Tips for Latter-day Saints in Responding to Criticism

Posted: May 27, 2018 in Jason Wallace, Mormon Studies

Criticism

by Jason Wallace and “Team PFAAS”
1. Play the victim. While it may be true that the Pearl of Great Price says all other churches are “wrong” and that their creeds are an “abomination” in God’s sight, it’s completely unfair for anyone to respond. After all, God said it, not Joseph Smith. Tell them they should be more “Christ-like;” building up, rather than tearing down; preaching Christ, rather than pointing out the errors of the LDS. Ignore the tens of thousands of missionaries repeating Joseph Smith’s First Vision every day. Insist that the LDS church never speaks negatively of other churches.

2. Treat your critics with condescension. Don’t answer the questions they ask, but the questions they should have asked. Assume they are ignorant of Mormonism and tell them to read the Book of Mormon. Tell them the church has been growing all this time and there’s nothing they can do to stop it.

3. Dismiss their criticism. Insist these are claims that have been answered numerous times and that they need to read more. Don’t waste your time engaging their arguments.

4. Insist that nothing ever said by any General Authority can be used to criticize. They are fallible men. They should be obeyed without question, but they’re not always speaking for God, even when they say they are.

5. Demonize your critics. Insist that they are being hateful. Ask them why they hate Mormons so. Raise questions about monetary incentives to spew their venom. Lump them in with every crazy thing done in the name of non-LDS religion.

6. Tell them that when they spend less time criticizing and more time feeding the poor you’ll listen to them more.

7. Pursue radical skepticism. Deny that there is any objective truth in any religion, but then insist the LDS church is true. Try to make all other positions untenable, even if Mormonism would not withstand the same standard.

8. Point out all the differing opinions about the Bible and encourage them to pray that God would reveal the truth of Mormonism.

9. Bear your testimony and express your pain that they don’t know the happiness you do.

10. Pick one or all of the following: dismiss, attack, ignore, or bear testimony. Repeat until they finally give up out of frustration.

11. If the critic is an Ex-Mormon, inform them and anyone else listening that all apostates lie.

12. In a similar vein publicly state that former LDS have lost the Holy Ghost and forgotten any truth they had learned while members. They are now angry and bitter apostates. Therefore, anything that they say about their religious training and experiences in the LDS Church can be ignored.

13. Further, if the Ex-Mormon is a relative, conveniently forget their years of active participation, temple work, callings, etc. Then use #12 behind their back – use it publicly too if they become too much of an embarrassment to the family or a problem for the LdS Church.

14. If the critic has prayed about the truthfulness of the LDS religion and gotten the “wrong” answer (“these things are not true”), then publicly state there was something wrong with the way they prayed. Their prayer obviously lacked sincerity and/or genuine intent or they would have gotten the right answer!

15. Dismiss any and all non-partisan, secular sources as having an agenda against Mormonism because “Everyone knows that all non-Mormons hate Christ’s Church and want to destroy it – they’re tools of the Devil!” This includes sources where Mormonism is nowhere on their radar – including those that have never even heard of Mormonism. Examples include (but are not limited to): Archaeologists in general and/or Scientists working in biogenetics in particular.

16. If you see a fellow Latter-day Saint publicly engaging in uncivil, disrespectful, even hateful ways, don’t publicly challenge them or address their bad behavior. Instead, join right in! And then call on others to do the same: Swarm them. After all those “Anti’s” deserve everything that they get, right?

17. Cycle quickly and repeatedly between #1 and #5 as a means of rabbit trailing the discussion off topic and into the weeds. Do everything you can to reduce the discussion to a personality conflict between yourself and the critic rather than a civil, serious, discussion of evidence, issues, concepts, and principles. Make it personal!

18. If a critic quotes something you don’t like from an official, correlated LDS Church source, then inform them that the source was never (or is no longer) official and should be ignored.

19. Under no circumstances, engage their criticism.

Backstory
The first nine items in this tongue in cheek list (along with the last one) were generated by Utah Pastor Jason Wallace after being inundated by those tactics thanks to 50,000+ hits on his YouTube video, “An Earnest Plea to Latter-day Saints”. If you parse through the comments for the video on it’s YouTube page, you’ll see each and every one of these tactics represented at least once – often multiple times. 

Mr. Wallace posted his original “Top Ten” list on the “Preaching From an Asbestos Suit: Reasoning With Mormons on the Internet” Facebook group (aka “PFAAS”), which is a coaching and support group for Christians who wish to become more effective in outreach to Mormons. His list resonated with “Team PFAAS” and was an immediate hit. Soon the other members of the group made the additional contributions that have grown the list to its current size. Since PFAAS is a closed Facebook group, I thought that it was just too good to not share with the general public. So here it is. 

Oh, and a note to our Mormon friends, you might want to rethink each and every one of the tactics in the list – they only weaken the case for Mormonism, they don’t enhance it. And this is a real tip, LDS friends, not a tongue in cheek one.
— Fred W. Anson

Comments
  1. FYI, Christian Apologist and Theologian, Rob Bowman’s piece is pretty spot on too: http://www.religiousresearcher.org/2017/08/25/dispatching-stock-mormon-objections/

    He did this some time ago.

    Like

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