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On Representation of the 3 Witnesses in the Media


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1 hour ago, Teancum said:

Really while I am skeptical that Jesus rose from the dead there really are some major differences. 

From an evidentiary standpoint?  I agree.  I think there is far more evidence for the physical reality of the Plates than there is for the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ.

I accept both as a matter of faith.  You deny both, also has a matter of faith.

1 hour ago, Teancum said:

I am sure you really do understand the differences. 

I do not know what you are referencing here.

1 hour ago, Teancum said:

If JS actually had plates of ancient origin exhibiting them to the world could have proven much, if in fact they were authentic. But no, they were supposedly taken back by the angel Moroni. 

If Jesus Christ actually arose from the dead in a perfected and glorified state, He could descend from heaven and show Himself to us, which could have proven much.  But no, He supposedly arose into heaven and we just have to take the Bible's word for it.

1 hour ago, Teancum said:

So now you just have to take it in faith.

We have to take both matters on faith.  As do you, albeit in the other direction.

1 hour ago, Teancum said:

IT is a oncentinet way to show that what he claimed to have cannot be examined.  Very convenient. 

I don't know what "oncentinet" means.

The resurrected Jesus Christ "cannot be examined" either.  "Very convenient."

1 hour ago, Teancum said:

Why does religion have to rely on faith so much?

A short question that merits a long answer.  If you are interested in discussing that, I'd be happy to do so in a dedicated thread.

1 hour ago, Teancum said:

Why do we have to take a handful of people's word for it?

We don't.  That's one of the great things I value in the Restored Gospel.  

We have more than just "a handful of people's word for it."  We have the text, and developments in scholarship against which it can be contrasted and assessed.  We have means of gauging the probative value of the "word" - the testimony - of the Witnesses.  Most of all, we have personal revelation.

Thanks,

-Smac

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On 5/4/2023 at 8:42 AM, Tacenda said:
Quote

Of course not.  Really, there were no gold plates. It is a total fabrication.  A lie.

There were plates, just don't know if they were real, I wonder if Joseph just needed something to back up what he believed. 

By "there were plates, just don't know if they were real," are you saying something like "I am persuaded that Joseph had a physical/tangible artifact in his possession that answered to the generalized description of 'Gold Plates,' but I don't know of they were authentically ancient or a sham he or someone else fabricated to dupe the Witnesses and others"?

Thanks,

-Smac

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2 hours ago, Teancum said:

Why do we have to take a handful of people's word for it?

Yeah kinda like relativity and all that garbage about quantum mechanics!

It just don't make common cents!

 

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On 5/5/2023 at 10:14 PM, Saint Bonaventure said:

Central? Sure. 

But more precisely there's a worldview, grounded in Sacred Tradition, that is expressed and affirmed with supernatural appearances by Jesus' mother.

I'll try to explain it a little. Consider that the Holy Spirit's overshadowing Our Lady at the birth of Christ (Luke 1) anticipates/gestures to/prefigures the Holy Spirit's overshadowing that marks the birth of the Church at Pentecost (Acts 2). Mary was in the upper room with the apostles praying for the Holy Spirit's procession (Acts 1), and her presence at both events illuminates the mysteries of the Incarnation and Pentecost. 

I hope I'm making sense. I can try and clarify, if needed.

Why does Mary appear more frequently than Jesus?

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29 minutes ago, Hamilton Porter said:

Why does Mary appear more frequently than Jesus?

Our Lord will return in the parousia, in the hour of judgment:

Quote

 

And when he had said this, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. 10 And while they were gazing into heaven as he went, behold, two men stood by them in white robes, 11 and said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.” 

The Holy Bible, Revised Standard Version; Second Catholic Edition. (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2006), Ac 1:9–11.

 

 

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10 hours ago, smac97 said:

From an evidentiary standpoint?  I agree.  I think there is far more evidence for the physical reality of the Plates than there is for the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Perhaps. I guess that both could be a con perpetrated by those who were seeking to accomplish a certain objective.  

I think it is harder to poke holes in the resurrection account given the time and space between now and the event vs the time and space between the JS and the plates.

 

10 hours ago, smac97 said:

I accept both as a matter of faith.  You deny both, also has a matter of faith.

No I do not deny both because of faith. I deny because of lack of actual evidence and for other reasons on both.  It is not faith at least in relation to what the word means in a religious sense. It may be lack of religious faith.

