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hope_for_things

Where did the Book of Mormon come from?

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10 minutes ago, hope_for_things said:

..........................................  So many people involved in Mormonism seem focused on trying to prove that Joseph didn’t produce the BoM, rather than starting with the assumption that he did.  

False.  So far as I can tell, very few Mormons and non-Mormons are even aware of the research by Carmack & Skousen, and even fewer have actually read it (fewer still have understood it).  Most start with the assumption that Joseph Smith was the "translator," and are not trying to prove that Joseph didn't produce it.  In other words, most go along with you.  I think that even the LDS general authorities are mostly unaware of the Early Modern English problem.  Why would that concern them?  How did you manage to get the whole scenario so backward?

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6 minutes ago, bdouglas said:

Do you really think you can compare the BOM to A Course In Miracles? A Course in Miracles is, from beginning to end, New Age claptrap. If I were to spend six months immersing myself in New Age thinking, I could have written it. As for Ann Taves——it's inspirational writing. Nothing like BOM. For example, the 600 references to georgraphy in the BOM. Whole books could, and have, been written about BOM geography (most recently "Mormon's Codex"). Somebody could write a whole book about the different migrations in the BOM. Somebody could write an entire book about the different languages in the BOM, not only "reformed Egyptian" but what happened to the language as the centuries wore on. Somebody could write a whole book about the different plates, the source material for the narrative. Somebody could write a book about the different voices (28, at last count) in the BOM. And so on and so on.

There really is nothing like the BOM, and there is no naturalistic explanation for it (such as Van Wagoner posits) that makes any sense, that doesn't require huge stretches to swallow ("stretchers", as Huck Finn would call them).

A Course in Miracles was produced in a very different time and place (late 20th century, by someone trained in the sciences).  Of course its different.  But your last sentence tells me you’re not too open to comparisons anyway, your faith in the BoM as having “no naturalistic explanation” is a position that evidence likely can’t impact in your mind.  I’ll still post those other comparisons later, perhaps you could try to have a more open mind about them.  

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1 hour ago, USU78 said:

???

There's no such thing as a "meaningless [or] ordinary thing[]." Mankind imbues as primary as well as second nature all phenomena with meaning. Otherwise everything he experiences is a chaotic jumble.

We, even as infants, create cosmos out of chaos. The ordinary is only ordinary because we've previously imposed a name and a context upon it. The creative process we go through is a freakin' miracle. You do poorly to mock my or anybody else's miraculous achievements.

And just because someone creates deeper and multilayered and novel meaning out of your mundanities doesn't make them stupid or you wise.

Maybe you're the creatively retarded one, not them.

I meant no mocking, you must have misunderstood me.  I think that those efforts can be overworked and unproductive.  I don’t see great value in them, and I find that like Elder Oaks talked about a few years back there are good, better and best things we can prioritize.  I think Mormon studies around the BoM have often prioritized a discussion of something “how Joseph could or couldn’t have produced the BoM” is less valuable than many other things to consider, that’s why I posted this OP, to invite some discussion on the topic.  

I’m not trying to change anyone’s faith perspective.  

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16 minutes ago, hope_for_things said:

A Course in Miracles was produced in a very different time and place (late 20th century, by someone trained in the sciences).  Of course its different.  But your last sentence tells me you’re not too open to comparisons anyway, your faith in the BoM as having “no naturalistic explanation” is a position that evidence likely can’t impact in your mind.  I’ll still post those other comparisons later, perhaps you could try to have a more open mind about them.  

I am very familiar with A Course In Miracles, and to compare it to the BOM is silly. It would be like comparing the Book of Genesis to the writings of Kahil Gibran.

You say  my mind is closed to naturalistic explanations. Maybe it is. But the opposite is true also. Someone like Van Wagoner starts with the assumption that "angels do not deliver books on gold plates to men" (it was actually Sterling McMurrin who said this, but the same thing applies to Van Wagoner) and proceeds from there. The explanation JS gave (the only one that makes any sense) is a non-starter for him. He rejects it outright. So he builds a naturalistic explanation ––– one that doesn't make any sense, comparing it, for example, to A Course In Miracles.

