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Kevin Christensen

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About Kevin Christensen

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    Separates Water & Dry Land
  • Birthday 04/28/1954

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    Canonsburg, PA

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  1. Kevin Christensen

    Evolution

    I mentioned one section, D&C 77, not the entire Doctrine and Covenants. One thing to be wary of is "all or nothing" thinking. In another thread I posted this list of cognitive distortions: I personally like the Doctrine and Covenants and am very impressed. I frequently quote D&C 1 on "mine authority and the authority of my servants: So I neither expect perfection, nor do I suppose that I am so knowledgeable and reliable that I can infallibly detect decisive and telling imperfections myself. I just have some personal open, unresolved questions about whether D&C 77 is actually a revelation, or whether it is just a working paper that ended up being taken as revelation. I can't resolve the issue with the evidence at hand, but in my view, this is not on my list of the most important questions to resolve. At best, it is, as Clark points out, not the chronology of the universe, but a few comments on a New Testament book. If I obsess over this one, that means I have less time and attention to consider something like the recent Interpreter essay on whether there is any evidence of the drought mentioned in Helaman. And that, I think, is something that I can resolve based on the new information, and it is something that belongs on my personal collection labeled "cause to believe", and that is eye opening, mind expanding, tasty, and promising. But as to what to hold onto as truth, I've been wrestling and publishing on that for several decades. As have many others. One thing is that the Big Picture is made of lots and lots of bits, so no single bit needs be decisive in the overall assessment. Another is that there are more bits to be concerned with than any of us can master, so I ought to at least be self conscious of my own selection and evaluation processes. FWIW Kevin Christensen Canonsburg, PA
  2. Kevin Christensen

    Evolution

    In the Book of Moses we have worlds without number in an ongoing process of creation and destruction, and then a shift in focus to one among numberless. In the Book of Abraham, things take "until", which means take as long as it takes. Watch a process, e.g., preparing the waters to bring forth great whales does not say create whales on the spot, but initiate processes and watch until. In Abraham we are told that the creates are "very obedient" to the command to reproduce after their own kind, and "very" leaves room for variation. Nibley noticed this about times in Before Adam: https://publications.mi.byu.edu/fullscreen/?pub=1101&index=7 And in Temple Theology, Barker observes that the creation account in Genesis follows the pattern of the erection of the Tabernacle in Exodus, and that the Tabernacle itself is a model of universe. So one way to create a world in six days it to ritually erect a model, that is, erect the portable temple. And if everything is symbolic, including time, don't get your panties in a twist. And I do notice that Joseph Smith's one and only discourse on John's Revelation (the Nauvoo discourse in which he famously said "It don't prove that a man is not a good man because he errs in doctrine", he never references D&C 77, and indeed, I think he contradicts it. FWIW Kevin Christensen Canonsburg, PA
  3. Kevin Christensen

    "Addicted to Outrage" - Implications for the Church

    This essay in The Atlantic strikes me as relevant, looking at trends in Universities toward hypersensitivity and a paradigm in which people need to be protected from thought and language that bothers them. https://getpocket.com/explore/item/the-coddling-of-the-american-mind-1007733893 A solution cited in the essay is Cognitive Therapy, something I've learned in the context of recovery and marriage counseling that I have done. I've also noticed these cognitive distortions frequently appear in Exit Narratives, indeed also in the public narratives that eventually culminate in an Exit Narrative. For instance, I recently mentioned that I was immediately alarmed a few years ago when Bill Reel (who once interviewed me on my FAIR essay on Biblical Keys for Discerning True and False Prophets) put up a "guest post" on a major LDS blog claiming that the Church was "An Abusive Parent" which struck me as negative filtering, overgeneralizing, dichotomous thinking, discounting positives and labeling, and demonstrating an inability to disconfirm. FWIW Kevin Christensen Canonsburg, PA
  4. Kevin Christensen

