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do We Believe Joseph Smith or Lds Apologists? Joseph Says He Could Translate Egyptian.


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8 minutes ago, Bob Crockett said:

He claims to have translated it. 

Come on Bob! Since Harris might of used the name Champollion, Smith would never have created documents that he labeled the Egyptian Alphabet and Grammar nor tried to use those same documents to translate the Kinderhook plates. Right?

 

 

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1 hour ago, Bob Crockett said:

He claims to have translated it. 

Yes, but what did he mean by translation?  Not what you think when you use the term.  And that has no bearing on whether the manuscript is part of the translation process.  It is not.

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59 minutes ago, CA Steve said:

Come on Bob! Since Harris might of used the name Champollion, Smith would never have created documents that he labeled the Egyptian Alphabet and Grammar nor tried to use those same documents to translate the Kinderhook plates. Right?

 

 

To the contrary.  The history and facts support the conclusion that JS created documents as an analysis--not causal translation--of Egyptian.

My research has led to some very interesting and unexpected history connecting to what Joseph Smith did and did not know.  He (through Cowdery) had a personal connection to yet another publisher that was well acquainted with Champollion.  Not only that, but it strongly appears that JS adopted his formulation and understanding of Champollion's work.  This explain why JS used the odd "degrees" methodology.  JS's BoA manuscript was not a translation but an analysis following this methodology.

These connections are very compelling.  It's time for me to stop revealing everything in random posts.  This information deserves a fuller treatment in a paper.

Because JS's analysis was premised on post-Champollion scholarship, it makes no sense that he perpetuated a fraud.  Rather, he was attempting to apply this methodology--unsuccessfully so--to a text that he sincerely believed was revealed.  The BoA manuscript is not a translation between characters and text.  It's JS's failed analysis to apply post-Champollion methodology to create an Egyptian alphabet and grammar.

Edited by PacMan
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26 minutes ago, PacMan said:

Yes, but what did he mean by translation?  Not what you think when you use the term.  And that has no bearing on whether the manuscript is part of the translation process.  It is not.

So in the apologetic debates involving Martin Luther and Philip Melanchthon against the Church, they'd get involved in mind-bending somersaults and shenanigans to justify their break from Rome.  They'd redefine words.  They'd make stuff out of whole cloth.  Just reading it makes my head spin, as they tried to argue that their authority came from the Bible alone.

You're doing the same thing.  Fanciful speculation as to what others might have thought.  Translation is not translation.  When Joseph Smith said the Book was "a translation of some ancient records [...] purporting to be the writings of Abraham, while he was in Egypt, called the Book of Abraham, written by his own hand, upon papyrus"," he was just joking around.

I believe that the Book of Abraham is scripture, but the apologetic defense does the Church more harm than good.

Edited by Bob Crockett
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27 minutes ago, PacMan said:

Yes, but what did he mean by translation?  Not what you think when you use the term.  And that has no bearing on whether the manuscript is part of the translation process.  It is not.

Well, in some way I believe the Egyptians manuscript was part of the process that resulted in the Book of Abraham, with the manuscript acting as some type of a catalyst.  Which would still qualify as a translation, as I understand the word.

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13 minutes ago, Bob Crockett said:

So in the apologetic debates involving Martin Luther and Philip Melanchthon against the Church, they'd get involved in mind-bending somersaults and shenanigans to justify their break from Rome.  They'd redefine words.  They'd make stuff out of whole cloth.  Just reading it makes my head spin, as they tried to argue that their authority came from the Bible alone.

You're doing the same thing.  Fanciful speculation as to what others might have thought.  Translation is not translation.  When Joseph Smith said the Book was "a translation of some ancient records [...] purporting to be the writings of Abraham, while he was in Egypt, called the Book of Abraham, written by his own hand, upon papyrus"," he was just joking around.

I believe that the Book of Abraham is scripture, but the apologetic defense does the Church more harm than good.

Interesting word choice.  purporting to be.  Look that up on Google to see what those words mean.

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19 minutes ago, Bob Crockett said:

So in the apologetic debates involving Martin Luther and Philip Melanchthon against the Church, they'd get involved in mind-bending somersaults and shenanigans to justify their break from Rome.  They'd redefine words.  They'd make stuff out of whole cloth.  Just reading it makes my head spin, as they tried to argue that their authority came from the Bible alone.

