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Navigating Faith After Concluding Book of Mormon and Book of Abraham Are 19th Century Works by Joseph Smith


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This website came up on my FB feed. I see a trend in my inner circles of my former ward members and a couple of friends of their children, leaving or not partaking of the LDS church. I see that it's a problem all over. https://event.webinarjam.com/register/20/4q6nvi9?fbclid=IwAR3Uyi-mzTtwE8sHCKAEpu1nxBSzFZ8nHnYZ0pZs1vdjaG1hAQfT0r2LU8I I'll bet the church wishes that for a period of time they hadn't hidden un-useful truths. It must hurt now realizing it. I know that many knew of these issues before the 70's or so, but then came correlation and putting these sometime warts away.

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Why Is There A Faith Crisis Among Latter Day Saints?

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It is hard to find any stronger evidence bearing on the Book of Mormon authorship issue than the following.

Two very strong indicators that JS did not author the Book of Mormon are the personal relative pronoun pattern and the verb complementation pattern. I invite anyone to find modern texts with these patterns. Wide-ranging comparative studies indicate that no one proposed as an author of the Book of Mormon would have produced these patterns. The past-tense pattern is another pervasive one which, with the support of these two, clearly indicate the early modern nature of the syntax. There are other patterns, both large and small, that accord with these patterns, which evince early modern sensibilities.

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On 10/24/2020 at 4:52 PM, pogi said:

Now that is art!

I think I will put out a cover of this piece and try to sell it on iTunes. I wonder how many sales I'll get, and if I'll have to pay royalties to someone?

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On 10/25/2020 at 12:46 AM, Bernard Gui said:

How many halls have been filled to hear this? How many times would you sit through 4’33”? Speaking as a musician, I see only burlesque and pretense, but zero art or craft, a mental exercise and commentary, but no skill. I thought that when I first “heard” it in 1964. Once you’ve fallen for his trick, it loses its “charm.” Going into a performance knowing what is about to happen destroys the intent. There is no more there there. Once is more than enough. IMO, it’s  already been relegated to the junk heap of history and remains as a curious remnant of a weird musical era. 

I learned much about indeterministic or aleatoric music at a performance with a string quartet at the Western States Composers Symposium in 1966. It was all the rage then. Everyone thought it was “happening.” The composer and our quartet got a standing ovation for his piece, but at no time did we ever know if what we were playing was what the composer wrote. Neither did he. Maybe that was his intent. Who knows? Luckily we finished together. 
But some folks may still think it’s the dog’s meow. Maybe we’ll have to agree to disagree.

Back when I was in Grammar School in the UK (Cheltenham Grammar School, 1969-1971), I attended a music appreciation/history class of some kind, taught by Mr. Neaves. I enjoyed the class, but I don't remember what it was I learned. I could already play guitar in an amateur fashion, but decided to try my hand at composing for the piano. I got ahold of some music paper (you now, the kind with those horizonal lines on it?), and started writing notes. Believe it or not, I actually knew how to do this. But it was composition for the sake of a drawing pretty notes on the staff. It went on for about two pages. I called it "Toothache Bliss". One day I roped Mr. Neaves into playing it on the piano, since I had no idea what it sounded like. And he gave it a try! He gave up after the first page, remarking "It does go on, doesn't it?" I thanked him for helping me hear my composition, and he smiled and nodded in return. He must have been so astounded and speechless at my musical prowess! Or not; it was hard to tell. I was actually pleased at how it turned out -- it didn't sound bad! It also didn't sound particularly good, either.

But I think that "Toothache Bliss" was far superior to that cockamamie four minutes of silence. 

I wish I still had the score to my piece, but I lost it in some move or another over the last 50 years or so. Tragic.

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On 10/26/2020 at 7:37 PM, pogi said:

Cage’s point has largely fallen on deaf ears. A University of Virginia study published in July 2014 put hundreds of people in an empty, quiet room alone for 15 minutes. Most participants found it insufferable—25 percent of women and 67 percent of men opted to endure painful electric shocks rather than pass the time without any stimulation.

I have told my wife that being bored is against my religion. This doesn't mean that I make sure to be active so I am not bored. I simply don't get bored. I typically go on walks with earbuds droning on with some book from Audible, if I have no walking companion. If I have to sit and wait alone, but have my tablet or phone, then I will listen to music, or dig into an audiobook or ebook. I can almost always find something to listen to, or read. But if I am put into an empty quiet room alone, sans device, book, or reading material of any kind, I am quite happy to listen to my own thoughts. I could do it for far more than 15 minutes. And I wouldn't be bored. 

I suppose if I didn't know how long the experiment was going to last, I might get restless after a while. But 15 minutes is nothing. I sometimes lie awake at night in the dark with my wife snoring gently next to me and just think. I can keep it up for hours.

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On 11/12/2020 at 7:43 AM, champatsch said:

It is hard to find any stronger evidence bearing on the Book of Mormon authorship issue than the following.

