Wednesday, May 10, 2023

Why Most Published Research Findings Are False

A new paper helps explain why the Interpreters (including FAIRLDS, Book of Mormon Central, the Interpreter, Mormon Stories, and the CES Letter) all coalesce around SITH.

These groups all promote the prevailing bias that Joseph Smith didn't really translate anything.


Why Most Published Research Findings Are False

"Simulations show that for most study designs and settings, it is more likely for a research claim to be false than true. Moreover, for many current scientific fields, claimed research findings may often be simply accurate measures of the prevailing bias."

Tuesday, May 2, 2023

Dan Peterson turns a new leaf?

A friend sent me this fine-sounding article:

It's wonderful to see Dan call for no more contention after I started my blog

This could be another breakthrough from the Interpreters. 

Imagine how different the conversation would be if, when speaking or writing about fellow Latter-day Saints with whom they disagree, Dan and the Interpreters changed course and chose to "call upon them to meet you both in public and in private" instead of taking potshots and hiding behind the racist Peter Pan pseudonym to engage?

I would be happy if they ever accepted my invitations to meet and work through differences, but so far they've consistently refused. And I've never declined an invitation from them to meet in private or in public.


Part of this article is an excellent sentiment that everyone should endorse. Avoiding contention is the purpose of the site.

But what about the "defending our beliefs" part? 

The very terminology'--"defending"--invokes contention. The King James translators thoughtfully used "answer" instead of "defense" because the passage refers to someone "asking for a reason" for the hope that is in us. This calls for an explanation or an answer, not a defensive assumption that an answer is an attack. 

Framing it as a "defense" implies an accusation. While maybe more technically correct to translate it as "defend" from the Greek, the KJV translators suggested an answer is a non-contentious way to respond when people ask about the hope that is in us. Instead of being defensive, simply answer or explain our reasons in a positive, confident and enthusiastic way.

This involves clarity and understanding, not offensive and defensive posturing.

And what beliefs is Dan defending, anyway?

Certainly Dan is entitled to defend his beliefs, which are squarely in the "Some" category.

Believe what Joseph and Oliver claimed




Believe what Joseph and Oliver claimed about the origin and setting of the Book of Mormon

Believe some, but not all, of what Joseph and Oliver claimed about the origin and setting of the Book of Mormon

Disbelieve what Joseph and Oliver claimed about the origin and setting of the Book of Mormon

There's nothing wrong with the "Some" category, but we all need to be crystal clear about what beliefs were are explaining.

Maybe in the future, Dan and the other Interpreters will take his own advice. 

Maybe Dan will come to disavow, discontinue, and discourage the long-standing practice of the Interpreters who continually criticize, mock and belittle fellow Latter-day Saints who disagree with him.

Let's all hope so!

Thursday, April 27, 2023

How the Interpreters perpetrated the racist Peter Pan fraud

Apparently Dan has decided to perpetuate the Peter Pan disaster by discussing it on his blog.

Some, probably most, of the readers of the Interpreter have not watched Bill Reel's expose of the Peter Pan fiasco. Here is part of a summary.

At one point, Bill points out that Mike Parker and other Interpreters apparently claimed that Bill would show excerpts from the video Mike did with Robert Boylan. Instead, as anyone can see, Bill played the entire thing. What Bill adds is that it was Mike and Robert who edited out a key part of their recording!

In the since-deleted passage, Mike describes the complicity of the Interpreter magazine and labels the entire episode as a "sort of a joke."

Here is the transcript from the part of the video in which Bill played a portion of the video that Mike and his friends edited out of the one they put up on youtube.

Mike Parker and Robert Boylan talking 

People can watch it starting here:

2:32:16 Bill Reel: they accused us, they said we were going to cut up clips and take everything out of context. We didn't do that. We played the whole thing. uh I don't think there's anything that we needed to do like I think it's so plain to people who are watching this this obfuscation and dishonesty that I don't have a need to paint a new narrative. 

We're the ones I think who are telling the truth on this issue but it is important to note that they actually did cut out a clip and we'll play that right now.

2:32:46 Mike Parker: but about this same time um Spencer Krause is getting ready to publish his reviews in Interpreter of two of Jonathan Neville's books and he offered as kind of a lighthearted uh sort of humorous thing in his acknowledgments at the bottom that he was going to thank several people and he mentioned me by name you know thanks so-and-so and Mike Parker for this and I also thank the pseudonymous Peter Pan who operates the Neville Neville land blog, you know. 

And so this was kind of a haha sort of a joke but also you know maybe a light way of kind of just throwing people off the scent.

Bill: It's another admittance of throwing people off the scent.

At this point of the video, Bill shows where the Interpreters first invented their racist alter ego for Peter Pan.

on the left hand side you can see


Robert Bolin at LDS apologist or apologen and he's got an image of


Brigham Young holding a firearm and he's not it's not even pointing it at uh


ex-mormons or anti-mormons right which you sort of can get instead he says


Brigham Young has a message for progmos Progressive Mormons these are believing uh Latter-Day Saints on some level


and they're active in the church on some level and he's got Brigham Young pointing a firearm at him so if that's


any indication of the kind of messaging he seems really comfortable with


uh it's also of note that he has worked closely with Fair Mormon I've got an image of one of the podcasts that they


did a Sunday special with Robert and he also works closely with The


Interpreter I'm gonna play the audio of him for the very first time this is the


very first mention of Richard Nygren uh anything you want to say before we play the video well I just want to say I'm


friends with a lot of progressive Mormons um very good friends and I when I look at this image


and I think of the who he wants to have that gun pointed at I'm I find that to be very sad and very


unchristian yeah it's super absolutely offensive for sure um okay so here uh is that video clip


and if you'll just give me a thumbs up as it starts to play to let me know if the sound is playing okay and uh we'll


be good oh I should have mentioned uh loudly


life into and of course there's also Russian migrants blog Neville Neville land a


Blog critique in Johnson Neville mainly but also other Herbert proponents where he posted a nickname Peter Pan uh


Richard is one of only a few African-American apologists in the church at the moment and he lives in


Birmingham Alabama um so be sure to check those out as well in


the show notes Okay so


and it's important to note that nowhere else on the internet


anywhere is is there a uh black believing Latter-Day Saint defending the


church under the name of Richard Nygren this is the very first time that anyone in the LDS Mormon World heard the name


Richard Nygren and it comes out of the mouth of Robert Bolin

Monday, April 24, 2023

Purging Mike Parker?

