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David T

Don Bradley And The Kinderhook Plates

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Actually I'm pretty sure it was whyme who argued this on the other forum.

But the fact is apologists have been arguing profusely that Joseph Smith never attempted to translate the plates. They've pretty much had to drag William Clayton under the bus in order to do so, since his journal entry specifically references a translation from those plates. From what I hear today, Don has pretty much shown that Joseph Smith believed the plates were genuinely ancient and that he even tried to translate a portion of them. He also tied them to the GAEl which throws a huge question mark over William's cipher theory.

I think that as more theories come forward that seem to have some weight, adjustments will need to be made. However, we have no idea just what JS was thinking about the kinderhook plates. What we do know is that he stopped the process and the fraud was stimied and the fraudsters could not make much progress in their plans for the fraud. My own opinion is that he was impressed with the plates but then thought better of it. As I have repeatedly said, if he did attempt to make a translation, it just shows that he was left open to the idea that other plates existed beside that which was found already that eventually became the book of mormon. But if he were a fraudster, there is no way that he would have fallen for such a fraud that seemed to mimick his own fraud at this late stage in early mormonism and he would have been very careful not falling for it.

But it does seem that JS was not impressed with the plates and he was on his guard.

Edited by why me

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Kevin, I don't know where you got your quote, but it is a combination of two statements separated by more than thirty years. I did use all of the statement, your source fudged by combining two quotes and made it appear as though they were one.

The source was the full relevant context of Fugate's Letter as Published in the Salt Lake Tribune, Vol. XVII, Salt Lake City, Utah, Saturday, May 10, 1879. No. 22. The slashes represent line breaks, but these phrases were not compiled together from various periods as you assert.

In addition, the last part of your quote, which you, erroneously, claimed to be, "all of it"

Based on what evidence? You need to support these claims with evidence, otherwise they are just wild claims.

could not have been accurate as the plates were never returned to Nauvoo after they were allegedly sent to the Antiquarian Society.

You're missing the point. If you want to call Fugate a liar on this point, then you cannot rely on him as a credible witness for what he said in the first half of his statement.

I think that as more theories come forward that seem to have some weight, adjustments will need to be made.

So long as the evidence weighs heavily against the LDS position, adjustments in the apologetic camps will always be made. I mean you really only have two choices if you think about it. You can follow the evidence and change your position, or you can maintain firm in your presuppositions, no matter what the evidence says. I used to do the latter along with most apologists, but ultimately decided that the truth was more important to me than loyalty to any organization.

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Will never said there weren't actual Egyptian symbols but there were other symbols which called into question that it was an Egyptian alphabet per se, but he'll have to address that.

I suggest you revisit his presentation for a refresher. He emphasizes the fact that none of the symbols in the Egyptian Counting document are genuine Egyptian. He also noted that the vast majority of symbols in the entire project are not Egyptian and have nothing to do with the Papyri. He makes these remarks on at least three occasions, and he does so to pound home his theory that this had nothing whatsoever to do with trying to translate Egyptian.

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If apologists want to consider Fugate's statement credible then they have to take all of it, not just the first half.

No we don't. We are not obliged to accept portions of a late statement that conflicts with more solid historical data. The data is clear about the plates having not been returned to Kirtland or Joseph after having been sent to the Society of Antiquities, nor is there any indication that any translation was undertaken by Joseph after that time, though some saints mistakenly continued to anticipate it happening--which it never did. It is perfectly acceptable historiography to question the full accuracy of late statements, allowing some credence for certain plausible parts (that is until new data suggests otherwise), while reasonably rejecting other parts that are conflicting.

Now, you are certainly free to personally accept or reject the whole of Fugate's statement, but you aren't in a position to dictate to us what we apologists can or can't reasonably do.

Thanks, -Wade Englund-

Edited by wenglund

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No we don't.

If you want to be consistent and expect to be taken seriously, you most certainly do. Otherwise you're just picking snippets that you think you can use to prop some apologetic position. You guys do this a lot actually, even with anti-Mormon sources. Anti-Mormons are always telling lies except when something they say can be used to prop up some apologetic theory.

Likewise, credible sources like William Clayton suddenly are not trustworthy if he says something that runs contrary to current apologetic theory; such as saying Joseph Smith translated a portion of the plates. Apologists bent over backwards trying to discredit Clayton's journal entry, simply because his version of the discovery (not the translation)conflicted with other versions in various details. Now you want to rely on the admitted forger as your sole piece of evidence that Joseph Smith didn't try to translate the plates. In any event, it seems Bradley's work has pretty much refuted that part anyway.

