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Is the Book of Mormon Homogeneous?


Uncle Dale

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My argument has been that word-frequency-based authorship attribution of cross-genre texts is doomed almost from the outset by the fact that "non-contextual words" turn out to be mostly mythical beasts. Your chart would seem to confirm that.

You might also be interested in my response to Dale's ruminations, here.

Chris,

I do agree that non-contextual words are not as non-contextual as we wish they were. This certainly makes authorship attribution harder.

I couldn't get your link to your ruminations to work. I'm interested in what you have to say.

Bruce

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...

We are getting some idea of what the first principal component is saying in terms of the

Book of Mormon chapters. How is that comparing

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If you knew me better, you would not call me or my statements

"dishonest." Question several dozens of experienced judges of

character among the Reorganized Saints -- who have known me

personally for decades -- and you'll get a more positive

assessment of my reputation for telling lies (or not).

I apologize. I thought that you had shaded in the chapters that Jockers and Criddle had attributed to Spalding. I completely reject their attributions. I felt that it was wrong to somehow imply that my graphic in any way supported the attributions of Jockers and Criddle.

I think you said once that you had read my 1980 and 1982 papers on this

subject -- so you know my conclusions on overlap of vocabulary

and phraseology in advance of your presenting your statements.

I don't remember saying that I had read your 1980 and 1982 papers. In any case I haven't. What do your underlinings and highlightings mean?

Bruce

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I apologize. I thought that you had shaded in the chapters that Jockers and Criddle had attributed to Spalding. I completely reject their attributions. I felt that it was wrong to somehow imply that my graphic in any way supported the attributions of Jockers and Criddle.

I don't remember saying that I had read your 1980 and 1982 papers. In any case I haven't. What do your underlinings and highlightings mean?

Bruce

Sorry -- I'm getting on in years and the neuropathy affects

memory something terrible nowadays.

A few years back I compared every page of the 1830 BoM to

every page of the Oberlin MS -- every word -- every word-string

of three or more words that seemed at all possibly significant.

The brown words in my rendition of the 1830 BoM are also

Spalding's. The underlined word-strings occur in both texts,

though sometimes in fragments separated by non-shared words.

The yellow highlighting represents a lengthy set of "tabulated"

word-strings, subjectively chosen by myself -- but seemingly

more contextual than random phrases such as "and then it" or

"so he was."

There is a way to quantitatively assign values to BoM pages

and chapters, so that we can determine which pages are most

like Spalding's writings by applying various criteria.

To a statistician it might seem as meaningless as asking

which dwarfs among a population of dwarfs most resemble

the giant Goliath ---- but, I'm merely pointing out my work.

I frequently differ from Jockers. We disagree on about 20%

of his primary Spalding attributions (such as in Jacob and

Ether) and on about half of his secondary attributions.

I'll be away from the computer until Monday.

Dale

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I couldn't get your link to your ruminations to work. I'm interested in what you have to say.

Sorry about that. For some reason the MADB board software blocks links with the word "discussions" in the title. Try cutting and pasting the link below into your browser, with the spaces removed.

http://mormon discussions .com/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?p=363261#p363261

In addition to what I wrote there, I also observed in an earlier thread that the tabulated PCA chart shows Mosiah chapters (as well as chapters from certain other books) along the full length of the Book of Mormon cloud. If you are correct in your previously-expressed view that the large size of the cloud is due to multiple authorship, then we'd need to posit multiple authorship within individual books such as Mosiah, as well. (Personally, I doubt that your inference is correct. But if, as you claim, you can now show separation effects within the Book of Mormon cloud that are not due to exogenous variables such as genre or dictation-sequence, then that would be a more persuasive argument for multiple authorship.)

Peace,

-Chris

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...In the present case, the second principal component confirms what Hilton (and also Larsen and Rencher) found 20-30 years ago. After taking genre into account, there are still consistent patterns in the Book of Mormon. For example, Nephi

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Dr. Matt Jockers, Stanford University

Seminar: Computation, Machine Learning, and Literary Analysis

December 6th, 2010

http://www.cs.montana.edu/event/seminar/seminar-textual-clustering

"He offers a brief overview of his prior work using the Nearest Shrunken Centroid [2] classification algorithm in authorship attribution and then presents new work analyzing linguistic style at the level of text, author, genre, gender, and historical time period. "

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..."He offers a brief overview of his prior work using the

Nearest Shrunken Centroid classification algorithm in

authorship attribution..."

If, as some internet LDS reporters allege, Jockers' reporting

was "Rigged for Rigdon," then we can only wonder why the

scientific/academic/professional sector takes him seriously.

Then again, they take Copernicus, Newton and Darwin seriously.

UD

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What I am looking at, is Alma 48-53 in my own marked-up copy,

in Jockers' attributions, in my expansion of your pca chart,

and now, in this latest chart. Notice how Alma 51 deviates

somewhat from the rest of the chapters in that sequence, in

your latest depiction.

BruceReply5.gif

...

I'll add three more graphics, in explanation of why I was so

overjoyed to see the chapters' spatial relationships inside

the BoM "cloud" on the pc1/pc2 chart.

