Discussions of Book of Mormon issues and evidences, plus other topics related to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Elijah in the Book of Mormon

 Giuseppe Angeli, Elijah Taken Up in a Chariot of Fire,
c. 1740/1755. From the National Gallery of Art.
I am increasingly touched by the way in which subtle elements from ancient Judaism can be found in the Book of Mormon in ways that don't fit the popular model of Joseph as a sponge soaking up all things biblical from his immediate environment and squeezing it back onto the pages of his own book. The existence of artfully executed biblical themes in the Book of Mormon also doesn't fit the oft-employed model of Joseph the ignoramus who didn't know that Christ was born in Bethlehem, didn't understand that no temple could be built outside of Jerusalem, and was so bad at making up Jewish names that he blundered with crazy names like the Latin woman's name Alma for a Hebrew man -- all serious blunders in 1830 which now have impressive evidence from antiquity supporting their plausibility.

A somewhat improved or more plausible model is that of "Joseph the well-versed Bible student who got lucky on some things but was still an ignoramus on many basic issues," issues like the importance of David and the Davidic covenant, a matter which allegedly proves the "mormonic" book could not possibly have come from ancient Jews. This was the novel argument of the 2016 graduate thesis of Kevin Beshears at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, which I treat at length in "Too Little or Too Much Like the Bible? A Novel Critique of the Book of Mormon Involving David and the Psalms," Interpreter: A Journal of Mormon Scripture 29 (2018): 31-64.

Beshear's basic premise is that someone who really understood the Bible would know that a genuine ancient civilization derived from Hebrew people would have followed the Bible's emphasis on David and the Davidic Covenant, and would surely have constantly evaluated the success and righteousness of their kings through comparison to King David. The Book of Mormon, however, falls short for it largely neglects David and actually criticizes him for his unauthorized polygamy. In light of Beshears' interesting critique, I must agree that someone closely imitating the Bible to describe an ancient Hebrew civilization probably would have given much more emphasis to and favorable treatment of David. However, a closer looks shows that the favorable treatment of David that Beshears demands is a characteristic of the ancient tribe of Judah in the southern Kingdom, and ancient Hebrews from the northern kingdom and its tribes, such as Lehi and his tribe of Joseph, could easily have held less favorable views of the fallen king and the security of his kingdom. In fact, recent scholarship puts the Book of Mormon's attitude toward David upon a firmly plausible foundation, showing that the Book of Mormon reflects a more thorough knowledge of ancient Israel than even advanced Bible students like Beshears can be expected to have. The weaknesses that Beshears highlights in what he calls the "mormonic" book actually prove to be surprising strengths that add to the remarkable case for ancient origins of the Book of Mormon.

Those who look at the intricate and extensive references to the Exodus in the Book of Mormon and to its heavy and artful use of Isaiah must recognize that the Book of Mormon shows strong affinity with ancient Jewish thinking, where the Exodus was woven into many aspects of Jewish life, and where Isaiah was an especially prominent influence that continued to be a major influence into New Testament times. But one can argue that anyone reading the Bible carefully can readily notice the significance of the Exodus for many writers and the beauty and influence of Isaiah, so Joseph as a sponge may be a reasonable model for those aspects.

Evaluating models for Book of Mormon origins may get especially interesting,  in my opinion, when we consider the prominent Jewish prophet Elijah and the influence of Elijah on the Book of Mormon. Like David, Elijah is barely mentioned in the text. In fact, his name occurs once and that is only when the final chapter of Malachi is quoted (3 Nephi 25:5). Modern scholarship, however, shows that ancient Jews gave great emphasis to Elijah, and thus we can find many interesting though often easily overlooked allusions to Elijah in the New Testament. Is it time for a new graduate thesis from some seminary to criticize the paucity of Elijah references in the Book of Mormon? Before some professor of divinity and his or her graduate students get their hopes up, let me warn that disappointment awaits such an effort. Yes, a superficial analysis shows a serious lack of attention to Elijah in our "mormonic" text, but as with the case of David, modern Bible scholarship gives us tools to reveal surprising subtleties that place the Book of Mormon once again on firmly ancient ground. In fact, it turns out that Book of Mormon writers appear to have been highly skilled in weaving Elijah themes into the text, though it was done with such subtlety that the noteworthy role of Elijah in the text has often gone unnoticed. My exploration of such issues began after reading an especially fascinating work of scholarship: Nicholas P. Lunn, The Original Ending of Mark: A New Case for the Authenticity of Mark 16:9–20 (Eugene, OR: Pickwick Publications, 2014),

