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How does the Local Geographic Theory


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Joseph said:

The camp passed through Huntsville, in Randolph County [Missouri], which has been appointed as one of the Stakes of Zion, and is the ancient site of the City of Manti.... [sept. 1838] (The Latter-day Saints' Millennial Star, "History of Joseph Smith," Vol. 16, page 296, May 13, 1854)

Brigham Young said that the Wasatch mountains were the abode of the Gadianton Robbers.

Were they wrong or maybe it was hemispheric?

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It doesn't matter what they *thought*. What matters is what was revelation. 
How do you tell the difference? Wait and see if it is renewed by the next prophet?

All you need to know to be able to tell the difference is to see it printed in an official work of the Church of latest date.

The way to tell if it is an official work of the Church is if it is published by "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints"

That has been the method now for many decades.

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You mean the REAL test? "Is this necessary for the salvation of mankind?"

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It doesn't matter what they said, what matters is the text. The text itself doesn't support a hemispheric model, regardless of what various prophets may or may not have believed (it's very apparent that Smith's views on the subject were highly pliable).

Lastly, Mormons are NOT fundamentalists and this argument has been hashed over a million times on this list.

Critic: The Book of Mormon describes a hemispheric model.

Mormon: No, it doesn't, it describes a limited geography mode.

Critic: Well, the prophets obviousl believed in a hemispheric model so if you don't accept that then 1) your prophet is FALSE or 2) You are an apostate.

In other words, it takes us right back to the Metcalfe/Murphy/et al., methodology of demanding that Mormon adhere to a fundamentialistic world view and then getting red the face when we refuse to march to their orders.

C.I.

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BC:

All you need to know to be able to tell the difference is to see it printed in an official work of the Church of latest date.

The question was --Were they(JS and BY) wrong?

Seems like you are avoiding the question.

Charity:

You mean the REAL test? "Is this necessary for the salvation of mankind?"

Is there any doctrine or teaching that is present in the BOM, and not found in the bible that is necesary for the salvation of mankind?

CI:

It doesn't matter what they said, what matters is the text. The text itself doesn't support a hemispheric model, regardless of what various prophets may or may not have believed (it's very apparent that Smith's views on the subject were highly pliable).

Lastly, Mormons are NOT fundamentalists and this argument has been hashed over a million times on this list.

If thats true, why do Mormons have such a hard time just saying JS and BY were wrong. Even you, the liberal mormon, phrase your response to avoid making such a clear statement.

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What do I think?

The early Church leaders were speculating, about events and places in which they had an interest. Talk about Nephites in Illinois, for example, went right along with comments in the Times and Seasons lauding a book about Mesoamerica because it could "throw some light" on the Book of Mormon. This shows how completely flexible they were about their new scripture. Nothing was set in stone.

And sometimes their speculation was wrong. There is nothing deceptive or deceitful about this. Just human.

Beowulf

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If thats true, why do Mormons have such a hard time just saying JS and BY were wrong. Even you, the liberal mormon, phrase your response to avoid making such a clear statement.

Whoa, that's an overly broad, open ended question. I have no problem stating that both Joseph and Brigham were wrong in regards to their speculations regarding Book of Mormon geographic locations.

I don't see any problem w/ this because there is evidence that Joseph himself corrected himself or changed his views on certain B of M locations, especially after receiving more data.

Moreover, I think the fact that Smith didn't fully appreciate the internal geography of the book enhances the claim that he didn't write it! If he had, one would expect that he'd have maintained a much better internal geography than that which he obviously did. The book's internal geography is quite consistent. Joseph's is not. Why? Because Joseph wasn't the author, he was simply a translator and reader who understood the book according to preconceived ideas, just as we all are.

C.I.

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If thats true, why do Mormons have such a hard time just saying JS and BY were wrong. Even you, the liberal mormon, phrase your response to avoid making such a clear statement.

Whoa, that's an overly broad, open ended question. I have no problem stating that both Joseph and Brigham were wrong in regards to their speculations regarding Book of Mormon geographic locations.

I don't see any problem w/ this because there is evidence that Joseph himself corrected himself or changed his views on certain B of M locations, especially after receiving more data.

Moreover, I think the fact that Smith didn't fully appreciate the internal geography of the book enhances the claim that he didn't write it! If he had, one would expect that he'd have maintained a much better internal geography than that which he obviously did. The book's internal geography is quite consistent. Joseph's is not. Why? Because Joseph wasn't the author, he was simply a translator and reader who understood the book according to preconceived ideas, just as we all are.

C.I.

Or, he wrote it, and in his mind it all happened here in north america. Then later, when discrepancies with it happening there showed up, he changed his mind.

either way.

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It doesn't matter what they said, what matters is the text.  The text itself doesn't support a hemispheric model, regardless of what various prophets may or may not have believed (it's very apparent that Smith's views on the subject were highly pliable). 

Lastly, Mormons are NOT fundamentalists and this argument has been hashed over a million times on this list.

Critic:  The Book of Mormon describes a hemispheric model.

Mormon:  No, it doesn't, it describes a limited geography mode.

Critic:  Well, the prophets obviousl believed in a hemispheric model so if you don't accept that then 1) your prophet is FALSE or 2) You are an apostate.

In other words, it takes us right back to the Metcalfe/Murphy/et al., methodology of demanding that Mormon adhere to a fundamentialistic world view and then getting red the face when we refuse to march to their orders.

