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Posts posted by OGHoosier

  1. On 10/22/2020 at 4:19 PM, Fair Dinkum said:


    Your comment got my curiosity so I googled it... seems coil pottery has been in the America's for nearly 4,000 years not since 600 AD

    600 BC. 

    I found that website too. Shame they didn't give their sources, finding scholarly work on the firing techniques is proving to be extremely difficult. Everything I've found so far compares pottery based on stylistic elements and incisions, not firing techniques. 

    Also, "coil-firing" doesn't sound right to me since from what I can see coiling was a way to mold the clay prior to firing. I would like some clarification but I'm not tossing it out yet. 

    • Like 1
  2. 9 hours ago, RevTestament said:

    For instance did you know that before 600 BC native north American pottery consisted of either carved stone or Fiber-tempered pottery, and that this suddenly changed after 600 BC (Lehi's voyage) to coil-fired pottery - a technique used in the Old World ie Middle East? The Book of Mormon doesn't talk about pottery, but it is only natural that a better technology brought to the Americas would quickly spread.

    This is remarkably fascinating as there is one commenter on here who has discussed ancient American pottery as a point of contention which helped crack his faith. 

    Can I PM you? I would like to learn more about your journey. 

  3. 4 hours ago, Tacenda said:

    I agree with you for the most part, but they are still man made, or I should say women made as well, and built on those experiences. But as you mention Mohammed...Joseph and he, probably a little different than the majority. 

    ETA: Religion can cause harm. Think 911, and Mountain Meadows Massacre. Would God approve? These were in the name of duty for their God/leaders. 

    Not sure where you're going with the ETA, I never contested that religious activity can't be harmful. That said, you can also do obscenely harmful things in the name of service to things like the state, your family, your friends, and that does not eradicate the worth or even the goodness of such concepts. 

    As for them still being man-made, I'm going to lodge my disagreement. Man-influenced, yes, but I'm open to a broader spectrum of spiritual and divine involvement. 

    50 minutes ago, mfbukowski said:

    This one has always fascinated me, and I have never seen a measured LDS response to it. 

    I have no problem with it.



    Neither do I. I think it works fine, seeing as I embrace a certain pluralism when it comes to spiritual involvement in the various religions. There's always the old appeal to demonology, and I won't deny that false spirits might be getting involved at some points, but I also believe Alma when he says that God giveth light unto all nations. One priceless key to my personal theodicy came when I was reflecting on the Eastern concept of yin and yang, which convinced me that God has distilled His light among all nations. And after 1 Kings 22, I can't say that I can put any limits on how God chooses to carry out His purposes. So I take Fatima, the Marian apparition at Zeitoun, certain cases of incorruption, and other such things as God rewarding the prayer of faith and communicating in whatever way He sees fit. I don't find it hard to believe that He wants to strengthen Catholics, strengthen Muslims, strengthen whoever He can in whatever way will encourage them to seek Him as best they know how. As for the Church we are a part of, I hold to it because my connections with God happened in the contexts of the temple and Book of Mormon, confirming to me their truth, and I think our theology is best capable of answering the problems of the world, as well as being best suited to accommodate the problem of religious pluralism. It's actually pretty brilliant in my opinion. The major objection to religious experience arguments like Alston's and Swinburne's is the problem of religious diversity, and our theology can take that out with precision. I'm in the beginning stages of a paper that synthesizes Alston, Gellman, and Wiebe's works on religious experience arguments with Latter-day Saint doctrines (I think I need more training before I can really get into the storm around Swinburne) and I am quite optimistic. Travis Dumsday's work is also starting to play a role in my thinking. 

    Wow, I actually have philosophical influences now. This is exciting for a young philosopher. Of course, Mark Bukowski is first on that list. 

    Edit: Kevin Christensen also features prominently, and by extension Kuhn and Barbour.

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  4. 7 hours ago, Tacenda said:

    And it could have been their goal to start up a better religion, aren't religions man made for the most part?

    I'm honestly skeptical that most religions are man-made in the sense that they are knowingly fabricated. Even someone who's not a theist (and I know that you do believe in God, so I'm not directing this comment at you specifically) must admit that there's a lot of weird stuff out there which historically have been grounds for religion. Global reports of visions, incidences of intuitive knowing, events interpreted as miracles...these things obviously happen, whether materialist science can ever sufficiently explain them or not. Perhaps I have an overly charitable view of humanity, but I think it's more likely that events like these triggered and have attended the rise of most enduring religious traditions. So Mohammed saw his vision, the Buddha really did have a oneness-experience with the world, and so on. 

