Jump to content

The Gold Plates


Recommended Posts

1 hour ago, Saint Bonaventure said:

From my perspective, the gold plates thing seems like one large MacGuffin.

 

In fiction, a MacGuffin is an object, device, or event that is necessary to the plot and the motivation of the characters, but insignificant, unimportant, or irrelevant in itself.

In the case at hand, the plates don't seem to be "insignificant, unimportant, or irrelevant in itself." In fact, their existence is central to the message, along with the result, which is the text of the Book of Mormon. And we've been arguing over their existence and their nature throughout. 

But perhaps they are a MacGuffin. And we're disputing over angels dancing on the heads of pins.

Link to comment
1 hour ago, Saint Bonaventure said:

From my perspective, the gold plates thing seems like one large MacGuffin.

That's an interesting take.  Could you elaborate?

From Wikipedia:

Quote

In fiction, a MacGuffin (sometimes McGuffin) is an object, device, or event that is necessary to the plot and the motivation of the characters, but insignificant, unimportant, or irrelevant in itself.[1][2][3][4][5] The term was originated by Angus MacPhail for film,[2] adopted by Alfred Hitchcock,[1][2][3][4][5] and later extended to a similar device in other fiction.[4]

The MacGuffin technique is common in films, especially thrillers. Usually, the MacGuffin is revealed in the first act, and thereafter declines in importance. It can reappear at the climax of the story but may actually be forgotten by the end of the story. 

Since the plates contain the text of the Book of Mormon, the "keystone of our religion," and since they are a central component of the narrative of the Restoration and Joseph Smith's prophetic calling, and since Joseph went to the trouble of having the Three and Eight Witnesses attest to them, characterizing the artifact as "insignificant, unimportant, or irrelevant in itself" seems a bit unusual.  

FAIR has addresses the purpose of the physical presence of the plates here:

Quote

The existence of the physical plates attested to the reality of the Nephite record

If there had been no plates, and Joseph had simply received the entire Book of Mormon through revelation, there would have been no Anthon visit, nor would there have been any witnesses. The very fact that plates existed served a greater purpose, even if they were not directly viewed during all of the translation process.

The plates served a variety of purposes.

  1. They were viewed by witnesses as solid evidence that Joseph did indeed have an ancient record.
  2. Joseph's efforts to obtain them over a four year period taught him and matured him in preparation for performing the translation,
  3. Joseph's efforts to protect and preserve them helped build his character. If Joseph were perpetrating a fraud, it would have been much simpler to claim direct revelation from God and forgo the physical plates.
  4. Joseph copied characters off the plates to give to Martin Harris, which he subsequently showed to Charles Anthon. This was enough to convince Martin to assist with the production of the Book of Mormon.

The plates' existence as material artifacts eliminated the possibility that Joseph was simply honestly mistaken. Either Joseph was knowingly perpetuating a fraud, or he was a genuine prophet.

The existence of actual plates eliminates the idea that the Book of Mormon was "spiritually true," but fictional

Furthermore, the existence of actual plates eliminates the idea that the Book of Mormon was "spiritually true," but fictional. There is a great difference between an allegorical or moral fiction about Nephites, and real, literal Nephites who saw a literal Christ who was literally resurrected.

And Book of Mormon Central (emphasis added) :

Quote

The Why

In addition to these practical considerations, the plates meaningfully represented the presence of the Lord and His involvement in the translation process. This spiritual symbolism can be drawn out from several scriptural accounts, where the Lord openly revealed Himself to a chosen prophet but then obscured His identity by some type of veil when other followers were present.

When leading the Israelites through the wilderness, the Lord privately spoke with Moses “face to face” (Exodus 33:11). But when making His presence known to the entire camp, He covered Himself “by day in a pillar of a cloud … and by night in a pillar of fire” (Exodus 13:21). Similarly, when the Jaredites journeyed toward their promised land, the “Lord did go before them, and did talk with them as he stood in a cloud, and gave directions whither they should travel” (Ether 2:5). Only the brother of Jared, their prophetic leader, was able to see beyond the veil and enter into the presence of the Lord” (Ether 3:6–20).

