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The Grimace

Book Of Mormon: New Evidence Of 19Th Century Origin

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The original manuscript and printer's manuscripts have no punctuation.

 

 

As I remember from Skousen, there is a punctuation mark at the very end of each book.

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Don't forget treasure digging.

 

OK, and don't forget that Isaac Newton was very involved in alchemy.

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.

Edited by Nevo
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I agree that it is in many ways an impressive analysis, especially at first glance. I think he makes the best case that can be made for direct dependence. On the other hand, I find it hard to believe that Joseph ever read The Late War. Aside from the book's obscurity, nobody remembered Joseph as a voracious reader—not his family, not his neighbors.

 

Richard Bushman puts the problem this way:

 

"Composition is the naturalistic explanation for the Book of Mormon—the way books are always written—but it is at odds with the Joseph Smith of the historical record. . . . [Joseph] had never written anything and is not known to have read anything but the Bible and perhaps the newspaper. None of the neighbors noticed signs of learning or intellectual interests beyond the religious discussions in a juvenile debating club. To account for the disjuncture between the Book of Mormon's complexity and Joseph's history as an uneducated rural visionary, the composition theory calls for a precocious genius of extraordinary powers who was voraciously consuming information without anyone knowing it" (Bushman, Joseph Smith, 72).

 

The alternative composition theory—that the Book of Mormon was secretly composed by a writing team that included Sidney Rigdon, Parley P. Pratt, Oliver Cowdery, Joseph Smith, and possibly others—is even more far-fetched.

 

So I guess one is left to choose which unlikely explanation they prefer ;)

 

Nice analysis of the problems involved.

 

Maybe it is because I used to devour war literature that I don't find Ryan Thomas's parallels terribly convincing.

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If he was involved in a fraudulent endeavor, I would think that question answers itself.

 Well, what I learned from one of my economic courses dealing with business conspiracies, the larger the group of conspirators the more likelihood that the conspiracy would break apart and at least one would come forward and spill the beans or engage in cheating behavior. 

 

The same can be said about the translation process.  Putting to one side the spiritual side of it, and focusing on the mechanical way the Book of Mormon was put together, I find it interesting that nobody who was really familiar with the process has ever come forward to say that the Book was dictated by somebody other than Joseph Smith, or received by somebody other than Oliver Cowdery and the bit players.   Not even David Whitmer, who had a huge incentive to do so.  There isn't any indication that a professional theologian, like Sidney Rigdon, had a hand in it. 

 

Compared to James Jessee Strang, his little tale of plates fell apart the longer the tale was told.  

 

Now, I don't say that it isn't possible to pull off a massive conspiracy to stand the test of time for a religious document, but Joseph Smith had so many unhappy defectors and none of them gainsay the claim that Oliver Cowdery penned it?

 

I mean, I look at what John Whitmer said about the plates, according to Theodore Turley.   Whitmer told Turley that Whitmer recanted his eight-witness testimony.  Why, Turley asked?  Whitmer explained that when he turned the leaves of the plates he couldn't understand the writing, so he couldn't say one way or the other that the plates were what they claimed to be.   

 

So, I remain mystified as to why there has never really been a break in witnesses to the translation process. 

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Been a while since I've participated, but thought I would jump in.

 

I read the "The Book of Mormon and the Late War: Direct Literary Dependence?" post on Patheos and found it interesting with a less than logical conclusion.

 

1) The vast majority of his "hits" on themes are generic to almost any piece on war, any literature that has lamentations, and any writing that is describing living in a blessed land one believes is prospered by the hand of God. The liberty phrases are typical of writings and phrases common in America, England, France, and elsewhere, not some descendancy link between LW and the Book of Mormon. Assuming the Nephite civilization did exist and did care about freedom, it is hard to see other words being used in a loose translation (or even moderately literal) of such a story. 

 

2) Numerous of his thematic hits are in fact far reaches. Going to the actual sources of both makes you scratch your head and go "huh?" It's like bad footnoting to support a thesis.

 

3) The parallels are pulled from all over one book and located all over in another. For this to be descended, even tangentially after many years, would require an immense amount of effort. 

