Talk:Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies

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Very Biased[edit]

This article is definitely does not follow the guideline: "neutral point of view". Note that most *every* subsection of "Controversy"--which somehow fills up most of the article--is either mostly or, usually, all one-sided; i.e., not "neutral point of view". The one exception is "Peer review and scholarly credentials". Stores about people are also mostly one-sided. (talk) 03:33, 26 March 2009 (UTC)grego

-=-=-= How is Southerton an expert, what does he have to do with FARMS? Well, his work was raked over the coals by them, so it would give him a reason to speak out. Is his quote "factual"? Is his quote balanced by a FARM response to his work, or by someone who has reason to respond to it? No. Conclusion: not neutral point of view.

-=-=-= Is the webpost by Benson (at!--even if by a "reporter"), or more especially the quote by Maxwell, supported? One look will show that the entire thrust of the post is to purposefully show a negative, one-sided view, often based on personal opinion, of the LDS Church and its leaders. Is there an official quote from FARMS or the LDS Church or BYU to counter his imbalance, or to respond? No. Conclusion: not neutral point of view.

-=-=-= "Critics declare that FARMS sometimes uses circular logic in their arguments. Similarly, some critics have suggested that FARMS' reasoning is backwards from usual scientific of scholarly practices: FARMS arrives at their faith-based conclusion first, then afterwards seeks out supporting evidence." This is interesting, as many critics use circular logic in *their* arguments, and please, how many Bible-believing critics use "usual scientific scholarly practices" as mentioned? Not many. Is there a reference for the "circular logic" claim? No. Conclusion: not neutral point of view. Where is there mention that some FARMS papers (and books) have been peer-reviewed and/or presented at scholarly conferences, symposia, etc.? There isn't any in this section--just in the previous one. Conclusion: not neutral point of view; perhaps combining the two subsections would improve the neutral point of view.

-=-=-= Five negative reviews is "mean-spirited polemics"? Is there a reason for that? Why are there no links to the five negative reviews, so that readers can easily see for themselves? Did Palmer mislead and lie in his book, or is that not "mean-spirited" enough? Is there a balance to this part? No. Conclusion: not neutral point of view.

-=-=-= Where is there mention of the hundreds (literally) of ad hominem attacks against Peterson and Hamblin and others, made by both diverse critics at all levels? (Many of them are expletive, degrading, dirty, and completely irresponsible and unfounded.) Is there any mention at all? Actually, there is one example in the article; but then this article infers that the attack was not really ad hominem, because in fact Peterson really was lying. At least it ended like this: "In response FARMS has published rebuttals to the film.[15]" Conclusion: not quite neutral point of view.

-=-=-= "FARMS has also been accused of labeling someone an "anti-Mormon", and then discounting their works as biased, based largely on this pronouncement.[12]" Not necessarily so. What is often done, is someone basically labels a critic an "anti-Mormon" to counter the critic's claim of being unbiased, faithful (yet condemning and unbelieving at the same time--impossible), etc. Is the claim factual? Perhaps, but it needs more support. Conclusion: not neutral point of view.

-=-=-= "A prominent example of this trend is the work FARMS has produced supporting a limited geography model for the Book of Mormon: suggesting that the events chronicled in the Book of Mormon occurred in a much smaller region than the traditional understanding, which argues the same events occurred across the entire Western hemisphere. Supporters of this limited geography idea--including some high-ranking church leaders--believe this model is consistent with anthropological, archaeological and genetic findings about ancient American peoples, as well as with the Book of Mormon text.[20]" The person writing this seems to be unfamiliar with actual responses to this claim by Mormon apologists themselves. This is not factual, as the "limited geography model" is not a new point of view. However, the statement this example was backing up: "This trend is committed to the literal reality of Mormon faith claims, but is simultaneously willing to rethink traditional understandings of those claims."--is true. It just needs a new example or two to support it.

