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The Grant Hardy Inflection Point for Book of Mormon Historicity


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In the discussion on Book of Mormon evidences, JohnnieCake made the following comment:

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Against: that FAIRMORMON has speakers at their conference asking the question: "Can members view the Book of Mormon as non historical and still be exalted?"   That this question is even being asked by church apologists does not bode well for the books claims.  It's a sign that the traditional worldview is losing out to the nuanced view.

Which gets me wondering if we have underestimated the meaning of that question being raised (and not categorically rejected) in an LDS apologetics conference.

Was it only courtesy that kept the crowd from booing Hardy off the stage?  Where are the rebuttals and denunciations?  When did harboring such possibilities become acceptable (and don't get me wrong, I think it is a monumentally good thing for such ideas to become acceptable among LDS)?

Because as countless apologists have pointed out in the past, if the Book of Mormon is in fact "non historical" and Lehi, Nephi, Alma, Amulek and Mormon and Moroni weren't actual, living, breathing humans who lived in the New World centuries ago and lived as recorded in The Book of Mormon, then we have effectively dropped a nuclear bomb on the story and claims of Joseph Smith.  Isn't the collateral damage just too great for such a possibility to be countenanced?

If not, why not.  And if so, why does it appear that his comment has been accepted by LDS defenders and apologists?  Or is it just too early, and are the defenders of historicity sharpening their "swords" and preparing their "horses" for battle?

Edited by cinepro
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24 minutes ago, cinepro said:

In the discussion on Book of Mormon evidences, JohnnieCake made the following comment:

Which gets me wondering if we have underestimated the meaning of that question being raised (and not categorically rejected) in an LDS apologetics conference.

Was it only courtesy that kept the crowd from booing Hardy off the stage?  Where are the rebuttals and denunciations?  When did harboring such possibilities become acceptable (and don't get me wrong, I think it is a monumentally good thing for such ideas to become acceptable among LDS)?

Because as countless apologists have pointed out in the past, if the Book of Mormon is in fact "non historical" and Lehi, Nephi, Alma, Amulek and Mormon and Moroni weren't actual, living, breathing humans who lived in the New World centuries ago and lived as recorded in The Book of Mormon, then we have effectively dropped a nuclear bomb on the story and claims of Joseph Smith.  Isn't the collateral damage just too great for such a possibility to be countenanced?

If not, why not.  And if so, why does it appear that his comment has been accepted by LDS defenders and apologists?  Or is it just too early, and are the defenders of historicity sharpening their "swords" and preparing their "horses" for battle?

I don't know when or how we've gotten here, but it's an interesting place.  How did the BoA become inspired writings due to the catalyst of randomly bought Egyptian papyri (which Joseph allegedly deemed to be writings of Joseph and Abraham)? 

How is it we can consider the question of whether the priesthood ban was established by revelation or not?  Why can we ask whether polygamy was inspired or was Joseph's mistake?  I don't know but us cafeteria Mormons who are relegated to be internet Mormons as opposed to chapel ones, and are condemned as liberal have sure made some impacts.  Now I'm thinking someone chimes in describing how such tolerances have been Satan's subtle wins, infiltrating the Church. 

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2 hours ago, cinepro said:

Was it only courtesy that kept the crowd from booing Hardy off the stage? 

I think what Lou Midgely has often described as "Mormon nice" is a big factor. Assuming for the sake of argument that Hardy's address was as monumental and "paradigm-shifting" (I hate buzzwords) as many think it was --- and that many in the audience had profound internal reactions against it --- it is simply not in our nature as a people to act as a peanut galley, issue forth catcalls and boos, etc. Even if we personally have strong negative reactions to what is presented. 

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Where are the rebuttals and denunciations?

I think those are coming out or will come out as more "non-literal" beliefs about scripture become more regularly taught by more prominent people. If it ever gathers momentum in Mormondom. But, rebuttals and denunciations will be done in a very non-Jerry Springer way.  

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Because as countless apologists have pointed out in the past, if the Book of Mormon is in fact "non historical" and Lehi, Nephi, Alma, Amulek and Mormon and Moroni weren't actual, living, breathing humans who lived in the New World centuries ago and lived as recorded in The Book of Mormon, then we have effectively dropped a nuclear bomb on the story and claims of Joseph Smith.  Isn't the collateral damage just too great for such a possibility to be countenanced?

