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Joseph Smith's intelligence


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5 hours ago, InCognitus said:

That argument really only works if you don't read View of the Hebrews and assume that Fawn Brodie's assertion is correct.  The book has been republished and is available for anyone to read (my copy is published by Religious Studies Center Brigham Young University of all places).  The "parallelisms" are rather general, and don't really explain the Book of Mormon's origin at all. 

You put quotes around something I didn't even say, just for the record. 

Also, on this website, http://lifeafter.org/book-mormon-view-hebrews-parallels/, it has the following paragraphs that tell me that Oliver could have helped Joseph Smith with a similar narrative for the Book of Mormon. The website also has a link to the View of the Hebrews, that I need to try to read before I keep spouting things. But the fact that Oliver went to Ethan Smith's church says something to me. Or makes me suspect. But my verdict isn't totally final on the matter. 

Ethan Smith pastored a church in Poultney, VT which was adjacent to the county where Joseph Smith lived in NY. Oliver Cowdery, one of the BoM Witnesses, just so happened to be a member of Ethan Smith’s church from1821-1825 or 1826 during which time Ethan Smith wrote and published his book.

Cowdery met Joseph Smith on or near April 5-7, 1829 and within days of meeting each other Cowdery becomes a scribe for Joseph Smith and his publication of the Book of Mormon.  In the Pearl of Great Price 1:67 Joseph Smith writes; “Two days after the arrival of Mr. Cowdery (being the 7th of April) I commenced to translate the Book of Mormon, and he began to write for me.”

Edited by Tacenda
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18 minutes ago, Tacenda said:

You put quotes around something I didn't even say. Just for the record. 

But isn't that what you mean?  There are significant parallels between the books showing JS got many of his ideas from Views?

If not, then why do you see View of the Hebrews as significant to the Book of Mormon?

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9 hours ago, cinepro said:

That raises the question of what knowledge Joseph actually revealed?

Obviously, there's tons of religious stuff that might be true, but it might not be.  But for all the comprehension given him by the Holy Ghost, did he ever teach a single thing about the world that was new and would now be considered reliable enough to be taught in, say, a regular university biology, physics or history class?

If the religious knowledge he revealed is true it's of more value than anything academia ever produced.

And there have been claims of scientific information attributed to Joseph, although I'll admit it's debatable.

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3 hours ago, Robert F. Smith said:

I specified when used effectively.  And my meaning was that no polymath in the past could access such a diversity of data on command.  Give an idiot a computer and he is an idiot still.  Give an intelligent man a computer and it makes him appear to be a genius.  Does that restatement meet with your approval?  I am, by the way, not the first to make this observation.

I do not disagree. I was adding that I think the Internet can make people dumber as well and that this happens more often.

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7 hours ago, Tacenda said:

I believe Joseph had help from Oliver Cowdery, because of the below. 

He probably did to some extent.  But Oliver left angry and bitter with Joseph yet never once denied the heavenly origin of the book.

For decades he maintained the angelic origin despite having been ousted from the Church.  Maybe he had a reason for holding to the story.

But I don't doubt he proofread, punctuated, and even possibly fixed some syntax and sentence structure.  They may have edited it but neither he or Joseph or Sidney or anyone contemporary wrote it.

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2 hours ago, Tacenda said:

You put quotes around something I didn't even say, just for the record. 

I quoted exactly what you put in your post from the Wikipedia article.  The part that I quoted is highlighted in yellow below:

image.png.39fc0dd60504b1eade91573fe0cf5e87.png

This is how it appeared in my post. 

image.png.f5481fb629eb71c85b8c05cd47e0b54a.png

Did I miss something?

 

2 hours ago, Tacenda said:

Also, on this website, http://lifeafter.org/book-mormon-view-hebrews-parallels/, it has the following paragraphs that tell me that Oliver could have helped Joseph Smith with a similar narrative for the Book of Mormon. The website also has a link to the View of the Hebrews, that I need to try to read before I keep spouting things. But the fact that Oliver went to Ethan Smith's church says something to me. Or makes me suspect. But my verdict isn't totally final on the matter. 