Students of the Book of Mormon may be hard-pressed to think of any obvious Elijah themes woven into that text. I suggest it is only by looking at modern scholarship on the subtle use of Elijah themes in the New Testament that we can see the Book of Mormon in a new and impressive light. For me, it was after reading recent biblical scholarship elucidating the use of Elijah themes in the New Testament that I was surprised to see some of the concepts had been woven into the Book of Mormon. I discuss this with several examples in "The Book of Mormon Versus the Consensus of Scholars: Surprises from the Disputed Longer Ending of Mark, Part 2," Interpreter: A Journal of Mormon Scripture 25 (2017): 323-365.

One of my favorite examples where modern scholarship helps me better appreciate the subtle use of Elijah themes in the Book of Mormon involves the issue of "intensification," in which miracles worked by Elijah are echoed in the accounts of miracles done by Christ, but amplified to make the ministry of Christ clearly more impressive. For example, in 2 Kings 4:42-43, Elijah, starting with just 20 loaves, miraculously provides food to feed about 1oo people. Intensification of this miracle can be found in the New Testament accounts of Christ feeding the multitude, according to Adam Winn in Mark and the Elijah-Elisha Narrative: Considering the Practice of Greco-Roman Imitation in the Search for Markan Source Material (Eugene, OR: Pickwick Publications, 2010), Kindle edition, p. 83. Elijah feeds a hundred, while Christ feeds 5,000 in Mark 6. Intensification.

Winn also finds it significant that in the miracles of Mark, Christ begins with a smaller amount of food than Elisha did: five loaves and two fishes in Mark 6:41 and seven loaves in Mark 8:5 versus 20 loaves in 2 Kings 4:42.

The Book of Mormon, of course, also includes a miracle in which Christ feeds a “multitude,” probably even more than the 5,000 in Mark 6. The account of day one of Christ’s ministry to the Nephites ends with a count of 2,500 people as eyewitnesses (3 Nephi 17:25). They then labor tirelessly throughout the night to spread the word and gather even more people for the next day, and when they gather, there are now too many to be taught in one single group, so the 12 disciples break them up into 12 groups to rehearse the words of Christ from day one (3 Nephi 19:2–5) before Christ comes and ministers to them and feeds them miraculously. This is a logical intensification: the minor miracle of Elisha is magnified by the mortal Messiah among the Jews and then even further by the resurrected Lord among the Nephites

Winn also finds it significant that in the miracles of Mark, Christ begins with a smaller amount of food than Elisha did: five loaves and two fishes in Mark 6:41 and seven loaves in Mark 8:5 versus Elijah's 20 loaves in 2 Kings 4:42. The intensification trend continues: Christ’s miraculous feeding of the Nephites is done with no bread or wine to begin with (3 Nephi 20:6–7), the ultimate intensification of this aspect of the story.

Another feature in the Elisha story noted by Winn is that the command to give to the people is given twice, which has a seemingly weak parallel in Mark with the command to the people to be seated (a second command) in Mark 6:39 and 8:6 (Winn, p. 82). But in 3 Nephi 20, the command to give to the multitude is explicitly stated twice, once for the bread and once for the wine (vv. 4–5). Another parallel from Winn is that Elisha’s servant gives the bread to the crowd, as the apostles give to the crowd for Christ (ibid.) Likewise, it is the Nephite disciples who distribute the miraculously provided bread and wine to the multitude.

Further, Winn notes that extra food remains after Elisha’s miracle (2 Kings 4:44), just as baskets of extra food remain after Christ feeds the crowds (Mark 6:43 and 8:8) (Winn, p. 82). Whether food remained among the Nephites is not mentioned in the text, but the word remnant is used immediately after the miracle: “when they had all given glory unto Jesus, he said unto them: Behold, now I finish the commandment which the Father hath commanded me concerning this people, who are a remnant of the house of Israel” (3 Nephi 20:10). Christ again speaks of gathering the scattered “remnants” of Israel in v. 13.