You're doing the same thing.  Fanciful speculation as to what others might have thought.  Translation is not translation.  When Joseph Smith said the Book was "a translation of some ancient records [...] purporting to be the writings of Abraham, while he was in Egypt, called the Book of Abraham, written by his own hand, upon papyrus"," he was just joking around.

I believe that the Book of Abraham is scripture, but the apologetic defense does the Church more harm than good.

We can know whether or not the Book of Abraham is scripture by the power of the Holy Ghost, by which we can know the truth of all things.  This is a tangent, as we wonder how exactly Joseph was able to write what we know.

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7 minutes ago, Ahab said:

Interesting word choice.  purporting to be.  Look that up on Google to see what those words mean.

Why would I do that?  I'm not an idiot.  Well, maybe I am but idiots don't really realize they are idiots, I'm told. 

 

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20 minutes ago, Bob Crockett said:

Why would I do that?  I'm not an idiot.  Well, maybe I am but idiots don't really realize they are idiots, I'm told. 

 

Yeah, that's a good point.  Idiots are people who think they already know everything... when they really don't.

Edited by Ahab
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37 minutes ago, Bob Crockett said:

So in the apologetic debates involving Martin Luther and Philip Melanchthon against the Church, they'd get involved in mind-bending somersaults and shenanigans to justify their break from Rome.  They'd redefine words.  They'd make stuff out of whole cloth.  Just reading it makes my head spin, as they tried to argue that their authority came from the Bible alone.

You're doing the same thing.  Fanciful speculation as to what others might have thought.  Translation is not translation.  When Joseph Smith said the Book was "a translation of some ancient records [...] purporting to be the writings of Abraham, while he was in Egypt, called the Book of Abraham, written by his own hand, upon papyrus"," he was just joking around.

I believe that the Book of Abraham is scripture, but the apologetic defense does the Church more harm than good.

Come on now, Bob.  Forget about the whole apologetic thing for a moment and consider these facts.

Webster's Dictionary, 1828, "Translate":

Quote

Translate

TRANSLA'TE, verb transitive [Latin translatus, from transfero; trans, over, and fero, to bear.]

1. To bear, carry or remove from one place to another. It is applied to the removal of a bishop from one see to another.

     The bishop of Rochester, when the king would have translated him to a better bishoprick, refused.

2. To remove or convey to heaven, as a human being, without death.

     By faith Enoch was translated, that he should not see death. Hebrews 11:15.

3To transfer; to convey from one to another. 2 Samuel 3:10.

4. To cause to remove from one part of the body to another; as, to translate a disease.

5. To change.

     Happy is your grace, That can translate the stubbornness of fortune Into so quiet and so sweet a style.

6. To interpret; to render into another language; to express the sense of one language in the words of another. The Old Testament was translated into the Greek language more than two hundred years before Christ. The Scriptures are now translated into most of the languages of Europe and Asia.

7. To explain.

The definition of "translate" as we generally use it today (to interpret; to render into another language) is way down the totem pole in the word meaning definition according to this 1828 dictionary.  

Can you honestly say that Joseph Smith had your personal understanding of the word "translate" in mind every time he used that word in the 1828-1844 time period?   

The heading from Section 7 of the Doctrine and Covenants, which appeared as Section XXXIII in the 1835 edition, said it was "Translated from parchment, written and hid up by himself."  Do you think Joseph was claiming to have had that parchment and translated it, as in one language to another, or did he have something else in mind?

And what about the Joseph Smith "Translation" of the Bible?  Do you think he obtained Hebrew and Greek manuscripts of the Bible and "translated" them?  Or what do you believe is meant by such a "translation".  This is what the Encyclopedia of Mormonism says about the Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible (JST)

Quote

Joseph Smith often used the words "translated" and "translation," not in the narrow sense alone of rendering a text from one language into another, but in the wider senses of "transmission," having reference to copying, editing, adding to, taking from, rephrasing, and interpreting. This is substantially beyond the usual meaning of "translation." When he said the Bible was not translated correctly, he not only was referring to the difficulties of rendering the Bible into another language but he was also observing that the manuscripts containing the text of the Bible have suffered at the hands of editors, copyists, and revisionists through centuries of transmission. Thus, the available texts of the Bible are neither as complete nor as accurate as when first written.

