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Sevenbak

Seer stones history getting a bad rap

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35 minutes ago, The Nehor said:

Yes. I have no beef with heartlander believers except with those who use incredibly inept, shoddy, and misleading methods to build their case because that is dishonest.

I kind of see the heartlanders as just a less sophisticated version of the current mainstream church apologetics.  I feel a strong sympathy towards their group because I think if we rewind time back a few decades it’s essentially the same quality as what church employees were dabbling in.  

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13 minutes ago, hope_for_things said:

...................................

I’ve been perplexed by your comments along this line of thinking many times on this board.  While you frequently state that you don’t believe in the supernatural, you seem to make claims that I have a very hard time distinguishing the difference between.  

Your claim on this thread that God was using some kind of advanced tech to actually communicate something to Joseph using a stone is essentially the same thing as supernatural thinking.  Essentially what Arthur C. Clarke said: “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”.....................

That's Clarke's Third Law and I cite it regularly.  His point is that primitive people see modern technology as "magic."  He is not saying that it is magic, only that it seems like magic to ignorant people who don't understand high technology.  Richard Dawkins makes a similar point about advanced civilizations in the universe (those way ahead of us) as godlike beings:  Not that they are gods, but that they are godlike in their advanced, amazing technology.  Mormonism is based on just such an advanced being in the universe (an exalted human), who has amazing abilities, but based strictly on natural law.  It is a fundamental error to suggest that the Mormon God is supernatural or uses supernatural means.

13 minutes ago, hope_for_things said:

Also, I’m not sure how Borg or myself are throwing the baby out with the bath water?  Are you saying that I’m missing an important component of religion by taking a naturalistic approach? 

No, I am suggesting that the naturalistic approach is best.  For everyone.  It avoids the nonsense of violating natural, physical laws of the universe.  One of Lord Bertrand Russell's biggest objections to Christianity was that it posited abrogation of natural law.  He is quite correct.

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19 minutes ago, hope_for_things said:

I kind of see the heartlanders as just a less sophisticated version of the current mainstream church apologetics.  I feel a strong sympathy towards their group because I think if we rewind time back a few decades it’s essentially the same quality as what church employees were dabbling in.  

Maybe, but it was a much more primitive time for information so I am more forgiving. Getting texts meant having to find them. If you wanted information on an odd topic you had to hope you could find something on it or hunt it down. Easier to fall into supposition. Looking back it is amazing how we got by at all. If I have an impulse to find information on something it is only seconds away.

There is less excuse for being fundamentally wrong on everything. Now, that being said, there is also a lot more misinformation but there are reliable sources out there.

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38 minutes ago, hope_for_things said:

I partially agree, but wouldn’t generalize the internet in this way.  This is precisely why critical thinking and evaluating sources are such important skills to practice.  

I’ve been perplexed by your comments along this line of thinking many times on this board.  While you frequently state that you don’t believe in the supernatural, you seem to make claims that I have a very hard time distinguishing the difference between.  

Your claim on this thread that God was using some kind of advanced tech to actually communicate something to Joseph using a stone is essentially the same thing as supernatural thinking.  Essentially what Arthur C. Clarke said: “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”

Perhaps you can explain how your view is different? 

Also, I’m not sure how Borg or myself are throwing the baby out with the bath water?  Are you saying that I’m missing an important component of religion by taking a naturalistic approach? 

In the case of those who want the Liahona and similar artifacts to be high technology the opposite law applies: “Any sufficiently advanced magic is indistinguishable from technology.”

I am not sure I agree with Clark’s law. There is a smugness about it I distrust. People were not stupider in the past. They could grasp the principles we do the same way we do. It reminds me of those ridiculous stories about a guy with a flashlight confounding and defeating primitives through superstition. While I admit it is possible the modern world is so laced with superstition I have a hard time finding any improvement on that score.

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22 minutes ago, Robert F. Smith said:

That's Clarke's Third Law and I cite it regularly.  His point is that primitive people see modern technology as "magic."  He is not saying that it is magic, only that it seems like magic to ignorant people who don't understand high technology.  Richard Dawkins makes a similar point about advanced civilizations in the universe (those way ahead of us) as godlike beings:  Not that they are gods, but that they are godlike in their advanced, amazing technology.  Mormonism is based on just such an advanced being in the universe (an exalted human), who has amazing abilities, but based strictly on natural law.  It is a fundamental error to suggest that the Mormon God is supernatural or uses supernatural means.

Then I think you’re to some extent misappropriating what Clarke and Dawkins are saying.  Whether you call it advanced tech or supernatural phenomena, it’s really the same thing, and that is what I’m disagreeing with.  I don’t think there is any rational evidence to support that assumption, it’s purely a position of faith not supported by empirical evidence.  