 

4) Which brings up his improbable conclusion: 

 

All of these factors suggest to me that the BoM’s literary dependence on the LW was not direct in the sense of having been strategically borrowed during the process of narrative construction, but that we should assume at least some temporal distance separating Joseph Smith’s exposure to the LW and his production of the BoM. There was a space that allowed him to mull over the content and think about it in relation to other information and life experiences, to begin the process of developing a new myth of Indian origins. The question of how much earlier is unclear. He may have read the book anytime between his early experiences in schooling (since it was marketed for use in schools) all the way up to the period of preparation for his translation work.

 

In sum, linguistic and narrative elements of the BoM are probably descended, at least in part, from Gilbert Hunt’s pseudo-biblical account of the War of 1812. The relationship between these two literary works is relatively strong, suggesting that the book had quite a memorable impact on Joseph Smith. But Smith did not borrow directly from the LW (at least for the majority of the narrative content) during the process of composing the BoM.

 

 

This is hogwash. He spends the majority of his post showing weak and scattered parallels. Then, in his conclusion, he says there was some temporal space that allowed Joseph to mull it over and develop a "new myth of Indian origins." But wait, it wasn't "direct in the sense of having been strategically borrowed during the process of narrative construction...". And still all these phrases that are hits are apparently borrowed from it. 

 

All in all, interesting, but not balanced. It only attempts to appear so. It does cover both sides in a sense, but the thrust of the blog post is in fact that the Book of Mormon has some direct descendency in actual content, not just language terms to the Late War. That is not neutral. That is a direct challenge against the Book of Mormon as an actual and literal historical account of an ancient civilization.

Edited by Matthew J. Tandy
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I agree that it is in many ways an impressive analysis, especially at first glance. I think he makes the best case that can be made for direct dependence. On the other hand, I find it hard to believe that Joseph ever read The Late War. Aside from the book's obscurity, nobody remembered Joseph as a voracious reader—not his family, not his neighbors.

 

Richard Bushman puts the problem this way:

 

"Composition is the naturalistic explanation for the Book of Mormon—the way books are always written—but it is at odds with the Joseph Smith of the historical record. . . . [Joseph] had never written anything and is not known to have read anything but the Bible and perhaps the newspaper. None of the neighbors noticed signs of learning or intellectual interests beyond the religious discussions in a juvenile debating club. To account for the disjuncture between the Book of Mormon's complexity and Joseph's history as an uneducated rural visionary, the composition theory calls for a precocious genius of extraordinary powers who was voraciously consuming information without anyone knowing it" (Bushman, Joseph Smith, 72).

 

The alternative composition theory—that the Book of Mormon was secretly composed by a writing team that included Sidney Rigdon, Parley P. Pratt, Oliver Cowdery, Joseph Smith, and possibly others—is even more far-fetched.

 

So I guess one is left to choose which unlikely explanation they prefer ;)

 

I don't believe the Book of Mormon is a fraudulent fabrication. I believe it's an inspired scripture (whether based on ancient origins or not).

 

If I didn't believe that I would probably be inclined to believe it was a joint venture between Joseph and Oliver.

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I don't believe the Book of Mormon is a fraudulent fabrication. I believe it's an inspired scripture (whether based on ancient origins or not).

 

If I didn't believe that I would probably be inclined to believe it was a joint venture between Joseph and Oliver.

Completely agree, and I would add that even if it is the latter, it marks the beginnings of a religious movement at least as profound as any ever, for me, THE most profound because it represents a perfect unity of humanism and Christianity.

 

Did Moses "really" see the burning bush and the finger of God writing the commandments?  Was that a "fraudulent enterprise"?  Did "Moses" even exist?  What about the Resurrection?

 

First of all, the answers to all these questions are unknowable and will remain so forever, and are matters of faith.

 

Second of all, if Mormonism was only a philosophical system, I would be the first to pony up my tithe just to be a part of the club.

 

The problem with Mormons is that they don't know what they have.  Yet even those who leave seem to want to hang out at the water cooler, griping about the water cooler's existence.

 

They can't ever REALLY leave.  What does that tell you?

