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Spin-off from the Spalding-Rigdon Thread


Uncle Dale

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The current thread on Book of Mormon origins seems pretty much

limited to internal, textual matters -- so I'll post my question

here.

After reading Matt Roper's recent papers, and similar articles

responding to claims for multiple 19th century authorship (Spalding,

Rigdon, etc.) for the Book -- how comfortable are you with this

historical conclusion:

Solomon Spalding only ever wrote one piece of manuscript fiction,

and it was not composed in old fashioned (Elizabethan/KJV) English.

1. Totally agree ( )

2. Not convinced one way of the other ( )

3. Totally disagree ( )

I won't set up a section for votes -- but am interested to hear

what your views are and what evidence supports those views.

After all, if Mr. Spalding only ever wrote one story -- and that

story has been examined, and is NOT in old-style English, similar to

the language of the Book of Mormon, then this old controversy is over.

Uncle Dale

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Dale, I think the non-response indicates something in their minds. :P

I try my best not to pre-judge others' intentions.

My question to the (mostly) Mormons here, is something akin to

asking Roman Catholics whether or not they accept that the

circumcised flesh of Jesus has been preserved as a relic in

a European church. No matter how the question is answered,

the standards of "authority" will be undermined.

Most folks have no interest in possibly undermining the tenets

of their religion. It's much easier to set up some statement

or set of conclusions as a standard of "authority," and have

everybody abide by that consensus agreement.

UD

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It's much easier to set up some statement

or set of conclusions as a standard of "authority," and have

everybody abide by that consensus agreement.

UD

Yep. It is purely a matter of faith. Asking questions about S/R is close to sacrilege. Even though I understand the "good stuff" in the BoM better for having studied S/R and all the possibilities that go with it.

Just a side-thought. BF Roberts got no response, either.

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The current thread on Book of Mormon origins seems pretty much

limited to internal, textual matters -- so I'll post my question

here.

After reading Matt Roper's recent papers, and similar articles

responding to claims for multiple 19th century authorship (Spalding,

Rigdon, etc.) for the Book -- how comfortable are you with this

historical conclusion:

Solomon Spalding only ever wrote one piece of manuscript fiction,

and it was not composed in old fashioned (Elizabethan/KJV) English.

1. Totally agree ( )

2. Not convinced one way of the other ( )

3. Totally disagree ( )

I won't set up a section for votes -- but am interested to hear

what your views are and what evidence supports those views.

After all, if Mr. Spalding only ever wrote one story -- and that

story has been examined, and is NOT in old-style English, similar to

the language of the Book of Mormon, then this old controversy is over.

Uncle Dale

I pick number 2. I don;t have any evidence for this either. All I can do is look at what other present and see if it makes sence.

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I try my best not to pre-judge others' intentions.

My question to the (mostly) Mormons here, is something akin to

asking Roman Catholics whether or not they accept that the

circumcised flesh of Jesus has been preserved as a relic in

a European church. No matter how the question is answered,

the standards of "authority" will be undermined.

Most folks have no interest in possibly undermining the tenets

of their religion. It's much easier to set up some statement

or set of conclusions as a standard of "authority," and have

everybody abide by that consensus agreement.

UD

I'll bite and show myself to be a dummie. I yam wat I yam.

I for one do not understand the question apparently or its implications.

If he wrote only one ms and it was not in KJ English, I would imagine that you are saying that if he had co-operated in or written the BOM outright, then it would be impossible to show that by word print analysis since the style is so different, so yes, the Spalding hypothesis would be forever unprovable. That is my interpretation of your first post.

But then the second post seems to indicate some type of totally different "trap" hidden somewhere- I am not getting this at all.

If you phrased the question for us dummies, or explained yourself better, perhaps you would get a better response.

But that's just me.

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...

But then the second post seems to indicate some type of totally different

"trap" hidden somewhere- I am not getting this at all.

...

Several old churches in Europe (including one in Vatican City) claim to possess

the foreskin of Jesus, preserved as a sacred relic. To admit that such a thing

truly exists opens up the religious believer to the possibility that one or

more of those relics is NOT what the church claims it to be.

There is a similar "tar-baby" lurking behind honest, rational discussions of

the evidence for there having been several different fictional stories composed

by Solomon Spalding.

In both cases, it is probably easier for supporters of the traditional view

of religious matters (such as Mormon origins) to slip quickly and quietly past

such detailed questions and not bother to give a response (as Mary noticed).

However, for those folks to cite Matt Roper as having decided the question,

once and for all, there will be similar tar-baby traps lying in wait.