I simply refuse to believe that the various BoM chapters we

see grouped with the Alma 46-47-48-49-50-51-52-53 cluster

are there ONLY as an artifact of Jockers' authorship

attributions via NSC classification, etc.

My contention is that those other chapters plotting very

close to the Alma 46-53 cluster (at the bottom of the pca chart)

are there, because they truly do bear a significant textual

resemblance to Alma 46-53 (and therefore to Spalding's writings)

BruceReply6a.gif

BruceReply6b.gif

BruceReply6c.gif

UD

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...

My contention is that those other chapters plotting very

close to the Alma 46-53 cluster (at the bottom of the pca chart)

are there, because they truly do bear a significant textual

resemblance to Alma 46-53 (and therefore to Spalding's writings)

...

I should here emphasize the fact that years ago I discerned

the most "Spaldingish" chapters in the Book of Mormon, based

upon vocabulary, phraseology, story theme, plot development,

military technology, combat movements, creation of mounds

to bury warriors killed in battle, elevation of courageous/pious

warriors souls to heaven, etc.

The parts of the Book of Mormon that I so identified (before

Matt Jockers ever even read the volume) correspond almost

exactly to the Book of Mormon chapters spatially grouped in

close proximity to Alma 46-53, on my colored-in enlargement

of Bruce's "BoM cloud" in the pc1/pc2 chart.

In those few instances where I did not predict such inter-textual

resemblance, I'm re-examining the chapters to see what I might

have missed in my previous studies ---- all the dots are marked

red for "Spalding," but a few of them were previously on my

"lower degree of correlation" list, and not identified as being

especially similar to Alma 46-53.

Uncle Dale

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...

The parts of the Book of Mormon that I so identified (before

Matt Jockers ever even read the volume) correspond almost

exactly to the Book of Mormon chapters spatially grouped in

close proximity to Alma 46-53, on my colored-in enlargement

of Bruce's "BoM cloud" in the pc1/pc2 chart.

...

An e-mail correspondent who is following this thread asks me:

"why don't you show your Alma 48-53 [sic - 46-53] grouping

as the points appear on his [bruce's] last [pc1] chart?"

In order to do that, we must first of all identify the

Book of Mormon chapters clustered at the bottom of the

oft-mentioned "cloud" in the pc1/pc2 chart:

Enumerating the red dots clustered on my excerpt from

the bottom of the "Book of Mormon cloud" on the pc1/pc2

chart (between +1.0 and +2.0 x-axis value and between

-0.5 and -1.20 y axis value), we have these chapters:

1.1637 -0.5030 U112 (Al17) - neighbor text

1.7898 -0.5091 U205 (4N01) - neighbor text

1.4302 -0.5217 U178 (3N04) - neighbor text

1.6936 -0.5368 U142 (Al47) - primary cluster: text2

1.7456 -0.5837 U162 (He04) - neighbor text

1.4450 -0.5992 U207 (Bm02) - neighbor text

1.1633 -0.5998 U141 (Al46) - primary cluster: text1

1.8516 -0.6012 U180 (3N06) - neighbor text

1.0398 -0.6103 U096 (Al01) - neighbor text

1.6854 -0.6301 U087 (Mo21) - neighbor text

1.6695 -0.6357 U181 (3N07) - neighbor text

1.4268 -0.6415 U228 (Et14) - neighbor text

1.7799 -0.6583 U224 (Et10) - neighbor text

1.0795 -0.6778 U182 (3N08) - neighbor text

1.7078 -0.6964 U111 (Al16) - neighbor text

1.5488 -0.7230 U147 (Al52) - primary cluster: text7

1.6856 -0.7398 U164 (He06) - neighbor text

1.5819 -0.7708 U159 (He01) - neighbor text

1.9288 -0.7791 U157 (Al62) - neighbor text

1.8230 -0.7796 U091 (Mo25) - neighbor text

1.5923 -0.8436 U161 (He03) - neighbor text

1.1655 -0.8518 U152 (Al57) - neighbor text

1.3353 -0.8729 U145 (Al50) - primary cluster: text5

1.5016 -0.8831 U075 (Mo09) - neighbor text

1.1737 -0.8925 U143 (Al48) - primary cluster: text3

1.5089 -0.8925 U138 (Al43) - neighbor text

1.4270 -0.9055 U099 (Al04) - neighbor text

1.3127 -0.9107 U097 (Al02) - neighbor text

1.7722 -0.9313 U146 (Al51) - primary cluster: text6

1.3244 -0.9631 U144 (Al49) - primary cluster: text4

1.9450 -1.0056 U154 (Al59) - neighbor text

1.2642 -1.1047 U148 (Al53) - primary cluster: text8

See also "Tabular data" link I posted on this thread's page #1:

http://sidneyrigdon.com/criddle/BS/Whole1a.txt

Now, returning to the pc1 chart previously posted in this

thread, I have made another excerpt, highlighting the

respective chapters, left to right, as:

U075 (Mo09)

U087 (Mo21)

U091 (Mo25)

U096 (Al01)

U097 (Al02)

U099 (Al04)

U111 (Al16)

U112 (Al17)

U138 (Al43)

U141 (Al46)

U142 (Al47)

U143 (Al48)

U144 (Al49)

U145 (Al50)

U146 (Al51)

U147 (Al52)

U148 (Al53)

U152 (Al57)

U154 (Al59)

U157 (Al62)

U159 (He01)

U161 (He03)

U162 (He04)

U164 (He06)

U178 (3N04)

U180 (3N06)

U181 (3N07)

U182 (3N08)

U205 (4N01)

U207 (Bm02)

U224 (Et10)

U228 (Et14)

see "Spalding Zone" here:

BruceReply6e.gif

UD

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...