I think so, but I'm also charitable and welcoming to those who do think this way but, for various reasons, want to remain part of mainstream Mormonism. I fight against views like this, if it can properly be called "fighting," within my sphere of influence (and I'm pretty influential within that sphere), rather than trying to seize a bully-pulpit and make a scene. 

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If not, why not.  And if so, why does it appear that his comment has been accepted by LDS defenders and apologists?

It hasn't been accepted by me, and I'm sure there are others. I think it would be a sad day if it ever took over as the dominant view in the Church. I mean, it's one thing to have as an option for people who are struggling. It wouldn't work for me, but if it works for some, that's one thing. It's entirely another if the majority of the Church jettisons literal belief in people, places, and events in scripture. I think the Church would lose its vitality and attraction in that case. Why bother with Mormonism if it's just like the other branches of Christianity that allegorize everything and soft-pedal literal belief? I don't think many would waste their time --- especially not those who are seeking. And in my experience, the seekers are the people who are most inclined to have a literal worldview of scripture.

 

Edited by rongo
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1 minute ago, rongo said:

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A few thoughts:

1. I think the "Inspired Fiction" / "Pious Fraud" theories are neither widely known nor widely accepted amongst observant Latter-day Saints.  Their influence appears more significant than they are because these theories are frequently discussed in online fora such as this, and also in venues like FAIR.  

2. I think the LDS Church has traditionally been more concerned with orthopraxy than orthodoxy.  Consider this well-known quote from Joseph Smith:

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“I did not like the old man being called up for erring in doctrine. It looks too much like the Methodist, and not like the Latter-day Saints. Methodists have creeds which a man must believe or be asked out of their church. I want the liberty of thinking and believing as I please. It feels so good not to be trammeled. It does not prove that a man is not a good man because he errs in doctrine.”

— Joseph Smith, History of the Church, 5:340

Or this one from Elder Holland:

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“In this Church there is an enormous amount of room—and scriptural commandment—for studying and learning, for comparing and considering, for discussion and awaiting further revelation. We all learn ‘line upon line, precept upon precept,’ with the goal being authentic religious faith informing genuine Christlike living. In this there is no place for coercion or manipulation, no place for intimidation or hypocrisy.”

– Jeffrey R. Holland, “A Prayer for the Children,” Ensign, May 2003

Or this one, also from Elder Holland:

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“I think you’d be as aware as I am that that we have many people who are members of the church who do not have some burning conviction as to [the origins of the Book of Mormon], who have some other feeling about it that is not as committed to foundational statements and the premises of Mormonism. But we’re not going to invite somebody out of the church over that any more than we would anything else about degrees of belief or steps of hope or steps of conviction. … We would say: 'This is the way I see it, and this is the faith I have; this is the foundation on which I’m going forward. If I can help you work toward that I’d be glad to, but I don’t love you less; I don’t distance you more; I don’t say you’re unacceptable to me as a person or even as a Latter-day Saint if you can’t make that step or move to the beat of that drum.' … We really don’t want to sound smug. We don’t want to seem uncompromising and insensitive.”

3. I think there are limits as to how liberally we can construe the doctrines of the Church.  I think perhaps the three primary limitations are:

  • A) the proximity of the teaching to the "core" teachings of the Church, 
  • B) how far the individual who holds "unorthodox" views goes in terms of persuading others in the Church to accept those views, and
  • C) whether the individual sets himself/herself up as a voice of authority contrary and superior to that of the Brethren.

Amasa Lyman is a good example.  While serving as an apostle and as a member of the presidency of the Church's European Mission, he "preached a sermon in Dundee, Scotland, which all but denied the reality of and the necessity for the atonement of Jesus Christ," a concept he continued to preach years later even after being corrected and after he apologized for it.  He was subsequently released as an apostle, and within a few years was affiliating with an apostate sect, and was then excommunicated (his membership and status as an apostle were posthumously reinstated).

A more recent example would be Denver Snuffer.  An ancient ancient example would be Korihor.  

