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The paradigm shift concerning the translation of the Book of Mormon


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21 hours ago, clarkgoble said:

Smoke signifies fire but isn't a human system. Philosophers debate whether mathematics is a human invented system or something inherent in the universe. Physicists regularly think the equations of matter as inherent to the universe. Perhaps the immediate symbols used are arbitrary, but there's an other level underneath where they aren't. 

I raise this because I think it a place where Rorty has problems. I think a more sophisticated consideration of semiotics changes how one views the arguments in say Mirrors of Nature he raises. My personal suspicion is that because Rorty tended to think in terms of language that the very question of whether a sign-system is arbitrary or not is predetermined. It's always arbitrary in a strong sense. I think you see this particularly in his critique of Heidegger by way of Wittgenstein where he thinks Heidegger is reifying language.

So it's less terminological than a question of how things work. It's important because I think philosophers since the language turn have tended to view things through the prism of human spoken language rather than signs. (I'd argue this is the basis of Derrida's critique of speech and thereby philosophy) To me this isn't a minor point but a place where much of contemporary philosophy - particularly analytic philosophy - runs aground.

Ultimately I think it's mathematics where this question of language becomes most prominent. Of course there's still a lot of constructivists — Wittgenstein definitely was for instance. But if mathematics and physics aren't akin to human language, that then makes things quite a bit more complicated. The question then becomes whether all signs are inherently conventional or if there are natural signs. If there are natural signs then I think a lot falls out of that and that tends to be the dividing line amongst pragmatists.

Nevermind, it's ok.  I am deleting my reply due to snark.

Edited by mfbukowski
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22 hours ago, clarkgoble said:

Isn't that quote purely in the History of the Church? I tried to find an original source for the quote but only found references to History of the Church. If that's the case then I think that undermines the reliability of that quote since it was most likely ghost written. (HotC is notoriously unreliable) The first reference I can find it is Times and Seasons June 1, 1842. Again not saying it's false, and it certainly has better earlier providence than the accounts from 1870 onwards. But it's interesting to ask the question of where this account is coming from. (The assumption that Joseph carefully reviewed it probably needs justification itself)

Hi Clark,

There are two references of the quote prior to the Times and Seasons. They are both found in The Joseph Smith Papers - Histories Volume 1, 1832-1844. The first is termed "Draft 2" of Joseph Smith's History transcribed by James Mulholland and Robert B. Thompson (1838-ca. 1841), found on page 252:

"After I had obtained the above revelation, both the plates and the Urim and Thummin were taken from me again, but in a few days they were returned to me."

The second is termed "Draft 3" of Joseph Smith's History transcribed by Howard Coray (ca. 1841), found on page 253:

"After I had obtained the above revelation, both the plates and the Urim and Thummin were taken from me again; but in a few days they were returned to me, when I enquired of the Lord."

I believe that one must conclude that the reference contained in the History of the Church which was quoted by McConkie and Ostler is quite accurate.

Grace and peace,

David

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On 7/28/2019 at 4:41 PM, 3DOP said:

Its been in the last few weeks that you explained to me that strictly speaking, "miracles" do not exist for LDS because of it being entirely naturalistic. I think you went on to explain that God simply knows how to use "nature", in such a way that to us it appears to be "supernatural" when something unexplainable appears, such as the translation of the Book of Mormon. I think I remember you suggesting that the translation came about through some kind of advanced technology which enabled Joseph to hear or see the words in English.

I am wondering when in your view, did the Latter-day natural theology appear, with a technological/scientific explanation for signs and wonders.

I shall jump into this to say that it's complicated.  I tend to look at it in terms of Clarke's Third Law:

"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic."

Now, what is God's technology?  It is simply that He commands and is obeyed.  It's His universe, and His laws are subject to His dictates.  So a certain number of water molecules are commanded to become alcohol molecules.  Another fraction of them are commanded to become flavonoids, and others become other kinds of molecules.  So the water is turned into wine.  Is it a miracle or is it technology?  To you it is a miracle; to me it is technology.  I say "tomayto" you say "tomahto".  But the spaghetti sauce doesn't care one way or the other.

😄 

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On 7/27/2019 at 1:39 PM, ALarson said:

avid Whitmer again:

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"I will now give you a description of the manner in which the Book of Mormon was translated. Joseph Smith would put the seer stone into a hat, and put his face in the hat, drawing it closely around his face to exclude the light; and in the darkness the spiritual light would shine. A piece of something resembling parchment would appear, and on that appeared the writing. One character at a time would appear, and under it was the interpretation in English. Brother Joseph would read off the English to Oliver Cowdery, who was his principal scribe, and when it was written down and repeated to Brother Joseph to see if it was correct, then it would disappear, and another character with the interpretation would appear. Thus the Book of Mormon was translated by the gift and power of God, and not by any power of man."

 

Martin Harris:

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"By aid of the Seer Stone, sentences would appear and were read by the prophet and written by martin, and when finished he would say 'written' and if correctly written, that sentence would disappear and another appear in its place, but if not written correctly it remained until corrected, so that the translation was just as it was engraven on the plates, precisely in the language then used."

 

 

Here are two independent (?) testimonies to a God-directed quality control of the text that, if true, could only have originated with Jos. Smith.  Anyone know who imparted this information to Harris and Whitmer?  Are they to be believed?  

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On 7/28/2019 at 8:41 AM, 3DOP said:

Hi Robert...with regards to Newman, Praise to the Holiest?

Its been in the last few weeks that you explained to me that strictly speaking, "miracles" do not exist for LDS because of it being entirely naturalistic. I think you went on to explain that God simply knows how to use "nature", in such a way that to us it appears to be "supernatural" when something unexplainable appears, such as the translation of the Book of Mormon. I think I remember you suggesting that the translation came about through some kind of advanced technology which enabled Joseph to hear or see the words in English.

I am wondering when in your view, did the Latter-day natural theology appear, with a technological/scientific explanation for signs and wonders. Did the Apostles of Christ understand as does "formal LDS theology"? What about Moses and the Old Testament prophets? It is certain in your view that through Joseph Smith, God revealed Himself and the Cosmos this way, right? Or does that come through even later revelations of the prophets? Thanks.

Rory

 

Rory

I think this will answer your question 

https://eom.byu.edu/index.php/Matter

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On 8/1/2019 at 7:17 PM, Gervin said:

Here are two independent (?) testimonies to a God-directed quality control of the text that, if true, could only have originated with Jos. Smith.  Anyone know who imparted this information to Harris and Whitmer?  Are they to be believed?  

Do you believe David Whitmer's testimony regarding being one of the Book of Mormon witnesses?

And, there were also other eye witness statements that agree with what Harris and Whitmer stated regarding the translation process.  Should we doubt them too?  (honest question....)

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5 hours ago, ALarson said:

Do you believe David Whitmer's testimony regarding being one of the Book of Mormon witnesses?

I'm not familiar with his testimony or the testimony of Harris, if any.

5 hours ago, ALarson said:

And, there were also other eye witness statements that agree with what Harris and Whitmer stated regarding the translation process.  Should we doubt them too?  (honest question....)

I didn't express any doubt over what they claim occurred.  I just asked 1) where the information came from (if it can be sourced), and 2) if people generally believe if the text was proofed by God in real time.  If God ensured that the words that appeared were correctly copied down, then there is no way that Joseph Smith added his own words, vocabulary or idioms.  And he didn't add the words of the KJV (the original author /editor somehow wrote in the KJV idiom), and he didn't add phrases found in other writings and Biblical-like texts of the day.  That's why I asked if people really believe that to be true.  Honest response.  thx

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