C.I.

Or, you know, the prophets described the BoM in certain ways on the same basis a lot of other things they said, so if you call that wrong, you have to consequently accept they're overall reliablity is harmed - not just cherry pick points to say the prophet has faults whenver we definitely know something is wrong and hold true to the rest. Having reason to believe the prophet was inventing a religious tale tied to the surroundings in which he found himself in one instance sort of harms his crediblity in other instances. This or that looks an awful lot like Joseph Smith walking around, loosely connecting everything together into a an elaborate religious fantasy he operated in and led, just like any other would-be prophet. Disagree if you must, but at least you would be disagreeing with something less strawmanish.

And Pent, you don't need to be a fundamentalist to think the BoM text is most reasonably read a certain way due to various considerations, including things like Zelph. Brent argues that you are adopting an strained way to read your text to preserve a larger belief that it is a historical document in the face of modern knoweledge about that text, hence what you are thinking is relatively implausible to a 19th c interpretation. That isn't even in the ballpark of fundamentalism.

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And Pent, you don't need to be a fundamentalist to think the BoM text is most reasonably read a certain way due to various considerations, including things like Zelph. Brent argues that you are adopting an strained way to read your text to preserve a larger belief that it is a historical document in the face of modern knoweledge about that text, hence what you are thinking is relatively implausible to a 19th c interpretation. That isn't even in the ballpark of fundamentalism.

The Zelph narrative does nothing to the LGT. It is a story completely apart and separate from the narrative found in the B of M. Moreover, there are statements in the Book that can adequately accomodate it (i.e. groups that left the main body of nephite such as a Hagoth, etc., ).

Brant's work, and that of Sorenson et al., place the B of M cofortably within the mesoamerican milieu and Zelph doesn't disrupt that a bit.

C.I.

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The Zelph narrative does nothing to the LGT. It is a story completely apart and separate from the narrative found in the B of M. Moreover, there are statements in the Book that can adequately accomodate it (i.e. groups that left the main body of nephite such as a Hagoth, etc., ).

Brant's work, and that of Sorenson et al., place the B of M cofortably within the mesoamerican milieu and Zelph doesn't disrupt that a bit.

C.I.

I'm not going to dispute the merits of Brent's arguments Pent, only how you (ironically) characterized them.

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Whoa, that's an overly broad, open ended question. I have no problem stating that both Joseph and Brigham were wrong in regards to their speculations regarding Book of Mormon geographic locations.

No it was a simple direct question, pertaining only to specific statements made by JS. Only after some goading, did I see straightforward answers rather than misdirection.

You were quite forthrihgt, but you did put in a caveat "speculations." Frankly, I have a hard time beleiving that those that heard JS and BY, thought they were just offering personal speculation. After all, by today's standard, it might be fair to characterize thier followers as religous zealots. (Who else but zealot would pack up and move their family at the command of the "Prophet?")

But since I don't consider BY or JS to be Prophets, I would agree that they were speculation. More relevant, would be whether they pretending to offer more than mere speculation?

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It's quite possible that Joseph and Brigham didn't consider them speculations. From their point of view it probably just made sense. However, we know for a fact that Smith was fond of speculation and lamented that fact that this was denied to him because certain "zealots" (as you term them) would not allow him that luxury and instead took every word he said as divine pronouncement.

Either way, I have yet to see a statement that says, "Thus saith the Lord, Zarahemla, that great city, is located at xxxxx location." In fact, I haven't seen that for the Hill Cumoroh or any other disputed site. All the references to Cumorah simply make the assumpiton and none of them really spend any time reconsidering the statement.

EA:

Metcalfe/Murphy's arguments only fly if they can force us to accept an inerrant prophet. Then they get to have it both ways. If we refuse to accept it, then we're apostate. If we accept it, then they nail us with their main arguments. Either way, their arguments boil down to the exact same thing every time: FALSE PROPHET. Which as a scholarly argument really isn't very good.

C.I.

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Hypothetical

Let's say someone back then decided to pray about those statements made by Joseph Smith. They would have been answered in one of 2 ways - it was correct, or it wasn't.

Now, lets say they were answered that the statements were correct. What would that mean?

Lets say they were answered that the statements were incorrect. Lets say this person went up to Joseph Smith and said, 'Prophet Joseph, regarding those statements, I prayed about them, and received an answer that you were wrong.' I wonder what would have happened to this guy...

Again, purely hypothetical.

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Or, he wrote it, and in his mind it all happened here in north america.  Then later, when discrepancies with it happening there showed up, he changed his mind.

either way.

That option is not available to someone who is making a good-faith attempt to understand what the document says.

Projecting one's own level of integrity into the mind of the Prophet is an old standard anti-Mormon game. It requires no knowledge, no intelligence and no imagination; just the utmost bad faith, all of which puts it within reach of our critics.

Merely assuming that Joseph is lying every time he says something the critic doesn't like is a drop-dead lazy way of writing oneself a blank cheque. It is also inconsistent with the facts we do know. The absolute starting point for anyone who really wants to understand what Joseph says and does is, or should be, the one established fact of his life: that he was a genuine religious believer. You do not have to share his belief, but you do have to take it as axiomatic that he did believe it. If no less a scholar than Eduard Meyer regards this as the single most compelling explanation and the only way to make sense of what Joseph actually did, you might think it worth your consideration.

Regards,

Pahoran

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