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Everything posted by bdouglas

  1. Very interesting story. I like stories like this. We have a story similar to this in my family that has been passed down over the years, always with the understanding that it will be kept in the family.
  2. But the whole JS story is unusual. Given the strangeness of the whole JS story we already know, would it really be that unusual for there to be parts of this story that we haven’t been made aware of?
  3. I have zero background in linguistics so I can’t comment on “or”, but ... I am reading Skousen original text BOM. I finish 2nd Nephi and I come Jacob … and Jacob speaks in a different voice than Nephi. There are distinctive elements to his speech not present in Nephi's speech. Then the odd language ... (EModE, according to Skousen/Carmack) ... I get the feeling that what I’m reading is a deliberate and studied translation of an ancient text, a translation that maybe took place over many years, someone rendering into his native English an ancient text, also "reshaping" (Bushman) for modern world. I can't get my mind around JS doing this on the fly, without referencing plates ... P.S. - You write, "Many of the long sentences (particularly those that get lost in side alleys and never really complete the sentence) are more evidence of orality that either the original writing or a slower translation." I used to wonder about these sentences. The writer seems to lose his train of thought mid-way through a sentence. I used to wonder if this was due to the difficulty of engraving on plates i.e. you can't go back and start over so you press on.
  4. !! I have been reading the Skousen/Carmack original text BOM. There is so much of the language in the original text that is hard to imagine coming from JS. Where would he have pulled that language from?
  5. P.S. - I have volume one of your Second Witness series, First Nephi. Halfway thru. Learning a lot.
  6. Thank you for taking the time to reply to my question. To me the theory that he was reading off an already existing translation, a "cultural and creative translation" (Skousen), is more plausible. JS did things that are not ordinarily possible to humans (dictating the revelations in the D & C, for example), but even so, giving us the BOM in 67 working days, an uninterrupted flow, spelling out proper names, places, so many distinctive and unique voices (how many distinctive voices? 28, I think), complex geographies, radically different places and cultures (1 Nephi, Book of Ether) etc., etc. ... I don't know how this could've been possible, even for someone with JS's outsize abilities, working out all of these various elements on the fly. It is easier for me to think he was reading off an existing text, a translation that had already been done by some other prophet. Ultimately I realize this is not very important, and that JS himself, when asked about the translation/transmission process simply said it was done “by the gift and power of God.” And I accept that.
  7. Maybe. But more often (it seems to me) God uses human agents to do his work here.
  8. I'm curious to know how you see JS producing BOM without referencing plates. What was he seeing in seer-stone, do you think? If he was working things out on the fly, how does he do this in 67 days, dictating text, spelling out names, places? Someone who does not subscribe to theory that he was reading off an existing text told me he thought JS did it in the same way he dictated revelations in the D & C i.e. the words were given to him, but yet at the same they were JS's words, his language. Is this the way you see it?
  9. This is the traditional view, the one I used to have: that JS was "studying it out in his mind" and then rendering it into his own English. But the fact that we now know that JS did not reference the plates while translating, that he read off the words from seer-stone, so many words per minute (as per Skousen), spelling out names, places, and that he did this in 67 working days ... It seems he was reading off an existing translation. Or at least this is the theory that makes the most sense to me.
  10. The only theory I have heard was advanced by Royal Skousen, that the BOM is a "creative and cultural translation" from 15th-16 century, but he does not say who did this translation. I assume he thinks it was a prophet, or prophets. I have heard Stanford Carmack (name correct?) say that, considering the mix of EModE and modern English, this translation was perhaps done by more than one person. It seems to me that JS, looking into his seer-stone and producing BOM in 67 days, no pauses, no going back to rework anything, spelling out names, places—it seems clear to me that he was not working all this out in his head, rather he was transmitting an already existing text—a text which had already been rendered into English. I assume, since this translation into English was "creative and cultural" (Skousen), that this translator was a prophet. Maybe he was a translated being. In the D & C JS is told that there are "holy men ye know not of" on the earth. Maybe it was one of these "holy men."
