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Some questions and thoughts about why people leave the Church.


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22 hours ago, JustAnAustralian said:

Yes. 
Why is a particular artist's rendition of the Book of Mormon translation process different to different artists' renditions of Jesus?

The artist's renditions of the translation process that I grew up with are not accurate. 

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1 hour ago, sunstoned said:

The artist's renditions of the translation process that I grew up with are not accurate. 

Personally, I love this beautifully accurate mosaic depiction of the Nativity from AD1150!

Meister_der_Palastkapelle_in_Palermo_001

Edited by Hamba Tuhan
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7 hours ago, sunstoned said:

The artist's renditions of the translation process that I grew up with are not accurate

That's the thing though. It's the artist's rendition. If a particular artist chooses to render it a particular way.

From the church website:

one with the divider (https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/church/news/viewpoint-testimonies-of-the-book-of-mormon?lang=eng)

image.png.39064ccb56feea6e117fa71930154cff.png

and one without (https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/manual/book-of-mormon-seminary-teacher-manual-2013/ether/lesson-146?lang=eng)

image.png.3b3e89bceb3097adfccc71673a97318d.png

 

More recently they've put up ones with the hat (https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/history/topics/book-of-mormon-translation?lang=eng)

image.png.3d4aba5405d7588874f6c164113e7d49.png

 

The ones with and without the divider were put up after it was published that he used a stone in a hat (which was at least as early as the 70s), and the one with the divider was in an article that came out after photos of the stone were published in 2015. So clearly there's more to it that trying to have art perfectly represent history.

Much like the depictions of Jesus Christ and/or Heavenly Father being highly varies.

Edited by JustAnAustralian
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On 3/31/2022 at 5:47 AM, JustAnAustralian said:

That's the thing though. It's the artist's rendition. If a particular artist chooses to render it a particular way.

From the church website:

one with the divider (https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/church/news/viewpoint-testimonies-of-the-book-of-mormon?lang=eng)

image.png.39064ccb56feea6e117fa71930154cff.png

and one without (https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/manual/book-of-mormon-seminary-teacher-manual-2013/ether/lesson-146?lang=eng)

image.png.3b3e89bceb3097adfccc71673a97318d.png

 

More recently they've put up ones with the hat (https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/history/topics/book-of-mormon-translation?lang=eng)

image.png.3d4aba5405d7588874f6c164113e7d49.png

 

The ones with and without the divider were put up after it was published that he used a stone in a hat (which was at least as early as the 70s), and the one with the divider was in an article that came out after photos of the stone were published in 2015. So clearly there's more to it that trying to have art perfectly represent history.

Much like the depictions of Jesus Christ and/or Heavenly Father being highly varies.

And all renditions are based on available information. in the case of the Joseph Smith "translation" the rendition and narrative of the process is now known to be false as there were never plates present and Joseph relied on a stone in his hat where he placed his face in order to dictate. The curch has acknowledged that much. So, in general, renditions are rather a totally subjective and personal expression of events, people or places (when it comes to history) that often bares no resemblance to reality whatsoever.

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On 4/4/2022 at 9:19 PM, Islander said:

And all renditions are based on available information. in the case of the Joseph Smith "translation" the rendition and narrative of the process is now known to be false as there were never plates present and Joseph relied on a stone in his hat where he placed his face in order to dictate. The curch has acknowledged that much. So, in general, renditions are rather a totally subjective and personal expression of events, people or places (when it comes to history) that often bares no resemblance to reality whatsoever.

The Eleven Witnesses, the Three and the Eight, respectively, would beg to differ, as would Joseph's scribes.  Have you seen Witnesses?

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On 4/4/2022 at 10:19 PM, Islander said:

And all renditions are based on available information. in the case of the Joseph Smith "translation" the rendition and narrative of the process is now known to be false as there were never plates present and Joseph relied on a stone in his hat where he placed his face in order to dictate. The curch has acknowledged that much. So, in general, renditions are rather a totally subjective and personal expression of events, people or places (when it comes to history) that often bares no resemblance to reality whatsoever.

So are we blaming artists for the false narratives about the translation process?

The church used these depictions in their art sets in church libraries, in the films it created etc. The church chose the narrative. Sure, any artist could create anything they wanted but the church would only use what it approved.

