We have a confessed apologist around: Ben Spackman . While we’re in a confessional mood I’ll admit to being uncomfortable with a lot of apologetics. Like most Mormons, in person I am conflict-averse. Why, just last Sunday when the entire Elders Quorum agreed that following traditions without knowing the reasons for them was foolish, my inner Burke started to boil but I sat on my hands. That’s how conflict averse I am. So when I read FARMS or FAIR or other apologists I sometimes get uncomfortable with the tone, even if they are responding to, really, intolerable filth. They aren’t being nice.
So I read with interest a passage in the Doctrine and Covenants that apparently gives the imprimatur of the canon to pugnacious apologetics. D&C 123:4-6 condemns the mobsters and the persecutors, then throws libelers into the mix:
4 And perhaps a committee can be appointed . . . to gather up the libelous publications that are afloat;
5 And all that are in the magazines, and in the encyclopedias, and all the libelous histories that are published, and are writing, and by whom, and present the whole concatenation of diabolical rascality and nefarious and murderous impositions that have been practised upon this people—
6 That we may not only publish to all the world, but present them to the heads of government in all their dark and hellish hue . . . .
Concatenation of diabolical rascality? Nefarious and murderous impositions? Dark and hellish hue? Apologists for apologetics traditionally argue that apologetics may not create belief but it does create room for acquiring belief in some other fashion. Perhaps Mormon apologists have their own peculiar argument. Apologetics apparently creates the record by which contemners are condemned before God and the world, and a little plainspeaking may be in order in creating that record.
So my apologies to FARMS and others for all my dark thoughts. I stand corrected and, indeed, stand ready to help supply impolite language should any be required. I’ve got a store.