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Posts posted by JarMan

  1. 18 minutes ago, JustAnAustralian said:

    They do. The surgical sterilisation bit is in the birth control section.


    It looks like they have updated the section on surgical sterilization since I last read it and moved their position closer to the general position on birth control. But still, they "discourage" it. Why? How is it even any of their business? And why would a member think they need the opinion of a church leader on this subject in the first place?

  2. 11 hours ago, The Nehor said:

    Originally they were there so the bishop knew how to counsel people who asked about them. Now that it is generally available it is a good place to put general church positions on things.

    The problem is that every time the church takes a position on something controversial it ends up being divisive. Why not stay out of the fray and instead counsel people to act like grownups and make their own decisions?

  3. 18 hours ago, JustAnAustralian said:

    In the case of surgical sterilisation, enough people probably ask that they found it easier to put it there than to keep having to answer messages from bishops.

    In the case of vaccinations, putting it in the handbook is more polite than President Nelson standing up in general conference and calling people selfish idiots.

    I just can’t make the connection between people’s private medical decisions and their church leaders. Why doesn’t the church adopt the stance they have on birth control?-which is essentially that adults ought to make their own decisions on such matters.

  4. The inspired fiction model exists for the same reason people believe the Genesis flood is allegory. The observable evidence just does not match the story, yet people feel compelled for various reasons to retain their faith anyway. The flood is sometimes discussed as literal, sometimes local, and sometimes allegorically in my experience in the church. I strongly suspect the historicity of the Book of Mormon Is following a similar digression and will eventually be abandoned as being historical by all but a few on the fundamentalist fringe. Despite the good efforts of apologists there’s just way too much working against it. 

  5. On 3/23/2021 at 7:54 AM, Rajah Manchou said:

    Challenge: listen for 3-5 minutes starting at 15:49, and ask, how did Joseph Smith write a book of fiction that was so similar to a 4th century Jewish Christian text, that had been translated to English after the publication of the Book of Mormon?

    The 17th Century author who incorporated many elements of Roman warfare into the Book of Mormon had access to the Zosimus manuscript (one apparently existed in Paris at the time) and also incorporated elements of it into his writing.

  6. 2 hours ago, Robert F. Smith said:

    Do you actually mean "new" in the sense of inventive and lacking precedence, or are you speaking of a restoration of original doctrine which has since been elided?  You seem to be claiming no break with precursors and fobbing that off on us as diachronic evidence of the BofM containing nothing "new," which entirely begs the question.  Dan Vogel, for example, takes exactly the same approach, but using exclusively 19th century information.

    The whole idea of the restoration is that doctrines from the early church were lost or purged and then restored in modern times. The OP listed several: "work for the dead, three degrees of glory, LDS temple rites, pre-existence, theosis, differing priesthoods, embodied Father, church hierarchical structure". I take the view that the doctrine in the Book of Mormon is consistent with a coherent early modern doctrinal outlook--mainstream Protestantism, for the most part, but with some exceptions. The non-trinitarian and anti-paedo baptism outlooks are two of the most obvious. The Arminian soteriology is another example. So, yeah, take Dan Vogel's outlook, subtract a couple of centuries, switch to Europe and you'll get something close to my view.

  7. 2 hours ago, Robert F. Smith said:

    Yes, of course, there are many such parallels to be drawn, if we go along with the Skousen-Carmack case for an EModE text of the BofM.  I myself have a huge list of such parallels generated by me long before we had an inkling of the case for EModE.

    However, it is not "beside the point" to point out such heresies from normative Judeo-Christian theology simply because the secular consensus remains that Joseph Smith himself created the BofM as a 19th century pseudepigraphon -- without any reference to the Hermetica.  Indeed, most LDS scholars do not even accept the EModE theory.

    What I'm getting at is that we don't need to accept something in the Book of Mormon as new solely because it's unorthodox or heretical to mainstream Christianity--as long as there are clear pre-cursors that could have been drawn upon.

    2 hours ago, Robert F. Smith said:

    At the same time, if we ignore (for the moment) such theological niceties, we still have a plethora of archeological correlations which cannot be explained through reference to the Hermetica available in the Renaissance.  That leads us to the conclusion that the Hermetica actually do dredge up some very ancient knowledge -- which is what the Corpus Hermeticum has claimed all along, and for which there is a sound basis.


    1 hour ago, Robert F. Smith said:

    Dee's "Book of Enoch" is the 1583 Sloane MS 3189 in the British Library.  See F. Yates, Giordano Bruno, 149, note 3.

    The Corpus Hermeticum is not "historical Christianity."  in fact, it's origins precede Christianity by more than a millennium.

