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Posts posted by OGHoosier

  1. 43 minutes ago, rockpond said:

    I believe the concern is that if the JST was God revealing plain and precious truths that had been lost from the Bible, than Joseph Smith shouldn't be lifting them from another guy's book.

    I'd argue that the Prophet can find and discern plain and precious truths from any source.

    Indeed. If a mankind had already succeeded in arriving at a truth, why reveal it from on high anew?

    • Like 2
  2. 9 hours ago, stemelbow said:

      And seemingly without question our instinct is well being.  That suggests that which promotes well being is a moral good.

    I question that which is "seemingly without question." Our instincts can often be selfish, without regard for others. Is selfishness "well-being"? By conflating "well-being" with instinct, this appears to just be equating moral good with instinct. That's highly problematic. 

    9 hours ago, stemelbow said:

    This separates our actions from those effects that come outside of consciousness.

    I don't think I understand. Can you elaborate?

  3. 1 hour ago, stemelbow said:

    I'm not following how you arrived at your concluding statement.  I'd hope with the moral landscape explanation that sam Harris offers for starters.  Our morality is a consequence of our inherent desire for well being.  

    "Our morality is a consequence of our inherent desire for well-being" is basically a truism. Moral systems, whether imposed by deity, preexistent in man, or both, exist to guide human behavior towards well-being. The real question at the heart of morality is: what constitutes well-being? That's the most salient objection to Harris on this point. His whole point is that science can give us a morality by determining what behaviors and policies lead to greater well-being, but that just kicks the can down the road. The definition of well-being is a philosophical concern and not a question answerable by empirical science. 

    But anyway, in the section you quoted, I wasn't talking about morality but truth. It was a bit of a stream of consciousness, I apologize.

    Gregory Boyd puts it better:


     If free will is an illusion and everything is predetermined, then the ultimate cause of  why a person believes that free will is an illusion and everything is predetermined is that they were predetermined to do so. But it’s hard to see how a belief can be considered “true” or “false” when it is, ultimately, simply a predetermined event.   The snow falling outside my window right now is due to the fact that preexisting conditions determined it to be so. But we wouldn’t say that the snowfall is “true” or “false.”


    • Like 3
  4. On 8/15/2020 at 3:28 AM, Calm said:

    They are preparing the videos and next step will be transcribing, final step is reviewing for errors. We don’t have that many transcribers at this point, so I can’t say when they will be out. I will try and remember to let it be known when a new one gets posted, but following our FB page probably is easiest. 

    If someone wants a particular one, I can pass on the request, but most likely it will be what interests the transcriber most. 

    If someone wants to volunteer, I can ask if that is okay. 

    I'd like to volunteer, if that's possible. 

  5. 3 minutes ago, Calm said:

    If we can’t change our choices, can we stop ourselves from killing someone if we have made the choice to kill them?

    Studies have been done which demonstrate, even from a neurological point of view,  that "free won't" exists. Even Benjamin Libet, the guy who pioneered the original experiments which demonstrated that readiness potential for an action spikes before the subjective decision is registered, went on the record supporting the concept of "free won't."

    • Like 2
  6. 3 minutes ago, OGHoosier said:

    Perhaps I don't have a good grasp of determinism, or at least not as you understand it. 

    Under determinism there are no choices! There is no such thing! That which we perceive as "choice" is just another event in a long causal chain stretching back into an infinite regress, turtles all the way down. How can there be meaning in such a scenario that is anything other than an illusion? There is no "why", only "how." There's no "why we attempt to teach and guide our kids", we just do it, it is as meaningful as the relentless beat of the tides and nothing more. You are using the language of will, choice, and meaning while entirely disclaiming those concepts, and thus I cannot understand you. 

    You are serenely confident that the evidence bears out determinism. I am not. And I do not consider it my duty to just accept it and move on, because if I don't, well, I was fated to do that and am absolved of all responsibility. For everything. There's no such thing as "we must" any more. To imply responsibility or necessity of action implies the concept of obligation, which implies the existence of alternatives, which implies choice. 


    I am not satisfied with leaving it at this. Let's go deeper into the nature of truth in a determinist paradigm. It cannot exist. 

