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Margaret Barker as Mormon Apologist?


Joseph Antley

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In 2005, non-Mormon biblical scholar Margaret Barker published an article in BYU Studies titled "Joseph Smith and Preexilic Israelite Religion." The article is available online here.

Basically, the article is a Book of Mormon apologetic piece. Barker sees tons of ancient Israelite themes in the Book of Mormon. The article reads like Barker is convinced that the Book of Mormon was a revelation.

But that was five years ago. Has Barker written anything else about Mormonism since then? Or has she perhaps set a baptisimal date?

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In 2005, non-Mormon biblical scholar Margaret Barker published an article in BYU Studies titled "Joseph Smith and Preexilic Israelite Religion." The article is available online here.

Basically, the article is a Book of Mormon apologetic piece. Barker sees tons of ancient Israelite themes in the Book of Mormon. The article reads like Barker is convinced that the Book of Mormon was a revelation.

But that was five years ago. Has Barker written anything else about Mormonism since then? Or has she perhaps set a baptisimal date?

If she fully understands the LDS gospel and then rejects obeying it, would that not make her a son (daughter)

of perdition? What is her stated reason for refusing to be converted, if she believes the Book of Mormon

to be an authentic, ancient divine document?

Could it be that she is considering joining some other BoM-believing group, than the LDS?

UD

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If she fully understands the LDS gospel and then rejects obeying it, would that not make her a son (daughter)

of perdition?

:P

No. Denying Christ whilst in his presence is how I have always understood that one. And if one saw the Christ and had the kind of knowledge needed to even qualify as a son of perdition, how does that one play out years past the event if one has not watered the plant and it has withered and died. Can such a one long from the event really even qualify to be a son of perdition? I don't think so.

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:P

No. Denying Christ whilst in his presence is how I have always understood that one. And if one saw the Christ and had the kind of knowledge needed to even qualify as a son of perdition, how that does that one play out years past the event if one has not watered the plant and it has withered and died. Can such a one long from the event really even qualify to be a son of perdition? I don't think so.

Well then, if she is qualified to be accepted among the LDS, even while rejecting

their gospel, perhaps that is why the leaders of the church send no missionaries

to baptize her. They do not feel that her sins will be a stain upon their garments.

On the other hand, if she is such a prominent advocate of ancient Israelite religion,

perhaps she agrees with the FLDS, that the Mormons have abandoned the true precepts

of President John Taylor.

Her advocacy of a plurality of gods would not set her well for acceptance into

the Church of Christ (Temple Lot), the Church of Jesus Christ (Bickertonite)

the Strangites, nor the RLDS/Community of Christ -- even if she acknowledges

Joseph Smith as a fallen prophet (as most of them do).

What course is left open to a believer in the Standard Works, who refuses an

LDS baptism?

UD

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Well then, if she is qualified to be accepted among the LDS, even while rejecting

their gospel, perhaps that is why the leaders of the church send no missionaries

to baptize her. They do not feel that her sins will be a stain upon their garments.

On the other hand, if she is such a prominent advocate of ancient Israelite religion,

perhaps she agrees with the FLDS, that the Mormons have abandoned the true precepts

of President John Taylor.

Her advocacy of a plurality of gods would not set her well for acceptance into

the Church of Christ (Temple Lot), the Church of Jesus Christ (Bickertonite)

the Strangites, nor the RLDS/Community of Christ -- even if she acknowledges

Joseph Smith as a fallen prophet (as most of them do).

What course is left open to a believer in the Standard Works, who refuses an

LDS baptism?

UD

[sarcasm....or maybe she was foreordained not to have the saving ordinances done for her until her entry in the Spirit World, because she would be more effective in helping the church as an outside apologist.]

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acute.gif

No. Denying Christ whilst in his presence is how I have always understood that one. And if one saw the Christ and had the kind of knowledge needed to even qualify as a son of perdition, how does that one play out years past the event if one has not watered the plant and it has withered and died. Can such a one long from the event really even qualify to be a son of perdition? I don't think so.

From what I understand here then Peter should be a son of perdition as he denied Christ 3 times especially after knowing him. More or less you are not a son of perdition until you deny or blaspheme the Holy Ghost. He is your last chance of the telestial kingdom.

