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Benjamin Seeker

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About Benjamin Seeker

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  1. Benjamin Seeker

    Why Not Engage the Evidence for Historicity?

    Sure. Fair point.
  2. Benjamin Seeker

    Why Not Engage the Evidence for Historicity?

    As far as the native Americans being called Lamanites, I'm not sure we shouldn't take the references in D&C to Lamanites as literally intended, but we can agree to disagree. Nice point on the issues with the tower.
  3. Benjamin Seeker

    Why Not Engage the Evidence for Historicity?

    I hear you! I prefer text to video or audio. How do you see Moses 2:1 fitting in here? It reads something like, and these were the words of God unto Moses, and then launches into the creation. I think maybe you glossed over that part of my comments. I agree that the meaning of earth can be debated. There are contextual clues: all the families of the earth are from Noah, the Son of man comes to redeem the earth, and at the second coming the earth groans along with the saints rising. For me, these read as JS' understanding of a global earth.
  4. Benjamin Seeker

    Why Not Engage the Evidence for Historicity?

    Agreed. I'm certainly hoping Vogel will publish his content in written form, making those references easier to get at.
  5. Benjamin Seeker

    Why Not Engage the Evidence for Historicity?

    Of course I can say for sure, but putting videos on YouTube is the most sure-fire way of spreading content to a wide audience. Videos > text in popularity and YouTube > all other content delivery systems (i believe) in popularly currently.
  6. Benjamin Seeker

    Why Not Engage the Evidence for Historicity?

    I guess we can't be sure which way the process went, at least according to current scholarship. I'll give you that. However, there is a specific text paired with hieratic, and it is purported to be a "translation." Dan Vogel did recently demonstrate some strong connections between the GAEL and the Kitumin document, so there is probably some relevant scholarship there. More significantly, he has shown that the GAEL work predates the BOA translation. That's in his most recent BOA videos. Definitely worth checking out. It's been years since I read on this. You'll have to find some sources. Basically, it's a copy of proceedings from a school of the prophets meeting prior to Seixas instruction. There are two copies of the document. That's what I know off the top of my head. Fair. I'll give up on that one. The way the vision is reported in multiple accounts has them going to the NY Cumorah, and then you have later account(s?) saying that plates are in a cave in a hill in NY from contemporaries. Maybe I'm mistaken, but I believe all of the book of Moses is a vision that Moses has, and is essentially an explanation of how Genesis originated with Moses. Chapter 2 starts off explaining that what follows is God's account to Moses of the creation, and I assumed that what follows fell into the same category. Unless there is an indication in the text that there is a break from God's message to Moses, I think the text reads as a continuous visionary or revelatory experience Moses is having. In terms of global flood, I was thinking of chapter 7, that strongly infers global flood. Verse 45 says Enoch saw, "and from Noah, he beheld all the familes of the earth", 49 infers that the "children of Noah" are the inhabitants of the earth, and 50 says, "that the earth might never more be covered by the floods." It's fine. I'll give you that this type of nuance should definitely be allowed when we discuss revelation. It's not just David Whitmer. I believe it's one of the then apostles that launches the investigation. I think it was Dan Vogel's video on priesthood restoration where I first came across it. And yes, Oliver Cowdery does need to be in on the evolution. Though perhaps we're seeing experiences being reinterpreted or even expanded on via revelation. It's hard to say and all very murky. I don't really think the controversy argument holds up here very well though. JS was already persecuted, and already translating a "gold bible." At least telling the insiders about the angels would have been normal procedure, similar to insiders having more experience with the actual translation method of the BOM. See my comments on Moses 2 and forward above. Gotta run. I'll debate some more later. Good times!
  7. Benjamin Seeker

    Why Not Engage the Evidence for Historicity?

    OK guys, you win! I take back my comments on the translator fixing directions, etc. I have no experience in that field.
  8. Benjamin Seeker

    Why Not Engage the Evidence for Historicity?

    But when the directions better fit a hemispheric model we wonder if we should go down the rabbit hole of crazy mistranslated Mayan directions.
  9. Benjamin Seeker

    Why Not Engage the Evidence for Historicity?

    Yes, the intertextuality is fantastic, and no, I’m not willing to submit that JS came up with the intertextuality using his conscious knowledge. While a functional translation may satisfy you, it doesn’t do anything for me. Shared revelation could be a possibility, but there is no mention of working from a revealed text so there isn’t much to go on. Basically, you can justify this stuff away one item at a time, but in the end you have a pile of not fully satisfying answers to hold up a problematic theory of JS revealed texts.
  10. Benjamin Seeker

    Why Not Engage the Evidence for Historicity?

    No. It doesn’t! That’s a step in logic that people are taking without thinking it through. Miraculous parallels to late sources don’t require an authentic ancient source. Also, have you looked into the development of the Enoch tradition. It’s doesn’t look very hopeful. Again, I concede that something extraordinary is going on, but I do not concede that these parallels suggest historicity of the text. That’s a jump in logic that doesn’t need to be made. Meanwhile, Enoch’s vision of a world-wide flood, his claim of a literal Adam and a fall that brought death, and the curse of Cain all straight forwardly suggest that the text is not historical. Add to that Enoch’s anachronistic inclusion of baptism, the name Jesus Christ and Only Begotten, Christ’s atonement for original guilt or sin, and the Comforter and Holy Ghost and associated New Testament intertextualty. Also, there’s the giants thing.
  11. Benjamin Seeker

    Why Not Engage the Evidence for Historicity?