Just as Moses and the brother of Jared were the only ones allowed to fully enter into the Lord’s presence, Joseph Smith was the only one initially allowed to fully view the plates. For everyone else, the plates, like the Lord Himself, were present and yet veiled—just out of sight, but never fully out of mind. In the Israelite and Jaredite exodus stories, the Lord’s veiled presence provided a visible reminder that it was truly God Himself, and not just the prophet, who was actively guiding them toward the Promised Land. Likewise, the covered plates were a constant reminder that the words which Joseph Smith was dictating were not his own; they were being given to him by Jesus Christ (2 Nephi 27:20).

Not only do such parallels reveal the symbolic relationship between Jesus Christ and the Book of Mormon, but they also can apply to us as individuals. We, like the witnesses involved in the translation, must initially rely on the testimonies of prophets like Moses and Joseph Smith.16 Although we cannot directly see the Lord for ourselves, sacred experiences, such as partaking of the sacrament,17 allow us to indirectly feel His presence in our lives.

Eventually, some of the participants and witnesses of the translation were given full access to the plates and were privileged to “behold and view these things as they are” and even to handle the plates themselves (Doctrine and Covenants 5:13).18

Similarly, the Lord wants each of us to prepare to fully enter into His presence. In 1831, the Lord declared to His Saints, “I am in your midst and ye cannot see me; But the day soon cometh that ye shall see me, and know that I am” (Doctrine and Covenants 38:7–8). In the Lord’s due time, we too may one day see the resurrected body, and feel the marks of the wounds in the hands, feet, and side of Him whom we first only saw with an eye of faith (Doctrine and Covenants 88:68; 93:1).19

These insights—both practical and spiritual—suggest that rather than being unnecessary, the physical plates may have been essential to the translation process. The engraved characters copied from their pages helped strengthen the faith of Martin Harris and others. Their tangible reality was an ever-present reminder that Joseph’s words were derived from an actual record of ancient prophets. And their veiled presence meaningfully symbolized Jesus Christ’s full participation in the translation.

As Elder Jeffery R. Holland testified, “the reality of those plates, the substance of them if you will, and the evidence that comes to us from them in the form of the Book of Mormon is at the heart, at the very center, of the hope and testimony and conviction of this work that is unshakably within me forever.”20

The Church has also provided some explanation:

Thanks,

-Smac

Link to comment
1 hour ago, Stargazer said:

I think he meant both. We have Mormon taking source documents from disparate authors, condensing their words into his own words -- and Mormon lived up to a 1,000 years after some of the original writers, so meanings of words may have drifted over time, with Mormon substituting some words with others. And then Joseph comes along. But you must realize that Joseph did not translate the Book of Mormon. He transmitted a translation that he received from a divine source. So, ultimately, it is God's words that you have to evaluate as to evidence multiple authors. Problematic!

Did you ever see the John Denver film "Oh God!" In order to prove that he really hasn't been visited by God (played by George Burns), Jerry, the Denver character is sequestered by himself in a hotel room with a set of questions (to ask God to answer). The trick is, the questions are all in Aramaic, which everyone knows Jerry doesn't know. God shows up and gives him the answers to the questions in English, which Jerry writes down as he hears them. The answer to the final question, which is a bit more complicated, God decides to write himself. He takes the pen, writes it and hands it back to Jerry. Jerry looks at the answer God has just written, and notices that it's in his own handwriting! 

This is effectively what happened with Joseph Smith and the "translation" of the Book of Mormon. It was not translated by Joseph Smith, Jr.

Do we know if God's translation was rendered "word for word"? Nope. For all we know, God's translation is an expansion on what Mormon wrote. 

