Date: August 18, 2013 02:27PM
Thanks for your thoughts, rt. I think they certainly have merit in the context of argumentation.
Still, and again, however, there is no "argument", and therefore no argument to "weaken". Even the offering of "survey" and "sociological research" as you suggest, if such existed in this regard, would only be warranted if I was making an argument or a case.
The picture I paint of "some," "most," or "all" Mormons "I know" or that are currently active in their faith is just that, a composite picture I paint based on my personal experiences, observations and inferences as a former insider of 20 years. As such, either the picture looks like the reader or it doesn't.
I, of course, happen to think the picture is an accurate one (as far as it goes), and arguably has its own unique credibility as all "insider's" first-hand perspectives do, although it admittedly can be nothing more than "my picture," based, as all such characterizations are, on the only and best, albeit fallible, lights I have from the inside as a former insider. (In writing this I'm reminded of one of my favorite quotes from the renowned psychotherapist and author, Carl Rogers, who, on the basis of his long and esteemed career as a psychotherapist concluded that "That which is most personal is most universal.")
Either way, the Introduction, after all, is a "personal" introduction as stated in its title, written in part to create a context for real doubt, and to advocate later the need to value and therapeutically attend to such doubt, which is likely betrayed in numerous ways. The arguments come later, after the foundation and premises are established in the FP and Chs. 1 and 2.
Incidentally, my personal experiences with real doubt, including my conversion and deconversion experiences and reasons for leaving the church and writing the book, come later in the Personal Introduction, as well as in the Personal Postscript and Appendix A.