From: Gary Novak
To: James White
Subject: Letters to a Mormon Elder: Book 2
Date: Friday, October 16, 1998 8:10 PM

"Dr." White:

Let me simplify this correspondence somewhat by dividing it into easy-to-understand sections.


I suppose I will just have to wait a bit for you to get around to addressing something interesting like what you think I got wrong about your degree; or what classes you took; or if you took classes from anyone other than Rick Walston; or exactly who--besides Rick Walston--was on your dissertation committee; or any of the numbered items I listed on my website at the following address.

I would love to know if you took the courses offered on "cults." Did you use as your texts the wonderful books by "Dr." Walter Martin?

If you would like to share more about your graduate experience, I am sure that I am not the only one who would be interested.

These, you will note, are the kinds of issues I raised on my website. On to the peripheral issues.



Why would I need to question you about your credentials via email?


I think the terms "fairness," "honesty," and "integrity" have *something* to do with it, Mr. Novak.


I am anxiously awaiting any sort of response that indicates exactly how I have been "unfair," "dishonest," and lacking in "integrity." So far you have spread accusations around, but you have not supported a single one.

Perhaps you can start by responding to some of the items in the "Important Items Related to the Issues I Raised on My Website" section.


You have it all there on you[r] [sic.] webpage.


No, I don't, actually. I wonder Mr. Novak: if I wrote something about FARMS based *solely* on their web page, might you consider that a little less than thorough?


Well, actually we have posted all but the most recent RBBM/FRB and Journal of Book of Mormon Studies on the website. I would be pleased if any anti-Mormon actually wrote something based "*solely*" on the FARMS website. I am sure that most of the folks who entertain themselves reading the dark and seedy literature of anti-Mormondom would feel the same. I encourage you to encourage the entire community of anti-Mormons with which you are associated to carefully read what is posted on the FARMS website. And if you think there is some glaring lacuna, please let me know and I will see what I can do about getting it posted.

By the way, there is a veritiable junkyard of anti-Mormon websites responding to things on the FARMS website.


Generally, most folks take the time to make sure of their facts before attacking someone's work, that's all. Again, possibly I follow a code of behavior that is old and passe? I mean, my e-mail address was well known tom you. It would have been fairly easy, if, of course, you wanted the "whole story."


Okay, I will bite. Exactly which "fact" have I garbled? Once again you are in accusation mode, but you provide exactly nothing to support your assertions. But I would assume that you could do so quickly and easily simply by responding to the items I listed in my "Important Items Related to the Issues I Raised on My Website" section or any of the number items on my website.

I cannot tell you how it pleases me to see a good, solid anti-Mormon like yourself with a high moral "code of behavior." This is a great relief in our post-ethical society. I can only say that I regret that I find myself an un-regenerated cultist who simply cannot adhere to a high moral code myself. You found me out.


Mr. Norwood did contact us---"under cover" and in a dishonest fashion, but at least he contacted us.


Alas, I am not even as moral as the dispicable Ara Norwood. Woe is me.


Speculate as you wish: your actions speak to the issue of motivation, and honesty. Your lack of research will, of course, figure in a response to your personal ad-hominem attack upon me. While some could care less, the honest person, who really does want to know both sides, will take your lack of concern to "get it right" to heart.


I again urge you to illustrate 1) my lack of research, 2) my lack of honesty, 3) my terrible ad-hominem attack and 4) my lack of concern. Perhaps you could do it in the context of answering my questions in the "Important Items Related to the Issues I Raised on My Website" or the numbered items on my website.

Please notice that on my website I have exactly nothing to say about you as a person or about the content or quality of the anti-Mormon tracts and pamphlets you publish. They simply do not interest me. However, I did call into question the validity of your degree. Keep in mind that I do not think it is as bogus as that of "Dr." Walter Martin, "Dr." Dee Jay Nelson or "Dr." John L. Smith. Nevertheless, I do believe that the institution granting your degree leaves something to be desired.

Now I simply am not interested in a whole host of issues that could be considered ad-hominem. For example, I do not care and have not raised the issue of whether you are a good husband or father. I do not care at all about your bike racing. And I simply am not interested in your career as an anti- Mormon and I have nothing to say about the quality of your pamphlets, tracts, debates or tapes. I might add that I think that the issue of whether or not you have a genuine doctorate is wholly separate from the issue of whether you are capable of producing scholarly work.