    • Like 1
  5. 29 minutes ago, Tacenda said:

    He was a student of Hebrew, could he have learned this then? https://www.dialoguejournal.com/wp-content/uploads/sbi/articles/Dialogue_V03N02_43.pdf  

    I'd say that that is extremely unlikely. Joseph Smith was a student of Hebrew in that he possessed several Hebrew textbooks and took the equivalent of 1 introductory course in Hebrew under Joshua Seixas. He attained the status of talented amateur, with special focus on biblical Hebrew. The identification of the canopic jars as cardinal directions, however, is Egyptian and extremely unlikely to be associated with introductory Hebrew materials. 

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  6. 32 minutes ago, Damien the Leper said:

    This isn't meant to be a snarky question but is there any evidence to support Abraham, himself, being familiar with the text of the BoA or is the BoA better suited to be viewed as pseudepigrapha via the "red headed step child's cousin's uncle twice removed" sort of idea. Again, no disrespect.

    I'm not sure there's any way to determine whether or not Abraham himself would have been familiar with it, since all we have about Abraham is pseudepigraphic or written by a later prophet. There's no control to compare to. 

    • Like 1
  7. 9 hours ago, Fair Dinkum said:

    Scribd offers a free membership allowing just enough time to download the paper and then cancel the scribd membership, which is what I did.  Roberts paper assumes a belief in Biblical stories such as a belief in Noah through which Egyptus came and Abraham whom many view as a figurative character,  the Great Tower (babel) or a Divine Christ.  This is what I was referring to when I stated that his paper requires a belief in God. thsoe who do not hold to a belief in biblical charactors would not find Roberts arguments convincing since they wouldn't be able to work past his dependence on this biblical foundation.

    I too would like to sidestep getting a Scribd membership, so this is good advice. Thanks! 

    I came away from Robert's paper with the impression that he was referencing the Bible stories as traditions, not necessarily historical facts. So I think it might be somewhat applicable even for those who don't take the biblical stories literally. But your general point remains valid: those who don't approach the study from a believing perspective will likely find it less instinctively agreeable than those who do approach it from an already-believing perspective. 

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  8. 3 hours ago, Navidad said:

    I know this is off subject a bit! I see in your profile you are a Mr. Pibb fan. I thought I should inform you that almost fifty years ago when I was a graduate student in the Baylor University School of Religion we all got together and awarded Mr. Pibb an honorary doctorate. You see, the school of religion was a haven for Dr. Pepper drinkers - mostly thoroughly addicted! Those who dared drink Mr. Pibb in Texas were struggling with their self-esteem as was Mr. Pibb. So we had a ceremony with some professors to alleviate these issues and granted Mr. Pibb an honorary doctor honoris causa! From that day on, drinkers of Dr. Pibb felt much better! Now you know the rest of the story!

    I absolutely love that story. Dr. Pibb it is. 

  9. On 8/30/2020 at 12:19 AM, Judd said:

    Anyway, we’re so used to viewing the worlds as so different that we often forget that Moroni was a contemporary of the early Catholic Church. Had his “wandering whithersoever I can” encompassed instead crossing the seas and delivering the plates to Ancient Rome, the Christian world would currently have a much different canon.  

    I've actually thought that Mormon and Moroni, through their close association with the Three Nephites, were exposed to some of the works of the first three Christian centuries. Jesus' original Twelve Apostles rank above the Nephite disciples, I believe, since they were given the sealing power and iirc the same is not recorded for the Nephite disciples, who are not named as apostles (though that could just be a translation thing.) Also, the Twelve Apostles are told that they will judge all the House of Israel, and the Nephite disciples are told they will be judged by the Twelve. Given the fact that Christ Himself gives the Nephites the prophecies of Malachi, it seems to me likely that He would provide for his Nephite disciples to have access to the words and teachings of Peter, Paul, and the great saints of the early Church. So, rather than the plates being delivered to Ancient Rome, ancient Rome was delivered to the plates. 

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  10. 13 minutes ago, Robert J Anderson said:

    Who said Dr. Gee and Dr. Muhlestein aren't real Egyptologists?  I don't think Dr. Ritner said so.  He was only objecting to their interpretations of the Book of Abraham.  Also, I sense that you are equating mere disagreement with bigotry.  I am sure you would agree that one can disagree with another and not be a bigot, right?

