Remember the fun we had last week with creative apologetics? Well, this week we learned that it’s only fun and games until someone actually tries to follow the footnotes and gets sucked into the vortex!
It started on a fascinating note as Runtu provided an detailed and specific analysis of the evidence (or lack thereof) behind the claims made by Meg Stout in her Faithful Joseph series. Interestingly, her own footnotes frequently make it clear that her proposed narrative is just speculation. I recommend reading all of Runtu’s “My Joseph” series, but let me tease you with some highlights.
From part 1:
Basically, then, she believes the lack of proof that Smith fathered children is evidence there was no sexuality in the marriages. This is, of course, the argumentum ex silentio, or argument from silence, a logical fallacy that states that the absence of evidence is evidence of absence. Setting aside the poor logic of this argument, we have testimony from multiple women who said they had sexual relations with Joseph Smith, and their testimony is corroborated by others. Also, we have testimony from multiple women who said that they believed Smith may have fathered their children or that they knew of the existence of such children. Such testimony makes no sense if there had been no sexuality in the relationships. In short, either everyone involved was lying, or at least some of the relationships were sexual.
Ms. Stout has just put up a new post explaining this argument yet again.
From part 2:
Apparently, Ms. Stout believes that, unless a third party actually watched them have sex, itâ€™s unreasonable to believe that, when they spent the night together in a bedroom with the lights out, they didnâ€™t actually share a bed and â€œthe marriage between Joseph Smith and Louisa Beaman likely remained unconsummated.â€ Indeed, Joseph Smith must have lied when he told Joseph Nobles he slept with Louisa.
From part 3:
Here we see the double-standard by which Stout applies evidence. Firsthand testimony from Josephâ€™s wives that they were sexually intimate with him is dismissed as â€œeuphemismsâ€ and outright lies. Corroboration from people who said Joseph retired to bed with a woman is dismissed because no one actually saw them having sex. But with Bennett, a secondhand report that â€œSarah Pratt made a first rate goâ€ is taken as absolute truth. Jacob Backenstosâ€™s ambiguous statements that Bennett and Pratt seemed like husband and wife are also taken as proof of sexual intimacy, as are the clearly fabricated statements of the Goddards.
Hereâ€™s Stoutâ€™s take:
Joseph called Bennett in and tore into him. I believe it is during this discussion that Bennett confessed to his adultery with Sarah Pratt. 22
Iâ€™m leaving the footnote citation in because itâ€™s illustrative. It reads:
22. Lorenzo Wasson, Emma Smithâ€™s nephew, overheard the exchange but his summary doesnâ€™t mention Sarah Pratt.
From part 4:
Similarly, Nancy Winchester, Stout tells us, “was a victim of the Bennett ring during the winter of 1841/42, when she was barely 13 years old.” Again, is there any evidence of such abuse? Apparently, just that she received a blessing for â€œfitsâ€ in 1845 â€œâ€“plausible as a post-traumatic stress reaction if she was attacked during the winter three years earlier.â€ Iâ€™m sorry, Meg, but, no, that kind of grasping at straws is pathetic, not plausible. Almost as an aside, she says she believes that the intended victim had been Clarissa Marvel, not Nancy Winchester. Why? She doesnâ€™t say.
Then, as you may imagine, Meg Stout responded in the comments of some of the above, and Runtu got sucked into the apologist vortex. He made some brave attempts to salvage some sanity, but… well, this quote from Stout is my favorite part of the whole thing:
While he roundly accuses me of fantasy and making things up, he never did respond with the supposed â€œfactsâ€ he claims I am ignoring (despite many calls for him to do so).
Apparently emboldened by the fact that so few bother to read her footnotes, she figures readers aren’t capable of scrolling the page to check the accuracy of her claims about it…?
In other polygamy history, Thinker of Thoughts discussed some false witnesses.
Now get set for some jowl-shaking logic! Check out this list of “4 Things Anti-Mormons Donâ€™t Want You to Know” that’s been floating around the Internet. Perhaps you scrolled passed it (since this sort of polarizing/insulting stuff so commonplace), but the Fridge Profet posted a response.
In church-watch, some faithful women are asking the CoJCoL-dS to let women preside over women’s meetings. Steve Bloor responded to the latest Ensign article about doubts. Boyd K. Packer now has a museum exhibit about his life. Oh, and mishies now have to buy their own iPads so they don’t die of Internet exposure upon returning home from their missions. But this stuff is the most fun of all:
The ward council was having some discussion about men accompanying the sister missionaries on visits to homes of single men. They didnâ€™t want the sisters going along because that seemed pliggy.  They didnâ€™t want one man showing up with two sisters because that looked pliggy on the doorstep and seemed double-datey once inside. They didnâ€™t want two men accompanying the sisters because that seemed double-datey on the doorstep and inches away from all-out orgy once inside. So they determined that the optimal plan would be for THREE MEN TO ACCOMPANY TWO SISTER MISSIONARIES TO VISIT ANOTHER SINGLE MAN. And they talked about this as a serious, non-crazy, viable thing to do. Until I raised my hand and said â€œYou guys have completely lost your minds.â€
Well, the memes are also funny.
FreeBYU is making a serious challenge to BYU’s accreditation — due to BYUâ€™s policy to expel, terminate, and evict LDS students who change their faith while at BYU.
In life journeys, Susan I/S is retiring from RfM. Let’s join Donna Banta in thanking her for her work over the years. And VoilaLeDuc is celebrating the 10-year anniversary of returning from his mission.
In philosophy, do you believe in doxastic voluntarism? In other commentary, Brett Cottrell examined some golden calf methphors, and Exmo Tales has written an allegory of the CoJCoL-dS as a city isn’t like you expect it to be.