Finally, Winn notes that the Elisha account occurs in a time of famine (“a dearth in the land,” 2 Kings 4:38), in parallel to the hunger from going a day or longer without food in Mark 6:31 and 8:1–2 (Winn, p. 82). The hunger is implicit in 3 Nephi 20, since the Nephites who were present on day one of Christ’s ministry have been laboring apparently nonstop through the night to spread the word of the Messiah’s appearance to bring crowds to Bountiful the next day and naturally may have neglected food with so much work to do and so great a miracle before them. Their hunger may be alluded to when Christ explicitly mentions hunger and thirst after He leads the sacramental rite, saying, “He that eateth this bread eateth of my body to his soul; and he that drinketh of this wine drinketh of my blood to his soul; and his soul shall never hunger nor thirst, but shall be filled” (3 Nephi 20:8).

Overall, Winn proposes eight parallels that relate the Elisha story to the miraculous feeding accounts in Mark. Similar parallels in 3 Nephi 20 occur for all but one, the expression of doubt or hesitation by the servants involved (2 Kings 4:43 and Mark 6:37, 8:4). However, this missing element is consistent with the emphasis on the greater faith of the Nephites at this stage. Among this tried and faithful people, Christ is able to work greater miracles, as Christ tells them in 3 Nephi 19:35. The absence of doubt as a parallel is a reasonable and appropriate reversal of the pattern apparently alluded to in 2 Kings 4. Winn observes that reversals of themes are often used in ancient literature when building on a previous text (Winn, pp. 13–14, 29, 79–81, 112). Thus one can argue that Mark’s use of Elisha’s miraculous feeding in the account of two of Christ’s miracles is used with equal detail and resonance in 3 Nephi 20, while differing from Mark in some significant and appropriate ways rather than being a clumsy copy.

I suspect most readers of the Bible have no idea that the Christ's feeding of the multitude has many subtle parallels to a miracle of Elijah. It is through modern scholarship that this possibility is revealed, and it is rather surprising that the same cluster of subtle parallel elements are employed appropriately in the Book of Mormon, with even further intensification.

Other intriguing elements from Elijah and Elisha in the Book of Mormon are considered in my article at The Interpreter,  "The Book of Mormon Versus the Consensus of Scholars: Surprises from the Disputed Longer Ending of Mark, Part 2. These include:
  • The miracle of being "taken up." The Assumption of Christ, of course, has intriguing parallels to the taking up of Elijah at the end of his ministry. Book of Mormon parallels include the apparent taking up of Alma2 (Alma 45:19) and Nephi3 in 3 Nephi 1:2.
  • The role of fire in Elijah's departure (via a chariot of fire) is reflected and in various scenes in 3 Nephi.
  • The transfiguration of Christ, an important Exodus and Elijah theme in Mark 9, which has parallels in 3 Nephi, where transfiguration occurred for Christ and His disciples (3 Nephi 19:14, 24–25) and also in the "transfiguration" of the Three Nephites (3 Nephi 28:1–17). Interestingly, subtle allusions to Exodus themes in the transfiguration elements in Mark, uncovered in modern scholarship, are also found in the Book of Mormon. 
  • Elijah's miraculous work of ministry in opposing the priests of Baal (1 Kings 18) and possible parallels in the ministry of the Twelve Disciples as they prepare the people for the second day of Christ's work among the Nephites (3 Nephi 19-20).
  • The use of the word tarry in both Elijah's final interactions with Elijah and in the calling givenn to the Three Nephites (3 Nephi 28:12; 4 Nephi 1:14, 30 ,37; Mormon 8:10 and 9:22).
  • The blessing the Three Nephites received from the Savior (3 Nephi 28) with parallels to the blessing Elijah gave to Elisha before passing on his mantle in 2 Kings 2.
  • The role of Elijah as a forerunner or an “Elias” to prepare the way for the Savior, like John the Baptist, which is paralleled in the Book of Mormon by Nephi2, the son of Helaman and father of the prophet Nephi3, another worker of miracles. Nephi2 was ministered to by angels and like Elijah, disappeared without a known burial (3 Nephi 1:3), and offers several other important relationships to Elijah and Elisha, including sealing powers, use of famines, etc. See also "How Did Nephi Use the Power to Seal on Earth and in Heaven?," Book of Mormon Central, KnoWhy #182, Sept. 7, 2016.
  • The miracles of Helaman 5 as a prefigurement of the ministry of Christ that invokes Elijah themes in multiple ways. 
  • The role of clothing as a symbol of authority in both the story of Elijah and the Book of Mormon.
Modern scholars have argued that Christ is depicted as the “new Elijah/Elisha” in the Gospel of Mark. In the Book of Mormon, His elect Three Disciples also seem to play that role. Like Elijah, they are “caught up into heaven,” though not permanently. Like Elijah and Elisha, they work great miracles after having received divine authority. Like Elisha, they are associated with the word tarry multiple times, as they are the ones who will tarry following the physical ascent of their Master.