 

That they don't understand the nature of "religious truth".  They love the club, they love it's members and lifestyle, they just disagree with a few of the by-laws.  But the essence remains inside them.

Edited by mfbukowski
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...

 

...  They love the club, they love it's members and lifestyle, they just disagree with a few of the by-laws.  

 

The club and its bylaws can obscure the Mormonism, which is why we find ourselves with Mormons who "don't know what they have." 

 

If Mormonism were "only a philosophical system," there would be no club for you to pony up to.

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The club and its bylaws can obscure the Mormonism, which is why we find ourselves with Mormons who "don't know what they have." 

 

If Mormonism were "only a philosophical system," there would be no club for you to pony up to.

Oh I don't know about that.  Claremont's Center for Process Studies is a pretty close second and they will happily take your money.

 

http://www.ctr4process.org/donate.shtml

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Beat you by two minutes, Kevin. :P

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Oh I don't know about that.  Claremont's Center for Process Studies is a pretty close second and they will happily take your money.

 

http://www.ctr4process.org/donate.shtml

 

While we are at it, or not at it, if anyone is interested some great philosophy which has huge implications for Mormon thought. this is the place.

http://www.ctr4process.org/about/process/

 

what is process thought?...

Introduction

With a foundation in the metaphysical system of Alfred North Whitehead (among others), and a methodology that integrates both speculation and empirical verification, process thought brings its unique metaphysical perspective to bear on many fields of reflection and action. 

Ultimately, process thought seeks to integrate and reconcile the diverse facets of human experience (i.e. ethical, religious, aesthetic, and scientific intuitions) into one coherent explanatory scheme. The most common applications of process thought are in the fields of philosophy and theology. However, process has also found a meaningful foothold in many other discussions, including ecology, economics, physics, biology, education, psychology, feminism, and cultural studies.   

Basic Doctrines

Process metaphysics, in general, seeks to elucidate the developmental nature of reality, emphasizing becoming rather than static existence or being. It also stresses the inter-relatedness of all entities. Process describes reality as ultimately made up of experiential events rather than enduring inert substances. 

The particular character of every event, and consequently the world, is the result of a selective process where the relevant past is creatively brought together to become that new event. Reality is conceived as a process of creative advance in which many past events are integrated in the events of the present, and in turn are taken up by future events. The universe proceeds as "the many become one, and are increased by one" in a sequence of integrations at every level and moment of existence. Process thought thus replaces the traditional Western "substance metaphysic" with an "event metaphysic."

Terms that further characterize process thought are inter-relatedness, unity-in-diversity, non-dualism, panentheism, mutual transformation, person-in-community, and panexperientialism.

The following links are helpful short essays written by scholars that describe and summarize process thought. 

Process Philosophy

Process Theology

 

 

Process Theism
First published Thu Jul 29, 2004; substantive revision Mon Oct 6, 2008

Process theism typically refers to a family of theological ideas originating in, inspired by, or in agreement with the metaphysical orientation of the English philosopher-mathematician Alfred North Whitehead (1861-1947) and the American philosopher-ornithologist Charles Hartshorne (1897-2000). For both Whitehead and Hartshorne, it is an essential attribute of God to be fully involved in and affected by temporal processes. This idea contrasts neatly with traditional forms of theism that hold God to be in all respects non-temporal (eternal), unchanging (immutable,) and unaffected by the world (impassible). Process theism does not deny that God is in some respects eternal, immutable, and impassible, but it contradicts the classical view by insisting that God is in some respects temporal, mutable, and passible. The views of Whitehead and Hartshorne should also be distinguished from those that affirm that the divine being, by an act of self-limitation, opens itself to influence from the world. Some neo-Thomists hold this view and a group of Evangelical Christian philosophers, calling themselves “open theists,” promote similar ideas. These forms of theism were influenced by process theism, but they deny its claim that God is essentially in a give-and-take relationship with the world. Moreover, process theism is a genuinely philosophical theology in the sense that it is not grounded in claims of special insight or revealed truth but in philosophical reflection. Specifically, process theism is a product of theorizing that takes the categories of becoming, change, and time as foundational for metaphysics. The metaphysical underpinning of process theism is often called process philosophy, a label suggested by the title of Whitehead's magnum opus, Process and Reality. In order to bring out this philosophy's emphasis on relatedness, many scholars follow Bernard Loomer in calling it process-relational philosophy. Whitehead's preferred expression for his metaphysical viewpoint is “the philosophy of organism.” This article concerns primarily the concept of God in process theism, although we shall conclude with a brief discussion of arguments for the existence of God in process thought and a note on the historical influences on process theism.