  11. Podcast: https://www.sltrib.com/religion/2021/01/07/mormon-land-historian/ Print: https://www.sltrib.com/religion/2020/12/31/agnostic-believer/ Some time ago Royal Skousen, in a BYU interview, said that JS, when he looked into his seer-stone, was transmitting an already existing translation, and that this was a “creative and cultural translation” from the 15th-16th century. And now we have Bro. Bushman hinting at the same thing only he says 19th century. I get that this is very disturbing to some LDS, who feel that such a theory diminishes the BOM and JS, but for me, it does just the opposite. Mormon took all of the records of his people and synthesized them into a book, then Moroni added the Book of Ether abridgment, also his final words … and then some other prophet, from the modern age (15-16th century or 19th) took this record and via revelation reshaped it, making it relevant to the modern word. So what it boils down to for me is that some other prophet (or prophets) also had a hand in the production of this miraculous book. For me, this makes the BOM more interesting, more miraculous, not less so. This is, of course, a theory. If you have a better theory, I would like to hear it … (unless your theory is “Joseph Smith wrote the BOM,” since that theory breaks down on so many levels it is simply unworkable). P.S. - Bro. Bushman also says something very interesting about the gold plates, that if they had not been returned to Moroni and were in a museum or on display at temple square, the BOM would not have the power it does now to change lives and inspire faith. It would be a curiosity, like the Dead Sea Scrolls, something mainly interesting to archaeologists and historians. (Pres. Eyring, while he was church commissioner of educ, said the same thing in a talk about at BYU, but I can’t find link to this talk.)
  12. An interesting OP, one I agree with. In C S Lewis’ The Great Divorce certain souls on the other side (what LDS would call the Spirit World) make a long pilgrimage to see Napoleon. I was a full-blown drug addict by the time I was 15, and I have continued to struggle with drug addiction all through my adult life, and I can tell you that (1) addicts, perhaps more than other people, harbor grievances, and (2), the first thing an addict has to do when going into recovery is toss out all of the grievances. "But what if the grievances are justified?" It doesn’t matter. They still have to be tossed out. If the addict wants to be forgiven and find grace, he must himself forgive and extend grace to others.
  13. If you do not believe in the historicity of the Bible, then Israel Finkelstein is your man. If you do believe in the historicity of Bible, as I do (I also believe in the historicity of the BOM), then you go with William Dever, William F. Albright, etc. Who you choose to make your expert depends on what you already believe.
  14. Two things: (1) archaeology is an inexact science; and (2) Israel Finkelstein is very controversial. See this to get an idea about how controversial he is: https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2020/06/29/in-search-of-king-davids-lost-empire
  15. https://www.benjaminlcorey.com/could-american-evangelicals-spot-the-antichrist-heres-the-biblical-predictions/ Not for discussion. This is why I'm posting it here.
  16. https://magazine.byu.edu/article/black-at-byu/ A very interesting article.
  17. 😊 When I read your posts, I say to myself, "Well I guess I am not the only cross-grained, ill-tempered curmudgeon on this board." 🙂
  18. Two months ago someone from my extended family, Richard (not his real name), left the church. “I believe Joseph Smith wrote the Book of Mormon,” he said. I spent an hour or so pushing back on this point. I brought up the complex geography of the BOM (“Fiction writers very rarely invent geography, and when they do it’s a very simple geography”); the language (“Who invents something like Reformed Egyptian? If you’re inventing a story about Jews from 600 BC you have them speaking Hebrew”); the various plates (“Someone could write a whole book on the various plates in the BOM alone, the abridgments, the abridgments of abridgments, the large plates, the small plates, what happened to these plates over the course of a thousand years”); the messiness yet internal consistency of the narrative (“Fiction is not messy, it is tidy, organized. But the BOM is untidy, messy, and there are loose ends everywhere. Why? Because it is not fiction"); etc., etc. But it was all to no effect. Richard has never been a reader, and most of what I said––well, it just didn’t register with him. But what I said next, did. “The Book of Mormon was originally rendered in a language Joseph Smith didn’t know.” “What?” “The Book of Mormon, the original text that Joseph Smith dictated, was not written in the English of that day. It was not the King James English of the Bible, nor was it the English of Joseph’s day. It was written in Early Modern English, a language which had been out of use for 200 years by 1827. This was a language Joseph Smith did not know and could not have known.” Long pause. I’d finally hit on something that Richard could grasp. "The presence of Early Modern English in the Book of Mormon is proof that Joseph Smith did not produce the book himself," I said. Maybe it would be more accurate to say that it is a different kind of proof, one that is easily grasped by someone like Richard, who is not going to respond to other proofs. Not that Richard is suddenly going to return to the church. I doubt that he will. But the presence of EModE in the BOM, when taken with all of the other proofs, makes it extremely unlikely, really impossible, that JS wrote the BOM. P.S. - Tried to edit headline but can't.
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