    The Restoration movement of Puritans, Campbellites, and Mormons was never based on the Corpus Hermeticum.  All of them claimed to restore primitive Christianity, and none of them cited Renaissance magi as the basis of their cliams.  Only modern scholarship discloses any of that implicit connection.

    I'm not familiar with the argument regarding the Corpus Hermeticum and the Book of Mormon. Could you point me to some information?

  8. 5 hours ago, Bob Crockett said:

    Not evidence.

    As the question is not one for religious analysis, but instead of a comparison of texts, the examination looks to sociological tools.  That hasn't been done. 

    Burning at the stake was practiced by Pre-columbian native nations.  Why must you state that the Book of Mormon relied on Servetus?

    If you mean nothing's been published on this yet, stay tuned. Much of the work has been done. Some of it has been discussed on this forum.

    Historical criticism can't tell us a lot about whether the Book of Mormon has roots in pre-Columbian America because there is so little written record. For instance, we can't know if the Maya or their contemporaries burned people at the stake for heresy. This seems to be a peculiarly Christian practice with roots in medieval Eurasia, so it unlikely. But we can't be sure. We certainly can't know what specific heresies people may have been burned for, as we do in early modern Europe from extensive written records. Nor can we know the backstories, biographical information and details surrounding the trials.

    Both Servetus and Abinadi cited the entirety of Isaiah 53 in their heresy trials. We know this because we have Servetus' letter to Calvin while he was in prison. This is the type of historical-critical evidence we have that makes a Servetus connection much more likely than any connection to the ancient western hemisphere. Anyone can verify this evidence and much of the other evidence I've presented with a little digging online.

  9. 5 hours ago, InCognitus said:

    By God giving "more scripture" my intent was to say it is canonized scripture, which is against the common complaint made against us for "adding to the Bible".  Perhaps I wasn't clear.  But if that moves the goal posts for you, then I'm fine with that.  

    Canonization is more or less a formal indication something has been accepted as divinely inspired. There are people who accept the book of Enoch and the Dee/Kelley work as divinely inspired. I don't know if these people think of these works as "canon" or not, but I'm not sure it matters for the purposes of this discussion.

    5 hours ago, InCognitus said:

    I believe I already gave my response to what this discussion is about earlier in the thread.  In summary I said that I don't think it was the purpose of the Book of Mormon to restore anything unique, other than to provide another record, another witness of God's dealings with men alongside the Bible.  

    We are partially in agreement, then.

  10. 30 minutes ago, Bob Crockett said:

    That isn't any kind of evidence. I am a copyright lawyer and I know evidence comparing texts. Requires statistical proofs and proper selection of data sets. To the extent the proofs are circulated in academic papers versus litigation files it requires true peer review. That hasn't been done. 

    I'm not making a legal argument. I'm using the historical-critical method to determine when the Book of Mormon was written and by whom. We start with a doctrine that is rare in Christianity--I'll call it modalism, though this is an oversimplification. In historical criticism we need to find where and when in history this doctrine was taught. Servetus is one instance and Swedenborg is another. There are others. But, for now, let's just consider Swedenbourg vs Servetus as the influence for modalism in the Book of Mormon. Servetus is clearly the better option as I'll explain. Servetus' ideas are expressed in the Book of Mormon by Abinadi. Abinadi, like Servetus, was burned at the stake for this heresy. In reality, Abinadi was killed because King Noah had a personal vendetta against him. The heresy charge was merely a convenient ploy to get rid of him. This is also the case with Servetus where Calvin had a personal vendetta against him and had vowed to kill him. When Servetus returned to Geneva in disguise, but was discovered, Calvin used the charge of heresy to kill him. There are many other similarities in these two stories. Swedenborg, on the other hand, wasn't burned at the stake for his ideas although there was a heresy trial against two men who promoted his writings. At the time of Swedenborg's death (at the age of 84) there was an ongoing investigation into his teachings that was eventually dropped without action. Similarities like the ones I've brought up are exactly the type of evidence considered in using the historical-critical method.

  11. 1 hour ago, Robert F. Smith said:

    You can claim any number of theoretical exceptions, but the fact remains that the text is clearly heresy to normative Judeo-Christian doctrine, and coheres very well with Joseph Smith's claim that Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are embodied spirits at base.