    Under determinism all our thoughts are simply constellations of atoms. The nature of abstraction has gone all the way from existing in a Platonic third realm to simply existing as a constellation of matter in our brains. How can we say, then, that any of our ideas are correct or even reflect the world around us? The process of inquiry that brought us this "knowledge" itself is just a chain of accidents and therefore, what does the concept of truth even mean? What does reason even mean? You can't use "aligns with reality" as a measure of truth because you would have no way of knowing if it did or if it didn't: it's just a construct, just a model, that you have no power to change. Claiming that reason proves hard determinism is thus incoherent. 

    • Like 1
  7. 19 hours ago, stemelbow said:

    Why do you assume that?  As I see it, it completely matters.  

    I disagree, as per the explanation I've offered and.  The one no one responded to. 

    It doesn't feel you have a good grasp of determinism.  Determinism requires consequences are meaningful, it's part of the input given us, filling our future fateful choices.  Its precisely why we attempt to teach and guide our kids.  They learn based on what's put in front of them.  

    It's ok.  The arguments certainly hold up anyway.  

    I disagree.  Learning and growing is our grand design.  It is determined as our fate.  We must accept what's before us and build on it.  

    Perhaps I don't have a good grasp of determinism, or at least not as you understand it. 

    Under determinism there are no choices! There is no such thing! That which we perceive as "choice" is just another event in a long causal chain stretching back into an infinite regress, turtles all the way down. How can there be meaning in such a scenario that is anything other than an illusion? There is no "why", only "how." There's no "why we attempt to teach and guide our kids", we just do it, it is as meaningful as the relentless beat of the tides and nothing more. You are using the language of will, choice, and meaning while entirely disclaiming those concepts, and thus I cannot understand you. 

    You are serenely confident that the evidence bears out determinism. I am not. And I do not consider it my duty to just accept it and move on, because if I don't, well, I was fated to do that and am absolved of all responsibility. For everything. There's no such thing as "we must" any more. To imply responsibility or necessity of action implies the concept of obligation, which implies the existence of alternatives, which implies choice. 


    • Like 1
  8. 17 minutes ago, stemelbow said:

    This is quibbling with scriptures words.  It says eternal punishment/suffering, I said the same.  You guys are complaining about nothing really.  

    Is correcting a false interpretation of a significant doctrine "quibbling"? Or is the accusation of "quibbling" just a cover for "I have decided on my definition of these terms and  will not be moved"?

    God redefines the meaning of eternal in the passage you yourself quoted. I don't know how to interpret "Nevertheless, it is not written that there shall be no end to this torment, but it is written endless torment" any other way. Clearly the two meanings, "no end" and "endless" are meant to be distinct. 

    • Like 2
  9. 16 minutes ago, stemelbow said:

    I can only go with what your scriptures say, and what leaders pronounce.  Repent or suffer--endless punishment and eternal punishment.  If you think truly that those who are said to be found on gods left hand shall not suffer in the realm of eternity then I do believe it's you who has distorted and misrepresented.  Shall sons of perdition exist without suffering?  Shall the pains for those in the lesser kingdoms not be eternal, shall not be gods punishment?  


    And surely every man must arepent or bsuffer, for I, God, am cendless.

    5 Wherefore, I arevoke not the judgments which I shall pass, but woes shall go forth, weeping, bwailing and gnashing of teeth, yea, to those who are found on my cleft hand.

    6 Nevertheless, it is anot written that there shall be no end to this torment, but it is written bendless ctorment.

    7 Again, it is written aeternal damnation; wherefore it is more express than other scriptures, that it might work upon the hearts of the children of men, altogether for my name’s glory.

    8 Wherefore, I will explain unto you this amystery, for it is meet unto you to know even as mine apostles.

    9 I speak unto you that are chosen in this thing, even as one, that you may enter into my arest.

    10 For, behold, the amystery of godliness, how great is it! For, behold, I am bendless, and the punishment which is given from my hand is endless cpunishment, for dEndless is my name. Wherefore—

    11 aEternal punishment is God’s punishment.

    12 Endless punishment is God’s punishment.

    13 Wherefore, I command you to repent, and keep the acommandments which you have received by the hand of my servant Joseph Smith, Jun., in my name;

    14 And it is by my almighty power that you have received them;

    15 Therefore I command you to repent—repent, lest I asmite you by the rod of my mouth, and by my wrath, and by my anger, and your bsufferings be sore—how sore you know not, how exquisite you know not, yea, how hard to bear you know not.

