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Curious To Know If An Apologtic Ever Defended Something And It Turned Out To Be False


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Well, there have certainly been some defensive argument put forward that I think are rather silly, but most respondents to their research and most critics do not.Virtually all apologetics is a matter of looking at the original documents and pointing out the deception.

The most common reason for a defense being wrong is because more information is discovered, but this affects both sides. We can only defend what we know, so it is not a matter of being wrong but rather a matter of responding the best we can with the information available. As more information comes out, it is necessary to change our position to incorporation the new data.

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Well, I don't think if there has been anything super solidly true or false. But some possible examples might be horses in the Americas (I think some apologists used to identify them with another animal, as they do with pigs, but that is not necessary any more considering there is some evidence now that horses never went extinct in the Americas), and certain geological models for the Book of Mormon (which are more of an issue of debate, people have different preferred models). This also might be the case with certain explanations of the Book of Abraham that didn't work out when the Papyrus was found (but others, such as the catalyst theory, and the theory of missing papyrus have gotten stronger).

So really, I'm sure there was an apologetic responses that would have worked in the past which there are better responses for now, but none of the issues have become one-way conversations, if you know what I mean. Old apologetic theories have fallen out of favor, and new apologetic theories have taken their place. I think you would also find a similar case with criticisms of the church; as some evidence comes out in favor of the church, old approaches are gotten rid of and new ones take their place.

In any case, yeah... you'd probably need to do some more research to find out such a case.

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For instance, Joseph Smith looking in a hat vs. the plates to translate.

Nah, this is something that's always been known (perhaps not among members, but among historians, I think so) and it actually is a very strong factor in the catalyst theory for the Book of Abraham, for instance. It also helps clear up some issues in thinking about the translation process and how it works (it's unlike any regular translation in process, as it wasn't done via language but via image, if I remember correctly).

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considering there is some evidence now that horses never went extinct in the Americas),

Can you please show this evidence to me? I would be very interested in it.

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Curious To Know If An Apologtic Ever Defended Something And It Turned Out To Be False

For instance, Joseph Smith looking in a hat vs. the plates to translate.

Yes, such things happen.

I recall Sandra Tanner disagreeing with her husband Jerald on the Salamander Letter. Jerald thought it a forgery. She maintained that it was authentic. After being arrested for murder, Mark Hoffman admitted that he had forged it. This is an example of honest differences of opinion, and there are many other examples of this sort of thing.

In the case you mention, where some people believe that Joseph looked at the plates to translate, and others believe that he looked at stone in a hat, it turns out that both may be correct -- but at different stages of the process. Before the Nephite interpreters/directors found with the plates were taken back by Moroni, they were apparently used (attached to the breastplate) like spectacles to look at the plates. One claim is that they hurt Joseph's eyes. How long that phase lasted is not known, but the stone in the hat began to be used later. Perhaps you have your own favorite examples.

Edited by Robert F. Smith
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Can you please show this evidence to me? I would be very interested in it.

I'll see if I can find it. It was from a thread ages ago... so I don't know if I can anymore =p. We'll see.

Zakuska was sort of like the person who knew alot on the horses issue... but he doesn't stop by here too much anymore =/.

EDIT: Wait, he was here today. Except his PM box is full =/. I'll leave a post on his profile and we'll see how it goes.

Edited by TAO
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I found one of them: http://www.mormondialogue.org/topic/54645-are-wild-horses-native-to-us-blm-view-challenged/page__hl__%2Bhorses+%2Bextinct

The article quoted, of course, doesn't actually take the position, but it includes a piece that Ray liked for his argument here: http://www.mormondialogue.org/topic/54059-horse-dna-the-spanish-mustangs-that-arent-related-to-the-spanish-horse/

I'll look for more.

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In the case you mention, where some people believe that Joseph looked at the plates to translate, and others believe that he looked at stone in a hat, it turns out that both may be correct -- but at different stages of the process. Before the Nephite interpreters/directors found with the plates were taken back by Moroni, they were apparently used (attached to the breastplate) like spectacles to look at the plates. One claim is that they hurt Joseph's eyes. How long that phase lasted is not known, but the stone in the hat began to be used later. Perhaps you have your own favorite examples.

I don't think that people realize that the process took a couple of shapes. The hat was one of them at one stage in the process. I think that people get caught up in the translation process when Joseph himself said very little about it. He would have been the best witness to the event. It is too bad that he wasn't more specific.

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For instance, Joseph Smith looking in a hat vs. the plates to translate.

To answer your heading question, i would imagine that they did get it wrong at times. They are just human beings like you. No one is perfect. Like many disciplines, ideas need to be rethought when new evidence comes in and new interpretations need to be presented. Experts do get it wrong especially when more evidence is discovered. .

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Ah, here is one of Zak's threads where he answers a CFR. He makes a small logical leap, but it also provides evidence for elephants which is pretty nice. There is also in this thread a pic of some horse cave paintings that were done far after the traditional age that horses were thought to be extinct at. Except one the links is broken now... and I think that was the good pic, so yeah. Oh yeah, and a nice curio in this thread too... wheels in MesoAmerica. Oh yes, and the Brea Tar Pits... I forgot to check that one, and I'm a bit skeptical... I live somewhat close by there, so I'll go check it out. Although the end of the thread tends to leave some doubt in some of Zak's sources, so it may be better to stick to the threads that I already posted.

Anyways, here's the thread: http://www.mormondialogue.org/topic/50256-horses-horses-where-are-the-horses/page__p__1208879040__hl__+horses%20+extinct#entry1208879040

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Also note, the issue as said in the threads, the issue on horses hasn't exactly undergone a scientific review process; so just be a bit careful with over-judging it's significance (although it'd be wonderful if the paradigm was re-adjusted; unlikely though).

