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Joseph Smith’S First Vision Accounts: More Mormon Church Suppression And Cover-Up


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You are mistaken. Here is what the 1835 account stated:

and I called on the Lord in mighty prayer, a pillar of fire appeared above my head, it presently rested down upon me, and filled me with Joy unspeakable, a personage appeard in the midst of this pillar of flame which was spread all around, and yet nothing consumed, another personage soon appeard like unto the first, he said unto me thy sins are forgiven thee, he testifyed unto me that Jesus Christ is the Son of God;

http://www.mormonstu.../js/fv1835.html

Any problems?

Thanks, Why Me.

This feeds my impression that many of those who complain about supposed conflicts in the First Vision accounts aren't really very well acquainted with what the accounts do in actuality say. A good many of the complainers, I dare say, have accepted uncritically what the critics assert without really bothering to read the accounts for themselves.

Edited by Scott Lloyd
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"This" as in a cover-up. No offense intended. Please don't take any.

Ah, okay. Didn't. Thanks, though.

I don't believe the LDS Church is covering up the First Vision accounts, either. Of course, it couldn't do so even if it wanted to. The fact that there is no coverup afoot doesn't speak to what the LDS Church would prefer to hide if a historical coverup were possible in our Internet age.

But that sort of logic cuts both ways, so you won't find me camping in those woods.

Further, I don't even think it's that interesting of an argument against the truth claims of Mormonism.

Thus, the OP.

Again, Joseph Smith didn't relate all that was told him during the First Vision. He wasn't covering anything up.

He was told he couldn't relate some things told to him. There's precedence for that in the scriptures.

Well, I don't believe he was ever visited by those allegedly-coporeal beings in the grove, Father and Son. One argument against its veracity, as far as I'm concerned, is the paucity of evidence that it functioned as an important origin story for Mormonism in the earliest years.

And Joseph Smith was persecuted for telling of the account, as noted in his history.

So why shouldn't he have had written accounts with different details depending on his "audience?"

Why do you folks employ scarequotes so much? It's "maddening!"

One thing I will agree with is that the event in question actually happened or did not actually happen, no matter how we choose to talk about it. Oh, wait. We don't all agree about that!

My exchanges with m could be shorthanded this way:

1. M: Yep.

2. CKS: Nope.

3. Together: Whatever.

We could reverse 1 and 2 where appropriate.

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I don't believe I'm confusing them; I'm attempting to place them in relationship with one another. Our approbation of a particular historical claim may have a significant subjective component. May significantly involve a "feeling." (I'm scarequoting feeling as you scarequoted reality.)

I note in passing that your second sentence appears to prioritize feelings. We make decisions based upon our feelings (first) and the objective evidence (second). Your sentence suggests as much, at any rate. Not sure if that was intentional.

You also appear to build in the assumption that all of our decisions are fundamentally subjective. ("[T]hen [we] make a subjective decision based on ....") I don't grant that premise, if, indeed, that's what you intended to communicate.

You do, too.

This strikes me as an example of muddled thinking, m. A host of counterexamples come to mind. What about historical facts that exist independent of my human experience but not independent of your own?

Let's take a relatively-noncontroversial example:

1. On the morning of March 4, 1996, M ate breakfast.

Let's label that proposition X.

Further, let's consider X's negation.

2. On the morning of March 4, 1996, M did not eat breakfast.

Let's label the negation ~X.

My example has been chosen intentionally. Unless I've fortuitously chosen a memorable date, I assume that you are highly unlikely to remember whether or not you ate breakfast that morning. But, still, you either did or you didn't.

Further, lest you want to go all Clinton on me, my example assumes that we inhabit a shared linguistic space. Without getting bogged down in linguistic bric-a-brac, you can't help but know what I mean. My linguistic expression, assuming our shared experience, sufficiently selects for the event in question. That's a fuction of language. And it assumes a lot. Nothing we can't handle, though.

Either X or ~X.

The truth or falsity of X exists independent of my experience. Would you agree that the truth or falsity of X exists independently of your experience? That the truth value of X or ~X depends upon linguistic convention? That X is true or false depending upon how you talk about X?

Is the historical claim that M ate breakfast on March 4, 1996 dependent upon how M talks about his breakfast-eating on March 4, 1996 or does the truth value of X vs. ~X exist independently of how M chooses to talk about it? That is: does the truth value of X (something that happened or did not happen in the past) depend upon your later linguistic expression?

Because you seem to be saying the latter.

So what? That's a given. It surely doesn't follow that post hoc linguistic expressions instantiate the historical events they are intended to document.

On that logic, conversion to Mormonism is based purely on feeling. Historicity is irrelevant.

That explains Cobalt-70's historical nihilism, I suppose: "There are no 'historical facts' beyond those accounts."