    16 For behold, I, God, have asuffered these things for all, that they bmight not suffer if they would crepent;

    17 But if they would not repent they must asuffer even as I;

    It ought not be missed that the same excerpt that you quote declares that eternal nature of God's punishment does not mean that the damned will be subjected to that punishment perpetually. Interestingly D&C 76 is somewhat ambiguous on the perpetuity of the punishment of even sons of perdition. The bolding is mine:


    44 Wherefore, he saves all except them—they shall go away into everlasting punishment, which is endless punishment, which is eternal punishment, to reign with the devil and his angels in eternity, where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched, which is their torment—

    45 And the end thereof, neither the place thereof, nor their torment, no man knows;

    46 Neither was it revealed, neither is, neither will be revealed unto man, except to them who are made partakers thereof;

    47 Nevertheless, I, the Lord, show it by vision unto many, but straightway shut it up again;

    48 Wherefore, the end, the width, the height, the depth, and the misery thereof, they understand not, neither any man except those who are ordained unto this condemnation.

    Seems odd that the Lord would show the end of the sufferings of the sons of perdition, or that anyone would ever be able to know them, if they didn't exist. It's not a slam-dunk confirmation of the eventual pardon of Perdition, but it throws some ambiguity into the scene. 

    It also ought to be said that the sons of perdition are not those who question. Corianton questioned. Alma questioned. Joseph Smith questioned. No, the sons of perdition are those who have explicitly spat upon the light they received. Nothing silly about a higher punishment for such. 

    • Like 2
  10. 1 minute ago, smac97 said:

    Yes, they were.

    Both my averment and yours are expressions of opinion, one borne of faith, and the other borne of something else.

    A priori and provocative characterizations like "silly" ("having or showing a lack of common sense or judgment; absurd and foolish") don't help.

    Especially when used twice in two consecutive sentences.

    I'll never understand why some people who profess to be familiar with the doctrines of the Church of Jesus Christ are sometimes inclined to distort and misrepresent such doctrines when discussing such doctrines.

    "Suffering for eternity" is a grossly inaccurate characterization of what we believe.  



    Indeed, the whole "suffering for eternity" part is one of the conventional doctrines most dramatically undercut by the revelations to Joseph Smith. 

    • Like 3
  11. 23 minutes ago, CA Steve said:

    Hi Robert,


    I am finally getting around to listening to Ritner's podcast and I learned something new regarding Chandler in it. As Chandler toured the country with the artifacts he was selling he advertised them as "going back to the Biblical Prophets. These date from the time of the prophets. See the faces of the Egyptians who will have talked to Joseph!" He also pitched the mummies as royalty, all this to increase their price. Obviously Chandler had no idea who these mummies were or when they actually lived, but it is interesting to see the origin of some of the descriptions (like Lucy Mack Smith) given later on regarding the collection the was purchased in Kirtland.

    That actually is really interesting. I didn't know that about Chandler's pitch. Since it's a podcast I'm gonna assume that no source was given, which is a shame because I'd like to look into that. 

    • Like 2
  12. 21 minutes ago, mfbukowski said:


    "Bukowski sees a red car" cannot be made logically equivalent to "Electro-chemical reaction ABC is occurring in Bukowski's brain at location XYZ."

    Reading Thomas Nagel's paper on that was a paradigm-shifter for me. Nagel explicitly said that he didn't want to destroy physicalism, but his paper put a pretty big dent in it nonetheless. 

    • Like 2
  13. 50 minutes ago, stemelbow said:

    I already explained that.  One could very well grow exacerbated by another's choice because the one doesn't understand what went into the decision.  It's quite likely the chooser doesn't understand all that went into the decision. 


    That misses the point. Under determinism, it doesn't matter if one doesn't understand what went into a decision (whatever "understand" means in a world where concepts are nothing but constellations of molecules.) If determinism is true, then all "decisions" are really just inevitable events. A faithful determinist never has grounds to be exasperated at all, or gratified at all, for all choices are of equal quality, for none are choices at all. 

