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In need of convincing LDS Scholarship


DanGB

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Let me put it more bluntly then: Your continued pointless badgering has become quite tedious.

I'm a bit surprised that you can't see the larger point, Scott. (I should also note that I'm not interested in your opinion. Or, is this some sort of pre-mod-intervention warning? About to change nicks and bring the hammer down? Do what you feel you must.)

Since I know that DCP doesn't speak of BoM in terms of having "no evidence one way or the other" (in fact, he has frequently noted that we have good evidence for accepting BoM as authentic), I wanted to know wherein lies the difference between that historical text and the Watson letter. It's actually quite relevant to the thread. Thus, my questions.

But, I wouldn't want to further offend DCP's unofficial and presumably unasked-for MADB handlers, so, by all means, I'll shut up.

:P

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CK this will be all too irrelevant in a week or so when FAIR posts a copy of the Watson stuff online for all to enjoy. So let's move along.

If you'd read my posts, Life, you'd have noted that I could hardly care less about the content of either, and have already conceded to deem the second authentic on DCP's word.

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I'm a bit surprised that you can't see the larger point, Scott. (I should also note that I'm not interested in your opinion. Or, is this some sort of pre-mod-intervention warning? About to change nicks and bring the hammer down? Do what you feel you must.)

Since I know that DCP doesn't speak of BoM in terms of having "no evidence one way or the other" (in fact, he has frequently noted that we have good evidence for accepting BoM as authentic), I wanted to know wherein lies the difference between that historical text and the Watson letter. It's actually quite relevant to the thread. Thus, my questions.

But, I wouldn't want to further offend DCP's unofficial and presumably unasked-for MADB handlers, so, by all means, I'll shut up.

:P

I'm not a moderator. Nor am I a DCP "handler," official or otherwise, just a guy making some personal observations. You can take them or leave them. They might be some indication, though, of how you are coming across.

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I'm not a moderator. Nor am I a DCP "handler," official or otherwise, just a guy making some personal observations. You can take them or leave them. They might be some indication, though, of how you are coming across.

Well-told, Scott. I will, then, certainly leave them, friend, as your (no doubt to some, trenchant) observations are utterly unrelated to my concerns and have the effect of effectively sidestepping them. You can take that or leave it, whichever merits your pleasure. You have come across, to my mind, as an unnecessary, uninvited hindrance. If you're interested in how you are coming across to me, that is. Which I assume you aren't.

Goodness.

:P

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(1) I don't feel that I misspoke, (2) but you're correct that I'm not going to answer your questions. I'm not interested in the subject, and (3) find your questions tedious. (Just being candid here.) Have a great day.

(1) Well, candidly, I had certainly hoped that you did. I'm sure you don't mind disappointing me in that regard. So, to recapitulate, you "have no real evidence one way or the other" as to the authenticity of the First Watson Letter, which means, somehow, that you actually don't doubt its authenticity in the slightest. Good to know how you parse the notion of "evidence."

(2) I'm certainly aware, by now, that you have no intention of answering my questions.

(3) I find your refusal to answer direct questions quite typical. You have a learned facility with regard to question avoidance and, darn it, you don't at all mind showing it off. (Just being equally candid.)

I do wish for you all good things in the days to come.

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I'm vaguely and very slightly curious as to what you're actually up to. Perhaps it will become evident with the passage of time. Perhaps not. We'll have to live with not knowing, in that case.

Oh geeze!

Asking simple, straight forward questions now creates a "conspiracy theory" with you!

Well don't leave us hangin! Get to your insidious plot of this planned conspiracy!

We ain't that complicated down down here!

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Oh geeze!

Asking simple, straight forward questions now creates a "conspiracy theory" with you!

Well don't leave us hangin! Get to your insidious plot of this planned conspiracy!

We ain't that complicated down down here!

A conspiracy requires at least two people.

I've no doubt that what you are playing at is a solo venture.