ETA: Having mentioned a scene from "Oh God!" I just have to put it in:

 

Star! You nailed it on this one. Great scene, great movie, and two great and sorely missed actors. : )

Link to comment
3 hours ago, Saint Bonaventure said:

From my perspective, the gold plates thing seems like one large MacGuffin.

 

How about Mary's visitations at Fatima, the witnesses and all?

I see definite parallels, do you?

Link to comment
1 hour ago, Vanguard said:

Star! You nailed it on this one. Great scene, great movie, and two great and sorely missed actors. : )

I second that emotion! 

Totally forgot that movie!

Link to comment
4 hours ago, Stargazer said:

In fiction, a MacGuffin is an object, device, or event that is necessary to the plot and the motivation of the characters, but insignificant, unimportant, or irrelevant in itself.

In the case at hand, the plates don't seem to be "insignificant, unimportant, or irrelevant in itself." In fact, their existence is central to the message, along with the result, which is the text of the Book of Mormon. And we've been arguing over their existence and their nature throughout. 

But perhaps they are a MacGuffin. And we're disputing over angels dancing on the heads of pins.

Agreed, it is kind of impossible to have a MacGuffin in the real world. The secret plans in the spy thriller, the magic artifact in a fantasy book, the vital piece of evidence that will prove someone’s innocence in the legal drama, or the Holy Grail the knights quest for are Macguffins but in the real world they would (if they existed) have value in themselves beyond moving the plot along.

Link to comment

For some reason the idea of Joseph Smith finding a McMuffin in the box made me think of the Gorbachev Pizza Hut commercial. 

 

 

Edited by OGHoosier
Link to comment
On 9/21/2022 at 3:02 PM, why me said:

I guess we will never know. The ability to discover the truth would have happened during Joseph's time. I am sure that investigations were done at that time. But nothing was found. Sidney Rigdon denied writing it on his deathbed. And Oliver denied it was a fraud on his deathbed. And the people jotting down the manuscript were fooled. Hard to believe.

I take the view that Joseph used a copy of a manuscript created much earlier. So it’s possible the original manuscript or Joseph’s copy is still in existence. Joseph likely destroyed his copy, but one day the Mormon world may be shocked when the original manuscript comes to light. 

Link to comment
16 minutes ago, JarMan said:

I take the view that Joseph used a copy of a manuscript created much earlier. So it’s possible the original manuscript or Joseph’s copy is still in existence. Joseph likely destroyed his copy, but one day the Mormon world may be shocked when the original manuscript comes to light. 

Joseph had a few years to work on it, not months.

Link to comment
47 minutes ago, Tacenda said:

Joseph had a few years to work on it, not months.

He didn't have years for 1 Nephi -> Words of Mormon.  Because the original story that he wrote (if he wrote it) included the pages that Martin lost.  Joseph Smith had less than a year to make up what was on the small plates.

Link to comment
16 hours ago, Saint Bonaventure said:

From my perspective, the gold plates thing seems like one large MacGuffin.

 

Except they play a foundational role throughout the Book of Mormon. From our perspective, they fulfill biblical prophecies. 

Link to comment
2 hours ago, JarMan said:

I take the view that Joseph used a copy of a manuscript created much earlier. So it’s possible the original manuscript or Joseph’s copy is still in existence. Joseph likely destroyed his copy, but one day the Mormon world may be shocked when the original manuscript comes to light. 

Does this really resolve the riddle of the plates? Seems to me it just creates a different set of unanswerable questions. 

Edited by Bernard Gui
Link to comment

From my limited perspective, the situation is very much like Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark, except the audience never sees the Ark. People are on-screen describing the plates, claiming they've seen them, trying to steal them, mortgaging a farm for them, telling translation stories, and laying claim to what they must be.

But the plates themselves?

Those former business partners of Joseph Smith Jr. wanted them on the level of treasure. "Thar's gold in them thar hills!" 