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For instance, Joseph Smith looking in a hat vs. the plates to translate.

I don't believe the "science" on this one is, in fact settled- let alone proven false.

We know that the infamous "hat trick" was one of the ways in which Joseph translated.

We don't know that it was the only one.

As far as apologists go ("No generalization is worth a damn, including this one")- there's a reason we tend to be reticent.

I know I've been caught out on a number of things (though none come immediately to mind- probably creeping senility now that I've passed my fortieth birthday).

In reality, however, the sort of "things must be the way I interpret them" certitude is largely the province of critics of the Church- who insist that their interpretation of history is the only way things can have unfolded.

One would think that "reasonable doubt" would be more the province of the critic than the apologist, but the reverse is actually true.

There's simply too much that we don't knot to make Jovian pronouncements (complete with thunderbolts) a wise bet.

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A common one is the belief that polygamy was instituted to take care of the widows and single women due to the large amounts of men who had died. It is understandable why this occurs as it is partly true; even though the numbers of men and women were about equal according to the census in Utah, due to the larger number of "gentile" men (miners, among others) and the usual higher ratio of women participating fully in church activity as compared to men, it is likely that there was an imbalance of faithful temple ready women vs. faithful temple ready men. Plus a number of single female immigrants did marry into plural marriages due to the better economic status it gave them having come to Utah without father or husband or other family, a situation which generally led to extreme poverty in those days in most places.

I believe it was John Widtsoe who first pointed to the census as evidence that the claim was way overstated. At least it is the first place I encountered it and the earliest I remember (not saying much these days though). He was very clear there was only one reason that plural marriage was undertaken and that was because the Lord commanded it. And that is really the only explanation that anyone attempting to defend the Church should give as definite, though if they want to point to what plural marriage likely accomplished for the Church I do find that discussion quite interesting.

Edited by calmoriah
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I really worried this morning about posting this topic so late at night and that It may have come off wrong. But after reading your responses, was so relieved. Thanks for keeping it real for us folks needing answers to tough questions, and thanks for sharing your thoughts and experiences.

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When lodging in a home with multiple families and lots of noise sticking one's head in a hat to find a quiet dark place to contemplate doesn't seem so strange to me. :pirate:

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why me,

You wrote:

I don't think that people realize that the process took a couple of shapes. The hat was one of them at one stage in the process. I think that people get caught up in the translation process when Joseph himself said very little about it. He would have been the best witness to the event. It is too bad that he wasn't more specific.

Joseph wasn't just less specific than one might like. He expressly refused to answer questions about the translation process.

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Despite my attempt at humor I think the translation process was a fairly solemn and sacred one. It does not surprise me that Joseph did not throw out that particular pearl to be trampled by swine.

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It is hard for me to find an instance involving the translation of the Book of Mormon. But I do recall an instance where I was wrong.

Hoffman had produced the Salamander Letter. I was in a Bishopric with this other fellow who confided in me that it shook his testimony and he was having a hard time. I was rather surprised and said, "Why should that bother you? Martin Harris was a strange sort of guy and might, on any random day, say something rather bizarre. He is not here to correct the false impression he may have made and so why get upset because a rather peculiar, stubborn and superstitious man ONE TIME said something rather peculiar? Why not let the much larger bulk of things he said dominate? Why let one moment of human error make all the difference?"

This only slightly relieved his anxiety (or maybe did not relieve it all and he was just pretending!).

But I was certainly wrong. I had no idea that the letter was inauthentic. It never entered my mind that it might be -- not because of experts testifying that it was true, but because it never occurred to me that someone would stoop as low as Hoffman did. Such trickery never occurred to me. (I was however, much less a suspicious person than I am now -- Songs of Experience having gotten in the way of Songs of Innocence)

There may be other instances.

There have also been instances where I offered an apologetic argument, became disenchanted with that argument later on, and then with even more information, picked it up again as actually a pretty good answer. During the time that I was disenchanted with some idea, I might have said, "I was wrong" and then later regretted that admission.

I have been forever grateful in one instance where I made the right choice. On my mission, I baptized a black man. This was before the Priesthood was granted to all worthy male members. When I had to explain this to him before he was baptized, I explained some of the various theories including pre-existence and fence sitting and so on, but I concluded (and I believe somehow I was inspired to this as I had never said it before) "The truth is we do not know why things are this way but we hope and believe that someday the Priesthood will be extended to you also.".

Sometimes even flawed people can hear the Spirit and say the right things despite themselves, their supposed sophestry and all their reading and book knowledge -- I am walking proof of it.

Edited by CASteinman
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When lodging in a home with multiple families and lots of noise sticking one's head in a hat to find a quiet dark place to contemplate doesn't seem so strange to me. :pirate:

And it doesn't seem like the act of a man who is overly concerned about impressing people either. It seems a very practical, straightforward solution to a lighting issue.

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For instance, Joseph Smith looking in a hat vs. the plates to translate.

I am curious; has a critic ever used a criticized the Church and later found out it was false? Better yet, did they then stop using it?

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Regarding the hat, I don't believe this was actually the common method of translation. I think it is hugely over emphasized.

I believe two methods were more common than that -- direct revelation without any aids at all -- and early on, Urim and Thummim. I suspect the hat thing was rare -- maybe a day or so -- and an interim effort. It might even have been a period of challenge, testing and difficulty for Joseph Smith -- where he relied upon previous things that he had used in his more worldly days -- and gave up on it later as being unnecessary.

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By the way... what is an Apologtic? :diablo:

It's your evil twin!! No, sorry for the spelling, I've no excuse other than it was late and I was on my phone, my vision is bad, and there isn't a button to retract it. Which could be scary!

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