3 Nephi may thus display not only intentional allusions to Exodus themes but also make references to Elijah in ways similar to Mark’s subtle but pervasive themes that unify his Gospel, as elucidated by Nicholas P. Lunn in his above-mentioned work, The Original Ending of Mark.

An objection to Christ as Elijah in the Gospel of Mark is that Mark identifies John the Baptist as a type of Elias/Elijah. Mark 1 introduces John the Baptist as the messenger preparing the way for Christ, “clothed with camel’s hair, and with a girdle of a skin about his loins” (Mark 1:6), an allusion to 2 Kings 1:8, where we read that Elijah was a “hairy man, and girt with a girdle of leather about his loins,” a visual link. Elijah is mentioned several times in Mark 9 in the middle of that Gospel, where in v. 13 Christ states that “Elias is indeed come, and they have done unto him whatsoever they listed, as it is written of him,” referring to the recent martyrdom of John the Baptist. If John is Elias, how can Elias be Christ?

The issue is resolved by recognizing that Elias can be a role or an archetype who can involve more than one agent or more than one aspect of the role. Christ, in working miracles, showing divine authority, and ascending majestically to the Father, acts as an Elijah/Elias.  A similar issue is found in the Book of Mormon. Christ ascends to heaven and displays the miraculous powers of Elijah, but His successors in a miraculous ministry, the Three Nephites, take up the mantle and work wonders like Elisha, while they themselves are “caught up” into heaven for a while.

Just as the Gospel of Mark subtly draws upon many Exodus and Elijah themes in depicting Christ’s ministry, similar themes appear to have been woven into the Book of Mormon account in ways that make sense for ancient lovers of the Hebrew scriptures who understood the majesty of the ministry of Christ. Modern scholarship such as that of Nicholas Lunn and Adam Winn gives us tools to better appreciate the ancient beauty of the Bible, and these tools also reveal hidden richness in the Book of Mormon text. As always, there is more to the Book of Mormon than meets the eye.



28 comments:

Anonymous said...

Whoa, dude. You really know how to pack a sentence full of weasel words, don't you? We get it that you're a dyed-in-the-wool Mormon. That's abundantly clear, but there are valid and strong arguments against the standard Mormon "it was all a miracle, just check out this tiny detail" stance. Your brand of apologetics are simply not effective, especially when it comes to the BoM. The proof is in the pudding. The boring, boring pudding full of weird anachronisms like French words and Greek names and myriad other details.
Why not instead focus your armchair efforts on explaining the information coming from the lips of your living leaders? Why do they claim your church is poor? Why do they claim the leadership isn't paid? Why do they claim to believe in unconditional love and then reject that very notion over the course of the same conference weekend? Why the confusion of doctrines that rank and file members don't understand, like the requirement for eternal polygamy, and the fact that a few of your current leaders are sealed to multiple women? Why does your current prophet all of a sudden claim on the church's own website that the church isn't fully restored? How does one "eat a vitamin pill"?
Your dissection of these issues would be more informative and helpful in today's climate, Jeff. The Book of Mormon is a lost cause. Most members don't read it (face it!!!), and whatever power it supposedly had is not enough to retain the youth of today, let alone lifelong members (like I was - there's nothing in that book that could supersede what I heard from the callous, capitalistic, unchristian leaders you worship).
Come on, Jeff. Face forward. Admit the problems that confront your church today. No one's interested in these lame defenses. It's as interesting as you telling us the patterns you found in the ceiling.

Jeff Lindsay said...