Apologists can't have them be gold. Golden, maybe, but not gold. Gold is much too heavy. But maybe not, because what purity was the gold? Cue the amateur metallurgists, weighing in on tin, copper, barrel rings, and what Joseph Smith could/couldn't have been doing behind the barn on an erstwhile afternoon.

Critics need them to be gold, for the same reasons apologists can't let them be gold. The critics are all-in on the wealth motivation, for Joseph Smith Jr., for his former business partners, and, don't look behind the curtain that they carefully draw between their readers and the plates, for themselves. 

All these folks have their faces positively buried in Joseph's hat.

And the plates, well, they aren't even in the room. 

The only way the plates can show up is with the force of heaven, incontrovertible, unmistakable, and melting everyone's face.

It's a case of Joseph Smith Jr. and the Raiders of the Lost Plates....

 

Edited by Saint Bonaventure
Link to comment
30 minutes ago, Saint Bonaventure said:

From my limited perspective, the situation is very much like Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark, except the audience never sees the Ark. People are on-screen describing the plates, claiming they've seen them, trying to steal them, mortgaging a farm for them, telling translation stories, and laying claim to what they must be.

But the plates themselves?

Those former business partners of Joseph Smith Jr. wanted them on the level of treasure. "Thar's gold in them thar hills!" 

Apologists can't have them be gold. Golden, maybe, but not gold. Gold is much too heavy. But maybe not, because what purity was the gold? Cue the amateur metallurgists, weighing in on tin, copper, barrel rings, and what Joseph Smith could/couldn't have been doing behind the barn on an erstwhile afternoon.

Critics need them to be gold, for the same reasons apologists can't let them be gold. The critics are all-in on the wealth motivation, for Joseph Smith Jr., for his former business partners, and, don't look behind the curtain that they carefully draw between their readers and the plates, for themselves. 

All these folks have their faces positively buried in Joseph's hat.

And the plates, well, they aren't even in the room. 

The only way the plates can show up is with the force of heaven, incontrovertible, unmistakable, and melting everyone's face.

It's a case of Joseph Smith Jr. and the Raiders of the Lost Plates....

 

If the Lord opened the way to allow the plates to be seen by all men, the vast majority of the human race would say they were nothing more than a cleverly manufactured hoax. They’d say, “the Mormons are loaded with money, so they have the funds to pull it off.”  It would cause a media stir for a couple days and then life would very quickly go back normal with very few second thought. After all, the nonmember people would say.” we all already know the Mormon Church isn’t true, so even thought the plates might plausibly look authentic to some, we know for sure that they’re not.”

Link to comment
On 9/21/2022 at 10:41 PM, JustAnAustralian said:

I think what Benjamin means here is that the Book of Mormon as we have it, is a translation by a single individual JSjr.

This isn't really my point. If you want to understand my perspective on the Book of Mormon as a translation, you should look here.

On 9/21/2022 at 10:41 PM, JustAnAustralian said:

Ether, etc, may well have all used different phrases that JSjr translated as the same English phrase.

Ether is a relatively good example of the complexity of the problem of translation and text. Consider this verse from Ether 6:1 - "And now I, Moroni, proceed to give the record of Jared and his brother." So if he is just now getting around to giving the record of the brother of Jared, what has he been doing for the previous 5 chapters? (This is a rhetorical question). Moroni doesn't simply translate, he editorializes, re-interprets, and so on. One of the more complicated issues in the Book of Mormon is it's use of the Kingship code - a passage coming from Deuteronomy 17 which lays down instructions for the king. This was written some time after Solomon and David were kings, and it was written to highlight some of their behaviors that were later considered to be bad. The Book of Mormon uses this passage in several places. It invokes it in Jacob as a way of criticizing polygamy. The wicked kings in Alma are described in terms of the issues mentioned in Deuteronomy 17 (especially Noah). What is fascinating is that the wicked Jaredite kings are described in terms of Deuteronomy 17 as well (by Moroni). Both Moroni and Deuteronomy 17 are highly problematic in this situation (from the perspective of a believer) unless we assume that Moroni is once again editorializing the text. The problem we face with the Book of Mormon is the question of the degree to which the translator (and it doesn't matter who that translator is) may also be editorializing.