Best advice -- cite Roper's general conclusions without getting into

the knotty problems of historical evidence...

UD

.

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Best advice -- cite Roper's general conclusions without getting into

the knotty problems of historical evidence...

UD

.

This sounds like an asserstion. Can you back it up and go into more detail?

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I pick number 2....

Which, of course, is exactly what cunning sorts

(like Dale Broadhurst) are hoping for -- so that

the controversy pot can be kept boiling, on and on.

Can you back it up and go into more detail?

Maybe so -- I'm looking for Noel's input here before I

dig into any pesky details.

UD

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Dale, I do not think that Matt Roper's paper put the final nail in the coffin of the Spaulding/Book of Mormon theory. I am voting though for number two although I will admit a strong bias towards the argument that Spaulding only wrote the one story and that is the one held by Oberlin College. There would have to be some better evidence put forward for that second evidence than currently is in view. But I feel that it is the problem for such a second manuscript theorist to produce such evidence.

Glenn

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How many stories did he write?

Several -- according to the very early testimony of

people who knew the guy. But as to their subject matter,

there is no substantial proof.

One interesting assertion is that Spalding wrote a children's

story, called "The Frogs of Wyndham." The folklore exists in

a few different formats, some of the earliest examples of

which are poems published in newspapers. Most of these have

the title "Frogs of Windham," but a few use the "Wyndham"

spelling.

Perhaps we should pester Jockers and Criddle to test the

"word-print" on some of these earliest frogs stories, to

see if any match up with Spalding's other known writings.

Then again, folks who argue against Jockers' computerized

authorship attributions in the Book of Mormon would probably

find some reason to throw out the "Frogs of Wyndham" as well.

UD

.

.

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How many stories did he write?

We have reports of three. One is a children's story, written for young Matilda.
Several old churches in Europe (including one in Vatican City) claim to possess

the foreskin of Jesus, preserved as a sacred relic. To admit that such a thing

truly exists opens up the religious believer to the possibility that one or

more of those relics is NOT what the church claims it to be.

That kind of thing is what William of Ockham got into trouble for. Today's heretic can be tomorrow's saint. But now he is honored for developing a methodology for telling the difference between miracles and non-miracles. It is a rigorous process.

St. Joan of Arc is my patron saint. :P

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??????

Reports????

Well LA DEE DAH!!!

How many manuscripts do we ACTUALLY have?

(reports of Martians landing must be taken seriously from now on!!)

If we exclude the Library of Congress' Solomon Spalding manuscript,

we are left with one fictional story holograph preserved at Oberlin

College -- which shows evidence of being fragments of two separate

drafts bundled together.

Besides that, there is an additional 3-page Spalding holograph at

Oberlin and one short fragment. The New York Public Library has

a Spalding holograph, as does Dartmouth College -- another is

preserved in a Connecticut historical society library.

Obviously the guy composed more than a single piece of writing

during his lifetime. The more important question is whether or

not he wrote more than a single piece of fiction.

UD

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...

But I feel that it is the problem for such a second manuscript theorist to produce such evidence.

...

A reasonable deduction, for sure.

In November of 1834 the Ohio newspaperman, E. D. Howe, first asserted

that Solomon Spalding had written a work of fiction OTHER than the

story now on file at Oberlin College -- and that this OTHER piece

of fiction greatly resembled the Book of Mormon.

It was Howe's responsibility to provide some definite evidence that

would back up his assertions, but he appears to have lost interest

in his own investigative journalism, and failed to publish even the

most elementary documentation for his multi-manuscript allegations.

One piece of evidence that Mr. Howe might have published would have

been clear, informative statements from knowledgeable people, as to

exactly what, when and where Spalding had written historical fiction.

We know that such documentation was available to Howe, because many

years after his 1834 book was printed, a personal letter pre-dating

the book by almost a year was discovered, and that letter contained

additional information about the multi-manuscript claims.

Matt Roper has reviewed all of this in his two recent papers on the

subject. He is one of the most informed LDS writers in this regard.

He comes to the conclusion that Solomon Spalding only ever wrote

one fictional story about the ancient Americans -- but he also holds

open the probability that Spalding's story was re-written at least

one time prior to his death in 1816.

To sum up --- had Solomon Spalding only ever written one such story,

then claims that he composed fiction in the old-fashioned "biblical"

English are false; because the one surviving Spalding story only

contains a few brief passages in that archaic English. That particular

story does not even contain 10% as much "KJV English" as does the

later Book of Mormon.

