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Brant Gardner

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About Brant Gardner

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    Separates Water & Dry Land
  • Birthday 10/11/1951

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    Albuquerque, NM

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  1. You aren't the only one who has thought that. I do think that if the distance were sea to sea that it would be a major problem, but that isn't the way it is stated. In one case, it is from the west sea to Bountiful (the city, I believe). In addition, it turns out that much of that area was impassible swamp during Book of Mormon lands. While not a sea, it decreases the defensive distance--which is the distance begin described. Of course, I still haven't seen a good discussion of the 1 day verses day and a half for the two different narrow neck distances.
  2. From a previous post, you noted that Joseph had access to the tools necessary. I don't doubt that was true. What would have been much more difficult is to have access to the material needed. Buying it would have been extremely difficult, and both buying that quantity (or stealing it) would have been noticed. I would be difficult to pass off tin as gold, not only for the weight, but also because if any of those involved had heard of Joseph a large enough quantity of tin, it would be suspicious. The witnesses had various statements, coming from different times and experiences. The three had a visionary experience, and the eight a physical one. One thing I hear often is that they saw it with "spiritual eyes," suggesting that it wasn't real. In the context, they are speaking of seeing the things of the divine, not the mundane. Of course you have to be spiritual to see spiritual things. The existing testimony of the eight doesn't have their original signatures. I will be generous and assume that all of them could have signed (wouldn't be unusual if some could not). However, the signature doesn't make the testimony. Their words and actions make the testimony. The lack of original signatures is an interesting historical oddity, but a red herring as far as authenticity goes.
  3. Yes, ad nauseam. Also, you have continued to use both terms and history incorrectly. There is a difference between plagiarism and independent invention, and there is a very large time difference between your suggestion that BMC plagiarized an RLDS idea. The next problem is that you seem to think that because it was an RLDS scholar that it is somehow a de facto incorrect concept. That is yet another problem with your analysis. Where you miss the history is that M. Wells Jakeman is credited with the LDS version of the limited geography. I don't know if he knew of the RLDS article or not, but he was working with Mesoamerican history and I suspect got his ideas from there. It is also important to distinguish between the general idea of limiting the geography and looking at Central America, and the very specific definitions that Jakeman gave. John Sorenson modified and expanded on Jakeman. Sorenson didn't invent the concept either, and clearly knew Jakeman and Jakeman's ideas. That doesn't mean that they were plagiarized, but Sorenson's work expanded on Jakeman. BMC comes very late to the party, and is working with things others have said about geography, not creating new ones (and it isn't uniform in the geogrpahy among BMC members). Accusing BMC of plagiarism doesn't just get the concept of plagiarism wrong, it gets history wrong. I work for BMC part-time, and I am very willing to examine any geography. I put them all to the test of the text. There are any number of geographies that I don't believe--because they cannot withstand scrutiny of using the text to check the geography. This will be the third time I have asked you to present a geography that you think works. I promise that I will examine it only against the text, geography, and known archaeology. I think the least you can do, after accusing so many of reprehensible acts, is to be open enough to let us discover what you think should BMC really should believe. Please.
  4. Actually, that is hard to justify historically. Even Dan Vogel suggests that there must have been some reality to the plates. I don't mean to suggest that he supports Joseph's version, but it does suggest that we must be more nuanced than simply saying that there were no plates. You might argue that they were tin, but the evidence is strong enough to suggest that there were some kind of plates.
  5. Repeating yourself does not constitute an answer. You suggest fraud, which means an intentional perpetration of something that is wrong. I have pointed out where the historical and archaeological evidence suggests that your position is mistaken. Before casting more unwarranted stones, please tell us why your opinion has any validity at all. I deny that there is a fraud being perpetrated. I deny that Joseph Smith is behind Oliver Cowdery's Letter VII. I deny that tradition is the same as evidence. Rather than continually repeating the same slander, I would ask you to please defend your position so I have some reason to believe that you are not doing exactly what you accuse others of doing.
