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Where did the Book of Mormon come from?

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1 hour ago, Bernard Gui said:

Or "adios" which is the exact parallel word to adieu in Spanish. I'm still not sure why you are reluctant to let go of adieu as some sort of unusual 19th century English word even if found in a translation. It was commonly used. Not wanting to beat a dead horse to death again, but I provided a whole lot of references to the use of adieu in Joseph's time, including George Washington and Solomon Spalding. Or this last note from Thomas Jefferson to his daughter Martha...

Never saw adieu used in the translation of the Bible..... Your point about it being a fairly common term in Joseph's day has been ceded. It is still unusual inserted in the formal sounding text. This one struck me as unusual long before I learned its origin or the critics seized upon it as obvious error.

Glenn

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9 hours ago, JarMan said:

Part 2 centers around the idea that the moral of the story is that too much religious freedom is a bad thing and that atheists, in particular, shouldn't be tolerated by the government since their actions cause civil unrest and lead the people into sin. This is clearly not a patriotic American idea. And I've shown previously that the idea that atheists suffer a horrible death according to God's retribution is a 17th Century convention. I don't see any motherhood-and-apple-pie in this story or many ideas 19th Century Americans would sympathize with.

Joseph said himself that liberty of conscience was one of the "first principles" of his life, taught to him by his father in his childhood. [link] For him, the Constitution wasn't broad enough in extending freedoms of religion because it did not punish those that did not preserve those freedoms. "The Constitution should contain a provision that every officer of the Government who should neglect or refuse to extent the protection guaranteed in the Constitution should be subject to capital punishment."

So I agree with you that Joseph Smith would not have authored the story of Korihor. But...then there were dissenters, and too much freedom quickly became a bad thing. The Salt Sermon happened and Cowdery and the Whitmers were threatened with being "trodden under foot" or hung. The next Sunday, Sidney Rigdon spoke to those who accused him of not following the principles of republicanism:

"Some characters in the place have been crying: ‘You have broken the law; you have acted contrary to the principles of republicanism’. When a country, or body of people have individuals among them with whom they do not wish to associate and public expression is taken against them remaining among them and such individuals do not remove, it is the principle of republicanism itself that gives that community a right to expel them forcibly, and no law will prevent it. It was not against the principles of republicanism for the people to hang the gamblers at Vicksburgh, as it was a matter in which they unanimously acted.”

So it doesn't seem history supports the argument that atheists or dissenters or sinners suffering a horrible death at the hands of God (or under the feet of the community of Saints) is strictly a 17th century convention. Rigdon, in 1838, sure seemed to sympathize with the trampling of Korihor.

Edited by Rajah Manchou
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1 hour ago, Glenn101 said:

Never saw adieu used in the translation of the Bible..... Your point about it being a fairly common term in Joseph's day has been ceded. It is still unusual inserted in the formal sounding text. This one struck me as unusual long before I learned its origin or the critics seized upon it as obvious error.

Glenn

Well, I'm still baffled why you are concerned about it, but that's ok. Off to Hawai'i.

Edited by Bernard Gui

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1 hour ago, Rajah Manchou said:

Joseph said himself that liberty of conscience was one of the "first principles" of his life, taught to him by his father in his childhood. [link] For him, the Constitution wasn't broad enough in extending freedoms of religion because it did not punish those that did not preserve those freedoms. "The Constitution should contain a provision that every officer of the Government who should neglect or refuse to extent the protection guaranteed in the Constitution should be subject to capital punishment."

So I agree with you that Joseph Smith would not have authored the story of Korihor. But...then there were dissenters, and too much freedom quickly became a bad thing. The Salt Sermon happened and Cowdery and the Whitmers were threatened with being "trodden under foot" or hung. The next Sunday, Sidney Rigdon spoke to those who accused him of not following the principles of republicanism:

"Some characters in the place have been crying: ‘You have broken the law; you have acted contrary to the principles of republicanism’. When a country, or body of people have individuals among them with whom they do not wish to associate and public expression is taken against them remaining among them and such individuals do not remove, it is the principle of republicanism itself that gives that community a right to expel them forcibly, and no law will prevent it. It was not against the principles of republicanism for the people to hang the gamblers at Vicksburgh, as it was a matter in which they unanimously acted.”