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1 hour ago, Rajah Manchou said:

Well, that would depend on where he got the message. That's probably why the question will be asked time and time again.

Why does “where he got the message” have any real impact on whether the content of that message is value to humankind.  Does where Jesus got the message that we should do unto others as we would have them do unto us, change if its found that this message originated in some other cultures somewhere prior to these statements in the New Testament?  I don’t think the original source of the message is as important as what the message is expounding about reality and our experience in this life.  

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9 minutes ago, bdouglas said:

I am very familiar with A Course In Miracles, and to compare it to the BOM is silly.

You say  my mind is closed to naturalistic explanations. Maybe it is. But the opposite is true also. Someone like Van Wagoner starts with the assumption that "angels do not deliver books on gold plates to men" (it was actually Sterling McMurrin who said this, but the same thing applies to Van Wagoner) and proceeds from there. The explanation JS gave (the only one that makes any sense) is a non-starter for him. He rejects it outright. So he builds a naturalistic explanation ––– one that doesn't make any sense, comparing it, for example, to A Course In Miracles.

Just to be clear Van Wagoner didn’t compare it to the BoM, that’s from a book Ann Taves wrote titled Revelatory Events, it just came out late 2017, and its very good.  She’s not directly comparing the two books either, I appologize if you got that impression from what I said.  She was comparing the production of A course in Miracles, the person that produced it claimed to be receiving and writing down revelation from a source that was ascribed as Jesus Christ.  In the production of that work, there were group dynamics that influenced its creation, and that is my really poor summary of Taves thesis, the observations of how group dynamics influence the creation of revelatory religious texts.  I very interesting and important read in Mormon Studies.  

The interesting parallels lie in how the person producing the text explains their receipt of the text as coming from a source external to their own thought processes.  

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18 minutes ago, hope_for_things said:

I don’t think the original source of the message is as important as what the message is expounding about reality and our experience in this life.  

Jesus seems to have thought that the source of his teachings mattered:

Quote

Jesus answered them, and said, My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me.

If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself.

He that speaketh of himself seeketh his own glory: but he that seeketh his glory that sent him, the same is true, and no unrighteousness is in him.

 

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20 minutes ago, hope_for_things said:

Just to be clear Van Wagoner didn’t compare it to the BoM, that’s from a book Ann Taves wrote titled Revelatory Events, it just came out late 2017, and its very good.  She’s not directly comparing the two books either, I appologize if you got that impression from what I said.  She was comparing the production of A course in Miracles, the person that produced it claimed to be receiving and writing down revelation from a source that was ascribed as Jesus Christ.  In the production of that work, there were group dynamics that influenced its creation, and that is my really poor summary of Taves thesis, the observations of how group dynamics influence the creation of revelatory religious texts.  I very interesting and important read in Mormon Studies.  

The interesting parallels lie in how the person producing the text explains their receipt of the text as coming from a source external to their own thought processes.  

The BOM is filled with circumstantial detail, loose ends (as you would find in any history, not fiction), memorable characters, references to geography, migrations, languages, measurements, seeds, animals, minerals, farming, wars (one could write a large book on warfare in the BOM, and in fact people have), a lost world———in addition to the primary purpose of the book, which is to testify of Christ. In other words it is a grounded in a real place and a real time with real people.

While A Course In Miracles purports to be a revelation from Christ, there is absolutely nothing in the book to ground it in any reality, place or time, and it bears no resemblance to anything in the Four Gospels. It is a gasy, airy, New-Agey tome filled with platitudes, such as you can find in any self-help or New Age section of any bookstore.

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5 hours ago, Jeanne said:

After all is said and done..and I have tried to study more as well as prayer and listening....I just don't know....and yet,  with a deligence...I cannot get that spirit back.  Reading the Book of Mormon again right now. The thing is...it is the latest Presidents and Apostles that have given me more questions that Joseph ever could.