  6. We have other examples of the original manuscript and know how they were constructed. Your description of what you have doesn't match with the known originals.
  7. There was a reason I asked the two questions I did. What you have said is that there were loose sheets and there was no attempt to sew things together. All of that tells me that you don't have original manuscript pages. I don't know what you have, and curiosity makes me interested--but they are not authentic.
  8. I would suggest that this is slander, but Jack is a lawyer and probably has a better definition. He certainly has better things to do with his time. Since this discussion is well beneath his radar, I'll make a response for him. The problem with your statement is two-fold. First, that it is Jack's influence that promotes the Mesoamerican theory at Book of Mormon Central. I don't know that he is opposed to it, but it isn't his area of research, and I have been in several meetings with him present and you would be hard-pressed to find evidence for your suggestion. I know of others at Book of Mormon Central who are firmly in the Mesoamerican camp, even though the official position of the organization is to attempt to be more neutral. I am one of those who believe that the best current location for Book of Mormon events is in Mesoamerica (though I differ in some specifics from others at Book of Mormon Central). That takes care of Jack's involvement. The next is whether supporting a Mesoamerican location for Book of Mormon events is perpetrating a fraud. That is something that can be discerned, because fraud means something that is not correct, but set as true. Since the Mesoamerican theory is a theory, I don't know of anyone who says that it is the absolute truth--better than any other theory, but not absolute truth (which is a pretty difficult standard). So, no fraud. Next, however, would be the question of evidence. Rather than look at the Mesoamerican evidence (which I have done before and much of which can be found online, if you are interested), I would like to turn this around and have you discuss why you are not perpetrating fraud. So far, your major point has been that there must only be one Cumorah, and it must be in NY. I haven't seen any historical evidence that is convincing. I know that there are trained historians for the Church who specifically looked at the issue, and can't find Joseph using the term Cumorah for the NY hill until about 10 years after others were using it. You would think that if Joseph were the one to give it that name, he would use it. He didn't. As for not correcting Oliver, he didn't correct W.W. Phelps either when Phelps invented the urim and thummim as a designation for what Joseph always called the interpreters (or a seer stone--again until much later). Let's move to geography. If the NY Cumorah is the Cumorah of the Book of Mormon, it must be in the land northward. That means it is north of the narrow neck of land. The only "narrow neck" I have seen proposed is northwest of Cumorah, and therefore textually inaccurate. The lands northward have to have been, at least at one time, devoid of trees, and therefore houses were built of cement. There is no known time before the white settlers when the area was even partially deforested. There are no cement houses, and nothing that fits that description. Archaeologically, the NY hill doesn't provide any support for having any kind of population during Book of Mormon times. The area is home to peoples who do not fit the descriptions of the Book of Mormon during the appropriate times. The Hopewell communities were primarily hunter and gather with supplemental incipient agriculture. That isn't what is described in the Book of Mormon, and cannot (and did not) support Book of Mormon-sized populations. The Adena, who date to Jaredite times, are precursors to the Hopewell, and exist in the same locations (so much so, that there is a movement to consider them an earlier Hopewell rather than a different people). The Book of Mormon doesn't have Book of Mormon peoples in any Jaredite lands until late. The text assumes Jaredite lands to be north of the narrow neck (which again doesn't fit for anything in North America). So, if we are going to discuss fraudulent proposals, please tell me how it is possible that you can support the NY hill as Cumorah with any archaeological or historical evidence? I can freely admit that it was Latter-day Saint tradition, but tradition isn't revelation. So, before you continue to accuse anyone of intentional fraud, please exonerate your own ideas by defending them. Thank you.
  9. A small correction. There are never large plates of Nephi (before or after the loss of the beginning of the Book of Mormon). There are plates of Nephi, and plates of Nephi (one of which was smaller). The label "large plates" is one of convenience by contrast to "small plates," which is itself a description rather than a name (Jacob 1:1, Jarom 1:2, Jarom 1:14). Mormon only calls it a "small account" (WofM 1:3). I doubt that changes your thesis, but it gets the terminology more accurate.
