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clarkgoble

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  1. Doesn't D&C 76 answer this? First while everone will confess not everyone will repent. The sons of perdition (who hopefully won't number a lot) suffer. However as people continue to reject (the terrestrial and telestial peoples) there is a kind of suffering. Now how to interpret that isn't clear. I think the typical interpretation is that it's a relative suffering and not the fire and brimstone style of 19th cenutry conservative Protestantism. But clearly the Book of Mormon uses that as a kind of metaphor in places, suggesting a kind of anguish as people look back on their life choices. There's been various attempts to flesh that out, particularly with people making use of NDE claims. However by and large we don't know beyond there being some type of suffering. Honestly not quite sure what you are saying here. Clearly I'm communicating my beliefs about what is real. My beliefs could indeed be wrong, but that seems a trivial and uninteresting point. Certainly I believe that in certain ways sin is its own punishment. But also clearly I believe that not everyone at the time might see that. To use an extreme example a heroin user may really enjoy the experience for quite a while. When I talk about what is real I'm talking about my beliefs about what is a mind-independent state of affairs. i.e. my belief about what is non-subjective That critique doesn't make much sense in terms of Mormon theology. Now there were some like probably Heber C. Kimball who thought becoming like God meant literally doing everything he did. Thus part of development is becoming a Christ on an other world. However that's a pretty out of the mainstream believe and nearly universally rejected. For everyone else Christ suffered so we could be like him without suffering. i.e. becoming like him means having his capacity and virtues not having the same history. Again I can but say that's not what I'm saying. I'm saying one could vote Republican in the 1960's, oppose the Civil Rights Act, while still go out of ones way to sacrifice and serve individual African Americans. If I'm reading you right you seem aghast at that and think one can't be charitable while having those political views. My point of view is that (1) ones political views have insignificant impact on the world in a practical way and (2) one can be wrong about politics yet still in ones engagements with particular individuals deal with them in love and charity. It's of course fine if you disagree with that but I'm rather surprised you find it so inconceivable. To me it's an example of the very process I've critiqued in a few threads - the elevating of the political above the practical. However from my perspective it is very characteristic of this recent era. I don't think we could make a generalized statement and, like you, I'm not even sure how we can compare such things. To your last sentence I'm not quite sure what you're asking. Could you rephrase that? I am saying that being in the spirit with a connection to God is better than not having the spirit and not having that connection to God. That is, I'm saying a connection to God has practical real world benefits to our psychology and behavior. That doesn't seem like a terribly controversial point, but perhaps you are indeed objecting to that. An atheist (not saying you are one) might dismiss it all, but that's simply because they dismiss the very notion of a God one can engage with. A deist or agnostic might believe there's a God but deny he's got any practical influence on our lives. But it seems to me a theist rejects both those positions although they may differ over how God interacts with us. And I'm rejecting that view of charity. I think one can be charitable while having incorrect beliefs. Allow me an example with less cultural baggage. I think my neighbor stole from me. It turns out they didn't but that doesn't affect my incorrect views of them nor my feelings. Yet one day my neighbor is sick. I want to help them so I mow their lawn, take them dinner, and otherwise try to help them. Under your use above that's not charity but is simply being decent. Under my use that's charity even if I am wrong in my views and feelings towards them. The problem with your view is that since it seems we almost always have incorrect views (biases to your term) towards others, we can never be charitable except to those we like. That seems fundamentally problematic on a semantic level of how we use the term. More to the point I think it incompatable with New Testament use. The whole point of the good samaritan was that the Samaritans and Jews were long term enemies going back to the building of the second temple. That is Jesus uses it as an example precisely because of the biases both had. Now my guess, which I've stated, is that you will distinugish between these narrow beliefs about individuals and political beliefs involving classes or groups. But to me that's just the problem of elevating the political so it's the most important thing about people. The problem with that is that it means people only have charity when they have the right political beliefs. It also means no one is charitable who disagrees with the individual over big name political topics. So someone might say no one who rejects single payer healthcare can be charitable. There's at minimum a slippery slope problem here and (I think) the problem of an absurd conclusion since it seems to entail that most people historically can't be charitable since they don't have the right political beliefs about political laws.
