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beastie

Zelph, the White Lamanite

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She dances around that question. Rather, she just wants me to spell out what is obvious from the linked article as well as my citations from that article. That has become the issue of this thread for her, not the real issue of the thread, and, as with other threads I've been on with her, she manages to derail the thread with that detail.

Please explain how asking you for more information about your own question is derailing the thread....other than you expected me to do all the dancing.

Look, this is an internet board, and I'm not going to spend hours laboring on each post spelling out each excruciating detail over and over. 

But you expect everyone else to. No one is obligated to answer your questions if you refuse to answer theirs.

Now either JS believed he got the idea Zelph was a white lamanite from God, or he just made it all up on the spot.  Which is it?

We now know what you think revelation is. "Thoughts". OK. Now go to the next part. What did JS think it was? Now either you provide the background information to deal with your own question or you don't. Which is it?

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Perhaps you can be Juliann's translator, because all I can figure out from her comments is that she thinks I should have said "seven friendly contemporary sources agree that JS identified the bones as belonging to a white Lamanite named Zelph, information received via revelation" instead of saying "JS stated that Zelph was a white Lamanite", and that she thinks critics have the burden of defining revelation. 

You have to be kidding. All this time and you are still can't admit what you tried to pull. :P

And yes...since the "apologists" haven't come to any hard conclusions about the Zelph incident ...those of you who have need to explain it and defend your position. I know....wwhhhooooooshhhh!

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1. What is the significance of using white in that era? Was it typical for the times? Was it typical for its users? Was it a racial designation? Was it a social designation? Was it both?

You were right, truth dancer. Answering simple questions is simple not going to happen.

Juliann: To what era does "that" refer? Zelph's era? Or Joseph's? Is the use of "white" in relation to Zelph the same as the use of "white" in the BoM? If not, why not?

2.  What did JS call a "revelation"?  How did he identify it?  How did he describe it?  How did witnesses describe it?  Did the process differ in time or place? 

Why ask more questions, without answering TD's questions? Trying to cloud the issue? Perhaps it's more appropriate to ask: "What did Joseph's contemporaries call a revelation?", since they were the target, after all (and they were suitably impressed with Joseph's performance as to have written down their accounts in several places). But then, if how the performance is received is more important than the performance itself, it's much easier to make a case for the contention that Joseph was simply performing for his contemporaries again, and actually revealing something was beyond his capabilities and always had been. In which case, "he made it all up" sounds so much more... appropriate than worrying about "white", "Lamanite", and details like the name of the bones and his best friend.

I know it is fun to come to message boards and demand that your targets dance when you shoot at their feet but sometimes they won't.  Bummer,  eh?

Oh, I don't know. Instead of "won't", I suspect the correct word is "can't". Which explains the demands for a definition of "revelation". (When a cogent argument can't be found, demand definitions) But at least you've moved past "prophet". The entertainment value of the thread is its own reward.

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Trying to cloud the issue? Perhaps it's more appropriate to ask: "What did Joseph's contemporaries call a revelation?",

Um, Blink. I did. :P

As the wailing and caterwauling continues, let me add that I don't know the answers to these questions. That is why I am asking. We have a group here who is claiming that they are the experts and I am as dumb as a brick. Yet they are withholding crucial information that would be required in any 101 religion class term paper. Why?

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I'm really interested in this topic so I will continue to try to ask a question that can be answered.

Lets take the description of "revelation" that is in the Bible Dictionary...I know you don't want dictionary definitions but IMO the vast majority would agree with this understanding of the term revelation.... would that work?

"Continuous revelation through the Holy Ghost or by other means such as visions, dreams or visitations, makes possible daily guidance along true paths...."

At this point I am just curious if the believing members here believe the Zelph story was in any way divinely inspired...

And... IYO, did JS believe he got the idea Zelph was a white lamanite from God?

Is this answerable? Quinn? Anyone?

Oh, and I'm not demanding anything just hoping to understand...

~dancer~

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I don't recall JS offering a detailed definition of revelation, but he seemed to use the term as it is commonly understood - communication from God to man. Obviously he allowed for false revelation from satan. Perhaps it is my wrongful assumption that JS felt he could discern the difference between revelation and his own thoughts and ideas. I may be projecting my own ideas about that - I think it takes an awful lot of hubris to assign anything to God, and to be willing to do so without certainty about the difference between God's thoughts and your own thoughts seems inconceivable to me.

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"Revelation signifies the making known of divine truth by communication from the heavens." (Articles of Faith, pp 296-313, reference from Mormon Doctrine, 1977)

I do not see how these definitions clarify the underlying questions.

