Here is a second installment of a reviewer's criticism of PTHG.
[The contrast between his attributions to me and the text I wrote is remarkable.]
The very odd thing about those who are busy damning the book is that:
1. My book is a defense of faith in the restoration. I'm actually on the "same team" (so to speak) as those who hate the book.
2. Testimonies have been strengthened, people have returned to activity, and bitter feelings have been soothed by those for whom it was written.
I bear my critics no animosity. They are doing and saying what they honestly believe to be worthwhile when they say and write what they do. There was a time when I would have joined them in that view.
Mormonism is a faith which simply cannot be confined to a single tightly controlled confession of faith, because it was always designed to "comprehend all truth." Think about that for just a moment. If it encompasses all truth, then it is vast in scope. Endless, really. So, at any given moment, Mormons will include those who are beginning to study the faith, those who have brought a background in Buddhism, those who have a foundation in science, or any number of other pre-conversion talents, capacities and preferences. These new believers will use those backgrounds to search into the Gospel.
Those varieties of talents were always intended to be a blessing, even a strength, to the restoration. Any requirement for absolute uniformity will not permit those who have vastly different capacities to share in faith, even though they are honest, believing and acceptable to God.
Coming into the "uniformity of faith" is an ideal that will require a lot of work, a lot of communication and sharing, and a process that allows people of honest intentions and good faith to speak openly across diverse views. Remarkably, many of those who have been the object of official church ire are more open and willing to discuss faith issues than are those who are extremely active, or employed by the church.
I am a Mormon. I've done a series of posts on that. I remain a Mormon, though now a cast-away saint. I'm fine with my status. Nothing has changed in my soul as a result of the current situation. God and I still have a relationship which continues uninterrupted by the excitement which PtHG has caused.
Some day Gregory Smith will drop his defensiveness and become capable of an open and friendly discussion, and we will be friends. This is because we both have far more in common that we do in opposition:
-He and I accept Joseph Smith as a prophet of God.
-He and I both accept the Book of Mormon as scripture.
-He and I both believe in the revelations which came through Joseph Smith.
-He and I are both trying to live our lives in harmony with our faith.
These are vastly more important than our differences about what happened following Joseph's death.
These important beliefs we share between us make him my brother. Therefore, I regard his misunderstanding of the book and his attribution of motives which I simply do not possess as only his opening position. It will not be his final position. He will be led to a better conclusion about me in years to come. His motives arise from defending what he honestly believes to be threatened by what I wrote. This is good, even commendable. His mistake is to read with such alarm and fear that he turns a difference in understanding into an attack on me and my motives. With time and patience he will figure those things out much better than he does at present. Given the Lord's patience with me, can I give Gregory Smith any less patience?
Read charitably his review. That is how I have taken it. At present I am too busy to go through and respond point-by-point to his rant. If I find the time, I may respond to his review.
If Gregory Smith reads this (or someone knows him) I'd like to invite him to come to the talk I will be giving on November 2nd in Orem at 9:30 a.m. The address and directions will be posted soon.