You know I love you Jeanne, and enjoy your posts and perspectives. Maybe, and my guess is that the Spirit left you, it is just lying dormant waiting to bloom again when the warmth of your soul gives it enough light. Now, I know that sounds like the poet in me, but I have walked through the "Valley of the shadow of death" many times. Because any poet worth his salt must struggle to the mountain tops, remain for a short while (well it seems short) and then pass through the valleys of depression, where I now reside. This must be so that the things that I write have meaning and depth, and the ability to act as a lifeline who cannot put their own feelings into words. Something great I hope will emerge from this present darkness, hopefully before the darkness overtakes me for good, as in never lets me out.

As for the questions that continue to mount, let me tell you of something I learned long ago. "If in my entire life I ever thought I would find all the answers, it was only because I never knew there would be so many questions". Most answers will never fully be answered in this life. As the Apostle Paul taught, "...in this life we see through a glass darkly". So in many cases, what we are seeing are shadows, shapes and colors, and then (for most) making our best guest. We it not so, if we had all the answers, we could not live by Faith, but by perfect knowledge, and our judgement would be brutal, as we would have no defensce. So please my dear sister, "hear" my words, because I try to write in such a way that you can hear with your soul. God bless you, God comfort you, and may God heal you, that you may hear the music again. 

You know I have had trouble with my hearing for so long, my wife of 42 years, (and we are now expecting our 9th grand baby in two months) is always listening to what others say to me. Not to intrude, but to repeat when words or phrases I don't understand, or pick up on. A couple of months ago, my grandson was trying to tell me something, when I told him I did not understand, his reply was, "what's wrong, are your ears broke"? That hurt so bad, I just retired to my room and did not come back out. It was not his fault, turns out his preschool teachers are using this phrase on my grandson and others when they don't listen. The worst part, is the Collage Grad, who majored in preschool child development and education, that teacher is my own daughter-in-law, living in my homes. She was mortified he would say that to his Papa, but who better than one who is almost deaf in my left ear, and have demised capacity in the right  

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19 minutes ago, hope_for_things said:

Just to be clear Van Wagoner didn’t compare it to the BoM, that’s from a book Ann Taves wrote titled Revelatory Events, it just came out late 2017, and its very good.  She’s not directly comparing the two books either, I appologize if you got that impression from what I said.  She was comparing the production of A course in Miracles, the person that produced it claimed to be receiving and writing down revelation from a source that was ascribed as Jesus Christ.  In the production of that work, there were group dynamics that influenced its creation, and that is my really poor summary of Taves thesis, the observations of how group dynamics influence the creation of revelatory religious texts.  I very interesting and important read in Mormon Studies.  

The interesting parallels lie in how the person producing the text explains their receipt of the text as coming from a source external to their own thought processes.  

I have not read Ann Taves work, but I am aware that it is an attempt to provide a naturalistic explanation for the BOM. This is kind of funny to me. JS's explanation, the explanation he gave of the angel, the plates, etc., can be summed up in a couple of paragraphs; while Ann Taves requires thousands, tens of thousand words to make her case———and I'll bet it still doesn't work.

There is no naturalistic explanation for the BOM.

Edited by bdouglas

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3 hours ago, champatsch said:

Rees has also written other articles on the topic.

 

6 hours ago, Robert F. Smith said:

So, where did the BofM ultimately come from?  Any good ideas?

Here are some of the other examples that Van Wagoner gives in his book that might be similar to the BoM as far as complexity, and uniqueness and may have offer some other similarities.  

  • Mohammed’s Quran 
  • Jakob Lorber - from 1840 - Van Wagoner writes “Early one morning, he heard a voice coming from the region of his heart calling him to be “God’s Scribe.”  The voice, later identified as Jesus Christ, told him “Take up your pen and write!” According to Lorber’s biographer, “When he had written down all he had heard with his Inner Ear in the course of that day, it had become clear to hi that he had been given a most extraordinary mission from the world beyond.”   He wrote many works, but his magus opus was “The Great Gospel of John” consisting of eleven volumes, 10,000 hand-written pages, a day by day account of the final three years of Christ’s life on earth.  
  • Pearl Curran/Patience Worth - Van Wagoner writes “From 1913 until Curran’s death in 1938, Patience Worth transmitted an incredible amount of material through Curran.  Some of the material was in her quaint seventeenth-century dialect, and some in more modern English.  One night, Worth dictated twenty-two poems.  In one five-year stretch, she wrote 1.6 million words, more than six times the length of the Book of Mormon.”  He also writes, “Curran’s knowledge of Bible lands was limited to what she had learned in Sunday School.  She quit school at age fifteen, was not an avid reader, rarely traveled, and like Joseph Smith, possessed no books in her home that could ah be been used as reference materials. “. 