I suspect that folks, like Cobalt-70, who suggest that "there are no 'historical facts' beyond those accounts" suspect that "there are no 'historical facts' beyond those accounts."

Thanks for the reply- crazy busy and my usual computer is down- I will reply asap.

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Well, I don't believe he was ever visited by those allegedly-coporeal beings in the grove, Father and Son. One argument against its veracity, as far as I'm concerned, is the paucity of evidence that it functioned as an important origin story for Mormonism in the earliest years.

Why do you folks employ scarequotes so much? It's "maddening!"

One thing I will agree with is that the event in question actually happened or did not actually happen, no matter how we choose to talk about it. Oh, wait. We don't all agree about that!

You have a valid point - the paucity of evidence. But the Prophet Joseph Smith wrote about it in the Times and Seasons. (Don't CFR me the date, etc of publication.) It's now canonized scripture. But the paucity of evidence is that only the Prophet was present. Yet, there are witnesses to other visions of angelic beings, the Three Witnesses for example, that would affirm Joseph Smith was not lying about such things. There are precedences found in the Bible of visions. And as you should know, the ultimate evidence is the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon - a witness to what the Prophet was telling about the First Vision, was truthful.

As for scarequotes, ??. "audience" being in quotes was meant to be synonymous of the word in quotes, - such as a personal conversation, letter to a newspaper, church meeting, etc. -

not a scare tactic.

Kind regards.

Edited by ANACO
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... and I called on the Lord in mighty prayer, a pillar of fire appeared above my head, it presently rested down upon me, and filled me with Joy unspeakable, a personage appeard in the midst of this pillar of flame which was spread all around, and yet nothing consumed, another personage soon appeard like unto the first, he said unto me thy sins are forgiven thee, he testifyed unto me that Jesus Christ is the Son of God;

http://www.mormonstu.../js/fv1835.html

Was it a pillar of flame or just light? The site you mentioned doesn't seem to be authoritative for the LDS Church.

Thanks,

Jim

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I don't believe I'm confusing them; I'm attempting to place them in relationship with one another. Our approbation of a particular historical claim may have a significant subjective component. May significantly involve a "feeling." (I'm scarequoting feeling as you scarequoted reality.)

I note in passing that your second sentence appears to prioritize feelings. We make decisions based upon our feelings (first) and the objective evidence (second). Your sentence suggests as much, at any rate. Not sure if that was intentional.

You also appear to build in the assumption that all of our decisions are fundamentally subjective. ("[T]hen [we] make a subjective decision based on ....") I don't grant that premise, if, indeed, that's what you intended to communicate.

You do, too.

This strikes me as an example of muddled thinking, m. A host of counterexamples come to mind. What about historical facts that exist independent of my human experience but not independent of your own?

Let's take a relatively-noncontroversial example:

1. On the morning of March 4, 1996, M ate breakfast.

Let's label that proposition X.

Further, let's consider X's negation.

2. On the morning of March 4, 1996, M did not eat breakfast.

Let's label the negation ~X.

My example has been chosen intentionally. Unless I've fortuitously chosen a memorable date, I assume that you are highly unlikely to remember whether or not you ate breakfast that morning. But, still, you either did or you didn't.

Further, lest you want to go all Clinton on me, my example assumes that we inhabit a shared linguistic space. Without getting bogged down in linguistic bric-a-brac, you can't help but know what I mean. My linguistic expression, assuming our shared experience, sufficiently selects for the event in question. That's a fuction of language. And it assumes a lot. Nothing we can't handle, though.

Either X or ~X.

The truth or falsity of X exists independent of my experience. Would you agree that the truth or falsity of X exists independently of your experience? That the truth value of X or ~X depends upon linguistic convention? That X is true or false depending upon how you talk about X?

Is the historical claim that M ate breakfast on March 4, 1996 dependent upon how M talks about his breakfast-eating on March 4, 1996 or does the truth value of X vs. ~X exist independently of how M chooses to talk about it? That is: does the truth value of X (something that happened or did not happen in the past) depend upon your later linguistic expression?

Because you seem to be saying the latter.

So what? That's a given. It surely doesn't follow that post hoc linguistic expressions instantiate the historical events they are intended to document.

On that logic, conversion to Mormonism is based purely on feeling. Historicity is irrelevant.

That explains Cobalt-70's historical nihilism, I suppose: "There are no 'historical facts' beyond those accounts."

I suspect that folks, like Cobalt-70, who suggest that "there are no 'historical facts' beyond those accounts" suspect that "there are no 'historical facts' beyond those accounts."

Verificationism is the view that a statement or question is only legitimate if there is some way to determine whether the statement is true or false, or what the answer to the question is. It is a view mostly closely associated with the logical positivists of the early twentieth century, who established and applied this doctrine to distinguish between meaningful and meaningless assertive sentences. However, the core idea of verificationism is much older, dating back at least to Hume and the empiricists, who believed that observation was the only way we can acquire knowledge.