-=-=-= Conclusion: this article is in need of serious rewriting to conform to Wikipedia's standards. (talk) 03:33, 26 March 2009 (UTC)grego


FARMS should redirect to Foundation for Ancient Research in Mormon Studies, not vice versa. B|Talk 20:02, May 21, 2004 (UTC)

Southerton quote[edit]

Relevance of being a Bishop[edit]

"Former LDS Bishop (head of a local congregation) Simon G. Southerton" How is the fact that he was previously a Bishop relevant? Did he make the statement as a Bishop? I am deleting the phrase "former LDS Bishop"; the Church of Jesus Christ uses a lay clergy, so the fact that someone was once a Bishop really should be irrelevant. The Jade Knight 22:22, 19 December 2005 (UTC)

The fact that he was a Bishop does add weight to his statement. Imagine if, instead, he was some Jack Mormon who drank coffee, never went on his mission and didn't tithe. Would his comments mean as much, then? Alienus 02:00, 20 December 2005 (UTC)
Hi Alienus - I'm not following you around, you've just edited a couple of pages on my watch list.
I agree it is irrelevant. In the LDS CHurch, becuase it is a lay ministry, a bishop has not additional wieght on doctrinal matters or other issues than does the primary president or a sunday school teacher. All have different responsibilities and are eventually released and go on to other callings. The last bishop I knew that was released became a nursery leader and a cub scout leader. If you want to include that he was an active mormon prior to his statement, that is just as relevant.
Now if he made the statement as a bishop and part of his congregation left with him, that would be relevant. But because of the lay structure of the church, callings are irrelevant, unless the person it trying to show credibility to those outside, in my opinion. I was once an Elders president, a priesthood group leader, a teachers president, but those are irrelevant to my "knowledge" about the church and its doctrines and history. -Visorstuff 05:15, 20 December 2005 (UTC)
Mentioning that he had been a bishop would support his motives, but wouldn't necessarily count as much in the way of credentials for disputing FARMS on a historical matter. Fortunately, I remembered that I'd seen his name before and a quick Google confirmed that he had a book out, and some scientific credentials to back up his DNA-based conclusions. I think the new entry is much clearer. Alienus 06:17, 20 December 2005 (UTC)

The edit is much cleaner. I'm still not sure why he is commenting on FARMS though. in any case, it looks better. -Visorstuff 06:25, 20 December 2005 (UTC)

The answer to that may be found in the citations. Alienus 06:51, 20 December 2005 (UTC)

Relevance of his expertness on FARMS[edit]

Sorry for not being clearer. I understand why he is commenting, I just think that he is a silly source to use as an "expert" on FARMS. just my two cents, as I think I can criticize or praise FARMS just as well and have as much credibility as he does. That's my point. -Visorstuff 16:44, 20 December 2005 (UTC)

I'm of your opinion, myself. The Jade Knight 20:12, 20 December 2005 (UTC)
The day I publish a book showing how an analysis of DNA disproves BoM's claims about the origins of Native Americans, I'm sure someone will put my quotes up here as relevant! Alienus 23:26, 20 December 2005 (UTC)
How does having published a book critical of the Book of Mormon make him an "expert" on FARMS? That's akin to writing a book criticising the Eucharist and then being considered an expert on the Pope. The Jade Knight 23:32, 20 December 2005 (UTC)

Purpose of FARMS[edit]

Last time I checked, FARMS is dedicated to supporting the truth of the Mormon view of history. One standard claim is that American Indians are descended from the Israelites. This guy, who is a biologist, wrote about genetic studies that show otherwise. In other words, his knowledge of biology is what makes him an expert on interpreting data on genetics, and the contradiction between what he found and what FARMS claims makes him relevant to this article. I would think this is quite obvious. Alienus 08:56, 21 December 2005 (UTC)

Too funny. I agree, Jade Knight. This was my earlier point.