    Mary, the Mother of Christ

    For those who like to go to sources, Nibley once wrote an interesting essay on Early Accounts of Jesus's Childhood. Notice his comments on the Infancy Gospel of James, a very early account. https://publications.mi.byu.edu/fullscreen/?pub=1104&index=2 Margaret Barker has also explored the early sources in Christmas: The Original Story: http://www.margaretbarker.com/Publications/Christmas.htm I reviewed it here: http://www.thinlyveiled.com/kchristensen/ChristmasStory.pdf FWIW Kevin Christensen Canonsburg, PA
  5. A little self-reflection should make it obvious that those who record and broadcast and publicize the confidential contents of LDS Disciplinary counsels in order to demonstrate how unethical and wrong and intolerant the LDS are for having such courts, themselves happen to be summoning the LDS to the Court of Public Opinion of their Choice, in the hopes that the subsequent shaming and ostracizing and disciplining of the errant LDS by their own chosen audience will in some way shame and redirect as many as possible LDS into the welcoming embrace of Wider Public Opinion (aka The Great and Spacious). Hence, the chronic lack of self-reflection. FWIW Kevin Christensen Canonsburg, PA
  6. Kevin Christensen

    "Addicted to Outrage" - Implications for the Church

    I think that outrage can be completely justified, but can also be a smokescreen generated to cover the responsibility for introspection. Jesus calls for people to first remove the beams from our own eyes before performing delicate surgery on the faults of other people. "Then shall ye see clearly," says. One of the longstanding insights of addiction recovery is that addicts characteristically build their self justification on grievances about other people. Think of the Presidential use of "Unfair!" and the chronic lack of introspection, and living sermon on the difference between humility and pride that goes with it. In the domestic and personal arena,the difference between the George Bailey whose life has become a living hell, and the George Bailey whose life has been so wonderful that he is entirely willing to "Go to jail,... Isn't it wonderful?" is the shift from focusing on personal grievance to personal gratitude. Think about some of the posts here, compared to what gets covered elsewhere: https://dearjohndehlin.wordpress.com/ All of this means that it is not all that difficult to discern whose outrage is generated by "seeing clearly" while feeling empathy, and those whose outrage is camouflage for self-interest. Introspection breeds humility and discourages hypocrisy. Pride builds on a sense of unearned but pervasive entitlement, a sandy foundation, and predictable consequences. One of the foundational processes in Recovery is "dismantling the grievance story." And the end of Recovery is spiritual awakening, and then giving back and sharing the joy. Notice that Blake qualifies the "indignation" that is the voice of God, with "honest." That makes a huge difference. It's following the light of Christ, compared to following self-justification. FWIW Kevin Christensen Canonsburg, PA
  7. Kevin Christensen

    The planets and the reckoning of time

    I was pondering a figure of "the Hebrew Cosmos" in a Dialogue essay around 30 years ago, the point of which was to establish that the ancient Hebrews has a primitive conception compared to modern science (and was therefore, useless nonsense), when I had a thought, "Where have I seen something like that before?" And I remembered and found a passage in Hamlet's Mill (on ancient astronomy a book Nibley refers to now and then) that included these observations: In ancient astronomy “ the earth was the ideal plane laid through the ecliptic. Half the zodiac (northern band, reaching from vernal to autumn equinox) as “dry land.” Half the zodiac (southern arc) as “waters below.” “Flat earth applies to the band of the zodiac through which the planets move.” The equinoxes and the solstices make up the four pillars or corners of the earth. Figure 6 in Facsimile Number 2, the four canopic figures, represent we are told represents "this earth in its four quarters". Nibley shows that the same four figures appear in the Apocalypse of Abraham 18, where Abraham sees “beneath the throne, four fiery living beings, one like a lion, one like a man, one like an ox, and one like an eagle.” I notice the interesting title "Canopic" in comparison with Canopus, the "heart of the south". Figure 5 has the Cow with the Goddess Hathor holding a lotus over its womb (fertility, as Nibley explains). And comparison with the whole discussion on page 73-4 of Hamlet's Mill shows that a line from the Egyptian temple at Dendara associates Hathor with the heart symbol or plum bob on the astronomical surveying device, the merket, and that Hathor is associated with Canopus and rules the revolution of all Celestial bodies In facsimile 2, Nibley explained in 1980 that "In the Egyptian rites and the Old Testament, as also on our Hypcephalus, we find the strange conjunction of the Bull and the Ram, both of which are the supreme symbol of reproductive power." G. Santilliana [Hamlet’s Mill] would find the declension of Bull to Ram in the precession of the equinoxes, which in the days of Abraham, move the sun from the constellation of Taurus into that of Aries to remain there for the next 2000 years. That means that the creator of Facsimile 2 was definitely thinking within Precession based astronomy. 26,000 years This number shows up in many places and forms in myths around the world. According to Joseph Campbell (The Inner Reaches of Outer Space), it is encoded in the ages of the patriarchs from Adam to Noah. In terms of visible astronomy, the Sun rules the day, the Moon and stars rule the night, and the stars have their own hierarchy and set times, which times and starts all have an interlocking hierarchy of greater and lesser “set times,” Kolob’s time being the greatest of all the stars Abraham sees. Kolob governs the others. The discussion of astronomy in Abraham leads a discussion of comparative hierarchies of time and scale which leads to a subsequent discussion of intelligences, and the grand council. So the possibilities are interconnected, very ancient, and fascinating in comparison with the content of the Book of Abraham, Ancient Abraham literature, and the facsimilies. This led to my Dialogue essay, which became my first contribution to LDS letters. FWIW Kevin Christensen Canonsburg, PA
  8. Kevin Christensen