28 minutes ago, Robert F. Smith said:

No, I am suggesting that the naturalistic approach is best.  For everyone.  It avoids the nonsense of violating natural, physical laws of the universe.  One of Lord Bertrand Russell's biggest objections to Christianity was that it posited abrogation of natural law.  He is quite correct.

Then how am I or Borg throwing the baby out with the bath water?  You didn’t answer that question.  

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20 minutes ago, The Nehor said:

Maybe, but it was a much more primitive time for information so I am more forgiving. Getting texts meant having to find them. If you wanted information on an odd topic you had to hope you could find something on it or hunt it down. Easier to fall into supposition. Looking back it is amazing how we got by at all. If I have an impulse to find information on something it is only seconds away.

There is less excuse for being fundamentally wrong on everything. Now, that being said, there is also a lot more misinformation but there are reliable sources out there.

I agree, but I still try to treat them sympathetically, just as I try to do the same for our polygamist Mormon groups.  They are all a part and product of the Mormonism that has informed my life.  Even if somewhat embarrassing and morally problematic.  

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58 minutes ago, hope_for_things said:

Depends on your expectations for life in general.  Some religious traditions believe that they will receive lots of amazing things in the next life, and I’m sure many different theological constructs will look like they are lacking in hope from a different perspective.  

Yes, but we are talking specifically about the resurrection of Jesus Christ. I understand that you believe it is symbolic or metaphorical in some way, correct?

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On 7/5/2019 at 1:20 PM, Bob Crockett said:

I find it remarkable that he could dictate the BoM with his face buried in his hat.  I don't see it.

I guess - someone with their head in a ... hat... does not make as nice artwork as ...

artwork.JPG

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, hope_for_things said:

I would be interested in knowing this as well.  It seems to me that in spite of the gospel topics essays and some other scattered references, the primary correlated message is still the old one.  How long will the church peddle that version while also claiming more authentic and transparent history?  Seems a bit two faced to me.  

I wonder how extensively you have looked into what “the primary correlated message” is.

For example, in the teacher’s manual “Foundations of the Restoration” put out by the Department of Seminaries and Institutes, there is this content:

QUOTE:

“Explain that another instrument Joseph Smith used while translating the Book of Mormon was a small oval stone, sometimes referred to as a “seer stone,” that he discovered several years before he obtained the gold plates (see “Book of Mormon Translation,” Gospel Topics, lds.org/topics). The historical account indicates that the Prophet sometimes used the Urim and Thummim and sometimes used the seer stone to translate.
“Read the following statement aloud to help students understand that the Lord revealed the English translation of the Book of Mormon to the Prophet through the Urim and Thummim and the seer stone:

“ ‘When pressed for specifics about the process of translation, Joseph repeated on several occasions that it had been done “by the gift and power of God” and once added, “It was not intended to tell the world all the particulars of the coming forth of the book of Mormon.”
“ ‘Nevertheless, the scribes and others who observed the translation left numerous accounts that give insight into the process. Some accounts indicate that Joseph studied the characters on the plates. Most of the accounts speak of Joseph’s use of the Urim and Thummim (either the interpreters or the seer stone), and many accounts refer to his use of a single stone. According to these accounts, Joseph placed either the interpreters or the seer stone in a hat, pressed his face into the hat to block out extraneous light, and read aloud the English words that appeared on the instrument. The process as described brings to mind a passage from the Book of Mormon that speaks of God preparing ‘a stone, which shall shine forth in darkness unto light’ [Alma 37: 23–24]” (“Book of Mormon Translation,” Gospel Topics, lds.org/topics).”

END OF QUOTE. 

And here is a passage from “Saints,” the new, multi-volume history published by the Church and introduced last year, directed to all members of the Church and to others:

QUOTE:

“Often he found a single seer stone to be more convenient. He would put the seer stone in his hat, place his face into the hat to block out the light, and peer at the stone. Light from the stone would shine in the darkness, revealing words that Joseph dictated as Oliver rapidly copied them down.”

Edited by Scott Lloyd

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1 hour ago, Bernard Gui said:

Yes, but we are talking specifically about the resurrection of Jesus Christ. I understand that you believe it is symbolic or metaphorical in some way, correct?

I brought up the religious comparison to illustrate how different paradigms see things very differently, so this can help explain why you feel a loss of hope at the idea that the resurrection of Jesus was metaphorical, while I don’t see it as a loss from my vantage point.  

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1 hour ago, hope_for_things said:

I agree, but I still try to treat them sympathetically, just as I try to do the same for our polygamist Mormon groups.  They are all a part and product of the Mormonism that has informed my life.  Even if somewhat embarrassing and morally problematic.  