Historically, the verificationist criterion has been used to render meaningless, false, unscientific, or in some other way illegitimate many philosophical debates, due to their positing of unverifiable statements or concepts. Notoriously, verificationism was used by the logical positivists to rule out as meaningless religious, metaphysical, aesthetic, and ethical sentences. However, not all verificationists have found all sentences of these types to be unverifiable. The classical pragmatists, for example, saw verificationism as a guide for doing good work in religion, metaphysics, and ethics.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Verificationism#Pragmatism

Emphasis added.

I subscribe to the Pragmatist view

William James coined the famous verificationist motto: "There is no difference that doesn't make a difference."[1]

In other words, a difference which makes no difference isn't a difference at all. Since truth and falsity only makes sense in linguistic discourse, the truth or falsity of something unknowable or nonsensical is like asking if "Twas brillig and the slithy toves did gyre and gimble in the wabe" is true or false.

In other words, whether or not I had breakfast on a given day is at least unknowable, unless one wants to reduce it to a tautology, by defining the first meal I ate as "breakfast". Since it is unlikely that I fasted for more than 24 hours straight on any given day, it is virtually guaranteed that I did indeed eat a meal I may have experienced as "breakfast" on any given day. If you want to say that makes the sentence true or false, good for you- take your pick. It really doesn't matter which you pick, because none if it makes a difference anyway.

But since the alleged truth or falsity of such a proposition is unknowable, and makes no difference to anyone anywhere, the entire question is irrelevant discourse, and meaningless.

I find it absurd to think that the "truth value" of some meaningless or unknowable statement exists in any way whatsoever.

And dang it, yes I would agree with Cobalt on this one, though it pains me to admit it ;)

In the second half of the twentieth century, Stephen Toulmin argued that the need to distinguish between reality and appearance only arises within an explanatory scheme and therefore that there is no point in asking what 'ultimate reality' consists of. More recently, a similar idea has been suggested by the postanalytical philosopher Daniel Dennett, who argues that anyone who wants to understand the world has to adopt the intentional stance and acknowledge both the 'syntactical' aspects of reality (i.e. whizzing atoms) and its emergent or 'semantic' properties (i.e. meaning and value).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pragmatism

And as far as emotion is concerned, I challenge you to pre-conceived views of reality and look at the other side. We all have an emotional axe to graind- if we did not we would not be human.

Edited by mfbukowski
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Was it a pillar of flame or just light? The site you mentioned doesn't seem to be authoritative for the LDS Church.

Thanks,

Jim

Such a thing is unknowable and therefore irrelevant.

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I subscribe to the Pragmatist view

But, of course, I certainly don't hold to a verficationist view of truth claims. And my argument against the truth of JS's claim, were I to raise one, would not suggest that we adopt verificationism as our criterion to assess the meaningfulness of the assertive statement, "Joseph Smith encountered coporeal entities in the grove."

So, you're barking up the wrong tree, there, I'm afraid.

But there's a more fundamental problem. For the sake of argument, let's posit verificationism. Even on verficationism, neither of the events in question are, in principle, unverifiable. Neither run afoul of the criterion. So, even assuming verificationism, both statements are meaningful, not meaningless.

While the claim about JS's experience in the grove has been used to religious ends and certainly involves metaphysical assumptions, in principle, it is a verifiable claim. Same as your breakfast.

In other words, a difference which makes no difference isn't a difference at all. Since truth and falsity only makes sense in linguistic discourse, the truth or falsity of something unknowable or nonsensical is like asking if "Twas brillig and the slithy toves did gyre and gimble in the wabe" is true or false.

But, in principle, the truth value of neither statement is "unknowable."

In other words, whether or not I had breakfast on a given day is at least unknowable,

Of course it's not "unknowable." It's absolutely not unknowable in principle. And its alleged 'unknowability' is not at all a function of a verficationist epistemology.

unless one wants to reduce it to a tautology, by defining the first meal I ate as "breakfast". Since it is unlikely that I fasted for more than 24 hours straight on any given day, it is virtually guaranteed that I did indeed eat a meal I may have experienced as "breakfast" on any given day.

"a meal I may have experienced as breakfast...."

C'mon, m. That's a clear example of what I would call an "absurd" statement, to borrow from you.

You may have "experienced" a meal as breakfast, but no one can know if you did or didn't, so talk about your eating breakfast on a certain day is meaningless?

Let's suppose a security camera in your house recorded your eating a bowl of cheerios. The footage is date- and time-stamped. We watch the footage together. The video shows you eating a bowl of cereal on March 4, 1996 between the minutes of 7:32AM and 7:41AM. Is that "a meal you may have experienced as breakfast," but talk about which is meaningless since it is unknowable, or does the video record you eating breakfast that day?