    1 hour ago, stemelbow said:

    Determinism doesn't mean there's no cause and effect nor no consequence.

    It does in practice. We're just spectators in all this, according to determinism. What consequences could possibly have meaning when they were just fated to happen anyway? 

    1 hour ago, stemelbow said:

    As it is it's already been shown decisions can be known before the decider is aware of the decision.

    I'll trust that you're aware of the controversy surrounding those studies. This Wikipedia page has links to relevant papers and seems to be a good summary in it's own right. 

    1 hour ago, stemelbow said:

    If or perhaps when there comes a time when we can better appreciate each other and perhaps find a cure for the evil that is found in some, we may see tremendous progress.

    The same knowledge will then be used to manipulate and control, since it involves behavior modification at a physical level. Determinism offers a little shop of horrors. 

  14. 1 hour ago, The Unclean Deacon said:


    Access to the historical department only matters if the historical department contains the relevant information. That's why I asked how Reel's source reached his conclusions. 

    Since the pictures of the Hedlock woodcut are available for all the world to see and examine, the only reason why the insider source would be relevant is if there is a historical source (a letter, a journal entry, a record) which clarifies that the snout was chiseled off. I asked Reel if that was the case. He has still declined to answer the question, despite presumably being aware of it due to the board's notification system, and the fact that I have asked it twice. It's not a hard question to answer. 

    If the insider's opinion is based only on observing the woodcut, then it isn't of particular relevance, since anyone can do that. Presuming that this inside source even exists. 



  15. 1 hour ago, stemelbow said:

    The great benefit of course is to learn and realize what goes into crime.  A murderous psychopath simply has all the key elements built into him, and his life, his where and when and environment, is simply forced upon him.  By the time murder happens, he can't help it.  The destiny is fulfilled.  If you were him, with every molecule exchanged, then you'd be him.  Every thought, every movement of the brain, including the environment that tends its causes, you'd have too.  How would murder be escaped?  We'd like to think we wouldn't murder, but that's because we are us, and we have a whole other world from which we see, and a whole other make up of our bodies, including our brains.  

    Our desire to punish people is kind of pointless.  The good we can do is lock people up because they are a danger, not because they deserve our wrath.  Our vengeful need seems put upon us, at least in some measure, from a religious input.  As if people deserve to be punished for doing tat which their lives inevitably led them to do. 

    The fine implication is precisely what you mention.  People don't deserve our wrath.  We can look upon each other with greater love and concern and less desire to see a vengeful god send people to the firey pits, as we sit comfortably in some exalted chair, put above others.  

    Your focus on "the fine implication" obscures the strident moral dilemma at play here. Whether it is done for our own protection or as retribution, locking someone up still constitutes a harm. By what right do we do that? By what right do we hurt other people, even in self-defense? If both of us, the injured and the injurer, are just hurtling down the same temporal slope, what right to I have to enforce my good over theirs? What is a right, anyway, and what does the concept of "right" even mean in a world where all choice is fated? What's good about love or concern when they only imply a predetermined tendency?

    Put it another way. Say you cook up an absolutely devastating argument against the Church. It's so devastating that Daniel Peterson throws up his hands and resigns his membership upon hearing it. Just absolutely nuclear. Conventionally speaking, I would be in violation of an epistemic duty to just ignore it and go on my way. But do I have any epistemic duties if all my beliefs are fated anyway? If everything I do was fated, then I am responsible for none of it. Would my total disregard for your argument even be wrong under such circumstances?

    • Like 1
  16. 46 minutes ago, gav said:

    Ash deposits from a single local eruption can blankets hundreds of square miles, coating it in ash, killing vegetation, casing mud slides, so a small-scale highly destructive local event can have very widespread effects tied to it. It would only take a few eruptions at more or less the same time to create the devastation depicted and described. Nephi was not a geologist and likely did not personally visit all the areas described. He would have relied on eye witness accounts which may be prone to exaggeration in cataclysmic time and some misattribution also. A significant shift in the plates in that area would trigger a massive earthquake as described and set off any active volcanos in the surrounds. The challenge here is that volcanic deposits of ash etc. are highly fertile and in these tropical conditions the landscape is quickly remoulded and reclaimed by the jungle. In many areas geologists etc. have barely scratched the surface. There are some volcanic eruptions already dated to roughly the time of 3 Nephi 8 but I will have to dig up the references. There may be many other unstudied eruptions that still need to be detected. There are plenty of gaps in this area.