BTW- that artist depiction of Joseph using the hat for translation is comical. It appears every effort was made to hide the hat :) 

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13 hours ago, Kenngo1969 said:

The Eleven Witnesses, the Three and the Eight, respectively, would beg to differ, as would Joseph's scribes.  Have you seen Witnesses?

There is no evidence that the physical plates were ever present and open during the translation process.  That is different than saying the plates didn't exist.  The only evidence that Joseph ever looked at the plates was to copy characters from the plates as explained in the Pearl of Great Price.  Joseph then used the Urim and Thummim to translate some of the characters implying that even then Joseph wasn't looking at the actual plates.  There is actually no clarity as to whether the Urim and Thummim referenced was those found with the plates or the seer stone as Joseph referred to both and Urim and Thummim.

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19 minutes ago, Kevin Christensen said:

Apparently the Church History site in Harmony PA, where most of the translation was done forgot to make any effort whatsoever, except to provide a hat.

I find it helpful to realize that the church is by definition a covenant collection of people, not an anthropmorphised entity that can be collectively blamed for whatever particular individuals have done.

FWIW,

Kevin Christensen

Canonsburg, PA

HarmonyPATranslationsite2021.jpg

Bump.

Truth needs multiple repititions.

The idea of a covenant collection of people is wonderful 

Edited by mfbukowski
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On 4/7/2022 at 10:26 PM, Kenngo1969 said:

The Eleven Witnesses, the Three and the Eight, respectively, would beg to differ, as would Joseph's scribes.  Have you seen Witnesses?

I read de JS Papers and the Church acknowledged that much.

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1 hour ago, Islander said:

I read de JS Papers and the Church acknowledged that much.

Okay.  Thanks for enlightening me.  I hope you have a wonderful day. :) 

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On 4/9/2022 at 4:12 PM, Kenngo1969 said:

Thanks for posting links to these insightful articles. 
 

The thought occurred to me: If there had been no physical reality to the plates and they had not been present or nearby during the sacred translation of the record, can you imagine the field day that the “inspired fiction” theorists and historicity deniers would have? As it is, they are obliged to consider eyewitness accounts of the physical reality and presence of the plates whether or not they choose to acknowledge those accounts. 
 

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On 3/31/2022 at 3:08 AM, The Nehor said:

Why is Jesus giving the viewer his best stinkeye look of “Why did you do this to me?”

I am trying to figure out what that not-shy naked dwarf looking man with a 4-pack is doing in the nativity scene.  Joseph doesn't seem to be amused. 

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19 minutes ago, pogi said:

not-shy naked dwarf looking man with a 4-pack is doing in the nativity scene.

John the Baptist about to take a bath?

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@Hamba Tuhan, not familiar with the picture, I’d like to check if I am right, and if not, who the dude is (are they perhaps combining with a later event in toddler/child Jesus’ life?), so if you please, what is the title?

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43 minutes ago, Hamba Tuhan said:

Thank you

Added:

Quote

Joseph, still facing away from the scene, is on the left this time. Angels are present, as are the three wise men, Mary, Jesus, and the stable animals. The wise men are behind Mary - the main subject – to reflect that they were not present at the time of birth in the narrative, but arrived some weeks later.

This suggests to me the picture of the diminutive thug is actually a picture of Baby Jesus at a later time.  Have not been successful yet in finding a fuller explanation.

Added:  From the picture following this one, there is a similar scene, but the babe is still swaddled and it looks identical to Jesus being held by his mother after his birth.  The man and woman don’t look like Mary or Joseph to me nor is there a halo on the woman, so my guess either servants or family members about to give Jesus a bath in both pictures.  In the first picture, the woman has a nice headpiece on, while the man is unadorned and short sleeves.  Perhaps a post birth bath by a woman who helped with the delivery, a midwife with a servant of the owner of wherever the birth took place bringing water for the bath.

“Giotti di Bondone, Nativity Scene in the Lower Church of San Francesco d’Assisi (painted 1304 – 1306)”

It is followed by Paul Gauguin, Geburt Christi, des Gottessohnes (1896), which has no juxtaposition of different times in one picture, but has a woman holding Jesus as Mary rests and a person behind looking down at something.  This picture is what made me think “midwife”.

Edited by Calm
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4 hours ago, pogi said:

Joseph doesn't seem to be amused. 