He also lists Schuman’s A Course in Miracles.  I’ll have to correct my other statement to another poster I made earlier saying it was Taves,  but it was both of them.  Anyway, really interesting to read about, I would check out Van Wagoner’s book.  

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32 minutes ago, hope_for_things said:

Why does “where he got the message” have any real impact on whether the content of that message is value to humankind.  Does where Jesus got the message that we should do unto others as we would have them do unto us, change if its found that this message originated in some other cultures somewhere prior to these statements in the New Testament?  I don’t think the original source of the message is as important as what the message is expounding about reality and our experience in this life.  

I was responding to your comment "lets see if there is anything valuable about the message in the text". 

In my opinion, the claimed value of the Book of Mormon is not the stories or the content, or even the message which is not much different from what we might find in the Bible or any number of texts predating the Book of Mormon.

The claimed value of the Book of Mormon is that God still reveals to modern prophets. Its obviously not easy to determine the value of that claim. Its definitely nothing like trying to determine the value of Paradise Lost or the Mona Lisa.

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Sorry to derail (if that is what I've done). As to language of BOM, it is just one more thing, one more evidence of its authenticity. It didn't come out of the head of JS, and the only explanation of its origins that makes any sense is the one that he gave.

When someone———whether it be Ann Taves, Van Wagoner or anyone else———provides a naturalistic origin theory for the BOM that makes any sense, I will be interested to read it.

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17 minutes ago, bdouglas said:

The BOM is filled with circumstantial detail, loose ends (as you would find in any history, not fiction), memorable characters, references to geography, migrations, languages, measurements, seeds, animals, minerals, farming, wars (one could write a large book on warfare in the BOM, and in fact people have), a lost world———in addition to the primary purpose of the book, which is to testify of Christ. In other words it is a grounded in a real place and a real time with real people.

While A Course In Miracles purports to be a revelation from Christ, there is absolutely nothing in the book to ground it in any reality, place or time, and it bears no resemblance to anything in the Four Gospels. It is a gasy, airy, New-Agey tome filled with platitudes, such as you can find in any self-help or New Age section of any bookstore.

Sorry, one more correction on my part, I was reviewing Van Wagoner’s book to reply to another post earlier, and found he also does make the A Course in Miracles example as a comparison too.  

The problem with the real people and places that ground the BoM is that no substantial evidence can support that.   I still don’t think that’s ultimately important though, the Bible likewise has many narratives that can’t be substantiated by actual evidence.  Myth is powerful irrespective of its relationship to actual events.  Things are grounded in a reality if you believe they are.  Subjectivity is key when it comes to religious claims.  The post enlightenment literalists in conservative Christanity are largely a product of the past two hundred years and this perspective is largely responsible for why religion is suffering so much in recent years.  

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15 minutes ago, bdouglas said:

I have not read Ann Taves work, but I am aware that it is an attempt to provide a naturalistic explanation for the BOM. This is kind of funny to me. JS's explanation, the explanation he gave of the angel, the plates, etc., can be summed up in a couple of paragraphs; while Ann Taves requires thousands, tens of thousand words to make her case———and I'll bet it still doesn't work.

There is no naturalistic explanation for the BOM.

You honestly can’t critique something you haven’t read.   Sounds like you have an opinion that can’t be persuaded by evidence.  I don’t see this as a fair evaluation.  

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14 minutes ago, hope_for_things said:

The problem with the real people and places that ground the BoM is that no substantial evidence can support that.

