Most of my general biographical information can be found on this page on my other blog (And Still I Persist), so I won’t repeat it here. What I will repeat here (and likely extend as some point) are my qualifications for writing this blog.
Besides having been an involved, believing member of the LDS Church since 1967 (joining at age 14), I have also during that time amassed a library of roughly 300+ books on religion, most of which I have read (or am currently reading). About 80% of those are LDS-related (doctrine, history, scriptural commentary, etc.), but the rest are not. Those remaining 60+ books deal primarily with Judaism and Christianty, but I have books on other religions as well; I have read the Teachings of Buddha, the Tao Te Ching, and am currently working my way through the Qur’an (or, more accurately, through The Meaning of the Holy Qur’an as presented in English, since the Qur’an as such exists only in Arabic). My LDS Church service has included two stints in ward bishoprics (congregation leadership) and several stints as a Sunday School teacher (including 2.5 years teaching the adult class for our current ward until my release in early 2008). I’ve personally read the Old Testament cover-to-cover six or so times (including twice since 2005; spent all of 2006 teaching it), the New Testament a dozen or so times (taught in in 2007), and the Book of Mormon well over 30 times (and possibly over 40; I lost count some time back). I’ve read Jesus the Christ by James E. Talmage over 15 times; heck, before I had even graduated from high school in 1971, I had read all seven (7) volumes of History of the Church (by Joseph Smith) and all six volumes of Comprehensive History of the Church (by B. H. Roberts).
This is not the first time I’ve discussed and defended the LDS Church online. Back in the early 1990s, I was an occasional contributor to discussions on various USENET news groups, including alt.religion.mormon and talk.religion.misc. [Curious note (12/06/07): I used to have a link, but have found that almost all of my postings from that time period have vanished from the Google Groups archives.] I largely gave it up in 1995, then came back briefly in 1996, just long enough to note that “you go away for a year, come back, and find the same people carrying on the same arguments.” At least this blog allows me to push forward to new arguments.
Oh, and I’ll note for David Sklansky’s benefit that I scored an 800 (perfect score) on the Math Level II Achievement Test back in 1970. I was also a National Merit Finalist and received a full National Merit Scholarship to Brigham Young University; actually I received two full scholarships to BYU, but they only paid me for one. On the other hand, I do not consider myself to be a “fundamentalist Christian”, so his bet doesn’t really apply.