Do we just throw all of this out the window and just believe that Joseph was always using the word "translate" the way we want it to mean?

Edited by InCognitus
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15 minutes ago, InCognitus said:

Can you honestly say that Joseph Smith had your personal understanding of the word "translate" in mind every time he used that word in the 1828-1844 time period?   

Yes, as I read the Green Mountain Boys letter and his statements to the Times and Seasons.  

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2 hours ago, Bob Crockett said:

So in the apologetic debates involving Martin Luther and Philip Melanchthon against the Church, they'd get involved in mind-bending somersaults and shenanigans to justify their break from Rome.  They'd redefine words.  They'd make stuff out of whole cloth.  Just reading it makes my head spin, as they tried to argue that their authority came from the Bible alone.

You're doing the same thing.  Fanciful speculation as to what others might have thought.  Translation is not translation.  When Joseph Smith said the Book was "a translation of some ancient records [...] purporting to be the writings of Abraham, while he was in Egypt, called the Book of Abraham, written by his own hand, upon papyrus"," he was just joking around.

I believe that the Book of Abraham is scripture, but the apologetic defense does the Church more harm than good.

Not at all, actually. This is not a unique idea. For example, JS “translated” parts of the BoM without any source—by pure revelation. Yet he called it “translation.”  He called his inspired version “translation” when it wasn’t anything of the sort. JS’s concept of translation is not consistent with how we use the term. That’s not wishful thinking. That’s fact. Take a look at the intro to the Book of Moses and try to make sense of it. You can’t if you use the typical definition of “translation.”

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10 hours ago, PacMan said:

Martin Harris DID know to go to Anthon.  He at least knew it from other contacts--namely Bradish (whose important is not in reading Egyptian but being familiar with the state of Egyptology in 1828).

There is no evidence that Bradish recommended Anthon to Harris, although he could have.

Quote

 it's pretty clear that Harris knew to go to Anthon, and probably went to him first.

According to Anthon, the person who directed Harris to Anthon was Mitchill. Anthon left three accounts of the encounter and in each one he said Harris went to Mitchill first:

  • "Some years ago, a plain, and apparently simple-hearted farmer, called upon me with a note from Dr. Mitchell of our city, now deceased, requesting me to decypher, if possible, a paper, which the farmer would hand me, and which Dr. M. confessed he had been unable to understand." (1834)
  • "Many years ago, the precise date I do not now recollect, a plain looking countryman called upon me with a letter from Dr. Samuel L. Mitchell, requesting me to examine, and give my opinion upon, a certain paper, marked with various characters which the Doctor confessed he could not decypher" (1841)
  • "The man who handed me the scrawl had previously taken it to Dr. Mitchell and had been referred by that gentleman to me" (1844)

Richard Bushman accepts this account of events: "Mitchill encouraged [Harris] and referred him to Anthon" (Bushman, Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling, 64). As does Richard E. Bennett: "Once in New York City, Harris met with Dr. Samuel L. Mitchill who referred him to a young up and coming scholar of linguistics, thirty-one-year-old Professor Charles Anthon" (Bennett, "'Read This I Pray Thee': Martin Harris and the Three Wise Men of the East," Journal of Mormon History 36, no. 1 [Winter 2010]: 190). As do Michael MacKay and Gerrit Dirkmaat (see From Darkness unto Light, 49).

Quote

You adopt this demonstrably false narrative, stating "This, of course, does not demonstrate that Joseph Smith knew of Champollion (whose work wasn't available in English yet)."  That's false.  Greppo's "work" of Isaac Stuart's translation of "Essay on the Hieroglyphic  System of M. Champollion, Jun. And on the Advantages which it offers to Sacred Criticsim" was published by Perkins & Marvin in Boston in 1830. 

I believe 1830 came after 1828.

Quote

The mere mention of Champollion in Bennett's work is evidence that both you and Ritner are wrong.