Mike Parker's newfound popularity as the subject of Bill Reel's popular video is shining a light on other Interpreters as well. 

I assume that all of the people associated with the Interpreter are sincere, smart, faithful, and wonderful human beings, including Mike. For some of them, though, apologetics has shaped their worldview contrary to their better judgment, as we see in Bill Reel's video and the ensuing fallout. 

I hope Bill's video will lead to a reformation at the Interpreter in terms of being more inclusive and respectful, at least regarding faithful Latter-day Saints who don't share the positions and "interpretations" enforced by the Interpreter editorial board. 

But realistically, the organization's name--Interpreter Foundation--precludes any sort of traditional or open scholarly inquiry.

The name reflects the mindset of the organization.

Mike's "Peter Pan" fiasco, warmly embraced and promoted by Dan Peterson and other Interpreters, has pulled back the curtain on the darker side of LDS apologetics. As the "Interpreters," the editors and their regular contributors have appointed themselves as gatekeepers. They enforce their own "interpretations" through their system of peer-approval, their closed incestuous citation loop, and their style of apologetics following the Dan Peterson model. 

Purging Mike Parker seems unfair and unnecessary. But also insufficient. After all, his antics didn't occur in a vacuum. It seems unlikely that anyone at the Interpreter was unaware of Mike's "Peter Pan" alter ego, given Dan's frequent and enthusiastic endorsement. From the outside, it looks like Mike is taking the blame for the entire organization. After all, the Interpreter journal itself perpetuated the Peter Pan fraud, as we see in Bill's video.

But now Peter Pan is becoming the public identity of the Interpreter. Already, in less than a week, Bill Reel's video has more youtube views than all but 4 of the Interpreter's youtube videos (and those were released years ago).

Because I haven't watched the Interpreter's Scripture Roundtables or podcasts, I didn't realize Mike was such an integral part of the Interpreter team for so long. 

But now he's omitted from the list of hosts, despite his having hosted numerous podcasts and videos over the years.

Ten years ago Mike was a regular panelist. 

On January 9, 2013, he joined Ben McGuire, Daniel Peterson, and Martin Tanner as panelists for this roundtable.

In December 2013, he joined Stephen Smoot, Mike Parker, Jeffrey Bradshaw, and Martin Tanner. Stephen Smoot, of course, also appears in the Bill Reel video.

Within the last year, while promoting his Peter Pan charade, Mike has hosted several Interpreter podcasts. His co-hosts are still included in the list of "Our Hosts" as we can see above.

Mike has done several shows in the past with Dan Peterson and other Interpreters which anyone can watch or listen to from the Interpreter website.

The only question remaining is how many of the current Interpreters appreciate being tainted by Peter Pan enough to continue with the organization and its tactics?

Thursday, April 20, 2023

Rotten apples

Most of the people who work at and contribute to the Interpreter Foundation are serious, respectable, faithful, and diligent scholars. They've made useful contributions to Latter-day Saint scholarship, offered new insights, and provoked thoughtful consideration of important issues. They have earned our respect and gratitude for their work.

Plus, they're nice people (so long as you don't disagree with them in any substantial way.*)

But as the saying goes, a rotten apple spoils the barrel. 

In the "Peter Pan" saga, we have a few "interpreters" who adopted and promoted a false, racist pseudonym that they published in their own journal, as discussed here:

In a series of upcoming posts, we'll discuss these "interpreters" in more detail.


*Their intolerance of alternative perspectives may be an inevitable result of them working under the rubric of "Interpreter." As "interpreters," they have a congealed worldview, built on their internally derived consensus, that they seem obsessed with defending at all costs. 

Why honorable scholars choose to identify as "interpreters" this way remains a bit perplexing. First, they ripped the name right out of the scriptures and applied it to themselves as self-appointed "interpreters" of scripture and doctrine for those of us who don't qualify as part of their credentialed class. Then they adopted an editorial bias focused on persuading people that Joseph Smith never used the actual interpreters (the Urim and Thummim) but instead relied on SITH (the stone-in-the-hat), as demonstrated in the journal and in the movie "Witnesses." 

There could not possibly be a more arrogant and offensive name for a group of scholars than "Interpreter," with the possible exception of Pharisee and Sadducee, people who likewise assumed the role of "interpreters" for their respective followers. 

Tuesday, April 18, 2023

Why Interpreters are so sure of themselves

“It's only because of their stupidity that they're able to be so sure of themselves.”
—Franz Kafka, “The Trial”

Monday, April 17, 2023

Peter Pan and the Interpreters

I posted an update on the latest shenanigans from the Interpreter crowd here:

The only reason this latest escapade is in the news is because Dan Peterson promoted it for years. Without his efforts, the ridiculous website and "Peter Pan" persona would have faded into obscurity long ago.

Good work, Dan. I'm sure your followers and donors are proud.

The remaining question is, how many of your fellow "Interpreters" are also proud of your work here?

More coming.