The parts of the Book of Mormon that I so identified (before

Matt Jockers ever even read the volume) correspond almost

exactly to the Book of Mormon chapters spatially grouped in

close proximity to Alma 46-53, on my colored-in enlargement

of Bruce's "BoM cloud" in the pc1/pc2 chart.

...

I was able to procure some K-means charting of the Jockers

BoM authorship attribution data, in order to determine whether

my identified 32 BoM chapters, (plotted at the bottom of the

pc1/pc2 chart's "Book of Mormon cloud"), fell into the same

cluster, by that analytical method.

Of the 32 "Spaldingish" chapters, 31 of them fall into the

"CLUSTER #2" on that chart (differentiated by K-means analysis).

I take that as an indication that at least those 31 chapters have

something in common, when it comes to "non-contextual words."

BruceReply6f.gif

However, Bruce may want to re-run the K-means procedure,

without the 19th century authors, and with his narrowed-down

selection of non-contextual words --- to see if those 31 or 32

BoM chapters I've been talking about, still lump together,

without Rigdon, Cowdery, Spalding, etc. "spoiling the soup."

Once that is done, I suppose that some dendrite cluster analysis

would be in order, to determine how closely related my list

of 32 BoM chapters might be in a "relationship tree" chart.

UD

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...

Once that is done, I suppose that some dendrite cluster analysis

would be in order, to determine how closely related my list

of 32 BoM chapters might be in a "relationship tree" chart.

...

I have some examples of such "similarities trees," but they were

constructed from a data mass including the 19th century authors.

We shall see what other results might be obtained by that method...

Otherwise -->

You all will recall that we are currently examining 32 BoM chapters

that I discovered clumped together at the bottom the the "BoM cloud"

in the much talked about about pc1/pc2 chart, posted here previously.

Those chapters are:

Mo09, Mo21, Mo25

Al01, Al02, Al04, Al16, Al17,

Al43, Al46, Al47, Al48, Al49,

Al50, Al51, Al52, Al53, Al57,

Al59, Al62,

He01, He03, He04, He06,

3N04, 3N06, 3N07, 3N08,

4N01, Bm02, Et10, Et14

"Why," I hear folks asking, "is Dale so excited about those

particular chapters? They only constitute 13% of the Nephite

Record -- and most of those chapters say nothing about the

fulness of the gospel and the need for a restoration!"

True -- I'm only looking at 32 chapters right now. But my

question remains the same as before --> "Are these the parts

of the Book of Mormon most reminiscent of Spalding's writings;

and did the Spalding authorship claims of 1832 originate out

of an inspection of these parts of the Book of Mormon.?"

Let's look back to see what Vernal Holley once listed, as

indicators of a BoM passage resembling Spalding's writings:

http://www.solomonspalding.com/docs2/vernP2.htm#pg28

1. "die... in the cause of their country and their God" (MS 79)

Q. "Is it found within the 32 chapters? A. Yes: (in Alma 56)

"died in the cause of their country and their God"

2. "the rights of their country" (MS 31)

Q. "Is it found within the 32 chapters? A. Yes: (in 3N 6)

"the rights of their country"

3. "Crying with a loud voice" (MS 80)

Q. "Is it found within the 32 chapters? A. Yes: (in Alma 46)

"Crying with a loud voice"

4. "Determined to conquer or die" (MS 90)

Q. "Is it found within the 32 chapters? A. Yes: (in Alma 56)

"Determined to conquer... or die"

5. "had fallen by the sword" (MS 111)

Q. "Is it found within the 32 chapters? A. Yes: (in Alma 56)

"had fallen by the sword"

6. "an immense slaughter" (MS 101)

Q. "Is it found within the 32 chapters? A. Yes: (in Alma 50)

"an immense slaughter"

7. "narrow passage which led to the (city)"

Q. "Is it found within the 32 chapters? A. Yes: (in Mormon 2)

"narrow passage which led to the (land)"

etc. etc. etc.

Some might object that I have cherry-picked a handful of Vern's

examples, merely to shore up my own mistaken conclusions. But that

argument can be countered simply by comparing the BoM chapter

locations of hundreds of similarly cited shared phrases, with my

list of the 32 clustered, "Spaldingish" chapters.

