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Alternate Authorship Bom Theories-problems


Luigi

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While I'll admit I'm no expert in all the alternate BoM authorship theories-they all seem to have two fundamental problems with me.

1.They require people to keep their mouth shut when they have little or no reason to.

I don't know-but if I had made significant contributions to a book and received no credit I think I would just be itching to tell someone-especially once I became dissaffected from the Church that it was fundamental to. I just can't see Sidney Rigdon or Oliver Cowdery or any other collaborative author holding such a secret for their entire lives-never revealing such a secret to their spouse, children or someone who would have eventually spilled the beans as well.

2. Those involved or around during translation seemed to sincere in their belief in the BoM. Those that joined and later left the Church who knew Joseph Smith during the translation never(to my knowledge) gave indication of losing their testimony of the BoM. They all felt that the work was legitimately from God. It seems that if the BoM had been a collaborative work that those that were around at that time(after re-evaluating the interactions they saw with Joseph and scribes) or those that were purpotedly collaborating would have eventually expressed more skepticism about the BoM or would have proclaimed it a fraud. But that never happened to my knowledge.

To me the only theory that critics could take seriously is the sole authorship theory. Of course this theory runs into the problem of explaining how Joseph Smith could have done such a work given his education, etc-but it seems that is the only practical alternative left for someone who refuses to believe the BoM was a divine work.

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I think Uncle Dale has stated in prior threads that Sidney Rigdon didn't keep him mouth shut and did claim (once?) to have authored the book or helped on it. However, from what I read it was only a snippet where he said he could bring down the Church. I am sure Uncle Dale can provide it again though.

I don't agree that Rigdon wrote the book or that it was a compulation of Rigdon and Spaulding and Smith, otherwise I think we would have more evidence (such as Spauldings draft in KJ English). However evidence seems to be such a hard word these days because it can be turned around to say where is the evidence of the literal side of the BoM.

I think if Rigdon did write the BoM he would have gone to the papers about it or announced it more during all his difficulties with Smith.

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I think Uncle Dale has stated in prior threads that Sidney Rigdon didn't keep him mouth shut and did claim (once?) to have authored the book or helped on it. However, from what I read it was only a snippet where he said he could bring down the Church. I am sure Uncle Dale can provide it again though.

I don't agree that Rigdon wrote the book or that it was a compulation of Rigdon and Spaulding and Smith, otherwise I think we would have more evidence (such as Spauldings draft in KJ English). However evidence seems to be such a hard word these days because it can be turned around to say where is the evidence of the literal side of the BoM.

I think if Rigdon did write the BoM he would have gone to the papers about it or announced it more during all his difficulties with Smith.

I agree about the Ridgon theory. He would have confessed his sin, if not for himself, than before God. He was a religious man and not one to take the sin of blasphamy lightly. No one wants to go to their maker with a fraud on their conscious.

As I have mentioned previously on a different thread, the critics can make one nuts with all the theories that are flying around about the origins of the book of mormon. Such confusion does not do them credit. The book of mormon still stands for what it claims to be, but the critics are still implying the opposite. But still I have read a lot of mays, mights, coulds, woulds, shoulds, etc from the critics, but no concrete facts that would destroy the original version of the bofm.

And so it stands. :P

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>I agree about the Ridgon theory.

Okey dokey. Now please help us understand the eleven witnesses -- were they all co-conspirators, or simply dupes, cleverly carried out by Rigdon and Smith. The Angel, the plates, the appearance of John the Baptist -- during the daytime, in the outside.

These were all cleverly arranged tricks? Or eleven co-comspirators?

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Why?

Why not? He was a beaten man. His vision and dream up in smoke. He became a no body in the lds church and he lost his position. Plus, he was beaten and dragged through the streets by a mob. Off he went to form his own church...no I do think that he would have 'confessed' his sin. Very few fraudsters want to see their fraud in the hands of an interloper who takes power and banishes the original fraudster. But what do I know...I am just a humble servant. :P

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To discredit Smith. From what I was reading on some previous threads, Rigdon was somewhat unstable. Also Rigdon was chastied quite a few times in D&C. If these weren't actual revelations from God, I would imagine he wouldn't take to being chastised so much by Smith.

I am completely making assumptions though...which is why I wrote...'I think'.

Edit: Sorry, I was writing sentence and decided to change it around and didn't check to make sure it still flowed.

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>I agree about the Ridgon theory.

Okey dokey. Now please help us understand the eleven witnesses -- were they all co-conspirators, or simply dupes, cleverly carried out by Rigdon and Smith. The Angel, the plates, the appearance of John the Baptist -- during the daytime, in the outside.

These were all cleverly arranged tricks? Or eleven co-comspirators?

I was agreeing with the poster who claimed that the Ridgon theory could not possibly be true. You missed understood my sentence. :P

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Why not? He was a beaten man. His vision and dream up in smoke. He became a no body in the lds church and he lost his position. Plus, he was beaten and dragged through the streets by a mob. Off he went to form his own church...no I do think that he would have 'confessed' his sin. Very few fraudsters want to see their fraud in the hands of an interloper who takes power and banishes the original fraudster. But what do I know...I am just a humble servant. :P

Spilling the beans would have made him look just as bad as JS. What would he have to gain?

