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Posts posted by OGHoosier

  1. 1 hour ago, Nevo said:

    That was the context for the question about Sidney Rigdon. A few days after the interview, Joseph Smith III wrote to critic James T. Cobb: "Mrs. Emma Bidamon, formerly Emma Smith nee Hale . . . informs me that she was married to Joseph Smith, my father, in South Bainbridge by a Justice of the Peace, whose name she believes was Tarbiell or Tarbell; that she was married at the house, or office of the Squire by him, and not by Sidney Rigdon, nor a Presbyterian clergyman. That she never knew Sidney Rigdon until long after the Book of Mormon was translated, and she thinks, published. . . . that during no part of [the translation] did Joseph Smith have any Mss. or Book of any kind from which to read, or dictate, except the metalic plates, which she knew he had. Every argument advanced by you in support of the theory that Sidney Rigdon was the responsible 'Black Pope' behind the throne moving upon the pliant mind of Joseph Smith, it seems to me, is defeated by this plain statement. . . . Some other things learned by me during my visit confirm me in the faith that there was no collusion between Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon in palming off a fraud upon the people, and also that Joseph Smith had no Spaulding Mss from which the Book of Mormon was plagiarized" (Joseph Smith III to James T. Cobb, 14 February 1879, in Vogel, EMD 1:544–545).

    Regardless of whether or not she was responding to the Spalding Theory, she says that there was "no book or manuscript". That statement stands and is corroborated universally by all eyewitnesses. 

  2. 54 minutes ago, Tacenda said:

    I need to finish the video but curious if he came clean, as RFM mentions below:

    Radio Free Mormon: 193: John Gee Comes Clean!

    In a stunning reversal of events, John Gee publicly announces he no longer believes a long-touted evidence for the Book of Abraham is valid!  This raises the question, how long has John Gee known this, and why has he been the major proponent of this evidence for decades?  After a thorough examination of the evidence, RFM concludes we have to be cautious about taking at face value anything John Gee says about the Book of Abraham.

    Which evidence, exactly, is this?

  3. 34 minutes ago, ttribe said:

    Wait, wait, wait...you just sat there, presumably with a straight face, and claimed that you "singlehandedly dismantled one of the greatest pits of doubts in all of Church History?"  That is one of the most entertaining things I've ever seen on here.  Thank you for that.

    I guess you better tell Dr. Gee and Dr. Muhlstein to hang up their apologist hats; you've rendered them obsolete..."singlehandedly."

    I guess someone like Dr. Ritner holds no candle to your knowledge and understanding of the topic, because you "singlehandedly" showed that an expert reading of the published Facsimiles is unnecessary; you know those pesky Facsimiles where Joseph Smith attempted to explain the images...as if they were the causal link to the Book of Abraham.

    Have you let SLC know about your "singlehanded" accomplishment?  They will surely wish to revise their Gospel Topic Essay on the matter (https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/manual/gospel-topics-essays/translation-and-historicity-of-the-book-of-abraham?lang=eng)

    Never mind that whole "written by his own hand on papyrus" thing that clearly indicates Joseph Smith, at least, believed he was doing a literal translation from the papyrus...you know...causally, and all that (https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/scriptures/pgp/abr/1?lang=eng).

    This is a landmark day!  Shout it from the hills!  Someone get the Church Newsroom on the line!  Someone call the Deseret News!  PAC MAN HAS "SINGLEHANDEDLY DISMANTLED ONE OF THE GREATEST PITS OF DOUBTS IN ALL OF CHURCH HISTORY!"

    I think he was just talking about the part where people take the BoA manuscripts to be the original translation manuscripts of the Book of Abraham, and thus take them to be representative of Joseph's translation methodology. 

    But I admit, I laughed. 

  4. 2 hours ago, PacMan said:

    So say it simply: do you and Bokovoy agree with her analysis of the Fourth Servant Song?

    I know you weren't asking me these questions, but I'll chime in anyway. I think Barker's analysis is pretty strong. I know it's a minority position, but her analysis is strong enough to introduce reasonable doubt as to the post-exilic nature of the root text of Isaiah 53. My paradigm allows me to believe that not all of Isaiah 53 need be pre-exilic for the Book of Mormon to feature it, since I do believe that God values the end result of scripture and I am not tied to the view that the only acceptable scripture is the original urtext. But Barker has introduced an analysis sufficiently strong for me that I do not view Isaiah 53's presence as anachronistic or evidence against the Book at all. Either the full text was pre-exilic, or the seeds of it were, and God expanded on them while dictating the 19th-century text of the Book of Mormon. 