Look here:

http://solomonspalding.com/SRP/SCIOTA/Tabulatn.htm#part3

and here:

http://solomonspalding.com/SRP/MEDIA/BookSol5.htm#pagetop

and here:

http://solomonspalding.com/SRP/MEDIA/BookSol5.htm#1nep

By far, the vast majority of identified word-strings shared by

Spalding and the Book of Mormon, are found in Mosiah, Alma and

Ether --- and, more importantly, in the parts of those three

books comprised by my selection of 32 "Spaldingish" chapters.

Lastly -- go to the Book of Mormon yourself, to any page among

those found in the 32 chapters I keep talking about. On that

page, count up the number of words that are also found in Mr.

Spalding's writings, and express your count as a percentage.

Which pages in the Book of Mormon have the highest such percentages

(over 88%, to rise above the BoM average -- but over 92%, in order

to stand out from the rest)? The highest percentages of vocabulary

shared by the Book of Mormon and Spalding will inevitably be found

in the 32 chapters I've listed.

Those 32 chapters have SOMETHING in common -- or else we would not

see them clumping together in chart after chart.

Those 32 chapters have SOMETHING in common -- and that "something"

is a relatively high overlap with Mr. Spalding's use of language.

Uncle Dale

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Those 32 chapters have SOMETHING in common -- or else we would not

see them clumping together in chart after chart.

Those 32 chapters have SOMETHING in common -- and that "something"

is a relatively high overlap with Mr. Spalding's use of language.

Uncle Dale

Whoa partner,

First of all, I thought the topic of this thread was the internal structure of the Book of Mormon (

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Whoa partner,

First of all, I thought the topic of this thread was the internal structure

of the Book of Mormon (

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...

That is why I spoke of a dendritic relationship diagram. In such a "tree"

the 32 chapters would almost certainly be broken into sub-groups. In that

event, do Alma 46-53 remain close together? Is their content uniform

enough and unique enough for their preservation as related texts?

...

If I can recall Bruce's previously-available on-line paper's contents,

he has produced such "trees."

If not, my $600 also bought a data tabulation for "cluster analysis."

However, I do not know how to produce a high resolution chart from

the table -- it requires a different program than MS Excel, it seems.

I'll provide some partial graphics from that cluster data table below,

(and can share the full cluster data table, if anybody is interested).

Can anybody help me out?

ClusterAn1.gif . 32Chaps2.gif

UD

.

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Dale,

I am going to recommend a book to you. I finished it a while back. I think that you should take a look at it if you get the chance:

Attributing Authorship: An Introduction by Harold Love (2002)

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=attributing+authorship&x=0&y=0

Its a bit pricey, but, if you can dig up a library copy, I think that it would be well worth your time to read it.

Ben M.

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...

if you can dig up a library copy...

I knew that I should have saved back fifty bucks from

the cash I handed over to the helpful statistician --

Oh well, just three more Soc.Sec. checks, and I can

buy a copy via ABE Books.

I had some coursework in seminary, on deconstructing

Hebrew text -- mostly in light of the J-E-D-P model

for Pentateuch formation; but there were many good

pointers given on how to discern a complex text.

My worry is that the Alma 46-53 sequence may be such

a complex text. Some will say Mormon's redaction of Helaman;

and some others might say Pratt's redaction of Spalding

(or, even Spalding's re-write of his buddy Ethan Smith).

But, just off the top of your head, can you recall what

criteria the author(s) of that book recommend for making

such a determination, in the case of our "Record of Helaman?"

Cheers,

UD

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Dale,

I am trying to introduce this book to you because it provides a well rounded (in my assessment) approach to questions of authorship including issues dealing with composite texts (with multiple authors). In this case, it also deals more specifically with comparisons between earlier approaches and more recent computer assisted approaches.

As a secondary issue, it also deals more specifically with your kind of approach to parallels. The list of parallels was widely used and embraced in the 19th century. It was all but abandoned by the end of the first decade of the 20th century. In dealing with the particular issue you mention, Love generally begins with a well known essay written in 1932 by Muriel St Clare Byrne titled

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...

you need to actually take a look at the body of scholarship which discusses what you are trying to do. Because what you are doing has been rejected as a process for a century now. To use parallels in the way you do is misleading - whether you intend for it to be misleading or not. From my perspective, you simply do not understand what your data says.

Ben M.

Thank you for your contribution. Almost everything you say is thoughtful

and of use, in one way or another.

Folks have asked me why I have not published my findings to date; and

the answer is simple -- they are not conclusive and might might prove

misleading to people who have examined the texts even less than I have.

But I think that nearly every question concerning authorship at least

begins with a consideration of parallels. Years ago my friends and I

came across a paperback book titled "Tarzan and the Silver Globe."

Our first question, asked among ourselves, was "Did Edgar Rice Burroughs

write the book?" And, once we decided he probably hadn't written the

entire story, the next question was "Did Burroughs write part of the book?"

Eventually some information came out about the actual author -- who had

effectively plagiarized Mr. Burroughs' subject matter and writing style,

but with the insertion of a considerable amount of narrative that we all

agreed was "unBurroughslike." Thus, it was the non-parallels that helped

us agree among ourselves as to the questioned authorship.