 

10 hours ago, smac97 said:

I do not know what you are referencing here.

If Jesus Christ actually arose from the dead in a perfected and glorified state, He could descend from heaven and show Himself to us, which could have proven much.  But no, He supposedly arose into heaven and we just have to take the Bible's word for it.

10 hours ago, smac97 said:

We have to take both matters on faith.  As do you, albeit in the other direction.

Exactly.  Ultimately this is all fantastical religious claims have to go on. All of them. In all religion. Religion has to lean on the crutch of faith because for some odd reason that is all it really has to go on.  Even the ones that conflict with what you have faith in.  And again no I am not relying on faith. In fact I am open to changing my mind based on evidence. It just isn't there.

 

10 hours ago, smac97 said:

 

The resurrected Jesus Christ "cannot be examined" either.  "Very convenient."

Exactly.  It is convenient.  As is the disappearance of the alleged gold plates.

 

10 hours ago, smac97 said:

A short question that merits a long answer.  If you are interested in discussing that, I'd be happy to do so in a dedicated thread.

I think I have an idea what direction that would go and really the reasons that religion requires faith. I guess my comment was more rhetorical.

 

10 hours ago, smac97 said:

We don't.  That's one of the great things I value in the Restored Gospel.  

We have more than just "a handful of people's word for it."  We have the text, and developments in scholarship against which it can be contrasted and assessed.  We have means of gauging the probative value of the "word" - the testimony - of the Witnesses.  Most of all, we have personal revelation.

And we have evidence and reasons to conclude the JS and the others may not be trustworthy in what they claimed. As for scholarship?  The scholarship you refer to is apologetic in nature. I don't find apologetics for religion reliable.  It starts with the premise that what is is arguing for is true then seeks anything the may bolster the position.  I recall comment by Kerry Muhlestein.  He "knows" the BOA is true so he simply seeks to bolster that up. He is not open to seeking whatever evidence there is that may prove his conclusion wrong. This is contrary to the scientific methodology.

As for personal revelation as I have discussed over and over here, I find that unreliable.  Humans think God it telling them all sorts of things that contradict each other and are mutually exclusive.  Your revelation that the narrative on how the BoM came to be conflicts with that of an evangelical who may have studied and read the story and the book.  Who is right?  Which personal revelation trumps?

10 hours ago, smac97 said:

Thanks,

-Smac

 

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1 hour ago, Teancum said:

Perhaps. I guess that both could be a con perpetrated by those who were seeking to accomplish a certain objective.  

I think it is harder to poke holes in the resurrection account given the time and space between now and the event vs the time and space between the JS and the plates.

 

No I do not deny both because of faith. I deny because of lack of actual evidence and for other reasons on both.  It is not faith at least in relation to what the word means in a religious sense. It may be lack of religious faith.

 

Exactly.  Ultimately this is all fantastical religious claims have to go on. All of them. In all religion. Religion has to lean on the crutch of faith because for some odd reason that is all it really has to go on.  Even the ones that conflict with what you have faith in.  And again no I am not relying on faith. In fact I am open to changing my mind based on evidence. It just isn't there.

 

Exactly.  It is convenient.  As is the disappearance of the alleged gold plates.

 

I think I have an idea what direction that would go and really the reasons that religion requires faith. I guess my comment was more rhetorical.

 

And we have evidence and reasons to conclude the JS and the others may not be trustworthy in what they claimed. As for scholarship?  The scholarship you refer to is apologetic in nature. I don't find apologetics for religion reliable.  It starts with the premise that what is is arguing for is true then seeks anything the may bolster the position.  I recall comment by Kerry Muhlestein.  He "knows" the BOA is true so he simply seeks to bolster that up. He is not open to seeking whatever evidence there is that may prove his conclusion wrong. This is contrary to the scientific methodology.

As for personal revelation as I have discussed over and over here, I find that unreliable.  Humans think God it telling them all sorts of things that contradict each other and are mutually exclusive.  Your revelation that the narrative on how the BoM came to be conflicts with that of an evangelical who may have studied and read the story and the book.  Who is right?  Which personal revelation trumps?

 

Great answers! And feel the same, I don't do well on answering these kinds of questions. All gibber jabber from my lips, trying not to offend etc. or tear down others' faith. But feel the same as you, so I appreciate being able to piggy back what you've said in this post to Smac (if that's okay) and not have to answer him myself when he asked a question on the plates to me. 