    Yes, it's heretical to traditional Christian doctrine but that's beside the point. The description of the godhead in the Book of Mormon has a clear fore-runner with Servetus. Consider this description of Servetus' teachings compared to what we find in Ether 3:


    ...for as the primeval Light or Word shone forth in the beginning from God, it inherently possessed and reflected the human form, for in it was already manifested the form of the future Christ, not ideally alone, but actually and visibly; and from this original type and modus of Divine Manifestation proceed all modifications of the deity. Nay, even before the Incarnation, the Logos actually was Christ, as to His Spirit and to His Soul, wanting only a body of flesh.

    1 Nephi 11:11 fits with Servetus' view as well:


    For even before the Incarnation, God on all occasions ever acted in a human manner, represented Himself to man in the form of a Man, spoke as a man, and was seen as a Man by the Patriarchs,-- but through the instrumentality of angels.

    My view is that the early modern author of the Book of Mormon (who was familiar with Servetus' works, by the way) adopted Servetus' views on this matter and incorporated them into the Book of Mormon along with Servetus' basic biographical sketch in the character of Abinadi. Further similarities can be found in Sebastian Castellio's reaction to Servetus as compared to Alma's reaction to Abinadi.

  12. 1 hour ago, Robert F. Smith said:

    As you know, normative Judeo-Christian-Muslim theology rejects the corporeality of God, and would never agree to a Holy Spirit with a human-like body.  Those are theological points I deal with in one of my papers, but there are many others (you asked specifically for one, just one).

    I don't think 1 Nephi 11:11 teaches a Holy Spirit with a human-like body. I think it shows that the Holy Spirit can take the form of a human in order to converse with a human, but that this is not it's "normal" form.

    I also agree there are places where the Book of Mormon doesn't support the traditional view of the trinity. This is most evident in Abinadi's words and in Ether, as you have pointed out. However, the Book of Mormon is remarkably consistent with the views of the martyr Michael Servetus who was burned at the stake for heresy in 1553. (I've discussed on here before the many similarities between the stories of Michael Servetus and Abinadi who were both accused of the exact same heresy.)

  13. 10 minutes ago, InCognitus said:

    The question is, did they claim it to be scripture on par with the Bible?  I don't find that they did, or that they considered what they had to be anything like that Bible.

    You keep moving the goalposts. I'm responding to this: "The whole idea that God can give us more scripture than he did in the 66 books of the Bible is new." Well, no, it's not new. These men claimed to receive words from an angel relating to the creation and the end times and temples and gods. This certainly qualifies as "more scripture."

    24 minutes ago, InCognitus said:

    What does this have to do with what we were talking about?

    The Book of Enoch is another example of "more scripture" which you claim was new with the Book of Mormon. The idea of "more scripture" is an old idea, not a new one.

    28 minutes ago, InCognitus said:

    The whole idea of the "restoration" is that the church was recovered again, it has the original teachings and organization.  The only thing that might have been "lost" is that no single organization possessed all the true teachings, they all "lost their way" in some form or another.  Given that all the man made churches were trying to discover the original Bible teachings, it's no wonder that pieces of the original church were found here and there.  What was "new" in the restoration is that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints brought all those things together in one, it is the restored church.  But again, the Book of Mormon is not the restoration.  It is only part of the restoration.

    You're losing sight of what this discussion is supposed to be about. The issue isn't whether there was a restoration, in general. The question is, what did the Book of Mormon restore? So far you haven't answered that.

  14. 1 hour ago, InCognitus said:

    No, not at all. Producing "a lot of material" isn't the question.  Was what Dee and Kelley produced considered "scripture", on par with the Bible?  I don't think they made that claim.

    They claimed to have received material directly from angels that related to the lost book of Enoch. Dee describes his Liber Logaeth (Book of the Speech of God) as containing "The Mysterie of our Creation, The Age of many years, and the conclusion of the World." I don't know how this could be described as anything other than scripture.

    And since "a lot of material" isn't the question, the Book of Enoch and other lost scripture are certainly on par with the bible. 

    1 hour ago, InCognitus said:

    It's a restoration "only if they're lost"? Where did you get that definition of restoration? 

    To "restore" something means to replicate a former state, in this case it was the church. The restoration brought all things back together in one.  The Book of Mormon itself isn't the restoration, but it is an artifact of the restoration.  It marks the opening of the heavens again.

    The whole idea of the "restoration" is that knowledge from early Christianity was lost to the world and then restored by modern prophets. Yet nothing in the Book of Mormon was lost. It's all right there in historical Christianity.

  15. 5 hours ago, Robert F. Smith said:

    It depends I suppose on which version of Christianity one is using for comparison.  In support of your claim, I do often hear evangelicals claim that the BofM is standard Christian doctrine, and that they have no quarrel with it in that sense.  It is the other claims of Joseph Smith which they take issue with, including the supposed origin of the BofM.

