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November 04, 2012


Fr Tim Sean Youmans

This is good.


Terrific post, Greg.


"Smith's followers knew who he was. They knew what he was. They witnessed it. Historians have shown us the falsity of his claims and his book, but early Mormons accepted martyrdom..."

As a possible rejoinder, it's my understanding (although I'm no Mormon scholar and could be wrong) that the early Mormon leaders after Smith did not "die for the cause"; Brigham Young, IIRC, lived to a ripe old age. The elites who would have been hip to Smith's con weren't dying in the trenches but were figuring out how to get in on the graft. But by contrast, most of the Christian Apostles—the elites who were close to Jesus—were martyred. So I don't think its a one-to-one comparison.

Greg Horton

It's a possible rejoinder. Young wasn't the only elite. Track them from Navuoo to Missouri to Utah and see how many died along the way. Smith and his brother were considered early martyrs for the cause, so Smith died for his own lie. This has nothing to do with the truth or falsity of Christianity. I mean only to say that the "no one would died for a lie" schtick so long trotted out by apologists is nonsense. I'm weary of it being offered as a "proof" or "evidence" of the resurrection.


A further problem with that so-called proof is that there is limited non-Christian evidence that the early church leaders were actually martyred in the way the tradition claims. It's consistent with the historical record either that most weren't martyred at all, their alleged martyrdom an invention of early Christian hagiographers, or that while they were killed for their faith, the circumstances were less heroic than described: the bits about refusing to recant despite facing certain death or torture being exaggerated or completely fabricated.

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Thanks so much for this! I have not been this moved by a blog for a long time!

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