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Emode as Proof Js Did Not Write Bom


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23 minutes ago, Honorentheos said:

Richard doesn't need to be a "reader" to recognize when the direction of disinterested sciences and other fields are no where near supporting the BoM and moving further away all the time. 

A) There's no such thing as "disinterested science." All science involves interpretation of data which can be and is skewed by a number of factors, including personal investment on the part of the scientist or the person applying the data to any specific interpretation. 

B) I dispute "moving further away all the time". Some developments are negative, some supportive. But it's not a unified progression in one direction. 

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Two months ago someone from my extended family, Richard (not his real name), left the church. “I believe Joseph Smith wrote the Book of Mormon,” he said. I spent an hour or so pushing back o

When did the EModE thing go from a fringe theory to accepted truth? Did I sleep through the revolution?

I wanted to share with you, by way of summary, three things I learned this past week about linguistics and the Book of Mormon. First, the many linguistics books and articles I'd read through the

Posted (edited)
14 hours ago, cinepro said:

I would also be wary of being overconfident in the "EModE findings" and what they mean. I don't know how long you've been in the apologetics game, but things like that have a way of circling back and biting you in the behind.

Well maybe EModE findings will, over time, prove not to be very significant. But I don’t think so. Even though I don’t understand the details (they are hard for a layperson to understand), I believe there is enough of EModE in the BOM to prove JS could not have produced the text.

But more interesting to me than EModE is the fact that it appears JS was reading off an already existing text. The blocks of text, so many words per minute——JS was reading off an already existing text.

The presence of EModE, the reading off of an already existing text——this, along with everything else, should lay to rest the notion that “Joseph Smith wrote the Book of Mormon.”

And really this is the only point I’m making——that EModE and speed of transmission are more proofs (and easy to grasp proofs) that JS could not have produced BOM text.

Edited by bdouglas
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20 hours ago, bdouglas said:

It was not the King James English of the Bible, nor was it the English of Joseph’s day. It was written in Early Modern English...

Wasn't the King James Bible written in Early Modern English?

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The 1611 King James Bible was writen more than four hundred years ago when the English language was different. The original 1611 A.D. text, written in Early Modern English, shows the language with its Latin influence. 

https://www.kingjamesbibleonline.org/King-James-Bible-English/

 

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24 minutes ago, Nevo said:

This whole dialogue with "Richard" is so contrived, I assume it's fiction. Or at least fictionalized. But the condescension part rings true.

 

I'm sorry if it comes off as condescending. I did have a conversation with someone in my extended family like this, but I have not reproduced it here word for word. I'm telling a story in order to make a point: that the presence of EModE in the BOM (and the speed of transmission, reading off an already existing text) is just one more proof——and an easy to grasp proof——that JS could not have produced the BOM text himself.

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57 minutes ago, Tacenda said:

Perhaps you're right, I "plagiarized" by c/p'd partially from an intro to a podcast about JS doing this. I don't have a decent ability for the written word some days. 

But why didn't JS admit to using Clarke's work, and making it look like it was his doing? No one knew, until it was discovered right? It would have been nice if JS admitted using the help.

A number of reasons.

A) Joseph Smith never wrote to us 21st-century Mormons who've come out of Primary and youth programs thinking that everything contained in Joseph's revelations must have come sui generis from the hand of God. He wrote and spoke to his contemporaries. On the contrary, the God that Joseph and his contemporaries worship is the same God who says:

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And as all have not faith, seek ye diligently and teach one another words of wisdom, yea, seek ye out of the best books words of wisdom, seek learning even by study and also by faith.

Bear in mind that these same people who Joseph was talking to were entirely unfazed by the relationship between Masonry and the temple. They just had different ideas about what prophetic authority meant and where truth could come from. You can't fault Joseph for failing to speak to our expectations of 150 years after his death when his circumstances were so different. To have Joseph "admit" to something means there has to be something he did which was wrong, which was certainly not clear in his environment. 

B) Despite the herculean work of the JSPP and Church and independent historians throughout the years, we still only have a partial documentary picture of Joseph Smith's life. Heck, such momentously significant documents as the Book of Abraham printer's manuscript are still AWOL, and may never be found. No documentary history can ever paint an exhaustive picture of a life, which is the kind of picture required for the assertion that Joseph didn't do something. We don't have evidence that he talked about Clarke in the JST; that's not the same as confidently asserting that he never did so, which would be unjustified. 