I think the recent Chad and Lori Daybell situation shows how a people can be led by others' revelations, and how it's not always a good thing. 

But I shouldn't compare these two exactly to JS, they are evil as all get out, I don't believe Joseph is at all, I just believe it's his upbringing, the surroundings, so much to make him believe that he needed to battle the religions around him telling him his brother was going to hell with no baptism, also him learning from other's ideas and using them. So many facts to tell me that Joseph used other philosophies to create the church. And really, as long as it doesn't cause harm I see it being helpful to so many. I don't think there will ever be a day I could join another church, if I decide to be active in a congregation I'd go back to the LDS church.

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14 hours ago, Calm said:

Are you assuming he just found them and was not directed by an angel to their location?

Found, given by an angel means the same to me really.  I don't think there were plates of ancient origin and what JS had were fabrications.

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13 hours ago, mfbukowski said:

Yeah kinda like relativity and all that garbage about quantum mechanics!

It just don't make common cents!

 

Do physicists claim to understand quantum mechanics based on personal revelation from God?

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5 minutes ago, Teancum said:

Found, given by an angel means the same to me really.  I don't think there were plates of ancient origin and what JS had were fabrications.

If given by an angel, then there is scriptural precedence for being removed from public view, not to be examined for mundane purposes.

I figured you don’t believe, but if one for a moment assumes the possibility, it makes more sense based on past claims of treatment of sacred objects.  In the worldview of the Sacred, God receiving back what he gave or sacred objects being protected from curious eyes is consistent over time.

Edited by Calm
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1 hour ago, Teancum said:

Found, given by an angel means the same to me really.  I don't think there were plates of ancient origin and what JS had were fabrications.

For those who think that the witnesses confirm that there were actual plates, the truth is, they believe that because they want to believe that.  Certainly there are other witnesses that saw something different.  For example, this account.

Quote

 

Fall came, and Smith assumed the role of a prophet. He told his family, friends, and believers, that upon a fixed day he was to proceed alone to a spot designated by an angel, and there withdraw from the earth a metallic book of great antiquity,—in short, a hieroglyphic record of the lost tribes and original inhabitants of America. This mystic volume Smith alone could translate, and power was given him as the Divine agent. The expectant revelation was duly advertised, when the prophet, with spade and napkin, repaired to the forest, and at the end of some three hours returned with some object encased in the napkin. The first depository of the sacred plates was under the heavy hearthstone of the Smith cabin. Willard Chase, a carpenter and joiner, was solicited to make a strong chest wherein to keep the golden book in security, but no payment being anticipated, the interview was fruitless. Later a chest was procured, and kept in the garret. Here Smith consulted the volume upon which no other could look and live. William T. Hussy and Ashley Vanduzer, intimates of Smith, resolved to see the book, and were permitted to observe its shape and size under a piece of canvas. Smith refused to uncover it, and Hussey, seizing it, stripped off the cover, and found—a tile-brick. Smith claimed to have sold his visitors by a trick, and treating them to liquor, the matter ended amicably. A huge pair of spectacles were asserted to have been found with the book, and these were the agency by which translation was to be effected. A revelation of a Golden Bible, or Book of Mormon, was announced, and the locality whence the book was claimed to have been taken has since been known, as “Mormon Hill,” and is located in the town of Manchester. Smith described the book “as consisting of metallic leaves or plates resembling gold, bound together in a volume by three rings running through one edge of them, the leaves opening like an ordinary paper book.” Translation began, and the result was shown to ministers and men of education. The “Nephites” and “Lamanites” were outlined as the progenitors of the American aborigines. The Bible was evidently the basis of the work, and portions of Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Matthew were almost bodily employed. Smith, being unable to write, sat behind a blanket and evidently read to his scribe, whose name was Oliver Cowdery, who had been a schoolmaster, and wrote at dictation. It was desirable to get this manuscript into print. George Crane, of Macedon, a Quaker, and a man of intelligence, was shown several quires of the “translations.” His opinion was asked and his aid solicited. Mr. Crane advised Smith to give up his scheme, or ruin would result to him, and as is well known, the Friend spoke prophetically.

 

Those who want to believe in actual ancient records engraved in gold will easily dismiss this account because it doesn't fit what they want to believe.  Those that think Joseph Smith was a fraud, will point to this as proof.  There is NO actual evidence of any gold plates.  Witnesses are unreliable because they have an agenda.  You just have to believe what agenda you want to believe in. 