Why thank you. I will make it clear that those who judge merely by institution (rather than accomplishment) are operating on an illogical standard.


By all means. I urge you to illustrate carefully and precisely my "illogical standards" and exactly how I am "judging" you "by institution" instead of your many accomplishments, whatever they are. You can start by addressing the issues that I raise in my "Important Items Related to the Issues I Raised on My Website" or the numbered items on my website.


Well, your accuracy in speaking of my "career as an anti-Mormon" is about as accurate as your reporting of facts and your consideration of the truth, Mr. Novak. But, I get the feeling, in light of Novak's Rule of Anti-Mormonism, that you really are not interested in fairly evaluating my work.


Once again let me urge you to carefully set out how I have been inaccurate "in speaking of [your] 'career as an anti-Mormon." Please be as thorough as you need to be. You can start by explaining where I have ever characterized your career as an anti-Mormon.

Perhaps you can take the time from your busy schedule to explain exactly what separates you from the run-of- gutter anti-Mormon. Do you have new arguments that I have never seen before? Are you more careful in stating LDS beliefs? Now if this in any way distracts you from demonstrating my lack of "honesty," "integrity" and whatever other sins of which my little essay on the "Worst," then I respectfully request that you just ignore it and I will think none the worse of you for it.


Speaking of the "Worst of the Anti-Mormon Web," I often highlight more than one site at a time. If you had been but two weeks earlier, you could have seen the page with the CES stuff exclusively. So please do not think that I am attempting to associate you with that other dreadful anti-Mormon site.


I.e., you will not clarify your unclear writings. OK, that's fine.

NOVAK NOW REPLIES: Okay, if I have to:

Ironic, is it not, that you accuse me of not doing research when you refuse to do exactly that. Now I would have supposed that a cut-above-the-run-of-the-gutter anti-Mormon such as yourself would have the complete collection of FARMS REVIEW OF BOOKS/REVIEW OF BOOKS ON THE BOOK OF MORMON and JOURNAL OF BOOK OF MORMON STUDIES. Both of these journals publish indices so that folks interested in research can quickly and easily find things. I have the complete collection of both journals sitting right above my computer.


Please note the elements of my post to you that you ignored/failed to respond to:

Before then, would you be so kind, please, as to list for me 1) which of my books you have read and own, 2) which of my debates you have listened to or watched,

I take it from this that, in fact, you have not read *any* of my books, even my books on Mormonism?

and 3) which of my published articles you have read.

take it from this that, in fact, you have not read *any* of my published articles, either?


Your published, posted, taped or debates items are not the issue I raised. They may all be the most meaningful and profound works since Plato. The issue is your doctor's degree, nothing more and nothing less. Let me repeat and emphasize this for your edification: your tapes, tracts, pamphlets, debates and anything else for which you charge money on your website are not the issue. They may all be simply wonderful.


And, could you forward to me any meaningful rebuttal/ interaction you have written to any of these materials?

I take it from this that you have not, in fact, reviewed, refuted, or interacted with, *any* of my books, articles, or tapes?

If I do not hear back from you, I will assume that this is the case.


Once again, I am simply not interested in the tracts and pamphlets that you publish. I have, however, read your entire website. (By the way, I love the self-serving commentary that you include there. Have you noticed that SHIELDS has included the entire correspondence unedited and without comment on their site?

And on another peripheral issue, Dr. Midgley has commented on your IS THE MORMON MY BROTHER? (the title really is offensive, by the way) at: I know he would be interested in resuming the conversation which you cut off last summer. You can contact him at:

By the way, since showing items to affected parties is very important to you, which Latter-day Saints had the opportunity of seeing IS THE MORMON MY BROTHER? before publication? How about LETTERS TO A MORMON ELDER or WHAT'S WITH THE DUDES AT THE DOOR?

Now perhaps you will explain to me exactly how any of the tracts, pamphlets, debates and tapes affect the quality of your degree? I have to admit that I simply do not see how bringing up your prodigious publication record affects the question of whether or not your degree is genuine.

I now paint a target on my chest and await your reply.


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