C) I forget if it's Mark Ashurst-McGee or Thomas Wayment who have said they're going to write this forthcoming paper on the accusations of "plagiarism" from Clarke, but I do know that Thomas Wayment is not pleased and considers it misinterpretation when people use his work to accuse Joseph of plagiarism on the JST. The dependence on Clarke is selective, as opposed to wholescale and gratuitous borrowing. Furthermore (and this can't be said enough), the JST was never finished, and thus we cannot know how Joseph Smith intended to present it. 

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2 hours ago, Tacenda said:

Perhaps you're right, I "plagiarized" by c/p'd partially from an intro to a podcast about JS doing this. I don't have a decent ability for the written word some days. 

But why didn't JS admit to using Clarke's work, and making it look like it was his doing? No one knew, until it was discovered right? It would have been nice if JS admitted using the help.

It needs constant emphasis that Sidney Rigdon was Joseph's partner in producing the revisions in that 1828 Phinney Bible, and so was the likeliest to have been referring to Adam Clarke.  I doubt that either Sidney or Joseph had any particular concept of plagiarism.  Sidney was probably familiar with Clarke from his days in training as a Campbellite preacher.

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I’m not following well some of the comments by the OP.  First, the language.  Whatever language you want to call what was written on the plates is irrelevant.  There was no “translation” of any kind with the plates. The plates were not used in the process to write the BoM.  JS places a magic stone in a white top hat and the words magically appeared on the stone.  No translation needed. 
We know from faithful LDS scholars, such as Richard Bushman, that the words used are very much 19th century and the understanding of the Jews by the people in the BoM is very much a  19th century Protestant understanding. Throw in the fact from BYU researchers that the JS translation of the Bible is not original work from JS, but rather copied from Adam Clark’s Bible Commentary, the whole Book of Abraham fiasco, and that the BoM plot and vocabulary are very similar to the View of the Hebrews makes one wonder if the BoM is really what it claims to be. 

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41 minutes ago, bdouglas said:

I'm sorry if it comes off as condescending. I did have a conversation with someone in my extended family like this, but I have not reproduced it here word for word. I'm telling a story in order to make a point: that the presence of EModE in the BOM (and the speed of transmission, reading off an already existing text) is just one more proof——and an easy to grasp proof——that JS could not have produced the BOM text himself.

Fair enough. Richard sounds like he may be an easy mark for this argument.

 

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Nevo said:

Fair enough. Richard sounds like he may be an easy mark for this argument.

 

A couple of summers ago I built an out-building on my property. I framed it, and with the help of a son-in-law, even stick-framed the roof.

At a family reunion some time later, my sister said, “You’re quite the carpenter!”

I glanced at Richard, who is a General Contractor (and a very successful one), and smiled sheepishly. Richard knows what kind of carpenter I am. He knows that it took me an entire summer to do what he would’ve done in three days.

But the thing is, I know this. I know that, when it comes to carpentering, I don’t know anything.

I wish I could say the same about Richard when it comes to church history, the BOM, etc. He doesn’t know anything but thinks he knows a lot: because he’s spent hours and hours on the ex-Mormon internet sites scouring for dirt on JS, he thinks he knows a lot.

Trying to show Richard that he knows very little, and that what he does know he doesn’t understand——this is a lost cause.

As far as my little story went, you are right——Richard is an easy mark. But I used it to demonstrate what I think is an interesting point: that many traditional arguments for BOM authenticity go over the heads of the average ex-Mormon.

But the argument that the BOM was originally dictated in a language JS did not know and that therefore he could not have authored it——well, this point can be easily grasped.

And it was grasped by Richard——at least at first.

But it didn’t last. Richard is now back to claiming that JS wrote the BOM.

Edited by bdouglas
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16 minutes ago, bdouglas said:

A couple of summers ago I built an out-building on my property. I framed it, and with the help of a son-in-law, even stick-framed the roof.

At a family reunion some time later, my sister said, “You’re quite the carpenter!”

