We sit down with Jim Bennett, son of former Utah Senator Bob Bennett, to discuss Jim’s response to the CES Letter. This interview takes place over several different days and comprises looking at the troublesome issues the CES Letter presents and reviewing where Jeremy Runnells and Jim Bennett disagree. I try to play a mediator between Jim and the ideas of the CES letter. Granting ground where I think Jim offers a reasonable response as well as pushing back where I think the CES Letter presents a credible case.
In part 6 we tackle the Prophetic Mantle including the lack of Prophesy, Seer-ship, and Revelation, The Church lack’s of wisdom and Vulnerability, and the significant harm it does with little willingness to be open to admitting its wrong. We also tackle whether Priesthood power has any measurable influence. We lastly speak on Spiritual witnesses and whether they are a reasonable way to decide truth when compared with our fundamentalist splinter group cousins and their experiences and the spiritual experiences the rest of the world is having.
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This series is very enlightening. I wish Jim could understand how utterly small a demographic he represents. Probably less than 1000 members (total) share his nuanced, elevated, refined view of the church institution and leaders. To me, it felt like he is in the last stage(s) of sophistication before the whole thing collapses. He is not the type of member current leadership want to encourage or develop. His experience in and with the church is not at all representative of a typical BIC member or convert. But he most definitely IS the type of member that will help perpetuate the current dysfunctional trajectory of the church. In the same way that Sam Harris criticizes moderate Christians as giving cover for the harmful effects of religion, people like Jim give cover for the shameful tactics of our highest church leaders. This is so much more than letting imperfect men be imperfect. It is giving cover for those men to cause actual harm for the sake of protecting the tax free status or financial health of the institution. For money.
A great example of a debate. Jim reminds me of Greg Prince, they both go to extreme lengths to defend the church. I was happy to hear Jim disagreed with the November 2015 policy, I think he earned credibility for this stance. I want Jim to be correct because I hope that what the church teaches in terms of eternal life is true. I think Jim makes good arguments on most of these topics in isolation. The problem for me is all of these arguments in the aggregate. Kinda like a combination lock. It’s almost impossible to come up with the correct sequence of three numbers to open a lock. In regards to the church there’s not just three things to defend there’s hundreds of things to defend (more than 12+ hours of defense, 6 part series). Think about how difficult it would be to open a lock with a much longer sequence of numbers.