    Dr. Ritner did not say so, to his credit (though I confess that I expect such consideration as a standard). The actual scholars usually don't. However, I've noticed a trend among consumers of scholarship (particularly of the Reddit variety) to dismiss people like Gee and Muhlestein out of hand, or refuse to engage their work until it passes some metric of external approval. That, I think, is in practice bigoted. Sure, we can disagree with each other and not be bigots, but to deny someone a voice at the table simply because of who they are, their communities and opinions? I leave it to you to judge. You can want external examination of Gee and Muhlestein and be justified, but to refuse to even hear them before someone outside the community compels your validation? That crosses a line for me. 

    13 minutes ago, Robert J Anderson said:

    Anyway, my opinion is that perhaps leaving the battlefield of *** for tat apologetics might be a better course.  My brother took a deep dive into it and left the church over it because he lost his spiritual focus.  You probably don't have this problem, I am sure, but others might.  It also leads to unnecessary anger and there is much that we do not know and probably won't until this life is over.  In the end, who cares if someone is in fact bigoted toward us or professors from BYU or anyone else in the church?  The spiritual witness is what matters and sustains.  I was down in Los Angeles a few years ago watching a football game, rooting for the University of Utah and had several people ask me how many wives I had.  My response was to pretend that I couldn't remember if it were 4 or 5.  Everyone laughed and we went on.

    Fair enough. 

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  11. I think the Givens' are onto something when they write about how a certain cognitive distance is required for us to truly have choice which reflects what we truly want and who we truly are. There's a saying that people show who they really are once they put on a mask; being separated from those who know us and their expectations of us offers us the chance to really let loose. Given that the face of God is veiled from us and we feel independent, we can act as we are and show who we are and what we value most highly. We can choose whether or not to become worthy of godhood. 

    There's also the idea that faith is a principle of power and constitutes the very power of God. In that case this life would be a sort of workout, strengthening our divine muscles if you will. 

    There's also a thought that I have had recur to me a few times. Perhaps it is crazy. But I am a firm believer that suffering is an essential part of this earthly experience. I don't know how many of you have ever read the Eragon books (if you haven't, then spoiler alert) but in the end the good guy goes to fight the evil emperor and gets totally whooped. The hero loses the climactic final battle in devastating fashion: the evil emperor is for all intents and purposes a god at that point and is just way too powerful for any combination of opposing forces to ever overcome him. The hero's last-ditch effort is to cast a spell that causes the evil emperor to feel, to experience, to understand every negative emotion he has ever caused in his generations-long reign. The experience is too much for the Bad Guy, who destroys himself and rids the world of his tyranny. End scene. 

    It occurs to me that we could become a lot like the Bad Guy of Eragon without a knowledge, a personal knowledge born of experience, of suffering. We could cause it and just not know, and as Gods, who could teach us? I believe that apotheosis requires a period of suffering, an inoculation against coldness and cruelty, but to have that we must first know what those concepts are and what they mean to the individual, and that requires experience. It's kind of like the Primary song, "How could the Father tell the world?/Of sacrifice, of death?/He sent His Son to die for us/And rise with living breath." How could the Father show the world of cruelty, of coldness, of wickedness and pain? How could He teach us about these things so that we would recognize and avoid them? By inoculation: during our "short night in the inconvenient hotel" as Mother Teresa described mortality-as-juxtaposed-with-eternity, we would be exposed to these things. We would be exposed to despair and suffering, so that we would not consider them too cheaply. 

    As to how this connects back to faith, it seems to me obvious that God has to be at a distance during such an experience. In a tragic sense, humanity needs to be free to be choose cruelty as well as good, so that we may see that all things have their opposites. But that freedom would not exist were God to hover there. Nor would we be able to experience despair or hopelessness, with God ever nearby. To experience these things for even the shortest time, God needs to pull away for a minute. We all need to go through Gethsemane, to be crucified together with Christ. We all need to ask, at one point or another, "Oh God, where is the pavilion that covereth thy hiding place?"

    Or, in the words of the Exemplar, "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" 

    Faith is a necessity because of the necessity of God's distance. God has to be distant, He has to, or else the Plan fails. It rends Him, we are told, but it is not avoidable. Thus, He asks us to have faith, offers it as a means of sustenance, and waits until, for each of us, "it is finished." This is my theodicy and with it my theology of faith, such as it is. 

