Saturday, March 24, 2012
(for context, see my March 22nd blog post here.)


There are several items in your comment to which I'll respond.  Your words will be in blue and my words will be in red.

R. Gary:    Before we look at your recent comment, I'd like to back up for a minute and examine one aspect of the discussion thus far that bothers me. Beginning with my first comment at BCC on Wednesday, I have been made to feel misunderstood on several levels by you and your friends.  On the surface, you (plural) appeared to be responding to my comments, but too often your responses only addressed an altered or distorted version of my comments.

Let me give you one example.

In my BCC comment #43, I used the Church's 1978 Style Guide to explain why the 1978 Gospel Principles manual identified "Elder" Kimball as the author of his 1960's statement even though he was Church President when the manual was published.

You (singular) responded with a blatant misreading of my comment:  "LOL @ arguing the style guide is inspired of God."  Following your lead, your friends spewed forth a burst of mindless sarcasm about my worship of anything printed by the Church, including parking signs. But it was you, not me, who brought up the style guide being inspired of God.

Here's the point: In seven years of blogging, I've learned that some people understand better than they let on.  Sometimes they just act like they don't understand.  Apparently, feigning misunderstanding is an easy way to deal with some things.  Rebutting an altered or distorted version of what was actually said is sometimes a quicker and more decisive way to look good in front of your friends.  I think it's dishonest but, having been on the receiving end of this technique, I know that it works.

Whether or not any of your current comment fits this pattern remains to be seen.  So let's take a look at what you said.

BHodges:  [Quoting an earlier comment by Gary]  "The pre- and post-Prophet status of each quote is not highlighted in the footnotes which contain only standard citation information, including the publication dates." 

First, I never refer to "post-Prophet" status, because that would mean quotes after the death of George Albert Smith.

R. Gary:  This of course is not a response to anything I said.  You know from the context of my comments that "post-Prophet" means "post-became-the-Prophet." You are NOT confused about this.  Your misunderstanding is fake.

BHodges:  Second, lots of things in the manual, in fact the majority of the things in the manual, aren't highlighted.

R. Gary:  My first comment on your post at BCC points out your two headings ('pre-presidency quotes' and 'quotes while serving as president') and asks, "After current FP/12 approve quotes to be in Teachings of Presidents of the Church, what's the difference?

Your answer was, [Quoting your first BCC response to my question]  "The FP/Q12 approved the manual, and I suppose that includes the footnotes with dates in them.... The citations with dates are there in the manual.  Why not take them into consideration since they're in the manual?"

"Consideration" of what?  Well of course that's the question, isn't it.  And the fact that the footnotes facilitate putting the quotes in groups doesn't explain why you did so.  Therefore, my original question remains unanswered.

The footnotes were not placed in the manual for the purpose of separating pre-Prophet quotes from post-Prophet quotes.  The text in Chapter 6 presents all of the George Albert Smith quotes equally.

BHodges:  Third, the timeline and historical intro to the book give the dates of Pres. Smith's presidency.  They discuss things he taught both before and after his presidency, even specifying his age at particular times.  And the footnotes have the dates.

R. Gary:  And none of these things are mentioned in your post.  None were associated in your post with the two quote groups.  Obviously, the segregation is possible, but the manual doesn't present the quotes in groups according to pre- and post-Prophet status.  Why did you?

BHodges:  Finally, as I pointed out above, the intro to this particular chapter itself draws direct attention to the fact that many of these quotes were made before he became President.

R. Gary:  The Introduction to Chapter 6 says George Albert Smith understood the heavy burden of a Prophet even before he himself became Prophet.  But the introduction to Chapter 6 does not identify which of the quotes in Chapter 6 are pre-Prophet and which are post-Prophet.  The manual text does not segregate the quotes.

BHodges: The manual makes the distinction, R. Gary, as you recognize now:  [Quoting an earlier comment by Gary]  "It is true that the introduction to Chapter 6 mentions George Albert Smith's awareness throughout his entire apostolic ministry of the heavy burdens carried by the First Presidency.  But I can't find any reference to this in your original post."

It never crossed my mind to specifically point it out.

R. Gary:  I think you would have thought of it, if that had been your reason for segregating the quotes.

BHodges:  I don't need justification for making the distinction either way.

R. Gary:  That's true.  And I'm not asking for justification, only for what you see as the difference between the two groups you identified.

BHodges:  But the fact is, the manual also makes the distinction.

R. Gary:  Not so.  The text of Chapter 6 presents the quotes without making any distinction.

BHodges:  The reason I'm pointing to the manual to back me up is because you are a manual literalist, and I thought it was ironic that you were criticizing something I pointed out that the manual also pointed out.  I thought that by pointing it out you might stop the objections.  Instead, we're here still, talking, in a post called "mockery and name calling."

R. Gary:  The groupings you make in your post were not made in the manual.  The manual points out that he had a life before he became Prophet and that he began his apostolic ministry before he became Prophet.  But neither of those thoughts are found in your post.  Let me say again that I appreciate you leaving most of the "mockery and name calling" back home at BCC.

BHodges:  [Quoting an earlier comment by Gary]  "I disagree that the footnotes were intended to explain the difference between pre- and post-Prophet quotes."

Who are you disagreeing with?  No one claimed the footnotes were intended to explain the difference.  They were intended to provide citation to the original source. At the same time, they show which quotes were delivered before he became prophet.

R. Gary:  There is an Introduction in each of the ten Teachings of Presidents manuals, with instructions for MP/RS teachers. I can't seem to find where it says to teach from the footnotes. There is no focus in the manual on which quotes originated before he became Prophet.

BHodges: [Quoting an earlier comment by Gary]  "And I disagree that the manual otherwise highlights which quotes are pre- and which quotes are post-Prophet."  What, you mean it doesn't specifically point out each and every one?

R. Gary:  No, that's not what I mean.  I mean the Chapter 6 text doesn't specifically point out even one quote as being from before or after he became Prophet.

BHodges:  Why should it?  We can do that just by using our brains.  As Jared points out, it's interesting to see his rigorous support of the prophet prior to his becoming prophet, then his humble statements as prophet asking for the sustaining of his fellow Saints.  I think that's pretty cool, myself.  I have no idea why you would think this idea is inappropriate for a RS/PH lesson.

R. Gary:  You should have had Jared help you with your post. There are sentiments in this paragraph that would have improved your post.

Here's another thought that would have improved your post. It's from a comment you left on my blog two days ago. You said, [Quoting your comment]  "Statements George Albert Smith made prior to becoming president of the Church are [not] somehow less 'true,' or less important, or less binding than those he said after becoming president of the Church."

I wish that thought hadn't been buried down in the comments.  Nevertheless, and overall, I'd say it's been good talking to you and I wish you the best.