Anonymous, there are a lot of people, including the youth and young single adults I know right here in Shanghai, with the skills to appreciate a complex book from antiquity, though it takes desire and persistent effort, whether it's the Bible or Book of Mormon. Many of our young people are increasingly aware of the importance of the Book of Mormon, its relevance for our day, and the richness of evidences for its divine and ancient origins. Our scriptures are given as gifts for a purpose and deserve more than a regurgitated zinger like, "Whoa, dude, there's a French word! End of story."

Why are intricate details that support plausibility to be ignored in lieu of minor misconstrued details like the alleged problem of "French words" in the Book of Mormon? Yes, "Adieu" is used in Jacob. The shallow argument tirelessly made by critics is that French did not exist in 500 BC when Jacob wrote his book, so how could it be in the Book of Mormon? But are you seriously unaware of the answer? Surely not. But just in case: The Book of Mormon also has many English words -- but that doesn't mean Nephi and Jacob were speaking English in 600 BC. The book is a TRANSLATION, and "Adieu" is a perfectly acceptable word to use in a modern translation to express a farewell that calls upon God. Adieu, though of French origins, is found in many English dictionaries, including the 1828 Webster's dictionary. See for yourself: http://webstersdictionary1828.com/Dictionary/adieu. Or, in other words: "Dude, chill, it's a translation. Adieu is a totally legit old-school English word (though from French, like many other words)."

The name Timothy and a couple other possibly Greek names occur in the Book of Mormon. Greek names are very ancient and Greek influence can be found in various parts of the ancient Near East. The sea-faring Phoenicians, the possible source for the Mulekite migration to the New World, had extensive Greek contact and could account for some Greek names. Or the names could be false cognates to Greek names. For example, while Pachus is said by critics to be a Greek name, John Tvedtnes notes that "it is more likely that it is an Egyptian name, Pa-cush (sometimes Pa-chus in ancient texts), 'the Cushite,' a name known from ancient Egyptian texts and from seals from Lehi’s time found in Israel." See https://bookofmormonresearch.org/greek-names-in-the-book-of-mormon.

There are reasonable responses to many other objections and alleged anachronisms, which over time are becoming steadily fewer, with some of the most serious problems becoming strengths. The real pudding is full of fascinating details, though they involve some study and learning, not just random one-line zingers. Yes, there are puzzling issues in the scriptures and all sorts of issues in the Church one can complain about, but there are some great answers in many cases and amazing blessings for those with a bit of patience and faith.

But what exactly is the problem with "eating" vitamin pills? Here "eat" means to ingest or to swallow, which is an appropriate thing to do with vitamin pills. It need not mean to chew and relish the flavor, though gummy vitamin pills and chewable vitamins enable that aspect of "eat."

Jeff Lindsay said...

Meanwhile, I'm wondering where you get your information about the Church that you so object to? Where is this requirement for polygamy? Where is the denial of the need for love? Is your argument that having moral standards means not loving those who disagree with or don't live those standards? Was Christ unloving when he told people who were not following His laws to "go and sin no more"? He loved them infinitely and was ready to die for them, but he also taught them and urged them to repent. Why? Purely because He loved them and sought to bring them the greatest blessings possible. It was not the fake love that says anything goes. It's the real love that helps the angry man calm down, the greedy man to share, the alcoholic to stay away from bars, and the porn addict to reshape his mind, learning to look beyond the flesh alone and see others as fellow sons and daughters of God. Such guidance is rarely what the natural man wants to receive at first and may be mistaken as anything but love, but Christ's call to change and grow and repent is based on true and perfect love. Our human efforts fall far short of His, but the teachings are still based on love, and that is our ideal.

There's much more to the pudding than you are seeing or tasting. Put away that spoiled fake pudding and take a look at the real stuff. As for the Book of Mormon itself, that's one of the richest and most delicious part of the pudding, loaded with nutrition and evidence of a masterful Chef who has given us nutrition we desperately need in our day, even if the study and thinking involved is distasteful at first. Dig deep-- there's much your are missing in this real and ancient witness for Christ.

Anonymous said...

"There are reasonable responses to many other objections and alleged anachronisms, which over time are becoming steadily fewer, with some of the most serious problems becoming strengths".

Only in your head. Weakness become strengths by the sheer Fiat of your proclamation. Isaiah 5:20 warned of u.

"Where is this requirement for polygamy"

Everyone see what deceitful human being he has turned into? Where is this requirement to get married in the temple that drives members to far off lands?