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  12. 13 minutes ago, stemelbow said:

    There is no spirit.  You judge writing, story, simply on the basis of its quality.  Spirit is not inspiration.  Spirit is makebelieve.  Inspiration is simply your chemical response to appreciated info.  

    Those who don't already believe that assertion find nothing in your comment that is convincing. It's just not a shared point of departure, no matter how many times it is said. 

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  13. 5 hours ago, Robert J Anderson said:

    Isn't the problem, from a critic's perspective, that the believing apologist must come to a believing conclusion, despite where the evidence logically leads?

    That is the problem, from a critic's perspective. From my perspective,  @mfbukowski is right. Logic can only build off of established rules and assumptions. If those rules are not shared, the logic becomes irrelevant and a category error.

    5 hours ago, Robert J Anderson said:

    At a certain point, one has to humbly give up on outliers, despite the continued existence of possibilities the outliers possess.

    Why? It seems like any choice to do so would be entirely subjective. 

    5 hours ago, Robert J Anderson said:

    I think this is why critics make the demand to have non-mormon experts review apologetic work.  It isn't because of bigotry or some other reason.  Apologists hold to outliers, perhaps too much, and maybe independent experts would do some good in showing this?

    Who gets to define "too much"? The outside experts? Why do the apologists and their genuinely held opinions deserve to be disenfranchised? Who sets the standards? Where does the authority come from? 

    Perhaps my point should be clarified, it couldn't hurt. I don't believe that it is inherently bigoted to ask for a non-Mormon expert, but it is bigoted to say that the opinions of Mormons don't count, dismissing them out of hand, is bigoted. It's dismissing a person, refusing to listen, simply because of who they are or the opinions and affiliations they hold. Hence, somebody who argues that Gee or Muhlestein aren't "real Egyptologists" is acting in a bigoted manner. 

    6 hours ago, Robert J Anderson said:

    If one spends too much time rationalizing possibilities, one can suddenly realize that possibility doesn't equal probability and start to doubt the spiritual.  We live in an imperfect world where sense can mislead us.  God speaks to imperfect vessels and what may seem one way is in reality another when seen through the spirit. 

    I pretty much agree with this. This blog post summarized some thoughts of C.S. Lewis which I think you'll mostly agree with, and I do too. You are absolutely right about imperfect worlds, misleading senses, and how God can act in ways that don't make sense to us. But I do think that apologetics can have value as helping us learn how God works, what God is willing to prioritize and tolerate, and I think that is valuable. Many would best be served by your philosophy, but others, perhaps less so. The Kingdom requires all kinds. 

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  14. On 8/31/2020 at 8:01 AM, stemelbow said:

    So, the conclusion is, since Ritner and Rhodes appeared to have some question marks that means it's possible it could be something other than they suggested?  Since anomalies have been mentioned, it's possible that attributing the figure as Anubis might be a mistake?  Since there are differences found, we don't really know very much?  So the overriding presumption here is that all the question marks might mean Abraham's story can be found in the Egyptian anyway?  Granted I didn't read the 100 pages.  Wasn't interesting enough.  I did a skim.  Not sure what exactly you are trying to say with this.  Perhaps you are saying, well it might not really be Anubis anyway, because there is uniqueness to this particular vignette?  Did Barney point to any Egyptian experts to suggest as much?  or is he simply saying, we don't really know, so it's possible Ritner and company are wrong anyway?  

    Let's take this paragraph sentence by sentence.

    On 8/31/2020 at 8:01 AM, stemelbow said:

    So, the conclusion is, since Ritner and Rhodes appeared to have some question marks that means it's possible it could be something other than they suggested?

    Yes. Bear in mind that Ritner, Rhodes, nor anybody else are actually ancient Egyptians, nor authors of these texts. That means that all we get are interpretations from the outside. Egyptologists can catalogue various symbols, catalogue their contexts, and thus figure out a general range of meaning for each one. That meaning, as best we can guess, is most likely going to represent a mainstream use of those symbols since it is drawn from a broad number of samples. This does not, however, mean that all possible meanings have been discovered by the scholars, or even can be. So, in conclusion, scholars can only give us a "most likely" interpretation of these things. It's always possible that it could be something other than they suggested. These are symbols we are talking about, not laws of nature. 

    On 8/31/2020 at 8:01 AM, stemelbow said:

    Since anomalies have been mentioned, it's possible that attributing the figure as Anubis might be a mistake?

