Interviewing Grant Palmer — Please Post Your Questions for Him

May 9, 2006
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Within the next few days I will be doing a 3 hour podcast with Grant Palmer–his life, his time w/ CES, his books, his church disciplinary court, and his future. I would love to be able to present him w/ questions from my listeners.

Please post any questions you would like for Grant to answer, and I will coallate and ask.

Thanks!

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18 Responses to Interviewing Grant Palmer — Please Post Your Questions for Him

  1. Moksha
    May 9, 2006 at 9:51 pm

    “Tell me more about making our Church Christ-Centered”

  2. May 9, 2006 at 9:58 pm

    I am wondering why Grant Palmer settled for the discipline he got and what was his motive for it. I also want to know if part of his discipline was that he wasn’t to talk about the discipline he received or his book, it seemed he kept a low profile after the court.

    What is his current feelings about Insider’s view and how does he stand on what he wrote now? Has it changed?

    I appreciate you two getting together to make this podcast.

  3. jordanandmeg
    May 9, 2006 at 11:36 pm

    What does he think of Bushman’s Rough Stone Rolling?

  4. Bob
    May 10, 2006 at 5:57 am

    How does what you have learned about church history affect your approach to the church? Do you still feel like a faithful member, even though you have been punished?

    Do you feel you were disciplined for publishing things that the leadership considered were not true, or were you punished for publishing things that the leadership knows are true and doesn’t want to get wide exposure?

  5. May 10, 2006 at 7:02 am

    I would like to hear how he is doing – faith wise. How has God used this trial of his faith to grow to new hights of faith. Where does he find the most peace and encouragement?

    He is perhaps one of the last publicly honest men. He is an inspiration to me. I also believe that Mormons deserve to know the truth. In fact they need to know the truth so that they are not false witnesses for Christ. His most inspirational comment to me was when interviewed on SLC radio and said “I don’t know how to repent of the truth.”

    I know God has a special place for Grant. He is one man in a million!! AND a lover of truth!!!

    Carry on Grant Palmer!!! I’ve learned from my trials that we should be focusing on believing and doing what Jesus taught – not dividing over useless opinions and decrees of men beyond His inner circle of disciples. (the witness they provide to His teachings because they were with Him during His ministry till His return to heaven.)

  6. Chad
    May 10, 2006 at 9:02 am

    For John:
    Your Podcast is awesome and by far the best of it’s kind. Thanks for honestly looking at the issues.

    For Grant:
    First off, thanks for writing “An Insider’s View”. I believe there are many like myself in the Church who have serious questions– your book acknowledges and addresses some of those. Which brings me to my question:

    I’ve discussed concerns about serious innacuracies in official LDS Church history with my local leaders and have been told in repsonse “Don’t think too much about it”– there is no attempt on their part to address the issues. This approach does not work for me and so I have looked to other sources to learn the truth about Church history.

    Do you think the Church is hurting itself by not addressing historical inaccuracies and errors of the past? Should the Church be officailly involved in apologetics? What might such a program look like (local leaders vs. churchwide etc.)?

  7. Stirling Adams
    May 10, 2006 at 9:13 am

    During your institute career, did you come to know Lowell Bennion, T. Edgar Lyon, or Sterling McMurrin (McM. only taught institute briefly, so I guess that would be less likely)?
    If so, can you talk a little about your view of the influence these men had in the church education system, and any influence on you personally, if any?

  8. Jake
    May 10, 2006 at 10:40 am

    I have 2 questions:
    Some defenders of the church have questioned your integrity suggesting it was dishonest to work for the church, secure a retirement and then publicly question the founding tenants of the faith.

    Do you consider this criticism reasonable? And how to you you answer the charge that you were somehow unethical?
    ———————————–

    Considering the success of your first book, why did you not choose to publish The Imcomparable Jesus with Signature Books?

  9. Doctrinal Engineer
    May 10, 2006 at 1:20 pm

    I am curious about your “Golden Pot” piece. I loved everything in your book except this chapter. It seemed like too much of a stretch for me. Is this idea entirely original, or have others also proposed this as a Book of Mormon influence?

  10. Bob
    May 11, 2006 at 5:25 am

    Why do you think you were disciplined for your book, while Bushman is speaking in stake centers about his? Why is his book for sale at BYU and Deseret Book and yours isn’t? Why is BYU and DB selling a book like Rough Stone Rolling that will show that the official version of church history is a fairy tale?

  11. Andrew Miller
    May 11, 2006 at 7:55 am

    Grant,

    I have a sister and her family who left the church mostly because of your work. Is it your intention to lead people out of the Church? Is the Church, in your opinion, in anyway better than other Christian Churches?

  12. Stan Green
    May 11, 2006 at 1:21 pm

    I left the church in part because I had to conclude that the foundational claims of Mormonism were fundamentally flawed, after reading Insider’s View of Mormon Origins.

    I am deeply gratefull that you disclosed those structural problems that the Mormon church failed to disclose to me for over 20 years as a member of the church.
    The fact that they failed to disclose fundamental flaws in the foundational claims, invalidated my consent to enter into covenants with a fraudulent organization.