For me personally, what throws the biggest monkey wrench into this whole thing is that IF there were actually an ancient people who carefully transcribed their relationship with God, passed it down from generation to generation until it was revealed to Joseph Smith, why did it just become a prop to try and convince people of it's existence?  Seems like a lot of work just to sit in the corner while Joseph Smith peeps into a hat and dictates the BoM from a magic stone.  When the cloth is removed, and it turns out to be just a brick, that makes the whole thing seem even more like a prop, as if Joseph Smith just needed something physical to make his story more believable than telling people he found a magic stone. 

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2 hours ago, Teancum said:

Do physicists claim to understand quantum mechanics based on personal revelation from God?

Of course not. What's your point?

What DO they base advances in quantum mechanics on?

Human intelligence? That IS God!

They don't ask useless questions, and I don't ask it either  ;)

 

 

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19 hours ago, Teancum said:

Well there was something but if they were real and ancient why not leave them for evidence. What a find! What a wonderful thing. If they were a fabrication coming up with the yarn that the angel took them back to heaven is convenient.  And it is what one would expect when being conned.  

You will never understand that YOUR reality is all in YOUR head.

Where else could it be? 

Your position is faith based:

"For a statement to be 'true' it must be backed up by empirical evidence"

The only problem is that YOUR faith based statement above, in italics, IS ITSELF NOT BASED ON EMPIRICAL EVIDENCE.

Contradiction!

We have been over this a hundred times!

Positivism is dead. Look it up yet for the hundredth and one time.

It is not even worth going over it again.  

Edited by mfbukowski
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41 minutes ago, mfbukowski said:

You will never understand that YOUR reality is all in YOUR head.

Where else could it be? 

Your position is faith based:

"For a statement to be 'true' it must be backed up by empirical evidence"

The only problem is that YOUR faith based statement above, in italics, IS ITSELF NOT BASED ON EMPIRICAL EVIDENCE.

Contradiction!

We have been over this a hundred times!

Positivism is dead. Look it up yet for the hundredth and one time.

It is not even worth going over it again.  

41 minutes ago, mfbukowski said:

You will never understand that YOUR reality is all in YOUR head.

Where else could it be? 

Your position is faith based:

"For a statement to be 'true' it must be backed up by empirical evidence"

The only problem is that YOUR faith based statement above, in italics, IS ITSELF NOT BASED ON EMPIRICAL EVIDENCE.

Contradiction!

We have been over this a hundred times!

Positivism is dead. Look it up yet for the hundredth and one time.

It is not even worth going over it again.  

I erased the last comment, thought this was interesting. 

How do you know if something is true?

https://www.quora.com/How-do-you-know-if-something-is-true

I’ll steel man your question: How do you know that you know something is true?

Some say that religion is true. But take a major religion like Christianity. Consider that there are hundreds of denominations. And each denomination claims the “accurate” or “true” interpretation of the faith. If you were to ask an adherent of a denomination how they knew it was true, the common claim is that this denomination is “biblical”. Often times, these conclusions come from cherry-picking verses and daisy-chaining them together which leads to missing the forest for the trees.

Some say that science is true. But take a major field of inquiry like nutrition. Consider that there are hundreds of diets. And each diet claims the “accurate” or “true” interpretation of the data. If you were to ask an adherent of a diet how they knew it was true, the common claim is that this diet is “scientific”. Often times, these conclusions come from cherry-picking studies and daisy-chaining them together which leads to missing the forest for the trees.

The surprising thing about these claims is not the truth claim; it’s the sole truth claim over in-group adherents. It’s one thing to say that religion is false and science is true. It’s quite another to say that my science is true, and everyone else’s science is false, or at the very least less true. Doing so removes the legs that in-group/out-group debates so often hinge upon. “Why do you believe that humans descend from apes? Because science” is acceptable when debating religion, but doesn’t hold up when debating other scientists. This presents us with the same question, now with a personal bent: how do you know that your interpretation of (science/religion/politics) is true?