Anonymous said...

It is not a gish gallop fallacy. After two decades, mormon apologectics inability to find official lds statements explicitly stating that polygamy is not required in the highest degree of heaven is defacto concession. That reality does not make critics nasty, etc., Though it may make apoligist dishonest. The lds may make such a statement tomorrow, but critics would be w in the norms of this realm of discussion to point out that it is odd that such a statement took 150 years. Nor is it nasty for critics to claim that lay internet apologist r the ones now receiving "revelatatory" clarity church.

Ramer said...

For the record, the supposed "requirement" for polygamy for exaltation comes from a quote from Brigham Young taken out of context.

Ramer said...

...inability to find official lds statements explicitly stating...
Even if there WERE explicit official statements the critics and anti-Mormons wouldn't budge from their misconceptions.

defacto concession
Strap yourselves in, everyone, Mormography is here.

Anonymous said...

The fact that there r no official statements, as u concede, proves it is not a misconception. Again, Isaiah 5:20. Your need to strap in is a complement

Anonymous said...

So the Great Restoration produced mass confusion resulting in many misconceptions, top among them being the misconception that it would reduce confusion, not increase it.

Ramer said...

"President Young said there would be men saved in the Celestial Kingdom of God with one wife, with many wives, and with no wife at all."
Wilford Woodruff, 1870

"I am perfectly satisfied there are men who will be counted worthy of that [celestial] glory who never had a wife; there are men probably in this world now, who will receive exaltation, who never had a wife at all, or probably had but one."
George Q. Cannon, 1884

"...it is not stated that plural marriage is thus essential [for a fulness of celestial glory]."
Charles W. Penrose, 1912

"We have no knowledge that plural marriage will be a requirement for exaltation."
D&C Seminary lesson manual, 2001

"During the years that plural marriage was publicly taught, not all Latter-day Saints were expected to live the principle, though all were expected to accept it as a revelation from God."
Gospel Topics essay, 2014

There we go, several official statements.
Watch, though: Mormography is still going to act like these quotes "concede" his point.

Anonymous said...

Nice dodge on the “highest degree” of the celestial kingdom. Yes, Ramer, many people, especially those who die before the age of eight or adulthood, will go to Mormon heaven and be polygamously married in Mormon heaven.

And yes Ramer, we were the ones who originally pointed the seminary quote out to you, which is in its entirety below. Most clever is how the manual turns “Sometime teachers repeat what they were taught” with “Sometimes teachers ‘specualte’ ”. But like the manual says, there is no knowledge. Another clever dodge.

More quotes below to continue playing your game, but the fact that many can play your game is the point, isn’t it?

---------

Note: Avoid sensationalism and speculation when talking about plural marriage. Sometimes teachers speculate that plural marriage will be a requirement for all who enter the celestial kingdom. We have no knowledge that plural marriage will be a requirement for exaltation.

https://www.lds.org/manual/doctrine-and-covenants-and-church-history-seminary-teacher-resource-manual/nauvoo-period/doctrine-and-covenants-132?lang=eng

Doctrine and Covenants 132:

"For behold, I reveal unto you a new and an everlasting covenant; and if ye abide not that covenant, then are ye damned; for no one can reject this covenant and be permitted to enter into my glory.... And as pertaining to the new and everlasting covenant, it was instituted for the fulness of my glory; and he that receiveth a fulness thereof must and shall abide the law, or he shall be damned, saith the Lord God."

The "new and everlasting covenant" was understood by Joseph Smith's contemporaries to mean polygamy.

Doctrine and Covenants 131:

"In the celestial glory there are three heavens or degrees; And in order to obtain the highest, a man must enter into this order of the priesthood [meaning the new and everlasting covenant of marriage]; And if he does not, he cannot obtain it. He may enter into the other, but that is the end of his kingdom; he cannot have an increase."


John Taylor:

The voice of the Lord came to President Taylor saying - "My son John: You have asked me concerning the New and Everlasting Covenant and how far it is binding upon my people. Thus saith the Lord All commandments that I give must be obeyed by those calling themselves by my name unless they are revoked by me or by my authority and how can I revoke an everlasting covenant."