    It probably wasn't Nephi who was writing this part. 3 Nephi 8:1-2 indicates that this record is being composed long after the fact, probably by Mormon or someone in his time. That opens interpretive possibilities up: mythic inflation of events, exaggerated archival documents from which Mormon was drawing, etc. Ancient historiography as compared to modern. I do think that we need to temper our expectations for the accuracy of the text at this point. After all, there are many cities mentioned in the war chapters and other places which are not mentioned as destroyed. Manti, Noah, Ammonihah, Gideon, Morianton, Lehi, Nephihah, Antionum, Jershon, Melek, Nephi-Lehi, Ishmael, Cumeni, Antiparah, Judea, Lemuel, Shimnilom, Middoni, Shilom, Shemlon, and Ani-Anti are not mentioned as destroyed. Bountiful obviously survived relatively intact. We should also note that Helam in the Book of Mormon is described as a city when it had 400 or so people, so a city can be a relatively small unit in the Book of Mormon. By those lights two buildings in Heritage Halls constitutes a city.  

    LiDAR has demonstrated that whole cities can be hidden from our view, buried away. Such may well prove to be the case for these Book of Mormon cities. 


    • Like 2
  17. 1 hour ago, Robert J Anderson said:

    I am speculating and talking possibilities and perhaps other documents will be unearthed to shed more light on this.  Even so, my speculation is that what is considered to be O might have been different from what was dictated and finished in June of 1829.  Also, there could be differences between the 72% of O and P.  If one accepts that Joseph continued to revise his works, then why not the book of mormon from dictation to O to P?  Sure, if O and P line up, then it is still possible that Joseph, Oliver and co. made extensive revisions between the dictation copy and O.

    You don't sound like you're speculating. You sound like you're advancing a theory, for which there is no evidence. O was a dictation manuscript. It strains credulity to think that Joseph would dictate to Oliver and then redictate the text all the way over again, but that is what your theory requires. 

    Again, this theory is pure unfiltered speculation and no evidence exists to back up the idea that there was a pre-O manuscript. 

    • Like 1
  18. 9 minutes ago, Robert J Anderson said:

    Aren't there differences in the early 1st editions?  Wouldn't that suggest some revision was going on?  Further, how do you account for Joseph Smith revising the first edition when the second edition was coming out?  He also revised the D&C.  Perhaps in his mind, revelation was continuing?  Also, the original dictation was supposedly from April to June 1829, yet August to October 1829 is too short?  What if there were other changes that had to be made like the change from God to Son of God that Joseph did for the second edition?  Perhaps these were found between O and P?

    My point is one of possibilities given the differences in the first edition copies and Joseph's ease in revising his prior revelations.

    There were relatively small revisions between the first and second edition of the Book of Mormon, yes, and small revisions have continued since. And yes, Joseph did revise his revelations in the D&C. Revelation to his mind was ongoing and the canon was fluid, as it should be for us. However, to your point, there's no evidence that emendations were ever made between O and P. P matches the 28% of O which we have faithfully, including some of the most significant chapters in the Book of Mormon. So, P and O offer no evidence for changes. Furthermore, Oliver was transcribing P bit-by-bit until January, but Joseph was gone for half the process, so revision could not have occurred. I repeat - Joseph Smith was hundreds  of miles away during the second half of the completion of P. Editing would not have been possible for him. 

    I honestly don't have a problem with Joseph revising the revelations on inspiration, but there is no evidence that it happened in this case. 

    • Like 1
  19. @Robert F. Smith, I was under the impression that compatibilism was still the consensus position. Didn't know that strict determinism had taken over.

    Either way, call me a Luddite if you will, I'm not ashamed, but that sort of stuff represents to me a dark well of inescapable nihilism. If choice is nonexistent, what right have we to punish the criminal? What right have we to enforce law? What does a right, or the right, even mean anyway? This is verging on the classic quote from Jurassic Park: "Your scientists [or philosophers or theoreticians] were so preoccupied with whether or not they could, they didn't stop to think if they should." 