Our teenage inquiry was rude and primitive -- and I'm sure that the

Stanford team would laugh at how we kids went about examining that fake

Tarzan story. But, at least we raised the question.

I have raised the question of whether or not Alma 46-53 is a uniform

text. Is it homogeneous enough to "word-print?" Or, is it homogeneous

at the same level that the Book of Mormon is itself a unity?

We already know that the book is not a uniform production, because it

incorporates undigested Isaiah and Malachi fragments, as well as some

verbiage from Matthew, etc. If the Book of Mormon is not homogeneous,

then is there a chance that we could productively study, first of all,

Alma 46-53 --- and then, the 32 chapters I have crudely identified as

possibly sharing similarities with that initial block?

A simple question -- and one which sets parallels aside and asks for

exactly the modern sort of analysis you are now advocating.

Tell us where to begin -- please.

UD

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Hi Ben:

But, what you haven't done is to produce examples of something that is uniquely Spaldingish (rule 5).

Actually Vernal Holley already did that and it falls in the same Alma cluster that interests Dale. Holley noted at least one set of parallels between the Oberlin Manuscript and Alma 43-44 in which at least eleven parallels (probably more if we were to take a closer look) occur in sequential order.

http://solomonspalding.com/docs2/vernP1.htm#pg21

Spalding describes how 1. a smaller force (2. about half the size in both cases) 3. ambushes a larger force by 4. dividing the army, 5. concealing themselves behind a hill 6. near a river, 7. attacks the larger force in the river/canal causing 8. terror in the larger force who eventually 9. lay down their arms causing the leader of the smaller victorious force in Alma to say 10. "We do not desire to be men of blood... we do not desire to slay you" and in the OM: "Lobaska 'conjured the Sciotans not to shed one drop of blood'". In both of these stories the victors won the day 11. "By using a little stratagem." (OM) "by strategem" (BOM).

Like Holley, I find these parallels striking on their own merit. Before computers came along, Dale pointed out the vocabulary overlap that you now characterize as "misleading." But we have here a convergence of evidence for a story that is also (independently) attributed to Spalding by Jockers method and now also clusters with other Spalding attributed BOM chapters on Bruce's PCA chart, all of which support the original assertions of the witnesses who, in 1833, started this Spalding ball rolling.

The bottom line is that it's not just one phenomenon bringing us to the same conclusion.

1. We have assertions (by credible witnesses) made in 1833 that the BOM borrows material from a manuscript written by Solomon Spalding.

2. Before computers could be used for testing, Holley and Broadhurst meticulously note vocabulary overlap and storyline parallels between Alma and Spalding.

3. Recently, Jockers identifies certain key BOM chapters (including Alma 43-44) with Spalding using NCS.

4. Bruce's PCA chart now shows those same sections clustering with the chapters Dale predicted three decades ago.

Coincidence?

All the best.

Roger

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Dale writes:

Tell us where to begin -- please.
I think that there is a lot of places you could begin - but this is what I would suggest.

Earlier you provided Bruce with your page of text marked up. We had that long discussion many months ago, where I showed you that there was nothing particularly special about that demonstration. All of the coloring, and the underlining and so on, could happen if we used texts other than Spalding's. Do you remember that discussion? The problem there is quite simply that most of the language you identified as Spalding language can be found in other contemporary texts. I would start by taking your list of phrases and using two or three (to start) contemporary books with similar content begin to exclude phrases as being environmental and not particularly noteworthy examples of Spalding's language. In other words, focus on creating a profile for Spalding that is really a profile for Spalding instead of being similar enough to any other writer contemporary to him to cause confusion. I think this would be a great place to start - and using electronic text databases (even books.google.com works well - particularly since you can limit the range of publication date easily in a search) you should be able to create a negative check without spending months and months at it. Then, we can look at the much narrower - but specifically more Spalding-like data set for comparison.

There are other options you could take - but your goal has to be to produce some way of grading your parallels - excluding those that are of no significant value - so that what is left can be discussed in a more meaningful fashion.

Ben M.

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...

There are other options you could take - but your goal has to be to produce some way of grading your parallels - excluding those that are of no significant value - so that what is left can be discussed in a more meaningful fashion.

Ben M.

So then, we have come full circle, to what my priesthood superiors

told me thirty years ago: "There is nothing here to explain."

I asked them two simple questions: #1. "Was Joseph a polygamist," and

#2. "Was there something in the Book of Mormon that made early witnesses

assert it was not written by Nephites?"

In both cases, I was told that there was "nothing to explain." Of course,

Joseph Smith was never a polygamist, and so the RLDS Church was indeed

the one true church. And the early claims against the Book of Mormon were

created by a certain D. P. Hurlbut, who made the whole thing up and found

liars who would sign false statements, to back up his absurd fabrications.

And do you know what, Ben? -- For years those priestly answers were

good enough for me. They made perfect sense. I felt better about paying

my tithing and donating countless hours to church work.

Then I met Vernal Holley, and you know all that followed.

