In order to fairly compare the LDS orthodox or apologetic models to other existing models (e.g., the naturalist model), all the relevant data should be compiled and considered (including data which is in tension with LDS truth-claims). Only after we are in posssession of existing data and after we understand the manner in which different models explain the data can the LDS model properly be compared to alternatives.
LDS literature tends not to explain or defend alternative models
One thing that makes such an objective comparison difficult is that the LDS Church tends to avoid pointing out data—or the significance of data—which runs counter to their model and they tend not to discuss alternative models in great depth. This bias does not seem to be in dispute. For instance, Dallin H. Oaks taught:
balance is telling both sides. This is not the mission of official Church literature…
Similarly, FairMormon, the most famous of the LDS apologetic sites, tends to minimize the amount of critical material it references in any of its responses, and they seem only concerned with representing the best arguments against literature critical of LDS truth-claims and not necessarily that the best arguments in favor of alternative models are explained or defended.
So, in order to achieve objectivity, this site must be at least partially concerned with compiling and articulating the data and arguments which challenge LDS truth-claims and also highlighting the data which may be better explained by alternative models.
Comparing against the best LDS arguments
Objectively weighing models against one another is of equal concern with merely compiling data and arguments. Sometimes, I weigh models explicitly. Often, I will link to official and apologetic positions in my work or at the end of a piece. And, at times, I assume that the reader already implicitly appreciates the strength and clarity of the LDS model.
In general, I strongly recommend that readers understand comprehensively the LDS model—officially represented at churchofjesuschrist.org—and that they comprehensively study the LDS apologetic model, which is discussed in these additional Church approved and suggested resources. A short summary of some of the best arguments in favor of LDS truth-claims and the goods of the institution may be found in this PDF document from Latter-day Hope. I hope that the reader will fact-check every point I make, and—where I have failed to do so—I expect them to weigh the best apologetic and orthodox LDS arguments against any I present from alternative models.
I have made an effort to capture the best LDS arguments. For instance, I have posted many of the documents on this site to forums visited by active, believing Latter-day Saints asking for critical feedback in order to ensure that my work fairly and accurately represents the believing LDS viewpoint and that I have not failed to represent the best of the LDS position.
Regardless of these past efforts, please do not hesitate to notify me if you feel that I have:
- neglected any of the best LDS data or arguments relevant to a document
- misrepresented or misunderstood the official—or best apologetic—LDS position