If you want to say that makes the sentence true or false, good for you- take your pick. It really doesn't matter which you pick, because none if it makes a difference anyway.

It matters. You ate breakfast or you didn't. The fact that you don't remember doesn't make a claim about the event in question "unknowable" and, thus, "meaningless" on verificationist principles.

But since the alleged truth or falsity of such a proposition is unknowable, and makes no difference to anyone anywhere, the entire question is irrelevant discourse, and meaningless.

No one cares whether you ate Cheerios that morning. But it makes a huge difference to lots of people whether or not Joseph Smith encountered two corporeal entities in the grove.

I find it absurd to think that the "truth value" of some meaningless or unknowable statement exists in any way whatsoever.

But, even assuming verficationist principles, neither truth claim is meaningless or unknowable. That's not what the logical positivists had in view.

I don't believe you live your life consistently with the slavery-to-language-games epistemology you trot out in apologetic discussions. I don't think anyone does, Mormon or not.

Best.

cks

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CK

The entire point is that there was no such camera, and I think you misunderstood the entire quote which mentioned "verificationism" in a Pragmatic context. You made no argument against Pragmatism at all, neither do I think such an argument CAN be made. In fact it seems to me that Pragmatism, now well over a hundred years old, is at the basis of virtually everything which has come after it, and is arguably THE predominant point of view since modernism died, and you offer no substitute.

In fact, Pragmatism does offer a "verificationist" technique for religious experience- see William James.

You can argue that what is unknowable somehow has a truth value until the cows come home, but frankly I don't even understand why you are so driven to do so. To me, such argumentation is a waste of time, quite frankly, and if your theology depends somehow on establishing that the answers to unanswerable questions can be true or false, I don't think there is much to that kind of theology.

Angels dancing on the heads of pins comes readily to mind- and indeed that is the ultimate type of quandry one comes up with in such a theology, as history has already shown.

As long as speak in language, and it is hard to imagine speaking without it ;) linguistic context will clearly be of utmost importance. It is not "slavery" it is freedom- and far more comfortable than banging one's head against the wall imagining scenarios which never happened to vindicate some kind of "truth" beyond what is knowable.

I have no problem with metaphysics- but we need to understand that none of it can be "true" or "false" since it is metaphor which exists to make our lives meaningful.

In fact even "objective facts" as long as they are linguistic, are really metaphors as well. This article captures it well and I highly recommend it. You are fighting an uphill battle against the history of philosophy here, my friend.

About two hundred years ago, the idea that A truth was made rather than found began to take hold of the imagination of Europe. The French Revolution had shown that the whole vocabulary of social relations, and the whole spectrum of social institutions, could be replaced almost overnight. This inspired a new sort of politics – revolutionary, utopian politics, the sort of political thought which sets aside questions about both the will of God and the nature of man and dreams of creating a new kind of human being. Simultaneously, the Romantic poets were showing what can happen when art is no longer thought of as imitation, but rather as self-creation. These poets made it plausible for art to claim the place in culture traditionally held by religion and philosophy, the place which the Enlightenment had claimed for science.

In the course of the last two centuries, these two tendencies have joined forces and have achieved cultural hegemony. For the contemporary intellectual, questions of ends as opposed to means – questions about how to give a sense to one’s own life or that of one’s community – are questions for art, politics, or both, rather than for religion, philosophy, or science. This development has led to a split within philosophy. Some philosophers have remained faithful to the Enlightenment, and have continued to identify themselves with the cause of science. They see the old struggle between religion and science as continuing, having now taken the form of a struggle between reason and all those forces within culture which take truth to be made rather than found. These philosophers take science as the paradigmatic human activity, and think of science as discovering truth rather than making it. They regard ‘making truth’ as a merely metaphorical, and thoroughly misleading, phrase. They think of politics and art as spheres in which the notion of ‘truth’ is out of place. Other philosophers, realising that the world as it is described by the physical sciences teaches no moral lesson, offers no spiritual comfort, have concluded that science is no more than the handmaiden of technology. These philosophers have ranged themselves alongside the political utopian and the innovative artist. Whereas the first kind of philosopher (a kind common in Britain and America, and exemplified by even such relatively liberated analytic philosophers as Thomas Nagel and Bernard Williams) contrasts ‘hard scientific fact’ with ‘the subjective’ or with ‘metaphor’, the second kind – common elsewhere in the world – sees science as one more human activity, not as the place at which human beings encounter a ‘hard’, non-human reality. On this view, great scientists invent descriptions of the world which are useful for purposes of predicting and controlling what happens, just as poets and political thinkers invent other descriptions of it for other purposes. But there is no sense in which any of these descriptions is an accurate representation of the way the world is in itself. These philosophers regard the very idea of such a representation as pointless.http://www.lrb.co.uk...ncy-of-language

The curious fact that this elevation of man over the past conception of a transcendent god is highly compatible with Mormonism.