    2 hours ago, PacMan said:

    Do you agree that Bokovoy's forthcoming analysis of Trito Isaiah and the BoM have real issues in light of biblical borrowing?

    I haven't seen it yet, so I don't know. I will say that Bokovoy would probably not be impressed with that source; we know Lehi was aware of Jeremiah and likely retained some of his teachings (an analysis of Jeremiah's influence in the Book of Mormon - now THAT would be interesting), but chances are there was not enough time for Deutero-Isaiah to make use of them. However, the thought that Deutero-Isaiah expands and contextualizes an earlier Isaian corpus has promise.  

    • Like 2
  5. 1 minute ago, Scott Lloyd said:

    It happens over and over again. A temple is announced and local NIMBYs get nasty about letting it in. The Church jumps through all the hoops, finally gets it built, property values skyrocket in the surrounding neighborhood, and nobody really remembers what the fuss was about. 

    Somebody told Brigham Young he hated to see construction continue on the Salt Lake Temple, because whenever the Church had begun to build a temple in the past, the “bells of hell” would begin to ring. 

    Brigham’s reply: “I want to hear them ring again.”

    Brigham's confidence is something I hope to one day obtain.

    Building a temple will make the "bells of hell ring"? Ring 'em louder!

    The Church will be destroyed by the incoming railroad? Build it faster! 

    Brigham was just fearless. He didn't care. He just bulldozed. Perhaps some restraint may have been in order on some things, but darned do I admire his absolute conviction that God was with him and the work and hell or high water would just have to get out of the way. 

    • Like 4
  6. 1 minute ago, Ahab said:

    I understood Grant's point to be that the important part of their measuring system wasn't necessarily the gold or silver but the standards of measure.  Like cups vs tablespoons or teaspoons, maybe  I'm still open to more ideas.

    Alma 11:7 would seem to indicate that these are standardized measures across a number of commodities. It's quite possible that God, in transmitting the Book to Joseph Smith, emphasized gold and silver as the commodity of exchange because it would be more readily understandable to the target audience of the Book. 

    On the other hand, I think it's possible that the Nephites retained a higher degree of reverence for gold and silver than other nations around them. We know that gold-fever, likely a holdover from the Old World, overtook the Nephites within the lifetime of Jacob (cf. Jacob 2:12). We know the temple of Nephi was decked out in gold and silver and precious metals (cf. 2 Nephi 5:15-16). So the first couple of generations thought gold and silver were pretty legit. It wouldn't have any outsize trade value outside the Nephite nation, but internally gold could have retained a pretty high degree of value. The rest of the references in the Book, to my knowledge, refer to gold as an artisan craft (Riplakish having fine gold refined in prisons, Noah decking his throne out with gold) or as tribute (Benjamin mentioning that he didn't demand gold of his people, the Lamanites demanding gold as well as other commodities of the people of Limhi), which would comport alright with Brant's observations. Alma 11 is the anomaly, but I think it can be explained along those lines. 

    • Like 1
  7. 1 minute ago, PacMan said:

    And no, I don't think Joseph Smith could translate Egyptian as we use the word, "translation."  I do believe, however, that he could translate Egyptian as he used the word, "translation."

    I find myself agreeing, generally speaking. I would like to hear your view more specifically elaborated, if you don't mind. How did Joseph use the word "translation?"

  8. On 8/14/2020 at 5:34 PM, aussieguy55 said:

    One response Ritner received " You look like a bitter fool hanging out with two clowns".  

    Not a scholarly response, and I wouldn't call Ritner a fool, but he does seem to carry a certain bitterness and my opinion of Dehlin and RFM is in the same ballpark as that of the quoted commentator. 

    • Like 4
  9. 37 minutes ago, PacMan said:

    More on topic, the material constituting Deutero-Isaiah is also interesting: "Every single chapter of Deutero-Isaiah contains multiple borrowings from older biblical literature."


    As pointed out, there is interesting material challenging the post-Exilic Deutero-Isaiah theory.  Putting those aside for a moment, the evidence of borrowing, admittedly, does not take the BoM over the Deutero-Isaiah hump, alone.  Just because elements and themes were pre-Exilic does not mean the text was.  Nevertheless, I've wondered about the evolution of Isaiah being an important part of the book.  Deutero-Isaiah is premised on the book being a work in progress, changing over time.  And I wonder if that's a purposeful part of the book.  If so, what bearing does that have on our view of Joseph Smith including post-Exilic material as "updates" to the content on the Brass Plates?  Of course, that would assume that Joseph Smith was working from a King James Bible to make the "update," a notion that even critical historians such as Metcalfe have rejected.