I glanced at Richard, who is a General Contractor (and a very successful one), and smiled sheepishly. Richard knows what kind of carpenter I am. He knows that it took me an entire summer to do what he would’ve done in three days.

But the thing is, I know this. I know that, when it comes to carpentering, I don’t know anything.

I wish I could say the same about Richard when it comes to church history, the BOM, etc. He doesn’t know anything but thinks he knows a lot: because he’s spent hours and hours on the ex-Mormon internet sites scouring for dirt on JS, he thinks he knows a lot.

Trying to show Richard that he knows very little, and that what he does know he doesn’t understand——this is a lost cause.

As far as my little story went, you are right——Richard is an easy mark. But I used it to demonstrate what I think is an interesting point: that many traditional arguments for BOM authenticity go over the heads of the average ex-Mormon.

But the argument that the BOM was originally dictated in a language JS did not know and that therefore he could not have authored it——well, this point can be easily grasped.

And it was grasped by Richard——at least at first.

But it didn’t last. Richard is now back to claiming that JS wrote the BOM.

Your point still struggles.  If words appeared to Joseph's mind's eye, or magically appeared to him in the darkness of a hate as he strained at a rock, then it's reasonable to say he wrote it.  It's not reasonable to say a long dead guy wrote it, nor that a super-human being wrote it.  Why?  Because those two propositions are impossible.  Joseph coming up with English phrases he's unfamiliar with is far more likely then God sticking those words in his head, or a dead guy sticking those words in his head.  It remains completely reasonable, and by far the best conclusion to draw, to say Joseph wrote it.  Richard is correct...you are struggling by employing a distraction to make a confused point.  

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8 minutes ago, stemelbow said:

Because those two propositions are impossible.

This conviction is not shared. This seems to be the whole extent of the disagreement. 

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31 minutes ago, stemelbow said:

Your point still struggles.  If words appeared to Joseph's mind's eye, or magically appeared to him in the darkness of a hate as he strained at a rock, then it's reasonable to say he wrote it.  It's not reasonable to say a long dead guy wrote it, nor that a super-human being wrote it.  Why?  Because those two propositions are impossible.  Joseph coming up with English phrases he's unfamiliar with is far more likely then God sticking those words in his head, or a dead guy sticking those words in his head.  It remains completely reasonable, and by far the best conclusion to draw, to say Joseph wrote it.  Richard is correct...you are struggling by employing a distraction to make a confused point.  

You are doing what many ex-Mormons do: ascribing to JS superhuman powers.

It’s not just the presence of EModE, a language JS did not know (and no, people don’t just start writing in an unknown language). It is also the speed of transmission: 67 days (I think this is the correct number), no pausing (only to spell out names or places), then picking up the next morning without having OC reading back where they'd left off the day before.

If JS did this, and text was something like A Course In Miracles or the Urantia book, then we'd shrug and say no big deal. But the text that JS produced ... well, the only book it can be legitimately compared to is the Bible.

So I'm inclined to think that JS was reading of an existing translation.

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56 minutes ago, bdouglas said:

 

But the argument that the BOM was originally dictated in a language JS did not know and that therefore he could not have authored it——well, this point can be easily grasped.

The argument is speculative idiocy.   Any contemporaneous proof of it?

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Does anyone know if there are comparable published studies of other texts of unknown provenance?  If so, could you provide links?  I'm just curious if the methodology being used in this instance was developed specifically for the Book of Mormon study, or if it follows methodology standard in the discipline (if there is any).

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22 minutes ago, bdouglas said:

You are doing what many ex-Mormons do: ascribing to JS superhuman powers.

It’s not just the presence of EModE, a language JS did not know (and no, people don’t just start writing in an unknown language). It is also the speed of transmission: 67 days (I think this is the correct number), no pausing (only to spell out names or places), then picking up the next morning without having OC reading back where they'd left off the day before.

If JS did this, and text was something like A Course In Miracles or the Urantia book, then we'd shrug and say no big deal. But the text that JS produced ... well, the only book it can be legitimately compared to is the Bible.

So I'm inclined to think that JS was reading of an existing translation.

How do we know that Joseph hadn't been working on it for years?

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16 minutes ago, Bob Crockett said:

The argument is speculative idiocy.   Any contemporaneous proof of it?