    An academic translation of the Book of Mormon

    If only Joseph Smith agreed with this concept of "only valid" or that the people that God selects to do his work here are going to be perfect. The easiest way to make imperfection or even change anomalous to expectation, and therefore, decisive, is to insist on absolute, static, unchanging perfection, all the while assuming without question that the interrogator is infallibly capable of identifying final and decisive imperfection on sight. However, the Book of Mormon in a couple of places famously admits to the possibility of human error, and in D&C 1, the Lord formally and officially sets out a different set of expectations. With a different set of expectations, we can reasonably come to a different conclusion. Brigham Young famously insisted on the imperfection of any and all revelation. Joseph Smith has no problems with going back and editing and improving the Book of Mormon and the D&C. What we expect, what we demand, makes a huge difference in how we interpret what we encounter. See and Kuhn, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, 64 and Betty Edwards, in Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain. If the question is perfection as the definitive quality to seek and expect in inspiration, then imperfection, and only imperfection, provides the decisive and relevant information. If the question for inspiration is that it is Real, then, we have to take a broader approach that includes self-reflection, a willingness to question our own assumptions, a willingness to first remove the beams in our own eye, that we may see clearly. If I see something I did not expect, if my interest is in understanding what is real, finding whether things are so, rather than just "seeking to make a man an offender for a word", before concluding, I should seriously ask, "What should I expect." FWIW Kevin Christensen Canonsburg, PA
  9. Kevin Christensen

    William Blake and Gerrit Gong

    Fearful Symmetry also is the name of Northrop Frye's seminal study of Blake, the book that rekindled and expanded appreciation of Blake. And of course, that line resonates powerfully with 2 Nephi 2 and insights of the Endowment. Don't we all babble bit. Best, Kevin Christensen Canonsburg, PA
  10. Kevin Christensen

    The planets and the reckoning of time

    Email me. It's located at the Interpreter Website in the Authors listed under C. Best, Kevin Christensen Canonsburg, PA
  11. Kevin Christensen

    New Book by Hafens: "Faith is Not Blind"

    I'm skeptical of Fowler's stages because it organized on the conclusions a person makes. I prefer the Perry Scheme for Cognitive and Ethical Growth because it is is organized on how a person processes information. Plus there is the perk that I have been able to demonstrate that Joseph Smith, by precept and example, leads us to Position 9. FWIW Kevin Christensen Canonsburg, PA
  12. Kevin Christensen

    The planets and the reckoning of time

    This bit in one of Nibley's essays on the Facsimiles, which in turn sent me off to read de Santilana's Hamlet's Mill. http://www.boap.org/LDS/Hugh-Nibley/TrFac.html The important bits are that Canopus (aka Qalb and not at all a stretch for Kolob) was, of all the stars, taken as exempt from the Precession of the Equinoxes (the 26,000 year wobble that Clark mentions, and that Joseph Campbell discusses as encoded in the ages of the Patriarchs in Genesis), and therefore, from the perspective of an observer on earth, everything else rotates around it. The main point of the Astronomy discourse to help explain the difference between God's intelligence, and our own. The image of the Precession with the stars rotating around static Kolob is like a large scale metaphor for Lehi's vision of numberless concourses of angels (the angels, of course, being associated with stars, something Margaret Barker discusses in various places). I did a PowerPoint on this stuff about ten years or so ago, for a Single Adult Fireside. It's interesting that Canopus is located in the rudder of the Argo, and because of it's stability and brightness is still used for satellites to take their bearings. FWIW Kevin Christensen Canonsburg, PA
  13. Kevin Christensen