  2. Yes, I think it's too early to say much there. However there have been skeptical takes by believers. Indeed T&S put up a few discussions like Jonathan Green's. Part of the problem though is that to engage with Stubbs it's not enough to be aware of the underlying structural and philosophical issues one also has to be expert in the relative languages. That's a very small pool of people who can even really evaluate his claims in the particulars. I'll confess I'm skeptical of the whole approach more at a theoretical level. That's certainly a defensible reading. The question is then take the reasonably possible readings and see what comports with the evidence. The reality is that both in the Woodland area as well as mesoAmerica you had existing civilizations. Further trade with the Woodland culture by other cultures invalidates the claim that they were unknown. Maybe unconquered, but that's not the same thing. I'd also dispute that the Woodland culture didn't have an "organized societal structure." They may not had a single dominant leadership over everyone, but that's not the same thing at all.
  3. I'm not quite sure what you mean in your first sentence. Who on earth hopes others suffer? I suppose there's a kind of retributative instinct where people hope people who harm them suffer - particularly victims of violence. But that's hardly a Christlike attitude and seems precisely what he called upon us to elevate ourselves from. Ideally we should be hoping that even people like Hitler repent and turn to Christ. However for sins which aren't as directly harmful for others I honestly have never met someone who hopes they suffer. Far from it. Suffering is usually brought up as a warning to keep people from sinning because they don't want them to suffer. One can debate whether people really will suffer, but I can't see ascribing it as a hope to believers. While we don't know the details of the next life, we have been given some general ideas in the scriptures. Eventually everyone has to follow Christ. This seems pretty standard doctrine. "I, God, have suffered these things for all, that they might not suffer if they would repent; but if they would not repent they must suffer even as I." (D&C 19:16-17) Typically the suffering most describe as the immediate consequence of sin is the breaking of ones relationship with God and losing the companionship of the spirit. While that's a relative suffering I suppose, it is still real. Does it result in immediate obvious mental anguish? No. But I'm not sure that's the issue at hand. That's not what I'm saying though and not, I think, what most Mormons in the early 70's thought. So you're tilting against a scarecrow. So your presentation is the exact opposite of what I'm saying. I'm saying people might not think through the largely political vote issues yet in day to day dealings act charitably. Now you can say to not pay attention to politics is uncharitable, despite the fact one has no influence there. That seems a different debate though. Honestly my impression is you're projecting my views rather than understanding my views here.
  4. I've become so aggravated with the new scripture search on lds.org (now www.churchofjesuschrist.org) that I've been looking for alternative. There's always Logos but it doesn't support the standard works. Not only did the Church get rid of the old search capabilities but they got rid of the classic search page that until a few months ago still worked. Why, I'm not at all clear. The new site might be simpler for casual users but it's horrible for anyone doing more sophisticated searches. For talks you can still use google search and the site:churchofjesuschrist.org element. You can then limit by date, sort by date and so forth for talks. For scriptures though there's no way to limit to a particular book or so forth. It's extremely frustrating. The best I've found is BYU's talk and scripture search https://scriptures.byu.edu/#::s Anyone know of anything better? Ideally allowing more complex search? I know the old Infobase gospel library is around, but that only works on Windows, not Macs.
  5. I've not really followed all the Hebrewism debates, but unless I'm mistaken isn't there a debate between Skousen and others over whether it's a pleading bar or a pleasing bar? I confess this is one I wasn't that familiar with. So forgive my relative ignorance here. I know that the modern notion of a judgment bar came out of medieval juris history where there was a literal divider in a courtroom. Those on one side are the officials in the trial, the jury and lawyers. The area behind the bar is the public. Yet maybe I'm missing something but despite it's metaphoric use in statements about justice in the modern and contemporary era, it doesn't make much sense to me like that in the Book of Mormon. It's certainly plausible that this is an artifact of a loose translation using a 19th (or 16th) century metonym for the legal officiers simply because that's how people spoke. Doing a quick google there's a lot of use relative to justice both secular legal but also as a theological term. I'll confess that the way I've always read the variants of this was more in terms of the rod and staff of ancient rulers. So to me rod, staff, and bar are all loosely synonymous in the Book of Mormon. I don't read the iron rod as a bannister leading the way to the tree of life but rather a shepherd's rod that people grab onto in order to be led through rough terrain. Likewise whether one is pleading to the bar or seeing it as pleasing (because one is just) the idea is more of divine justice. If one allies oneself to the divine king the rod/bar leads one through danger. If one opposes the divine king then it is a weapon of judgment against them. So I confess that to me the iron rod and the bar of God are synonyms. In this interpretation the bar of God and all it's BoM variants seems pretty standard pre-Hellenistic ANE stuff. But I can also see it as a loose translation of something like judgment seat in terms of 19th century court practice. Except that the Book of Mormon regularly uses judgement seat so that would seem an odd choice. The question is how to distiguish between the two. Further, even if there is a loose translation, could a phrase meaning this ANE sense get corrupted by semantic drift into the 19th century courtroom sense. Again to be clear, in terms of court and judgment drama, both senses work. It's just that one originates in the medieval era while one is tied to divine kingship. For various reasons I think the divine kingship metaphor is more apt to be what Nephi intended.
