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the narrator

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  1. He was the main reason I wanted to go to Claremont, but unfortunately he passed away before then. I did have the opportunity to sit in a couple of his classes before that though. DZ's Religion and the Hermeneutics of Contemplation deals a lot with this. As you can tell, I'm a big fan of him, and my own Wittgensteinian philosophy comes largely through DZ and his mentor Rush Rhess (who he affectionately called "my teacher"), both of whom heavily applied Wittgenstein to the philosophy of religion.
  2. Bingo. BTW, if you haven't read any D.Z. Philips then you ought to. Much of his work is around this issue. For this discussion in particular I suggest Death and Immortality. His Religion and Friend Fire is also on point on this.
  3. Part of the problem is that nobody seems to quite know what resurrection even is, outside of some vague and generalized claim about a body* being raised** from the dead in perfection***. *undefined **undefined ***undefined
  4. This is the basic gist for my contribution to the volume Perspectives on Mormon Theology: Apologetics, which made some on the apologetics end think me a critic, and others like John Dehlin claim me to be an apologist. You can download my chapter here. In short, I argue that religious claims are the sort of thing that can only be confirmed or rejected by religious means--such as prayer, revelation, "fruits," etc. You know, the sort of thing that Alma describes in Alma 32, or what Lehi describes when partaking of the fruit of the tree. On the other hand, apologetics (and criticisms) involve secular claims that can only be confirmed or rejected by secular means--such as science, historical research, archeology, philosophy, etc. So, "the Book of Mormon is the Word of God" is a religious claim that can only be confirmed or rejected by prayer, how it feels, etc. On the other hand, "the Book of Mormon is a record of people who actually lived in the Americas" is a fundamentally secular claim that can only be confirmed or rejected by secular means such as science, archaeology, anthropology, etc. This doesn't just apply to misguided apologetic attempts to "prove" the truth of a religious claim. It also applies to critical attempts to reject religious claims though secular means, and apologetic responses to defend them. As the same problem exists, and to make things worse apologetic defenses implicitly support the misguided belief that religious claims can be refuted through secular argumentation. Now some may counter that I'm making an arbitrary distinction between what I call religious and secular claims, but my response is that the distinction I make is already present and fundamental to how those claims are already distinguished in religious practice. Furthermore, while many may certainly think that secular truths can be confirmed or rejected through religious means (such as "God confirmed to me that the Book of Mormon is a record of actually persons who lived in the Americas"), I would respond by saying that doing so is simply an act of confusion and that there is an overwhelming abundance of examples of persons being simply wrong about the secular claims that were supposedly divinely confirmed to them, and that there are zero examples of a secular claim that can be reliably shown to have been confirmed or established through religious means. Cheers.
  5. This is just an aside, but one problem with using D&C 89 to justify the modern understanding of the WofW, is that the proscriptions and prescriptions for strong drinks, hot drinks, and tobacco were concerning medicinal use, both through consumption and topical application. Hence, these applications it mentions: 7 And, again, strong drinks are not for the belly, but for the washing of your bodies. 8 And again, tobacco is not for the body, neither for the belly, and is not good for man, but is an herb for bruises and all sick cattle, to be used with judgment and skill. [Note that it does not mention smoking or chewing; this is because it's discussing tobacco poultices and other topical applications, as well as consuming tobacco, which was sometime prescribed to cause purging.] 9 And again, hot drinks are not for the body or belly. [This is cautioning against common prescriptions of the time to either consume or apply extremely hot beverages (usually coffee, tea, and the expensively prohibitive hot cocoa) to counter diseases, based on the pseudo-science-based humoral theory of medicine that was beginning to be discredited at this time. If chocolate wasn't so expensive, Hyrum would have likely included that in his definition of "hot drinks.") While warning people against humorism may no longer be needed, given what the food industry and big pharma are up to for $$, the stated reason for the revealed WofW seems incredibly prophetic: "Behold, verily, thus saith the Lord unto you: In consequence of evils and designs which do and will exist in the hearts of conspiring men in the last days, I have warned you, and forewarn you, by giving unto you this word of wisdom by revelation."
  6. Lolz. Because a hallmark of this board is that everyone keeps threads on the OP topic, right?
  7. I didn't miss any point at all. I was very well aware of the point you were making, which is part of a debate I care nothing about (that is, what Nelson thinks of the historicity of the BofM). I was making a different point--that apologists, including Nelson, should stop appealing to this interview of Emma.
  8. Of course his ability improved over time, but he was still dictating letters at the time of the translation as well, and we have examples of him writing not much later. Whether or not Joseph is thought to be capable of creating/dictating the BofM narrative himself, the notion that he was some illiterate farm boy is incredibly far from the truth, and that notion really ought to be abandoned.
  9. Perhaps this quote from Emma shouldn't be appealed to, considering that we know very well that Joseph could both write and dictate quite eloquent letters, and that in this very interview Emma lied about Joseph's polygamous marriages.
  10. IIRC, much of it centered around Hank Smith claiming that Joseph Smith uniquely taught a list of things, none of which were the case, and that if it wasn't for him nobody would believe in those things.
  11. Not speaking for anyone, including myself, here, but I think the problem for many is not necessarily what this says about Joseph Smith, but what it says of the contemporary Church that, while giving subtle nods on the periphery of JS being influenced by his surroundings, heavily promotes the notion that JS's revelations were entirely unfiltered and directly from God and almost always distinct from, if not contrary to, theological and even temporal views of his time. Yes, publications like the Gospel Topics and Saints volumes make attempts to mitigate the view Joseph receiving revelation in a vacuum, but even those (which, to be honest, will not be read by the majority of saints) take a back seat to GC talks and statements by general authorities--especially seventies--who promote the opposite. Hence, the recent Hank Smith debacle on Twitter. Apologies from my unnecessarily long sentences.
  12. r That's part of the Masonic tradition, but there is zero truth to it.
  13. Because: 1. Joseph Smith and other Mormons of the time not only believed that Masonry was a corrupted (meaning parts had been lost, akin to their beliefs about the Bible) version of the Endowment, they also largely believed in all of the various Masonic legends about the ancient past, and that Joseph was the one to restore the lost parts of Masonry. 2. Latter-day Saints today generally do not believe this, nor should they; because Masonry originated four centuries ago, not seven millennia past.
  14. Without spoiling too much from this forthcoming volume, let me say there were probably tow main factors that led to Mormons being discouraged from becoming Masons: 1. Brigham Young rightly understood that Masons were part of the mob that killed Joseph Smith. Unbeknownst to Young, one of the reasons why some Masons wanted Joseph killed or at least stopped was because they feared that Joseph could possibly be elected president of a proposed national lodge, which would have given him significant authority and control Masonry across the country. 2. By the early 20th century, all of the Church leaders that had been become Masons in Nauvoo had passed away, and those that replaced them were ignorant of how important Masonry had been to Mormonism before Joseph's death.
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