John Wesley, an 18th century cleric, identified four sources of truth. The first is tradition. The second is experience. The third is Scripture. The fourth is rationality. When defending personal (or group) interpretations of religion, he noticed the appeal came down to one of those four reasons: because this is how I was taught; because it works for me; because it says so clearly in Scripture; because I’ve thought it through. Ultimately, these four sources, known as the Wesleyan Quadrilateral, apply to any personal defense against in-group disagreement. For science: because this is how our lab does it; because I personally did the experiment; because XYZ famous study clearly says it; because I reasoned through it. For politics: because this is how Louisiana Republicans have always voted; because I’ve met the Senator personally; because the constitution clearly says XYZ; because I’ve reasoned through the issues. Implicit in each source is an axiomatic appeal.

For tradition: “ultimately, I trust either experts, the group, or those that have come before me to know what is true.” The problem, of course, is that another person, even an authority, believing something is true does not guarantee veracity. Doctors used to perform blood-letting to attempt to cure many ailments; are they any more right because that is the “traditional” approach? Hardly.

For experience: “ultimately, I trust what I have experienced to be true.” The problem here is that a personal truth is not generalizable; consider a personal experience with fasting as an effective practice for health and wellness. While it may be true for you, recommending this practice to a diabetic could prove fatal. Of course, one could provide caveats: “unless you’re a diabetic”, but then this is no longer a personal appeal— you’re appealing either to what doctors say (tradition), or Scientific literature, or reason. Consider Roman rouge “this mixture of lead and cinnabar does wonders for my cheeks.” The problem here is that the short-term personal experience was not indicative of the discovery that lead caused cancer, dementia, and death. Personal truth is at best only applicable to your unique situation, station, and psychosomatic makeup, and shouldn’t be applied to anyone else, and at worst harmful to yourself and others without you knowing it.

For Scripture (authoritative literature): “ultimately, I trust what has been recorded and recognized as authoritative.” The problem here is that any authoritative literature has two dichotomies that lead to error: what the literature says vs. what the reader thinks it’s trying to say, and what part of the literature says vs. the context of the whole of the literature. The text vs. interpretation dichotomy is a common problem in religious circles, where ten different denominations can read the same verse and interpret it in ten different ways, while all claiming to rely on Scripture. The part vs. whole dichotomy is a common problem in scientific literature, and even has a name: the prosecutor’s fallacy. It was identified when a scientist proved that ESP was real, but that one study didn’t match with the whole of scientific cannon on the subject. Cherry-picking pieces of authoritative literature and daisy-chaining them together leads to perception errors that miss the forest for the trees.

For reason: “ultimately, I trust my mind’s ability to identify causal and correlative patterns.” The problem with reason is a limitation of perceptual scope. Taleb’s Thanksgiving Turkey is one example: “Consider a turkey that is fed every day. Every single feeding will firm up the bird's belief that it is the general rule of life to be fed every day by friendly members of the human race 'looking out for its best interests,' as a politician would say. On the afternoon of the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, something unexpected will happen to the turkey. It will incur a revision of belief.” Like the turkey, we are often not in control of what amount of information to which we have access, and reason fails us when we do not have enough information with which to reason to truth.

All four sources have fundamental problems at the axiomatic level. This does not mean that tradition, experience, authoritative literature, and reason can’t be true; rather, that there are a considerable number of cases where they aren’t. Even attempts to rely on multiple sources doesn’t protect against the false case. Consider heliocentrism. Tradition taught that the sun revolved around the earth. Personal experience (our eyes) showed that the sun rises in the East and sets in the West. Scripture seemed to imply that the Earth was the center of the universe. Before the Copernican revolution, Ptolemy’s provided reasoning for geocentrism. And yet Copernicus— against tradition, experience, Scripture, and prevailing reason— arrived at a more true conclusion.

Arriving at a more true conclusion is a good goal. Each source of truth has a certain proclivity towards this goal. Tradition is highly resistant to changes that make it more true, primarily because what is “true” in the tradition has been set in stone. Experience, when applied to others, is resistant to becoming more true since it provides no portable rationale for why it’s true. In the given example, if science hadn’t determined the harm of fasting for diabetics, then the logic would have been “I don’t know why fasting doesn’t work for you, but it works for me.” Authoritative literature is ironically slightly positive towards becoming more true, by nature of the debates around proper interpretation and a recognition that a part must be taken in context of the whole. Reason is strongly oriented towards becoming more true. It can be probed by others and strengthened (Socratic method), tested against past cases (hindcasting), and conceptual cases (thought experiments), and verified by its own internal logic. The scope of perception can be meaningfully widened— science theorized that atoms were real, but only once we had tools to perceive them did we have a more true understanding of atoms.