  6. Yup. There's an essential tension. You have the people who don't want to listen to the prophet and the leadership clearly sees that as the bigger problem. But as you emphasize things to persuade people to listen then you have people who were already apt to listen to listen too much. You're always going to have people who don't handle nuance well left out. So the question is what they see as the bigger problem. The question for the present is how to deal with people stuck in black and white thinking but help them understand the importance of listening to the prophets. That's a bit tricky to do in practice - particularly when you have the majority of the church not even doing their scripture study let alone be open to a complex nuanced message. So you not only have to do it, but communicate it in a short and clear enough form that they won't misinterpret it. (Because the reality is most people misinterpret things) I think it can happen, but I think we'll lose members along the way who demand simplicity. However ideally we'll come out on the other end with better members who are able to deal with nuance, fallibilty yet trust the prophet like I suspect many here do. I don't think discussing means listening. But listening is probably too ambiguous a word and not a good word choice. So it's good for you to call it out. By listening I meant accepting and acting on not merely hearing and discussing. So, to give an example, Lehi and Jeremiah were listened to but not followed. Indeed the King clearly paid a fair bit of attention to Jeremiah and put him in prison because he was worried about what he was saying. Of course the obvious criticism is that I'm presupposing that most things Nelson says are correct while someone might disagree and think most things he and Oaks says are wrong.
  7. I'm skeptical of a lot of Hebraisms. I suspect some are linguistic artifacts (perhaps of EModE if that pans out) while others can be explained by the KJV. Even ones not in the KJV. An anology would be a neural network trained on the relationship between Hebrew texts and the KJV. It'd learn patterns that would be broader than what actually appear in the KJV text since it's extrapolating patterns. On the other hand a more statistical styled translation like the old Google translation model most likely wouldn't produce as many. Although I should note that back in the 90's Royal Skousen produced this extremely fascinating set of texts on statistical modeling of linguistic evolution. He could show how language pronunciation would change as foreign words entered the language. I don't think it caught on too well but I had the opportunity of seeing him demo his code back in the 90's and it was really interesting. So depending upon the type of model you make you could actually have hebraisms that are artifacts of the translation method. To your later point, again I'd distinguish between tight control and tight translation. I think the question of control is, for the most part, irrelevant for apologetic defenses except to the degree it eliminates Joseph as author. Even if you have tight control that at best pushes the question back a level to whomever or whatever does the translation. I think the reason some are interested in the question is more for curiosity over what can be discerned for the available evidence not because it's apologetically useful. The question of textual fidelity or what I call loose translation is important primarily because we have to explain the presence of the KJV text where it is extremely unlikely to be on the original text. Whether that means it's always that loose seems a more difficult question. I think apologists can simply differ on that. So some might favor a combination of loose and tight textual fidenlity while others more skeptical of Hebraisms might simply favor it being mostly loose. (Sorry -- written way too much this afternoon. I'll shutup for a day and let others talk for a while)
  8. That'd be an extremely inefficient way of doing it. A better way would be to think of a taxonomy. So you might ask, "object or action." You feel object is right. You narrow it down further. "person, animal or other." You get person. You then keep narrowing it down until you get a pronoun, a name, or a category (like man). Again, not suggesting that's how it happened. The few descriptions we have don't suggest a long enough time between words for that to be going on. Maybe I just play 20 questions while driving with my kids too much but that's how I'd approach it if I had to studying it out in my head and converge on sentences. Now it'd probably be easier for you and I since we are educated enough to know the structure of language a fair bit. If Joseph did it in that manner and was relatively uneducated about grammar and taxonomies then I'm sure it'd still be extremely difficult. It's worth noting that the process for the early part of the 116 pages may have been quite different from what happens by the time he gets to Mosiah. You'd imagine that if it is a conceptual translation that he'd get much faster. So one obvious test that might get at certain elements is simply to ask how much was translated originally. Unfortunately since he lost the 116 pages we really can't say that for sure. It'd be a fascinating question to ask though and might give us some information had we Harris' original sheets what was going on. Probably not enough to fully decide between tight control and loose control, but at least some info. My guess of "study it out in your mind" relative to the Spectacles or seer stone is some mental effort required to get the reception working, not that it's akin to 20 questions.