Ethan Smith pastored a church in Poultney, VT which was adjacent to the county where Joseph Smith lived in NY. Oliver Cowdery, one of the BoM Witnesses, just so happened to be a member of Ethan Smith’s church from1821-1825 or 1826 during which time Ethan Smith wrote and published his book.

Cowdery met Joseph Smith on or near April 5-7, 1829 and within days of meeting each other Cowdery becomes a scribe for Joseph Smith and his publication of the Book of Mormon.  In the Pearl of Great Price 1:67 Joseph Smith writes; “Two days after the arrival of Mr. Cowdery (being the 7th of April) I commenced to translate the Book of Mormon, and he began to write for me.”

I would encourage you to read View of the Hebrews.  There are some very general concepts in common between the two, but it's all coincidence.  There is simply no possible way that it can be used as the source for the Book of Mormon.   Read it and you will see what I mean.

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6 minutes ago, InCognitus said:

I quoted exactly what you put in your post from the Wikipedia article.  The part that I quoted is highlighted in yellow below:

image.png.39fc0dd60504b1eade91573fe0cf5e87.png

This is how it appeared in my post. 

image.png.f5481fb629eb71c85b8c05cd47e0b54a.png

Did I miss something?

 

I would encourage you to read View of the Hebrews.  There are some very general concepts in common between the two, but it's all coincidence.  There is simply no possible way that it can be used as the source for the Book of Mormon.   Read it and you will see what I mean.

I will check out the View of the Hebrews, thanks. And I'm sorry, I see that the quote did come from my post. Thanks for the screen shots, probably time that you could have spent better doing something else. :(

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1 hour ago, Tacenda said:

I will check out the View of the Hebrews, thanks. And I'm sorry, I see that the quote did come from my post. Thanks for the screen shots, probably time that you could have spent better doing something else. :(

No problem or trouble at all, screen shots were the easiest way for me to do it  :) 

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6 hours ago, Calm said:

Robert, just as a personal FYI....I enjoy your posts, providing lots of info and analysis, but you lose me when you start attributing emotion or motives...personal stuff that is unnecessary to the analysis of information.  And I don't find you as accurate when you venture into that territory, which harms the credibility of your solid work, imo.

It is pure selfishness that I am posting this as I want to keep enjoying your posts and it seems to me that over time, more of your posts contain this type of speculation about other posters, which has been lessening my overall enjoyment. 

Sorry, Calm.  I'll remove the offensive language.

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3 hours ago, Robert F. Smith said:

Sorry, Calm.  I'll remove the offensive language.

Thank you.  I appreciate that.  

PS:  there are plenty of other posters who do the same thing, don't want you to think I see you as the only one doing this.  I mention it to you because it makes a significant difference in your posts for me where others not so much (especially those where it seems their primary reason for posting).

Edited by Calm
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15 hours ago, theplains said:

From what is recorded in church history, Joseph Smith seemed to lack faith in the Bible in the 
context of hearing different teachings of the time (1:12-13).

Then he placed more importance on wanting to find out which church to join instead of wanting to 
know if the Bible was true (1:18).

Despite his claims to have seen Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, we went back to his foolish
and sinful behaviour.

"I was left to all kinds of temptations; and, mingling with all kinds of society, I frequently 
fell into many foolish errors, and displayed the weakness of youth, and the foibles of human 
nature; which, I am sorry to say, led me into divers temptations, offensive in the sight of God
."

He seems to think that none of these offensive acts in the sight of God should make him appear
guilty of any great or malignant sins (1:28).

He makes a statement later on but doesn't clarify why being jovial is not appropriate for a man
of God.

"But I was guilty of levity, and sometimes associated with jovial company, etc., not consistent 
with that character which ought to be maintained by one who was called of God as I had been
."

But Jesus spent time with people and did things to the point where he was criticised (Mark 2:15-
17, Luke 7:34).

Thanks,
Jim

Many things wrong here.

"he placed more importance on wanting to find out which church to join instead of wanting to 
know if the Bible was true".

No he didn't.  Since the Bible itself and prayer are where he turned when all the Christian ministers started offering differing interpretations and doctrines.

