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About JarMan

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    Separates Water & Dry Land

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  1. Right. Unknowable in a mathematical sense (which is the sense I mean when we talk about whether something is likely or unlikely).
  2. I'm assuming it is impossible to say with any amount of certainty anything about the existence of the supernatural. If that is true then we can't say whether a supernatural event is likely or unlikely. I don't disagree with you that it needs to be compared against Vogel. However, several traditional believers have said how unlikely they think my theory is. So I'm asking: unlikely compared to what? If compared to how books are normally written then I agree. But if compared to how the Book of Mormon is claimed to have been written (not the supernatural part, but the part about a 4th Century Lehite slogging across a continent to bury the plates) then I disagree. Rejecting a given hypothesis because it seems unlikely is a bit myopic if your own hypothesis also seems unlikely.
  3. I've been a member of this forum since 2006. I am quite sure that I have defended the traditional explanation of the Book of Mormon on multiple occasions by saying something along the lines of, "Angels and seer stones seem more likely than any of the critical explanations (like Joseph or one of his associates made it up) so the Book of Mormon is more likely to be historical than fiction." Not that this is your argument exactly, but I was making a logical fallacy I was not aware of at the time. A statement of likelihood between a supernatural and a natural process is nonfalsifiable. . . so. . . basically meaningless. . . except as a way of affirming my own beliefs. My Grotian hypothesis may seem unlikely based on the idea that a secret manuscript had to translated, hidden for 180 years or so, reworked, transported across the Atlantic Ocean at some point, and somehow get into Joseph's hands. If we compare this to how most books were produced in 1829 the hypothesis looks very unlikely. But this is the wrong comparison. Instead, we should examine the alternate idea that a set of 60-80 pound gold plates was transported from Mesoamerica to Upstate New York by a single man--a sole survivor--dodging a vast army and other dangers along the way to deposit the plates (not to mention the other artifacts) under a boulder to remain hidden and undisturbed for 1400 years. Talk about a chain of highly unlikely events.
  4. Sometimes truth is stranger than fiction.
  5. We can't meaningfully compare a supernatural explanation of events and an naturalistic explanation of events using terms like "less likely" or "more likely." These are two different categories. Supernatural events either happen or they don't. And even if they do happen, we still can't quantify the likelihood of certain supernatural events occurring. So I'm not trying to give a "better" explanation of the origins of the Book of Mormon. I'm simply giving an explanation that can (and should) be tested using methods that have been used for other documents.
  6. I dispute this. With the exception of a single sentence which I propose was added by Joseph or Oliver, I think it can all be dated to the mid 1600's or earlier. I've offered the challenge on here on multiple occasions for somebody to point out something in the Book of Mormon that can only be dated to after that time. So far nobody's won the prize. So I'll put the offer out there again. I'd like somebody to find content in the Book of Mormon that necessarily post-dates the mid-17th Century. It's important to be mindful of the "And it came to pass" time jumps. We get one of these in 13:16 indicating that we are now hearing something that takes place later than what we just heard in 14 and 15. So we can't assume the land mentioned in 17 is the same land in 15. Also notice that "land" is modified in verses 12, 14, and 15 so that we know for sure it's America. In verses 17 and 20 there are no modifiers, and then in verse 30 and 14:2 we again see that the land is specifically mentioned to be the promised land. I think it's quite reasonable to see verses 17 and 20 to mean Europe. Here are some challenges for the traditional interpretation, then. Who, exactly, is coming out of captivity? What is the nature of that captivity? Who are the "mother Gentiles" and why is a religious term being used here rather than a secular one, such as "mother nation?" Why is primacy given to the sea over land when describing the battle? Why does the text say only that they were gathered to battle without giving details of the wars? Why does it say they were delivered out of the hands of "all other nations?" These are all questions that are better answered with an early modern model. And the traditional explanation requires that Joseph could read a record written in a different language by peering at a stone in his hat.