1) Are the multiple sources which agree that JS stated Zelph was a white lamanite, and that this knowledge was obtained through revelation/vision incorrect? If so, how is it that they all erred in the same details?

2) If these sources are correct, how do believers reconcile this "divine truth" with the LGT? Was Zelph physically white? If so, was it the extraordinary coincidence that JS happened upon the rare albino or extremely fair skinned Mesoamerican? Or is it that God actually did turn the skin of righteous Mesoamericans white?

To Juliann personally:

I think I've been posting on this board for about two months. So far, in that short span of time, you've accused me of deliberate dishonesty twice. You accused me of "cribbing" some unnamed person's ideas about the Mayan, without one shred of evidence or substantiation, and you have now accused me of "trying to pull something", also without evidence or substantiation. I provided a link that clearly explained the sources, and provided quotations from that article as well. The idea that I was being deliberately misleading while providing that information is an extraordinarily illogical one. You also have participated on this thread in a rude manner while protesting that it is a pointless topic not worthy of discussion, while lecturing others about "trolling" and behaving rudely. Your behavior is a poor representation of FAIR, which you seem to believe you speak for in some way.

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"Continuous revelation through the Holy Ghost or by other means such as visions, dreams or visitations, makes possible daily guidance along true paths...."

At this point I am just curious if the believing members here believe the Zelph story was in any way divinely inspired...

And... IYO, did JS believe he got the idea Zelph was a white lamanite from God?

Oh, and I'm not demanding anything just hoping to understand...

~dancer~

I'm not sure what "continuous" has to do with a straight up defintion of revelation but this would seem to be about as much as one could do in a Bible dictionary. We have the method of transmission here and the purpose, "daily guidance along...." None of that sounds too definitive when you begin to analyze it. And that is the problem with a victorious announcement that so and so was a false prophet without establishing what a true prophet would have done differently.

The real problem with revelation is that it can be just about anything...a "feeling", an "impression" that compels, a voice, something visual, a dream. Each has its own set of circumstances. On a practical and nonreligious basis, what would be the difference between the popular shows about psychic detectives and "revelation" other than the topic? If the psychic does not crack one case out of five...is he a false psychic? With once skeptical police witnesses crediting a psychic for coming up with uncanny pieces of the puzzle that are credited for solving unsolvable cases. If the pieces didn't come together the next time would you shout false psychic or would you simply wonder why one situation can be so spectacular and not another?

I find the Zelph incident puzzling but the one thing I can't discard is that JS wrote about it to his wife the day after . If we only had witness accounts and not that letter from JS himself I would likely accept all of what was in those accounts at surface value. In everyone's eagerness to get to the conclusion...I have seen no analysis of what JS's account of his own feelings:

. . .wandering over the plains of the Nephites, recounting occasionally the history of the Book of Mormon, roving over the mounds of that once beloved people of the Lord, picking up their skulls & their bones, as a proof of its divine authenticity,

JS sees the entire experience as proof of divine authenticity of the BOM. His own words. The stories are not even important enough for him to mention. Yet twice he brings the events to a conclusion about the BOM. I cannot imagine a situation more congenial for stories, however...I don't know about you but my first encounter with canyon pictographs/petroglyphs was thrilling. Our leader who had taken us into the canyons had us all try to "interpret" the pictures and what they might have meant. We all came up with different stuff but it was mesmerizing.

We all know that naming is of great import in Mormonism. In the Bible it always ties into geneaology..which is of critical importance for that culture. What was going on in the heads of these men? Who knows? And we do have to know to come to any conclusion that anyone was false or true.

I have no more problem with these guys coming up with "Zelph" than I do the TV psychics. In fact those that are clamoring about this think JS made up all the BOM names so to get so ruffled over one name out of so many others seems slightly goofy. I think that at the time "white" would have been automatically attached to the good guys. I would just assume that from the get go. Those bones did belong to someone. How expansive was the area? Was it a burial ground or a battle ground? Is there enough information to decide? What was found with the bones that may have led them to some conclusions? In other words, how would anyone have any idea what was "from God" and what was just taken for granted unless we can establish a basal?

There is just way too much missing information here to draw the kind of cosmic conclusions that I am seeing. And I have never seen a primary source completely ignored in favor of accounts written up to 40 years later.

