Jump to content

Cohesive Narrative of the fabricated Book of Mormon?


Recommended Posts

3 minutes ago, Calm said:

One of my grandfather’s hat is obviously fur felt. If the outside was left so the felt could be brushed, pinholes for light could be easily blocked by the outer layer movement. Though on an old hat, the outer layer of looser fur if top hats had one could be worn down. Otoh, if the felt was completely felted or whatever the term is (I did study this once when I considered maybe trying to make my own hat for a costume) with layers of glue, rubbing on the inside to make a thinner barrier….trying to think of what might be used that wouldn’t obviously damage it. 
 

I think this would be a question for someone who knows vintage hats. 

All of this presupposes no light would come in around the edges of his face. If it is enough to keep out all the light, it would be quite suffocating. Just saying. 

Link to comment
15 minutes ago, SeekingUnderstanding said:

All of this presupposes no light would come in around the edges of his face. If it is enough to keep out all the light, it would be quite suffocating. Just saying. 

That is true. It has been a long time I tried with one of my not too deep hats and all I remember is it was hard to read for me. Add to that low lighting overall based on candlelight…not sure if an oil lamp of the day would be much brighter (kerosene lamps were 1856, just checked).  Wonder if there is any way to tell which sections were done during daylight and if by chance more detailed (assuming even indirect sunlight is more intense than candlelight) 

I think memorizing or semi memorizing makes more sense, but then we have the studies on what the manuscript tells us of how it was dictated. Interesting stuff.  I have nothing of significance to really add.  I don’t tend to be impressed by ‘how could a farm boy’ arguments, but aren’t impressed by conspiracy ones either as I just don’t buy secrets could have been kept. 

Edited by Calm
Link to comment

I'd say keeping out all light isn't even necessary. Reading in uneven light levels with steep gradients is extremely difficult, not to mention that he'd have no way of turning over pages without anybody noticing. 

Edit: This is before we mention the fact that, if Martin Harris' story of switching out the seer stone is true, then he would have to have handled the hat in "translation-mode" and his failure to mention Joseph's crib sheet is telling.  

Edited by OGHoosier
Link to comment
9 minutes ago, OGHoosier said:

Reading in uneven light levels with steep gradients is extremely difficult, not to mention that he'd have no way of turning over pages without anybody noticing. 

 

In a grey hat, lots of reflection. No uneven levels. Assuming translators were not co conspirators, there is a huge power differential created by them thinking Joseph spoke for God, and that there were potential divine curses for bad actions. Lots of room for someone practiced in the art of glass looking (which requires the people skills to manipulate others). 

 

9 minutes ago, OGHoosier said:

Edit: This is before we mention the fact that, if Martin Harris' story of switching out the seer stone is true, then he would have to have handled the hat in "translation-mode" and his failure to mention Joseph's crib sheet is telling.  

Well it’s my understanding that story dates quite late. But assuming Harris was sincere, again not hard to explain. Why would Joseph leave the alleged crib sheet in the hat while they were off skipping stones in the River. Much safer to put it back in later. And of course Joseph knows what his rock looks like. 

Link to comment
20 minutes ago, Calm said:

That is true. It has been a long time I tried with one of my not too deep hats and all I remember is it was hard to read for me. 

I’d imagine near impossible for anyone without very youthful eyes. From my own perspective the Book of Mormon sounds like it was orally dictated, so if there was a sheet of paper down there it would likely just be a set of notes/ names places etc. 

Link to comment
47 minutes ago, SeekingUnderstanding said:

I’m not the saying he read from note cards (the text has a very oral feel to it to me), only that there was no need to put them in his lap if they were used. But slight of hand? Magician? Joseph was very involved in the occult, using his seer stone to locate hidden lost objects, search for buried treasure etc. a little slight of hand, sure why not? A bathroom break, sure why not? A break to stretch his legs, sure why not? Or his translators were co-conspirators? Sure why not. 

Exactly -- so why not a demonstration after all these years?

"Encore, encore!!!"

Link to comment
10 minutes ago, SeekingUnderstanding said:

In a grey hat, lots of reflection. No uneven levels. Assuming translators were not co conspirators, there is a huge power differential created by them thinking Joseph spoke for God, and that there were potential divine curses for bad actions. Lots of room for someone practiced in the art of glass looking (which requires the people skills to manipulate others). 

On the contrary, Joseph's head would put in quite the shadow, so I'm afraid the light levels would be quite uneven. Also, it's highly unlikely that the inside layer of the hat was as grey as the outside since the outside color was that of an outermost layer meant for public viewing, as opposed to the inside of the hat. 