As for the rest of your "analysis" I'm not sure what you're implying.  He's saying that he wasn't serious enough after his vision.  That as a teenager he hung out with other teenagers doing teenager things.

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2 hours ago, JLHPROF said:

"he placed more importance on wanting to find out which church to join instead of wanting to 
know if the Bible was true".

No he didn't.  Since the Bible itself and prayer are where he turned when all the Christian ministers started offering differing interpretations and doctrines.

... for the teachers of religion of the different sects understood the same passages of scripture 
so differently as to destroy all confidence in settling the question by an appeal to the Bible.

... My object in going to inquire of the Lord was to know which of all the sects was right, that 
I might know which to join.

Jim

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44 minutes ago, theplains said:

... for the teachers of religion of the different sects understood the same passages of scripture 
so differently as to destroy all confidence in settling the question by an appeal to the Bible.

... My object in going to inquire of the Lord was to know which of all the sects was right, that 
I might know which to join.

Jim

This is ridiculous.  He obviously knew or had faith that the Bible was true, but his whole question was about which church he should join.  As your quote shows, everyone interprets the Bible differently and therefore he was unable to trust any of the "teachers of religion" to help him settle "the question" by an appeal to the Bible.

And because he had faith that the Bible was true, he followed the advice given in the Bible to get the answer to his question:  

"If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed."  (James 1:5–6)

Clearly he trusted in the Bible so much so that he had faith to act upon what it said and as a result he received the answer to his question

Edited by InCognitus
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1 hour ago, theplains said:

... for the teachers of religion of the different sects understood the same passages of scripture 
so differently as to destroy all confidence in settling the question by an appeal to the Bible.

... My object in going to inquire of the Lord was to know which of all the sects was right, that 
I might know which to join.

Jim

he assumed that one sect was right, which he learned was not the not the case, I don't know if it ever occurred to him that none were right

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On 12/6/2019 at 11:19 AM, Ryan Dahle said:

It should be noted that supernatural theories can accommodate a mixture of natural and supernatural explanations in a way that strictly naturalistic theories can't. God can use or allow naturalistic elements or components to be a part of his miraculous endeavors, but naturalism doesn't allow God into the equation at all.

Uh, that's true of everything.  Any theory that can include supernatural elements can always explain more than one that is limited to only natural elements.  A theory of bigfoot that includes bigfoots with supernatural abilities including translocation and telepathic abilities explains the evidence far better than one that is limited to purely "natural" phenomenon.  But that doesn't make it a better or stronger theory.  Just impossible to disprove.

Edited by cinepro
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On 12/5/2019 at 9:49 PM, Duncan said:

I remember a comment made years ago by someone I knew and they said in the Church we hear two versions of Joseph Smith's intelligence, the first one being that he is super intelligent, spiritual, righteous, discerning, leadership qualities, we hear how good a man he was-emotional intelligence. The other version of his intelligence is how he couldn't have written the Book of Mormon, because he had limited education, didn't read much prior to the Book of Mormon and basically he wasn't smart enough to have written the book. So, the question was how do we reconcile the two, how can he be all these great qualities yet not be so smart enough to have written the Book of Mormon? Is it a matter of like on Seinfeld where someone can be smart enough to built a rocketship to send a man to the moon but yet they are lousy at parking?

I don’t think the two are mutually exclusive. 

When I was 24, I had served a mission, had a Bachelors of Science degree had already married and I have an very much above average IQ.      I’m smart.  I’ve had a great career and make an annual income that puts me in the top 1% of US taxpayers.

Could I have invented a Book of Mormon equivalent in a few months?  Something that was doctrinally compatible with the Bible and all my future revelations?  Something that was internally consistent and had literary elements such as chiasmus etc etc?  

Not likely. It would take a lot of research, and acquisition of new knowledge in a very short space of time. And with no internet when I was 24 years old, that would have been difficult.   

There is no evidence that JS did any research before the translation or even had access to the works he is alleged to have plagiarized.

