholars hold up? 'LDS Answers' is determined to tackle the 'tough questions' regarding LDS Church history and doctrine. However, our approach will differ from many of these historians.

"'We will stand by the traditional perspective taught and advocated by the Prophet Joseph Smith, Presidents Brigham Young, John Taylor, Wilford Woodruff, Lorenzo Snow, Joseph F. Smith, Joseph Fielding Smith, Ezra Taft Benson and many others.

"In the upcoming months, we will release articles, papers, videos and podcasts delving into the most troublesome issues in Church history and the difficult questions regarding Church doctrine. We do not believe the 'reconstructed narrative,' promoted in books like 'Rough Stone Rolling,' is the solution to instill faith and we’ll talk about why! We will not shy away from anything including the following questions:

-"Did Joseph Smith marry a 14-year-old girl?

-"Was Joseph Smith involved in the occult?

-"Why did Joseph Smith engage in polyandry?

-"Has the history of some of the most renowned miracles in Church history been exaggerated or even subject to fabrication?

-"Does DNA prove the Book of Mormon is false?

-"What about the Book of Abraham?

-"Why was Joseph Smith a Freemason?

-"What did President Brigham Young think about women?

-"And so much more!"

(Source: “'The Dominant [Church History] Narrative is Not True . . .': LDS Scholars Encourage New History, New Policy, New Church," by James F. Stoddard III, at "LDS Answers," 1 October 2016,


Dream on, all you you deluded but devoted faithful-follower folks in your Mormon fairy tale free fall.

You're not going to be able to either factually or honestly twist loosey-goosey LDS "history" enough to force-fit it with your exceedingly vulnerable and officially falsified belief system, as hard as you might try.

Edited 19 time(s). Last edit at 08/13/2017 06:50AM by steve benson.

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Posted by: Not logged in ( )
Date: August 13, 2017 12:11AM

What if you could get a TBM to write down what he/she thinks is the "dominant narrative" in their own words and in their own mind, on one (full) piece of paper. Then ask them to save that paper and revisit it in 10 years.

If Bushman is right, then after 10 years when they reread what they themselves had written 10 years earlier, what's the probability that there would be an instant shelf break?

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Posted by: steve benson ( )
Date: August 13, 2017 12:16AM

And even if they did meaningfully read outside their cult-concocted box, most of them are religious rationalizers who are not tough-tested enough to handle it, intellectually rigorous enough to grasp it, or sufficiently courageous enough to act on it.

In other words, they are, by and large, sheep who don't make a peep.

Edited 6 time(s). Last edit at 08/13/2017 01:21AM by steve benson.

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Posted by: donbagley ( )
Date: August 13, 2017 12:23AM

He used a lot of words to admit to a great lie. Thanks for sharing that, Steve.

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Posted by: steve benson ( )
Date: August 13, 2017 01:18AM

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 08/13/2017 01:34AM by steve benson.

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Posted by: bradley ( )
Date: August 13, 2017 12:54AM

"There is no place I know that compares with pure imagination" - Willy Wonka

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Posted by: mrsnotasiplanned ( )
Date: August 14, 2017 05:36AM

Or, they are too busy to deal with it, even though they'd like to.
Or, if they do take time to research their husband/wife and family are hurt by their actions, ie they sacrifice to keep peace and harmony in the home.

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Posted by: mrsnotasiplanned ( )
Date: August 14, 2017 06:01AM admits John C. Bennettwas instrumental in setting up the Nauvoo charter. It also states "...had used both his government and ecclesiastical positions to spread damaging rumors about Joseph Smith, plot an assassination attempt, and claim spiritual license to seduce women." It does not indicate that Joseph did anything similar. Only admitting the basics allows themm to be semi-transparent so people can still feel the spirit. or that Joseph

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Posted by: thingsithink ( )
Date: August 13, 2017 09:04AM

What's the non-dominant narrative that might be true? Eat your pudding?

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Posted by: steve benson ( )
Date: August 14, 2017 05:58AM

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/14/2017 06:01AM by steve benson.

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