  9. I'm not sure that ends up being that helpful. I think what you mean by cultural is semantic drift. i.e. a Spaniard using "bow" to describe an "atlatl." It seems to me that more just acknowledges that both connotation and denotation can change in different environments even when doing a relatively strict word level translation. Typically by finding a nearest neighbor fit in terms of resemblance between the properties of what is referenced. i.e. deer and cow have many similar properties - more than say cow and table. What I'm calling loose is more about textual variance above the word level. That could be the sentence fragment level, the sentence level, or even larger levels. I think that whoever or however the translation was done, that in terms of word level fidelity it's a loose translation. There's really no other way to explain post-exilic quotations or paraphrases except by postulating that Moroni had read and was deeply familiar with the greek and hebrew texts of the post-Christian era. While possible and something apologists have postulated, it seems dubious and at minimum is a huge assumption.
  10. I'd actually add an other one prior to your (1). That is plates might be a lossy representation of an original text. So Mormon when compiling the plates is working off of documents that might be in some variant of Hebrew or an indigenous language. He then reproduces it on the plates using a short hand. What is translated? The original texts that in some sense were in Mormon's known languages or the short hand he encodes in into? While I know some favor the glyphs on the plates are hieratic, the characters that were reproduced simply don't appear to be hieratic. (See @cinepro 's photo of one of the character documents above) So we don't know what type of writing was used at all nor whether it is a word like set of glyphs representing phonemes in some sense like hieratic (when it encodes either Egyptian or other languages such as Hebrew). Further my understanding is that most hieratic is simply a shortened form of hieroglyphics and thus includes both phonetically represented words but also a certain set of ideograms. While some ideograms are obviously word-like, others are much more vague with a much wider semantic meaning than words typically have. My guess is that the plates simply aren't hieratic at all but are an unique type of shorthand. I think we have to recognize they might be hieratic-like and have hieratic influence, but clearly what one would emphasize relative to hieroglyphics when doing impressions is quite different from a sylized glyph painted with a brush. Hieratic is clearly optimized for quick writing with a brush not impressions on metal or plaster. While again acknowledging that something hieratic-like is possible, I think it's also possible that we have a kind of shorthand that utilizes ideograms. If we're dealing with ideograms, then syntactic structure need not be followed at all. That in turn means that any translation that doesn't directly know the text the short hand is representing will be very much a loose paraphrase and have lots of errors. I bring this up since it seems clear that Joseph and his associates clearly thought that was the case with both the Book of Mormon and the Book of Abraham possibly following Kircher's writings. However it's also possible that Joseph thought this because the Book of Mormon actually was a shorthand of that style and he used that knowledge to try and read what really was hieratic. I bring all this up simply to note that if Joseph is given in a tight control manner this proto language then he'd of necessity have to fill it in and paraphrase it. (Again, I think the evidence is more towards tight control, but I think we have to acknowledge this as a possibility) I 100% think these variants from the KJV when it's clear an original KJV text is being quoted needs to be explained. However I'm not sure that really tells us much about the tight or loose control since these changes could have been done before Joseph received the text. There's no way of knowing if Joseph makes the changes or he's given a text that already has those modifications. That's why it's so important to keep clear and distinct control vs. the nature of the text. Certainly these texts are compatible with the idea that Joseph made the mistake. But assume for a moment that we're instead dealing with someone else (say Moroni) doing the translation and giving it via the Spectacles to Joseph. There's no way to distinguish between where the error is made. The only thing that possibly could be distinguished is whether the translation was done in the EModE period or was done by someone in the 19th century who knew EModE by finding examples of grammar common in the 19th century but not the EModE period. However while that'd be an interesting question I don't think it'd get us very far towards the question of whether it was Joseph Smith, an other 19th cenutry figure or some more abstract process that conducted the translation.