    Since there are big anomalies regarding Figure 6, yes. Precisely. 

    On 8/31/2020 at 8:01 AM, stemelbow said:

    Since there are differences found, we don't really know very much?  So the overriding presumption here is that all the question marks might mean Abraham's story can be found in the Egyptian anyway?

    Not in the Breathing Permit, no. On another papyrus, whether or not Joseph Smith ever encountered it, yes. 

    On 8/31/2020 at 8:01 AM, stemelbow said:

    Granted I didn't read the 100 pages.  Wasn't interesting enough.  I did a skim.  Not sure what exactly you are trying to say with this.  Perhaps you are saying, well it might not really be Anubis anyway, because there is uniqueness to this particular vignette?  Did Barney point to any Egyptian experts to suggest as much?  or is he simply saying, we don't really know, so it's possible Ritner and company are wrong anyway?  

    This is unfortunate, I found the paper quite interesting. If you'd like, you can check Barney's included bibliography, where he cites many mainstream Egyptologists and their findings, including Robert Ritner. Unfortunately, I don't have time to list them. Also, since we're on the Anubis figure, he argues that there are anomalies with the greater vignette, yes, but also with the Anubis figure itself, which weaken identifications of the figure as Anubis. 

    I don't quite know what you mean by "point to Egyptian experts". Barney did original research, citing other credible Egyptian experts. People are allowed to put forth original theses, you know. Not everything has to first have been said by someone else. Were it so, scholarship would grind to a halt and be broken in its own paradox. 

    On 8/31/2020 at 8:01 AM, stemelbow said:

    Seems fairly odd that he didn't go to Ritner himself for input.  He seems comfortable concluding Ritner isn't sure without any statement from Ritner (at least from what I've seen) suggesting as much.

    He's critiquing the grounds upon which Ritner bases his certainty, not disputing what Ritner thinks about his own opinions. 

    On 8/31/2020 at 8:01 AM, stemelbow said:

    Unfortunately, all too often, apologetics attempts to run right over the top of every single logical and scholarly rule in order to justify itself.    "We've found something fascinating about our scripture, because it's possible God did the unthinkable and has sent scholars in the wrong direction, distracted on their rules of scholarship and stuff.  Since its possible God has misled our scholars, we can say without reservation that our religion is possible and since possible that means it's probably true."  

    Unfortunately, all too often, critics attempt to run right over the top of sound philosophy regarding the scope, capabilities, and limitations of research and human knowledge. This often results in fetishization of a sense of certainty and authority, and a complementary intolerance for ambiguity. 

    I mean, seriously: "because it's possible God did the unthinkable and has sent scholars in the wrong direction, distracted on their rules of scholarship and stuff."

    Literally everything we have of scholarship has been dragged out of the ashes of past scholarship that has been burnt to the ground. The whole concept of ongoing research is built on the premise that scholars can be wrong! I'm going to presume that you know this and stop beating this particular dead horse. 

    Also, define rules of scholarship. Let me guess: "peer review." When an apologetic statement is, actually, peer reviewed, the goalpost shifts: "peer-reviewed by non-Mormon experts." This seems to me like nothing more than rank ideological bigotry. What kind of free discourse can we conceivably claim if a person's opinions on a matter can be summarily dismissed based on his origins, life circumstances, or ideological opinions? That's why claims that "mUhLeStEiN aNd GeE aReN't ReAl EgYpToLoGiStS" merely convince me to regard the claimant as a bigot. Try these "rules of scholarship" on for size: intellectual humility, willingness to acknowledge the horizons of one's understanding, willingness to acknowledge the limitations of scholarship, and willingness to understand that all conclusions, including one's own, are held provisionally. Willingness to understand that not all explanations are or can be universal. Willingness to understand that institutional authority is not a trump card. 


    Since its possible God has misled our scholars, we can say without reservation that our religion is possible and since possible that means it's probably true.

    No need for God to do the misleading: if Barney is right, the scholars have done that themselves. Nevertheless, "by very small means the Lord doth confound the wise and bringeth about the salvation of many souls."  The august dignity of "the wise" is of little concern. Finally, you misrepresent me. Have I ever said possibility implied probability? No, but it confounds certainty. I'm okay with the absence of that; much of it is probably false certainty anyway. 

    Edit: I forgot this part:


    I don't really understand the presumptive nature of this position you are holding.  What audience are you talking about here?