In fact, all that is said of Mankind in the above context, in Mormonism BECOMES things we can say about God. Indeed Mormonism is about creating the best kind of humans possible- gods in embryo.

We affirm the reality of spiritual experience, and the understood truth of subjective experience- indeed my siggy also refers to Nagel, a philosopher also mentioned in the above quote. We as humans create our worlds out of matter unorganized, to some degree each of us do that, and our God, also an exalted Human does the same thing on an infinite scale.

As I have said before, when God is a human, humanism becomes theology.

And THAT is what you are fighting against here. I think you need some better arguments.

Edited by mfbukowski
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Back in December of 1989, I was serving a mission in the Dominican Republic, and tensions between the US and Noriega were at a head. A local group warned the American Embassy that they would kill Americans if the US invaded Panama, and the day after the invasion (Operation Just Cause), my little group heading back from a baptism was picked as the target. A motorcycle with two guys on it started following us, and the guy on back ended up shooting at my companion three times with a .45, hitting him once. Soon after I had him at a little clinic close by followed by surgery at a hospital.

I experienced a lot that night, and as I've related the story over the years, verbally and in writing, I tell portions of what I experienced and the emotions I felt based on factors like the audience or the point I'm trying to emphasize. I very often leave some of the events out based on these same factors. And there is a very spiritual aspect to the story that I don't tell very often. And when I do, I don't give all the details or only give part of them. In any case, some of them took me a while to internalize and I didn't make sense of them or share them until I had some time for reflection. This can happen with spiritual things, just like Mary kept in her heart the events surrounding the nativity. As a teenager I remember realizing for the first time that what I was feeling was the Spirit. At that point I could then recall the other times I had felt it before that time and suddenly certain things that had happened in the past started to make sense for the first time. In this same sense, some of the things that I experienced that night on a dark street in Santo Domingo didn't make sense to me until years later. Thus, they didn't show up in my narrative to certain people until later. But all this doesn't mean--at least not to me--that my accounts are contradictory or that the event didn't happen.

On the other hand, I've also suffered the effects of faulty or poor memory as well. Without consulting my earliest writing on the events for a while, I found that I was wrong about certain details after a few decades had past. For example, I was sure I knew the name of the street where it occurred and had related this detail as part of the narrative a few times in the last few years. Then my wife and I visited Santo Domingo recently and I went back to the spot and found that the name of the street I was using in later accounts was inaccurate. Going back to the earliest writings, I saw where some of the details had drifted off course over the years and had changed a little in the retelling of them.

Most of us experience events that carry such an emotional impact that they impact our lives forever, and we end up narrating them frequently over the course of a lifetime, often through the different lenses of our current circumstances (like the way we see scriptures). Joseph's experience is powerful and carries an emotional punch to me every time I read any of his accounts of the FV. They read a little like I have felt after that night in Santo Domingo where I've struggled to articulate everything that occurred and what to share in the process. Or even to understand it all myself in the first place. Those who are caught up in scrutinizing percieved contradictions in the accounts as evidence of fabrication without considering the human element of narrative transmission over time are missing the mark.

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Back in December of 1989, I was serving a mission in the Dominican Republic, and tensions between the US and Noriega were at a head. A local group warned the American Embassy that they would kill Americans if the US invaded Panama, and the day after the invasion (Operation Just Cause), my little group heading back from a baptism was picked as the target. A motorcycle with two guys on it started following us, and the guy on back ended up shooting at my companion three times with a .45, hitting him once. Soon after I had him at a little clinic close by followed by surgery at a hospital.

I experienced a lot that night, and as I've related the story over the years, verbally and in writing, I tell portions of what I experienced and the emotions I felt based on factors like the audience or the point I'm trying to emphasize. I very often leave some of the events out based on these same factors. And there is a very spiritual aspect to the story that I don't tell very often. And when I do, I don't give all the details or only give part of them. In any case, some of them took me a while to internalize and I didn't make sense of them or share them until I had some time for reflection. This can happen with spiritual things, just like Mary kept in her heart the events surrounding the nativity. As a teenager I remember realizing for the first time that what I was feeling was the Spirit. At that point I could then recall the other times I had felt it before that time and suddenly certain things that had happened in the past started to make sense for the first time. In this same sense, some of the things that I experienced that night on a dark street in Santo Domingo didn't make sense to me until years later. Thus, they didn't show up in my narrative to certain people until later. But all this doesn't mean--at least not to me--that my accounts are contradictory or that the event didn't happen.