So it doesn't seem history supports the argument that atheists or dissenters or sinners suffering a horrible death at the hands of God (or under the feet of the community of Saints) is strictly a 17th century convention. Rigdon, in 1838, sure seemed to sympathize with the trampling of Korihor.

Rigdon is talking about vigilante mob justice. This, unfortunately, was quite common in early America as we see the saints were subject to it many times (and occasionally practiced it, too). The story of Korihor is a story of law and order and, ultimately, divine justice--not extra-judicial action and mob punishment. (There is no indication there was intent by the Zoramites to kill Korihor, who was simply a deaf/mute beggar from another land.) All you've really shown is that a mob mentality existed in Joseph's environment. You haven't shown any link to atheism, sexual immorality among atheists, divine justice, lawful action against atheists, purposeful deception by atheists, or a state religion administering justice. These are all aspects of Korihor's story with 17th Century links.

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1 hour ago, Bernard Gui said:

Well, I'm still baffled why you are concerned about it, but that's ok. Off to Hawai'i.

I've never quite understood the problem with adieu, either. The discussion has gotten me thinking, though. Grotius knew many languages including French. He actually lived much of his adult life in exile in France and many of his writings are in French. So what if he wrote it in French, originally, and not Latin? Adieu could be an example of a Frenchism. The other possible Frenchism off the top of my head is derangement. Carmack has pointed out that derangement didn't come into the English Language until after 1700. Another explanation for these two French words is that the original English translator was probably also fluent in French. (It's not unlikely that an English scholar in the 17th Century who knew Latin would also know French.)

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10 minutes ago, JarMan said:

Rigdon is talking about vigilante mob justice. This, unfortunately, was quite common in early America as we see the saints were subject to it many times (and occasionally practiced it, too). The story of Korihor is a story of law and order and, ultimately, divine justice--not extra-judicial action and mob punishment. (There is no indication there was intent by the Zoramites to kill Korihor, who was simply a deaf/mute beggar from another land.) All you've really shown is that a mob mentality existed in Joseph's environment. You haven't shown any link to atheism, sexual immorality among atheists, divine justice, lawful action against atheists, purposeful deception by atheists, or a state religion administering justice. These are all aspects of Korihor's story with 17th Century links.

It shows that Sidney Rigdon, in 1838, believed that republicanism permitted a country, or a body of people, the right to vote religious dissenters out of town. He is not talking about a mob, or vigilantism, he is talking about the church and its leaders voting to forcibly remove people who don't share the same beliefs. He is threatening those dissenters with a trampling.

He claims this is a "principle of republicanism". This shows without doubt that too much religious freedom was possible in America in the 19th century. Another example is the Mormons being run out of town by mobs, and the United States government. You are taking for granted the religious freedoms that Americans enjoyed in the 19th century. I'm pointing out that the Korihor story could have taken place in 1650 Salem, 1838 Ohio, or 1860 SLC, and it would have been normal.

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19 minutes ago, Rajah Manchou said:

It shows that Sidney Rigdon, in 1838, believed that republicanism permitted a country, or a body of people, the right to vote religious dissenters out of town. He is not talking about a mob, or vigilantism, he is talking about the church and its leaders voting to forcibly remove people who don't share the same beliefs. He is threatening those dissenters with a trampling.

He claims this is a "principle of republicanism". This shows without doubt that too much religious freedom was possible in America in the 19th century. Another example is the Mormons being run out of town by mobs, and the United States government. You are taking for granted the religious freedoms that Americans enjoyed in the 19th century. I'm pointing out that the Korihor story could have taken place in 1650 Salem, 1838 Ohio, or 1860 SLC, and it would have been normal.

Can you provide a link for your Rigdon quote so I can read it in context? I am almost certain he is talking about extra-judicial action. And the quote doesn't mention religious dissenters, it mentions gamblers.

I mentioned half a dozen or so specific parallels and provided sources. You haven't identified anything specific of note. Korihor's story is not about mob violence or unrighteous persecution of a religious minority by a government. It's about a government/church taking legitimate action against the power of anti-Christ.