From the same link for another painting:

Quote

At this point, it may be worth explaining what is turning into a recurring theme of ‘grumpy Joseph’. Although perhaps a little ham-acted to the modern eye, Joseph is often depicted to show strong feelings about the birth.

There are references to Joseph not taking Mary’s news very well in the bible, despite his parents being supportive. With historical non-religious context, it is evident that a pre-marital birth was less than ideal. It was a capital offence for women to conceive outside of marriage. There was also a cultural stigma attached to such acts.

 

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14 hours ago, smac97 said:

My sense is that nobody is "blaming."

My sense is also that the notion of "false narratives about the translation process" is way overblown. 

How many "wise men" were there?  Is a depiction of a specific number a "false narrative?"

Did they ride camels?  Is a depiction of them atop dromedaries a "false narrative?"

Were they "kings?"  Are the lyrics of "We Three Kings of Orient Are" a "false narrative?"

Were they at the Nativity?  Did they jostle elbows with the shepherds viewing the Babe in the manger?  Apparently not.  Does that make pretty much every Nativity Set ever sold a "false narrative?"

I like this article's summary:

In sum, perceptions of a "false narrative" can be due to:

  • insufficient information and/or
  • inaccurate information and/or
  • insufficient assessment and/or
  • inaccurate assessment.

And the creation of a "false narrative" can be due to:

  • naturally occurring narrative patterns
  • transient contextual framing
  • inadvertent presentation
  • intentional deception

I think many of these factors are in play, except the last one, namely, creating a "false narrative" by "intentional deception."  Joseph Smith left the particulars of the translation process opaque.  Then he was murdered.  Then his contemporaries died off.  As time went on, technology and such allowed for artistic depictions to be broadly disseminated in the Church.  So artists went with the main "beats" of the narrative: Joseph Smith, dictating a "translated" text to a scribe, in a cabin, derived from actual/tangible Gold Plates.  Moreover, a lot of these illustrations were geared toward children., and for such an audience complex or difficult concepts are often distilled down, with some accuracy and precision being sacrificed in the  process.

In any event, I think it is overwrought to complain about a "false narrative" in this context, as the phrase is too strident and has connotations of intentional deception.  

The Church's Nativity Scene on Temple Square incorporates the Wise Men.  I think it would be a bit much to publicly accuse the Church of "choosing" a "false narrative" about the birth of Jesus Christ.

"Artistic license" is, I think, the order of the day.  

Thanks,

-Smac

You are very welcome to view the church's depiction of the restoration (including translation) as totally open and transparent and honest. But the church has a problem because many people do not, and IMO for good reason. Comparing the false narrative of the translation (lets be honest, the depiction of translation we all grew up with ended up being false- for whatever reason) that occurred 200 years ago with the story of wise men from 2000 years ago is a bit of a strawman. I don't think anyone is expecting the biblical story to be factually accurate in its time frame. And there isn't a temple recommend question asking for testimony about that story, as there is about the restoration which includes the false translation narrative. As an institution the LDS church's places significant importance on its historical narrative, more so than most. So you can continue shouting that there is no problem and nothing to see here, but IMO it looks a little silly.

The traditional, historical narrative has been proven to be inaccurate so as an institution the church was either willfully inaccurate or lazy in correcting the errors. Personally, I believe it is a combination of both. We know from the whole Salamander debacle that the church actively sought to hide what it considered to be embarrassing elements of the narrative, especially ones that suggested Joseph's participation in the "magical" traditions. A potential salamander guardian over the plates, even if false hit a little too close to home, as well as the use of the rock in the hat both pointed towards magic. I think the church figured a studious looking narrative about translation would be more palatable. I think they were right about the optics, but wrong to let the false narrative thrive the way it did for so long.

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3 hours ago, HappyJackWagon said:

You are very welcome to view the church's depiction of the restoration (including translation) as totally open and transparent and honest.

That's not what I said.  I instead specifically stated that some artistic depictions of the translation process "are often distilled down, with some accuracy and precision being sacrificed in the  process."

I further said that "Artistic license" is "the order of the day."  By way of example, consider this famous painting of Washington crossing the Delaware River:

Washington_Crossing_the_Delaware_by_Eman

Did Washington cross the Delaware?  Yes, that seems to be well-established fact. 