If there is one weak spot in Roper's reasoning on the topic, my thoughts

are that it centers around this "one manuscript theory." However, I'm

interested in hearing other people's conclusions on this matter.

UD

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There are so many variables in this that I am convinced it will be impossible to prove that Spalding wrote it.

Whatever evidence there is would be very easily falsifiable by a BOM "zealot" with some understanding of the process.

The issue is totally dead imo. It's over. Done. End of story, Period.

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

To sum up --- had Solomon Spalding only ever written one such story,

then claims that he composed fiction in the old-fashioned "biblical"

English are false; because the one surviving Spalding story only

contains a few brief passages in that archaic English. That particular

story does not even contain 10% as much "KJV English" as does the

later Book of Mormon.

If there is one weak spot in Roper's reasoning on the topic, my thoughts

are that it centers around this "one manuscript theory." However, I'm

interested in hearing other people's conclusions on this matter.

UD

I would be very interested in any evidence that might be found, especially if it dates back to the time frame during which Solomon would have been doing the writing. As you have noted in other threads, this theory will probably never die. But what the heck, if we kill all of those conspiracy theories, the only thing left to talk about would be polygamy. :P

Glenn

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I would be very interested in any evidence that might be found, especially if it dates back to the time frame during which Solomon would have been doing the writing. As you have noted in other threads, this theory will probably never die. But what the heck, if we kill all of those conspiracy theories, the only thing left to talk about would be polygamy. :P

Glenn

It gives us all a reason to go back, time after time, and actually

read the Book of Mormon -- comparing one section of the text against

another. Probably some people are thus induced to study the volume

who would otherwise never bother to open its covers.

The most basic question to be asked of the text, is: "Who wrote it?"

If it was written by a single author, then that would be an important

discovery. If it was written by more than one author, then at least

some of the claims the book makes about itself must be true.

My view is that parts of the book do indeed greatly resemble the

writings of Solomon Spalding -- but I have only controversial evidence

to present for that conclusion. While I believe that the writings of

Spalding which greatly resembled the book's story are probably forever

lost, there are many other aspects of authorship theories which can be

investigated, even without our having external writings which duplicate

parts of the BoM text.

Spalding-Rigdon advocates may be able to demonstrate that Spalding wrote

more than one piece of historical fiction -- but without the actual

manuscript claimed for that conclusion it cannot yet be called a fact.

Facts are facts -- opinions are opinions; whether they come from Provo

apologists or Hawaii critics. It's good to keep that in mind, I think.

UD

.

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We have evidence for another, . . . .

Evidence like second and third hand accounts written many years after the "fact"?

Evidence like that?

. . . which appears to have been destroyed by early LDS zealots (you know, destruction of evidence of a fraud, and all). :P

Well, of course!!! Blame your weak and/or non-existent foundation on those that don't buy your argument.

That might go a long way, . . . . some where else, but not here.

(Reports of Martians landing must be taken seriously from now on!!)

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There are so many variables in this that I am convinced it will be impossible to prove that Spalding wrote it.

Whatever evidence there is would be very easily falsifiable by a BOM "zealot" with some understanding of the process.

The issue is totally dead imo. It's over. Done. End of story, Period.

Oh,

:P

come

;)

on.

:crazy:

You're

:fool:

just

:)

a

:crazy:

party

:beatdeadhorse:

pooper!!!!

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The issue is totally dead imo. It's over. Done. End of story, Period.

When all this word-print studying is done and everyone concludes that Solomon Spalding never wrote anything in the Book of Mormon, I hope some smart guys with their thinkin' machines will calculate the odds of a bunch of people claiming that the Book of Mormon sounds like SS writing and then a whole slew (like hundreds) of SS-used words and word combinations turning up (cheifly) in the Book of Alma. The coincidence is staggering.

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...

The coincidence is staggering.

Faithful Mormons may be excused from NOT seeing things that way.

As for our friends on the web, they can read the Maxwell Institute

publications and tell themselves that the problem is solved.

None of which will halt the impact of 19th century authorship

claims upon potential LDS converts (and upon recent converts who

are drifting toward inactivity).

Pronouncing these 19th century authorship claims "dead" may help

internet Mormons feel more assured in their beliefs -- but they

are NOT the ones who most need that reassurance.

In the case of wavering investigators and wavering new converts,

the Provo-printed stuff may be of some use --- but it would be

even better if it offered solid, reliable evidence.

In the case of Mr. Spalding's manuscripts, the Maxwell Institute

papers have not done a very good job, and will not serve the

purpose of supplying solid, reliable facts.

Sorry about that.

UD

.

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