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1 hour ago, JarMan said:

Can you provide a link for your Rigdon quote so I can read it in context? I am almost certain he is talking about extra-judicial action. And the quote doesn't mention religious dissenters, it mentions gamblers.

Rigdon was trying to clean house, so the whole thing is about religious dissenters. Its from the Reed Peck manuscript:

At this period measures were concerted no doubt by instigation of the presidency to free the community of the Cowderies, Whitmers, Lyman Johnson and some others, to effect which a secret meeting was called at Far West, by Jared Carter and Dimick B. Huntington two of Smiths greatest courtiers where a proposition was made and supported by some as being the best policy to Kill these men that they would not be capable of injuring the church. All their measures were strenuously opposed by John Corrill and T. B. March one of the twelve apostles of the church and in consequence nothing could be effected until the matter was taken up publicly by the presidency the Sunday following (June 17th) in the presence of a large congregation. S. Rigdon took his text from the fifth chapter of Mathew "Ye are the Salt of the Earth but if the salt have lost his savour wherewith shall it be salted, it is henceforth good for nothing but to be cast out and be trodden underfoot of men" From this Scripture he undertook to prove that when men embrace the gospel and afterwards lose their faith it is the duty of the Saints to trample them under their feet He informed the people that they had a set of men among them that had dissented from the church and were doing all in their power to destroy the presidency, laying plans to take their lives &c., accused them of counterfeiting lying cheating and numerous other crimes and called on the people to rise en masse and rid the county of Such a nuisance He said it is the duty of this people to trample them into the earth, and if the county cannot be freed from them any other way I will assist to trample them down or to erect a gallows on the Square of Far West and hang them up as they did the gamblers at Vicksburgh and it would be an act at which the angels would smile with approbation.

Joseph Smith in a Short speech Sanctioned what had been Said by Rigdon though said he I don't want the brethren to act unlawfully but will tell them one thing Judas was a traitor and instead of hanging himself was hung by Peter, and with this hint the subject was dropped for the day having created a great excitement and prepared the people to execute anything that should be proposed.

We found that the events of a few days had placed Caldwell County under a despotic government where even liberty of speech was denied to those not willing to unite in support of the new order confidential subjects were appointed to converse with all suspected members and by pretending to be displeased with the antirepublican measures enforced against the dissenters were able to learn the feelings of many, and by reporting to the presidency drew down thundering anathemas from the pulpit upon those so unwary as to speak their sentiments where long tried friendship was swallowed up in bigotry and fanaticism

A friend of long standing asked me if I did not think the dissenters were dealt harshly by and that the presidency did wrong in exciting the people against them[?]

Saying at the same time that he "blamed Joseph &c" I answered that the dissenters deserved punishment if they were guilty as represented. Thinking from my answer that I had become satisfied with what had been done, he acknowledged that he was only endeavouring to learn the true state of my feelings, and then to give me an idea of his attachment to the cause, said that if Josep Smith Should tell him to cut my throat he would do it without hesitation I hear expressions of this nature from several and shuddered at the thought of living in a community where the nod of one man if displeased would deprive an individual of every privilege and even life if the consequence had not been feared more by him than his following On the Sunday succeeding the flight of the dissenters, S. Rigdon in a public discourse explained satisfactorily no doubt to the people the principles of republicanism (After informing them as an introduction that "some certain characters in the place had been crying you have broken the law-- you have acted contrary to the principles of republicanism" he said that "when a country, or body of people have individuals among them with whom they do not wish to associate and a public expression is taken against their remaining among them and such individuals do not remove it is the principle of republicanism itself that gives that community a right to expel them forcibly and no law will prevent it" He also said that it was not against the principles of republicanism for the people to hang the gamblers in Vicksburgh as it was a matter in which they unanimously acted"

Soon after the delivery of this speech he informed the church in an address, that they would soon be called upon to consecrate their property and those who would not comply with the law of consecration should be delivered over to the brother of Gideon, whom he represented as being a terrible fellow. We are[,] said he[,] Soon to commence building the 'Lords House' in Far West which will enhance the value of property ten fold in its vicinity and such and such proprietors as will not consecrate the whole amount of that increase of value for the building of the house and other church uses should be delivered over to the brother of Gideon and be sent bounding over the Prairies as the dissenters were a few days ago...