What am I wrong about? The mention of Champollion in Bennett's article only shows that Bennett knew Champollion's name and associated him with hieroglyphics. It tells us nothing about what Martin Harris or Joseph Smith knew in 1828. Or in 1835, for that matter. But, yes, Champollion's name was known in the United States by 1831. Bennett was certainly aware of him because his newspaper had run articles about him.

Quote

Your only hope is to either Bennett lied about the Harris quote (which he had no reason to do) or to assume that Harris said nothing of Champollion to JS.  I don't think that's reasonable at all.  And, at the point that JS knew of Champollion--however detailed--it's silly to believe that he would intentionally perpetuate a fraud with the BoA before investigating the current state of Egyptology after having already known that the mystery of the Rosetta Stone was cracking at least 7 years earlier.

There is no "Harris quote". Bennett never talked to Harris. The person he did talk to mentioned "hieroglyphics." That's what Bennett wrote in his notes of the interview. Nothing about Champollion. I suspect Bennett added that detail himself.

But even if Harris had seen Mitchill pull out a copy of Champollion's Précis du système hiéroglyphique and compare the hieroglyphs there with the characters copied from the plates, there's no reason to suppose that Harris would have gone away knowing any more about Champollion than his name (if that much). It would be years still before Champollion's achievement was fully recognized even among scholars, let alone the general public.

As the entry on Champollion in the Encyclopedia of the Archaeology of Ancient Egypt notes: "Because [his posthumously published Egyptian grammar and accompanying dictionary] appeared so long after his initial achievement, and because Champollion had spent so much time collecting primary source material, his rivals and detractors prevailed until in 1837 the distinguished German professor Richard Lepsius agreed in print with his philological arguments. Then Champollion was finally given the credit he deserved for correctly deciphering the ancient Egyptian language."

Edited by Nevo
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12 hours ago, Nevo said:

There is no evidence that Bradish recommended Anthon to Harris, although he could have.

According to Anthon, the person who directed Harris to Anthon was Mitchill. Anthon left three accounts of the encounter and in each one he said Harris went to Mitchill first:

  • "Some years ago, a plain, and apparently simple-hearted farmer, called upon me with a note from Dr. Mitchell of our city, now deceased, requesting me to decypher, if possible, a paper, which the farmer would hand me, and which Dr. M. confessed he had been unable to understand." (1834)
  • "Many years ago, the precise date I do not now recollect, a plain looking countryman called upon me with a letter from Dr. Samuel L. Mitchell, requesting me to examine, and give my opinion upon, a certain paper, marked with various characters which the Doctor confessed he could not decypher" (1841)
  • "The man who handed me the scrawl had previously taken it to Dr. Mitchell and had been referred by that gentleman to me" (1844)

Richard Bushman accepts this account of events: "Mitchill encouraged [Harris] and referred him to Anthon" (Bushman, Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling, 64). As does Richard E. Bennett: "Once in New York City, Harris met with Dr. Samuel L. Mitchill who referred him to a young up and coming scholar of linguistics, thirty-one-year-old Professor Charles Anthon" (Bennett, "'Read This I Pray Thee': Martin Harris and the Three Wise Men of the East," Journal of Mormon History 36, no. 1 [Winter 2010]: 190). As do Michael MacKay and Gerrit Dirkmaat (see From Darkness unto Light, 49).

I believe 1830 came after 1828.

What am I wrong about? The mention of Champollion in Bennett's article only shows that Bennett knew Champollion's name and associated him with hieroglyphics. It tells us nothing about what Martin Harris or Joseph Smith knew in 1828. Or in 1835, for that matter. But, yes, Champollion's name was known in the United States by 1831. Bennett was certainly aware of him because his newspaper had run articles about him.

There is no "Harris quote". Bennett never talked to Harris. The person he did talk to mentioned "hieroglyphics." That's what Bennett wrote in his notes of the interview. Nothing about Champollion. I suspect Bennett added that detail himself.

But even if Harris had seen Mitchill pull out a copy of Champollion's Précis du système hiéroglyphique and compare the hieroglyphs there with the characters copied from the plates, there's no reason to suppose that Harris would have gone away knowing any more about Champollion than his name (if that much). It would be years still before Champollion's achievement was fully recognized even among scholars, let alone the general public.

