Jump to content


  • Content Count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

Posts posted by cinepro

  1. 3 hours ago, smac97 said:

    So . . . infallibility?  Is that what you calling for?  And/or faulting the leaders of the Church for lacking it?

    Again, you seem to be alluding to an expectation of infallibility.



    If not calling sexual predators as Bishops (or MTC Presidents) takes infallibility to do it, then yes, that is my expectation for a Church that is led by direct revelation from God.

    If that is asking too much, then I simply want a Church leader to tell us, from the pulpit, that they don't get enough reliable inspiration to prevent the calling of such men to such positions.  There are simply too many Bishops and too little discernment.  God is a God of omniscience and wonders who gets upset if we use the word "Mormon", but at some point the Law of Truly Large Numbers takes over and there's nothing He can do.  In the end, it's like whack-a-mole keeping these people out of Church leadership and God still only has two hands.

    I also want them to explain to me why, if the leaders are fallible, they shouldn't make the financials public.  But that's a different discussion.

    • Like 4
  2. 36 minutes ago, clarkgoble said:

    Say he's given vague ideas (not words) like: "Continuance" "new event" "self/reflective" "Nephi" "created/birthed" "out of" "parents" "support". Joseph then, because of his familiarity with other texts interprets that as "and it came to pass I Nephi being born of goodly parents..." Note how the ordering can change as Joseph makes more concrete the ideas and paraphrases it to create a sentence. Now do I think that happened? Not particularly but I suppose we have to acknowledge it as possible.

    I'm not sure that gets us too far (and is why I'm sympathetic to Cowdery here). How do you get started? Do you just start picking random words or broad but vague concepts and asking God if they're right? That said, I agree with you that I think any discussion of the translation process has to explain D&C 9. The assumption that it was true for Cowdery but not Joseph seems problematic. Of course there's the added issue of what Cowdery was using to do the translation. Was he using a seer stone? Was he using a dowsing rod? Was he just praying about it in his head? That's a bit unclear. With Joseph at least his early statements about the seer stone suggest it just worked. (Although some of those are late and with his mother's treatment, highly stylized and refined after numerous tellings)

    That said, the main argument against tight control is D&C 9 although it doesn't totally resolve the issue. After all D&C 9 could be followed in a manner akin to 20 questions where you keep asking until you narrow it down to the correct English word.

    Thank you for being the first person to actually try to suggest a workable scenario (and my other post illustrates my agreement with your D&C 9 observations).

    One interesting thing to do would be to see if there is any discernible progression in precision and complexity in the text as the book progresses.

    It also doesn't account for the theory that there are different styles to the writing by the different authors of the book, and things like Hebraisms that were preserved.

    I've said it before, but I'll say it again.  Apologists need both the "loose" and "tight" theories to be valid, with the ability for them to wear them on their sides like guns in a holster that they can use to shoot down all the anachronisms in the book.  Neither theory on its own is useful, because it doesn't explain too much of the other stuff in the book (and therefore quickly leads to more temporal explanations which sometimes can explain that stuff).

    So "loose" or "tight"?  Both, as needed.  Sometimes in the same chapter, as if Joseph were at one moment reading the precise words in a chiastic pattern and then the next moment being given vague thoughts and images that he describes using 16th century English as filtered through his early 19th century culture and life experiences.

    Isn't it marvelous?

  3. 41 minutes ago, churchistrue said:

    Your answer is D&C 9:8.

    Okay, what do you think the Lord was telling Oliver to do?  He was supposed to look at a page of foreign characters and do what?  "Study" it?  How long would he have to look at it before he started to figure it out?

    He's supposed to figure something out, and only then ask the Lord if it is right.

    So he does...what?  He looks at the page and thinks...hmmmm...is this about a guy named "Jose"?








    (Thinks: Okay, I'll make something up...)


    "Yes, my son, you guessed correctly."

    (Thinks: Okay, what is Jerumummum doing?"

    "Is he walking in a forest?"


    "Is he swimming in a lake?"