    In any case, if it were true, we'd never know it. We can't lift the lid to look in on the inner workings of our consciousness, not if we were to make a complete human connectome and fMRI dataset. This will always remain conjecture. The illusion of choice and consciousness, if it is in fact an illusion, will go on whether or not we think of it as an illusion. Meanwhile, at the will of the experts, I'm supposed to take the most basic and foundational fact of my existence and call it illusory. Seems like a waste of time in the end.

  20. 19 minutes ago, Robert J Anderson said:

    Perhaps I am mistaken but there is a big gap in between when Joseph finished his translation and when the book of mormon was published (June 1829 to March 1830).  Joseph also had a penchant to revise his works over time as he did to the book of mormon for the 1835 edition.  He also extensively revised the D&C.  So, my question is based on knowing whether or not the original manuscript, that isn't completely extant, is the same as what was dictated and finished in June 1829.  How do we know that what is the original manuscript wasn't a product of revision that occurred between June 1829 and March 1830?


    Robert 😃 

    If I'm not mistaken, you are positing that there was a secret original manuscript prior to the one which we currently call O, the original manuscript. This runs up on several problems.

    The manuscript which we call O has been identified as the same manuscript Joseph Smith buried in the cornerstone of the Nauvoo House. He didn't do it in secret: multiple witnesses (not within Joseph's inner circle either) record Joseph ambling up to the House and chatting with them for a while, being very open about the fact that he was burying the original manuscript of the Book of Mormon. A remark from Hyrum Smith indicates that there had been scares concerning the safety of the manuscript in between 1830 and 1841, so it was likely being buried for safekeeping. This same manuscript was unearthed by Lewis Bidamon and partitioned, until eventually they have come back to us. There has never been any evidence of any other manuscript. O itself features clear evidences of being a dictation, thus according with all the eyewitness statements surrounding the translation, and it doesn't feature signs of significant revision. It does not feature sentencing or any form of punctuation, just as P (the printer's manuscript) does not. You'd think that if Joseph and Oliver were so intensely dedicated to crafting a masterpiece, they would at least figure out where the commas went themselves. There's no sign of intentional revision between O and P. 

    Furthermore, the gap between the publishing and the end of dictation is not as big as it seems. Per John Gilbert, the typesetter of the Book of Mormon (and the man responsible for the punctuation), the process of producing the  first printing of the Book of Mormon began in August of 1829, but this was the 19th-century. Printing 5000 copies of a book took months so the process didn't wrap up until March of 1830. So, there was no year of revision. Oliver, per Joseph's command, copied the original manuscript onto the printer's manuscript bit by bit throughout 1829 and 1830. In the meantime, Joseph had headed back to Harmony in October 1829, so from that point on no revision would even be possible since he was not in the same state as any manuscript of the Book of Mormon. 

    So, in sum: there is no reason to believe there was a pre-O manuscript, there's no evidence of revision between O and P, and the window in which such revision could be accomplished is more like August-October as opposed to June-March. In other words, I think the evidence suggests that O is in fact the first manuscript of the Book of Mormon and P is a faithful rendering thereof. 


    • Like 4
  21. 1 hour ago, PacMan said:

    Dude, I ain't going to mention cupcakes or anything, but Ahab's comment was not offensive in the least.  That is something one guy would say to his good buddy because there's nothing to take offense by.  You've got a bit of a complex there....

    That was uncalled for. It's not anyone's place on here to diagnose anybody else with a "complex", as if we had any understanding of each other beyond the vague outlines of our Internet avatars. Even if we did, just telling somebody that they've "got a bit of a complex" is pretty rude.  

    @Fair Dinkum, I'm sorry that you've felt unwelcomed and I'm sorry for the contempt you have experienced. It seems we have fallen short of the promises we made as followers of Christ. 

    • Like 3
  22. 1 minute ago, mfbukowski said:

    I wonder about what it would be like to be a church member during the times of the Book of Mormon.

    They had no worries about historicity but looked forward to the coming of the savior.

    It was pure faith.

    Why can't we be like that today? ;)


    On the one hand: mobbings, murders, repeated dispossession and expulsion. 

    On the other hand: pure faith, miracles abundant, and the ministration of angels. 

    "Lord, if those were Dark Ages, give me a little darkness."

    • Like 1
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