As the entry on Champollion in the Encyclopedia of the Archaeology of Ancient Egypt notes: "Because [his posthumously published Egyptian grammar and accompanying dictionary] appeared so long after his initial achievement, and because Champollion had spent so much time collecting primary source material, his rivals and detractors prevailed until in 1837 the distinguished German professor Richard Lepsius agreed in print with his philological arguments. Then Champollion was finally given the credit he deserved for correctly deciphering the ancient Egyptian language."

You are not understanding.  I'll make it really, really clear.  The 1831 account is quoting Martin Harris regarding the Harris interaction with Dr. Mitchell in 1828:

Harris says that the Doctor received him very “purlitely,” looked at his engravings—made a learned dissertation on them—compared them with the hieroglyphics discovered by Champollion in Egypt—and set them down as the language of a people formerly in existence in the East, but now no more."

Please note the quotation marks used to seemingly mock Harris.  These are Martin's words.  As to the reference to Champollion, there is no reason to believe that Bennett's notes in his journal were comprehensive or that it's omission in the journal, material.  In fact, if you disagree, you have the now added burden to demonstrate Bennett's knowledge of Champollion so that he'd even think to include it in the 1831 account if it did not, in fact, originate from Mitchell and Harris.

Now, whether Champollion was given his due credit is irrelevant.  What is relevant is that Martin Harris (and JS) had first hand knowledge that the Rosetta mystery was cracking.  In fact, I do not believe that JS believed that Champollion had achieved a complete deciphering.  But it was completely inconsistent for JS -- 7 years later, to think that he could manufacture a con with actual Egyptian papyri.  JS's efforts were honest and sincere.  And in this context, and in light of what the BoA manuscript actually tells us, is that the manuscript was not a translation at all but an attempt to try to unfold Egyptian as multiple scholars were doing at the time.

Edited by PacMan
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19 hours ago, Bob Crockett said:
19 hours ago, InCognitus said:

Can you honestly say that Joseph Smith had your personal understanding of the word "translate" in mind every time he used that word in the 1828-1844 time period?   

Yes, as I read the Green Mountain Boys letter and his statements to the Times and Seasons.  

So are you now completely backing away from your claim about apologists trying to change the meaning of "translation" with regard to the book of Abraham and are instead limiting this only to the Green Mountain Boys letter and statements in the Times and Seasons?   

Look at exactly what you said:

20 hours ago, Bob Crockett said:

So in the apologetic debates involving Martin Luther and Philip Melanchthon against the Church, they'd get involved in mind-bending somersaults and shenanigans to justify their break from Rome.  They'd redefine words.  They'd make stuff out of whole cloth.  Just reading it makes my head spin, as they tried to argue that their authority came from the Bible alone.

You're doing the same thing.  Fanciful speculation as to what others might have thought.  Translation is not translation.  When Joseph Smith said the Book was "a translation of some ancient records [...] purporting to be the writings of Abraham, while he was in Egypt, called the Book of Abraham, written by his own hand, upon papyrus"," he was just joking around.

I believe that the Book of Abraham is scripture, but the apologetic defense does the Church more harm than good.

You were throwing everything into the same pot and claiming that only you know what translation really means, even for the book of Abraham.  Are you just trying to muddy the waters?

Earlier in this thread, with regard to the Green Mountain Boys letter and the Times and Seasons, I asked you the question, "Why should I care?"  That was an honest question, even if we pretend that the Green Mountain Boys letter was written by Joseph Smith instead of by William W. Phelps.  Why should that even be relevant? 

There seems to be a rather popular belief among people that prophets of God can't have a life.  They apparently aren't allowed to have personal interests or hobbies or anything else that is separate and distinct from their prophetic duties.  Can't Joseph Smith be allowed to dabble in languages, and try to learn a little of Hebrew, Greek, German or French or Latin, or even try to figure out Egyptian on his own time?   Apparently not.

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46 minutes ago, InCognitus said:

So are you now completely backing away from your claim about apologists trying to change the meaning of "translation" with regard to the book of Abraham and are instead limiting this only to the Green Mountain Boys letter and statements in the Times and Seasons?   