    ....and so on.


    Yeah, D&C 9:8 makes perfect sense for how you would translate something with the help of the Lord.

  4. 5 hours ago, clarkgoble said:

    About the only place I'd quibble is that just because the evidence is that people observed tight control with Joseph it doesn't follow it always was tight control. Particularly as he proceeded through the text. If he switched from the Spectacles or Interpreters to his seer stone, for instance, did that affect the nature of the translation? 

    This is what I'm talking about.

    How could Joseph "translate" with anything other than tight control?  Explain the process to me.

    Let's assume he's translating with the plates, looking at the Reformed Egyptian.  How does anything other than tight control (i.e. him being given the exact words in English) work?

    Here's the famous paper showing some of the "caractors" from the plates.  Suppose this part is the start of 1 Nephi 3, including 1 Nephi 3:7.  Joseph sits down and looks at them, and with the help of the U&T, or seer stone, or whatever, what happens if he isn't given the exact English wording?  How does he get from these gibberish caractors that he can't read to 1 Nephi 3:7 without something or someone audibly whispering in his ear, or making the exact words appear before his eyes or in his mind?



    • Like 2
  5. 19 hours ago, bluebell said:

    There isn’t any difference, but that’s not what I’m asking about. 

    What I’m asking about is believing that someone can make a mistake (in a specific job or calling—we’re not talking about just being human in normal everyday life), but that it’s not a usual occurrence or necessarily something that we can point out when it has/does happen.

    Does that still count as believing the person is fallible?



    When people talk about fallible religious leaders, it doesn't mean that they might theoretically get something wrong, or that they might get something wrong that a future religious leaders corrects 50 years from now.  If that is what is meant, then they are describing infallible leaders.

    Having a fallible leader means they can make a mistake right now, and we can figure out if they are making a mistake.  I would even include that we can say they are making a mistake after we have figured it out, although that would take the conversation away from the question of actual "fallibility" and more to the question of whether the leaders have created a fantasy world of make believe that they are forcing all the followers to pretend to support.

    Having a fallible leader doesn't mean that you don't support them.  I believe President Nelson is totally wrong about the whole name change thing.  But I'm not going to stand up and yell in Conference about it.  I'll sustain him in his mistaken idea that Satan cares whether we call ourselves "Mormon" or not.  I think Presidents Hinckley and Monson were correct on this and that President Nelson is wrong.

    That's what having "fallible" leaders means.  It means you recognize they can be wrong right now, and that you can say they were wrong and it doesn't mean you are opposing them.


    Having fallible leaders also means that they themselves can recognize they're wrong.  For example, the whole 11/15 policy about kids with homosexual parents not being able to get baptized.  They obviously recognized they were wrong about that.  Many, many people (both members and non-members) knew they were wrong about that the moment they heard it, but it took a few years for the leaders to figure it out and fix it.  Now that raises the question of whether or not leaders need to actually acknowledge their mistakes, but that's yet another conversation.

    • Like 1
  6. 24 minutes ago, bluebell said:

    Is that really how a belief in fallibility works though, or is it a misconception of how it works?  Sincere question.

    For example, I know that my son can get bad grades.  It's possible and in some subjects maybe even probable.  And that's still true even if I can't produce a report card with bad grades on it or give a list of the classes he's gotten bad grades in in the pass.  Just because someone can get a D, it doesn't mean they have in the past, have one right now, or will get one in the future.  It just means it's possible.  

    Is part of our problem, as a church, with this concept that we don't actually understand what a fallible prophet looks like?  

    I mean, saying that someone can be wrong is different than saying that they have been wrong, are wrong, or will definitely be wrong sometime in the future.  Likewise, we can believe that Pres. Nelson is capable of being wrong without having examples of where he has been wrong, is currently wrong, or will be wrong, can't we?

    Just so I'm clear, what's the difference between believing someone can't make mistakes and believing someone can but just never does?