One thing is certain, the Book of Mormon is a lousy translation. I say this from the perspectives that I highlight in the link above. But the poorness of the translation may serve a purpose in the illocutionary meaning of the text.

21 hours ago, Stargazer said:

But you must realize that Joseph did not translate the Book of Mormon. He transmitted a translation that he received from a divine source.

And if this is so, this is what causes a problem for those believers who argue for the text being EModE (to use one example). Why would God (or the divine source) translate the text into a form of English that was no longer in use by any of its readers (contemporary or future)? We get awfully close here to using a black box argument that puts God in to take care of all the difficulties - even when such an explanation doesn't help very much. There is another bit of special pleading going on here. Normally, translations are made when someone reads a text in one language, interprets it, and then constructs a related text in another language. There are two communication processes that occur - and it is the interplay between these two processes that makes translation interesting. Does God even require the original text - is there really only one communicative act? Should God correct errors made in the text when the text is different from the intentions of the original author? How do we really see such a translation occurring within the context of what we know of language, texts, and translation? And what should we expect from a text that is translated by the divine? Who was the intended audience? Was it Joseph Smith? Was it someone else? What role does Joseph Smith play? Is he merely a reader (and a fairly incompetent one at that)? These kinds of issues have led to our somewhat crude distinction between tight and loose translations. There are lots of questions that we want to ask, but very few significant answers.

And to get back to a point I made elsewhere, if we have to depend on divine intervention in our explanation, it is really hard to call anything based on these assumptions evidence.

Link to comment
1 hour ago, teddyaware said:

If the Lord opened the way to allow the plates to be seen by all men, the vast majority of the human race would say they were nothing more than a cleverly manufactured hoax. They’d say, “the Mormons are loaded with money, so they have the funds to pull it off.”  It would cause a media stir for a couple days and then life would very quickly go back normal with very few second thought. After all, the nonmember people would say.” we all already know the Mormon Church isn’t true, so even thought the plates might plausibly look authentic to some, we know for sure that they’re not.”

So, ummm, if having the plates wouldn't generally make a difference, then why not provide the plates? The interesting thing is that we generally do a pretty decent job (speaking of our historians collectively) at this point in determining what is ancient and what isn't. Consider the Vorhee plates: an artifact with a text that I can not only translate, I can also point out orthographic errors in the original .... and based on that language and its translation, I can date the plates with a high degree of certainty.

Link to comment
4 hours ago, Saint Bonaventure said:

From my limited perspective, the situation is very much like Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark, except the audience never sees the Ark. People are on-screen describing the plates, claiming they've seen them, trying to steal them, mortgaging a farm for them, telling translation stories, and laying claim to what they must be.

But the plates themselves?

Those former business partners of Joseph Smith Jr. wanted them on the level of treasure. "Thar's gold in them thar hills!" 

Apologists can't have them be gold. Golden, maybe, but not gold. Gold is much too heavy. But maybe not, because what purity was the gold? Cue the amateur metallurgists, weighing in on tin, copper, barrel rings, and what Joseph Smith could/couldn't have been doing behind the barn on an erstwhile afternoon.

Critics need them to be gold, for the same reasons apologists can't let them be gold. The critics are all-in on the wealth motivation, for Joseph Smith Jr., for his former business partners, and, don't look behind the curtain that they carefully draw between their readers and the plates, for themselves. 

All these folks have their faces positively buried in Joseph's hat.

And the plates, well, they aren't even in the room. 

The only way the plates can show up is with the force of heaven, incontrovertible, unmistakable, and melting everyone's face.

It's a case of Joseph Smith Jr. and the Raiders of the Lost Plates....

 

With respect, these are odd comments from a Catholic point of view.