We are not obliged to accept portions of a late statement that conflicts with more solid historical data.

But you have nothing by way of "more solid historical data." Fugate's letter was your only source and the entire statement is "late." And contrary to what you're saying, Don's work provides "more solid historical data" to suggest Joseph Smith didn't care about waiting for any results from the Antiquarian society. So it is this part of the statement that you should reject.

The data is clear about the plates having not been returned to Kirtland or Joseph after having been sent to the Society of Antiquities

Irrelevant to the point. My argument doesn't require Fugate to be telling the truth in either statement.

nor is there any indication that any translation was undertaken by Joseph after that time, though some saints mistakenly continued to anticipate it happening

The various synopses of Don's presentation seem to argue otherwise. But you said you have more solid historical data, so where is it?

It is perfectly acceptable historiography to question the full accuracy of late statements

Yes, based on sound methodology, not apologetic necessity. The only reason you have presented to question it is the fact that you don't like what it said.

allowing some credence for certain plausible parts, while reasonably rejecting other parts that that are conflicting.

But you haven't demonstrated a "reasonable" rejection. You reject it because it conflicts with preferred apologetic theory. If not, then explain why your rejection is "reasonable" while it happily accepts the witness as credible.

Now, you are certainly free to accept or reject the whole of Fugate's statement, but you aren't in a position to dictate to us what we apologists can or can't reasonably do.

I cannot tell you what to do of course, I can only tell you why your choice of action is not based in reason, but rather apologetics. I've done that.

Edited by Xander

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Unsophisticated newbie popping in this thread...

Can someone explain the basis for calling Joseph's attempt to translate the Kinderhooks a "non-revelatory" or "academic" translation as opposed to the other kinds of translations he made?

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I suggest you revisit his presentation for a refresher. He emphasizes the fact that none of the symbols in the Egyptian Counting document are genuine Egyptian. He also noted that the vast majority of symbols in the entire project are not Egyptian and have nothing to do with the Papyri. He makes these remarks on at least three occasions, and he does so to pound home his theory that this had nothing whatsoever to do with trying to translate Egyptian.

I thought we were talking about the Grammar and Alphabet of the Egyptian Language not the counting documents. Will said "some" of the papers do not contain Egyptian at all, and specifically referred to the Counting documents.

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Can someone explain the basis for calling Joseph's attempt to translate the Kinderhooks a "non-revelatory" or "academic" translation as opposed to the other kinds of translations he made?

From Fairwiki

The conclusion is that Clayton's account appears to be accurate, that Joseph did attempt to translate "a portion" of them by non-revelatory means, and the translation provided matches a corresponding symbol and explanation in the GAEL. Joseph did not attempt to translate the plates by revelation, and in fact demonstrated no interest in the plates after they left Nauvoo. Had Joseph attempted further translation of the plates using the "Egyptian Alphabet," he would likely have gotten no further than the first, easily identifiable character that he did "translate."

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Thanks for the link, fairwiki moves fast.

OK, so I guess I'm struggling with this distinction between a revelatory and a non-revelatory translation and why that's so apparent from the source material. Is the distinction that revelatory would be to look at characters and say what they mean based on revelation from God (through peepstone or whisperings of Holy Ghost or what not)? And non-revelatory would mean simply translate from language to another the same as any other person would translate a written language? If so, how would have Joseph derived the following?

Prest J. has translated a portion and says they contain the history of the person with whom they were found and he was a descendant of Ham through the loins of Pharoah king of Egypt, and that he received his kingdom from the ruler of heaven and earth

Doesn't that imply a revelatory translation? How else could he derive that from mumbo jumbo?

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I thought we were talking about the Grammar and Alphabet of the Egyptian Language not the counting documents. Will said "some" of the papers do not contain Egyptian at all, and specifically referred to the Counting documents.

I thought we were talking about the Kirtland Egyptian Papers, of which all these documents are a part.

The conclusion is that Clayton's account appears to be accurate, that Joseph did attempt to translate "a portion" of them by non-revelatory means, and the translation provided matches a corresponding symbol and explanation in the GAEL. Joseph did not attempt to translate the plates by revelation, and in fact demonstrated no interest in the plates after they left Nauvoo.

I must be a prophet. Didn't I predict this just yesterday? For many years apologists have denied the validity of the Clayton account while calling it an "anti-Mormon claim." Now they accept it but only conditionally. I'd love to find out how Don concluded Joseph Smith's translation, as described by Clayton, was via "academic" means alone.