No, I don't think there is any proof, at least not the kind you seem to mean. But personally I find Royal Skousen's EModDE findings persuasive.

Also ... the speed of transmission, JS reading off blocks of text——this also is a persuasive argument that JS was reading off an already existing translation.

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2 hours ago, 2BizE said:

Throw in the fact from BYU researchers that the JS translation of the Bible is not original work from JS, but rather copied from Adam Clark’s Bible Commentary

On the JST issue what would you make of this: Just something I picked up in my own personal study. The entire book of revelation is chiastically structured. Rev12 is considered the center of the chiasm. verse 7 is considered to be the central theme of that chapter.

It reads as follows in the KJV:

And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels,

 

In the JST:

And there was war in heaven; Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought against Michael;

 

A full chiastic structure is restored in the JST while Clark is heading off in on a totally different tangent

 

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No, I don't think there is any proof, at least not the kind you seem to mean. But personally I find Royal Skousen's EModDE findings persuasive.

Also ... the speed of transmission, JS reading off blocks of text——this also is a persuasive argument that JS was reading off an already existing translation.

There were a few witnesses to the translation.  Not one of them ever said he was reading from anything.  

One witness said Joseph Smith was looking into his hat.

One thing I learned from my upper-division game theory classes in college was that significant large-scale conspiracies have a huge incentive to break down.  Somebody's going to break.  There are great incentives to break.  

I've read and studied the original BoM text in detail.  Full of syntax and grammar errors.  Also some errors in getting names right.  

Joseph Smith may have had a rudimentary understanding of the KJ Bible and Shakespeare and that would have been plenty of learning to have him create the language of the Book of Mormon.

Your theory is simply absurd.  Some sophisticated stylometry statistical work (which I don't really agree with) would have been done by now.  It hasn't.  In my opinion, statistics is the true nearly irrefutable science.   There are programs extant that can do this work.  

Edited by Bob Crockett
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3 minutes ago, Bob Crockett said:

Joseph Smith may have had a rudimentary understanding of the KJ Bible and Shakespeare and that would have been plenty of learning to have him create the language of the Book of Mormon.

This is not substantiated by the data. One of the major elements of Carmack's research is comparison of the Book of Mormon with other works that seek to emulate KJV language. These authors were certainly exposed to the KJV and Shakespeare but the Book of Mormon is far more archaic in nature. Rudimentary understanding is not sufficient to account for the Book's higher archaism. 

Sophisticated stylometry has been done on the Book of Mormon. Cumulative results are inconclusive, though the most rigorous and recent study, to my knowledge, indicates the Book was written by multiple authors and JS is not a statistically valid candidate for complete authorship. 

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Posted (edited)
34 minutes ago, Bob Crockett said:

Your theory is simply absurd.  Some sophisticated stylometry statistical work (which I don't really agree with) would have been done by now.  It hasn't.  In my opinion, statistics is the true nearly irrefutable science.   There are programs extant that can do this work.  

It is not my theory. I am a consumer of LDS apologetics/scholarship. I don't produce any of my own.  The theory belongs to Royal Skousen. If I have misunderstood Bro. Skousen, I am open to correction.

Edited by bdouglas
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2 hours ago, OGHoosier said:

This conviction is not shared. This seems to be the whole extent of the disagreement. 

Demonstrate it's possible.  I mean possible in the realm of what we can test and observe, in a scientific sense.  

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1 hour ago, bdouglas said:

You are doing what many ex-Mormons do: ascribing to JS superhuman powers.

No.  It's not superhuman for a human to write a book.  Quite the contrary, in fact.  

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It’s not just the presence of EModE, a language JS did not know (and no, people don’t just start writing in an unknown language). It is also the speed of transmission: 67 days (I think this is the correct number), no pausing (only to spell out names or places), then picking up the next morning without having OC reading back where they'd left off the day before.

If he could read a book in 60 days then it's certainly possible.  Of course he could read those english words.  That is the whole idea of his "translation".  He read them out loud and they were written.  That is to say if Joseph wrote the book, then he'd like to have written before the actual dictation if we are to take the scribes descriptions seriously.  