Link to comment
3 hours ago, Benjamin McGuire said:

And if this is so, this is what causes a problem for those believers who argue for the text being EModE (to use one example). Why would God (or the divine source) translate the text into a form of English that was no longer in use by any of its readers (contemporary or future)?

I've heard arguments on both sides of the EModE debate, and I don't know which side to believe. 

But if God gave the text in a form of English that is no longer in use, a form that Joseph did not use (or even know about?), then this actually gives support for the idea that Joseph was not the translator.

3 hours ago, Benjamin McGuire said:

We get awfully close here to using a black box argument that puts God in to take care of all the difficulties - even when such an explanation doesn't help very much.

As indicated in the scriptures, God knows everything from the beginning to the end. He's not in time, but outside it. He already knows what will happen, not because He is the very best predictor, but because to him it has already happened, and he shaped everything to end up the way it did. Maybe it doesn't help much to put God into everything, but He's there already. 

3 hours ago, Benjamin McGuire said:

There is another bit of special pleading going on here. Normally, translations are made when someone reads a text in one language, interprets it, and then constructs a related text in another language. There are two communication processes that occur - and it is the interplay between these two processes that makes translation interesting.

I understand translation problems to a certain extent. I speak German sort of fluently, and can code switch between English and German fairly easily. Sometimes I even think in German. 

But I wouldn't call God a translator.

3 hours ago, Benjamin McGuire said:

Does God even require the original text - is there really only one communicative act?

The original text could just as well have been destroyed. God can recreate it from scratch, because time is no barrier for Him. 

3 hours ago, Benjamin McGuire said:

Should God correct errors made in the text when the text is different from the intentions of the original author?

God knows the intentions of the original author. And could, theoretically, correct the errors growing up between intention and execution. I don't think He does, however, because that would make parts of the text unnecessary. The author of the BoM's title page writes: "And now, if there are faults they are the mistakes of men; wherefore, condemn not the things of God, that ye may be found spotless at the judgment-seat of Christ."

If God corrected the faults, then why would he transmit to JSjr this part of the title page? So I assume He allowed the faults to pass to us. To ask "Should God do this?" when it's clear he didn't, you're second-guessing the Almighty. A great hobby, to be sure.

3 hours ago, Benjamin McGuire said:

How do we really see such a translation occurring within the context of what we know of language, texts, and translation? And what should we expect from a text that is translated by the divine? Who was the intended audience? Was it Joseph Smith? Was it someone else? What role does Joseph Smith play? Is he merely a reader (and a fairly incompetent one at that)? These kinds of issues have led to our somewhat crude distinction between tight and loose translations. There are lots of questions that we want to ask, but very few significant answers.

And to get back to a point I made elsewhere, if we have to depend on divine intervention in our explanation, it is really hard to call anything based on these assumptions evidence.

All in all, a very fascinating problem it is. For some people, anyway. A lot of the questions you pose above will only be resolved by direct revelation, and that assumes that Father wants to reveal it. Good luck!

I think you academic types worry too much. The Book of Mormon is. And perhaps it is a conundrum, but one which is resolved through the Spirit bearing record to each person individually.

Edited by Stargazer
Link to comment
3 hours ago, Benjamin McGuire said:

So, ummm, if having the plates wouldn't generally make a difference, then why not provide the plates? The interesting thing is that we generally do a pretty decent job (speaking of our historians collectively) at this point in determining what is ancient and what isn't. Consider the Vorhee plates: an artifact with a text that I can not only translate, I can also point out orthographic errors in the original .... and based on that language and its translation, I can date the plates with a high degree of certainty.