I dunno. I'm about 25% of the way through "Mormon's Codex", not to mention 1 Nephi and the abundant evidence there to support an Old World origin.

(The idea that somebody in 1827, anybody, could write even the first chapter of 1 Nephi——grounded as it is in the particular place and time of Jerusalem 600 BC with abundant circumstantial detail——is preposterous. It just couldn't be done.)

Edited by bdouglas
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5 minutes ago, Rajah Manchou said:

I was responding to your comment "lets see if there is anything valuable about the message in the text". 

In my opinion, the claimed value of the Book of Mormon is not the stories or the content, or even the message which is not much different from what we might find in the Bible or any number of texts predating the Book of Mormon.

The claimed value of the Book of Mormon is that God still reveals to modern prophets. Its obviously not easy to determine the value of that claim. Its definitely nothing like trying to determine the value of Paradise Lost or the Mona Lisa.

If the value of a book doesn’t reside in the content of the words written, then I must have missed the point of books all these years.  

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5 minutes ago, bdouglas said:

Sorry to derail (if that is what I've done). As to language of BOM, it is just one more thing, one more evidence of its authenticity. It didn't come out of the head of JS, and the only explanation of its origins that makes any sense is the one that he gave.

When someone———whether it be Ann Taves, Van Wagoner or anyone else———provides a naturalistic origin theory for the BOM that makes any sense, I will be interested to read it.

Yet by your own admission you haven’t read Taves, and I’m assuming you haven’t read Van Wagoner, yet you’ve predjudged their works.  I challenge you to support your statement here and actually give their works a read.  

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3 minutes ago, bdouglas said:

I dunno. I'm about 25% of the way through "Mormon's Codex", not to mention 1 Nephi and the abundant evidence there to support a Old World origin.

Read some of Brant Gardner’s books, they are better than Sorenson and he takes a little more moderate and sensible. approach, yet he’s still admittedly an apologist with a bias towards the church, but I find him to be much more middle of the road than Sorenson.  

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7 minutes ago, hope_for_things said:

Yet by your own admission you haven’t read Taves, and I’m assuming you haven’t read Van Wagoner, yet you’ve predjudged their works.  I challenge you to support your statement here and actually give their works a read.  

That's fair, but I wonder how familiar Ann Taves is with the BOM. I'm guessing not very, if she compares it to "A Course In Miracles" and certain inspirational poetry, etc. Compare it to something grounded in a real place and real time, with circumstantial detail, geography, indeed a whole world: let her find something like that, and compare the BOM to it, and I will take her seriously and I will avidly read her (and Van Wagoner, if he can do the same).

Edited by bdouglas

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14 minutes ago, hope_for_things said:

Read some of Brant Gardner’s books, they are better than Sorenson and he takes a little more moderate and sensible. approach, yet he’s still admittedly an apologist with a bias towards the church, but I find him to be much more middle of the road than Sorenson.  

I just got the first volume Gardner's book on BOM, the one dealing with 1 Nephi. Looking forward to reading it.

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10 minutes ago, bdouglas said:

That's fair, but I wonder how familiar Ann Taves is with the BOM. I'm guessing not very, if she compares it to "A Course In Miracles" and certain inspirational poetry, etc. Compare it to something grounded in a real place and real time, with circumstantial detail, geography, indeed a whole world: let her find something like that, and compare the BOM to it, and I will take her seriously and I will avidly read her (and Van Wagoner, if he can do the same).

Sounds fair.  Van Wagoner’s book covers the early years  of Joseph’s life up to 1830.  I think it’s the most detailed book of these early years that I’ve read.  Very well researched and he’s not antagonist towards the church a well respected historian although not formally trained in history as Robert noted,  he was respected in the community for his quality scholarship.  

Taves explores religions experience and the development of three early movements in her book, Mormonism is one of them.  The comparison to Mormonism is quite detailed, but does not focus on the BoM as a central theme in her observations.  She is also quite respectful towards Mormons and respected in the Mormon studies world.  

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19 minutes ago, hope_for_things said:

If the value of a book doesn’t reside in the content of the words written, then I must have missed the point of books all these years.  