Not all "heterodox" viewpoints are created equal. Some points of doctrine are open to some fairly broad interpretation. Latter-day Saints hold all sorts of viewpoints about things like the scope of Noah's flood, evolution, and so on. I think about such things it's hard to claim there are orthodox/heterodox positions, largely because we presently lack sufficient light and knowledge to be able to definitively state the scope of the flood, or the role (or lack thereof) of evolution in the creative process and/or the development of man, and so on.

There are points of doctrine, however, that are so important that substantially deviating from them (and encouraging others to join you) may constitute actionable "apostasy" (defined by the Church as "1, repeatedly act{ing} in clear, open and deliberate public opposition to the Church or its leaders; or 2, persist{ing} in teaching as Church doctrine information that is not Church doctrine after being corrected by their bishops or higher authority").

4. We are repeatedly commanded to not preach or accept false doctrine:

  • Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you: Deut. 4:2 . ( Deut. 12:32 ; Prov. 30:6 ; Rev. 22:18–19 . )
  • Because with lies ye have made the heart of the righteous sad.  Ezek. 13:22.
  • If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.  Gal. 1:9.
  • But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.  2 Pet. 2:1.
  • Yea, and there shall be many which shall teach after this manner, false and vain and foolish doctrines, and shall be puffed up in their hearts, and shall seek deep to hide their counsels from the Lord; and their works shall be in the dark.  2 Nephi 28:9.
  • Because of pride, and because of false teachers, and false doctrine, their churches have become corrupted, and their churches are lifted up; because of pride they are puffed up.  2 Nephi 28:12.
  • And it came to pass that he began to preach among the people, and to declare unto them that there should be no Christ. And he preached many things which were flattering unto the people; and this he did that he might overthrow the doctrine of Christ.  Jac. 7:2.
  • Nevertheless, this did not put an end to the spreading of priestcraft through the land; for there were many who loved the vain things of the world, and they went forth preaching false doctrines; and this they did for the sake of riches and honor.  Alma 1:16.
  • That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive.  Eph. 4:14.

5. As for concern about the potential perils involved in accepting the "Inspired Fiction" and/or "Pious Fraud" theories, there is no pat answer there.  I think we can be saved despite having erred on all sorts of doctrine.  We are supposed to have faith in and a testimony of God, the Eternal Father, His Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost.  We are also supposed to have a testimony of the Restored Gospel.  Most everything else is up for grabs.  

Thanks,

-Smac

Edited by smac97
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2 hours ago, cinepro said:

Because as countless apologists have pointed out in the past, if the Book of Mormon is in fact "non historical" and Lehi, Nephi, Alma, Amulek and Mormon and Moroni weren't actual, living, breathing humans who lived in the New World centuries ago and lived as recorded in The Book of Mormon, then we have effectively dropped a nuclear bomb on the story and claims of Joseph Smith.

If the LDS Presidency ever made this claim publicly, like in a Proclamation, I suspect the church would collapse overnight due
to a massive number of defections.  Depending on the stance of the Community of Christ, they would probably become the
largest Mormon denomination.

Jim

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1 hour ago, Kevin Christensen said:

It's not as though it's a shocklingly new proposition.  Back in 1995, I said this in that bastion of apologetics, Review of Books on the Book of Mormon:

http://publications.mi.byu.edu/fullscreen/?pub=1436&index=8

I seem not to have shocked anyone at the time, nor was I pilloried.  I said similar things in Sunstone in 2005.  There is a difference though, between a person finding grounds for attaching themselves to the LDS community, finding a particular portion of the word and exercising a particle of belief there, and redefining the community.

FWIW

Kevin Christensen

Canonsburg, PA

 

Is there any reason to think anyone really ran with what you were saying in '95?  I'm curious if others were saying it too or thinking it.  Or is this an isolated incident that made you just way ahead of your time. 

As we all know the notion that the book is not historical has been tied to not accepting it as scripture for a long time. 

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I would love for it to have more meaning.  But I think Grant Hardy's statement and the subsequent approval or absence of critique by other well known apologists could be pretty innocuous.  None of them are endorsing inspired fiction model.  A misunderstanding or even lack of belief certain historical or doctrinal points wouldn't be grounds for disqualification of temple recommend (which I guess we could equate to Dr. Hardy's "saving faith"), as long as belief in the core principles and obedience was there.  