12 minutes ago, SeekingUnderstanding said:

Well it’s my understanding that story dates quite late. But assuming Harris was sincere, again not hard to explain. Why would Joseph leave the alleged crib sheet in the hat while they were off skipping stones in the River. Much safer to put it back in later. And of course Joseph knows what his rock looks like. 

Per the story, Martin swaps out the stones in the hat while Joseph isn't looking, and then Joseph sits down to translate and "all's as dark as Egypt." Martin was observing the whole time. 

Link to comment
14 minutes ago, CV75 said:

Exactly -- so why not a demonstration after all these years?

"Encore, encore!!!"

How about a production right after the church settles on a narrative for how the Book of Mormon was produced beyond “the gift and power of God”. See questions up thread. 
 

I’ll get right on it then - after I demonstrate how to build the pyramids and Easter island statues, and produce a ufo out of nowhere in Vegas. 
 

ETA - You should go watch the Darren Brown miracle episode on Netflix, then come on here and tell me how he did it. If you can’t then the only reasonable explanation is that it is by the power of God (it’s all caught on camera too, no need to really on eye witness testimony given often years after the fact). 

Edited by SeekingUnderstanding
Link to comment
24 minutes ago, SeekingUnderstanding said:

And what’s the provenance of the story again? 

The initial account is an article by Edward Stevenson in the Millennial Star Vol. 44, No. 6, published on February 6, 1882 under the title "One of the Three Witnesses." It cites an bulletin of a meeting where Harris addressed the congregation which was published in a Utah newspaper called the Evening News on September 5, 1870. Stevenson relates that Martin Harris addressed the congregation church meeting and told them the story. Edward Stevenson was present in that church meeting per the Evening News citation. Your charge that the story is late is fair, it is told 40 years after the fact. 

If I have the time I will try to find the Evening News. Whether or not the September 5, 1870 issue has been preserved or digitized is unknown, and I do not have the time to track down a paper copy. 

The Millennial Star article may be found here.

Edit: Stevenson also recounted the event in the Deseret News of 30 November 1881.

Edited by OGHoosier
Link to comment
36 minutes ago, OGHoosier said:

The initial account is an article by Edward Stevenson in the Millennial Star Vol. 44, No. 6, published on February 6, 1882 under the title "One of the Three Witnesses." It cites an bulletin of a meeting where Harris addressed the congregation which was published in a Utah newspaper called the Evening News on September 5, 1870. Stevenson relates that Martin Harris addressed the congregation church meeting and told them the story. Edward Stevenson was present in that church meeting per the Evening News citation. Your charge that the story is late is fair, it is told 40 years after the fact. 

If I have the time I will try to find the Evening News. Whether or not the September 5, 1870 issue has been preserved or digitized is unknown, and I do not have the time to track down a paper copy. 

The Millennial Star article may be found here.

Edit: Stevenson also recounted the event in the Deseret News of 30 November 1881.

Right, so a second hand source. Over a decade after he hears an account from Harris (itself decades after the fact). Any chance for embellishment there?


On the previous page you said my source was suspect (second hand 15 years after the fact). How can you tell when to pay attention to a source or not? (You also mistakenly identified it as third hand, but the source you linked had this foot note: “At the same time, Clark’s report of his direct conversation with Martin Harris is an important historical document that relates particularly to the Anthon transcript.”)

Edited by SeekingUnderstanding
Link to comment
2 hours ago, SeekingUnderstanding said:

Right, so a second hand source. Over a decade after he hears an account from Harris (itself decades after the fact). Any chance for embellishment there?


On the previous page you said my source was suspect (second hand 15 years after the fact). How can you tell when to pay attention to a source or not? (You also mistakenly identified it as third hand, but the source you linked had this foot note: “At the same time, Clark’s report of his direct conversation with Martin Harris is an important historical document that relates particularly to the Anthon transcript.”)

Fair enough, I concede the reliability of Clark's account. I was indeed in error, well spotted. 

With that established, I will thank you to go back, reread my posts, and realize that I never said anything about the dating of your Clark account, or indeed any account you have raised in the course of this discussion. My whole objection was to what I perceived as its anonymous, thirdhand status. You have dispelled that objection. Now, regarding my standards of analysis, I regard secondhand accounts as inferior to first-hand but worthy of consideration (thirdhand is where I start applying grains of salt), unless anonymity is invoked. "I heard somebody (who shall remain anonymous) say that they saw this" won't get much attention from me. Naming one's informant will get more. As for dating of accounts, I'm usually pretty lenient. As a rule, within 10 years I take it at face value, and though details can get fuzzy with time I still generally regard the core material of a firsthand account as essentially reliable unless the person is demonstrably cognitively troubled. Additional witnesses help. 