Correct, that is why you see so much effort to examine the content of the book, and the life of Joseph Smith. 

People are trying to determine if Joseph was a true prophet, or not. One way of doing that is to determine if he translated an ancient text called the Book of Mormon, or whether he cobbled it together from a number of sources.  

I could say to you "eat meat sparingly!" and that would be of some value. Or I could say, God and Jesus Christ visited me in person and appointed me as their prophet and messenger, and told me to tell you to "eat meat sparingly!"

It's different.

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38 minutes ago, Rajah Manchou said:

Correct, that is why you see so much effort to examine the content of the book, and the life of Joseph Smith. 

People are trying to determine if Joseph was a true prophet, or not. One way of doing that is to determine if he translated an ancient text called the Book of Mormon, or whether he cobbled it together from a number of sources.  

I could say to you "eat meat sparingly!" and that would be of some value. Or I could say, God and Jesus Christ visited me in person and appointed me as their prophet and messenger, and told me to tell you to "eat meat sparingly!"

It's different.

Appeals to authority don’t impress me much these days.  I’m more interested in appeals to pragmatism.  

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On 3/1/2018 at 7:52 PM, hope_for_things said:

Here are some of the other examples that Van Wagoner gives in his book that might be similar to the BoM as far as complexity, and uniqueness and may have offer some other similarities.  

  • Mohammed’s Quran 
  • Jakob Lorber - from 1840 - Van Wagoner writes “Early one morning, he heard a voice coming from the region of his heart calling him to be “God’s Scribe.”  The voice, later identified as Jesus Christ, told him “Take up your pen and write!” According to Lorber’s biographer, “When he had written down all he had heard with his Inner Ear in the course of that day, it had become clear to hi that he had been given a most extraordinary mission from the world beyond.”   He wrote many works, but his magus opus was “The Great Gospel of John” consisting of eleven volumes, 10,000 hand-written pages, a day by day account of the final three years of Christ’s life on earth.  
  • Pearl Curran/Patience Worth - Van Wagoner writes “From 1913 until Curran’s death in 1938, Patience Worth transmitted an incredible amount of material through Curran.  Some of the material was in her quaint seventeenth-century dialect, and some in more modern English.  One night, Worth dictated twenty-two poems.  In one five-year stretch, she wrote 1.6 million words, more than six times the length of the Book of Mormon.”  He also writes, “Curran’s knowledge of Bible lands was limited to what she had learned in Sunday School.  She quit school at age fifteen, was not an avid reader, rarely traveled, and like Joseph Smith, possessed no books in her home that could ah be been used as reference materials. “. 

He also lists Schuman’s A Course in Miracles.  I’ll have to correct my other statement to another poster I made earlier saying it was Taves,  but it was both of them.  Anyway, really interesting to read about, I would check out Van Wagoner’s book.  

So your (and Richard Van Wagner's) answer to the question of the ultimate origin of the BofM is to provide a series of instances in which people came up with long and complex books of one sort or another.  Without critical scholarship, however, that is meaningless.  As you are aware, "critical scholarship" does not mean negative scholarship, but rather has to do with critical, systematic thinking and study of an item or issue.  Usually in a multidisciplinary way.  This approach is regularly used by scholars of the ancient world when they find and translate ancient documents of any kind.  That sort of study can help distinguish forgeries from authentic items, and can categorize documents into various genres.  The contents and meaning of those documents help reinforce the understanding of the other documents.

The amount of material written by Curran, Worth, Muhammad, Lorber, and Schuman is largely irrelevant, although that does mean that there is more material available to analyze.  Also, if a lengthy document has strong internal coherence, that might suggest a planned content and a long process of editing to make it all fit.  Most important of all, one must check the details to see whether they are factual.  Some of that can be seen in scholarly retrospect.  For the Urantia volume, for example, the content and theory internal to it are indicative of the time when it was written, and it provides non-factual information based on scholarly assessments in geology, history, and astronomy which could only be known after the fact, i.e., through discoveries made since publication of the book.