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1 hour ago, churchistrue said:

I would love for it to have more meaning.  But I think Grant Hardy's statement and the subsequent approval or absence of critique by other well known apologists could be pretty innocuous.  None of them are endorsing inspired fiction model.  A misunderstanding or even lack of belief certain historical or doctrinal points wouldn't be grounds for disqualification of temple recommend (which I guess we could equate to Dr. Hardy's "saving faith"), as long as belief in the core principles and obedience was there.  

I agree with your general sentiment.  But for me, I would have a hard time reconciling A) a rejection of the Church's teachings on the origins of The Book of Mormon (that it is a translation of an ancient record of some of the ancient inhabitants of the Americas) in favor of the "Inspired Fiction / Pious Fraud" theories, and B) affirmatively answering in a TR interview that I have "a testimony of the restoration of the gospel in these the latter days."  In my view, these theories require the rejection of way too much of what we understand to be the Restored Gospel.

I would also have a difficult time reconciling acceptance of the "Inspired Fiction / Pious Fraud" theories with the TR question about whether I "support, affiliate with, or agree with any group or individual whose teachings or practices are contrary to or oppose those accepted by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints."  I don't see how the "Inspired Fiction / Pious Fraud" theories could be characterized as anything but "teachings ... {which} are contrary to or oppose those accepted by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints."

But again, that's just for me.  

Thanks,

-Smac

Edited by smac97
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51 minutes ago, smac97 said:

I agree with your general sentiment.  But for me, I would have a hard time reconciling A) a rejection of the Church's teachings on the origins of The Book of Mormon (that it is a translation of an ancient record of some of the ancient inhabitants of the Americas) in favor of the "Inspired Fiction / Pious Fraud" theories, and B) affirmatively answering in a TR interview that I have "a testimony of the restoration of the gospel in these the latter days."  In my view, these theories require the rejection of way too much of what we understand to be the Restored Gospel.

I would also have a difficult time reconciling acceptance of the "Inspired Fiction / Pious Fraud" theories with the TR question about whether I "support, affiliate with, or agree with any group or individual whose teachings or practices are contrary to or oppose those accepted by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints."  I don't see how the "Inspired Fiction / Pious Fraud" theories could be characterized as anything but "teachings ... {which} are contrary to or oppose those accepted by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints."

But again, that's just for me.  

Thanks,

-Smac

Yeah, we've been through this before, and I disagree.  I don't believe the BOM is historical and have absolutely no issues with those questions from the TR interview.

 

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16 hours ago, stemelbow said:

Is there any reason to think anyone really ran with what you were saying in '95?  I'm curious if others were saying it too or thinking it.  Or is this an isolated incident that made you just way ahead of your time. 

As we all know the notion that the book is not historical has been tied to not accepting it as scripture for a long time. 

The group formerly known as RLDS moved that direction, starting in the 60s and some essays in Courage and some "position" papers, based on scholarship that at this remove strikes me as quaint and naive.  The institutional movement involved suppressing and curtailing voices in their FARMS equivalent. Midgley wrote some essays on that in the JBMS and the Review. 

Then there was  Anthony Hutchingson's essay in New Approaches in 1993, "The Word of God is Enough" advocated moving in that direction.  Long before that was McMurrin who famously did not accept the Book of Mormon as a translation, and the Swearing Elders in the LDS church 50s and 60s.  McMurrin also famously had other reasons for staying LDS.

There was Ostler's 1987 Dialogue article on the Expansion theory, but even those who rejected that notion accept Ostler as a welcome member.  

And Sunstone all to regularly in my view, puts out various essays arguing against historicity for a variety of reasons from a variety of authors, citing spirit writing, the Roberts study, populations issues, DNA, Vogel and Metcalfe, Hutchinson, the RLDS Russell, and like thinkers.  Even their chosen representative of their uniquely neutral, balanced and objective position, John Charles Duffy, admitted that “As someone who does not believe in the historicity of the Book of Mormon, I dismiss a priori much of the work FARMS scholars have done around the book.”

And Signature books has conspicuously published a range of authors argue against historicity, from The Word of God, to New Approaches, American Apocrypha, and Palmer and Mark Thomas's Digging in Cumorah.  Not every author in those books rejects the Book of Mormon as scripture, Hutchinson and Thomas, for instance.