1 hour ago, JarMan said:

I mentioned half a dozen or so specific parallels and provided sources. You haven't identified anything specific of note. Korihor's story is not about mob violence or unrighteous persecution of a religious minority by a government. It's about a government/church taking legitimate action against the power of anti-Christ.

Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon were the government and church in Caldwell County Missouri, and they felt they were taking legitimate action against religious dissenters by calling for them to be hung, or trampled under foot. This is not mob violence. It was the leadership of the Church and Caldwell County, the local militia and the Danites trying to defend themselves from mob violence.

I'm just saying that Korihor's story about an enemy of the County Church being trampled under foot was not an anachronism in the 19th century. 

Edited by Rajah Manchou
For brevity I edited out a few paragraphs. Please follow the link for the full document.

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10 hours ago, Bernard Gui said:

Well, I'm still baffled why you are concerned about it, but that's ok. Off to Hawai'i.

Not concerned. Just noted what seems to be an anomaly. Hey, I've ceded all of your main points. You got to leave me something. ;)

Have a safe and enjoyable visit in Hawaii.

Glenn

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15 hours ago, Rajah Manchou said:

Rigdon was trying to clean house, so the whole thing is about religious dissenters. Its from the Reed Peck manuscript:

At this period measures were concerted no doubt by instigation of the presidency to free the community of the Cowderies, Whitmers, Lyman Johnson and some others, to effect which a secret meeting was called at Far West, by Jared Carter and Dimick B. Huntington two of Smiths greatest courtiers where a proposition was made and supported by some as being the best policy to Kill these men that they would not be capable of injuring the church. All their measures were strenuously opposed by John Corrill and T. B. March one of the twelve apostles of the church and in consequence nothing could be effected until the matter was taken up publicly by the presidency the Sunday following (June 17th) in the presence of a large congregation. S. Rigdon took his text from the fifth chapter of Mathew "Ye are the Salt of the Earth but if the salt have lost his savour wherewith shall it be salted, it is henceforth good for nothing but to be cast out and be trodden underfoot of men" From this Scripture he undertook to prove that when men embrace the gospel and afterwards lose their faith it is the duty of the Saints to trample them under their feet He informed the people that they had a set of men among them that had dissented from the church and were doing all in their power to destroy the presidency, laying plans to take their lives &c., accused them of counterfeiting lying cheating and numerous other crimes and called on the people to rise en masse and rid the county of Such a nuisance He said it is the duty of this people to trample them into the earth, and if the county cannot be freed from them any other way I will assist to trample them down or to erect a gallows on the Square of Far West and hang them up as they did the gamblers at Vicksburgh and it would be an act at which the angels would smile with approbation.

Joseph Smith in a Short speech Sanctioned what had been Said by Rigdon though said he I don't want the brethren to act unlawfully but will tell them one thing Judas was a traitor and instead of hanging himself was hung by Peter, and with this hint the subject was dropped for the day having created a great excitement and prepared the people to execute anything that should be proposed.

We found that the events of a few days had placed Caldwell County under a despotic government where even liberty of speech was denied to those not willing to unite in support of the new order confidential subjects were appointed to converse with all suspected members and by pretending to be displeased with the antirepublican measures enforced against the dissenters were able to learn the feelings of many, and by reporting to the presidency drew down thundering anathemas from the pulpit upon those so unwary as to speak their sentiments where long tried friendship was swallowed up in bigotry and fanaticism

A friend of long standing asked me if I did not think the dissenters were dealt harshly by and that the presidency did wrong in exciting the people against them[?]