So the short answer is, yes...there had to have been revelation but I have no idea about the "what, when or where" given what there is to work with. And the only situations I have ever been in where those kinds of judgements trump historical work and careful analysis involves apologetic critics....never scholars. I just have never been trained to determine who is "true" so it is almost impossible to respond to such a thing. I can only gry to ask the right questions and do the research and I am always at a disadvantage in Mormon history because I don't have the background. That is why the critics are just going to have to supply the necessary info if they want to do anything but crow about how false Mormonism is.

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Your behavior is a poor representation of FAIR, which you seem to believe you speak for in some way.

ZZZZZZzzzzzzzzz What comes next? My personal hygiene?

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What is a Lamanite? :P It sounds like someone in the Bible but I can't find it there.

You just got to know where to look. It is written in invisible ink on page 103 of the 1611 edition of the KJV.

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Oh, I don't know. Instead of "won't", I suspect the correct word is "can't". Which explains the demands for a definition of "revelation". (When a cogent argument can't be found, demand definitions) But at least you've moved past "prophet". The entertainment value of the thread is its own reward.

Nah....we have just moved into prophecy! Haven't even scratched the surface, Blink! There were two topics that I did lots and lots of work in...gnosticism and prophecy/revelation! I have always maintained that JS really should be measured to a historical prophecy since he claimed to have restored ancient Christianity.

Where do you want to begin? Clerical? Community? Mysticism? Or how about establishing a time line to Origen? The problem is that prophecy has shown a remarkable resilance to categorization. It has been compared and contrasted with Greco-Roman paganism or grouped as to community, represented by the Pauline letters, as opposed to apocalyptic type prophecy, such as the Apocalypse of John. It has also been classified as to content: apocalyptic prophecy, parenetic prophecy, and prophetic prayer. There is a bit more to deal with when it comes to OT prophets, however, Aune concludes that Christian prophecy did not produce a dominant form or structure and "no distinctive speech forms which would have been readily identifiable as prophetic speech".

[David E. Aune, Prophecy in Early Christianity and the Ancient Mediterranean World (Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1983), 230-231]

So what is your criteria, Blink?

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So Lamanites are Indians? Do Mormons call all the Indians that or is that a tribe somewhere?

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I'm not sure where this brawl is going but in a probably futile effort to keep it within bounds, diversionary posts have been deleted.

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So what is your criteria, Blink?

Either beastie or truth dancer's definitions suffice, I think. But that still doesn't answer the basic questions surrounding Zelph's reported whiteness.

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If anyone has doubts, they can go to the original and check for themselves … or I can post the whole thing here. Nevertheless, I note, painfully, you have passed up another opportunity clear up this possible misunderstanding.

This seems very important to you. By all means, provide the link without further delay.

It’s your incessant denial that JS said he had a revelation.

That is odd. I never said that. I have asked several people who continue to claim I have said that to produce a post where I have said that. Are you going to produce some evidence that I have ever said that or continue to make false accusations?

You are treating the accounts of these witnesses with extreme skepticism.

Actually, all I did was quote from the very link that Beastie supplied. She supplied it in her first post. That means that the article is the topic of this thread. From her indignant reaction, it is quite obvious that she has not read her own source. Apparently you have not, either.

Such questioning makes no sense unless you doubt the reliability of the witnesses.

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Dan, thanks for your insights and calm demeanor in reply to juliann's flame-fest. Her meds must be off again.

The Zelph story is one of the most interesting non-doctrinal aspects of Mormonism that I've ever seen, and I have studied pretty much all that I can about it. I'm certainly no expert and benefit greatly from the insights of a few mild mannered participants here.

Seeing that nothing is going to be clarified or solved as long as we continue to give in to juliann's venomous exchanges, perhaps we should just begin a new thread called "Cage Fighting with Juliann" and take the useless bickering there. Maybe then we could actually focus on a relevant issue here.

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Dan, thanks for your insights and calm demeanor in reply to juliann's flame-fest. Her meds must be off again.

The Zelph story is one of the most interesting non-doctrinal aspects of Mormonism that I've ever seen, and I have studied pretty much all that I can about it. I'm certainly no expert and benefit greatly from the insights of a few mild mannered participants here.

Seeing that nothing is going to be clarified or solved as long as we continue to give in to juliann's venomous exchanges, perhaps we should just begin a new thread called "Cage Fighting with Juliann" and take the useless bickering there. Maybe then we could actually focus on a relevant issue here.

Terrie: Well... I usually remain in lurk mode but I have to comment on this. Why the extensive use of hyperbole here Jarrod? Do you have nothing of actual substance to add to the discussion since you've "studied pretty much all that you can about it" ? I fail to see where any "venomous exchanges" have taken place by juliann. She's asked questions. Legitimate questions. No one seems to want to answer them. Why IS that?