    • Like 1
  7. 14 minutes ago, champatsch said:

    According to the revealed-ideas view, it wasn’t a case of Joseph translating foreign words (or even English words) into his own words; it was a matter of him taking revealed thoughts and putting them into his own words. On this view, the Lord translated the source language for him, turning a foreign language into comprehensible thoughts.

    It's a nice idea, but it just doesn't work. 

    For example, give me an idea of how you get the money system in Alma 11 with "revealed ideas."

    It's not even theoretical.  I'll give you a challenge. 

    I speak English, and so do you, so there's no language barrier.  Pretend I've never read the monetary system in Alma 11.  Using any form of words and description, convey Alma 11:1-19 to me using a "loose" description and "thoughts". You just can't actually use the specific names for the money (which would require a "tight" translation). 

    What words or ideas will you use that will allow me to write out those 19 verses, including the specific names of the denominations?  What pictures or images will you show me?  Keep in mind that by all accounts, Joseph was dictating about as fast as the scribe could write, but you can have as much time and space as you need to convey the "loose" version of those verses.



    And just to show that I'm fair, I will accept the corollary and show how the "tight" translation would work.  I'll share Alma 11:1-19 using the "tight" translation method.

    Here goes:


    1 Now it was in the law of Mosiah that every man who was a judge of the law, or those who were appointed to be judges, should receive wages according to the time which they labored to judge those who were brought before them to be judged.

    2 Now if a man owed another, and he would not pay that which he did owe, he was complained of to the judge; and the judge executed authority, and sent forth officers that the man should be brought before him; and he judged the man according to the law and the evidences which were brought against him, and thus the man was compelled to pay that which he owed, or be stripped, or be cast out from among the people as a thief and a robber.

    3 And the judge received for his wages according to his time—a senine of gold for a day, or a senum of silver, which is equal to a senine of gold; and this is according to the law which was given.

    4 Now these are the names of the different pieces of their gold, and of their silver, according to their value. And the names are given by the Nephites, for they did not reckon after the manner of the Jews who were at Jerusalem; neither did they measure after the manner of the Jews; but they altered their reckoning and their measure, according to the minds and the circumstances of the people, in every generation, until the reign of the judges, they having been established by king Mosiah.

    5 Now the reckoning is thus—a senine of gold, a seon of gold, a shum of gold, and a limnah of gold.

    6 A senum of silver, an amnor of silver, an ezrom of silver, and an onti of silver.

    7 A senum of silver was equal to a senine of gold, and either for a measure of barley, and also for a measure of every kind of grain.

    8 Now the amount of a seon of gold was twice the value of a senine.

    9 And a shum of gold was twice the value of a seon.

    10 And a limnah of gold was the value of them all.

    11 And an amnor of silver was as great as two senums.

    12 And an ezrom of silver was as great as four senums.

    13 And an onti was as great as them all.

    14 Now this is the value of the lesser numbers of their reckoning—

    15 A shiblon is half of a senum; therefore, a shiblon for half a measure of barley.

    16 And a shiblum is a half of a shiblon.

    17 And a leah is the half of a shiblum.

    18 Now this is their number, according to their reckoning.

    19 Now an antion of gold is equal to three shiblons.


  8. 1 hour ago, smac97 said:

    I can think of a number of examples, but I won't list them publicly.


    If we aren't willing to say "I believe President Nelson is a Prophet of God, but he's wrong about x, y and z", then there's the answer to your question about why people get unrealistic expectations about Church leaders and their fallibility and reliability.

    I'll ask another question.  Suppose President Nelson stood up in Conference in October and said "As you know, the Church is lead by a Prophet who receives revelation.  This means everything I do or say should be considered as coming from God and infallible."

    What would change?  Would they need to go and change anything on the Church website?  Would members need to change anything about what they do or say?

    In other words, what's the difference between The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints today (where we say we believe in fallible leadership but are afraid to actually say how they're fallible) and a theoretical The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in another universe that absolutely believes the leaders are infallible?  How would the members and leaders behave differently?

  9. Just now, smac97 said:

    Infallibility was not taught.