Saying at the same time that he "blamed Joseph &c" I answered that the dissenters deserved punishment if they were guilty as represented. Thinking from my answer that I had become satisfied with what had been done, he acknowledged that he was only endeavouring to learn the true state of my feelings, and then to give me an idea of his attachment to the cause, said that if Josep Smith Should tell him to cut my throat he would do it without hesitation I hear expressions of this nature from several and shuddered at the thought of living in a community where the nod of one man if displeased would deprive an individual of every privilege and even life if the consequence had not been feared more by him than his following On the Sunday succeeding the flight of the dissenters, S. Rigdon in a public discourse explained satisfactorily no doubt to the people the principles of republicanism (After informing them as an introduction that "some certain characters in the place had been crying you have broken the law-- you have acted contrary to the principles of republicanism" he said that "when a country, or body of people have individuals among them with whom they do not wish to associate and a public expression is taken against their remaining among them and such individuals do not remove it is the principle of republicanism itself that gives that community a right to expel them forcibly and no law will prevent it" He also said that it was not against the principles of republicanism for the people to hang the gamblers in Vicksburgh as it was a matter in which they unanimously acted"

Soon after the delivery of this speech he informed the church in an address, that they would soon be called upon to consecrate their property and those who would not comply with the law of consecration should be delivered over to the brother of Gideon, whom he represented as being a terrible fellow. We are[,] said he[,] Soon to commence building the 'Lords House' in Far West which will enhance the value of property ten fold in its vicinity and such and such proprietors as will not consecrate the whole amount of that increase of value for the building of the house and other church uses should be delivered over to the brother of Gideon and be sent bounding over the Prairies as the dissenters were a few days ago...

Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon were the government and church in Caldwell County Missouri, and they felt they were taking legitimate action against religious dissenters by calling for them to be hung, or trampled under foot. This is not mob violence. It was the leadership of the Church and Caldwell County, the local militia and the Danites trying to defend themselves from mob violence.

I'm just saying that Korihor's story about an enemy of the County Church being trampled under foot was not an anachronism in the 19th century. 

Your last paragraph is a straw man. I never claimed this aspect of the story was anachronistic.

And I notice you have insinuated a close church-government association in order to make early Mormonism sound more like the Book of Mormon. But this mistakes the result for the cause. It was the Book of Mormon that influenced the early Mormon view on church and state, not the other way around. 

I honestly don’t see any notable similarities to the Korihor story and the story of the Danite response to the dissenters. Rigdon was calling for mob violence. I don’t know why you keep saying otherwise. Korihor was an atheist and a stranger, not a dissenter. The Nephite approved process for dealing with Korihor was arrest, interrogate, exile…not a lynch mob. The trampling he received was God’s justice after he had presumably been exiled according to the law.

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3 hours ago, JarMan said:

Your last paragraph is a straw man. I never claimed this aspect of the story was anachronistic.

I never claimed you did. But you did say "the whole Korihor story is anachronistic to 19th Century America". I was pointing out that the whole story is not anachronistic, and provided the example of Sidney Rigdon hinting that enemies of the church (like Korihor) aren't welcome, and that they should be exiled or punished. Maybe Rigdon got the idea from Matthew 5, maybe he got it from Alma 30 or maybe it was his own invention. But it does show that some elements of the Korihor story were not anachronistic to 19th century America.

3 hours ago, JarMan said:

Rigdon was calling for mob violence. I don’t know why you keep saying otherwise.

Because you are characterizing Rigdon's response to mob violence as mob violence. Rigdon was the first counsellor in the first presidency of the Church. He clearly stated his belief that casting out unwanted people (whether they be atheists, enemies, agnostics or gamblers) was a right and a principle of republicanism. Joseph Smith endorsed Rigdon's statement but added that laws should not be broken. I know you aren't saying this, but its important to clarify that Rigdon and Smith were not mobsters calling for mob violence. They were trying to protect themselves, without breaking the law, from mob violence because the government was not protecting them.

3 hours ago, JarMan said:

Korihor was an atheist and a stranger, not a dissenter.

You are assuming he was an atheist, but atheists don't say things like (1) "I do not deny the existence of a God, but I do not believe that there is a God; and I say also, that ye do not know that there is a God", and (2) "I always knew that there was a God. But behold, the devil hath deceived me". This is not your standard atheist. Korihor also said he was on a mission to reclaim the people from "following the wrong God" and that he was told what to say by an "angel". Reclaiming people sounds like something a dissenter might do.

You are also assuming Korihor was a stranger. I don't think we can assume that. He seems to know the people, their language, and their beliefs. Again, a stranger would not go on a mission among strangers to reclaim them.