So far as long as I've been alive, and probably longer, there have been active LDS people who have discarded or opposed historicity to one degree or another, and who for other reasons, other "portions of the word" have kept in the community.   So the idea that it represents new thinking pays little attention to history.  And it's important, I think, not to forget the history Nibley discusses in his essays on Sophic and Mantic, and recent RLDS/Community of Christ history, as well as the past 100 years of LDS social history, when thinking about the issue, and the consequences of both institutional and personal choices.

FWIW

Kevin Christensen

Bethel Park, PA

Edited by Kevin Christensen
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38 minutes ago, rongo said:
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1. I think the "Inspired Fiction" / "Pious Fraud" theories are neither widely known nor widely accepted amongst observant Latter-day Saints.  

Hardy wasn't advocating the Book of Mormon as inspired fiction, and he made it clear that he personally literally believes many of the people, places, and events in the scriptures are real. He was simply saying that, however one resolves it in his mind, if one doesn't believe in the literal reality of certain scriptural things, but still has faith in the "laws and ordinances of the gospel," then that is a good thing.

I don't disagree with that, as far as it goes, but I also don't think that this view should be encouraged wholesale as a good view for the Church at large. On a case-by-case basis, if people really want to stay and make it work, then I want them to stay and make it work, too. I think this is what he was saying.

I can respect that.

23 minutes ago, churchistrue said:

Yeah, we've been through this before, and I disagree.  I don't believe the BOM is historical and have absolutely no issues with those questions from the TR interview.

I acknowledge that, which is why I took pains to clarify that I limit my position on this issue to myself.

I would much rather have you in the Church and rejecting the historicity of The Book of Mormon than out of the Church.  I would also extend to you every measure of friendship and fellowship.

Thanks,

-Smac

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I believe there is a time/place to demonstrate a wide flexibility when welcoming members of various degrees of faith.  It matters not to me, in this context, whether an individual believes in historicity of the Book of Mormon or not, or any of a wide range of things.

The context of truth, and correct doctrine then I have a major issue with anyone that attempts to teach heresy as if it was truth.  They have no place in our teachings because they are heretical.  

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I have brought this up a number of times.  The Book of Mormon as a Modern Expansion of an Ancient Document by Blake Ostler in 1987 Dialogue.  Heard him speak about the theory in a podcast one year ago.  He confirmed that he thinks it is the best model and that he believes in the BOM as literal history.  As I read it, the theory implies there are some modern anachronisms.  It has been called a middle way.  In the middle there are shades how much was the literal history.  Having discussed this a number of years ago with some famous unnamed apologists, the sticking point for them is whether there were plates or not.  They could accept some modern elements and some middle ground, but not so much with the plates being real.  Avoiding  the word fraud also helps.  

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5 hours ago, juliann said:

Oh, no. Hardy was not suggesting this viewpoint be adopted.  He doesn't adhere to it himself. It was a "live and let live" suggestion. He was hardly preaching that these viewpoints be adopted by all. Hardy received long applause and some standing ovations, what denunciations were you expecting and from who? And why?  

What I am learning from comments here is that there is a huge bias wrapped around stereotypes that leaves a lot of us with a big "huh?"  It almost reminds me of a Rip Van Winkle event. Where have you guys been?

I got a thread ban the last time I replied to one of your posts, juliann.  Hoping it goes better this time...

;0)

But seriously, don't you think Hardy's just being careful?  Who wouldn't in his shoes!  And doesn't this change everything, what cinepro calls "inflection point?"  Take the first question LDS bishop's ask to establish temple worthiness - "do you have a firm testimony of the restored gospel?"  What does that even mean now?  It's wide open.  Even I could have justified a "yes" answer back in the day using Hardy's views.  Relationships have been broken over inability to get a temple recommend for marriage--and yes I know.  (But God is sovereign, I now know that now too.  And He works things for the best.)

Hardy's words are a game-changer, IMO

--Erik 

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14 hours ago, cinepro said:

In the discussion on Book of Mormon evidences, JohnnieCake made the following comment:

Which gets me wondering if we have underestimated the meaning of that question being raised (and not categorically rejected) in an LDS apologetics conference.