Two very strong indicators that JS did not author the Book of Mormon are the personal relative pronoun pattern and the verb complementation pattern. I invite anyone to find modern texts with these patterns. Wide-ranging comparative studies indicate that no one proposed as an author of the Book of Mormon would have produced these patterns. The past-tense pattern is another pervasive one which, with the support of these two, clearly indicate the early modern nature of the syntax. There are other patterns, both large and small, that accord with these patterns, which evince early modern sensibilities.

How do you respond to these two points?  First, how have you eliminated the possibility that Joseph Smith spoke in a manner that resembled EmodE more than the spoken english of today or of his time? It seems written language is more formal and more likely to follow the current rules, whereas, spoken english is lazier and more apt to be more archaic.  Also, I heard that Appalachian dialects more resemble elizabethian english than anything else.  Is that true and could that affect your theory? Second, how can you discount that Joseph Smith just might have been trying to sound olde worldly as that was what his book was, a history of ancients?  He certainly could have used the 1611 bible and riffed from there.

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7 minutes ago, Robert J Anderson said:

How do you respond to these two points?  First, how have you eliminated the possibility that Joseph Smith spoke in a manner that resembled EmodE more than the spoken english of today or of his time? It seems written language is more formal and more likely to follow the current rules, whereas, spoken english is lazier and more apt to be more archaic.  Also, I heard that Appalachian dialects more resemble elizabethian english than anything else.  Is that true and could that affect your theory? Second, how can you discount that Joseph Smith just might have been trying to sound olde worldly as that was what his book was, a history of ancients?  He certainly could have used the 1611 bible and riffed from there.

Seems to me it should be quite easy to find a writer from that time period who similarly used the many parallelistic forms demonstrated in Brother Parry's edition of the Book of Mormon. One who was very familiar with the gospel and the scriptures and adept at creating new proper names such as those in the Book of Mormon.

I also wonder if Joseph Smith was conversant with the most popular book of his time other than the Bible, Pilgrim's Progress, and if it could have had an effect on his writing style. 

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33 minutes ago, Bernard Gui said:

Seems to me it should be quite easy to find a writer from that time period who similarly used the many parallelistic forms demonstrated in Brother Parry's edition of the Book of Mormon. One who was very familiar with the gospel and the scriptures and adept at creating new proper names such as those in the Book of Mormon.

I also wonder if Joseph Smith was conversant with the most popular book of his time other than the Bible, Pilgrim's Progress, and if it could have had an effect on his writing style. 

It certainly could be a genre thing where he uses the style of Pilgrim's Progress and View of the Hebrews, etc. to dictate his own bible like book.  Perhaps he so wanted to solve certain problems and restore lost christian doctrines that he decided to invent his own book, based on the mound builder's myth, under inspiration to do so?

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1 hour ago, Robert J Anderson said:

It certainly could be a genre thing where he uses the style of Pilgrim's Progress and View of the Hebrews, etc. to dictate his own bible like book.  Perhaps he so wanted to solve certain problems and restore lost christian doctrines that he decided to invent his own book, based on the mound builder's myth, under inspiration to do so?

This is what I think. He didn't like the religions surrounding him. And who would, when your preacher said your brother will be in hell. (Alvin) And hey, it is very plausible that God had a hand in it. 

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23 hours ago, Robert J Anderson said:

It certainly could be a genre thing where he uses the style of Pilgrim's Progress and View of the Hebrews, etc. to dictate his own bible like book.  Perhaps he so wanted to solve certain problems and restore lost christian doctrines that he decided to invent his own book, based on the mound builder's myth, under inspiration to do so?

Something like this along with the Taves hypothesis makes sense to me, but doesn't make it any less scripture than any prophet of old writing with a quill pen, in my opinion.

I think of that picture, I believe supposedly of Isaiah with a long beard, white robe, illuminated by a candle, writing with a quill pen.  In reality of course we now know there were at least two or three "Isaiah's" and their writing should just be judged as literature which brings one closer to God with a greater understanding 

I think those brought up in the church have a tendency to really rely on the history and the pioneer trek and make religion a part of personal identity and are very leery about actually reasoning through these ideas.   On the other hand, I find that converts already have the perspective that religion calls out to them, so they go out to "the religious supermarket" and browse the shelves to find the "product" out there to suit them.   No need for much analysis if it does its job in life- giving life its meaning and solving the quest for one's place in the universe.

As inspired literature, its origins need not make much difference, but certainly not something to spend one's life trying to justify its divine origins, while it's divine origins can only be determined divinely.  That's why I love the Rorty quote below so much- because it is written by an atheist but yet opens to me a world in which religion becomes as rational as science, but projected inward. What is religion FOR?  What good is it?  What is it's purpose as a tool in our lives?   

