About That Taylor Christensen Video

There is a video making the Mormon facebook circuit by Taylor Christensen.  He starts out by telling us that “this is not an anti-Mormon video”.  Here is a tip:  when someone has to explain right off the top that what they are spreading is not anti-Mormonism one thing is certain – it is an anti-Mormon video and they know it.

Taylor claims to have the noble intension of promoting kindness, patience and empathy for those who have left the church.  I have no disagreement with this, but I do feel that this is not anything that really needs saying.  On the whole, Mormons are the nicest and kindest people I know.  But this goal seems to be a distraction from the results of his video – which is to make the church and it’s members look bad.

If I were to go about making an anti-Mormon video, here is what I would do.  I would find a young, good-looking, clean cut guy who could pass as a missionary or a BYU student.  I would have them pose as an active member of the church.  I would have them claim that all of the criticisms of Mormonism are completely true, and that the whole church was a fraud and a pack of lies from the very beginning.  But I would then have them say that they are staying in the church out or childish, blind faith in spite of it all.  If any of this sounds familiar, then you have likely seen Taylor’s video.

One example of the criticisms Taylor brings up is Book of Mormon plagiarism.  Really?  Such claims as the Spaulding manuscript and View of the Hebrews have been to thoroughly and so well explained that many of the harshest critics do not bring it up anymore.  Yet, Taylor brings it up in his ‘not an anti-Mormon video’ while going above and beyond what even the harshest critics bother with.

Look, by all means be kind and patient with any family or friends who leave the church, but there is no need to just shrug our shoulders over the same old criticisms at all.  At least see this video for what it is – an effort to make the church look like a fraud, and it’s members look like childish dupes.

5 Responses to “About That Taylor Christensen Video”

  1. 1 Mary Ann February 15, 2018 at 12:17 pm

    In the time it took you to write this blog post, you could’ve done what I did and gone over the posts in Taylor’s public Facebook feed to determine whether this is consistent with his views in the three or so years since he got off his mission and whether he was put up to making a video by someone else. But it was easier to just make an assumption, wasn’t it? You didn’t have to agree with the way he phrased things (*I* don’t agree with the way he phrased things), but you chose to attack his motives instead.

    This is why we will continue to lose the younger generations, because older-style apologists can’t even recognize when a kid is legitimately trying to defend the church.

    • 2 Eric Nielson February 15, 2018 at 12:50 pm

      We perhaps shall see. I am attacking his video and his approach. If he is defending the church he has a terrible way of doing it. His message is that the criticisms are all legit, and the only reason to stay is childish faith. Unless he follows up by turning this all on its head (which I suppose he could) this would do more to condemn than defend. And I could not disagree more with your claim about why we lose younger generations.

      • 3 Mary Ann February 15, 2018 at 1:00 pm

        He picked criticisms that have gospel topics essays explaining context. He picked criticisms that FairMormon has plenty of context available for. He used phrasing that is common in this Post-CES Letter age because that’s how these criticisms are commonly presented now. I get that it feels like nails on a chalkboard to hear the first half of his video for those who have been fighting these criticisms for years, but that’s our problem.

        He quickly hit the major difficult spots, and followed up with his personal testimony and why he stays. Just because it’s not logically convincing to someone used to fighting critics doesn’t mean it’s not useful to a regular member who is less informed. The video shows someone who is aware of the controversial stuff still has a testimony, and that video has gone further than even the original CES Letter did (which the point of that was to show knowing the controversial stuff leads to a loss of faith).

  2. 4 Eric Nielson February 15, 2018 at 1:22 pm

    Mary Ann, I hope you are right. If Taylor follows up with good explanations and defense, I will make a big apology post. I will not hold my breath, but I hope that I am wrong.

  3. 5 Eric Nielson February 15, 2018 at 1:26 pm

    I hope folks understand that the paragraph where I say “If I were making and anti-Mormon video..” Is not me saying that Taylor is being put up to this, or caste in a role. I am saying that the results would be the same regardless of motive. I do not know Taylor at all, but in a way I do not care very much about his motives – I do care about what he puts out in a somewhat viral video. All I have is his video to go by, so I am criticizing it – not necessarily him.

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