On the other hand, I've also suffered the effects of faulty or poor memory as well. Without consulting my earliest writing on the events for a while, I found that I was wrong about certain details after a few decades had past. For example, I was sure I knew the name of the street where it occurred and had related this detail as part of the narrative a few times in the last few years. Then my wife and I visited Santo Domingo recently and I went back to the spot and found that the name of the street I was using in later accounts was inaccurate. Going back to the earliest writings, I saw where some of the details had drifted off course over the years and had changed a little in the retelling of them.

Most of us experience events that carry such an emotional impact that they impact our lives forever, and we end up narrating them frequently over the course of a lifetime, often through the different lenses of our current circumstances (like the way we see scriptures). Joseph's experience is powerful and carries an emotional punch to me every time I read any of his accounts of the FV. They read a little like I have felt after that night in Santo Domingo where I've struggled to articulate everything that occurred and what to share in the process. Or even to understand it all myself in the first place. Those who are caught up in scrutinizing perceived contradictions in the accounts as evidence of fabrication without considering the human element of narrative transmission over time are missing the mark.

Excellent points.

What struck me most was perhaps something that you may not have intended, but which someone else (I believe KevinG) alluded to earlier in the thread, and that is, the important meaning and value of a significant life event like the one you experienced, can quickly and unfortunately get lost in the fussing over details and straining to find inconsistencies in the multiple tellings.

Too bad we can't vote on that. :)

Thanks, -Wade Englund-

Edited by wenglund
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This is a great idea. My favorite is the one the 1835 account when just one personage appeared to him.

I'm not aware of that one. My favorite is the other 1835 account, which mentions two.

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Excellent points.

What struck me most was perhaps something that you may not have intended, but which someone else (I believe KevinG) alluded to earlier in the thread, and that is, the important meaning and value of a significant life event like the one you experienced, can quickly and unfortunately get lost in the fussing over details and straining to find inconsistencies in the multiple tellings.

Too bad we can't vote on that. :)

Thanks, -Wade Englund-

Too right, Wade. Excellent point.

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CK

The entire point is that there was no such camera...

My entire point is that the lack of a camera is irrelevant to propositional truth claims.

Of course we disagree at that point, but there it is.

and I think you misunderstood the entire quote which mentioned "verificationism" in a Pragmatic context.

It would be neither the first nor the last example of my ability to misunderstand any number of things. So, you may well be right. What I may have misunderstood was your point. I assumed you were labeling me a crypto-verificationist and implying that I shouldn't get too cozy with the logical positivists. I wanted to emphatically suggest that, even if I were (which I'm not), my end of this particular discussion wouldn't change that much.

You made no argument against Pragmatism at all,

Fair enough.

neither do I think such an argument CAN be made.

I'm not as sanguine about that.

In fact it seems to me that Pragmatism, now well over a hundred years old, is at the basis of virtually everything which has come after it, and is arguably THE predominant point of view since modernism died, and you offer no substitute.

The substitute I offer is the very one you deny: that truth is found, not made. (A good distinction, that; thanks.) There are truths that exist independently of human cognition and/or linguistic instantiation.

I'm also not sure how establishing that Pragmatism is just over a hundred years old lends the view credibility. In the scheme of things, that's not so long. Pragmatism, as you're using it, may well be a more useful conception of reality, but it is not so just because it's lasted for a sliver of time.

In fact, Pragmatism does offer a "verificationist" technique for religious experience- see William James.

Can you narrow it down?

You can argue that what is unknowable somehow has a truth value until the cows come home, but frankly I don't even understand why you are so driven to do so.

I don't grant that the propositions we're discussing are inherently unknowable. That's the real disconnect between us at this point. We've been down this road before, I'm sure. If your "entire point is that there was no such camera," as you wrote, my response is: What if there were such a camera? How would your response change?

You are fighting an uphill battle against the history of philosophy here, my friend.

These things are cyclical, m. I'll grant your one hundred years and raise you what came before. Western philosophy may well self-correct, given time.

As I have said before, when God is a human, humanism becomes theology.

I get that Mormons aren't Christian, m. :fool:

And THAT is what you are fighting against here. I think you need some better arguments.

If you can find and cite instances of your own church leaders arguing in the manner you do about the relevant historical proposition(s), I'll attempt to weigh such arguments appropriately.

What I've found, however, is that your own leaders have a view of truth claims that is very similar to my own.

Hinckley, of course, for one.

Or, maybe you're ahead of the official curve. On the vanguard.

CoC, here we come!

Best.

cks

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There are truths that exist independently of human cognition and/or linguistic instantiation.

I would definitely like to explore this if you are game. Please tell me how there can be multiple "truths" which cannot (or are not) stated in language?

Where are they? I don't see them, and we can't talk about them.

Honestly, I think you will find, if you think about it for a bit, that that assertion is absurd.

Can we count these truths? Oh wait- then we would have to "instantiate" them in language wouldn't we? Can you tell me what 1- I will settle for 1- IS?

Oh no- wait- then we have the same problem.