Link to comment
12 hours ago, SeekingUnderstanding said:

I don’t have time for a complete (or very thoughtful) response, but from a critics perspective you have this backwards...................

I don’t know how Egyptians built the pyramids. I don’t know how the statues on Easter island were moved. I don’t know how David Copperfield made a UFO appear on stage when I saw him in Vegas. The fact that I don’t know exactly how any of the above happened doesn’t make the explanation that God or Aliens did it any more compelling. 

Each of the questions addressed here are matters of engineering technology, and each is accessible to experts.  None is a mystery, except to the hoi-polloi.  None of your examples require God or aliens.

12 hours ago, SeekingUnderstanding said:

One more side note, why would Joseph put a note card in his lap when he could just put it in his white top hat that he had his face buried in?

Not a very convincing trick, and certainly not adequate to explain the dictated text of the BofM.  Funny thing about conspiracies:  The more people involved, the greater likelihood that someone will talk, eventually.  Joseph having a card on his lap would have been noticed at some point.  In his hat he would not have been able to read it.  Too dark.  How many thousands of cards would be needed to complete the BofM in any case, even if it were visible?  Too many witnesses to the process and no way to adequately explain it as a trick.

The "what if" approach is just not very convincing, and can be used to come with any sort of absurd answer.  Eric von Daniken tried to make the case that alien technology built the wonders of the ancient world, and many people believed him, even though there is not a shred of evidence to support his mindless drivel.  Archeologists know how the ancient world was built.  There is no  mystery about it.  Discussions of the BofM should be based on fact, not fancy.

Link to comment
7 hours ago, OGHoosier said:

As a rule, within 10 years I take it at face value, and though details can get fuzzy with time I still generally regard the core material of a firsthand account as essentially reliable unless the person is demonstrably cognitively troubled. Additional witnesses help. 

What is your opinion of the eight Conneaut witnesses published in 1834? 

Link to comment
11 hours ago, SeekingUnderstanding said:

How about a production right after the church settles on a narrative for how the Book of Mormon was produced beyond “the gift and power of God”. See questions up thread. 
 

I’ll get right on it then - after I demonstrate how to build the pyramids and Easter island statues, and produce a ufo out of nowhere in Vegas. 
 

ETA - You should go watch the Darren Brown miracle episode on Netflix, then come on here and tell me how he did it. If you can’t then the only reasonable explanation is that it is by the power of God (it’s all caught on camera too, no need to really on eye witness testimony given often years after the fact). 

I'm not expecting you to do the demonstration, only expressing that it would be great if those who have a vested interest in that particular narrative would demonstrate it.

I'm not asking how the trick is done, only a demonstration of it. Those putting it on, I think, would also have a vested interest in explaining how it is done. Ideally they would take the longest passage that was thus transmitted, and also perform a few serial sessions replicating what Joseph Smith's schedule was like.

I do enjoy magic shows for their entertainment and amusement value; this is not that.

Link to comment
39 minutes ago, CV75 said:

I'm not expecting you to do the demonstration, only expressing that it would be great if those who have a vested interest in that particular narrative would demonstrate it.

I'm not asking how the trick is done, only a demonstration of it. Those putting it on, I think, would also have a vested interest in explaining how it is done. Ideally they would take the longest passage that was thus transmitted, and also perform a few serial sessions replicating what Joseph Smith's schedule was like.

I do enjoy magic shows for their entertainment and amusement value; this is not that.

Anyone who possesses the spirit of revelation instantly knows the Book of Mormon came forward just as the Prophet Joseph Smith says it did — a mighty miracle of divine revelation from God. Those who can’t see this perfectly obvious heavenly truth (because they themselves are devoid of the spirit of revelation) will one day have their spiritual eyes opened so that they might clearly see their folly and be filled with wonderment as to how it was possible that they could have been so easily blinded and deceived when the perfectly obvious, unalloyed truth was staring them right in the face . When that day comes they will learn a sad lesson, that it is indeed good to be learned, but only when one has living faith in Christ and harkens to the counsels of God.

Edited by teddyaware
Link to comment
3 hours ago, Rajah Manchou said:

What is your opinion of the eight Conneaut witnesses published in 1834? 

Good point, I'll have to consider this and maybe regard my rules as more like heuristics rather than hard rules, in light of the fact that the Spalding manuscript doesn't seem to validate this testimony. I'd also argue that Philastus Hurlbut is not exactly to be trusted so the impact of this event on my credence in those rules should be lessened somewhat. 