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From what I understand here then Peter should be a son of perdition as he denied Christ 3 times especially after knowing him. More or less you are not a son of perdition until you deny or blaspheme the Holy Ghost. He is your last chance of the telestial kingdom.

And doesn't that make so much sense though. I mean, if the Telestial Kingdom is the abode of only the Holy Ghost, in a way, his kingdom. If you absolutely deny Him and cut Him off, you have to go somewhere else besides the Telestial Kingdom.

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And doesn't that make so much sense though. I mean, if the Telestial Kingdom is the abode of only the Holy Ghost, in a way, his kingdom. If you absolutely deny Him and cut Him off, you have to go somewhere else besides the Telestial Kingdom.

This is rather different from what the LDS leaders were saying in the 1850s and the 1860s,

of those Saints who refused to acknowledge Brigham Young as God's Prophet on earth. Having

had the Holy Ghost bestowed upon them at baptism, and having renewed their baptismal

covenant periodically, they should have followed the witness of the continual presence of

the Holy Ghost and submitted to the Lord's Anointed. -- At least that is how things were

explained to me at an early age, in Idaho. (I may have been given faulty doctrine)

UD

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And doesn't that make so much sense though. I mean, if the Telestial Kingdom is the abode of only the Holy Ghost, in a way, his kingdom. If you absolutely deny Him and cut Him off, you have to go somewhere else besides the Telestial Kingdom.

Okay lets look at the scriptures to clarify:

Mark 3: 28,29

28 aVerily I say unto you, All sins shall be forgiven unto the sons of men, and blasphemies bwherewith soever they shall blaspheme:

29 But he that shall ablaspheme against the Holy Ghost hath never bforgiveness, but is in danger of ceternal damnation:

Based on the LDS concept of 3 kingdoms you can deny Christ and Heavenly Father and be forgiven. That does not mean you will inherit the Celestial or Terrestrial Kingdoms, but you can still have eternal life in the Telestial.

D&C 88:22-24

22 For he who is not able to abide the alaw of a celestial kingdom cannot babide a ccelestial glory.

23 And he who cannot abide the law of a aterrestrial kingdom cannot abide a terrestrial glory.

24 And he who cannot abide the law of a atelestial b cannot abide a telestial c; therefore he is not meet for a kingdom of glory. Therefore he must abide a kingdom which is not a kingdom of glory.

http://www.lds.org/l...0004d82620aRCRD

The Telestial Kingdom

The Lord compared telestial glory to that of the stars (see D&C 76:81). Those who shall inherit this kingdom are those who:

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In 2005, non-Mormon biblical scholar Margaret Barker published an article in BYU Studies titled "Joseph Smith and Preexilic Israelite Religion." The article is available online here.

Basically, the article is a Book of Mormon apologetic piece. Barker sees tons of ancient Israelite themes in the Book of Mormon. The article reads like Barker is convinced that the Book of Mormon was a revelation.

But that was five years ago. Has Barker written anything else about Mormonism since then? Or has she perhaps set a baptisimal date?

She presented on Melchizedek traditions in a LDS sponsored session at SBL last year. She prepared a paper called "The Fragrant Tree" for the Tree of Life conference at BYU a few years ago. Publication is forthcoming. She wrote a paper with me called "Seeking the Face of the Lord: Joseph Smith and the First Temple Tradition" for the essay collection Joseph Smith Jr.: Reappraisals after Two Centuries, edited by Reid Neilson and Terryl Givens, from Oxford University Press. She wrote a blurb for the huge commentary on the Book of Moses that came out recently. (The author's name elludes me at the moment.)

She has ongoing contacts with several LDS scholars, but of course, she has ongoing contacts with scholars from many traditions. Her thinking has always been very ecommunical. Personally, I think her work has a wider, better effect where she is. That the Archbishop of Canturbury awared her an honorary doctrate shows to me that her influence is widening. But her influence amongst LDS scholars will continue to increase as time goes by. The fit is just too remarkable and fruitful to neglect or ignore.