Just as mindfulness meditation encourages one to observe one's internal thought processes, for me, the below quote became a statement about religious reality and reality in general

Instead of studying what is alleged to be "outside" my perceptions, it turns life into an observation of one's own psyche in operation while browsing within one's own perceptions instead of thinking they are "outside" at all in matters of importance to me, like morality, choices about concrete actions, what gives my life meaning etc.  Those thoughts and ideas are private, but are "where we live" and how we see the world around us.

When one centers one's personal identity upon one's religion, giving up religion affects that personal identity, and one experiences what we call a "faith crisis" and extends to family relationships, a sense of belonging and all kinds of stuff that to me is outside the purpose of religion.

One seeks all kinds of bizarre assumptions to logically explain and protect one's personal religion/identity, when religion is seen as part of one's identity.

On the other hand if one sees religion as a philosophy of life about solving the problems of one's place in the universe, as confirmed by the Spirit- in my opinion, one is more free to follow that spirit in modifying what is now seen as philosophy instead of an immutable part of one's personal identity.

If life is about spiritual progression, and becoming, then one's view of God and what gives one meaning and purpose in life must also be able to spiritually progress.

In that state, mentally, one can explore questions like "What IF Joseph really DID write the BOM"?   Would it change the values of its spiritual teachings?  Would it matter if a real human named Moroni even existed?

In my way of thinking, the answer is NO.

But now what if we take that view to the world looking for converts?  Is it easier for one to convert to a church which is "selling" a completely rational view of what it means to believe in God or one which is inexorably tied to what appear to be crazy fables about the past?

Is it important to hang on to those- "crazy fables"- or even MORE IMPORTANT than bringing the world the light of the gospel?

What if we brought the essence of our faith- that is is humanistic and materialistic in its essential assumptions- that what we conceive is a God who is much like us, immanent and self-limiting in certain ways, that Jesus, who actually lived IS the "God" who is relevant to our lives, that families can be forever, that after eons of progression we can become like Jesus and the Father and never end in progression?  And create a perfect society in Zion?

And most importantly that these truths can be conveyed by the spirit of God testifying these matters to us, because INTERNAL REALITY IS EVEN MORE IMPORTANT THAN WHAT WE FALSELY BELIEVE TO BE EXTERNAL?  The spirit is more important in these matters than science?

 

 

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19 hours ago, Robert J Anderson said:

How do you respond to these two points?  First, how have you eliminated the possibility that Joseph Smith spoke in a manner that resembled EmodE more than the spoken english of today or of his time? It seems written language is more formal and more likely to follow the current rules, whereas, spoken english is lazier and more apt to be more archaic.  Also, I heard that Appalachian dialects more resemble elizabethian english than anything else.  Is that true and could that affect your theory? Second, how can you discount that Joseph Smith just might have been trying to sound olde worldly as that was what his book was, a history of ancients?  He certainly could have used the 1611 bible and riffed from there.

The Book of Mormon has sustained archaism in many different syntactic domains, and it has dozens of instances of nonbiblical archaism in its lexical usage. Pseudobiblical texts do not have this sustained archaism. They are far behind the Book of Mormon in terms of archaism. They might look as archaic as the Book of Mormon on the surface, but once they're analyzed comparatively, many substantial differences become apparent.

In the personal relative pronoun system, the evidence shows that the Book of Mormon's pattern wasn't JS's own unexceptional modern pattern, which we see in his early writings. His spoken language would've been similar to his written language in this case since relative pronoun usage is mostly nonconsciously produced. To be sure, there could have been some differences between dictating and writing, but not the dramatic differences that we see between the patterns, with personal which being heavily dominant in the dictation language. And the dictation pattern wasn't a pseudobiblical pattern or more broadly a pseudo-archaic pattern. So it wasn't a biblically imitative pattern, and it was different from the King James pattern. It is, however, found in some early modern authors. The verb complementation pattern is similar to this, with its own peculiarities.

We don't want to say that JS "certainly could have used the King James Bible and riffed from there"; pseudo-archaic texts give strong counterevidence to such a view.

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Curious to know how people that are familiar with FairMormon feel about their new videos featuring Kwaku and friends, putting out videos about several items including the CES letter, DNA in the BoM and View of the Hebrews. Some older people may not like them, but maybe they're hitting the youth in a good way. Calm, and others, what say you? I think they are cringe worthy, but I'm old. Here are a couple of the videos...

 

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40 minutes ago, Tacenda said:

Curious to know how people that are familiar with FairMormon feel about their new videos featuring Kwaku and friends, putting out videos about several items including the CES letter, DNA in the BoM and View of the Hebrews. Some older people may not like them, but maybe they're hitting the youth in a good way. Calm, and others, what say you? I think they are cringe worthy, but I'm old. Here are a couple of the videos...

I haven't watched them yet (and probably won't get a chance to do that until later today), but I already agree with the cover photo of the first one:   "VIEW OF THE HEBREWS  LOLOLOL"  :) 

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