    However, I take issue with your claim in several ways, both theologically, and archeologically.  In that sense, the Restoration of All Things brings in an ancient world which even precedes the OT, not just the NT and primitive Christianity.

    “Book of Mormon Theologies: A Thumbnail Sketch,” lecture delivered at the September 2012 annual meeting of the Society for Mormon Philosophy and Theology (SMPT), at Utah State University, Logan, Utah, online at https://drive.google.com/file/d/1WileB3WVoNm0DlVrLUBRMdwKsrlWLElj/view?usp=sharing (version 2).

    “The Preposterous Book of Mormon: A Singular Advantage,” lecture, Aug 8, 2014, at the annual FAIRMORMON Conference, Provo, Utah, online at  http://www.fairmormon.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/PREPOSTEROUS-BOOK-OF-MORMON.pdf .

    I will read your papers when I have some more time. In the meantime, can you cite something specifically that the Book of Mormon restores?

  16. 35 minutes ago, InCognitus said:

    That's a far cry from a book of scripture on par with the Bible.

    I see that you've moved the goalpost. Even so, John Dee and Edward Kelley produced a lot of material. I'm not sure how much, but I don't think it's a far cry from the length of the Book of Mormon.

    38 minutes ago, InCognitus said:

    Isn't that the definition of "restoration"?  To bring back things that were given previously?  

    Only if they're lost. Nothing in the Book of Mormon restores something that was lost. It all existed in Joseph's day. In fact, it all existed since about 1650 or a little earlier.

  17. 2 hours ago, InCognitus said:

    The Book of Mormon is new.  The whole idea that God can give us more scripture than he did in the 66 books of the Bible is new.  It's earth shattering new, so much so that long held tradition has a really hard time accepting it.

    The idea of scripture beyond the bible wasn't mainstream, but it certainly wasn't new. There were many Christians before Joseph Smith's time who believed new scripture could come forth or be discovered. Take the work of John Dee and Edward Kelley, for example, in the late 1500's. The came up with a lot of new holy writings by looking into a scryer to communicate with angels. Or consider the Book of Enoch which was always known to exist, but which was missing. Many scholars were quite interested in it during the 17th Century and even had portions of it, but it only fully came to Europe in the 18th Century.

  18. 21 hours ago, Robert F. Smith said:

    Known to whom?  Did John Dee ever use it?  See my Appendix 3 in the BMC, “Book of Abraham: Study Edition,” online at https://www.pearlofgreatpricecentral.org/study-edition/ .  How did it find its way into the Book of Abraham?


    Apparently chiasmus was incorporated into many early modern songs. For example, the Dutch national anthem consists of 15 verses where the first and fifteenth verses are related and so forth. This song was written around 1570 and would have certainly been known by the likes of Hugo Grotius. As far as the Book of Abraham, perhaps it has early modern origins, as well.

  19. 14 hours ago, gav said:

    I know there has been a lot written about chiasmus and its occurrence as an ancient writing style. Some have argued at length in the past that the Book of Mormon with its intricate chiastic structures are evidence of its ancient origins. Was wondering what the latest explanations from nay-sayers are regarding why chiasms occur in our scriptures and how much weight is given to chiasmus in general currently?

    Chiasmus was known in the early modern world. So the Book of Mormon could have early modern origins.

  20. 1 hour ago, Robert F. Smith said:

    Moroni had plenty of time to walk to what would one day become the Manchester area of New York State, and deposit the plates.

    It’s a good thing he didn’t have to lug around some heavy, priceless object in addition to all his other gear. That would have made hunting and foraging, not to mention hiking, pretty tough. A water route seems more practical. 

  21. 11 hours ago, Ryan Dahle said:

    Or perhaps I would raise the same types of concerns and you would push back with the same types of apologetic responses (we are all apologists, are we not ;)).

    I don't have a pre-conceived position I am trying to defend like an apologist. I have simply built a hypothesis based on the evidence and am now trying to fine-tune and test that hypothesis...based on the evidence, not my beliefs. This is a significant difference.

    11 hours ago, Ryan Dahle said:

    Maybe at some point, once you've conducted exhaustive comparative analysis, we will be a few steps closer to assessing the situation. Unfortunately, you will never get close enough because we lack so much historical data from the ancient world.

    You should apply this same measuring stick to supposed Meso-American parallels. The thing is, you don't need an exhaustive analysis to discredit any of them. You just need the right data point for comparison. So far I haven't seen a single piece of evidence for the historical conception of the Book of Mormon that isn't surpassed by evidence supporting the early modern hypothesis. I'm ready to have my mind changed on this account, though.

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