Was it only courtesy that kept the crowd from booing Hardy off the stage?  Where are the rebuttals and denunciations?  When did harboring such possibilities become acceptable (and don't get me wrong, I think it is a monumentally good thing for such ideas to become acceptable among LDS)?

Because as countless apologists have pointed out in the past, if the Book of Mormon is in fact "non historical" and Lehi, Nephi, Alma, Amulek and Mormon and Moroni weren't actual, living, breathing humans who lived in the New World centuries ago and lived as recorded in The Book of Mormon, then we have effectively dropped a nuclear bomb on the story and claims of Joseph Smith.  Isn't the collateral damage just too great for such a possibility to be countenanced?

If not, why not.  And if so, why does it appear that his comment has been accepted by LDS defenders and apologists?  Or is it just too early, and are the defenders of historicity sharpening their "swords" and preparing their "horses" for battle?

Ridiculous, cinepro.  Just because I and other scholars are comfortable sharing the pews with those who don't believe in BofM historicity (Elder Holland among those displaying such a kindly attitude) doesn't mean that we are on the cusp of such an absurdity, but rather that we are not narrow, totalitarian dogmatists.  Being capacious and accepting of a very broad set of attitudes in a church setting does not mean that one is any less certain of the historicity of the Book of Mormon.  Indeed, I would say that it is evidence of the ever greater solidity of the scholarly position on historicity.  We have nothing to fear from people who simply don't know what they are talking about, and who do not care to closely read the text.

You foolishly ask "Was it only courtesy that kept the crowd from booing Hardy off the stage," when his address was one of the most popular at that conference -- and justifiably so.  Perhaps you need to reread the transcript, or to listen to it again (if you actually saw it and read it once so far).

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15 hours ago, Kevin Christensen said:

The group formerly known as RLDS moved that direction, starting in the 60s and some essays in Courage and some "position" papers, based on scholarship that at this remove strikes me as quaint and naive.  The institutional movement involved suppressing and curtailing voices in their FARMS equivalent. Midgley wrote some essays on that in the JBMS and the Review. 

Then there was  Anthony Hutchingson's essay in New Approaches in 1993, "The Word of God is Enough" advocated moving in that direction.  Long before that was McMurrin who famously did not accept the Book of Mormon as a translation, and the Swearing Elders in the LDS church 50s and 60s.  McMurrin also famously had other reasons for staying LDS.

There was Ostler's 1987 Dialogue article on the Expansion theory, but even those who rejected that notion accept Ostler as a welcome member.  

And Sunstone all to regularly in my view, puts out various essays arguing against historicity for a variety of reasons from a variety of authors, citing spirit writing, the Roberts study, populations issues, DNA, Vogel and Metcalfe, Hutchinson, the RLDS Russell, and like thinkers.  Even their chosen representative of their uniquely neutral, balanced and objective position, John Charles Duffy, admitted that “As someone who does not believe in the historicity of the Book of Mormon, I dismiss a priori much of the work FARMS scholars have done around the book.”

And Signature books has conspicuously published a range of authors argue against historicity, from The Word of God, to New Approaches, American Apocrypha, and Palmer and Mark Thomas's Digging in Cumorah.  Not every author in those books rejects the Book of Mormon as scripture, Hutchinson and Thomas, for instance.

So far as long as I've been alive, and probably longer, there have been active LDS people who have discarded or opposed historicity to one degree or another, and who for other reasons, other "portions of the word" have kept in the community.   So the idea that it represents new thinking pays little attention to history.  And it's important, I think, not to forget the history Nibley discusses in his essays on Sophic and Mantic, and recent RLDS/Community of Christ history, as well as the past 100 years of LDS social history, when thinking about the issue, and the consequences of both institutional and personal choices.

FWIW

Kevin Christensen

Bethel Park, PA

Thanks Kevin for suffering an answer to me.  I'm envious of your knowledge.

Quote

At the first meeting, McMurrin said he could see "the sheep and the goats separating right there at the table." Subsequent meetings attracted few sheep, and after surveying the billy goats at the second meeting, visiting professor Lowry Nelson said: "Well, this looks like a bunch of swearing elders."

https://heritage.utah.gov/history/uhg-slt-swearing-elders

There were some impressive people involved in this group. 