And yet from his quote you'd think FARMS is the correlation committeee of the Church. Yes, FARMS is not consistent in what is written, any more than a University is consistent in its all of its research findings. UC Berkely is not consistent on physics research. There are multiple people having multiple opinions about matters of faith, theory and belief. Of course they differ. Research tends to differ. If it didn't there wouldn't be a need to do research. Southernton's point in not only lame, is not relevant, and he is no more an expert on FARMS as the next author. But it is not up to me to censor it out. It is just an opinion of an author. My opinion, as an author, is that he shouldn't make what I consider a stupid statement. -Visorstuff 23:51, 20 December 2005 (UTC)

I explained part of this above. I'm unclear as to why you think FARMS is somehow independent of the church. Moreover, I don't believe his complaint was that one bit of FARMS research contradicts another bit, but that the genetic evidence contradicts any FARMS research that supports the BoM in suggesting that American Indians descended from the Israelites. Once again, this seems quite obvious. Did you happen to read the links? Alienus 08:56, 21 December 2005 (UTC)
I have also read the links. Would you consider FARMS to be an expert on Simon G. Southerton? They've published scholarship that contradicts his positions. Truly, your logic is dizzying. The Jade Knight 19:47, 21 December 2005 (UTC)

I've read the links. Have you? Or did you take just the point that agreed with the point you are trying to make? The quote you used discusses the "current location of the Lamanites" as being or not being in Missouri [1]. Not genetics. That is a different part of the "testimony" altogether. He felt that FARMS discounted research that supported the theory that Lamanites were north americans. He discounted statements from Smith about his excitement of archaeological research in Guatamala, or in Chile, or even SMith's comments about the "limited geography theory." But instead tried to place the Lamanites in North America. That is fine. He is irrelevant to this article IMHO. But please understand the "testimony" or even research you are quoting, if you intend to quote it. At least the context.

It is people that don't read ALL of the research that perpetuate mis-information. People who miss that Nephi and Lehi taught the gospel to people on their arabian journey when they read in the D&C (33). OR people who miss that there were more "ites" than Nephites, Jacobites, Josephites Zoramites, Mulekites, Lamanites, Lemuelites and Ismaeilites and all manner of ites - (gee who's left)? Or that the Nephites and Mulekites were the minority of people (Mosiah 25) or that ALL who fight against the seed of Nephi (including Lamanites AND others) would be marked in some way) Alma 3 and more. Or that there were multiple languages and civilizations they came in contact with (Enos; Omni; Mosiah 1, 8, 9, 24, 28; 3 Nephi 5; Mormon 9, Moroni 10. There is plenty of evidence that there were others here besides the Lehites, Mulekites and Jaredites. In fact, the people of Zarahemla, and the People of Limhi were not suprized when outsiders came in contact with their civilations - they were interested to know if they were descendants of Israel when they came in contact with new groups, for obvious reasons. Those are the ones who are includes - Mulek (and "those who cam with him") was significant for this reason, whereas, Coriantumr barely gets a mention, aside from the secret combinations and the written pronouncement of God that they were a promised people - a mirror that even mosiah and alma tried to hide from the people so they wouldn't do the same. There are multiple other examples. The difference is that the Lamanites are the most important of them - or "principal" (not primary) ancestors of native americans. Anyway, you already know all this, I'm sure. Southerton did, but he doesn't discuss it in any of his research. He only addresses Mormon cultural views, rather than the scholarly views and primary documents and brethren statements in his work. I'm not sure why. FARMS research discusses much of it, is more well-rounded, and like BH Roberts, states what is still probelmatic and needs to be researched.

You wrote: "I'm unclear as to why you think FARMS is somehow independent of the church."

Umm, cause it isn't run or overseen by church authorities, correlation or other branch of the church - it is semi-independant of the university. This is like saying that my research at BYU was controlled by the Church because I was at BYU. It is an uneducated comment. You need to become more familiar with FARMS and its history and purpose apparently. I think you misunderstand FARMS and its role at BYU. It is not a church-sanctioned apologetic organization. It is a foundation for ancient research and mormon studies. It is a publishing house to research by scholars on various topics. In fact, some research coming out of farms has challenged the "Mormon view of history." You should read the mission of FARMS sometime. [2]

Part of it states: Brigham Young University's Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies (FARMS) encourages and supports scholarly work on Latter-day Saint scriptures and on selected subjects dealing with various aspects of the ancient Middle East and Mesoamerica. It publishes periodicals and books dealing with these topics, geared for a Latter-day Saint readership, while also working with scholars to get the results of their research published by various university presses aimed at academic audiences.

