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Robert F. Smith

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  1. Exactly. But what does that mean in practice? Put me in charge, and I would send each called G.A. to an M.A. program in theology (or the like) at a good school (prepaid) such as Harvard or Yale Divinity School, or the GraduateTheological Union at Berkeley, or to the Hebrew University in Jerusalem (he could live at the BYU Jerusalem Center). Men without at least a B.A. could not even be called. What did Joseph Smith do? He hired a Jewish scholar and had him teach Hebrew to the Brethren in the School of the Prophets. Any one of a number of scholars would have been quite happy to read and critique Elder Callister's new book. The mystery is, Why didn't he avail himself of that option? It is possible that he is so unaware of the beartraps which awaited him that he simply did not realize how wrong he could be. This is a direct consequence of the lack of serious historical and theological training for our general authorities. They do not know what they don't know, and therefore cannot be humble about it. Worse, his publisher was not even aware of the possibility that the book needed to be read by a professional.
  2. It does seem rude to tell the direct truth, and that certainly doesn't seem loving. Especially since all truth now is predefined to be politically correct, and we all must (like Hope Hicks) tell some white lies so as not to offend touchy sensibilities. And, if we are going to say something factual, we must first give trigger warnings, so that the poor dears can find safe spaces in which to hide. In the event, however, Tacenda was tougher than that and admitted that she was in error in some of those items in her long list from Reddit. What worries me, HappyJack, is that you seem not to recall that most of those items have been discussed ad nauseum on this board, and you seem not to recall any of the factual, directly cited information which clearly makes them nothing more than lies about the LDS Church and its people. In some cases, it is as though we have learned nothing at all since 1830, what with the same ridiculous lies still being told about those horrible Mormons. Did you even bother to consider the length of that Reddit list? You innocently say "If you think there's an error, why not point out what the problem is instead of belittling someone?" That list would take several days or longer to go over in detail, and we have spent years on this board considering most of them in one form or another. Are you going to honestly tell me that you do not see that many of the statements in that list are direct lies about the LDS faith? On reflection, Tacenda could see that, but you are not able to? Really? You couldn't pare the list down to a few important issues? An honest person would always bring up issues in a way which at least makes them manageable, perhaps grouping them a few at a time. That is, if the intent was to foster an actual discussion. A shotgun attack (which shows no interest in return fire) is so much more appropriate to a gang hit.
  3. This case of dueling book excerpts actually demonstrates considerable overreach by both men. If Elder Callister had been well-trained in a Protestant, Jewish, or Roman Catholic seminary, he might have been able to deliver something more than his impressions of Isaiah, and whatever else in the Bible. David Bokovoy (PhD Brandeis), on the other hand, has the benefit of a fine, secular Jewish education in Bible, and he expresses very well the standard Jewish belief that the prophets only spoke au courant. As Jewish scholars now admit, long before the beginning of Jewish Christianity, the Essenes were reading about the Suffering Servant in Isaiah as an eschatological Messiah(s), as we can see from the Qumran scrolls.