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Robert F. Smith

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  1. Robert F. Smith

    Evidence for the Book of Abraham

    I think that you are on the right track here, since we know that people had occupied the Nile Valley for millennia before it was unified by a single king at around 3100 B.C. Abr 1:25 refers to that "first government." The basic shift in climate and environment had long since taken place by pharaonic times.
  2. Robert F. Smith

    Evidence for the Book of Abraham

    Skin pigmentation was often conventionalized, women being depicted much lighter than men, although Nubians were always depicted as quite dark (here from the 18th dynasty tomb of Anen, Thebes ), Enamel brick from royal palace at Medinet Habu, Egypt, showing Nubian and Semitic prisoners. A recent DNA study gives us results,
  3. Robert F. Smith

    Oaks on Religious Freedom

    It is very much like a "club" isn't it? With dues, bylaws, and everything. If you were a member of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks (BPOE) and they adopted policies distasteful to you, then you might indeed want to find another, more agreeable fraternal organization. Or none at all. Sounds reasonable to me. Of course, religious organizations tend to make much deeper and more fundamental claims about the purpose of life and the very ground of being. One must finally decide whether it seems both true and worthwhile, which may not be easy to figure out. Each person must confront the matter in his own way.
  4. Robert F. Smith

    Oaks on Religious Freedom

    See my latest response to him. If you think it unfair, please tell howso.
  5. Robert F. Smith

    Oaks on Religious Freedom

    The quotations from George Albert Smith are very apropos of this discussion, despite the melange of false statements which you unashamedly repeat here once more -- another example of your deep, unrepentant hatred. It has not at all occurred to you to ask why it is that George Albert Smith's counselor, David O. McKay, did not believe those quoted statements by his boss. As the next prophet, McKay rejected those views and searched in vain for an authentic revelation or other evidence of doctrine for the prohibition on ordination of negroes. If your false stories were so true, how could that be? Someone not motivated by hatred would ask that question first. One would also have to honestly ask why Joseph Smith thought ordination of negroes was right and proper. Why did Brother Brigham go against Joseph? But your hatred makes you blind to these honest questions. Even Bruce McConkie finally had to honestly face the stark reality of having been so wrong. When are you going to admit how wrong you have been? This life is a test, brother, and you are failing this exam question.
  6. Robert F. Smith

    Oaks on Religious Freedom

    Well, I agree with you, which doesn't make us correct at all. I would, however, urge you not to believe in the false doctrine of progress. History is not linear and progressive, but instead oscillatory and very dangerous. Life is a test. Each of us is being put through the wringer. Unlike "Fight Club," however, we are permitted to talk about it.
  7. Robert F. Smith

    Oaks on Religious Freedom

    Just because someone, anyone, says something, does not make it so, regardless of who that someone is. A church doesn't have teachings anyhow. A church is an organization. In the case of the LDS Church, the church is merely a very malleable tool of the Melchizedek Priesthood, that is the Priesthood of the Son of God. The true content of that endeavor is the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and the ordinary men called to administer that church organization are primarily engaged in transmitting the Gospel, regardless of their human frailties, which are many. When this Earthlife is over, there will be no more church, but only the holy priesthood forever, now in more perfect hands. Dual male and female hands for eternity. Somewhere else, on a fresh new world, there will be an imperfect church with imperfect people trying like hell to make a proper go of it. There will be among them now and then a confused pebble plunging into the water, breaking the surface tension, and wondering what it is all about. The pebble will experience an existential crisis, not certain what the proper interpretation might be, not realizing that life is a process and it takes patience to allow it to unfold in its own way.
  8. Robert F. Smith

    Evidence for the Book of Abraham

    I was merely discussing the etymology of the word, and its connection to the daughter of Noah. The Sibylline Oracles and other literature of late antiquity fit the pseudepigraphic scenario quite well, and not before. I could have added that, in Appollodorus (Bibliotheca, 2:1:4-5), Egyptus is the eponym­ous son of Belus & Anchinoe, and it is he who first conquers Egypt. There is no dearth of such connections, all based on standard scholarship.
  9. Robert F. Smith

    Oaks on Religious Freedom

    Still, the LDS Canon of Scripture is normative for the Church, even if what you say here is true. That is the official nature of LDS theology. Many Mormons agree fully with that last statement. But are you really comfortable accepting the most right-wing view on LDS history and theology? How is it that you sound just like a TBM? I should think that being identified with the TBMs would be anathema to you, as it is for me. I consider them unnatural and brittle in their beliefs.
  10. Robert F. Smith

    Oaks on Religious Freedom

    Of course not. Indeed, I have been much harsher on racism and other sorts of bigotry in my life than you could ever be, but I also try to be even-handed. You elevate Brother Brigham, while I see him as flawed by the same sort of flaws many men have. Joseph Smith likewise emphasized his own flaws, and I accept that humility as a good sign. Brother Brigham did speak on behalf of the LDS Church, which makes his racist rants and policies all the more distasteful. As his admirer, Elder McConkie stated in retrospect, Brigham was wrong. For some reason the full impact of that fact has not sunk in with everyone. Unlike Elder McConkie, it didn't take me till 1978 to figure that out, and I was far from alone. I find it foolish to fail to see things as they really were in the past simply because policies were changed and then reversed. I appreciate a factual account of history. The huge mistake made by Jerald Tanner in the late 1950s was his sole focus on racism in the LDS Church (a pretty normal feature in America during the period he covered), to the exclusion of Joseph Smith's opposition to racism. He and Elder McConkie were as one in their focus, and Elder McConkie's irresponsible book Mormon Doctrine was a great foil for Jerald. How wrong they both were.
  11. Robert F. Smith