People call those who are TBM "blindly obedient" to church leaders and "their version of history." I think that Antis in general are "blindly obedient" to the antis - very few actually do their own research, but tend to believe what others write - like some of the recent archaeological edits in the LDSM articles. They write without knowing the latest research on teh matter, and just place their own stereotypes on native americans. Its racism. I have done my own research. I am a believer. I feel i've been able to satisfy and find answers to my questions. I know what I know, and I know there are many things I don't know, and I know that Mormon culture claims more than we really do know. So does catholic culture and American culture and Islamic culture. Have you read any primary documents? If not, the FARMS web site and mission statement would be a good place to start if you are commenting on its purpose. The next would be the Book of Mormon itself. -Visorstuff 18:18, 21 December 2005 (UTC)

Well put, Visorstuff. Thank you for that. I'm tempted to change the term "apologetics" on the front page to "scholarship". The Jade Knight 19:55, 21 December 2005 (UTC)

Wow, you sure do write a lot of words. Alienus

Yes my posts tend to be longer and more wordy, but I am trying to help give the context and sources around my edits. You do not.
Jade Knight, your point is a good one. We should probably get more imput. -Visorstuff 22:01, 21 December 2005 (UTC)

Rename Article[edit]

This article might as well be renamed 'Criticisms of FARMS," since more than half of the article is nothing but that. Spaceplumber (talk) 20:56, 6 April 2010 (UTC)

I totally agree. I'm going to make the controversies section much smaller.  EJNOGARB  01:28, 12 April 2010 (UTC)

Merge discussion[edit]

Ignoring the Obvious POV issues with the current version of Mormon apologetics, that page really says nothing that isn't already in Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies or on there respective pages. It seems to me that the "Mormon apologetics" is a problematic Content fork for FARMS. Mormon apologetics cites no references or sources since November 2010. This page can easily be merged into FARMS.--ARTEST4ECHO (talk/contribs) 18:28, 23 April 2012 (UTC)

This article is rather biased — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:05, 27 December 2012 (UTC)

Metcalfe Section[edit]

After reading the section about William Hamblin's acrostic, which never reached publication, I am left wondering how this is really significant enough to merit its own section, and whether it is sufficiently significant to be included in this article at all. This section, in particular, screams "biased." I recommend removal of this section, or at least a shorter notice folded into "controversies."Tsluke (talk) 04:59, 1 March 2013 (UTC)

I agree, it seems far too trivial to be in this article. Dougweller (talk) 13:01, 1 March 2013 (UTC)
I third the suggestion. Too trivial, old, unneeded in an encyclopedic article. Wikipedia shouldn't be a forum for nursing or perpetuating old feuds. MacamemeandCheese (talk) 20:00, 12 April 2013 (UTC)
Battles should not be waged here, but they should probably be mentioned when notable. I agree that the length of the coverage in the past gave undue weight to a short-lived flub that wasn't central to explaining FARMS. But maybe we shouldn't scrub it from the article, since at the time it was specifically covered by an AP story printed in the Deseret News (text, scan), and the Tanners' newspaper, and in Sunstone (pg.79). It's still brought up in the lore of FARMS and Mormon apologetics: SHIELDS, Sunstone (2004, p. 26), Sunstone (2008, p. 42), Quinn's Early Mormonism and the Magic World View (p. 352), Metcalfe interview on Mormon Stories (2014), Metcalfe's response online, countless web forum posts. I've seen speculation that this reflects the maturity of FARMS or Mormon apologetics in general, but the facts are that this happened, is generally known, and was reported on. It probably deserves a short mention, like in the Hamblin article. FARMS may prefer this be dismissed, and Metcalfe may want to escalate it, but WP seeks neutrality.
(As an aside, and this may be a small point, I've seen claims that the acrostic was removed before publications were circulated, and I've heard Metcalfe claim that some were already circulated and failed to be recalled. Mormon book collector Curt Bench displayed a copy at the 2007 A. Dean Larsen Book Collecting Conference at the BYU Library, repeating the estimate [from FARMS] that only 10 copies may still exist. See booklet, pg. 29) ——Rich jj (talk) 19:38, 2 January 2015 (UTC)