I would like to be charitable and say, like my English friends would, that you are only taking the piss.

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What people care about significantly impacts their choices of what to read, and how (or whether) to integrate an argument's conclusions into their worldview. Yet it has essentially nothing to do with whether the argument is persuasively reasoned or adequately evidenced.

To illustrate: Between them, my friends David Paulsen (of the BYU Philosophy Department) and Carl Griffin (of the Maxwell Institute at BYU) have published four articles in the Harvard Theological Review, arguing very convincingly (in my judgment), on the basis of careful readings of Origen, Clement, and Augustine, for a widespread belief in divine anthropomorphism among ancient Christians (not excluding the young Augustine himself and his mother, St. Monica).

Such publications cannot be dismissed, as a couple of the more limited critics on another board obsessively do, as having been published "only in Provo" and/or without any peer review. But have they fundamentally changed anybody's view of the Christian doctrine of God?

Not that I can see.

I asked Carl once, a few months after the publication of their article on Augustine, what the reaction of mainstream Christian scholars had been. Had they rejected the evidence Carl and David had cited? No. Had they denied the logic of the argument? No. Were they angry, or defiant, or baffled? No. According to Carl's report, the overwhelming response has been along the lines of "You're right. So what?"

One can cherrypick the Church Fathers for many a strange teaching. Many scholars today argue that Augustine got it wrong in regards to predestination so I add my "so what"

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Since when does a secretary make doctrine? It doesn't matter if the poor man wrote two or seventeen letters. He was doing the best he could, but I bet that had he known what would come of this simple letter, he would never have written either one.

Never underestimate the power of bureaucracy.

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One can cherrypick the Church Fathers for many a strange teaching.

True. But, fairly plainly, the editors and peer-reviewers at the Harvard Theological Review didn't believe that Griffin and Paulsen had done that in this case. Moreover, as I pointed out above, nobody seems to have challenged their conclusion.

If you believe that their argument is wrong, you're entirely welcome to research and write a refutation. And to submit it to HTR, if you would like.

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If you believe that their argument is wrong, you're entirely welcome to research and write a refutation. And to submit it to HTR, if you would like.

Or, in a slightly different idiom, petition the Office of the First Presidency to release the Second Watson Letter, right?

For Greg Smith: It's now past "early next week." Did I miss the unveiling? (I might have done, to be sure.) Given that your source apparently has no access to such sci-fi implements as a fax machine or a scanner, I think I can understand the delay. USPS can be a bit slow.

But, have you not received, via snail mail, a "postable" document, yet? When do you expect to receive it, at this point? When do you think it will appear on the FAIRwiki?

Thanks.

cks

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Or, in a slightly different idiom, petition the Office of the First Presidency to release the Second Watson Letter, right?

For Greg Smith: It's now past "early next week." Did I miss the unveiling? (I might have done, to be sure.) Given that your source apparently has no access to such sci-fi implements as a fax machine or a scanner, I think I can understand the delay. USPS can be a bit slow.

But, have you not received, via snail mail, a "postable" document, yet? When do you expect to receive it, at this point? When do you think it will appear on the FAIRwiki?

Thanks.

cks

What is the significance of this second letter again? The more I read the excerpt from it in the Hamblin article, the more apparent it becomes that it does nothing to diminish or refute what was told to Brooks in the First Presidency letter originally. Seems very clear the two letters are mutually exclusive.

What is the copy of the second letter supposed to provide? Unless it contains relevant information not included in the Hamblin article, it really doesn't refute or negate the Brooks letter.

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On the second Watson letter:

I have a contact at the FARMS office, who located a copy of the letter from John Sorenson's files (their offices moved fairly recently, and that's how it got mislaid). It is still on the original fax paper from the First Presidency's office, and it has a note on it discussing a bit more about the provenance.