Do you actually believe a world that’s rapidly ripening in iniquity, like ours is, (a world in which an adherence to objective truth is rapidly becoming less and less important and desirable) would really care if some eggheaded scholars and metallurgists reported that a strange looking golden codex, inscribed with what appears to be an untranslatable language, tests positive in favor of a plausible possibility of ancient manufacture? I think it would hit like a big dud and only serve to bring a great persecution upon the Church. Why? First because committed non-LDS Christians would just say it’s the work of the devil who is able to transform works of gross spiritual darkness into manifestations of seeming heavenly light. And what about the unbelievers out there? They’d observe the scholar’s announcement from the windows of the great and spacious building and have a fine old time mocking it with self-satisfied glee! After all, they already know for certain there is no God and that only a fool would indulge in such childish wishful thinking and superstition.  Both the believers and unbelievers would gang up on the Church for trying to “pull a fast one”

For crying out loud, Laman and Lemuel saw a mighty rebuking angel from heaven with their own eyes, but almost immediately forgot about the whole thing and promptly returned to their lives of wickedness and villainy! And are you not aware of the fact that the Book of Mormon’s one and only prescription for gaining a witness of it’s divine authenticity is to diligently study it, ponder it deeply and at the end of the process pray to God with great faith, real intent and utmost sincerity to receive a personal divine revelatory manifestation of its truth? Have you forgotten the scriptural warning to only seek for divine revelation and not ask for spectacular signs that will only temporarily gratify the mind of the flesh, and only serve to make things worse in the end? Have you forgotten that we receive no witness from God until we successfully pass the through the trial of our faith?

If you think the way to gain a testimony of the Book of Mormon is by means of tangible signs that only momentarily make a shallow, ephemeral impression on  the mind of flesh, you’re barking up the wrong tree, a false pursuit that invariably leads to uncertainty and frustration. It’s back to the drawing board with Moroni’s promise as the guiding principle.

Edited by teddyaware
Link to comment
52 minutes ago, Stargazer said:

But if God gave the text in a form of English that is no longer in use, a form that Joseph did not use (or even know about?), then this actually gives support for the idea that Joseph was not the translator.

Sure, I think that's true (assuming that the statement is accurate - which I have contended for years that it isn't). And the problem is that this conclusion is used not as evidence against Joseph as the author/translator but as evidence for the truth claims about the text and the narrative of its production. That is where this has the problems that I have listed elsewhere. It is evidence against something, not evidence for something else.

55 minutes ago, Stargazer said:

As indicated in the scriptures ...

Here we go again. An interpretation of scripture being used to justify a pre-existing conclusion. What is fascinating about this particular view that you present is that it is completely incompatible with the notion of absolute agency (not that I am much of a fan of the notion of absolute agency). A God for whom our existence is entirely before Him all at once can only create a deterministic universe. By the way, the scriptures don't indicate this at all. It is purely an act of interpretation.

1 hour ago, Stargazer said:

If God corrected the faults, then why would he transmit to JSjr this part of the title page? So I assume He allowed the faults to pass to us. To ask "Should God do this?" when it's clear he didn't, you're second-guessing the Almighty. A great hobby, to be sure.

Once again, this is a post-hoc explanation. This approach allows us to find a way to explain away every supposed flaw or problem with a theory. The theory becomes unfalsifiable. Have you ever read Voltaire's Candide? You sound a lot like Liebniz defending the existence of evil in the world. Clearly, since God created everything (knowing exactly how it would end up), we must assume that it all has a purpose and that this is the best of all possible worlds. "To ask 'Should God do this?' when it's clear he didn't, you're second-guessing the Almighty. A great hobby, to be sure." There is no difference between what you wrote and the little edit that I made, is there.

1 hour ago, Stargazer said:

I think you academic types worry too much. The Book of Mormon is. And perhaps it is a conundrum, but one which is resolved through the Spirit bearing record to each person individually.

I am not an academic type. I am just an engaged thinker with a lot of experience articulating the things I like to think about (I talk a lot).