 

http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/process-theism/

Edited by mfbukowski
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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fC4u6lOQONs

 

Need help, do any of you know if Fair or another source has an answer to this guy?  Do they dispute, with facts this info?  I tried Fair's site and didn't see anything.  But I may have put in the wrong search words.  I'd like a good, well researched disputation. 

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Okay, all the research he cites are from anti-LDS sources. That's a first red flag. Second is that the video was made my an exMormon organization. No possible agenda there. 

The pure "Spauding Manuscript" theory has been pretty completely debunked. The idea that somehow Sidney Rigdon got the manuscript, didn't do anything with it, met Joseph Smith before the publication of the BOM and provided him with the BOM text, which JS pretended to translate goes against eyewitness accounts of both the translation AND the lack of eyewitness accounts  of JS and SR ever meeting until after the BOM was published. And in order to pull this off, they would have had to meet several times, put together a plan, and both keep it secret. 

Both of these men were locally famous. Rigdon was a well known preacher.  You really think they could have arranged for several extended meetings and no one notices they are together?  

The theory falls apart even further with the death of JS.  After Sidney returned to Nauvoo, which he had left in a state of apostasy but without saying a word against Joseph, Brigham and the twelve took over leadership, and Sidney was excluded. If there had been a conspiracy, this was the perfect time to exclaim it.  Yet he did not, and to the end of his days, always proclaimed his belief in the BOM.  This from SidneyRigdon.com:

"Sidney B. Rigdon was the master intellect of the whole movement prior to the settlement of the "Saints" at Nauvoo. A few weeks ago the writer visited this original apostle, the first preacher, the ablest lecturer of all the early days of Mormonism, and the principal materials for this sketch were communicated from his own lips. He has resided for nearly twenty years in the village of Friendship, Alleghany Co., N. Y. He is now a venerable old man of nearly eighty years, with snowy beard and a keen eye. His health seems good; his mind clear and vigorous. He has indeed a quick, excitable manner, and a fondness for strong, emphatic expression, which seem to be the relics of his old fanaticism. He appears communicative and frank; yet in the short interview above mentioned he carefully avoided minute particulars of his Mormon associations and history. Like Martin Harris, while with almost fierce invective he denounces his associate leaders of the Mormon Church and colony, he still clings to his faith in the inspiration of Smith and his Bible."

 

That doesn't sound like something a co-conspirator would say.  

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The Spaulding Rigdon theory is dead. There are more holes in that theory than Swiss Cheese. (I couldn't resist the pun). I remeber some one on this board being a big proponent of this theory. There should be a few threads where the details were all hashed out. As far as I am concerned it really is one of the worst theories I have heard for the BoM.

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I believe you mean "Uncle Dale". Iirc he has a website called sidneyrigdon.com

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While we are at it, or not at it, if anyone is interested some great philosophy which has huge implications for Mormon thought. this is the place.

http://www.ctr4process.org/about/process/

 

http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/process-theism/

Thank you for that, buddy,

Also note that several people within the Restoration (besides you, me, and Blake Ostler) speak to this issue:

 

Robert Mesle, Process Theology: A Basic Introduction (St. Louis: Chalice Press, 1993).

Garland E. Tickemyer, "Joseph Smith and Process Theology," Dialogue, 17 (Autumn 1984), 75-85.

Jacob Baker, "The Shadow of the Cathedral: On a Systematic Exposition of Mormon Theology," Element, 4/1 (Spring 2008), 2.

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Thank you for that, buddy,

Also note that several people within the Restoration (besides you, me, and Blake Ostler) speak to this issue:

 

Robert Mesle, Process Theology: A Basic Introduction (St. Louis: Chalice Press, 1993).