Did he do so in a boat?  Yes. 

Were the waters icy?  Apparently so.

However, did Washington stand in the boat during the crossing?  Were there exactly 11 other passengers in the boat with Washington?  Were there exactly four oarsmen?  More?  Less?  Was the ice in the river really that iceberg-like? 

What about the size of the boat?  See here:

Quote

4. Washington’s force used a collection of cargo boats and ferries to transport his men across the Delaware.

Thanks to the foresight of General Washington and the actions of the New Jersey militia, the American forces had brought all available watercraft on the Delaware to the southern bank, thus denying the British the use of these crafts, while making them available for an American recrossing. Much of Washington’s force crossed the river in shallow draft Durham boats – strongly built cargo vessels, most between 40 and 60 feet in length, designed to move iron ore and bulk goods down the river to markets in and around Philadelphia. These stout craft with their high side walls were robust enough to survive the ice-choked Delaware. Heavy artillery pieces and horses were transported on large flat-bottomed ferries and other watercraft more suited to carrying that type of difficult cargo. It shouldn’t be surprising that most of Washington’s soldiers stood during the crossing since the bottoms of Durham boats were neither comfortable nor dry.

durham-boats-by-luke-jones-flickr-cc-cro
Durham Boats being used during a recreation of the Delaware River crossing (Luke Jones Flickr CC)

Why isn't there snow or rain depicted?  See here:

Quote

6. The crossing was made worse by the arrival of a strong storm that brought freezing rain, snow, and terrifying winds.

By the time that most of the soldiers had reached the launching point for the boats, the drizzle had turned into a driving rain. And by 11 o’clock that evening, while the boats were crossing the river, a howling nor’easter made the miserable crossing even worse. One soldier recorded that “it blew a perfect hurricane” as snow and sleet lashed Washington’s army.

What about the width of the river?  See here:

Quote

9. The Delaware River is less than 300 yards wide at the point where the army crossed.

Despite how the Delaware River is commonly portrayed in works of art, the site where General Washington and his army crossed was rather narrow. Durham boats and flat ferries were used to cross. They were probably fixed to a wire strung across the river. 

Was there a wire strung across the river or not?  If so, why is it not depicted?

What about the flag?  See here:

Quote

Historical inaccuracies

The flag depicted is an early version of the flag of the United States (the "Stars and Stripes"), the design of which did not exist at the time of Washington's crossing. The flag's design was first specified in the June 14, 1777, Flag Resolution of the Second Continental Congress, and flew for the first time on September 3, 1777—[citation needed] well after Washington's crossing in 1776. A more historically accurate flag would have been the Grand Union Flag, hoisted by Washington on January 1, 1776, at Somerville, Massachusetts, as the standard of the Continental Army and the first national flag.

Washington's stance, obviously intended to depict him in a heroic fashion, would have been very hard to maintain in the stormy conditions of the crossing. Considering that he is standing in a rowboat, such a stance would have risked capsizing the boat.[6] However, historian David Hackett Fischer has argued that everyone would have been standing up to avoid the icy water in the bottom of the boat, while the actual Durham boats used were much larger having a flat bottom, higher sides, a broad beam (width) of some eight feet and a draft of 24–30 inches deep.[7]

Wow.  Questions all over the place.  And because of these questions, by your reckoning we can and ought to conclude that the above painting amounts to a "false narrative."

Or . . . not.  Perhaps it doesn't really matter how many people were in the boat with Washington, or whether he was standing up during the crossing, or whether there was a flag on a pole in the boat, and on and on.

Perhaps "artistic license" can and ought to be recognized as a fairly common element of artwork.  And perhaps the utilization of such license is not equivalent to presenting a "false narrative."

3 hours ago, HappyJackWagon said:

But the church has a problem because many people do not, and IMO for good reason.

Abandoning one's faith because artistic renditions of Joseph Smith translating show plates in the room?  This is "good reason"?

Well, reasonable minds can disagree about that.

3 hours ago, HappyJackWagon said:

Comparing the false narrative of the translation

Again, I disagree that artistic depictions using "artistic license" amount to a "false narrative."

Likewise, I do not think that the above painting of Washington crossing the Delaware amounts to a "false narrative."