I will also say that, upon reviewing the Conneaut witnesses, the main claims between them are names and the story seeming similar, and since Spalding left Conneaut in 1812, the 1834 accounts fall outside my 10-year face-value window. I'm not sure how confident to be in someone's remembrance of things they've read in passing because I've noticed my memory of such events is pretty poor (ie I think some passage is worded one way and I go back and read it and I got several things wrong) and for all intents and purposes I'm in as good shape as can be expected when it comes to memory and retention. That said, I'm also not going to just assume the falsity of my memories either. So, like I said, I trust the general contours of events but lend less credence to individual details. This is amplified when the observations are in passing. 

Edited by OGHoosier
Link to comment
On 8/15/2021 at 8:55 AM, Fether said:

Are there any comprehensiveness and cohesive articles or historical fictions out there that spell out exactly how one could believe JSjr fabricated the Book of Mormon? I’m familiar with many of the arguments and feel a few of them contradict each other.
 

I want to see the best written out narrative of what “actually” happened in the creation of the Book of Mormon. Was the Spaulding manuscript used or View of the Hebrews? Did JSjr write it, or was it a group effort? What kind of binding covenant would make the witnesses of the Book of Mormon abandon JSjr and call him a fallen prophet, yet never deny the Book of Mormon itself? When using the Seer stone, did JSjr memorize hours of passages and then stick his head in the hat and recite them back? Or perhaps he had a note card on his lap he was reading from that no one noticed? Or were the translators, Emma included, all in on it and there really was no “translation process”, but rather the book was made and they all wrote in their journals fake entries about the translation?

Here are some articles that help identify proposed alternative theories and, imo, illuminate many of their deficiencies: 

Link to comment
55 minutes ago, Fair Dinkum said:

How did any author form thoughts in their minds and put them on paper?  How did Shakespeare write his plays?  How did J K Rowling,  J.R.R. Tolkien or Leo Tolstoy produce their works?

Good questions? Is Joseph Smith really comparable to most other authors in background and experience? And were the circumstances involved in the production of the Book of Mormon really comparable to those used by most successful authors? 

For those who missed it, Brian Hales gave another excellent presentation at the FAIR Conference two weeks ago. It helps further contextualize this issue. 

Link to comment

It wouldn't be the first time nor the last that men sincerely fancied themselves as more important than others and collectively worked to maintain such a fantasy through collaboration. 

Those who claim that the Book of Mormon is exceptional don't tend to do so because of its own merit, per se, but rather because of its unexceptional content combined with assumptions made about its production. It's very much like a magician's sleight of hand and not about true value of the work.

We can see an extension of this in more modern times, when President Hinckley and others talk about the Book of Mormon being divine serving as a testament of the Restoration, doing this without an actual appeal to book's contents. 

The claim of the Book of Mormon's divinity is rarely accompanied by an assessment its net value, where the harm it has caused is acknowledged and weighed against any contributions it has made. Perhaps that is because the evaluation of the book tends to begin with existing presumptions about it. For instance, I've never heard anyone who claimed the Book of Mormon was produced supernaturally to tackle the problem of its production being potentially aided by the Devil. 

Link to comment
14 hours ago, Robert F. Smith said:

Each of the questions addressed here are matters of engineering technology, and each is accessible to experts.  None is a mystery, except to the hoi-polloi.  None of your examples require God or aliens.

Exactly! Obviously they don’t require God or Aliens. But tell that to the true believers not me. 

14 hours ago, Robert F. Smith said:

Not a very convincing trick, and certainly not adequate to explain the dictated text of the BofM.  Funny thing about conspiracies:  The more people involved, the greater likelihood that someone will talk, eventually.  Joseph having a card on his lap would have been noticed at some point.  In his hat he would not have been able to read it.  Too dark.  How many thousands of cards would be needed to complete the BofM in any case, even if it were visible?  Too many witnesses to the process and no way to adequately explain it as a trick.

Unsurprisingly I am utterly unconvinced by your assertions. Judging by the success of Mormonism, I’d be willing to bet that the vast majority of people who have interacted with Mormonism are similarly unconvinced. 

Link to comment
On 8/15/2021 at 1:21 PM, Meadowchik said:

Sure, people make their own stories. But only very few claim and attempt the exercise of spiritual authority over others.

And who might that be?

Plus the idea is ludicrous. You used the word "attempt"

I hereby attempt to exercise spiritual authority over YOU.

Unfortunately it takes two to tango

In this case you would have to GIVE me authority, I can't just take it.

 

Link to comment
8 hours ago, SeekingUnderstanding said:

..............................

Unsurprisingly I am utterly unconvinced by your assertions. Judging by the success of Mormonism, I’d be willing to bet that the vast majority of people who have interacted with Mormonism are similarly unconvinced. 

Professional stage magicians would laugh at your assertions.  You clearly think that assertion is the same as fact.  In science and logic, we have a far more rigorous demand for actual evidence -- something you get rid of with the wave of the hand.

Link to comment

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...