And to suggest that her "meds" are off because no one WILL answer her questions is quite indicative of your insecurity with her evident intelligence. Are you intimidated to the point of insult by ALL intelligent women... or just juliann?

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Terrie: Well... I usually remain in lurk mode but I have to comment on this. Why the extensive use of hyperbole here Jarrod? Do you have nothing of actual substance to add to the discussion since you've "studied pretty much all that you can about it" ? I fail to see where any "venomous exchanges" have taken place by juliann. She's asked questions. Legitimate questions. No one seems to want to answer them. Why IS that?

And to suggest that her "meds" are off because no one WILL answer her questions is quite indicative of your insecurity with her evident intelligence. Are you intimidated to the point of insult by ALL intelligent women... or just juliann?

You and I appear to see the same thing differently. I assue you, I did not make my assertions because I am insecure around juliann's intelligence. She's bright, and I stated this in another thread an hour ago.

I do not believe that I have demonstrated timidity, to the point of insult, towards intelligent women. That was a weird thing to suggest. Yeah, that was a bit unkind of me to say that her meds were off. Whether she does or doesn't take meds isn't my business, and my mention of it was the only hyperbole I believe I used. I've just found myself at the unfriendly end of her guns before, even when I took her side but she was too caught up in flaming debate to notice. And I have attempted to open a friendly dialogue with her in personal messaging in an attempt to quell her apetite for useless debate when I knew she was capable of better things. This was out of my own desire to really discuss issues with her, not debate everything for the sake of taking prisoners. I felt that my discussing some things privately offered her more respect than she would have gotten had I made them public. She never replied, so I assume that she participated in this forum mostly for team debate, taking sides for the sake of taking sides, as if we're playing football or something.

Maybe I missed juliann's legitimate questions and mistook them for something else. This is totally possible. I thought I saw the answers, as well as what I saw as unproductive debate on her part. If I've got it all wrong, mea culpa.

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Hi Telstar... you write,

She's asked questions. Legitimate questions. No one seems to want to answer them. Why IS that?

What legitimate questions have not been answered?

I've tried to rephrase questions in hopes that some apologists will be able to respond and share their opinion... I will keep trying. Anyone can jump in here...

So here is another attempt.

1. IYO, did JS receive information concerning Zelph from a divine source (revelation, inspiration, visitation, angel message, something else).

2. IYO, is the Zelph story one of JS's misses?

I'm just curious how this is explained by apologists....

Thanks....

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Why is it TD that you are more interested in opinions than in the evidence?

Your questions completely avoid the issues which Juliann raises. You aks:

IYO, did JS receive information concerning Zelph from a divine source (revelation, inspiration, visitation, angel message, something else).
The answer is largely irrelevant. We either believe that he did, or that he didn't. That isn't the issue. The issue is over what information Joseph Smith received from that divine source (assuming there was one). How much first hand information do we have from a holographic account? How much do we have that is heresay? To what extent to the heresay accounts rely on one another? What are the discrepancies? How much detail can we assert was actually provided by Joseph Smith? How much can we say was likely provided by Joseph Smith? How much of the accounts from others was provided by the others?

Until these questions can be answered, your follow up question is completely meaningless.

Ben

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Hi Ben... you write,

The answer is largely irrelevant. We either believe that he did, or that he didn't. That isn't the issue. The issue is over what information Joseph Smith received from that divine source (assuming there was one). How much first hand information do we have from a holographic account? How much do we have that is heresay? To what extent to the heresay accounts rely on one another? What are the discrepancies? How much detail can we assert was actually provided by Joseph Smith? How much can we say was likely provided by Joseph Smith? How much of the accounts from others was provided by the others?

Yes one's opinion IS the issue for me. Do you believe he did or didn't receive revelation/divine inspiration?

I'm interested in opinion because that is all I'm going to get. I personally do not believe in God and revelation as do most members. I don't believe God is a being who intervenes so I'm not really interested in IF God in fact spoke to JS I want to know how the apologist view this incident; if you think/belief JS received divine inspiration concerning Zelph. How do you make sense of it. If someone was taking the discussions and came upon this story what would you say to them?

I personally think it is quite simple.

Do you think JS was divinely inspired (regarding the Zelph incident) or not? Do you have an opinion? What do you think? How about a best guess?

I'm NOT asking for some ultimate truth, of proof that God exists. I'm not asking someone write a 500 page book on what is revelation and the history of all of JS's various forms of receving truth....

I just want to know what apologists think.. how they make sense of this incident...

Thanks...

~dancer~

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