What if my leaders had responded this way: "Yes, Dale, Joseph instituted

some secret practices at Nauvoo. Emma and the early Reorganization folks

knew about that stuff, but decided to purify the church and uphold

Brother Joseph's public condemnations of polygamy." --- and --- "You know

what, Dale, those early witnesses may have truly believed that their old

neighbor wrote part of the Book of Mormon. Some of the battle stories

written by that old Spalding fellow do indeed sound something like parts

of the Record of Helaman. Coincidences happen -- trust in the Church, Dale!"

Had they responded in THAT open-minded sort of way, maybe I would

still be a member -- who knows?

But no ----- it was all priestly roadblocks, dismissals, subterfuges

and bad advice. You'd think that maybe they had something to hide.

Now, I'm curious about the literary structure of Alma 46-53, even if

Joseph Smith wrote the whole story himself, without incorporating

any previous literary material.

Nobody else is interested. No Community of Christ professor will

ever run that text through his computer software. No RLDS elder

will ever hold open the possibility that Alma 45 was written by

a different author. No Mormon, other than yourself will discuss it.

And no Gentile even gives a damn. *

I've reached the ultimate dead-end.

UD

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

* except for Roger, Craig and Art, of course

.

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Now, for Roger -

I will tell you what, Roger, I will respond to this (again) but this time in terms of what I just recently posted here.

Actually Vernal Holley already did that and it falls in the same Alma cluster that interests Dale. Holley noted at least one set of parallels between the Oberlin Manuscript and Alma 43-44 in which at least eleven parallels (probably more if we were to take a closer look) occur in sequential order.

http://solomonspaldi...vernP1.htm#pg21

Ok, so for clarity, here is the piece from the link (at least the first part of it):

In the battle for the city of Gamba in Spaulding's novel, a "band of about three thousand resolute warriors seized their arms, determined to risk their lives in defense of the city. The leader of this band was Lamock, the eldest son of Labanco" (Manuscript Story p. 100.)

In the Book of Mormon's Helaman war, a "band of two thousand" stripling warriors "have taken their weapons of war, and would that I (Helaman, the eldest son of Alma) should be their leader; and have come forth to defend our country" (Alma 57:6, 56:5).

In the Spaulding story, "Rambock marched his whole army towards the city of Gamba

... to enter the city through that passage and to fall upon the rear of the Kentucks... These heroes now found the war to rage both in front and rear..." (Manuscript Story pp. 100-101).

In the Book of Mormon, "Helaman did march at the head of these two thousand young men to the city of Judea... We were desirous, if they should pass by us to fall upon them in their rear, and thus bring them up in the rear at the same time they were met in the front" (Alma 56:9, 23).

The Spaulding warriors delayed their attack until morning to prevent the enemy from making their escape in the "darkness of the night . . . and as soon as the morning light appeared they marched a small distance to a hill . . . they beheld Hamboon's army marching towards them. He halted within about half a mile of the Sciotans... (then) ordered Hanock... (to) lie in ambush in their rear" (Manuscript Story pp.102-103).

In the Book of Mormon, Helaman's army marched at night, but "when the light of the morning came we saw the Lamanites upon us, and we did flee before them . . . they did not pursue us far before they halted... that they might catch us in their snare" (Alma 56:41-43).

You summarize this piece in this way:
Spalding describes how 1. a smaller force (2. about half the size in both cases) 3. ambushes a larger force by 4. dividing the army, 5. concealing themselves behind a hill 6. near a river, 7. attacks the larger force in the river/canal causing 8. terror in the larger force who eventually 9. lay down their arms causing the leader of the smaller victorious force in Alma to say 10. "We do not desire to be men of blood... we do not desire to slay you" and in the OM: "Lobaska 'conjured the Sciotans not to shed one drop of blood'". In both of these stories the victors won the day 11. "By using a little stratagem." (OM) "by strategem" (BOM).
So let's begin to look at the parallels.

Before we jump in though, we should probably provide the full contexts. So here from Spalding's manuscript (I have provided the page numbers given by Dale as opposed to those used by Holley, but I suspect that this little detail is inconsequential):

An answer so shrewd and insulting, it was expected, would soon be followed by an invasion. Measures must immediately be taken for the defence of the kingdom. Lobaska was invited to sit in council. All were unanimously of (( the )) opinion that to comply with the haughty demand of Bombal, by tearing the blue feathers from their caps, would be degrading the honor of the nation and a relinquishment of their natural right. They were likewise sensible that the most vigorous exertions were necessary to save the country from ruin. The opinion and advice of Lobaska was requested. "It is my opinion," says he, "that by using a little stratagem this war might be brought to a conclusion

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which will be honorable to this kingdom." "We will pursue," says the king, "your advice and directions." "I shall be happy," says Lobaska, "to assist you with my best advice. Call immediately into the field an army of three thousand men. Provide two thousand shovels, five hundred mattocks, one thousand wheelbarrows, and one hundred axes. I will give directions how to make them."