Kevin Christensen

Bethel Park, PA

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Okay lets look at the scriptures to clarify:

Mark 3: 28,29

28 aVerily I say unto you, All sins shall be forgiven unto the sons of men, and blasphemies bwherewith soever they shall blaspheme:

29 But he that shall ablaspheme against the Holy Ghost hath never bforgiveness, but is in danger of ceternal damnation:

Based on the LDS concept of 3 kingdoms you can deny Christ and Heavenly Father and be forgiven. That does not mean you will inherit the Celestial or Terrestrial Kingdoms, but you can still have eternal life in the Telestial.

D&C 88:22-24

22 For he who is not able to abide the alaw of a celestial kingdom cannot babide a ccelestial glory.

23 And he who cannot abide the law of a aterrestrial kingdom cannot abide a terrestrial glory.

24 And he who cannot abide the law of a atelestial b cannot abide a telestial c; therefore he is not meet for a kingdom of glory. Therefore he must abide a kingdom which is not a kingdom of glory.

http://www.lds.org/l...0004d82620aRCRD

The Telestial Kingdom

The Lord compared telestial glory to that of the stars (see D&C 76:81). Those who shall inherit this kingdom are those who:

Link to comment

She presented on Melchizedek traditions in a LDS sponsored session at SBL last year. She prepared a paper called "The Fragrant Tree" for the Tree of Life conference at BYU a few years ago. Publication is forthcoming. She wrote a paper with me called "Seeking the Face of the Lord: Joseph Smith and the First Temple Tradition" for the essay collection Joseph Smith Jr.: Reappraisals after Two Centuries, edited by Reid Neilson and Terryl Givens, from Oxford University Press. She wrote a blurb for the huge commentary on the Book of Moses that came out recently. (The author's name elludes me at the moment.)

She has ongoing contacts with several LDS scholars, but of course, she has ongoing contacts with scholars from many traditions. Her thinking has always been very ecommunical. Personally, I think her work has a wider, better effect where she is. That the Archbishop of Canturbury awared her an honorary doctrate shows to me that her influence is widening. But her influence amongst LDS scholars will continue to increase as time goes by. The fit is just too remarkable and fruitful to neglect or ignore.

Kevin Christensen

Bethel Park, PA

Thanks for the info, Kevin. In the article I referenced in my OP, Barker seems to imply that she believes the Book of Mormon is an authentic ancient document, although this may be simply for literary reasons. Have you spoken to her about her opinion of the Book of Mormon?

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Could it be that she is considering joining some other BoM-believing group, than the LDS?

I certainly hope not, since (as far as I know) The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the only denomination in the Latter Day Saint tradition that accepts the ancient biblical themes that she likely finds so convincing (such as the divine council, temple worship, etc.)

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Thanks for the info, Kevin. In the article I referenced in my OP, Barker seems to imply that she believes the Book of Mormon is an authentic ancient document, although this may be simply for literary reasons. Have you spoken to her about her opinion of the Book of Mormon?

I've never pressed her for an opinion. When I got in contact ten years ago, I just offered my essays as they came, and assured her that she was free to disagree publically or privately. Her 2005 talk at the Joseph Smith conference (as published in BYU Studies, with some additions), gives as direct a statement as anyone could want. She five times refers to the Book of Mormon as a "revelation to Joseph Smith" and in each instance, read in context, she means exactly that. At one point, I sent her a draft of my Glimpses of Lehi's Jerusalem essay. After she read that, she decided she needed to read the Book of Mormon, the D&C, and the Pearl of Great Price completely. She managed in one day, and reported, "I was amazed at how much I recognized."

It's not just literary reasons that impress her, and me, for that matter. It's the convergence of themes, time, and place, with 600 BCE Jerusalem as the key. Joseph's revelation and her reconstruction cast light on each other. I think her work is part of the fulfillment of 1 Nephi 13:39-41.

Kevin Christensen

Bethel Park, PA

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I've never pressed her for an opinion. When I got in contact ten years ago, I just offered my essays as they came, and assured her that she was free to disagree publically or privately. Her 2005 talk at the Joseph Smith conference (as published in BYU Studies, with some additions), gives as direct a statement as anyone could want. She five times refers to the Book of Mormon as a "revelation to Joseph Smith" and in each instance, read in context, she means exactly that. At one point, I sent her a draft of my Glimpses of Lehi's Jerusalem essay. After she read that, she decided she needed to read the Book of Mormon, the D&C, and the Pearl of Great Price completely. She managed in one day, and reported, "I was amazed at how much I recognized."