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If JS did this, and text was something like A Course In Miracles or the Urantia book, then we'd shrug and say no big deal. But the text that JS produced ... well, the only book it can be legitimately compared to is the Bible.

So I'm inclined to think that JS was reading of an existing translation.

You can be inclined to whatever you want.  But you are bringing up some scenario where you argued with your family member, claiming there is proof Joseph didn't write it.  I don't think you have such proof at all.  You may feel justified in your reasoning in thinking he did not, but that's not proof.  I'd say it's far more reasonable to hold to your family member's view than your view.  As it is, if Joseph said the words that the scribes wrote, then he wrote it, for all intents and purposes.  

Edited by stemelbow
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5 hours ago, OGHoosier said:

A) There's no such thing as "disinterested science." All science involves interpretation of data which can be and is skewed by a number of factors, including personal investment on the part of the scientist or the person applying the data to any specific interpretation. 

B) I dispute "moving further away all the time". Some developments are negative, some supportive. But it's not a unified progression in one direction. 

By disinterested, I mean that the study and fields of science involved are generally not interested in the question of Book of Mormon historicity.

When the Book of Mormon was published a global flood was consistent with the state of geology. The book includes a narrative explanation from the 19th c. for the civilizations evident through archeology or just plain observation that has not only been overturned but shown to be quite problematic. In 1829 it was common to believe there had been a more civilized race that had been exterminated by the Native Americans. The Native Americans were considered too savage, too primative. Darwin was decades from publishing On the Origin of Species, and DNA studies were a gleam in the eye of biology with much of the advancements in that field occuring in the last generation. Modern linguistics was barely emerging, and numerous other fields have emerged in the intervening two centuries.

Book of Mormon apologetics is largely engaged with the attempt to keep the BoM from falling too far behind this steady movement away from the 19th c. context it clearly contains. What hasn't happened is major discoveries in the sciences shifting our understanding closer to the narrative perspective contained in the Book of Mormon.

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1 hour ago, bdouglas said:

If JS did this, and text was something like A Course In Miracles or the Urantia book, then we'd shrug and say no big deal. But the text that JS produced ... well, the only book it can be legitimately compared to is the Bible.

While there is plenty of the Bible extant in the Book of Mormon I don't see the comparison. And in the broader scope of world religious works and inspirational materials it's rather myopic to argue the BoM and the Bible sit uniquely apart.

Edited by Honorentheos
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1 hour ago, OGHoosier said:

This is not substantiated by the data. One of the major elements of Carmack's research is comparison of the Book of Mormon with other works that seek to emulate KJV language. These authors were certainly exposed to the KJV and Shakespeare but the Book of Mormon is far more archaic in nature. Rudimentary understanding is not sufficient to account for the Book's higher archaism. 

Sophisticated stylometry has been done on the Book of Mormon. Cumulative results are inconclusive, though the most rigorous and recent study, to my knowledge, indicates the Book was written by multiple authors and JS is not a statistically valid candidate for complete authorship. 

I've seen the stylometry analysis used by Roper et al in support of John Sorensen's theory about Times and Seasons articles.  Lunacy.  I've talked about that in one of my papers.  I'm not sure about stylometry anymore.  

Computer programs are used to detect plagiarism on the internet.  They seem to work well.  Those ought to be used to compare the Book of Mormon to Olde English.  

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      I think we spend so much time looking for evidence, trying to find parallels, seeking to understand where the BoM came from, that we are missing the answer right in front of our faces and we should all be able to agree on.  The BoM came from Joseph Smith.  This is the clear and straightforward answer that both believers and nonbelievers should be able to agree on, and its the simple answer to a highly debated question.  
    • By Robert F. Smith
      Annalee Newitz, “Most scientists now reject the idea that the first Americans came by land,” Ars Technica, Nov 4, 2017, online at https://arstechnica.com/science/2017/11/majority-of-scientists-now-agree-that-humans-came-to-the-americas-by-boat/ , with map,
      Todd J. Braje, et al., “Finding the first Americans,” Science, 358/6363 (3 Nov 2017):592-594, online at http://science.sciencemag.org/content/358/6363/592 ,
      It now appears that coming to America by boat was normal even from earliest times.  There is no longer any reason to credit the Beringia Land Bridge hypothesis, except in a much later period.

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