Look at exactly what you said:

You were throwing everything into the same pot and claiming that only you know what translation really means, even for the book of Abraham.  Are you just trying to muddy the waters?

Earlier in this thread, with regard to the Green Mountain Boys letter and the Times and Seasons, I asked you the question, "Why should I care?"  That was an honest question, even if we pretend that the Green Mountain Boys letter was written by Joseph Smith instead of by William W. Phelps.  Why should that even be relevant? 

There seems to be a rather popular belief among people that prophets of God can't have a life.  They apparently aren't allowed to have personal interests or hobbies or anything else that is separate and distinct from their prophetic duties.  Can't Joseph Smith be allowed to dabble in languages, and try to learn a little of Hebrew, Greek, German or French or Latin, or even try to figure out Egyptian on his own time?   Apparently not.

I answer questions.  Others, especially anonymous posters, don't. 

In response to your anonymous questions:

No.

No.

I don't care if you care.

It is entirely relevant.  I have previously explained that ratification is good enough.  

I don't care about dabbling but I do care about official letters and statements in the Times and Seasons. 

Finally, I give hardly a hoot about the views of posters who are anonymous.  Either you have the courage to put your names next to your views or you are just peeing into the wind. 

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23 minutes ago, Bob Crockett said:

It is entirely relevant.  I have previously explained that ratification is good enough.  

My question about relevancy was about the content of the letter and how that is relevant to the book of Abraham, the Book of Mormon, or the revelations, not about the authority of the letter itself.  How or why would that letter be relevant?

28 minutes ago, Bob Crockett said:

I don't care about dabbling but I do care about official letters and statements in the Times and Seasons. 

Which statements matter, and which ones don't?

29 minutes ago, Bob Crockett said:

Finally, I give hardly a hoot about the views of posters who are anonymous.  Either you have the courage to put your names next to your views or you are just peeing into the wind.

I was wondering when you'd bring up my screen name, since "InCognitus" is probably the epitome of anonymity (but that's not really why I use it these days).   

I believe an argument should stand or fall on its own merit regardless of who makes the statement.  And it's quite obvious that using a real name does little to bolster the credibility of a weak or logically flawed argument.

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55 minutes ago, InCognitus said:

 

I believe an argument should stand or fall on its own merit regardless of who makes the statement.  And it's quite obvious that using a real name does little to bolster the credibility of a weak or logically flawed argument.

Wishful thinking.  You lack courage. The Lord needs defenders on social media with courage and personal accountability. 

Edited by Bob Crockett
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2 hours ago, Bob Crockett said:

Wishful thinking.  You lack courage. The Lord needs defenders on social media with courage and personal accountability. 

Bob,
 

When you own the board you can make the rules. You don’t. So move on from your discontent with anonymous posters. Know your place. 
 

In any event, your judgmental self-righteousness is neither invited, warranted, helpful, or appreciated. 
 

You, like most of us, are a nobody. And you certainly don’t speak on behalf of anyone—particularly the Lord. 

Edited by PacMan
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19 hours ago, PacMan said:

Bob,
 

When you own the board you can make the rules. You don’t. So move on from your discontent with anonymous posters. Know your place. 
 

In any event, your judgmental self-righteousness is neither invited, warranted, helpful, or appreciated. 
 

You, like most of us, are a nobody. And you certainly don’t speak on behalf of anyone—particularly the Lord. 

You guys are a little too much.  

You will be removed from the thread if you continue to badger posters over screennames.

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16 hours ago, PacMan said:

Bob,
 

When you own the board you can make the rules. You don’t. So move on from your discontent with anonymous posters. Know your place. 
 

In any event, your judgmental self-righteousness is neither invited, warranted, helpful, or appreciated. 
 

You, like most of us, are a nobody. And you certainly don’t speak on behalf of anyone—particularly the Lord. 

aRmufaHOpXULoWV1yvVjY5ZIaripubStAp6Oa9_M

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On 8/21/2020 at 5:21 PM, Ahab said:

Interesting word choice.  purporting to be.  Look that up on Google to see what those words mean.

That’s exactly what the Book of Abraham purports to be...a book written by the hand of Abraham. The church has distanced itself from this claim...the claim is a false assertion. 

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