  10. No, that wouldn't be there. That is something I would expect only in the aftermath of the Hoffman Salamander Letter--but before it was known as a forgery. That would date it later than oklds' father. One more part of the story that doesn't work.
  11. Only partially. Unfortunately (?) in my forthcoming book I lay out what should and should not be in the 116 pages. So, maybe I am laying out a blueprint for a future forger!
  12. I'm sure you didn't think it was confusing, else you wouldn't have asked it that way. Please excuse my efforts at greater precision. For me, there are simply too many variables in your question to know how to answer. For example, I don't know of too many things upon which all who are labeled LDS Apologists agree. That means that even the concept of consensus would be questionable. On the documentary hypothesis, I know that there is similarly a range, though those with more training in academic religion are more favorable to it than those who are not. I suspect that the biggest issue apologetically is 2 Isaiah rather than J, E, D, P. On historicity, I suspect that LDS Apologists tend toward caution on a literal reading of the Bible. It is sometimes hard to tell, because sometimes it is easiest to discuss concepts by accepting the language of the Bible rather than always qualifying it. For example, discussing Agency and the Fall, it is very common to speak of Adam and Eve as having done and said exactly what the text (or the Temple ceremony) says that they said. That could give the impression of literalism that might not be correct in a different type of discussion. I think that, in general, we as a church are still very conservative and teach as we have been taught (almost always by peers). When there is a chance for members to learn more, I don't see many problems (but there are certainly some who are adamant literalists).
  13. I am confused. You asked about the documentary hypothesis, but none of your specifics as anything to do with that hypothesis. There is a difference between the documentary hypothesis and specific questions of history/historicity. The fact that you ask a question about Gen. 1-11 suggests that you are conflating things, as the documentary hypothesis wouldn't see that as a unified section, but the result of different traditions later combined into our current text. The documentary hypothesis deals with the history of the text, not the text's historicity.
  14. I don't know what oklds has, but it is not the lost 116 pages. There are several indications that they cannot be the lost pages. The first is that they are loose sheets. That wasn't the way the original manuscript was created. They took full-size foolscap and folded it and then brought about 6 of those sheets together in a 12 page gathering. Since oklds' document has loose sheets, they cannot be the same, and probably don't come from that era, as that was pretty standard practice. Second, only the first 88 pages are written on both sides. Paper was expensive, and there was no way Joseph could have afforded the luxury of writing on only one side. When Oliver was copying on the original, there are no significant breaks for chapters or books. They all start right where the previous left off--and they are written on both sides. The idea that there are sheets with writing on one side again says that it isn't the original 116, and that they are probably from a later time period when paper was cheaper. We haven't been given much about the contents, but what we have doesn't fit well with what can be known about what should have been in the 116 pages. Given the fact that the pages mention the Book of Mormon, it would appear that we have yet another creative attempt to provide the lost pages (I think I have heard of at least 2 others). This one is older, given the provenance. It would be interesting to see and would make an interesting niche publication, but I think self-publication is the only available avenue.
  15. I an neither of those brothers, but I'll give an opinion. Yes, I think there is ample evidence that oral style permeates the written text. The problem is, I think that it is inherent to the original writers, so it only tells us that Nephite culture was primarily oral--it doesn't really help with the question of Joseph's language. There is a second problem with Joseph's dialect, however. Although his family was quite familiar with the KJV and used language similar to in it more formal situations (such as letters), it is doubtful that it represented the common speech. There were any number of books that were written in a pseudo-archaic style, and we should not consider any of those to represent daily speech. It was a type of speech that was affected for the purposes of the text. Therefore, if we could recover Joseph's spoken dialect, it really wouldn't answer the question. We would have to have a text that Joseph wrote or dictated that had those features, but was not revealed.
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