Link to comment
42 minutes ago, teddyaware said:

Do you actually believe a world that’s rapidly ripening in iniquity, like ours is, (a world in which an adherence to objective truth is rapidly becoming less and less important and desirable) would really care if some eggheaded scholars and metallurgists reported that a strange looking golden codex, inscribed with what appears to be an untranslatable language, tests positive in favor of a plausible possibility of ancient manufacture? I think it would hit like a big dud and only serve to bring a great persecution upon the Church. Why? First because committed non-LDS Christians would just say it’s the work of the devil who is able to transform works of gross spiritual darkness into manifestations of seeming heavenly light. And what about the unbelievers out there? They’d observe the scholar’s announcement from the windows of the great and spacious building and have a fine old time mocking it with self-satisfied glee! After all, they already know for certain there is no God and that only a fool would indulge in such childish wishful thinking and superstition.  Both the believers and unbelievers would gang up on the Church for trying to “pull a fast one”

For crying out loud, Laman and Lemuel saw a mighty rebuking angel from heaven with their own eyes, but almost immediately forgot about the whole thing and promptly returned to their lives of wickedness and villainy! And are you not aware of the fact that the Book of Mormon’s one and only prescription for gaining a witness of it’s divine authenticity is to diligently study it, ponder it deeply and at the end of the process pray to God with great faith, real intent and utmost sincerity to receive a personal divine revelatory manifestation of its truth? Have you forgotten the scriptural warning to only seek for divine revelation and not ask for spectacular signs that will only temporarily gratify the mind of the flesh, and only serve to make things worse in the end? Have you forgotten that we receive no witness from God until we successfully pass the through the trial of our faith?

If you think the way to gain a testimony of the Book of Mormon is by means of tangible signs that only momentarily make a shallow, ephemeral impression on  the mind of flesh, you’re barking up the wrong tree, a false pursuit that invariably leads to uncertainty and frustration. It’s back to the drawing board with Moroni’s promise as the guiding principle.

T-man, I actually like this. It resonates with me though very dark. I'm reminded of how too little I do to slow down and focus on those things most important - my own personal spiritual development and the spiritual edification of those closest to me (my wife, my three beautiful children, my beloved brother) being at the top. We and I have lots if work to do. : )

Link to comment
43 minutes ago, teddyaware said:

Do you actually believe a world that’s rapidly ripening in iniquity, like ours is, ...

I actually don't agree with this perspective. This has been a common refrain for a very, very long time. Apparently the rapid ripening still takes a few thousand years .... But, to answer your question:

44 minutes ago, teddyaware said:

Do you actually believe a world that’s rapidly ripening in iniquity, like ours is, (a world in which an adherence to objective truth is rapidly becoming less and less important and desirable) would really care if some eggheaded scholars and metallurgists reported that a strange looking golden codex, inscribed with what appears to be an untranslatable language, tests positive in favor of a plausible possibility of ancient manufacture?

Call me naive, but I think that your prediction would not reflect at all what would happen. And while there would likely be only minimal interest in authenticating the metal (to the extent that it could be), the text on it (the codex part, right?) would generate a lot of attention. And the beautiful thing about such a large text is that attempts to translate it could be predictive. You come up with a theory using part of the text and then test it on another part. This was, of course, part of the reason why I mentioned the Vorhee plates. Since I can translate them, and explain what it means to the point that I can identify errors that its engraver made, that creates a pretty strong evidence for understanding when the plates were made.

58 minutes ago, teddyaware said:

I think it would hit like a big dud and only serve to bring a great persecution upon the Church. Why? First because committed non-LDS Christians would just say it’s the work of the devil who is able to transform works of gross spiritual darkness into manifestations of seeming heavenly light.

This is laughable. Really, it is.

59 minutes ago, teddyaware said:

If you think the way to gain a testimony of the Book of Mormon is by means of tangible signs that only momentarily make a shallow, ephemeral impression on  the mind of flesh, you’re barking up the wrong tree, a false pursuit that invariably leads to uncertainty and frustration. It’s back to the drawing board with Moroni’s promise as the guiding principle.

I don't have any issues with this. But I think that it's funny that you want to insist somehow that having the evidence would be bad. (Like having ancient manuscripts of biblical texts right?). See, I just don't get this bizarre thinking that you are displaying here.

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...