    Oaks on Religious Freedom

    I hate racist ideology also. The difference between us is that I believe in telling the complete truth about organizations and people, while you do not. That is immediately indicative of hatred on your part. That is a defect which you need to overcome. Your grave sin here is the sin of omission. It doesn't really matter at all what someone is a member of. The question is about personal integrity. Telling the complete truth is just hard for some people.
  12. Robert F. Smith

    Oaks on Religious Freedom

    I would imagine that McKay looked to the D&C and other Scriptures. Those are the authoritative sources of LDS doctrine. An excellent source of official Church teachings. Had he been able to find an authoritative revelation on the subject in the LDS Archives, that would also have been a strong influence on him. There was no such document. I had a racist roommate at BYU who had a girlfriend that did not have racist views. So he purchased a copy of Jerald & Sandra Tanner's collection or racist LDS quotations, removed the publication data (he didn't want her to know that it was an anti-Mormon publication), and gave it to her to prove that the Brethren shared his racist views. He never bothered to present the full story to her.
  13. Robert F. Smith

    Oaks on Religious Freedom

    With the coming publication of McKay's diaries, we will probably have much better insight into the man. You innocently ask "why David O. McKay didn't accept Brigham Young's words," but McKay could equally ask why Brother Brigham didn't follow Joseph Smith in matters or race? Since McKay held the same position as Brother Brigham, he may have gained insights from that experience alone. He certainly did not believe in the idiotic notion of infallibility of prophets. In fact, McKay wanted to open missions to Black Africa and to immediately begin ordaining qualified Black African men. His long time friend Joseph Fielding Smith cautioned him that he should have a revelation on the matter first. So McKay put that idea on hold and sought revelation. He was unable to receive such a revelation, and the heavens remained closed to the issue until 1978. Of course, McKay could have simply declared a revelation of his own make and have done with it, but he was a sincere man, unlike many contemporary figures in public life. He waited for God to speak.
  14. Robert F. Smith

    Oaks on Religious Freedom

    While I agree that what many LDS leaders said was wrong and racist, it is remarkable how quickly you make this blanket claim, which is false. Only a fair-minded claim that Joseph Smith had a very different notion from his successors is appropriate. And every time that Brother Brigham is quoted, one must perforce note how vociferously he was opposed by Orson Pratt. I take sides in that debate, while you deny that there were any sides. For you, the inability of a sincere David O. McKay to find any revelation or doctrinal support for those racist views is irrelevant. For me, it is indicative of the powerful influence of racism on otherwise good men. This was typical of the period and should not surprise any well-informed historian. The hoi-polloi just don't know any better.
  15. Robert F. Smith

    Evidence for the Book of Abraham

    ZEPTAH is clearly Egyptian ZЗt-Ptḥ, SЗt-Ptḥ, "Daughter-of-Ptah" (the -t- in SЗt is silent),[1] as is Astarte the "Daughter of Ptah" in the Late Egyptian Hieratic story of "Astarte and the Sea"[2] (which may be later reflected in the name of the Babylonian or Jewish Sibyl Sambethe/ Sambathis, the daughter or daughter-in-law of Noah, who also came to Egypt after the Flood[3]). [1] Egyptian S(З.t)-ptḥ in Middle Kingdom (H. Ranke, Die ägyptischen Personennamen I.288.22); cf. Phoenician transcription as ספתח and Neo-Babylonian transcription Isi-ip-ta-ḫu (Vittmann, Göttinger Miszellen 70, p. 65), cited in Y. Muchiki, Egyptian Proper Names and Loanwords in North-West Semitic, SBL dissertation series 173 (Atlanta: SBL, 1999), 29. [2] "Astarte and Yam" in the Papyrus Amherst in Pritchard, ed., ANET, 3rd ed., 17-18; Gardiner, Late-Egyptian Stories, 76-81; Gardiner, "The Astarte Papyrus," in Studies Presented to F. Ll. Griffith, 74-85; Lexikon der Ägyptologie, I:500-510. Albright showed how Astarte is the same as Atargatis-Cybele, Qudshu, Baˁalat, Juno, Virgo, etc., Yahweh and the Gods of Canaan, chapter III; see also C. H. Gordon in Encyclopaedia Britannica, 15th ed., 24:91-127; and A. R. Durham, “Zeptah-Egyptus,” Sept 1958 in R. Christensen, ed., Papers of the Fifteenth Annual Symposium on the Archaeology of the Scriptures, 12-16. [3] H. C. Youtie, "Sambat­his," Harvard Theological Review, 37:213-217; Cf. Charlesworth, OTP, I:318, citing Rosenstiehl & Heinz, "De Sibtu, la reine de Mari, à Sambethe," Revue d'histoire et de philosophie religieuse, 52 (1972):13-15; Sibylline Oracles, Prologue:33; I:289, III:809,823-827 (J. Charlesworth, OTP, I:317-318, 327, 341, 380; R.H. Charles, APOT, II:392-393), from the oldest and most certainly Jewish section of OrSib.
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