    I'm generally talking about the Semitic Adaptation Theory, which holds forth that Joseph Smith's translations represent how a Jewish redactor would have interpreted those symbols. It's basically that Semitic redactors adapted the facsimiles as illustrations of their own text - the Book of Abraham. Therefore, to declare the Egyptian sacerdotal interpretation of the scenes as a disproof of the Book is to commit a non sequitur - the Egyptian priest's interpretation is not exclusive, nor is it as important as the Semitic interpretation. Under SAT,  the facsimiles that Joseph received could have been included among Hor's possessions as an accompaniment to a Book of Abraham text, or they could simply be types, with Joseph receiving the rest by revelation. 

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  15. 1 hour ago, Bernard Gui said:

    In our area “Ex-Mormons for Jesus“ shadowed the missionaries to find out who they were visiting. They would then show up later to “tell them the truth”  about what Church “really teaches.” They visited a convert family the week after their baptism. The next Sunday, the father and mother came to me (the bishop) and said they would not be coming back. I asked why? They said the EMJ folks told them that we had naked orgies in the temple.....and that if they confronted me I would deny it. I did. Nothing I could say convinced them it was a lie.They never came back.

    I was present when an angry couple shouted at their bishop as the cast Satan out of him after their excommunication. His parents were members of my ward. He lied during the council that one of the reasons they were leaving was because our ward had ignored mistreated his impoverished parents. Later the man became a leader in the local former Mormons group and continued to lie about the Church in regularly published messages.

    Actions like that help me to understand why early members of the Church like Brigham Young thought that D&C 76's redefinition of hell was too kind. That's dishonest, manipulative, and infuriating. 

    1 hour ago, Bernard Gui said:

    “If you really love me more than the Church, then smoke a joint or have a glass of wine or a beer with me” has been a fairly common request. Usually, some sort of reconciliation comes months or years later.

    I've never seen that happen myself but it wouldn't surprise me. If so, that's abusive. 

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  16. 18 hours ago, Scribe said:

    No, it has not. The parallels that Barney cites are textual. They are not ancient Egyptian religious vignettes relabeled to tell a completely different story. And the textual parallels are pretty general; the only characteristically Egyptian image in either one is the "weighing" of souls in the Testament of Abraham.

    So, in other words...Semitic authors adapting themes from Egyptian illustrations in their writing is irrelevant because their adaptations take the form of text as opposed to illustration? Between you and me our standards of evaluating these things are surely different, but in my opinion that seems like an overly narrow definition of the phenomenon of borrowing. Semitic-Egyptian borrowing in other genres weakens the argument from silence with respect to the genre of illustration. 


    • Like 1
  17. 4 hours ago, mfbukowski said:

    One of the most sacred moments of my life happened in a visit to St. Anthony's Seminary (Franciscan) in Santa Barbara- right next door to the SB mission dating to the 17 hundreds established by Junipero Serra.  The altar below is in the Seminary- not the mission.   But when the Eucharist is elevated by the priest, as is shown in your pics, the host is superimposed over that circular area, and then higher up is the crucifix, symbolizing of course Christ's sacrifice, if you are Catholic.  And notice that the crucifix itself is on a roughly circular area surrounded by various symbols sacred to Catholics, and the Father and Holy Ghost symbolized in the other smaller circles. 

    The cross seems to grow out of the Tree of Life

    So you have the  Garden, the sacrifice of the Mass re-capitulating the Savior's sacrifice, with the Father and Holy Ghost all in a symphony of circles representing eternity.


    I was praying about becoming a Catholic priest at the time, at the age of 13, and I think those prayers led to the first personal revelation of my life, so this I think was in 1962 or so. 

    It is an incredibly beautiful altar piece.

    I believe the seminary is now closed though, and the building has been sold to another Christian group.   But man, THAT altarpiece is a treasure!!  Blow it up and zoom in if you can- it is just one symbol on top of another- simply gorgeous!!



    The Catholics do religious artwork like no other, in my humble opinion, though to be fair I haven't gotten to see a lot of Eastern Orthodox artwork in person so my judgement is provisional. 

    I hope that one day my own religious tradition can have such a vibrant artistic tradition but there is a 2000 year head start and some of the greatest artistic geniuses of all time to catch up to. 