His spelling was atrocious, and at the time he was likely just trying to earn a living  

There is no evidence that JS did any research before he translated the B of M or had access to any of the sources that he has been alleged to have coped

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2 hours ago, cinepro said:

Uh, that's true of everything.  Any theory that can include supernatural elements can always explain more than one that is limited to only natural elements.  A theory of bigfoot that includes bigfoots with supernatural abilities including translocation and telepathic abilities explains the evidence far better than one that is limited to purely "natural" phenomenon.  But that doesn't make it a better or stronger theory.  Just impossible to disprove.

I wasn't implying any theory is superior based on it's supernaturalism. As you said, just harder to disprove. However, many evidences that I know for the Book of Mormon come via naturalistic disciples of science, literary studies, archaeology, etc. 

But, as to your overall point, I certainly respect that position, or at least the principle upon which it is based. 

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2 hours ago, mrmarklin said:

I don’t think the two are mutually exclusive. 

When I was 24, I had served a mission, had a Bachelors of Science degree had already married and I have an very much above average IQ.      I’m smart.  I’ve had a great career and make an annual income that puts me in the top 1% of US taxpayers.

Could I have invented a Book of Mormon equivalent in a few months?  Something that was doctrinally compatible with the Bible and all my future revelations?  Something that was internally consistent and had literary elements such as chiasmus etc etc?  

Not likely. It would take a lot of research, and acquisition of new knowledge in a very short space of time. And with no internet when I was 24 years old, that would have been difficult.   

There is no evidence that JS did any research before the translation or even had access to the works he is alleged to have plagiarized.

His spelling was atrocious, and at the time he was likely just trying to earn a living  

There is no evidence that JS did any research before he translated the B of M or had access to any of the sources that he has been alleged to have coped

I'd be careful about saying the BOM is consistent with the future revelations.

Also, it's a bit silly to generalise your skillset as relevant to Joseph Smith.

We know he was a skilled storyteller and he, unlike in our modern times, grew up in much more oratorical tradition. He, being attuned to the Second Great Awakening, was also immersed in the subject matter of the Book of Mormon, both the doctrinal themes and the historical speculations about native Americans. And of course, if we are going to consider the possibility that he did not translate as he claims, then we need not assume he produced it on his own.

So essentially, the argument that the BOM had to be divine because it seems incredible that Joseph Smith could write it himself is not a valid argument.

Edited by Meadowchik
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14 minutes ago, Meadowchik said:

We know he was a skilled storyteller and he, unlike in our modern times, grew up in much more oratorical tradition.

This idea is generally derived Lucy's biography of her son.  But it is taken out of context.  Her saying that the family gathered around in their evening conversations to hear Joseph give "some of the most amusing recitals that could be imagined" about the ancient inhabitants of the continent, etc., all came after the time when Joseph was told about the plates and "continued to receive instructions from the Lord", and he was shown visions of the people on the American continent (see Joseph's account of such revelations in the Wentworth Letter, 5th paragraph).   So in other words his story telling wasn't because Joseph had a vivid imagination, but because he was reciting the things that were revealed to him by the Lord. 

24 minutes ago, Meadowchik said:

He, being attuned to the Second Great Awakening, was also immersed in the subject matter of the Book of Mormon, both the doctrinal themes and the historical speculations about native Americans. And of course, if we are going to consider the possibility that he did not translate as he claims, then we need not assume he produced it on his own.

Yet, he seemed to know little of the book's claims or some of the features of the book that would lend to its authenticity (i.e. the inclusion of chiasmus, historical usage of the phrase "land of Jerusalem" in the ancient world, the claims the book makes about geography, etc.).

27 minutes ago, Meadowchik said:

So essentially, the argument that the BOM had to be divine because it seems incredible that Joseph Smith could write it himself is not a valid argument.

It seems way more fantastic to claim it was a product of the early 19th century than it does to claim it has a divine origin.  How does the Book of Mormon continue to hold up quite favorably to new discoveries?   Why are there more evidences today to attest to its authenticity than there were in 1830?   If it was a product of the 19th century then one would expect the credibility of the book to be going down hill as time goes on, but the opposite is true.