Ultimately, we can’t know that what we know is true. Tradition, experience, authoritative literature, and reason all have their weaknesses and fundamental assumptions that are inescapable. But we can choose to orient ourselves with methods that have the possibility of being more true.

 

Edited by Tacenda
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4 hours ago, Calm said:

If given by an angel, then there is scriptural precedence for being removed from public view, not to be examined for mundane purposes.

Off the top of my head I am not familiar with what you refer to.

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21 minutes ago, mfbukowski said:

You will never understand that YOUR reality is all in YOUR head.

I actually have been reading up some on modernism and post moderanism in order to understand it better. Even listening to a podcast to day on  physis and philosophy though a lot is going over me head and not in it.  

Of course everyone's reality is in their head.  Our brain is what processes what our sensee feed it.  In our head though, not our heart.  Our heart does not feel or process emotion.  Our brain does.

 

21 minutes ago, mfbukowski said:

Where else could it be? 

Of course.

 

21 minutes ago, mfbukowski said:

Your position is faith based:

"For a statement to be 'true' it must be backed up by empirical evidence"

I can experience empirical evidence and test it as can other scientists and humans.  Thus it is not faith based using faith in the way religion does.

 

21 minutes ago, mfbukowski said:

The only problem is that YOUR faith based statement above, in italics, IS ITSELF NOT BASED ON EMPIRICAL EVIDENCE.

Yes it is.

21 minutes ago, mfbukowski said:

Contradiction!

We have been over this a hundred times!

Positivism is dead. Look it up yet for the hundredth and one time.

It is not even worth going over it again.  

I know  you say this. I have not looked into it enough to agree.  I am sorry if I exasperate you.  Don't respond if it is not worth it.  

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9 hours ago, california boy said:

For those who think that the witnesses confirm that there were actual plates, the truth is, they believe that because they want to believe that.  Certainly there are other witnesses that saw something different.  For example, this account.

There is an issue with that account though which does not exist with many of the more supportive ones and that is we have no clue about the actual source of this story. It appears the Wayne County history got the story from Pomeroy Tucker’s work. And unfortunately Tucker does not share how he came to be aware of the story, whether it was told him by the two men present perhaps or whether it was a tale floating around the area or something else. There is no way to confirm if this was an actual event, a likely event, or a completely fabricated story.

Tucker’s book has some issues with it so that it would be wise to be cautious with anything for which it is the sole source of information.

http://www.lightplanet.com/response/tucker.htm

https://debunking-cesletter.com/book-of-mormon-1/geography-pomeroy-tucker/

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6 hours ago, Teancum said:

Off the top of my head I am not familiar with what you refer to.

The ark of the covenant held a number of items which were not shown to the public and eventually the ark was placed in the holy of holies as well.

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10 hours ago, Tacenda said:

I erased the last comment, thought this was interesting. 

How do you know if something is true?

https://www.quora.com/How-do-you-know-if-something-is-true

I’ll steel man your question: How do you know that you know something is true?

Some say that religion is true. But take a major religion like Christianity. Consider that there are hundreds of denominations. And each denomination claims the “accurate” or “true” interpretation of the faith. If you were to ask an adherent of a denomination how they knew it was true, the common claim is that this denomination is “biblical”. Often times, these conclusions come from cherry-picking verses and daisy-chaining them together which leads to missing the forest for the trees.

Some say that science is true. But take a major field of inquiry like nutrition. Consider that there are hundreds of diets. And each diet claims the “accurate” or “true” interpretation of the data. If you were to ask an adherent of a diet how they knew it was true, the common claim is that this diet is “scientific”. Often times, these conclusions come from cherry-picking studies and daisy-chaining them together which leads to missing the forest for the trees.

The surprising thing about these claims is not the truth claim; it’s the sole truth claim over in-group adherents. It’s one thing to say that religion is false and science is true. It’s quite another to say that my science is true, and everyone else’s science is false, or at the very least less true. Doing so removes the legs that in-group/out-group debates so often hinge upon. “Why do you believe that humans descend from apes? Because science” is acceptable when debating religion, but doesn’t hold up when debating other scientists. This presents us with the same question, now with a personal bent: how do you know that your interpretation of (science/religion/politics) is true?