Also, if he were truly a religious man, then I'm sure he saw the growth of the church as a good thing - no matter who was 'in charge'.

And who says he thought of what he did as a 'sin' that needed to be confessed?

More woulds, shoulds, coulds...

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To discredit Smith. From what I was reading on some previous threads, Rigdon was somewhat unstable. Rigdon was chastied quite a few times in D&C. If these weren't actual revelations from God, I would imagine they would make he wouldn't take to being chastised so much about Smith.

I am completely making assumptions though...which is why I wrote...'I think'.

Yes, that is right in part. But his exclamation is left up to interpretation. He did not claim to have written the book of mormon, if I am not mistaken.

This is what makes sidney's silence all the more confusing if one is to believe that he wrote the book of mormon. At times, the learned intellectual critic does not listen to common sense in these matters. I agree with you. Plus, I also added my tidbits on the thread about good ol' Sidney. It just doesn't add up. :P

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Spilling the beans would have made him look just as bad as JS. What would he have to gain?

Also, if he were truly a religious man, then I'm sure he saw the growth of the church as a good thing - no matter who was 'in charge'.

And who says he thought of what he did as a 'sin' that needed to be confessed?

More woulds, shoulds, coulds...

Exactly. But lets remember, if sidney had authorship, he defrauded god. The book was considered blasphamy in that time. No man defrauds god by claiming devine authorship when knowing full well, that one is the author. We need to remember the other visitations that were claimed by Joseph and Oliver and Martin, plus the other witnesses to the book itself. This would have been a cruel joke on god from people who seemed to have respect for god. And sidney would have played a major role. Not much comfort in this story on one's lingering deathbed. He denied his authorship on his deathbed...that means a lot from a religious man dying with a lie on his lips, if he wrote the book. Most likely he didn't write the book.

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Maybe we should get Vogel and Uncle Dale together for a debate on BoM authorship in ‘Pundits’. It is always entertaining to watch detractors of differing theories going head-to-head. :P

Dan and I agree on so much, that about all there would be left

to debate is whether or not David Whitmer's mother was a

competant witness in her reported testimony of having been

shown the golden plates.

Who really cares how much of the JST Rigdon may have made

up out of his own head, or copied from Spalding, or merely wrote

by dictation from JS?

Uncle "that, and Dan's terrible sense of taste in choosing neckties, of course" Dale

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Again - WHY?

Sidney didn't discredit JS but he did discredited himself. And that is what makes the story so sad. The church prospered in god's work and sidney did not. But he seems to be a man with many problems. My heart goes out to sidney. :P

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Dan and I agree on so much, that about all there would be left

to debate is whether or not David Whitmer's mother was a

competant witness in her reported testimony of having been

shown the golden plates.

DVogel3.jpg

Who really cares how much of the JST Rigdon may have made

up out of his own head, or copied from Spalding, or merely wrote

by dictation from JS?

Uncle "that, and Dan's terrible sense of taste in choosing neckties, of course" Dale

Finally an admission from d'unk that we should not care about it anyway. Thanks uncle dale, my mind is now free from your posts...you have given me new life...and I am grateful. :P

Oh yea...you are right about the necktie.

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and I am grateful....

Well, that takes care of the JST... we still have the 3rd Epistle of Peter

and Jacob's condemnation of polygamy to ponder...

Uncle "it ain't over till the fat lady sings" Dale

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At the various times that he wasn't so connected to the Church when Smith was alive he didn't have too much going for him. Once Smith died and he tried to branch out he quickly went back to not having to much. What did Rigdon have to lose at these times if he fessed up that he authored the BoM? If he truly was a God loving/fearing man (which I believe he was) he wouldn't have continued to his death to state he didn't write the BoM. He would have repented (which is one of the basics of the faith he was so involved in). If he did write the BoM and didn't confess it, he was standing a chance of losing his salvation and having to be judge before Jesus on his falsehoods.

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Exactly. But lets remember, if sidney had authorship, he defrauded god. The book was considered blasphamy in that time. No man defrauds god by claiming devine authorship when knowing full well, that one is the author. We need to remember the other visitations that were claimed by Joseph and Oliver and Martin, plus the other witnesses to the book itself. This would have been a cruel joke on god from people who seemed to have respect for god. And sidney would have played a major role. Not much comfort in this story on one's lingering deathbed. He denied his authorship on his deathbed...that means a lot from a religious man dying with a lie on his lips, if he wrote the book. Most likely he didn't write the book.

That's a nice story, but what would he have had to gain? Especially if he felt that his work was helping people come closer to God.

Give me a good reason why he should have 'exposed' everything.

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To me the only theory that critics could take seriously is the sole authorship theory. Of course this theory runs into the problem of explaining how Joseph Smith could have done such a work given his education, etc-but it seems that is the only practical alternative left for someone who refuses to believe the BoM was a divine work.