According to Clayton:

Prest J. has translated a portion and says they contain the history of the person with whom they were found and he was a descendant of Ham through the loins of Pharoah king of Egypt, and that he received his kingdom from the ruler of heaven and earth

Does Don show that the GAEL provides all the information needed to produce the specific translation as indicated above? If he did, then I can see how he could say this was strictly an academic translation. If not, then the information therein has to be accounted for by some other means. Joseph Smith had no problem using revelation to give a quick synopsis of discovered material he believed to be ancient. He did this with the Papyri when he immediately provided an off the cuff explanation as to who wrote those documents (Abraham and Joseph) and he did the same thing when some bones were found in a mound. He used divine revelation to explain that this was "Zelph a warrior under the Prophet Onandagus Zelph a white Lamanite." So I am not surprised that Joseph Smith provided a short translation explaining the nature of the Kinderhook Plates. What surprises me is the claim that this came to him via non-revelatory means.

Edited by Xander

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Does Don show that the GAEL provides all the information needed to produce the specific translation as indicated above?

Yes, he does. It is not an exact word-for-word match, but the key elements needed to produce the specific translation related by William Clayton do indeed exist in the explanatory section for that one character in the GAEL.

WW

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I thought we were talking about the Kirtland Egyptian Papers, of which all these documents are a part.

Then what was the purpose of this response "He emphasizes the fact that none of the symbols in the Egyptian Counting document are genuine Egyptian" to my saying there was a recognizable symbol in the alphabet?

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If you want to be consistent and expect to be taken seriously, you most certainly do....

I have found this kind of all-or-nothing approach to be very debilitating when studying human history--in part because humans tend not to reside on the polar extremes of perfection/imperfection, but on a number of levels shift to varying degrees in-between, particularly in matters of memory.

Your experience may be different, and if so, you are welcome to it.

But you have nothing by way of "more solid historical data."...

Not for the closed-minded I don't. Others may think otherwise. I have laid out my case in the past, and so have Kimball and others, and I don't wish to derail this thread by dredging it up again, leaving each to their respective opinions.

Thanks, -Wade Englund-

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Yes, he does. It is not an exact word-for-word match, but the key elements needed to produce the specific translation related by William Clayton do indeed exist in the explanatory section for that one character in the GAEL.

WW

This is fascinating to me. Where can I learn more?

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Then what was the purpose of this response "He emphasizes the fact that none of the symbols in the Egyptian Counting document are genuine Egyptian" to my saying there was a recognizable symbol in the alphabet?

I mention it because Will uses this anecdote to jump to the illicit conclusion that none of this project could have been about translating Egyptian in any real sense. He had a creative way of viewing this as a cipher and he recreates the documents to fit that image. For instance, where the documents refer to "English explanation" Will refers to a "substitute value." Why? Because for Will, this isn't about translating genuine Egyptian, despite the various claims by those who participated in it. For Will this has to be about enciphering data. His presentation was extremely fast paced considering the amount of information he tried to cram into a short amount of time. I had to watch it three times before I fully understood what he was trying to say, and I consider myself more informed on these matters than most. I can only imagine But I am confident that if the audience were given a further presentation on all the data within the KEP, they would be dismissive of Will's argument just the same. He was careful to ignore the majority of the documents that undermined his thesis, and what little he did speak about, he ended up misrepresenting anyway.

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Not for the closed-minded I don't. Others may think otherwise. I have laid out my case in the past, and so have Kimball and others, and I don't wish to derail this thread by dredging it up again, leaving each to their respective opinions.

Well, what is it then? Why the mystery? Where is your more "solid historical data" you keep alluding to? We both know you're just making this up, and you're always going to explain your refusal to accept the most probable conclusions, as a noble propensity for "open-mindedness." I understand that is what you want to think instead of the obvious fact that you're operating with a double-standard. Your methods are self-serving and often contradictory and I'll continue to point it out because it proves you're not arguing according to the evidence, it proves you're arguing in spite of the evidence. You begin with your conclusion, and you'll keep an "open mind" until you find a way to reconcile this with the evidence. I get it. Been there, done that.

Edited by Xander

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This is fascinating to me. Where can I learn more?

After the conference all of the talks are transcribed and made available on this page: FAIR Conference talks. The 2011 talks are not up yet. It simply depends on how fast we can transcribe all of the talks.

WW

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OK, so I guess I'm struggling with this distinction between a revelatory and a non-revelatory translation...