[1] Indeed, Job, the "Babylonian Theodicy," and Ludlul bel nemeqi likewise deal with the suffering of the Righteous One, all of which may be related to the figure of the Suffering Servant in Isaiah, New Testament,[2] and Book of Mormon. Thus, Nephi and Jacob each read Scripture as applicable to their people in their own time, just as the Essenes and rabbinic Jews tended to do (TB Pesaḥim 10:5). The first and most important motif to be applied in the Book of Mormon was the full-scale Exodus motif,[3] which has so often been primary for Jews as well. Second, the eschatological motifs in Isaiah and Micah. Third, the Vineyard motif (Midrash Sifre Deut 32:9 §312, Lev Rabba 1 (113a).[4] “For I did liken all scripture unto us” (1 Ne 19:23-24; 2 Ne 11:2,8, Jacob 5:3). 1QSa/1Q28a 2:11-12, which has God “fathering, begetting” (Hebrew holid) the Messiah of Israel: "when [God] has fa[th]ered the Messiah" ∥1 Ne 10:17, 11:7,18,21, 13:40, II Ne 25:12-19, 26:3,9, Jacob 4:5,11, Alma 5:27,48-50, 7:11-13, 9:26-27, 12:33-34, 13:5-9; Mormon 5:14; cf. 2 Ne 17:14 (Isa 7:14), 19:6 (Isa 9:6). 4Q541 (4QAaronA/4QAhA) (24 [25] frags dated to ca 100 B.C.; a second copy in 3 frags is 4QTestLevic) frag 9 "He will atone for all the children of his generation, and he will be sent to all the children of his [pe]ople. His word is like a word of heaven, and his teaching is in accordance with the will of God. His eternal sun will shine, and his light will be kindled in all the corners of the earth, and it will shine on the darkness... They will speak many words against him, and they will invent many [lie]s and fictions against him and speak shameful things about him. Evil will overthrow his generation..."; frag 24 "Do [not] grieve for [him]...God will set many things right...many revealed things...Ex­amine and seek and know what the dove (Jonah) sought and do not afflict the weak by wasting or hanging [crucifixion].... [Let] not the nail approach him. So you will establish for your father a name of joy, and for your brothers a proven foundation.... You will see and rejoice in the eternal light, and you will not be an enemy"[5]; cf. Isaiah 52:13 - 53:12 (4th Suffering Servant poem), 1 Corinthians 15:13; J. Starcky and E. Puech consider this to feature a Suffering Servant or Suffering Messiah theme. 4Q246 (4QpsDan Aa, 4QSon of God) Aramaic I "[He] shall be great upon the earth.... and all shall serve [him]...the [g]reat..," II "and by his name shall he be hailed (as) the Son of God, and they shall call him Son of the Most High" ∥Luke 1:31-32,35.[6] [1] Israel Knohl, The Messiah Before Jesus: The Suffering Servant of the Dead Sea Scrolls (Berkeley: U.C. Press, 2000); Michael Wise, The First Messiah: Investigating the Savior Before Christ (S.F.: HarperSanFrancisco, 1999). [2] A. Leo Oppenheim, Ancient Mesopotamia: Portrait of a Dead Civilization, rev. ed., 272-273, citing W. G. Lambert, Babylonian Wisdom Literature, 70-89. [3] George S. Tate, “The Typology of the Exodus Pattern in the Book of Mormon,” in N. E. Lambert, ed., Literature of Belief: Sacred Scripture and Religious Experience (Provo: BYU Religious Studies Center, 1981):245-262; S. Kent Brown, “The Exodus Pattern in the Book of Mormon,” BYU Studies, 30/3 (Summer 1990):111-126; Terrence Szink, “To a Land of Promise,” in K. P. Jackson, ed., Studies in Scripture, vol. 7: 1 Nephi to Alma 29 (SLC: Deseret, 1987), 60-72; Szink, “Nephi and the Exodus,” in J. L. Sorenson and M. J. Thorne, eds., Rediscovering the Book of Mormon (Provo: FARMS, 1991), 39-42; cf. Sara Riley, “‘Even as Moses Did’: The Use of the Exodus Narrative in Mosiah 11-18,” paper delivered at FairMormon Conference, Aug 2, 2018, Provo, Utah. [4] H. Strack & P. Billerbeck, Kommentar zum Neuen Testament aus Talmud und Midrasch, I:874-875. [5] J. J. Collins, "The Suffering Servant at Qumran?" Bible Review, 9/6 (Dec 1993):25-27,63. [6] G. Vermes, Dead Sea Scrolls in English, 3rd ed. (Penguin, 1987), 275; 4th ed. ( 121, 332); and in H. Shanks, ed., Understanding the Dead Sea Scrolls (N.Y.: Random House, 1992), 203-204 (J. J. Collins in BAR, Mar/Apr 1990; J. J. Collins, "A Pre-Christian 'Son of God' Among the Dead Sea Scrolls," Bible Review, 9/3 [June 1993]:34-38,57. Israel Knohl, The Messiah Before Jesus.
  4. You should be able to see many which are false just by skimming, as I did. If you are going to simply copy stuff from Reddit, you ought at least to be able to evaluate it.