  7. This is actually an early modern idea. The best writing we have on it is from Samuel Fisher, a baptist minister turned Quaker. In 1660 he published a lengthy book on this issue. He argues that there are many books missing from the jewish and christian canons. This was based on the recent discovery of some new manuscripts and the various mentions of other books in the bible. He mentions many of them such as several of Paul's epistles, the prophecies of Enoch, Christ's Letter to Agbarus King of Edessa, and several others. He claimed that the early church removed them from the canon because they didn't like the teachings in them. There are antecedents to this idea, but it is proving hard to research since Samuel Fisher's book seems to be the first discussion written in English. However, from second-hand sources I've found that there were Catholic apologists pointing to missing books in the early 1600's. Their reason for bringing it up was to counter the Protestant idea of sola scriptura. If you don't have all the scriptures then you need the church to tell you the things that are missing. Or so the argument goes. In the 1630's there was something of an Enoch craze among European scholars. Some fragments of Enoch had been discovered and it was rumored that the entire work existed in Ethiopia. Grotius is one of the scholars who was apparently highly interested in it and had apparently seen the original fragments.
  8. The issue of the seer stone and treasure seeking is a tough one. It seems like people are willing to accept the seer stone when it comes to the Book of Mormon but aren't so sure when it comes to other things. Maybe there's some nuanced explanation for all of this, but in my mind you either have to accept it all or reject it all (the use of the seer stone, that is). If Joseph has the ability to deceive witnesses when using the seer stone to look for treasure, doesn't that indicate he might have the ability to deceive them in dictating the Book of Mormon?
  9. Up to here I think you've got it. Though I would say something along the lines of "transmission of inspired writing" rather than "elaborate hoax." Many people, including close family members, believed he could see things on the seer stone in his hat. So, here's a question for you. Before the gold plates came along, do you think Joseph was able to see hidden treasure and other things when he put the stone in his hat?
  10. This is a secondhand account so that may be why it is not listed on FairMormon. (But it is nonetheless consistent with most of the other accounts.) Essentially my theory is that Joseph had a manuscript concealed behind the table. By pretending to look at a stone in a hat it's quite easy to leave a gap and see into your lap. None of the eyewitness accounts I have seen mention going behind the table or seeing into the hat. So my theory is that both the table and hat were items used for concealment. The only possible exception to this among the witness statements is Emma's problematic statement from 1879. It's problematic both because it's 50 years after the fact and because she gives a lot of demonstrably false information in the rest of the interview, particularly relating to polygamy. I'm not familiar with this argument. Is it discussed in one of your Interpreter papers? If not, could you give me some details about the argument?
  11. Grotius was fluent in Dutch, Latin, French, Greek, and Hebrew and apparently was pretty familiar with Syriac. I propose he wrote the Book of Mormon in Latin, as most of his works were, and that a native English speaker (possibly Scottish) translated it into English. The English translator would have been a scholar so familiar with both the KJB and Latin Vulgate he was able to recognize Grotius' blending of the Latin Vulgate and create a corresponding blending of the KJB. Grotius was a prodigious writer who produced a vast amount of scholarly work on the bible, law, warfare, history, historiography, astronomy, classical antiquity, poetic works and plays (including plays on Adam's expulsion from the garden, Joseph in Egypt, and Christ's passion), government, the ancient populating of the Americas, and many other topics. I propose he worked on the Book of Mormon beginning in the 1630's possibly up to his death in 1645. At that time he was mostly living in France working as Queen Christina of Sweden's ambassador to France. I've written elsewhere about my theories on how Joseph was able to read a transcript without violating the dictation witness statements. I am not familiar with Michael Morse's statement, though (it's not listed on the Fair Mormon website which is the source I've been using to evaluate them), so I would appreciate if you could provide a link.
  12. I have to assume the wars of the Conquistadors created many refugees, as all great wars do. I think that, in itself, is enough to satisfy the concept of "scattering." I do not know the total nature and extent of slavery during this time but I believe it was sufficient, combined with the refugees, to constitute a scattering. I will do some additional research on this, both on the conditions among the natives and the interpretation of it by Protestant Europeans.