    While I do not know the full implications of borrowing as it relates to Deutero-Isaiah, it casts Bokovoy's mysterious new paper in a very tenuous light.  Because there is notably no Trito-Isaiah text in the BoM, Bokovoy must rely on common elements and themes.  For that paper to be meaningful, it is not enough to show Trito-Isaiah elements and themes throughout the BoM.  Rather, Bokovoy and his padawan have the unenviable task to show that they are not only material parallels, but wholly unique (and not borrowed) from pre-Exilic literature.  If any of those elements exist in older biblical literature, then Bokovoy is going to have a hard time showing that the older biblical literature is not the common borrowed source.  Good luck showing that uniqueness to the post-Exilic world.

    I'd be interesting in writing a joint response to Bokovoy's paper along these lines with one of our more distinguished members, if interested.

    I'm hardly suited for that but I would love to see you do it. 

    Townsend's argument, as he's put if forward, is that Trito-Isaiah's influence extends beyond the traditional Trito-Isaiah chapters, that he also edited and left his mark on Deutero-Isaiah. Of course, if such is the case, and if even Deutero-Isaiah was borrowing from older literature, then I think the whole thing kind of collapses into a "corpus of Isaianic-school texts continually updated and refined over time", and God saw fit to include the finished product in the completed Book of Mormon. It's like Hugh Nibley's old argument that the mortal Christ did not quote some early urtext, but the Septuagint, at least as recorded in the Gospels. If God views scripture as equally inspired along its production path, then it makes sense that He would want the updated version in his scriptures. 

    Also, to borrow from Michael Austin: if it comes down to it, we hold that God could reveal the name of Cyrus to Isaiah and thus it's mere presence is not sufficient evidence for Deutero-Isaiah (note that I'm not saying that Deutero-Isaiah derives wholly from Cyrus's inclusion, I'm just saying that that has been one scholarly argument which we believers don't feel has much weight.) The God who could tell Isaiah about Cyrus could tell Nephi about Deutero-Isaiah. 

  10. A 150-acre farm doesn't yield enough to be worth the expenditure of maintaining it to contemporary standards. Better for the land to be used for something else beneficial to the community - though the community disagrees and the Church has held up plans in order to respect that .

    • Like 2
  11. On 8/18/2020 at 2:41 AM, aussieguy55 said:

     The same FB friend said "f you look closely at the two "hands" it's clear that the bottom one is a hand. For over a thousand years hands were consistently drawn with fingers the same length--the ends of the fingertips making a straight line. The upper "hand" is clearly not an Egyptian rendering of a hand, it is a wing tip. If you look closely you can see two "speckles" on it like the speckles on the ba-bird."


    Which thousand year period? Egypt's history sprawls over more than a thousand years. 

    Note that there are non-Mormon Egyptologists who disagree with your FB friend: see Lanny Bell:


    Let me state clearly at the outset my conviction that the questionable traces above the head of the Osiris figure are actually the remains of his right hand; in other words, Joseph Smith was correct in his understanding of the drawing at this point. Ashment 1979, pp. 36, 41 (Illustration 13), is very balanced in his analysis of the problem, presenting compelling arguments for reading two hands; Gee 1992, p. 102 and n. 25, refers to Michael Lyon in describing the "thumb stroke" of the upper (right) hand; cf. Gee 2000, pp. 37-38; and Rhodes 2002, p. 19, concludes: "... a careful comparison of the traces with the hand below as well as the tip of the bird's wing to the right makes it quite clear that it is the other hand of the deceased." 

    -Lanny Bell, "The Ancient Egyptian 'Books of Breathing,' the Mormon 'Book of Abraham,' and the Development of Egyptology in America," Egypt and Beyond: Essays Presented to Leonard H. Lesko upon his Retirement from the Wilbour Chair of Egyptology at Brown University June 2005, (ed. Stephen E. Thompson), Department of Egyptology and Ancient Western Asian Studies, Brown University, 2008, p. 28.


    • Like 1
  12. 6 hours ago, Brant Gardner said:

    Neither gold nor silver were near the top of the exchange system. Those positions were held by jade and obsidian.