  5. Yes, which shows that even Kimball did not believe that the membership accepted infallibility, even though you apparently do. Do you see yourself as a Sam Young? If so, you need to better inform yourself, since most of these statements are false or misleading. You need to at least be able to correctly state what the problems are, and you don't seem capable of that yet. Those are not my words. You have falsely attributed to me the words of Lanny Landrith, whom I do not know. He was commenting on the Boyce article in Interpreter. Again, you purposely ignored that Orson Pratt (and Joseph Smith himself) did not believe that Black men should not have the priesthood. Brigham Young made a serious error in withholding that priesthood, and Orson went after him for it. Your additional notion here that the LDS Church excluded Black people is completely false. The LDS Church always baptized Black people and never had segregated congregations., You clearly don't believe in democracy (the vote). Most of those in California concurred with federal law that marriage was only between a man and a woman. That's how they voted. The Supreme Court correctly decided that equal protection of the laws (14th amendment) applied to same sex couples as well. So federal law was changed in an instant. That is part of our Constitutional system, which those horrible Mormons fully accept. What is it that you don't understand about that? You don't even realize that those horrible Mormons have now changed their "infallible" policy on LGBTQ kids? You really don't pay any attention at all? Laurel Wamsley, “In Major Shift, LDS Church Rolls Back Controversial Policies Toward LGBT Members,” NPR, April 4, 2019, online at https://www.npr.org/2019/04/04/709988377/in-major-shift-mormon-church-rolls-back-controversial-policies-toward-lgbt-membe . You appear to know so very little about the LDS Church or its history. Yet you want to comment on it. Why?
  6. What really astonishes me, Tacenda, is that you take any of that claptrap seriously. Even Bill Reel doesn't accept all those so-called lies. He tries to be at least a little more sophisticated. After all these years on this board, and having discussed so many of these fake criticisms, I would have thought you not to be so gullible. Do you really not see the nonsense in nearly all of these claims that the LDS Church has lied? Don't you see the huge holes in most of these blatantly false claims?
  7. Only rarely do people leave one faith for another. Most of those who leave just leave whatever faith they were only lightly attached to anyhow, and do not adopt another faith. Drift is the operative concept, and it is the most common characteristic. Naturally those who are members of that minority will think that they are the norm. There are actual intellectuals who feel alienated based on some concrete notion about their native belief system (whatever their parents adhere to), but they are also a small minority. Prof Bart Ehrman is a good example of a scholar who left his evangelical faith entirely, yet doesn't appear to be angry or vengeful about it. Indeed, he regularly debates Bible believing scholars, and he has a good sense of humor about it all. I have no idea how his parents or siblings have taken his apostasy. Most parents are very forgiving and indulgent of the rejection of the parents' faith and other core beliefs. The notion that all parents are narrow and superficial, rigid and unyielding is an artifact of youthful discontent and anger. Somebody has to be blamed, so why not the parents? Establishing objective reality in such instances may require decades of life and reflection on what actually happened -- with perspective, looking back. Indeed, it is precisely the most rigid and narrow parents who drive their children to leave, and that is only a minority of the overall phenomenon of leaving a faith. The vast majority of children continue in the faith and political party of their parents. That's the way they were socialized. The exceptions prove the rule. I have cited all the sociological data previously on this board.
  8. You even quoted me, but seem not to have understood anything I said. My own comments go the opposite direction from yours, and I give specific examples (which perhaps you don't understand and are completely unaware of), and I have mentioned them often on this board. Infallibility theory just doesn't work, not for Mormons, and not for Catholics. The evidence (which I cited) just doesn't support it. You may have noticed that I asked Duane Boyce to discuss that problem, but he didn't respond. However, there were comments which immediately responded to mine. Did you take note of that, and what is your response? Your comments above to others indicate to me that you believe most Mormons have an automatic belief in infallibility, but even Pres Kimball didn't believe that. In fact, he told Sis Cannon that the general membership didn't like that. What did you make of his comments? What did you make of Elder McConkie's complete reversal? If what you claim were true, Elder McConkie could not have done that. Or don't you understand what Elder McConkie said? Do you understand why Elder Orson Pratt so strongly rejected several of Pres Brigham Young's claims? Do you understand that in each case it is Elder Pratt who was correct and whose beliefs are current doctrine -- instead of what Pres Young claimed? If Pres Young was infallible, how is that possible? Have you even thought about any of that? What did Joseph Smith mean when he said: "“a prophet is only a prophet when he is acting as such” (History of the Church 5:265)?