  11. Say he's given vague ideas (not words) like: "Continuance" "new event" "self/reflective" "Nephi" "created/birthed" "out of" "parents" "support". Joseph then, because of his familiarity with other texts interprets that as "and it came to pass I Nephi being born of goodly parents..." Note how the ordering can change as Joseph makes more concrete the ideas and paraphrases it to create a sentence. Now do I think that happened? Not particularly but I suppose we have to acknowledge it as possible. I'm not sure that gets us too far (and is why I'm sympathetic to Cowdery here). How do you get started? Do you just start picking random words or broad but vague concepts and asking God if they're right? That said, I agree with you that I think any discussion of the translation process has to explain D&C 9. The assumption that it was true for Cowdery but not Joseph seems problematic. Of course there's the added issue of what Cowdery was using to do the translation. Was he using a seer stone? Was he using a dowsing rod? Was he just praying about it in his head? That's a bit unclear. With Joseph at least his early statements about the seer stone suggest it just worked. (Although some of those are late and with his mother's treatment, highly stylized and refined after numerous tellings) That said, the main argument against tight control is D&C 9 although it doesn't totally resolve the issue. After all D&C 9 could be followed in a manner akin to 20 questions where you keep asking until you narrow it down to the correct English word.
  12. I think the claim is that it'd be like when you give a blessing. You get vague ideas that you then search for the right words to express consciously. Now if you ask, well how do those vague ideas get into my mind and what in terms of neurobiology and cognition is going on I can't really say. We barely know how we're able to interpret memories. Further even in the conscious model there's still a lot of work going on unconsciiously. The claim about tight control is just a question of how much flexibility Joseph had. An other possibility with loose control is the example I gave with Pound. You're given a proto-translation that you then consciously rework into a final translation. That might be a very vague proto-translation or something more determinative such as with Pound. Now Carmack defended the idea that he didn't have a lot of flexibility. There are the accounts that new words were spelled out and that he couldn't continue until he got words right. That suggests that the unit given him was at some times the letter level and some times the word level. The question then becomes whether that was always the case or whether he had more flexibility at times. In terms of say Taves model you have loose control where there's a vague "image" of the plates and then Joseph ghost wrote the narrative. It is more akin to the question of revelation - even though Taves model doesn't require real revelation but more likely an unconscious production using creative parts of the brain. She explicitly compares it to Pentacostal speaking in tongues which is interesting from a cognitive science perspective but not really a language. Now we know that elements after publication Joseph had somewhat loose control over. So he changed God to Son of God for instance. Was that because he was just interpreting the passage and clarifying it to a set of criteria somewhat like Pound did? Or was he receiving a new revelation on the subject? We don't know. To me the only thing we can say with any confidence is that it appears like Joseph emphasized to others that there was tight control in the process.
  13. I confess I find all the purported linguistic evidence for either the US or mesoamerica deeply unpersuasive. Right. My argument is that the "many nations" are the near eastern nations not the nations in the new world.
  14. I think primarily the next life although in part here. Although being righteous and following the prophet are of no guarantee of avoiding suffering. Afterall look at the Saints in Nauvoo after the Prophet died. They suffered a lot for the next decade or so. However by the same measure I think that typically there are natural consequences to many sins. I think of friends of mine who weren't keeping the Word of Wisdom or Law of Chastity. Many of them suffered because of those choices the natural consequences. But of course some left and seemed to not have a lot of temporal consequences. So I think we have to be careful about how we think of suffering. Overall though I think doing the right thing is its own blessing. I think more the issue of connecting with God. We put our politics above that relationship. I know not everyone will agree with that. To the 60's, the reality is that the typical voter has a tiny insignificant influence on such issues. (Not to be a downer) Even some people who might have believed things that were wrong in that regard were quite different in their behaviors to people they met. What's worse, a person who believed because of tradition that blacks shouldn't have the priesthood and marry white people but treated with charity all the blacks they met, or someone who believed they should have the priesthood and have intermarriage but wasn't charitable in their day to day dealings and lost their covenants? It's that sort of distinction I'm getting at. I think a big problem in contemporary culture - especially because of social media - is that having the right stated views and signaling those views is seen as more important than charity when no one is watching or ones spiritual connection to the Holy Ghost.
  15. I should note that I think that correct, but I don't think it means how I take you to be interpreting it. (Feel free to clarify your reading) I take it as even if the prophet makes mistakes, he's overall listening to God and will get you as a community to the right place. If you reject the prophet you'll suffer. That doesn't mean you are to unthinkingly simply do everything he says. (If only because a prophet is only a prophet when acting as such) Where I think the problem comes is people tending to instinctively reject anything that goes against their own biases - particularly political views. That was the focus I think in the late 60's through early 90's. The problem was just getting people to listen to the prophet. The problem wasn't people listening to him too much. (I'd add that I think that definitely the problem today as well - if anything we're as a people in a worse place than we were in the 60's.)
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