It's not just literary reasons that impress her, and me, for that matter. It's the convergence of themes, time, and place, with 600 BCE Jerusalem as the key. Joseph's revelation and her reconstruction cast light on each other. I think her work is part of the fulfillment of 1 Nephi 13:39-41.

Kevin Christensen

Bethel Park, PA

I have often wondered if the "counter-balance" to the unavoidable presence of "fifth columnists" in the church has been the almost-continuous presence, throughout the history of the church, of a small but influential group of "Gentile" friends. Going back to people like Daniel Wells (who, of course, eventually joined with the Saints) and Thomas Kane, and continuing through the years, there have almost always been a few such people whose stature and respect have served the cause of Zion at very important junctures in time. Thomas Kane, for instance, may have very well been personally responsible for preventing a bloodbath when Johnston's army was gnawing at the bit to administer a "final solution" to the "Mormon Problem" in early 1858.

Granted, Margaret Barker does not play such a pivotal role in our day, but she certainly does her part to provide a Gentile counter-weight to the often mindless and baseless ridicule heaped upon Mormonism by its apostate enemies. I, for one, greatly appreciate her courage in taking the stands she does; knowing that she will come under intense scrutiny and ridicule for so doing.

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Granted, Margaret Barker does not play such a pivotal role in our day, but she certainly does her part to provide a Gentile counter-weight to the often mindless and baseless ridicule heaped upon Mormonism by its apostate enemies. I, for one, greatly appreciate her courage in taking the stands she does; knowing that she will come under intense scrutiny and ridicule for so doing.

Who, if any, of those that know Barker has actually ridiculed her for her acknowledgement of various Mormon themes? I not sure what you mean by her "courage". What courage was needed in whatever Mormon related work/support she was involved with.

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In 2005, non-Mormon biblical scholar Margaret Barker published an article in BYU Studies titled "Joseph Smith and Preexilic Israelite Religion." The article is available online here.

Basically, the article is a Book of Mormon apologetic piece. Barker sees tons of ancient Israelite themes in the Book of Mormon. The article reads like Barker is convinced that the Book of Mormon was a revelation.

But that was five years ago. Has Barker written anything else about Mormonism since then? Or has she perhaps set a baptisimal date?

She also did an excellant piece on jehovah {Jesus} being God of the old testament; it was titled "what did king josihah reform". :P

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Who, if any, of those that know Barker has actually ridiculed her for her acknowledgement of various Mormon themes? I not sure what you mean by her "courage". What courage was needed in whatever Mormon related work/support she was involved with.

Since Mormons probably provide the main audience for her books and the majority of her royalties income, it's probably actually in her best interest to reach out to the LDS community in this manner.

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Since Mormons probably provide the main audience for her books and the majority of her royalties income, it's probably actually in her best interest to reach out to the LDS community in this manner.

Not sure I follow you here. Are you suggesting that her interest in Mormonism is but a way to generate financial gain for remaning an outsider but showing an artificicial interest to merely get paid? I knew that Jan Shipp did that years ago but I guess I just don't know enough about Barker.

I can't imagine that it would be a very lucrative living though!

Is she well respected n her peer group?

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Not sure I follow you here. Are you suggesting that her interest in Mormonism is but a way to generate financial gain for remaning an outsider but showing an artificicial interest to merely get paid? I knew that Jan Shipp did that years ago but I guess I just don't know enough about Barker.

I can't imagine that it would be a very lucrative living though!

Is she well respected n her peer group?

She had "NO IDEA!" that her work any relevance to Mormon studies until I sent her a copy of Paradigms Regained in January 2002. By that time she had published nine books [up to The Revelation of Jesus Christ], many articles in a variety of academic journals and served a term as President of the Society for Old Testament Study. That work established the foundation of all subsequent publications. The Mormon connection has done nothing to change her direction.

More recently, her book Temple Theology was short listed for the Michael Ramsey Prize for the Best Theological Writing of the two year interval under consideration, the first woman to be so honored. Last year, due to her Temple Themes in Christian Worship, she was awarded a Doctrate by the Archbishop of Canturbury.

The idea that she is in it for the money is hilarious. She does what she does because she believes it.

Kevin Christensen

Bethel Park, PA

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