    The Church teaches us about fallible leaders.  I didn't say the Church teaches they are "unreliable."

    I subscribe to the position that the Church and its leaders, collectively, will not be led astray.  I believe in the prophecy found in Daniel 2 and in how it has been interpreted.  I agree with Wilford Woodruff that "The Lord will never permit me or any other man who stands as President of this Church to lead you astray. It is not in the programme. It is not in the mind of God."

    This leaves plenty of room for the leaders to make mistakes.  When they do, Mormon 9:31 is usually sufficient for me.

    The Church is, in my view, overwhelmingly good.  I love it a lot.  



    I like what you say.  Of course, there's an easy test to see if it's actually true.

    Can you list for me all the ways in which current LDS leaders are mistaken about stuff?  Since they're fallible, there must be things that President Nelson has taught, or policies that he's implemented, that are wrong according to what God wants.

    What do you think some of them are?


    • Like 1
  10. If I were in the IT Department for the Church, I would just install this plugin on President Nelson's computer and call it a day...

    Frankly, I find this whole name-change thing to be silly and wasteful of both time and resources.  But if this is the price we had to pay to get two hour church, I will pay it.  (Not that I've stopped using the word "Mormon".  I meant I would pay the price in tolerating people pretending like it's a thing, until eventually everyone gives up.)

    • Like 1
  11. 16 hours ago, clarkgoble said:

    The loose translation theory as I understand it works on multi-sentence units. The issue of names is a good one since those are smaller units but are tied to the larger unit if the larger unit of a phrase, sentence or so forth entail one particular noun (or choice of nouns).

    More or less, if I'm following you correctly, you're trying to figure out the loose translation model by building it up word by word. But that's precisely what the loose translation or paraphrase model rejects.

    Remember that any sort of "loose" translation requires a massive amount of knowledge and context of the source that is being translated. 

    For example, if someone is translating from Chinese -> English, they need to have a deep understanding of not just the Chinese language, but the culture (as well as English).  That's true for any translation.

    The problem for any theory regarding the Book of Mormon is that it isn't analogous to any other translation that has ever been done, so those analogies fail.  The "loose" translation theory fails because Joseph Smith didn't have a deep knowledge of Reformed Egyptian and the context and cultures of what the book covers.  Without God (or some other supernatural entity) telling him what it meant, the "caractors" would just have been gibberish.  He could sit there for 100 years staring at them and never figure it out.


    • Like 2
  12. Ah, seems like only yesterday we were discussing this.  Or 5,384 yesterdays.

    While I'm fascinated by the 16th century flavor of the theory, I still need someone to explain something to me.

    How do you get names of people and cities with anything other than a tight translation?

    Take, for example, this (an example of a real unknown script):


    If I told you this represented a name and asked you to translate it phonetically into the English alphabet using a loose translation, how would you do it?

    Now, suppose you had access to a computer called the Great Onicular Decipherer Computer, and it could decipher unknown scripts and show you the phonetic translation on a screen (and then you read it off the screen to a secretary).  So the computer shows you the name as "Puntoalow", and you dictate "Puntoalow" to the secretary.  Again, how would such a thing be possible with a "loose" translation method?

    Now, imagine a series of 400 pages of such characters, similarly unknown, for which you rely on the Great Onicular Decipherer Computer to tell you what the symbols mean.  Explain to me how a loose translation would work in this scenario.


    Bonus question:  Suppose you had a friend, Olly, who was impressed by you being able use the Great Onicular Decipherer Computer to decipher the text, so he asks to try.  You let him, but when he looks into the viewfinder, he sees a message that says "First, you need to study the symbols to try to figure it out, then I'll help you."

    How long do you think Olly would need to stare at the symbols before he could figure it out himself?  A week?  A year?  How long does someone need to look at an unknown script before it suddenly becomes intelligible?

    • Like 1
  13. 1 hour ago, smac97 said:

    Actually, FAIR points out quite a few things that it feels are "mistake{s}/error{s}" (33%) and "falsehood{s}" (11%), with the remainder being "spin" (40%) and "fact" (16%).