Edited by Robert F. Smith
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          B   which will point to you 
              C   a straight course to eternal bliss, 
      A   as it was for our fathers to give heed to this compass, 
           B   which would point unto them 
               C   a straight course to the promised land.
      The A phrase compares the ease of heeding the words of Christ with the ease of looking at the Liahona. The B phrase describes the purpose of A which is to point the course. The C phrase declares the final destination of those who follow A, salvation and arrival at the promised land.
       A   For just as surely as this director did bring our fathers, 
         B   by following its course, 
             C   to the promised land, 
      A   shall the words of Christ, 
         B   if we follow their course,
             C  carry us beyond this vale of sorrow into a far better land of promise.
      The A phrase again compares the words of Christ with the Liahona, but in reversed order. The B phrase indicates what we should do with A – follow their directions, and the C phrase gives the destination of those who do B – the promised land and a far better place, eternal life. 
       A   for so was it with our fathers; 
         B    for so was it prepared for them,
            C   that if they would look they might live; 
      A   even so it is with us.
         B   The way is prepared, 
            C   and if we will look we may live forever.
      In this last alternate, Alma personalizes the analogies of the first two. The A phrase compares the Nephite fathers (Lehi and Nephi) with Alma and his son Helaman. The B phrase indicates that God prepared the ways of direction for all of them. The C phrase compares the physical salvation of the Nephite fathers by following the Liahona with the spiritual salvation promised to all of us who will look upon Christ.
      Alma concludes his instructions with another impassioned fatherly plea that his son rise to the greatness of his calling.
      This passage indicates deliberate logical planning on the part of Alma in giving crucial instructions to his son prior to his death. This is what Alma thought would be of most worth to his son - look to Christ. It gives us insight into the Nephite mind, especially that of a powerful and gifted leader. I am so grateful for the Book of Mormon and the beautiful intricacies that await in its pages for us to discover. (Thanks to Donald Parry for his marvelous edition of the Book of Mormon. Poetic Parallelism in the Book of Mormon: The Complete Text Reformatted. Maxwell Institute, 2007).
       Your comments are welcomed. 
       Here is the passage in context.
       
    • By Five Solas
      1. Read the Book of Mormon
      2.  Ask God
      3. With a sincere heart
      4. With real intent
      5. Having faith in Christ
      Failure is not an option, if you believe Moroni.  First, you must read.  Next, you must follow with prayer while meeting his remaining 3 prerequisites.  Then the truth of the Book of Mormon will be manifested to you.  Full stop.
      Therefore if the truth is not manifested, the reason is as plain as the nose on your face: One or more of the prerequisites were not met.  There is no alternate possibility.  "It’s very simple"—as President Trump is fond of saying in his press conferences.
      5 possible ways to fail, and only 5.  So here is a question:  With LDS Church growth stalling and 70+% of millennials going inactive/leaving the LDS Church by age 20 (courtesy of Mormonleaks), which of the 5 do you think represents the greatest challenge?  Or are they all equally challenging?  Or do you think it's some combination of them that present difficulty?
      And while we’re on the question, how exactly does one go about achieving the last three prerequisites?  Would any LDS seriously admonish an investigator to read the Bible first in order to attain “faith in Christ” prior to attempting the Book of Mormon?
      --Erik
      _____________________________________________
      For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong.
      --H.L. Mencken
    • By Robert F. Smith
      Annalee Newitz, “Most scientists now reject the idea that the first Americans came by land,” Ars Technica, Nov 4, 2017, online at https://arstechnica.com/science/2017/11/majority-of-scientists-now-agree-that-humans-came-to-the-americas-by-boat/ , with map,
      Todd J. Braje, et al., “Finding the first Americans,” Science, 358/6363 (3 Nov 2017):592-594, online at http://science.sciencemag.org/content/358/6363/592 ,
      It now appears that coming to America by boat was normal even from earliest times.  There is no longer any reason to credit the Beringia Land Bridge hypothesis, except in a much later period.
    • By Freedom
      I am looking for a list of words used in the Book of Mormon that have a different meaning today. For example 'awful' use to mean full of awe rather than bad. Thanks for the help. 
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