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20 hours ago, cinepro said:

If not, why not.  And if so, why does it appear that his comment has been accepted by LDS defenders and apologists?  Or is it just too early, and are the defenders of historicity sharpening their "swords" and preparing their "horses" for battle?

Perhaps you have my posts blocked.  From my first encounter with this view a decade ago ("Uncle Dale"), to recent posts in this very forum, I have responded with a very simple question.  And their response is silence.  

I don't attack with swords and horses, just asking a question, and allow them, with their silence, to refute that view.

Perhaps you should broaden your view of apologetics.

Edited by cdowis
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20 hours ago, cinepro said:

In the discussion on Book of Mormon evidences, JohnnieCake made the following comment:

Which gets me wondering if we have underestimated the meaning of that question being raised (and not categorically rejected) in an LDS apologetics conference.

Was it only courtesy that kept the crowd from booing Hardy off the stage?  Where are the rebuttals and denunciations?  When did harboring such possibilities become acceptable (and don't get me wrong, I think it is a monumentally good thing for such ideas to become acceptable among LDS)?

Because as countless apologists have pointed out in the past, if the Book of Mormon is in fact "non historical" and Lehi, Nephi, Alma, Amulek and Mormon and Moroni weren't actual, living, breathing humans who lived in the New World centuries ago and lived as recorded in The Book of Mormon, then we have effectively dropped a nuclear bomb on the story and claims of Joseph Smith.  Isn't the collateral damage just too great for such a possibility to be countenanced?

If not, why not.  And if so, why does it appear that his comment has been accepted by LDS defenders and apologists?  Or is it just too early, and are the defenders of historicity sharpening their "swords" and preparing their "horses" for battle?

I take the question as an invitation to self-reflect, to teach about not judging people for their beliefs on whether the book is historical or not (because as we all know, it is arguably is and isn’t historical, with the ramifications of each conclusion being purely subjective). This is evidenced by using the word exaltation, which challenges anyone taking an extreme position on another person's salvation on such a subjective matter. I would think a serious scholar wouldn’t consider judging another scholar’s faith on scholarly differences, let alone his exaltation.

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21 hours ago, stemelbow said:

Is there any reason to think anyone really ran with what you were saying in '95?  I'm curious if others were saying it too or thinking it.  Or is this an isolated incident that made you just way ahead of your time. 

As we all know the notion that the book is not historical has been tied to not accepting it as scripture for a long time. 

This notion was being preached in Sunstone symposia, MHA annual meetings, etc., for many years before the 1990s, and the scholars didn't bat an eyelash.  Most were already secure in their faith and well prepared to hear divergent voices.  The general LDS membership remained unaware of it, however, so that it is being discussed more widely now.  The only important change which may have impinged on that is the availability of the internet.

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10 hours ago, Robert F. Smith said:

Ridiculous, cinepro.  Just because I and other scholars are comfortable sharing the pews with those who don't believe in BofM historicity (Elder Holland among those displaying such a kindly attitude) doesn't mean that we are on the cusp of such an absurdity, but rather that we are not narrow, totalitarian dogmatists. 

Just to be clear, are you referring to this Elder Holland, or a different one...?

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None of these frankly pathetic answers [Spaulding Theory and View of the Hebrews Theory] for this book has ever withstood examination because

there is no other answer than the one Joseph gave as its young unlearned translator. In this I stand with my own great-grandfather, who said simply enough, “No wicked man could write such a book as this; and no good man would write it, unless it were true and he were commanded of God to do so.”10
I testify that one cannot come to full faith in this latter-day work—and thereby find the fullest measure of peace and comfort in these, our times—until he or she embraces the divinity of the Book of Mormon and the Lord Jesus Christ, of whom it testifies. If anyone is foolish enough or misled enough to reject 531 pages of a heretofore unknown text teeming with literary and Semitic complexity without honestly attempting to account for the origin of those pages—especially without accounting for their powerful witness of Jesus Christ and the profound spiritual impact that witness has had on what is now tens of millions of readers—if that is the case, then such a person, elect or otherwise, has been deceived; and if he or she leaves this Church, it must be done by crawling over or under or around the Book of Mormon to make that exit.

 

Edited by cinepro
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