    Non-LDS Experts in Archeology and Egyptology

    Good grief. Try again, and this time address the evidence. Don't just distract from a large body of evidence and documentation by slapping an insinuation of corruption on one of the several professionals I mention. It's in the relevance and accuracy level of Trump claiming Mueller's investigation consists of angry witch hunting democrats. If Coe, for instance, makes an unjustified claim, say, his claim that the Book of Mormon cannot be correct because it does not reflect the Mesoamerican concern with a Mother Goddess, I found that more effective and relevant to point to specific evidence that he overlooked in the Book of Mormon. So I can cite essays by Daniel Peterson, by Hugh Nibley, and a 1998 essay by yours truly that demonstrate that he was wrong. I cannot just say, "Who pays Coe?" and pose. Kevin Christensen Canonsburg, PA
  14. Kevin Christensen

    Non-LDS Experts in Archeology and Egyptology

    Speaking of language in the Americas, does this fit your definition of nothing? Brian Stubbs, Changes in Language from Nephi to Now. https://www.amazon.com/Changes-Languages-Nephi-Brian-Stubbs/dp/0991474112/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1543435780&sr=1-1&refinements=p_27%3ABrian+Stubbs I've read several of Stubb's earlier essays, and I'd be reluctant to make such absolute pronouncements unless I had a good grasp of his work. FWIW Kevin Christensen Canonsburg, PA
  15. Kevin Christensen

    Non-LDS Experts in Archeology and Egyptology

    Sure I can, having read things like Sorenson's Ancient American Setting for the Book of Mormon (published in 1985, 12 years after your Coe quote), as well as Sorenson's more recent and more massive Mormon's Codex, as well as work by Wright, Gardner, Larry Poulson, and several others with professional training and publications, none of which appear to accounted for by any of your posts in this thread or your "IMO." In my opinion, they represent some very good evidence, very consistent with how I read the Book of Mormon, and never addressed by anything Coe has said. And I have read his 1973 Dialogue essay, his PBS interview for the series on the Mormons, and I listened to the Dehlin interview on Mormon Stories a few years back. I responded in detail to several unsupported claims Coe and Dehlin made, citing specific studies, and Dehlin responded by deleting my comments. While Coe was an important Mesoamericanist, his work on the Maya, for instance, nowhere discusses the very recent LiDar surveys. It's also clear to me from my reading and listening that most of Coe's criticisms are based on a superficial grasp of the Book of Mormon and are directed mostly at amateur LDS apologetics dating from the 50s and mid 60s. Being an important authority on the Maya does not make him an expert on the Book of Mormon text nor on current Book of Mormon scholarship, nor on important developments that post-date his retirement such as the LiDar discoveries. The Maya, as a culture (early and classic periods), incidentally, post-date Book of Mormon times, which is pre-classic. Sorenson makes some very specific claims for Zarahemla, for instance. A site at the right time, on the west bank of the Grijalva (his Sidon candidate), at the boundary between two language groups, north of a strip of wilderness that extends from the East Sea to the West sea (and there is only one such location in the Americas), south of a Narrow neck, conveniently located to account for the story of Limhi's explorers, where they went to miss what they were looking for, and what they saw, found (an abandoned Olmec site that was uninhabited when they arrived, and therefore could have mistaken for Zarahemla), south of a different civilization that had fallen, and south of a later people who built cities of cement, locate in a setting that accounts for the tectonic activity and the timing of a major volcanic event, etc. You have made it clear that you do not see any of this as evidence, but that is apprarently because, you have not bothered to look. You certainly make no effort to provide a better explanation. Any candidate for Zarahemla needs to account for all of these relationships. Finding a place that fits is a kind of evidence, based on the definitions of "evidence" that the Welch essay discusses. It's not nothing. Perhaps it is not enough for you, but it is not nothing. And Coe's 1973 statement is not valid compared to the experience of the couple who were in charge of the Teotihuacan site. There some professionals were persuaded by what they saw. Depending on the Coe Meme is no longer accurate. And there is also a good essay on San Lorenzo as the Jaredite City of Lib, worth searching for. Plus, these interesting artifacts, dating to Book of Mormon times, and containing characters resembling those that Joseph Smith said he copied from the plates. http://www.shields-research.org/General/SEHA/SEHA_Newsletter_122-2.PDF Again, perhaps not persuasive to you, but not, by most definitions, nothing. FWIW Kevin Christensen Canonsburg, PA
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