    So we're not really dealing with black and white, binary, "true or false" types of things.  The vast majority of the letter deals with things that, metaphorically speaking (in terms of our understanding and perception), are various shades of "gray."


    If years from now the CES Letter has continued to be a thorn in the Church's side and people continue to read it and leave the Church, and you wonder why, after all these years, the apologetic responses still aren't mitigating the damage, I would suggest that this is the best explanation/ example as to why.

  14. 46 minutes ago, Ahab said:

    When I joined the Church "The God Makers" had just recently come out.  This CES Letter seems to be the same kind of thing now.

    The "CES Letter" is very different than "The God Makers." 

    "The God Makers" was useful for keeping non-Mormons away from the Church.  It was mainly a product of the evangelical anti-Mormon movement to help stop people from learning about the LDS Church. 

    I was young during its heyday, so someone who was older back then can correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think "The God Makers" was very effective among people who were actually LDS and had experience in the Church.  It wasn't a lever for getting people to actually leave the Church.  Its hyperbole and falsehoods were easily seen by those who actually had experience with the Church.

    The "CES Letter" is very different.  While I'm sure it's interesting to non-LDS, I doubt many would even understand what the heck he's talking about most the time.  You need a context of having spent a lot of time in correlated LDS classrooms, and the longer someone was a member and went to Sunday School and Seminary, the worse it is.


    • Like 1
  15. 2 hours ago, smac97 said:

    There have been many, many responses to Runnells' letter:

    Are you sure you want to characterize all of this as merely "snip{ing} around the borders of the CES Letter without really taking it on?"

    Jim Bennett's Reply alone is 251 pages long.  



    I've never actually read the entire CES letter, but it put the nail in the coffin for at least one family member's testimony, so I've certainly seen its effects.  And as others have pointed out, it does appear to be the most common resource for igniting faith crises among LDS online these days.

    So it's not surprising to see such a list of responses.  In fact, I find it heartening that apologists have not shrunk from the task and are willing to fight the good fight.  But, alas, I fear that all the arguments in the articles in that list are going to be mostly for naught (and not just because most people who read the CES letter are never going to read those articles).

    The problem is that, I suspect, those articles don't actually show that anything the CES Letter says isn't true.  Instead, I'd bet dollars to donuts that each of those articles is based on the proposition that what the CES Letter says is true, but that we shouldn't care that it's true (or in other words, if we just change the way we look at it, then it doesn't matter anymore).

    In the end, while those arguments are not doubt well intended and verbosely presented, they just aren't going to have the needed effect.  Instead of hundreds of pages of responses, I suspect the only actual response is this:

    Yes, the stuff in the CES Letter is true. We're sorry we didn't tell you.  But there is also much more to the Church than that (as you probably know).  We (the Church) are asking you to have faith and believe in all of it.  The good, the bad and the unknown.

    But I am curious to be proven wrong.  Can anyone list four or five factual errors made in the current version of the CES Letter?  Not in matters of style or prose, but where Runnels simply got something wrong?

    • Like 1
  16. A few years ago, we had a combined EQ/HP lesson going over the Priesthood Ordinances.  When we got to "Dedicating Graves", the instructor asked why we dedicate graves.

    After a few others gave their input, I raised my hand and said "Also, if you want to give 'raising the dead' a shot, this is going to be your last chance."

    The reaction was equal parts chuckles, eye rolling and steely glares.  😂

    • Like 2
  17. 2 hours ago, smac97 said:

    I contacted the church’s public affairs department about it, and received the response that “church magazines are official publications and do represent the views of the church.”

    Well now that we have that settled...


    There is a third group of people—those who accept the literal message of the Bible regarding Noah, the ark, and the Deluge. Latter-day Saints belong to this group. In spite of the world’s arguments against the historicity of the Flood, and despite the supposed lack of geologic evidence, we Latter-day Saints believe that Noah was an actual man, a prophet of God, who preached repentance and raised a voice of warning, built an ark, gathered his family and a host of animals onto the ark, and floated safely away as waters covered the entire earth. We are assured that these events actually occurred by the multiple testimonies of God’s prophets.