3 hours ago, JarMan said:

The Nephite approved process for dealing with Korihor was arrest, interrogate, exile…not a lynch mob. The trampling he received was God’s justice after he had presumably been exiled according to the law.

The Nephite-approved process was to do nothing, there were no laws against a man's beliefs. But Korihor goes to Jershon and is immediately bound and carried before the high priest and exiled. Why? He broke no Nephite laws. Korihor than goes to Gideon and is again arrested, not for committing a crime, but for preaching. So there are two or three different States or governments here: Zarahemla, Jershon and Gideon. The narrator of the story states that the people of Jershon were "more wise" than the Nephites for arresting Korihor for preaching blasphemies. This assumes the narrator also believes that it was not wise for the Nephites to have no laws to punish Korihor.

To me it looks like the Nephites learned a lesson here and they passed new laws against blasphemers: "Now the knowledge of what had happened unto Korihor was immediately published throughout all the land; yea, the proclamation was sent forth by the chief judge to all the people in the land, declaring unto those who had believed in the words of Korihor that they must speedily repent, lest the same judgments would come unto them." Sounds like the law has changed, and you can now be judged for your beliefs.

So where is Grotius in all of this? Is he the narrator who finds it more wise to arrest and exile blasphemers? I don't know Grotius, or 17th century Europe, so I'm not asking to throw a wrench in your theory. I really would like to know if Grotius might write something like the story of Korihor.

Edited by Rajah Manchou
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2 hours ago, Rajah Manchou said:

I never claimed you did. But you did say "the whole Korihor story is anachronistic to 19th Century America". I was pointing out that the whole story is not anachronistic, and provided the example of Sidney Rigdon hinting that enemies of the church (like Korihor) aren't welcome, and that they should be exiled or punished. Maybe Rigdon got the idea from Matthew 5, maybe he got it from Alma 30 or maybe it was his own invention. But it does show that some elements of the Korihor story were not anachronistic to 19th century America.

Rigdon obviously got the idea from Matthew 5. That's why it's called the salt sermon. (He may have also misappropriated the Korihor story.) I'm getting tired of pointing out that Korihor was trampled, most likely accidentally, as divine retribution and not as human punishment. And pointing out that Korihor was not an apostate but an atheist. I should also add that the so-called trampling in Joseph's day was obviously a figure of speech taken from Matthew 5 and not a literal intent. You've got nothing here except the word "trample" and some bad guys.

2 hours ago, Rajah Manchou said:

Because you are characterizing Rigdon's response to mob violence as mob violence. Rigdon was the first counsellor in the first presidency of the Church. He clearly stated his belief that casting out unwanted people (whether they be atheists, enemies, agnostics or gamblers) was a right and a principle of republicanism. Joseph Smith endorsed Rigdon's statement but added that laws should not be broken. I know you aren't saying this, but its important to clarify that Rigdon and Smith were not mobsters calling for mob violence. They were trying to protect themselves, without breaking the law, from mob violence because the government was not protecting them.

I've got pages 350-351 of RSR open in front of me. I'm not going to type everything in here, but I'll quote a few phrases that make it clear that they were calling for mob violence. 

Quote

Rigdon. . . called on the people to rise en masse and rid the county of such a nuisance.

Quote

According to Peck, Rigdon hinted at lynching.

Quote

When anything is to be performed no member shall have the privilege of judging whether it would be right or wrong but shall engage in its accomplishment and trust God for the result.

This was not legitimate, legal action that was being called for.

2 hours ago, Rajah Manchou said:

You are assuming he was an atheist, but atheists don't say things like (1) "I do not deny the existence of a God, but I do not believe that there is a God; and I say also, that ye do not know that there is a God", and (2) "I always knew that there was a God. But behold, the devil hath deceived me". This is not your standard atheist. Korihor also said he was on a mission to reclaim the people from "following the wrong God" and that he was told what to say by an "angel". 