    Let’s not forget the facsimiles or the princess kitumen translation. There is a Hebrew translation of a BOM passage that was dictated by JS (pre-Hebrew studies) and is nonsense. And that difference was lost in translation? It wouldn’t have to be so, but it seems like whoever was translating would have fixed the issue. The vision of the plates being returned to cave in the hill should be considered here. You can make that argument for Ether, but less so for the vision of the flood in Moses. The point is that heavy borrowing is just one more reason to suspect we’re not getting historical translations from JS’ revelatory process. It marries the two in a single vision given to Moses, and has God’s words bridging the would-be gap. Fair points on the argument from silence. It’s not individual ignorance. One of the contemporary members launched an investigation and interviewed earlier members. He concluded that no one knew or had heard anything about angelic restoration of priesthood. There is an account of a visitor to Nauvoo whom JS showed the mummies and cuttings, and specifically said that one of the cuttings was written by the hand of Moses. That means JS would have gotten writings from Abraham, Joseph, and Moses all at once. Pretty lucky. Also when we talk about the potentially lost scroll do we take into account the writings of Joseph? Cause we didn’t lose two scrolls did we? Yes, he came across antiquities. So do we, nothing special there. The point is that the antiquities he did find were very unlikely to be as old as he claimed. Adam’s altar would have been nearly 6000 years old. Zelph would have been around 1.5 thousand years old. An actual text from Abraham would have to have been a couple more thousand years old than what JS claimed. I guess it depends on how tight the translation is. In the example I gave, God gives the Hebrew names and translations. What would be there if JS hadn’t learned Hebrew?
  12. Benjamin Seeker

    Why Not Engage the Evidence for Historicity?

    Can’t argue with you there.
  13. Benjamin Seeker

    Why Not Engage the Evidence for Historicity?

    Right. Add that to my above list.
  14. Benjamin Seeker

    Why Not Engage the Evidence for Historicity?

    See my reply above for context about my personal stake in the conversation. I’d like to add that I do think JS’ translations are something special or out of the ordinary. However, I don’t find the existing evidence that does point towards the text being something extraordinary to sufficiently suggest historicity. For example, all of the parallels with ancient texts are parallels with apochraphal texts, and there is little to no reason to imagine that these texts preserve historicity (I believe that’s the scholarly consensus). I’m thinking of the books of Enoch, the Abrahamic texts/traditions, and the book of Zozimus. Yes, the connections are impressive to me, but no they don’t really suggest historicity from where I’m sitting. Another example is intertextual analysis. There are super sweet and consistent internal relationships and great theological development, but what about intertextual relationships between the BOM and the NT, like when the BOM uses New Testament content and wording in large chunks like Mormon and Moroni with Paul’s content on charity and gifts of the spirit? I appreciate most of the other evidence you’ve listed as well, but there is plenty of counter evidence: 1. Whenever we have the source text, Hebrew (http://www.josephsmithpapers.org/paper-summary/appendix-2-document-2a-characters-copied-by-oliver-cowdery-circa-1835-1836/1) or Hieratic, JS’ translations or translations associated with him turn out to be unrelated. 2. The strongest correlations for BOM historicity point to Mesoamerica, but there are problems like compass directions and the historical issues around positing 2 cumorahs (thus we have Meldrum, heartland theory, etc.). 3. JS’ translations double down on a literal world wide flood, which didn’t happen according to lots of science. JS’ translations also double down on the pure language and the tower, which again didn’t exist/happen according to science. 5. The JST heavily borrows from Adam Clark’s commentary, raising questions about the nature of the “translation.” 6. The book of Moses finesses and smooths the transition between the two creation stories in Genesis 1 and 2 instead of making their descreet nature aparent. There are many other sticky issues where JS’ texts butt heads with biblical scholarship. 7. As I mentioned above, the impressive parallels between JS’ translations and ancient texts are with non-historical apocryphal texts that aren’t nearly ancient enough by literally thousands of years. 8. JS accounts of the divine evolve in such a way that it warrants doubt on his claims generally. For example, he begins claiming that the priesthood was restored via angels, and some of his early followers vocally claim that they never knew anything about it. At the same time, the texts of the D&C are expanded to include angelic restoration, yet there is no earlier version of the added text is ever discovered. Similarly, Martin Harris raised questions about the 8 witnesses’ experience, and the contemporary accounts of their experience aren’t straightforward either. 9. JS seemed to be able to find antiquities everywhere. Adam’s altar in Missouri, Zelph during the Zion’s camp March, the writing by Abraham’s and Moses’ own hand. Pretty lucky, or just not true. 10. Developments occur across the texts according to their production in JS’ time period. For example, Hebrew terms start showing up in Abraham, conviently after he started his study of Hebrew. Then there are moral questions. Moses and Abraham evoke the curse of Cain and Ham. The BOM takes a similar line with dark vs. light skin. The traditions of the curses of Cain and Ham have historically traceable origins and are morally reprehensible. Polygamy raises another moral question. D&C 132 is disgusting. JS’ execution of polygamy sucked morally. The approval of polygamy starts as early as the BOM, so if you have qualms with polygamy you have a foothold for problems with the BOM. So yes, I agree that there is lots of evidence for something special happening with JS’ translations/revelations, but no, I don’t find that the evidence weights towards historicity.
  15. Benjamin Seeker

    Why Not Engage the Evidence for Historicity?

    I’ll chime in as a current unorthodox member. My faith transition from believing in the historicity of JS’ translations not believing their historicity occurred amidst reading JBMS, Interpreter, Dialogue, Bushman, FAIR, etc. I was reading a lot and I was very heavy into it. I was a highly motivated and spiritual member. Slowly over years as I investigated issue after issue I came to the belief that the texts are not historical. I will admit to likely being part of a smaller group than those who don’t investigate the evidence and arguments.
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