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I would definitely like to explore this if you are game. Please tell me how there can be multiple "truths" which cannot (or are not) stated in language?

Where are they? I don't see them, and we can't talk about them.

Honestly, I think you will find, if you think about it for a bit, that that assertion is absurd.

I know you believe that's the trump card, m. But, since I don't grant that there are no actual truths that haven't been stated in language--you know, since I'm a Correspondence guy--I don't find your denial very compelling.

Can we count these truths? Oh wait- then we would have to "instantiate" them in language wouldn't we? Can you tell me what 1- I will settle for 1- IS?

See above. But you're collapsing truths into claims about truth. Or, in the parlance, you're collapsing propositions into sentences.

I'm not suggesting that I can respond to you on a messageboard, in language, in such a way that you are, somehow, not approached by me in language. That's a given.

But, of course, I believe language is merely a conduit of truth, not its creator. That you collapse truths into truth claims suggests, to me, a failure of imagination on your part, not a revelation of how things really are.

I respond to you (on occasion) because we have a history, it's interesting and fun; you push me. I like it.

But I don't, for a moment, take your approach to such issues to be normative for Mormonism. Your pragmatism, as it relates to Mormon truth claims, is idiosyncratic. Your own thing. It's not indicative or reflective of how Mormon leaders think or talk about such things. I'd go further and suggest that you're out of step with not only your leadership but with the rank-and-file, to boot.

Which is just fine.

I'd just reiterate: "What I've found, however, is that your own leaders have a view of truth claims that is very similar to my own."

Do you disagree?

But, let's take a distinctively Mormon example: the "burning in the bosom" experienced by some pursuant to Moroni's promise.

Do you believe that the beneficiaries of the efficacy of Moroni's promise anent BoM don't really know BoM is true until they formulate a linguistic narrative or response to that prior, non-linguistic, experience?

And that the later, responsive, linguistic expression actually makes BoM true for them, whereas the prior, non-linguistic experience carried no truth value whatsoever?

None of your missionaries and none of your leaders operate with that sort of epistemology.

Yours is an idiosyncratic view that doesn't, and frankly shouldn't, get much traction, m.

The belief that our language merely corresponds, or fails to correspond, to truths that predate it is pretty much built in to our experience. That's the assumed position. With good reason, I think.

You're kicking against the pricks, here.

Wait, I'm not a prick. Kicking against something, though.

Best.

cks

Edited by cksalmon
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I know you believe that's the trump card, m. But, since I don't grant that there are no actual truths that haven't been stated in language--you know, since I'm a Correspondence guy--I don't find your denial very compelling.

See above. But you're collapsing truths into claims about truth. Or, in the parlance, you're collapsing propositions into sentences.

I'm not suggesting that I can respond to you on a messageboard, in language, in such a way that you are, somehow, not approached by me in language. That's a given.

But, of course, I believe language is merely a conduit of truth, not its creator. That you collapse truths into truth claims suggests, to me, a failure of imagination on your part, not a revelation of how things really are.

I respond to you (on occasion) because we have a history, it's interesting and fun; you push me. I like it.

But I don't, for a moment, take your approach to such issues to be normative for Mormonism. Your pragmatism, as it relates to Mormon truth claims, is idiosyncratic. Your own thing. It's not indicative or reflective of how Mormon leaders think or talk about such things. I'd go further and suggest that you're out of step with not only your leadership but with the rank-and-file, to boot.

Which is just fine.

I'd just reiterate: "What I've found, however, is that your own leaders have a view of truth claims that is very similar to my own."

Do you disagree?

But, let's take a distinctively Mormon example: the "burning in the bosom" experienced by some pursuant to Moroni's promise.

Do you believe that the beneficiaries of the efficacy of Moroni's promise anent BoM don't really know BoM is true until they formulate a linguistic narrative or response to that prior, non-linguistic, experience?

And that the later, responsive, linguistic expression actually makes BoM true for them, whereas the prior, non-linguistic experience carried no truth value whatsoever?

None of your missionaries and none of your leaders operate with that sort of epistemology.

Yours is an idiosyncratic view that doesn't, and frankly shouldn't, get much traction, m.

The belief that our language merely corresponds, or fails to correspond, to truths that predate it is pretty much built in to our experience. That's the assumed position. With good reason, I think.

You're kicking against the pricks, here.

Wait, I'm not a prick. Kicking against something, though.

Best.

cks

Well I think you are wrong about Pragmatism, I am seeing it popping up all over the place recently and there are certainly BYU philosophy professors and such who recognize the links as well.

http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/journal_of_speculative_philosophy/v013/13.2paulsen.html

http://mormonmatters.org/2012/06/07/102-103-pragmatism-william-james-and-mormon-sensibilities/

http://www.sethpayne.com/?p=824

http://www.libertypages.com/cgw/ (Page down to the article on Peirce)

http://www.juvenileinstructor.org/pragmatizing-mormonism-and-baptizing-william-james-or-was-william-james-a-closet-mormon-and-joseph-smith-a-proto-pragmatist-part-i-on-william-james-and-mormonism/

And these are just a few- so I am not quite so "idiosyncratic" as you might think.