In a previous post I pointed out some commonalities between Korihor and the perception of atheists in the 17th Century. I'll go over these again in case you missed them before. Atheism was associated with the "libertines" of France who were sexually promiscuous. The idea was that atheism was an excuse to engage in sexual immorality. We see that Korihor was involved in leading people into whoredoms (v 18) by using the idea of no god and no afterlife to promote it. So this is a match. The next match addresses your number 2 above. The god-fearing people thought the atheists weren't sincere in their non-belief. It was believed that the expressed non-belief was cover to engage in all sorts of wickedness. We find out this was indeed the case with Korihor. Also, early modern religious writers depicted the atheist as "subject in death to terrible pain as a sign of God's judgment." This fits Korihor's death. As further evidence that Korihor sounded like a 17th Century atheist I'll leave this description of a 17th Century atheistic book called Theophrastus Redivivius:

Quote

Theophrastus redivivus is famous for proclaiming that all the great philosophers, including the eponymous Theophrastus, have been atheists; religions are contrived works of men; there is no valid proof for the existence of gods, and those who claim experience of a god are either disingenuous or ill.

I plan on looking into this book when I have a chance but, for now, I just have the above quote (from, I think, wikipedia).

3 hours ago, Rajah Manchou said:

You are also assuming Korihor was a stranger. I don't think we can assume that. He seems to know the people, their language, and their beliefs. Again, a stranger would not go on a mission among strangers to reclaim them.

 Wherever Korihor was from, it apparently wasn't from Zarahemla (v 6). Perhaps he was from a different Nephite city. He was not a member of the Zarahemlite religion who had fallen away. Apostates are addressed and specifically identified as such in other stories. And there are several stories of missionaries going amongst strangers so I don't follow your logic.

3 hours ago, Rajah Manchou said:

The Nephite-approved process was to do nothing, there were no laws against a man's beliefs. But Korihor goes to Jershon and is immediately bound and carried before the high priest and exiled. Why? He broke no Nephite laws. Korihor than goes to Gideon and is again arrested, not for committing a crime, but for preaching. So there are two or three different States or governments here: Zarahemla, Jershon and Gideon. The narrator of the story states that the people of Jershon were "more wise" than the Nephites for arresting Korihor for preaching blasphemies. This assumes the narrator also believes that it was not wise for the Nephites to have no laws to punish Korihor.

To me it looks like the Nephites learned a lesson here and they passed new laws against blasphemers: "Now the knowledge of what had happened unto Korihor was immediately published throughout all the land; yea, the proclamation was sent forth by the chief judge to all the people in the land, declaring unto those who had believed in the words of Korihor that they must speedily repent, lest the same judgments would come unto them." Sounds like the law has changed, and you can now be judged for your beliefs.

When I say the "Nephite-approved" process I am talking about the narrator's (Mormon's) opinion. He apparently believes there should be laws to punish atheists who are leading the people away into wickedness. His explanation at the outset about Zarahemla having no laws against a person's belief seems to be trying to help us understand that, though the law was based on a good principle, that in practice complete freedom of religion didn't work in the most extreme cases. And I think you're right that Zarahemla did change the law. But the other cities already had laws that allowed them to punish people for their beliefs (or they just ignored the laws they had). So the whole story was an object lesson demonstrating that freedom of religion should be allowed except in the most extreme cases that resulted in significant moral degradation of society

3 hours ago, Rajah Manchou said:

So where is Grotius in all of this? Is he the narrator who finds it more wise to arrest and exile blasphemers? I don't know Grotius, or 17th century Europe, so I'm not asking to throw a wrench in your theory. I really would like to know if Grotius might write something like the story of Korihor.

Grotius was one of the leading proponents of religious freedom in early 17th Century Europe. After all, he had been imprisoned for life for what amounted to having the wrong religious opinion. (As I've mentioned before he escaped in a wooden book chest after a couple of years.) But as radical as Grotius' views were on religious freedom for his time, Europe still hadn't gone into the Enlightenment yet where many people started to consider a separation of church and state and complete religious freedom. Grotius believed in having a state religion and believed that there should be laws against extreme forms of religious belief since he thought it led to societal unrest. But he was against capital punishment for religious ideas. In short, the story of Korihor closely matches Grotius' beliefs in every way in which I am familiar with his beliefs. It also matches the perception of atheists from the perspective of someone from his time. So the story seems very Grotian to me.

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