John Wesley, an 18th century cleric, identified four sources of truth. The first is tradition. The second is experience. The third is Scripture. The fourth is rationality. When defending personal (or group) interpretations of religion, he noticed the appeal came down to one of those four reasons: because this is how I was taught; because it works for me; because it says so clearly in Scripture; because I’ve thought it through. Ultimately, these four sources, known as the Wesleyan Quadrilateral, apply to any personal defense against in-group disagreement. For science: because this is how our lab does it; because I personally did the experiment; because XYZ famous study clearly says it; because I reasoned through it. For politics: because this is how Louisiana Republicans have always voted; because I’ve met the Senator personally; because the constitution clearly says XYZ; because I’ve reasoned through the issues. Implicit in each source is an axiomatic appeal.

For tradition: “ultimately, I trust either experts, the group, or those that have come before me to know what is true.” The problem, of course, is that another person, even an authority, believing something is true does not guarantee veracity. Doctors used to perform blood-letting to attempt to cure many ailments; are they any more right because that is the “traditional” approach? Hardly.

For experience: “ultimately, I trust what I have experienced to be true.” The problem here is that a personal truth is not generalizable; consider a personal experience with fasting as an effective practice for health and wellness. While it may be true for you, recommending this practice to a diabetic could prove fatal. Of course, one could provide caveats: “unless you’re a diabetic”, but then this is no longer a personal appeal— you’re appealing either to what doctors say (tradition), or Scientific literature, or reason. Consider Roman rouge “this mixture of lead and cinnabar does wonders for my cheeks.” The problem here is that the short-term personal experience was not indicative of the discovery that lead caused cancer, dementia, and death. Personal truth is at best only applicable to your unique situation, station, and psychosomatic makeup, and shouldn’t be applied to anyone else, and at worst harmful to yourself and others without you knowing it.

For Scripture (authoritative literature): “ultimately, I trust what has been recorded and recognized as authoritative.” The problem here is that any authoritative literature has two dichotomies that lead to error: what the literature says vs. what the reader thinks it’s trying to say, and what part of the literature says vs. the context of the whole of the literature. The text vs. interpretation dichotomy is a common problem in religious circles, where ten different denominations can read the same verse and interpret it in ten different ways, while all claiming to rely on Scripture. The part vs. whole dichotomy is a common problem in scientific literature, and even has a name: the prosecutor’s fallacy. It was identified when a scientist proved that ESP was real, but that one study didn’t match with the whole of scientific cannon on the subject. Cherry-picking pieces of authoritative literature and daisy-chaining them together leads to perception errors that miss the forest for the trees.

For reason: “ultimately, I trust my mind’s ability to identify causal and correlative patterns.” The problem with reason is a limitation of perceptual scope. Taleb’s Thanksgiving Turkey is one example: “Consider a turkey that is fed every day. Every single feeding will firm up the bird's belief that it is the general rule of life to be fed every day by friendly members of the human race 'looking out for its best interests,' as a politician would say. On the afternoon of the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, something unexpected will happen to the turkey. It will incur a revision of belief.” Like the turkey, we are often not in control of what amount of information to which we have access, and reason fails us when we do not have enough information with which to reason to truth.

All four sources have fundamental problems at the axiomatic level. This does not mean that tradition, experience, authoritative literature, and reason can’t be true; rather, that there are a considerable number of cases where they aren’t. Even attempts to rely on multiple sources doesn’t protect against the false case. Consider heliocentrism. Tradition taught that the sun revolved around the earth. Personal experience (our eyes) showed that the sun rises in the East and sets in the West. Scripture seemed to imply that the Earth was the center of the universe. Before the Copernican revolution, Ptolemy’s provided reasoning for geocentrism. And yet Copernicus— against tradition, experience, Scripture, and prevailing reason— arrived at a more true conclusion.

Arriving at a more true conclusion is a good goal. Each source of truth has a certain proclivity towards this goal. Tradition is highly resistant to changes that make it more true, primarily because what is “true” in the tradition has been set in stone. Experience, when applied to others, is resistant to becoming more true since it provides no portable rationale for why it’s true. In the given example, if science hadn’t determined the harm of fasting for diabetics, then the logic would have been “I don’t know why fasting doesn’t work for you, but it works for me.” Authoritative literature is ironically slightly positive towards becoming more true, by nature of the debates around proper interpretation and a recognition that a part must be taken in context of the whole. Reason is strongly oriented towards becoming more true. It can be probed by others and strengthened (Socratic method), tested against past cases (hindcasting), and conceptual cases (thought experiments), and verified by its own internal logic. The scope of perception can be meaningfully widened— science theorized that atoms were real, but only once we had tools to perceive them did we have a more true understanding of atoms.