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On 12/6/2019 at 5:02 PM, theplains said:

From what is recorded in church history, Joseph Smith seemed to lack faith in the Bible in the 
context of hearing different teachings of the time (1:12-13).

Then he placed more importance on wanting to find out which church to join instead of wanting to 
know if the Bible was true (1:18).

Despite his claims to have seen Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, we went back to his foolish
and sinful behaviour.

"I was left to all kinds of temptations; and, mingling with all kinds of society, I frequently 
fell into many foolish errors, and displayed the weakness of youth, and the foibles of human 
nature; which, I am sorry to say, led me into divers temptations, offensive in the sight of God
."

He seems to think that none of these offensive acts in the sight of God should make him appear
guilty of any great or malignant sins (1:28).

He makes a statement later on but doesn't clarify why being jovial is not appropriate for a man
of God.

"But I was guilty of levity, and sometimes associated with jovial company, etc., not consistent 
with that character which ought to be maintained by one who was called of God as I had been
."

But Jesus spent time with people and did things to the point where he was criticised (Mark 2:15-
17, Luke 7:34)....................

As I recall, Jim (correct me if I'm wrong), all have sinned and come short....  It is very easy to find fault with others, as the Pharisees and Sadducees tried to do to Jesus, but all they did was indicate their own flawed character.

You, me, and Joseph Smith share that same human tendency to sin.  Joseph had an honest heart and admitted it up front.  Would that the rest of us had that good-hearted courage.

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4 hours ago, SeekingUnderstanding said:

Credibility with who?

Credibility in standing up against the claims made against it.  This doesn't mean that it changes the minds of the critics, but the the Book of Mormon hasn't been shaken by new findings about the ancient world in the Americas and in the old world.  On the contrary, it has been strengthened by such findings.

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8 hours ago, InCognitus said:

This idea is generally derived Lucy's biography of her son.  But it is taken out of context.  Her saying that the family gathered around in their evening conversations to hear Joseph give "some of the most amusing recitals that could be imagined" about the ancient inhabitants of the continent, etc., all came after the time when Joseph was told about the plates and "continued to receive instructions from the Lord", and he was shown visions of the people on the American continent (see Joseph's account of such revelations in the Wentworth Letter, 5th paragraph).   So in other words his story telling wasn't because Joseph had a vivid imagination, but because he was reciting the things that were revealed to him by the Lord. 

That's just one interpretation of the storytelling. 

8 hours ago, InCognitus said:

Yet, he seemed to know little of the book's claims or some of the features of the book that would lend to its authenticity (i.e. the inclusion of chiasmus, historical usage of the phrase "land of Jerusalem" in the ancient world, the claims the book makes about geography, etc.)..

It seems to be that just about every element of the Book of Mormon can be attributed to 19th-century influences in his direct experiences. There was his own father's dreams and visions, his own family's story of struggle, and the Bible itself. There were contemporary tales about the origins of what was believed to be the Lost Tribes in North America, there were the popularly derided "secret combinations" of the Masons, there was well-known knowledge of the recent wars on American soil. 

8 hours ago, InCognitus said:

It seems way more fantastic to claim it was a product of the early 19th century than it does to claim it has a divine origin.  How does the Book of Mormon continue to hold up quite favorably to new discoveries?   Why are there more evidences today to attest to its authenticity than there were in 1830?   If it was a product of the 19th century then one would expect the credibility of the book to be going down hill as time goes on, but the opposite is true.

It's hard to lose credibility when you have so very little to begin with, and that's pretty much the story of the BOM from when it was first published until now. The state of its credibility is pretty close to what one would expect of a book held as scripture by the people who value it, but it is not considered to be historically valuable for those non-Mormon historians of Native American history. 

 

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3 hours ago, Meadowchik said:

It's hard to lose credibility when you have so very little to begin with, and that's pretty much the story of the BOM from when it was first published until now. The state of its credibility is pretty close to what one would expect of a book held as scripture by the people who value it, but it is not considered to be historically valuable for those non-Mormon historians of Native American history. 

You are making the Book of Mormon sound like the Bible.

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