    This is interesting to me because of the Nephite monetary system mentioned in Alma 11. Silver and gold weren't near the top of the exchange system, but I'm going to assume they still were considered a valuable trade item; they just didn't command the same value as they did in the Old World. Do you think the Nephites maintained a higher value on gold or silver than their neighbors, or was gold just a convenient medium which could be easily transferred into other goods as wanted, ie "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." Are there other examples within Mesoamerica of gold being used as a trade standard?


  13. 1 minute ago, Tacenda said:

    Joseph wasn't your average person, IMO. How many were a student of languages like him? http://jur.byu.edu/?p=15384

    Most Biblical scholars, tbh. The source you cite says that he never really got proficient in any of these languages, though he did study them, particularly the aspects that would have made them relevant for his ministry. Pretty much any biblical scholar worth their salt has to be proficient with Greek or Hebrew, depending on which part they want to specialize in, and frequently they're proficient in both. Per the paper you cited, Joseph certainly had an interest in acquiring languages, but he wasn't a particular savant about it. 

    His access to Clarke is a moot point, as we already know he used it. But Joseph, even later in life, did not live his life in a library. 


    • Like 2
  14. 4 minutes ago, mrmarklin said:

    I find all 5his sort of thing totally hilarious. 

    At the time of the BoM translation Smith was a young man in his early twenties who had apparently never been to a big city. 
    Yet, he had access to so many publications, and took time to read and study them, it’s incredible!  He was influenced, or downright plagiarized so many, that there is hardly an original thought in the BoM. 

    I remember how I was in my early twenties and even had I been interested, I would not have had access or even stumbled upon as many sources as Smith apparently did.  And I grew up in a cosmopolitan urban area. With libraries and such. 
    Smith’s critics are grasping at straws when they keep coming up with stuff like this.

    In fairness, recent research at BYU has demonstrated that Joseph Smith consulted the Clarke commentary while making certain emendations to the JST. So we know that he used it. It was a very common text for those who wanted to understand the Bible so it's not like it was some piece of exotica that he would have had to trek across continents to find.

    Though I do admit, one of the reasons why I generally find Grunder-style "parallel" arguments to be unpersuasive is because there are just so many of them. You can draw parallels to the Book of Mormon to so many places that it starts to get reminiscent of Syndrome from The Incredibles:

    If everything's a parallel...nothing is. 

    • Like 4
  15. 20 minutes ago, Jracforr said:

    Mormon 1:6-10. Indicates that the wars which culminated in the Nephite being finally driven from the South, began in 322 AD ,this date complements the year 324 AD when Constantine’s Civil war began, resulting in the division of Rome. This was a long and tedious struggle starting when Mormon was 11years old and ending when he was an old man. The important point is that the call for separate political and cultural homelands occurred at the same time.

    On the contrary, Constantine's Civil War was if anything a war of reunification. Constantine attacked Licinius and, upon defeating him, assumed control of both halves of the Empire, being the first person to control both halves in one person since 286. The division of the Empire into two separate states only occurred in 395 after the death of Theodosius I. 


  16. 1 hour ago, Fair Dinkum said:

    There is currently a rumor of a scholarly work being undertaken that will soon be published that exposes the influence of Adam Clarke’s Bible Commentary in the Book of Mormon. Specifically the Book of Mormon Isaiah chapters. 

    Assuming that this supposed scholarly paper is successful in finding such influence, how exactly does one successfully navigate its influence in a record that claims ancient origins?  

    Wouldnt its inclusion be further evidence that the Book of Mormon is a 19th century work and not based on an actual history?

    I believe it's Colby Townsend working on this, right? We'll have to see when it comes out. 

    I admit that I have questions about the methodology of such papers. Presumably, influence falls under two categories, word choice and conceptual. Word choice isn't difficult under the view that Joseph was supplying the words to the revelation. Conceptual influence is more thorny but could still be handled under Blake Ostler's Expansion Theory, increasingly a consensus view among faithful scholars. However, I often wonder about the real validity of such attribution. To say that an idea must derive from Clarke or 19th-century sources assumes that we know that it couldn't have been present among the Nephites. It's only fair at this point to acknowledge that we don't know the theological and cultural bounds of the Nephite universe, so any comparison is of necessity incomplete. If the Nephite theological atmosphere was so different from that of the 19th-century as to remove all parallels, the Book of Mormon would convey no useful information and thus be pointless, so it doesn't surprise me that there are parallels. 

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