Garland E. Tickemyer, "Joseph Smith and Process Theology," Dialogue, 17 (Autumn 1984), 75-85.

Jacob Baker, "The Shadow of the Cathedral: On a Systematic Exposition of Mormon Theology," Element, 4/1 (Spring 2008), 2.

Wow that's an old post- I am glad you found it.

 

Yes even good old Sterling McMurrin was, if not in the ballpark, at least in the parking lot of process theology as well.

 

Looking forward to hearing your paper next week- I am planning on being there!

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I believe you mean "Uncle Dale". Iirc he has a website called sidneyrigdon.com

Yeah, that is the guy. Nice guy, just didn't agree with this theory. Speaking of him I have not heard from him in ages.

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They forgot "Gulliver's Travels." How else could Joseph Smith have come up with the name of "Lemuel?"

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gulliver's_Travels#Part_I:_A_Voyage_to_Lilliput

As Lemuel traveled with Joseph Smith, they encountered the Lilliputians and Yahoos who opposed them, claiming his fantastic tales were plagiarized. After arriving onto the Island of Laputa, Lemuel and Joseph Smith were invited to the Grand Academy of Lagado where great resources were spent uncovering Lemuel's and Smith's conspiracies by examining their excrement with a muck-rake, which is to this day being used by anti-mormons. Muck away you muckrakers.

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muckraker

"...you may recall the description of the Man with the Muck-rake, the man who could look no way but downward with the muck-rake in his hands; who was offered a celestial crown for his muck-rake, but who would neither look up nor regard the crown he was offered, but continued to rake to himself the filth of the floor."

Edited by Tiki
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Yes, and this claim that Joseph Smith wrote The Book of Mormon based on books he had read, is why our fellow F.A.R.M.S. Brethren in the membership of the LDS Church moved the geography of The Book of Mormon to a narrow isthmus of land in Mesoamerica, because Joseph Smith did learn from a book the exact geographical location.

"Joseph Smith could not have known in 1830 from published books or his contemporaries that an ancient civilization had existed anywhere in the Americas. To all settlers of the western New York frontier, an "Indian" was just a savage. If young Joseph took his ideas for the Book of Mormon from his neighbors and their cultural milieu, as many critics maintain, we would expect him to have rather similar notions of America's indigenous peoples. Yet the Book of Mormon characterizes itself as a record from a real civilization (which included not only "the Nephites" but also "the Lamanites," as shown by Mosiah 24:1–7 and Alma 21:2). New York frontier dwellers did not attribute civilization to the native American peoples they knew anything about. Joseph Smith himself was surprised to learn in 1842 from reading the sensational book by John Lloyd Stephens, Incidents of Travel in Central America, Chiapas, and Yucatn (published in 1839), that there had once been a spectacular ancient civilization in Central America and that, at least in superficial terms, it agreed with the cultural pattern characterized in the Book of Mormon."

http://publications.maxwellinstitute.byu.edu/fullscreen/?pub=1082&index=9&keyword=An%20ancient%20american%20setting

Yes, it is indeed thrilling to learn that critics set the agenda for the Book of Mormon, thus Joseph Smith is accused from outside of the Church and from inside of the Church of learning from books.

He learned from books to write the Book of Mormon, say his critics as pointed out by the OP.

Yet, he also learned from a book the geographical location of the geography of the Book of Mormon, say his defenders.

How special those former F.A.R.M.S. Apologists who are now lost and scattered across the internet.

With defenders like these, who needs critics? Yes, both claim Joseph Smith learned from books.

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Can you ever post without the sarcasm ? I wouldn't mind trying to learn something from you but it is near impossible with all the sarcasm. 

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Yeah, that is the guy. Nice guy, just didn't agree with this theory. Speaking of him I have not heard from him in ages.

Dale Broadhurst posts on some other boards/forums, though I've not seen anything from him for a few months.  His research - and knowledge - about early Mormon history is deep and varied.  He's contributed much with regard to various theories about the origin of the Book of Mormon.  I don't believe he ever espoused a Spalding-only theory.  I believe his opinions about such origins have evolved.  He has (co?)-published some stuff on the web, I think.  Anyone with an interest in history might track it down.  

Edited by Gervin
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