My contact is snail-mailing me the copy, and I have permission to post it to the FAIR wiki when it arrives. It was mailed today; it will probably be up by early next week depending on the vagaries of the US and Canadian postal services.

The text is reportedly as printed in the FARMS Review article by Hamblin. It is also made clear by an annotation on the fax that the First Presidency wished to clarify the impression left by Bro. (now Elder) Watson's first letter.

But, doubters can soon see the text for themselves, it seems.

I will try to remember to post an announcement in this thread when it is up. I expect the FAIR blog or newsletter will also contain a mention.

Best,

Greg,

Whatever happened with this? Is it still for real? Would love to see the letter and annotations.

Let s know. Thanks

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Upon further and practical thought here, maybe Daniel Peterson, a fellow BYU colleague of Sorenson, could shed some light as to the new found existence of this second letter. I had gathered he was very involved with it's original existence and sensed he knew all the players.

Dan,

Any truth to the recently found copy of this letter? Any reason not to provide it as Greg Smith seemed so excited about doing last week?

May finally put a lot of erroneous past speculation to rest the way I see it!

Thanks

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What is the copy of the second letter supposed to provide? Unless it contains relevant information not included in the Hamblin article, it really doesn't refute or negate the Brooks letter.

The second Watson letter reads:

The Church emphasizes the doctrinal and historical value of the Book of Mormon, not its geography. While some Latter-day Saints have looked for possible locations and explanations [for Book of Mormon geography] because the New York Hill Cumorah does not readily fit the Book of Mormon description of Cumorah, there are no conclusive connections between the Book of Mormon text and any specific site
(emphasis added)

This quite clearly states there is no official conclusion about specific Book of Mormon geography and that the Church does not teach such specific geography.

To the extent that the first letter left an opposite impression, this one contradicts it.

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Be patient, snail mail between Utah and Canada is not the best this time of year.

Maybe you're right. But email and fax take a couple of minutes. Even mail to Canada only takes a couple of days. I was just wondering if there was either a change of heart, truth or facts? Smith initially seemed very excited and sure about the timing of things over a week ago. But that was the last we heard from him!

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Maybe you're right. But email and fax take a couple of minutes. Even mail to Canada only takes a couple of days. I was just wondering if there was either a change of heart, truth or facts? Smith initially seemed very excited and sure about the timing of things over a week ago. But that was the last we heard from him!

He's a doctor and likely rather busy himself this time of year.

An email wouldn't really do anything more than provide the info that's already been given. The quality of a fax of a fax isn't that great from what I've seen. If he plans on doing a scan of material, best to have as close to the original letter as possible....which leaves you with snail mail.

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The second Watson letter reads:

(emphasis added)

This quite clearly states there is no official conclusion about specific Book of Mormon geography and that the Church does not teach such specific geography.

To the extent that the first letter left an opposite impression, this one contradicts it.

It really doesn't Scott. I think you're simply reaching conclusions that are not in the words.

The Chrch had a position, the fact that it could not be "proven" does not change their position. It is no different than the golden plates. We cannot prove their existence, but the Church still maintains their position that they did.

This is not to difficult to either read or see from the correspondence trail. Don't understand your logic or reasoning here.

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It really doesn't Scott. I think you're simply reaching conclusions that are not in the words.

And I think you're standing in broad daylight and claiming that the sun is down.

The Chrch had a position, the fact that it could not be "proven" does not change their position.

What was the Church's position? (The first Watson letter is not a reliable indicator of such a position, since the second letter corrects/clarifies/contradicts the first).

It is no different than the golden plates. We cannot prove their existence, but the Church still maintains their position that they did.

Unlike the existence of the plates, there is no official Church position regarding specific Book of Mormon geography.

This is not to difficult to either read or see from the correspondence trail. Don't understand your logic or reasoning here.

More's the pity. I'm confident a reasonable observer can.

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You guys who are late comers to this thread asking questions-- just read the &$@!%^& thread for pete's sake!

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