And if you find them “embarrassing” and “morally problematic,” I’m sure it suits your narrative nicely to lump them in together with those you call “apologists.”

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36 minutes ago, changed said:

I guess - someone with their head in a ... hat... does not make as nice artwork as ...

artwork.JPG

There is quite a lot of amazing artwork out there in the fantasy genre.  I’d like to see some creative approaches to the face in the hat narrative.  

Maybe a glowing hat with powerful beams of light emanating from it, or since some like the technology comparison, perhaps an on/off button on the stone, or a battery indicator on the hat.  Surely we could get some creative and tasteful artistic renderings, even some with a bit of tongue in cheek could be thoughtfully produced.  

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21 minutes ago, Scott Lloyd said:

I wonder how extensively you have looked into what “the primary correlated message” is.

For example, in the teacher’s manual “Foundations of the Restoration” put out by the Department of Seminaries and Institutes, there is this content:

QUOTE:

“Explain that another instrument Joseph Smith used while translating the Book of Mormon was a small oval stone, sometimes referred to as a “seer stone,” that he discovered several years before he obtained the gold plates (see “Book of Mormon Translation,” Gospel Topics, lds.org/topics). The historical account indicates that the Prophet sometimes used the Urim and Thummim and sometimes used the seer stone to translate.
“Read the following statement aloud to help students understand that the Lord revealed the English translation of the Book of Mormon to the Prophet through the Urim and Thummim and the seer stone:

“ ‘When pressed for specifics about the process of translation, Joseph repeated on several occasions that it had been done “by the gift and power of God” and once added, “It was not intended to tell the world all the particulars of the coming forth of the book of Mormon.”
“ ‘Nevertheless, the scribes and others who observed the translation left numerous accounts that give insight into the process. Some accounts indicate that Joseph studied the characters on the plates. Most of the accounts speak of Joseph’s use of the Urim and Thummim (either the interpreters or the seer stone), and many accounts refer to his use of a single stone. According to these accounts, Joseph placed either the interpreters or the seer stone in a hat, pressed his face into the hat to block out extraneous light, and read aloud the English words that appeared on the instrument. The process as described brings to mind a passage from the Book of Mormon that speaks of God preparing ‘a stone, which shall shine forth in darkness unto light’ [Alma 37: 23–24]” (“Book of Mormon Translation,” Gospel Topics, lds.org/topics).”

Grateful for the baby steps.  I actually didn’t know this was in the new teachers manuals, do you know if they updated the printed versions or just the online ones?  Reason I ask is the last time we went through the D&C curriculum in gospel doctrine, all of the teachers in my ward primarily used the old printed manuals, so the updated materials available online only were rarely if ever used in class.  

Maybe in a generation or two at this rate of dissemination the old correlated narrative will die out.  Of course this approach could be quickly circumvented with just one general conference talk on the subject by a member of the Q15, but I doubt that will ever happen.  

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13 minutes ago, Scott Lloyd said:

And if you find them “embarrassing” and “morally problematic,” I’m sure it suits your narrative nicely to lump them in together with those you call “apologists.”

Seems like a fairly charitable description as I’ve heard much worse labeling towards those groups on this board.  Also, my being embarrassed people with superstitious beliefs and my comparison of them to apologists is also extremely tame by comparison to how some others have characterized people like myself on this board.  Even perhaps you Scott, who if I recall correctly, has labeled me as an apostate which coming from a believer’s perspective if I’m not mistaken is the lowest of the low, perhaps even unworthy of any redemption at the final judgement.  Don’t believers even consider Hitler more redeemable than apostates?  

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Posted (edited)
8 hours ago, hope_for_things said:

Do you find any superstitious beliefs of family or friends to be embarrassing?  How about the heartlanders who I repeatedly see maligned on this board, do you find them embarrassing?  

No, I don’t.  It is their choice to believe it, not mine. Why should I be embarrassed by that?

Edited by Calm

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52 minutes ago, Scott Lloyd said:

For example, in the teacher’s manual “Foundations of the Restoration” put out by the Department of Seminaries and Institutes, there is this content:

QUOTE:

“Explain that another instrument Joseph Smith used while translating the Book of Mormon was a small oval stone, sometimes referred to as a “seer stone,” that he discovered several years before he obtained the gold plates (see “Book of Mormon Translation,” Gospel Topics, lds.org/topics). The historical account indicates that the Prophet sometimes used the Urim and Thummim and sometimes used the seer stone to translate.

I am confused.  Does the use of the DOUBLE quotation nullify the QUOTATION?   =@

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14 hours ago, mfbukowski said:

Because our backgrounds don't turn us into robots, and we still get to interpret our own experiences for ourselves? . . . . .

 

Thank heaven for that.  You also get varied reactions to one thing or another among different members of the same family that can be surprising.

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