Not a moment was lost; the army was assembled and implements (( were )) provided with the utmost expedition. And they marched down the river to a certain place where the army of the enemy must pass in order to arrive at the city of Tolanga. At this place the hill or mountain came within less than a mile of the river and flat or level land intervened. Here Lobaska directed that a canal should be dug from the river to the hill. That it should be eight feet wide and eight deep and that the dirt which they dug should be thrown into the river, except what should be wanting to lay over thin pieces of split timber, which should be extended across the canal, and so weak and slender that the weight of a man would break them down. This novel invention was soon carried into effect and the work completely finished. Every precaution

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was used to prevent any intelligence of these transactions from getting to the enemy. In the meantime Hadokam brought into the field seven thousand more of his warriors, men of brave hearts and valiant for the battle. The indignant King of the Kentucks by this time, had assembled an army of thirty thousand men who were ready, at the risk of their lives, to vindicate the preeminence of their nation and the transcendent dignity of their King and his chiefs. At the head of this army, Bombal began his march to execute his threatened vengeance on the Sciotans. As he entered their country he found the villages deserted and all the movable property conveyed away. Not a man to be seen until he came in view of the army of Hadokam, who was encamped within a small distance of the canal. Bombal halted and formed his men in two ranks extending from the river to the hill. He had a reserved corps, who were placed in the rear of the main body. Having thus arranged them for battle, he went from one wing to the other proclaiming aloud, "We have been insulted, brave soldiers, by these cowardly Sciotans. They

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have assumed the blue feather, the badge of our preeminence and exalted dignity. Behold it flying in their caps. Will your high-born souls submit to behold such dastards place themselves on equal ground with you? No, my valiant warriors, let us revenge the insult by the destruction of their puny army and the conflagration of their city. Make a furious charge upon them and the victory is ours. Let your motto be 'The Blue Feather' and you will fight like wolves robbed of their puppies."

Hadokam had by this time, formed his army in order of battle close to the edge of the canal and extended them only in one rank from the river to the hill. As the Kentucks approached within a small distance, the Sciotans gave back and began a retreat with apparent confusion, notwithstanding the pretended exertions of the King and his officers to prevent their retreating. Bombal, observing this, commanded (( his men)) to rush forward on the full run, but to keep their ranks in order. This they instantly obeyed as one man; and as soon

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as their feet stept on the slender covering of the canal, it gave way and they fell to the bottom, some in one position and some in another. A disaster so novel and unexpected must have appalled the stoutest heart and filled their minds with amazement and terror. Nor did this complete the misfortune of the army of Bombal. An ambush of the Sciotans, who lay on the side of the hill opposite to the reserved corps of the Kentucks, rushed down upon them in an instant. Surprise and terror prevented resistance; they threw down their arms and surrendered. The retreating army of Hadokam immediately returned with shouting to the edge of the canal. Their enemies, who but a moment before thought themselves invincible and certain of victory, were now defenseless and wholly in their power. Lobaska was present and saw the success of his stratagem. His great soul disdained revenge on an

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helpless and prostrate enemy. He conjured the Sciotans not to shed one drop of blood, but to be generous and merciful.

This is compared by Holley to this text from the Book of Mormon (I have excluded the versification indicators - but followed the verse structure):

And he also knowing that it was the only desire of the Nephites to preserve their lands, and their liberty, and their

church, therefore he thought it no sin that he should defend them by stratagem; therefore, he found by his spies which course the Lamanites were to take.

Therefore, he divided his army and brought a part over into the valley, and concealed them on the east, and on the south of the hill Riplah;

And the remainder he concealed in the west valley, on the west of the river Sidon, and so down into the borders of the land Manti.

And thus having placed his army according to his desire, he was prepared to meet them.

And it came to pass that the Lamanites came up on the north of the hill, where a part of the army of Moroni was concealed.

And as the Lamanites had passed the hill Riplah, and came into the valley, and began to cross the river Sidon, the army which was concealed on the south of the hill, which was led by a man whose name was Lehi, and he led his army forth and encircled the Lamanites about on the east in their rear.

And it came to pass that the Lamanites, when they saw the Nephites coming upon them in their rear, turned them about and began to contend with the army of Lehi.

And the work of death commenced on both sides, but it was more dreadful on the part of the Lamanites, for their nakedness was exposed to the heavy blows of the Nephites with their swords and their cimeters, which brought death almost at every stroke.

While on the other hand, there was now and then a man fell among the Nephites, by their swords and the loss of blood, they being shielded from the more vital parts of the body, or the more vital parts of the body being shielded from the strokes of the Lamanites, by their breastplates, and their arm-shields, and their head-plates; and thus the Nephites did carry on the work of death among the Lamanites.

And it came to pass that the Lamanites became frightened, because of the great destruction among them, even until they began to flee towards the river Sidon.

And they were pursued by Lehi and his men; and they were driven by Lehi into the waters of Sidon, and they crossed the waters of Sidon. And Lehi retained his armies upon the bank of the river Sidon that they should not cross.

And it came to pass that Moroni and his army met the Lamanites in the valley, on the other side of the river Sidon, and began to fall upon them and to slay them.

And the Lamanites did flee again before them, towards the land of Manti; and they were met again by the armies of Moroni.