Actually, you forgot one other theory that is currently the most comprehensive and satisfactory theory for explaining the origin of the Book of Mormon. It doesn't resort to "god of the gaps" spackle to fill in the cracks, and it doesn't require convulted conjecture regarding the knowledge, experience and capabilities of Joseph Smith.

It's called the "I don't know" theory.

It's the same theory we use when we encounter the millions upon millions of things and occurances for which we don't know how it happened, or where it came from. We don't feel compelled to make up a supernatural explanation (or accept someone else's), even if we can't formulate a natural explanation. No, we just say "I don't know" and withold belief until more data and a better theory come along.

I've said this before, but it bears repeating in this thread:

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People aren't required to explain the origin of the Book of Mormon.

There is no law saying that you will be put to death if you don't subscribe to a theory of how the Book of Mormon was written.

The universe will not end if you can't prove how Joseph did it.

Some may feel that eternal salvation rests on your approach to the subject, and therefore you must chose a "side", but they are mistaken. That belief is only held because they feel like they can be the beneficiaries of a black or white thought process on the subject. But that doesn't truly make it a black or white process, not matter how hard they insist. It only means you don't know something, and ignorance is the start of the process of gaining knowledge, not the end. The fact that I don't know how David Copperfield made the Statue of Liberty disappear doesn't mean that I must adopt someone's supernatural explanation. Or another magician's explanation. It only means I don't know how he did it.

The fact that someone doesn't know how Joseph Smith produced the Book of Mormon doesn't mean they must accept the supernatural explanation, or Vogel's naturalistic one, or the Spaulding theory, or come up with their own. It only means they (I) don't know. It isn't a forced mulitiple choice test.

As in billions of other situations we encounter in this life, "I don't know" is a perfectly acceptable answer. There are countless situations in life where we don't have enough data to support any theory regarding something. This does not mean that we are compelled chose between the poor theories. The obvious point of course is to withhold judgement until further data presents itself.

If you do venture into allegiance with a poor theory that stretches beyond the data, you will probably find yourself defending your theory in the best way you know how: by pointing out the holes in the other peoples' theories, and insisting that since someone must chose, they should ignore the holes in your theory and choose it anyway. If they do so, they can then join you in backslapping support for your mutual wisdom in choosing the right theory (after all, look at all the holes in the other theories!).

But to someone who sees the holes in all the theories for what they are, and has decided to withhold judgement, the backslapping and hole-pointing on both sides looks silly and unconvincing (granted, it's convincing to the point of not pledging allegiance to either theory, but not in support of the other).

So please stop insisting that someone has to come up with a better theory than yours if they choose not to accept yours. It is quite possible that there will never be an acceptable theory for some people, because the data in support of any theory might be insufficient. And, absent the invention of a time machine or the discovery of new data, that may be the case for quite some time.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

So I agree with you that the theories of the different critics are incomplete, or in some way unsatisfactory in answering every question that may be formulated. Unfortunately, I find the theories of divine origin to be similarly lacking once they get beyond the simplistic phase of "God did it" and actually try to say something. The most obvious weakness is the loose/tight translation dichotomy.

So I am a strong supporter of the "I don't know" theory, and find pleasant company among the billions and billions of people on this Earth who likewise live a life in peace and happiness not having been forced to pledge allegiance with a particular theory regarding the origin of the Book of Mormon.

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At the various times that he wasn't so connected to the Church when Smith was alive he didn't have too much going for him. Once Smith died and he tried to branch out he quickly went back to not having to much. What did Rigdon have to lose at these times if he fessed up that he authored the BoM? If he truly was a God loving/fearing man (which I believe he was) he wouldn't have continued to his death to state he didn't write the BoM. He would have repented (which is one of the basics of the faith he was so involved in). If he did write the BoM and didn't confess it, he was standing a chance of losing his salvation and having to be judge before Jesus on his falsehoods.

A death-bed confession affirming Brigham Young as the true living prophet, and Sidney's

admission that he fabricated his own visions and revelations, trying to lead the Saints

away from Brigham would have been a nice touch for a sincere, repentant, dying Christian.

Rigdon was a tough nut to crack -- he had two possible opinions about things:

Either he was "right" or he was "dead right."

The 1863 "Appeal to the LDS" that he ghost-wrote makes for interesting reading:

http://sidneyrigdon.com/books/Appl1863.htm

UD

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At the various times that he wasn't so connected to the Church when Smith was alive he didn't have too much going for him. Once Smith died and he tried to branch out he quickly went back to not having to much. What did Rigdon have to lose at these times if he fessed up that he authored the BoM? If he truly was a God loving/fearing man (which I believe he was) he wouldn't have continued to his death to state he didn't write the BoM. He would have repented (which is one of the basics of the faith he was so involved in). If he did write the BoM and didn't confess it, he was standing a chance of losing his salvation and having to be judge before Jesus on his falsehoods.

Sooooo true! You are hitting the nail on the head. :P I see it the way you do, from a human perspective with seeing the human angle to the story. No need for intellectual claptrap. <_<

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