Criticism of Mormonism/Books/One Nation Under Gods/Presentism

One Nation Under Gods: Presentism

A FAIR Analysis of: One Nation Under Gods, a work by author: Richard Abanes

Presentism, at its worst, encourages a kind of moral complacency and self-congratulation. Interpreting the past in terms of present concerns usually leads us to find ourselves morally superior. . . . Our forbears constantly fail to measure up to our present-day standards.
—Lynn Hunt, “Against Presentism,” Perspectives 40/5 (May 2002) off-site

“Presentism” is an analytical fallacy in which past behavior is evaluated by modern standards or mores. The following are some of our favorite examples:

Page One Nation Under Gods


"[T]he Smiths finally gave up on finding deliverance from their poverty by any means that might be termed legitimate employment. They turned instead to borrowing, fast-talking, and 'money-digging' through occult divination."

27 (HB)

Joseph engaged in "ritual magic and divination."

28 (HB)

Joseph was a "money digger"

29, 494n30 (HB)

Joseph's father was "a firm believer in witchcraft and other supernatural things; and had brought up his family in the same belief."