  9. A lot depends on the way someone leaves, and on why they leave. Most families tend to be very loving and considerate toward a child who leaves, even if the leaving is accompanied by anger and vilification by the child. Indeed, that hard break may be followed years later by a pleasant reunion, when tempers have cooled and the child now has a family of his own and realizes how his parents actually feel (because he is now in those very shoes). On the other hand, if the break was a matter of drug use or other forms of criminality, it may be that the parents don't want to be enablers. The scenarios are endless and very complex. One has to imagine how badly that St George family now feels about their son and brother who just went to Southern California and killed a couple of men at random (one an off-duty deputy sheriff). He'll never get out of prison, of course, and family members will visit him from time to time because they love him.
  10. The problem is that you have just invented a completely false narrative. You came to the article not to learn what had been said and done, but instead with already formed views (most of them false) on what had taken place. Instead of quoting what was actually said, and commenting upon it, you instead decided for turn your supposed enemies into devils. Which is a very convenient ploy, because then you don't have to have a real discussion.
  11. A very recent article on that by Duane Boyce just came out in Interpreter, https://www.mormoninterpreter.com/yes-its-true-but-i-dont-think-they-like-to-hear-it-quite-that-way-what-spencer-w-kimball-told-elaine-cannon/ . A number of readers made comments, including me, dealing with the issue of infallibility.
  12. Does the LDS Church keep such detailed records? I don't know, but I'll bet that their law firm does.
  13. Correct, and Clan Lehi may have ported the body of Ishmael on camelback, or with a travois for serveral days before arriving at Nahom. A year seems unnecessary. Apart from the case of Mother Mary (1 Ne 11:19), “for the space of a time” is used in the BofM solely for encampment to rest for awhile (1 Ne 16:17,33 ). We might want to study the bedouin habits of camping in order to rest their camels and themselves. Other instances of "a time" in the BofM (Mosiah 1:18, Alma 3:24, 9:18, 12:16,24, 17:23, 28:4,6, 40:4-5,9, 42:4, 3 Ne 28:24, Ether 13:5) are clearly unrelated. Three Hebrew words are used for "a time" in the Bible, none of them relevant to the BofM: yom (Judg 14:8) ʽet (2 Ki 5:26, Esth 2:14, Ps 32:6, Eccl 3:1-8,17, 8:9, Jer 8:15) zeman (Neh 2:6)
  14. Our justice system has many inequities and problems. That's for sure. I have spent many years in the courts watching what goes on with great interest and some frustration. And I have known some brilliant and creative judges who have tried to bring order and fairness to the chaos, but there are limits to what can be done. Why? Because the Law itself (capital L) often stands in the way. No one really likes the system, and no one really likes the rules, but we have what we have -- dang it. And just to make the system workable, one has to reach plea agreements in most criminal cases, and settlements in most civil cases. Trials are only a last resort, and they can be very expensive and time-consuming. Our society is far too litigious, and our notion of crime and punishment has led us to be the one country in the world which incarcerates more people per capita than any other country. Even totalitarian regimes do not incarcerate as many as we do. Is there something wrong with that picture? Can we really afford to be that stupid -- to no purpose?
  15. My only response is that the Pentecostal Churches certainly put revelation first, but that doesn't make them LDS. The belief that the Holy Spirit is a member of the Gottheit shows its importance, but it doesn't tell us what that means in context, which is crucial. The Book of Mormon is the context, which makes it primary. Unlike the Holy Spirit, one can hold a BofM in his hands, just as Joseph Smith could hold the golden plates in his hands, or his wife Emma could move the plates around the house in a cheesecloth. This real world connection is primary and a matter of substance, whereas the connection to the HS is not. The same applies to the contents of the BofM. One can read a plethora of detail there, which can be evaluated by real world considerations. Science cannot be brought to bear on the HS, but it certainly can on the BofM. Indeed, JAHS has just presented a thread on this board which relies on substantive evidence of BofM geography -- http://www.mormondialogue.org/topic/71950-evidences-of-the-book-of-mormon-old-world-geography/?tab=comments#comment-1209911245 . The HS is clearly the most important, and so is God the Father and his Son Jesus Christ. Saying so, however, misses the point in this conversation, because any Roman Catholic or Evangelical Christian could agree on that, which means that the claim is not diagnostic of anything but general christianity. And where does that get us?
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