    • Like 1
  18. 1 hour ago, Scribe said:

    People from one culture don't generally copy whole scenes from another culture, relabel the figures, and use them as illustrations of entirely different scenes from their own sacred texts. Given Judaism's revulsion toward gods other than Yahweh, Hebrew/Jews would have been especially unlikely to do that with images that included ancient Egyptian deities. And nobody can find an instance in which they did so.

    This is false. This exact phenomenon, in fact, has been documented. 

    Per Kevin Barney, discussing his paper entitled "The Facsimiles and Semitic Adaptation of Existing Sources":


     If the text came into the care of an Egyptian-Jew in the Greco-Roman era (and I fancifully labeled this hypothetical scribe J-Red, for “Jewish Redactor”), he may have adopted or adapted Egyptian vignettes as illustrations of the Abraham story contained in the text.  This may sound fanciful at first, but I then went on to show several examples from that time and place where this is exactly what happened.  For instance, in the Testament of Abraham, the vignette accompanying chapter 125 of the Egyptian Book of the Dead is reimagined in Semitic terms.  Osiris sitting on the throne of judgment becomes Abel; the Egyptian gods become Semitic angels; the scribe Thoth becomes the biblical Enoch.  So I posited as a possibility that, “As the vignette for chapter 125 of the Book of the Dead is to the Testament of Abraham, so are the Facsimiles to the Book of Abraham.”

    Another example I gave from this same time period was the Demotic Story of Setna, which is adapted into Jewish lore with seven rabbinic splinter stories, and ultimately finds its way into the Gospel of Luke as the story of Lazarus and the rich man.  In that Gospel account, Abraham is used as a Jewish substitute for the Egyptian Osiris, just as we see in Facsimiles 1 and 3.  So it was common for Jews living in Egypt around the turn of the era to adopt or adapt Egyptian iconography to their own purposes as illustrations of their own stories.

    Barney goes on to discuss how he views the idea of Jewish redaction of the vignettes as possible, as well as the idea that Joseph Smith redacted them in genuine Hebraic scriptural tradition. I view either explanation as acceptable. 

    "Jewish revulsion towards Gods other than Yahweh" is highly exaggerated by the priestly compilers of the Hebrew Bible. Even within the Bible you can see the children of Israel worshipping other gods all the time; it's basically the whole point of Kings and Chronicles. Baal and Asherah were worshipped in Israelite high places and even in the temple. The Jews in Egypt had their own temple in Elephantine which was in communion, if you will, with Jerusalem. The picture is quite different than what the Old Testament lets on. 

    1 hour ago, Scribe said:

    This is misleading. The text of the Papyrus of Hor is a standard-issue Book of Breathing, and there is nothing unusual about it. The vignette that became Facsimile 1 is unusual among Egyptian papyri, but only slightly. Embalming scenes from Books of Breathing are usually somewhat different from this particular vignette, but a scene where a person lies on or gets up from a lion-headed bed would always signify a scene of embalming or resurrection. Moreover, Ritner thinks the scene in the Papyrus of Hor may be copied from a temple relief, and temples from the same time period as the Papyrus of Hor contain scenes that closely match the vignette. While it may be true that "we cannot honestly claim that we fully understand what is going on with it", for the most part the drawing is well understood.

    This is also not quite accurate. See Quinten Barney on Facsimile 3, which was part of the Papyrus of Hor; it's got some unusual abnormalities to contend with. Facsimile 1, as well. If a different redactor is in play and the vignette has been re-appropriated, then precedents kind of cease to matter, since the whole game has changed. 

    That's the whole problem, as I said before. Ritner goes after it as a mainstream Egyptologist; when, unsurprisingly, his interpretations are different from that of a redactor, the case is apparently closed and the book is false. I say, not so fast. 

    • Like 3
  19. 4 minutes ago, california boy said:

    I agree with you.  It would be very difficult to be neutral in scholarship.  When it comes to religion few people are neutral, even those that don't follow a particular religion.  My post was explaining why some ex Mormons can't leave the Church alone.

    Sounds good to me. I'm glad you've made your peace and are in a good place (or at least it looks like it from here.) 

    • Like 1
  20. 8 minutes ago, Bob Crockett said:

    Your wife's experience is not evidence.   The number of bashers likely exceed the membership of the LDS Church. 

    16 million bashers? Maybe on a casual dinner-table-conversation level, but really dedicated ones? I'd bet there haven't been that many in all of recorded history. 

    Also, his wife's experience is, in fact, evidence that a peaceful rupture is possible. 

    • Like 1
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