Perhaps Brant Gardner's FAIR presentation juxtaposed against Don Bradley's presentation, may be of help.

Thanks, -Wade Englund-

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Yes, he does. It is not an exact word-for-word match, but the key elements needed to produce the specific translation related by William Clayton do indeed exist in the explanatory section for that one character in the GAEL.

WW

I am trying to figure out which character Don is referring to. You mentioned it "looks like a boat." I have looked over the 2nd page of the GAEL and can't find a character that to me looks like a boat. What is the sound that is assigned to the character? Knowing this will help me to identify the character?

Thanks, -Wade Englund-

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Yes, he does. It is not an exact word-for-word match, but the key elements needed to produce the specific translation related by William Clayton do indeed exist in the explanatory section for that one character in the GAEL.

WW

Fascinating. So this proves Joseph Smith thought of the GAEL as a lexicon which could be used to translate ancient languages. This is a devastating blow to Schryver's presentation from 2010, as Don pretty much validated much of what the critics had argued for years. Brent Metcalfe had a couple of debates with Ben McGuire years ago about this issue, and Brent laid out several key points of evidence as to why we should accept Clayton's account. But the apologists would have none of it. They kept saying it was just hearsay that wouldn't be acceptable in a court of law, and they focused on details Clayton got wrong to discredit him. It appears Don relayed some of the same points Brent made in the past.

So now that Brent has been vindicated, the big questions should be obvious:

#1 Why did Joseph Smith try to translate something that was a fraud?

#2 Where do the BoA apologists go from here, now another well-hyped theory (cipher) bites the dust?

Edited by Xander

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I am trying to figure out which character Don is referring to. You mentioned it "looks like a boat." I have looked over the 2nd page of the GAEL and can't find a character that to me looks like a boat. What is the sound that is assigned to the character? Knowing this will help me to identify the character?

Thanks, -Wade Englund-

I believe it was the 5-6th page of text, and only the 2nd page of characters, if that makes sense.

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Well, what is it then? Why the mystery? Where is your more "solid historical data" you keep alluding to?

If it is so important to you, and you are interested in a reasoned discussion of the evidence for the plates leaving Kirtland and Joseph five days after their arrival, and not being returned to Kirtland or Joseph after being sent to the Society of Antiquities, then feel free to open another thread. As I said, I don't wish to derail this one with discussion on this tangential and relatively moot point.

You can also present there whatever evidence you may have that, as Fugate suggests, Joseph actually continued translation of the plates after they were sent back from the Society of Antiquities.

However, it is unlikely that I will be able to participate on that thread until Monday, since I will be leaving town shortly.

Thanks, -Wade Englund-

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If it is so important to you, and you are interested in a reasoned discussion of the evidence for the plates leaving Kirtland and Joseph five days after their arrival, and not being returned to Kirtland or Joseph after being sent to the Society of Antiquities, then feel free to open another thread. As I said, I don't wish to derail this one with discussion on this tangential and relatively moot point.

You can also present there whatever evidence you may have that, as Fugate suggests, Joseph actually continued translation of the plates after they were sent back from the Society of Antiquities.

However, it is unlikely that I will be able to participate on that thread until Monday, since I will be leaving town shortly.

Thanks, -Wade Englund-

It is important that you back up your claims with evidence instead of accusing me of closed-mindedness. I'm not closed-minded to the evidence, but the problem you have is that you have none to offer.

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Fascinating. So this proves Joseph Smith thought of the GAEL as a lexicon which could be used to translate ancient languages.

I was hoping you would draw this inference, though I wouldn't go so far as to say it "proves" all of what you suggest. It does give at least a glimpse into at least one way Joseph may have viewed the GAEL.

...[delete self-serving recollections of past discussions]...

#1 Why did Joseph Smith try to translate something that was a fraud?

Before answering this question it would be wise to ask if Joseph possessed the necessary forensic skills to determine, before academically "translating" the single character, that the Kinderhook plates were a fraud?

...[delete wildly presumptuous, well poisoning question]...

Thanks, -Wade Englund-

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It is important that you back up your claims with evidence instead of accusing me of closed-mindedness. I'm not closed-minded to the evidence, but the problem you have is that you have none to offer.

I am not going to get sucked any deeper into this kind of meaningless bickering. If you are interested in seeing the evidence, then open a new thread, and I will present the evidence when I return home. If not, then I will open the thread when I get back in town, and we shall see if your repeated inferance that I am duplicitous is unwarranted or not, and whether you are closed-minded or not.

Thanks, -Wade Englund-

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