Brigham Young:

"The only men who become Gods, even the Sons of God, are those who enter into polygamy. Others attain unto a glory and may even be permitted to come into the presence of the Father and the Son; but they cannot reign as kings in glory, because they had blessings offered unto them, and they refused to accept them."

Joseph F. Smith:

"Some people have supposed that the doctrine of plural marriage was a sort of superfluity, or non-essential, to the salvation or exaltation of mankind. In other words, some of the Saints have said, and believe, that a man with one wife, sealed to him by the authority of the Priesthood for time and eternity, will receive an exaltation as great and glorious, if he is faithful, as he possibly could with more than one. I want here to enter my solemn protest against this idea, for I know it is false. "

Anonymous said...

Yep, that is the point. Sometimes a restoration is more confusing than the thing it is restoring.

Anonymous said...

Jeff, I reject your circular logic and ridiculous reasoning. You seem to think the solution to all the oddities in the book of Mormon can be explained away by strange and obscure notions that no right thinking person would consider reasonable. Mormon apologetics are DEAD! They spew nonsense and spread lies!

Anonymous said...

While the Bible is the word of God, many plain and precious things were removed from it. For example, while God did give Adam Eve as a help meet, thanks to modern revelation, we now know God also gave Adam Alice. Long ridicule as Mormon nonsense, modern science has proven a few men have an extra rib pair. That is right folks, 2 extra ribs, one on each side of the spine. So we see, what was once a weakness is now a strength.

The above is a parody of how tiresome and absurd Mormon apologetics is.

Anonymous said...

With regards to official statements regarding polygamy in heaven, the official answer today is the that divinely inspired leadership has no knowledge on the subject. But here we have random, anonymous, lay, internet apologist insisting they have received revelation on behalf of the church and the answer is that in the highest degree of the celestial kingdom polygamy is optional.

Isn’t this modern form of revelation great, those with “divine” “authority” to give us answers say the answer is we do not know the answer. Awesome. Then almost as good as a rock in hat, anonymous, random, unofficial internet apologist tell us what the actual answer is at the moment. Modern Revelation!

------

“Latter-day Saints do not understand all of God’s purposes in instituting, through His prophets, the practice of plural marriage.”

“The precise nature of these relationships in the next life is not known, and many family relationships will be sorted out in the life to come. Latter-day Saints are encouraged to trust in our wise Heavenly Father, who loves His children and does all things for their growth and salvation.”

Anonymous said...

Anon at 8:08 brought the goods. It's undeniable that this monstrous idea has been taught as Mormon doctrine, and is still believed to be Mormon doctrine by many.
Here is a worthy experiment: write to your apostles. "Please answer a simple yes or no question: is polygamy required for the highest degree of the celestial kingdom?"
There is doctrinal confusion. There is conflicting teaching happening. Clarity needs to be found.
You know what, I think I will do this. What could it hurt?

Anonymous said...

Meanwhile, the Church continues, in its own way, to reconcile itself to the reality that the Book of Mormon and Book of Abraham are not translated from ancient originals. Consider this stunning passage from Meridian Magazine:

As we get to know Joseph better, Robin [Jensen] notes that our previous understanding of the Prophet’s translation efforts may need to be upgraded: "There may be some correctives in the process." That is, our previous assumptions about how the Book of Mormon or Book of Abraham were "translated," may need to be revised.

It is possible that Joseph Smith's "translations" involved more revelation and less traditional translating than previously suspected. If so, the relationship between the dictated texts might not strictly resemble the literal meanings of the engravings on the gold plates or the Egyptian hieroglyphics on the papyri. Joseph may not have even been aware of the discrepancies.

Robin states unapologetically: "It could be that Joseph Smith assumed that he was translating from the papyri when he was not, in fact translating from the papyri." How could that be? After mentioning the 1838 account from Warren Parrish, who wrote that Joseph received "the translation of the Egyptian hieroglyphics ... by direct inspiration of Heaven," Robin further explains: "Joseph Smith received revelation for the text of the Book of Abraham. He may have through that revelation, made assumptions about where that text came from." And those assumptions may have attributed a greater connection between the revelation and the papyri than was justified.