Now in this case the Lamanites did fight exceedingly; yea, never had the Lamanites been known to fight with such exceedingly great strength and courage, no, not even from the beginning.

And they were inspired by the Zoramites and the Amalekites, who were their chief captains and leaders, and by Zerahemnah, who was their chief captain, or their chief leader and commander; yea, they did fight like dragons, and many of the Nephites were slain by their hands, yea, for they did smite in two many of their head-plates, and they did pierce many of their breastplates, and they did smite off many of their arms; and thus the Lamanites did smite in their fierce anger.

Nevertheless, the Nephites were inspired by a better cause, for they were not fighting for monarchy nor power but they were fighting for their homes and their liberties, their wives and their children, and their all, yea, for their rites of worship and their church.

And they were doing that which they felt was the duty which they owed to their God; for the Lord had said unto them, and also unto their fathers, that: Inasmuch as ye are not guilty of the first offense, neither the second, ye shall not suffer yourselves to be slain by the hands of your enemies.

And again, the Lord has said that: Ye shall defend your families even unto bloodshed. Therefore for this cause were the Nephites contending with the Lamanites, to defend themselves, and their families, and their lands, their country, and their rights, and their religion.

And it came to pass that when the men of Moroni saw the fierceness and the anger of the Lamanites, they were about to shrink and flee from them. And Moroni, perceiving their intent, sent forth and inspired their hearts with these thoughts--yea, the thoughts of their lands, their liberty, yea, their freedom from bondage.

And it came to pass that they turned upon the Lamanites, and they cried with one voice unto the Lord their God, for their liberty and their freedom from bondage.

And they began to stand against the Lamanites with power; and in that selfsame hour that they cried unto the Lord for their freedom, the Lamanites began to flee before them; and they fled even to the waters of Sidon.

Now, the Lamanites were more numerous, yea, by more than double the number of the Nephites; nevertheless, they were driven insomuch that they were gathered together in one body in the valley, upon the bank by the river Sidon.

Therefore the armies of Moroni encircled them about, yea, even on both sides of the river, for behold, on the east were the men of Lehi.

Therefore when Zerahemnah saw the men of Lehi on the east of the river Sidon, and the armies of Moroni on the west of the River Sidon, that they were encircled about by the Nephites, they were struck with terror.

Now Moroni, when he saw their terror, commanded his men that they should stop shedding their blood.

And it came to pass that they did stop and withdrew a pace from them. And Moroni said unto Zerahemnah: Behold, Zerahemnah, that we do not desire to be men of blood. Ye know that ye are in our hands, yet we do not desire to slay you.

Ok, so lets review just a moment from Lindey's nine vices of parallels:

1. Any method of comparison which lists and underscores similarities and suppresses or minimizes differences is necessarily misleading.

There is no attempt in Vernal Holley to address any differences. In fact, differences are minimizes and ignored. One way that Holley does this is to trim the narrative unit. If we continue both texts for another couple of lines, for example, we get these two sets of text to compare. Here from Spalding:

These terms were accepted and the Kentucks returned in peace to their own country, not to describe exploits and bloody victories but the curious stratagem of Lobaska.
And here from the Book of Mormon:
And now when Moroni had said these words, Zerahemnah retained his sword, and he was angry with Moroni, and he rushed forward that he might slay Moroni; but as he raised his sword, behold, one of Moroni
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6. Parallels fail to indicate the proportion which the purportedly borrowed material bears to the sum total of the source, or to the whole of the new work. Without such information a just appraisal is impossible.
Obviously, Holley doesn't discuss the size of the original texts (one of the reasons why I provided them).
7. The practitioners of the technique resort too often to sleight of hand. They employ language, not to record facts or to describe things accurately, but as props in a rhetorical hocus-pocus which, by describing different things in identical words, appears to make them magically alike.
I think I already covered this point.
8. A double-column analysis is a dissection. An autopsy will reveal a great deal about a cadaver, but very little about the spirit of the man who once inhabited it.
And what this means, in part, is that we get done with the parallels, but we don't much about the story (and they are very different stories).

This brings us to the issues that Roger himself raises (and he earlier emphasized the sequential nature of them):

Spalding describes how 1. a smaller force (2. about half the size in both cases) 3. ambushes a larger force by 4. dividing the army, 5. concealing themselves behind a hill 6. near a river, 7. attacks the larger force in the river/canal causing 8. terror in the larger force who eventually 9. lay down their arms causing the leader of the smaller victorious force in Alma to say 10. "We do not desire to be men of blood... we do not desire to slay you" and in the OM: "Lobaska 'conjured the Sciotans not to shed one drop of blood'". In both of these stories the victors won the day 11. "By using a little stratagem." (OM) "by strategem" (BOM).
And this is a good example of reducing the narrative merely to its common points - and then over emphasizing those points. First, the Book of Mormon narrative contains several distinct and sequential battles. The Spalding narrative has no battle at all. Having said that - here is a point by point detail:

1. a smaller force

The reference in the Book of Mormon is 43:21

But they were not armed with breastplates, nor shields

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