    From the time of the Fall until the end of the Millennium is described as seven thousand years (see D&C 77:6).


    Within this enlarged view of a celestial uniformity, the worldwide flood of Noah’s time, so upsetting to a restricted secular view, fits easily into place. It is the earth’s baptism. Brigham Young pointed out that the earth “abides the law of its creation, has been baptized with water, will be baptized by fire and the Holy Ghost, and by-and-by will be prepared for the faithful to dwell upon” (in Journal of Discourses, 8:83).



    • Like 4
  18. On 8/6/2019 at 11:52 AM, JAHS said:

    Right! good luck with trying to get back donations voluntarily given to a charitable organization. 🙄


    Relevant case...?

    Jury Awards $1.5 Million to Expelled Sect Member


    (1986)  A Westlake Village man was awarded more than $1.5 million Wednesday for harm done to him while he was an architect for the Calabasas-based Church Universal and Triumphant.

    “I was a victim of this cult for six years,” Gregory Mull, 64, said after a Los Angeles Superior Court jury announced its verdict against the sect and its leader, 46-year-old Elizabeth Clare Prophet, known to her followers as Guru Ma.

    The jury deliberated for more than 40 hours before awarding the former church member $1,563,300. The award specified $521,100 in compensatory damages, plus $521,100 in punitive damages from the church, a nonprofit corporation, and another $521,100 in punitive damages from Prophet.


  19. I hadn't given them much thought (other than when their lack of using scientific medicine makes the news) but it sounds like Christian Science may be on the decline.  This story/diatribe shares one view:

    Dying the Christian Science Way


    In 20 years, drastic changes have taken place, but the most arresting is the church’s precipitous fall. It’s getting harder and harder to see all the people, because they’re disappearing.

    The early popularity of Christian Science was tied directly to the promise engendered by its core beliefs: the promise of healing. The overwhelming majority of those attracted to the movement came to be healed, or came because a husband, wife, child, relative or friend needed healing; the claims of Christian Science were so compelling that people often stayed in the movement whether they found healing or not, blaming themselves and not the church’s teachings for any apparent failures.


    Still, by this point, few people know or care what the Christian Scientists have been up to, since the average person can’t tell you the difference between a Christian Scientist and a Scientologist. The decline of the faith, once a major indigenous sect, may be among the most dramatic contractions in the history of American religion. Eddy forbade counting the faithful, but in 1961, the year I was born, the number of branch churches worldwide reached a high of 3,273. By the mid-80s, the number in the US had dropped to 1,997; between 1987 and late 2018, 1,070 more closed, while only 83 opened, leaving around a thousand in the US.

    Prized urban branches are being sold off by the score, converted into luxury condominiums, museums and Buddhist temples. The branch I attended, on Mercer Island, near Seattle, is now Congregation Shevet Achim, a Modern Orthodox synagogue.

    What's most interesting is how the Church is able to weather the decline based on it's massive asset portfolio (mainly real estate):



    But real estate has pulled them back from the financial brink. In 2014, the board announced that it had sold adjacent development sites on the plaza, one for $65.6m, the other for $21.9m. After years of struggling to balance budgets, staff at a recent annual meeting announced that the church was in possession of more than $1bn in cash and assets.

    And finally, there's this:



    By 2010, signs of the church’s impending mortality had become so unmistakable that officials took a previously inconceivable step. They threw Mary Baker Eddy under the bus. A century after the death of their “beloved founder and leader”, the directors took her most precious principle, radical reliance – requiring Scientists to hew solely to prayer – and renounced it in the pages of the New York Times.

    Is this a canary in the mine for other smaller sects of Christianity (Jehovah's Witnesses, Seventh-Day Adventists, CoJCoLdS?), or were the problems of Christian Science unique to them?

    • Like 1
  • Create New...