As fate would have it, we are discussing just these topics on another thread and I have made a LOT of comments there, starting with this one:

When you understand that every statement in language is metaphor, it doesn't much matter if we call it "science" or "religion", it is still all myths of one type or another.

Language is not real- it is not even a good "picture" of reality. After all, pictures may be worth a thousand words but being there is worth a million.

After all, why do people want to see the Eiffel Tower or Disneyland if they could just read about it all in a book and have it be the same?

Even scientific descriptions are just descriptions, and poorly written at that because they don't even TRY to capture the entire experience.

As William James would say, there is quite a difference between reading a menu and eating a steak.

I think, if you are game, it would be interesting for you to try to defend the correspondence theory over there. It certainly would be easier to go that way if you want to keep on discussing this rather than repeating all I said there!

The classic correspondence problem is of course that there is no way of knowing if our "sense data" correspond to "reality" if indeed we can never get beyond sense data to see reality.

Suppose we all wore rose-colored glasses- you are now trying to describe a reality which is not rose-colored outside of our sense data which no one has seen and which supposedly all our true statements "correspond" to.

If we can never get "outside" of sense data, we cannot check to see if our sense data correctly corresponds to a reality we cannot see without sense data.

It's a catch 22 and a circular argument. But I would suggest you respond on the other thread after you have read others who put forth a similar response to mine.

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Well I think you are wrong about Pragmatism, I am seeing it popping up all over the place recently and there are certainly BYU philosophy professors and such who recognize the links as well.

http://muse.jhu.edu/...3.2paulsen.html

Paulsen? Really? Okay. I'll look into it.

Let me know when BYU philosphy profs are calling the shots, though, m. My point stands. I ask for a hierarchical rationale; you give me Seth Payne, et al. Like the guy, sure; a revolution in LDS epistemology? Not so much.

And these are just a few- so I am not quite so "idiosyncratic" as you might think.

Of course you are, m. Same for them.

Any version of pragmatism anent Mormon truth claims that explicitly or implicitly rejects Correspondence is NueWave. That's just a given, friend.

You guys are kicking against the pricks of your elders.

As fate would have it, we are discussing just these topics on another thread and I have made a LOT of comments there, starting with this one:

I think, if you are game, it would be interesting for you to try to defend the correspondence theory over there. It certainly would be easier to go that way if you want to keep on discussing this rather than repeating all I said there!

The classic correspondence problem is of course that there is no way of knowing if our "sense data" correspond to "reality" if indeed we can never get beyond sense data to see reality.

Suppose we all wore rose-colored glasses- you are now trying to describe a reality which is not rose-colored outside of our sense data which no one has seen and which supposedly all our true statements "correspond" to.

If we can never get "outside" of sense data, we cannot check to see if our sense data correctly corresponds to a reality we cannot see without sense data.

It's a catch 22 and a circular argument. But I would suggest you respond on the other thread after you have read others who put forth a similar response to mine.

I'll look, as time allows, m. May be awhile.

Let me prognosticate for a sec.

You and your ilk are a generation away from believing in nothing at all.

Give me some Mormons who believe that truth predates language. That's the sort of Mormon that I'll have to deal with in the future. You know: folks who believe in Mormonism. Your kind will fade into oblivion.

You're two or three steps away from CoC, PCUSA, UMC, et al.

Like it! Love it!

cks

PS. M, what is your position on "gay marriage?" What is your position on abortion?

Is it all language, all the way down?

What's William James's position regarding abortion on demand in America?

Just a language game?

Seriously: if we're to move forward, I'd like to know your position re: the unborn. Let's get practical.

Edited by cksalmon
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Abortion is murder and gay marriage an abomination.

Clear enough for you? You have no understanding of my position at all. If those principles were generalized for all humanity, there would BE no humanity. Read the Didache- those represent the Way of Death.

That's ok- we needn't carry on if you don't want to discuss correspondence.

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I ask for a hierarchical rationale; you give me Seth Payne, et al. Like the guy, sure; a revolution in LDS epistemology? Not so much.

And here I thought I was a revolutionary. :)

Instead, I'm just a dope with a blog because my lovely wife gets tired of hearing me drone on and on and on......

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And here I thought I was a revolutionary. :)

Instead, I'm just a dope with a blog because my lovely wife gets tired of hearing me drone on and on and on......

:lol:

You mean I'm not the only one?? Hey I've got 4 adult kids AND a wife that are tired of hearing me pontificate on every possible subject....... :vava:

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