    My question for you is, Why do you choose to maintain your faith in a church that has immorally punished you and other scholars and academics, knowing what you know about the fundamental, foundational flaws of Mormonism?

  13. Ann
    May 11, 2006 at 8:38 pm

    My question is the opposite of Bob’s: Did you expect to be able to publish and still avoid church disciplinary action? Why?

  14. SA
    May 11, 2006 at 11:03 pm

    Andrew,
    Palmer’s book is a good summary of some of the difficulties with how the “foundational events” of Mormonism are currently perceived by the mainstream Mormon media communications.
    But, except for the Golden Pot chapter (which I found unconvincing after reading the primary source), it’s only a restatement of what various historians (many faithful, some employed by the church)have pointed out about how some of our foundational events.
    If someone “leaves tne church,” because of reading the book, I wouldn’t blame Palmer, but the seminary course she sat in that suggested something about the PoGP that isnt’ so, or our Mormon desire to grant infallibility to our prophets and institution (so that she’s shocked when she learns it ain’t necessarily so), or the types of experience she does or does not have in her interactions with church members and the institution.

    If you’ve already read a fair amount of Mormon history (for example, if you subscribe to any two of Journal of Mormon History, Dialogue, BYU Studies, Sunstone, the FARMS Review, or the Signature Book catalogue), there won’t be much new in the book, but it’s still a useful summary.

    That said, the book was less sophisticated than I had hoped for, in part because it set up unmet expectations. In the beginning, he described his project as to both deconstruct current failings or inaccuracies in how we talk about the foundational events, and to explain how the unmagical Mormonism is more healthy/virtuous than the alternative. The latter part of that project is (to me) the more innovative and interesting part, and though there is a lot of low-hanging fruit to be squeezed, I felt like he didn’t get to that part.
    Perhaps that is in his second book, which I haven’t read yet.

    Ann, yes, Palmer should have been able to avoid disciplinary action, just as Bushman, Compton, McConkie, Benson, Skousen, Arrington and others have who have written about historical events or theology and suggested something other than the orthodox view. I know there are counter-examples (Wright, Quinn, Toscano, Hanks… etc., but let’s treat those as a temporary anomaly resulting from a moment of institutional immaturity). If he were in my stake, there’s no chance he would have been disciplined (at least, at a minimum, without a prior replacement of the local leadership). If he were in my ward, I’d hope he’d be teaching a Sunday School class.

  15. japanguy
    May 12, 2006 at 12:06 am

    How does he maintain his faith in Christianity in general when it has many of the same flaws as Mormonism. Its history is also suspect and has been edited. Many of the stories in the Bible while possibly being based on a real event are made to appear more miraculous and amazing then they most likely really were. So how does he deal with these kind of things? Is he as suspect of christianities claims as he is of Mormon claims? If not Why?
    Japanguy

  16. Fox_Goku
    May 12, 2006 at 8:08 am

    MY QUESTIONS TO PALMER FOR THE INTERVIEW:
    1. Since you consider yourself to be a Mormon, what are the minimal beliefs to which one must ascribe to remain a member of the Church?

    2. From a historical standpoint, was there a general apostasy in Christianity, and was a restoration necessary?

    3. In the New Testament the Apostles constantly were concerned about orthodoxy and not preaching “another” gospel. If orthodoxy mattered then, should it matter now? Should we be trying to build orthodox testimonies of the gospel?

    4. One hundred years from now, where do you think the Church will be on the controversial issues of today: women, abortion, same-sex marriage, homosexuality, race, and the early history of the Church?

    5. If you expect us to apply strong historical standards to understanding Joseph Smith, then should we not be doing the same to Jesus? Is there sufficient documentary evidence to be satisfied as to what Jesus actually taught?

    6. Given that historians cannot answer all the big questions of religion (although Martin Marty may have tried), in your worldview, is there a role for continuing revelation through appointed Prophets and Apostles?

    7. You have consistently argued that the Church is not centered enough on Christ. How would you revise the curriculum of the Church so that Christ was emphasized even more than it is?

    8. You raise the issue that Jesus consistently taught “Come unto me.” Is a Church needed to come unto him? If not, why did he organize Apostles to go unto the world? In his mortal ministry did Jesus organize a Church, and did he intend for it to continue?

    John (MormonStories), this is enough questions for now, but if you like some of these, I will be happy to generate a lot more.

  17. jordanandmeg
    May 12, 2006 at 5:10 pm

    I dig Japanguy’s question.
    Also like fox-goku’a 5, 6, and 7.

  18. Kimball L. Hunt
    May 13, 2006 at 5:38 pm

    Is Grant disappointed with any historical decisions/ aspect of the Church (& if so, why? & how’d Grant suggest the Church rectify?)

    Is he angry with any of his ecclesiastical leaders (& if so, why? & his suggestions to rectify?

    As a populizer of issues-of-depth in Mormon Studies, which authors and treatments does Grant most hightly recommend for readers who’ve now gotten their feet wet with him plunge into next? (& why/ what are Grant’s criteria to discern?)

    What is of true value within a religious experience/ lifestyle? How are these qualities & values exemplified in orthodox Mormon experience? In what ways/ by what means does Grant suggest strengthening of these feelings & experiences?

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