Thanks in large part to the maturing of its own approach to Church history --- as exemplified by the Joseph Smith Papers project --- the Church seems to realize that genuine, honest scholarship is not going to establish that the BoM and BoA are based on ancient originals. If anything it will bear out many of the claims of the skeptics. That's why the Church is moving away from "translation" in the traditional sense and toward a pure "revelation" model: because pure revelation is immune to scholarship. I suspect that the ultimate aim is to walk back every single claim to a position that cannot be falsified by secular scholarship.

This shift might eventually eliminate the need for LDS apologetics as currently practiced, which to be honest would be a mercy for all concerned.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

-- OK

Anonymous said...

Classic Jeff. He bookends this statement:

“a closer looks shows that the favorable treatment of David that Beshears demands is a characteristic of the ancient tribe of Judah in the southern Kingdom, and ancient Hebrews from the northern kingdom and its tribes, such as Lehi and his tribe of Joseph, could easily have held less favorable views of the fallen king and the security of his kingdom.”

With these two (emphasis added by me):

“I am increasingly touched by the way in which subtle elements from ancient Judaism can be found in the Book of Mormon in ways that don't fit the popular model of Joseph as a sponge.”

“Those who look at the intricate and extensive references to the Exodus in the Book of Mormon and to its heavy and artful use of Isaiah must recognize that the Book of Mormon shows strong affinity with ancient Jewish thinking

He expects us to believe that the text is strongly Jewish when it fits his argument, but not so much when it doesn’t. This is a common inconsistency I find in much of Mormon apologetics—and not just relating to the idea of the BoM as a Jewish text. Mormon apologists tend to want to have their cake and eat it too. . .

Anonymous said...

Good point, Anon 7:06.

To what you say above, I would add that Jeff's phrase "heavy and artful use of Isaiah" is a funny way of saying "massive plagiarism from Isaiah, including large portions written after Nephi left Jerusalem."

LDS apologetics is simply ludicrous---an endless exercise in explaining away the obvious evidence of the Book of Mormon's 19th-century origins.

-- OK

Ramer said...

Is it really plagiarism if the author directly says that they will be quoting from Isaiah?

And what quotations from Isaiah were supposedly written after Nephi left Jerusalem?

Anonymous said...

Yes, it’s really plagiarism if the author does not attribute EVERY quote to the source. It’s also plagiarism if the author never indicates where the quote ends and his own words resume. As for your second question: Isaiah chapters 40-55 were written by Deutero-Isaiah during the Exile, which is after Nephi’s departure.

— OK

Anonymous said...

It is doubtful that Ramer is unaware of the Deutero-Isaiah problem.

He repeatedly trolls and baits on items that have already been disproven on other threads, like above, where he decietfully reasserts, "For the record, the supposed "requirement" for polygamy for exaltation comes from a quote from Brigham Young taken out of context."

Anonymous said...

You cannot be serious, Anon @ 6:41. Read the full context of Brig's quote and you'll see how serious he was. And then read section 132, and then read all of the other leaders who have made the same assertion: polygamy is required of those who want to attain the highest sphere of the Celestial Kingdom. Deny that and you deny Mormon leaders.
Anyway, back on topic: the Book of Mormon was made up. It's fake. Face it.

Anonymous said...

I re-read your comment, 6:41. Sorry. And yes, Ramer exhibits disingenuousness and inattention to details (the latter of which I myself have often been guilty of).

Ramer said...

You anons sure don't know me very well.

bearyb said...

Will the real Anonymous please raise their hand?

I only say this because a few days ago someone with that designation offered that, "I’m here for probably a similar reason you’re here—Jeff presents interesting ideas, then opens up a forum for debate about those ideas. I like being part of the debate."

So where is the debate about Jeff's "interesting ideas?" From the get go, the first response to this post was a "dodge" (or something), totally setting aside the ideas presented in the post and leap-frogging straight to other, tired arguments from other times and places.

I say it that way because the next Anonymous reply (from that same individual or not, I can't tell) said, about one of my responses, "The 'can't leave it alone' and 'move on' are tied(?) apologist rebuttals for when they have none."

Is that what this is?

Anonymous said...

Yaaawwnnn ... how exhaustively tiring ...

Anonymous said...

Beary,

Your anonymous friend who is here for the debate posted 11/24. I try to make relevant, cogent observations. Others are just here to pick a fight it seems. They tend to do this by posting inflammatory, often off-topic comments. It's up to you to decide who you respond to and how you respond. Not all fights are noble or worthwhile.