  13. What I'm doing is using historical-critical methods to determine when the Book of Mormon was written, given that it appears to be an early modern document. This is the same thing biblical scholars do, for example, to show that the Book of Daniel was likely written between 167 BC and 164 BC instead of in the sixth century. This is necessarily a secular study so modern revelation is irrelevant to the process. I agree that the great and abominable church is the whore of Revelation, but in early modern Protestant Europe this was the Catholic Church (and sometimes Islam, as well).
  14. I think you are misunderstanding my intent so let me explain my thinking a little better. The author seems willing to "prophesy" up to his own experience but no further because he knows he can't see the future. That's why he doesn't give any information beyond the French joining the war. For future "prophesy" he relies on biblical texts. That's why he points us to Revelation to get the rest of the story of his vision. I pointed out already that he did the same thing in 1 Nephi 22:14 by using Isaiah 49 to "prophesy." In 3 Nephi 21:12 he is doing the exact same thing. He's not prophesying per se. He's using existing prophesy from the bible that he believes will come to pass. Remember that being in captivity can also mean paying tribute as it does in Mosiah 27:16. The English were paying tribute to the church in Rome (though the church didn't call it that) at the time of Henry VIII. Henry VIII ended that practice. I assume it was brought back under Mary and then ended again under Elizabeth. So I think this is consistent with what the Book of Mormon calls "captivity." Verse 13 doesn't refer to the armada battle. It refers to the exploration of the "many waters" -- the oceans (perhaps including the Indian and Pacific as well as the Atlantic since the East Indies were also being explored). The Dutch and English were both battling Spain at this time on the oceans using privateers because the Spanish were trying to enforce a trade monopoly in the East and West Indies. This is another way to understand them as going forth out of captivity. (I should point out here that Grotius defended this privateering because he believed free trade was a fundamental right and that if someone was preventing it, ie the Spanish, it was cause to wage just war.) Only verses 17-19 refer to the armada. Notice here that it is just the "waters" -- not the "many waters" of verse 13. It was a local conflict. Verse 19 does not specify which land. But since it doesn't say "land of promise" I think the more straightforward reading is that it is Europe. The primacy of water over land in verse 17 as well as the other things I mentioned suggests that the Spanish Armada is a better match than the Revolutionary War.
  15. This is just Micah 5:8 (which most scholars think is post-exilic). The first half of the 1600's is still the early modern period. 1 Nephi 13:17-20 is all referring to the defeat of the Spanish Armada which occurred in 1588. The "out of captivity" phrase refers to the Dutch and English primarily, but could also mean other Protestant nations. The Dutch rebelled from their Spanish overlords in 1568. The war lasted 80 years. So they were certainly coming "out of captivity." The English rebelled against Spain after Bloody Mary's death by going back to Protestantism. Mary was married to King Phillip II of Spain and was Queen Consort of Spain as well as Queen of England. It was Phillip II who sent the Spanish Armada against Mary's successor, Elizabeth. The Dutch and the British were getting quite established in the Americas by 1650. Here's a map of New Netherland in 1650. By that time they also had colonies in several Caribbean islands and had captured a large part of Brazil from the Portuguese and controlled Dutch Guaina. Meanwhile, the British had colonies in the Caribbean and many in New England and Nova Scotia (New Scotland). You're right, of course, that England got stronger in America with time, but certainly by 1650 the combined presence of the Dutch, English, and Scottish was enough to make this time period fit Nephi's descriptions. I guess I'm not following you. The natives of America were treated very badly by the Spanish from the very beginning. The conquistadors killed and enslaved them indiscriminately. Slaves were brought back to Europe or to Caribbean plantations or to silver mines or the pearl fisheries. This was very much a "scattering" but on a larger scale. The whole point of using the "scattering" imagery was to introduce another commonality between the Old World Israelites and the New World Israelites.
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