Ultimately, we can’t know that what we know is true. Tradition, experience, authoritative literature, and reason all have their weaknesses and fundamental assumptions that are inescapable. But we can choose to orient ourselves with methods that have the possibility of being more true.

 

You've got it. In 2500 years NO ONE has found a definition of "truth" that works in all situations.

But what you can do is find what works in your life to do what works for you to answer what you need from the belief or idea.

Aspirin may work for you for headaches, bot nothing else 

Beliefs followed by testimony experiences may give you comfort and purpose in your life.  We call those sort of ideas, when they work for the purposes we need as being "true".

It gets complicated !  Some say truth is something you can know it when you see it, but you cannot define it.! 

More later if I get a chance!

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15 hours ago, california boy said:

For those who think that the witnesses confirm that there were actual plates, the truth is, they believe that because they want to believe that.  

But of course, you are objective in all things, even when the problem is about subjectivity, and not objectivity as you want to see it.  Are you willfully confused about the purposes of religion?  Is it an objective science, or beliefs that give you comfort?  Why is the HG the "Comforter"? How does it feel to have your sins forgiven?

"Obscenity", for example, like truth, is in the eye of the beholder.

So what do you get from your views, that you want to believe?

Are you Strawberry or Vanilla?

Edited by mfbukowski
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11 hours ago, Calm said:

There is an issue with that account though which does not exist with many of the more supportive ones and that is we have no clue about the actual source of this story. It appears the Wayne County history got the story from Pomeroy Tucker’s work. And unfortunately Tucker does not share how he came to be aware of the story, whether it was told him by the two men present perhaps or whether it was a tale floating around the area or something else. There is no way to confirm if this was an actual event, a likely event, or a completely fabricated story.

Tucker’s book has some issues with it so that it would be wise to be cautious with anything for which it is the sole source of information.

http://www.lightplanet.com/response/tucker.htm

https://debunking-cesletter.com/book-of-mormon-1/geography-pomeroy-tucker/

I have a feeling the lack of a specific source doesn't make much difference to those who want to paint Joseph Smith as a fraud.  It also makes it so those who do believe Joseph is what he claims as a way of discounting that story.  It is still there, in history, one way or the other.

As I said in my post, the bigger problem for me is that the gold plates seem to just be a prop.  It makes no sense to me why the plates were even necessary.  Proving their actual existence is an impossible task for either side.  

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6 hours ago, mfbukowski said:

But of course, you are objective in all things, even when the problem is about subjectivity, and not objectivity as you want to see it.  Are you willfully confused about the purposes of religion?  Is it an objective science, or beliefs that give you comfort?  Why is the HG the "Comforter"? How does it feel to have your sins forgiven?

"Obscenity", for example, like truth, is in the eye of the beholder.

So what do you get from your views, that you want to believe?

Are you Strawberry or Vanilla?

What I am saying is that I have no objective way to know whether the gold plates were real or not.  My lack of belief of the claims of Mormonism is based on my own experience within the Church.  Probably like your belief in the Church is based on your experience and not whether the plates existed.  

Do you believe more in the power of a magic rock or in the claims of gold plates?  Would you be inclined to sing songs about a magic rock and a hat?

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12 hours ago, Calm said:

The ark of the covenant held a number of items which were not shown to the public and eventually the ark was placed in the holy of holies as well.

Using the ark of the covenant as an example of what was hidden from the public is problematic in that originally it was not thought to contain the ten commandments nor hidden from view rather it was the footstool of a cult deity named Yahweh. It was viewed as his mobile shrine. And it was carried very publicly into the Israelite war camp in their battle against the Philistines. As Francesca Stavrakopoulou points out in her excellent book  God: An Anatomy

Quote

The insistence that the divine footstool was actually a specialized- if sacred- container for holy writings marks a relatively early theological assault on the body of God, whose material presence, once manifest in the Iron Age temples of ancient Israel and Judah as a divine statue or cultic object, would gradually come to be replaced in ritual by the Torah." Pg 58

By the way, Francesca Stavrakopoulou was Dan McClellan's PhD advisor.

Edited by CA Steve
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