3 hours ago, HappyJackWagon said:

(lets be honest, the depiction of translation we all grew up with ended up being false- for whatever reason)

Well, no.  "Not 100% historically accurate in some respects," sure.  Artistic license and all that.

But "false"?  False?  Nah.

3 hours ago, HappyJackWagon said:

that occurred 200 years ago with the story of wise men from 2000 years ago is a bit of a strawman.

I don't think so.  

Moreover, Washington crossed the Delaware 250 or so years ago.  

3 hours ago, HappyJackWagon said:

I don't think anyone is expecting the biblical story to be factually accurate in its time frame.

I don't think the average reasonable person is expecting artistic depictions to be 100% "factually accurate," either.  Again, "artistic license" is the order of the day.

3 hours ago, HappyJackWagon said:

And there isn't a temple recommend question asking for testimony about that story,

Which kinda lessens the supposed seriousness of inaccuracies borne of artistic license, limited information, etc.

3 hours ago, HappyJackWagon said:

as there is about the restoration which includes the false translation narrative.

Again, "false narrative" is way overwrought.

3 hours ago, HappyJackWagon said:

As an institution the LDS church's places significant importance on its historical narrative, more so than most.

Not sure about that.

3 hours ago, HappyJackWagon said:

So you can continue shouting that there is no problem and nothing to see here, but IMO it looks a little silly.

I'm not shouting.  I'm not saying that "there is no problem and nothing to see here."

As for looking "a little silly," griping about matters of artistic depiction that plainly fall within the ambit of "artistic license" seems to be . . . that.

3 hours ago, HappyJackWagon said:

The traditional, historical narrative has been proven to be inaccurate

Which is a far cry from being a "false narrative."

Would you say that the "Washington Crossing the Delaware" is "inaccurate?"  Does it create a "false narrative?"  If not, why not?

3 hours ago, HappyJackWagon said:

so as an institution the church was either willfully inaccurate or lazy in correcting the errors.  Personally, I believe it is a combination of both.

I'll take Door #3: The Church was willing to go along with a less-than-100%-historically-accurate-artistic-depictions-because-that's-how-"artistic-license"-works approach.

3 hours ago, HappyJackWagon said:

We know from the whole Salamander debacle that the church actively sought to hide what it considered to be embarrassing elements of the narrative, especially ones that suggested Joseph's participation in the "magical" traditions.

The "Salamander debacle" that involved . . . the Church being scammed by a serial bomber/murderer psychopath?

3 hours ago, HappyJackWagon said:

A potential salamander guardian over the plates, even if false hit a little too close to home, as well as the use of the rock in the hat both pointed towards magic. I think the church figured a studious looking narrative about translation would be more palatable. I think they were right about the optics, but wrong to let the false narrative thrive the way it did for so long.

Again "false narrative" regarding the translation process is, I think, way overwrought.

Thanks,

-Smac

Edited by smac97
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1 hour ago, HappyJackWagon said:

You are very welcome to view the church's depiction of the restoration (including translation) as totally open and transparent and honest. But the church has a problem because many people do not, and IMO for good reason. Comparing the false narrative of the translation (lets be honest, the depiction of translation we all grew up with ended up being false- for whatever reason) that occurred 200 years ago with the story of wise men from 2000 years ago is a bit of a strawman. I don't think anyone is expecting the biblical story to be factually accurate in its time frame. And there isn't a temple recommend question asking for testimony about that story, as there is about the restoration which includes the false translation narrative. As an institution the LDS church's places significant importance on its historical narrative, more so than most. So you can continue shouting that there is no problem and nothing to see here, but IMO it looks a little silly.

The traditional, historical narrative has been proven to be inaccurate so as an institution the church was either willfully inaccurate or lazy in correcting the errors. Personally, I believe it is a combination of both. We know from the whole Salamander debacle that the church actively sought to hide what it considered to be embarrassing elements of the narrative, especially ones that suggested Joseph's participation in the "magical" traditions. A potential salamander guardian over the plates, even if false hit a little too close to home, as well as the use of the rock in the hat both pointed towards magic. I think the church figured a studious looking narrative about translation would be more palatable. I think they were right about the optics, but wrong to let the false narrative thrive the way it did for so long.

I'm listening to an audible of Rough Stone Rolling by Richard Bushman, and he would agree and has even said as much, that the church's put out narrative wasn't correct all the way. 

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