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

Sunday, December 01, 2019

No, We Are Not Decanonizing the Book of Abraham

In my previous post, I noted that faithful members of the Church can hold various theories about the Book of Abraham, and one can even feel that it is "inspired fiction" without being considered an apostate. One anonymous person strongly objected and was shocked that I could say such a thing, fearing that the Church is losing its roots by decanonizing the Book of Abraham. I want to make sure people understand that neither I nor the Church (as far as I know!) are calling for decanonizing anything.

One can also see the story of Job as fictional but inspired, a story to teach us of God's mercy and our need for patience in affliction. The very ancient era of the patriarchs is murky. All accounts about them have questionable and puzzling elements. Some faithful Jewish and Christian scholars aren't sure there even was a historical Abraham (for the record, I believe there was). If not, a Jewish account that became an Egyptian text of interest to some Egyptian priests in ancient Thebes could have been translated in 1835 by the gift and power of God to give us a pseudepigraphical text (a text falsely ascribed to a particular source) that may have religious value, even scriptural value, and may be a true miracle in spite of some murkiness.

If a member believes that the Book of Abraham is inspired, even miraculous, but has some doubts about its literal historical accuracy, is that member on the path to perdition? Is that member's faith in question? Should we add a question to the list of temple recommend questions to screen out such infidels? Of course not. One can believe that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God and yet hold that he was mortal, that he made mistakes, and that his translation of the Book of Abraham has flaws, while still accepting that it is a vehicle that gives us revelation and truth. Flaws, murkiness, uncertainty in the mode of translation, the possibilities of human errors -- these issues affect all scripture, unfortunately. There's no need to panic or decanonize anything, but there may be a need to temper our expectations of perfection when it comes to prophets, ancient records, and even modern scripture. It's a murky world.

If there are stories in the Old Testament that didn't really happen the way they are recorded, it doesn't mean we have to abandon the Bible. If Abraham's account, even though translated by an authorized prophet using prophetic gifts, didn't happen exactly as that text relates, it does not mean we need to abandon the Book of Abraham. A pseudepigraphical text can still be ancient, authentic, and contain precious and revealed truth, or can be a vehicle for a prophet to teach revealed truth. So it can be "inspired fiction" or, better said, a divinely provided tool to teach us inspired truths, even if Abraham didn't actually teach astronomy in the Egyptian court. But, for the record, I personally think that he did. My testimony of the Gospel of Jesus Christ does not depend on that. My faith in God does not depend on that. If Abraham only taught astronomy to a few shepherds in Canaan, or if the astronomical material was edited into a Book of Abraham text by some well-meaning scribe with an inspired passion for cosmology, so be it. I'll be OK, and hope you will, too.

Our records and our knowledge are incomplete, imperfect, and often murky. We anxiously look forward to more light and knowledge.

53 comments:

Ramer said...

One anonymous person strongly objected and was shocked that I could say such a thing...
Well, OBVIOUSLY this is because there are only two options: complete, absolute, perfectly accurate historical truth, and complete, absolute, perfectly INaccurate falsehood!!!!! It OBVIOUSLY doesn't matter if it's inspired or not, if it's not historical, it can't POSSIBLY be scripture!!!!!
/sarcasm

Personally, I believe the Book of Abraham is describing historical events. I'm not sure where I stand on the book of Job (I've wondered about it before); it's a fairly self-contained book, without any references to external events or people that would place it in a historical context. The whole thing about "the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan came also among them" seems a little odd, too. The story is referenced in a few other scriptures, but this doesn't mean it couldn't still be "inspired fiction" (to use the shorter phrase).

Of course, my doubts on the historicity of Job doesn't put me in any danger of abandoning the rest of the Bible or the whole of Christianity. The book still teaches about righteousness, humility, and faith in a spiritually uplifting manner consistent with church teachings, so it doesn't ultimately matter that much.

Question, though - do you think this historicity argument is any different if it's applied to the Book of Mormon? I know some people would probably claim that the BoM can be considered "inspired fiction" as well, so...

Anonymous said...

The day will soon come when the mormon church will realize they can't have it both ways. They can't continue to cling to generations of prophets who insist things are black and white AND also allow their grip to loosen on things like the historicity of Joseph's books of scripture. The evidence is surmountable and easily findable nowadays. Any investigator or curious lifetime member with reliable internet access can see that things are NOT as black and white as the church leaders have claimed for so long. And if they fudge the truth about their scriptures, what else are they fudging the truth about? Turns out it's a lot!

Anonymous said...

Anon 1:28 - Yep. It is painfully obvious that is the masses bringing greater light and knowledge to generations of prophets, not the other way around.

Anonymous said...

Anon 8:46,
Yet another person who believes in the infallibility of the masses on the internet. I'm still waiting for social media to cure cancer and resolve climate change.

Anon 1:28,
You do realize that your statement is black and white thinking by definition... don't you? I especially love your "surmountable" evidence.

Anonymous said...

Anon 1:32 - You do realize those are strawman attacks? What threatens you? Insurmountable evidence that forces the LDS church to change the definition of bom is true from principal to among for lamanites ancestry means the internet masses are infallible? The LDS church's inability to cure cancer means it is wrong? Observing black white thinking means the observer is engaging in black white thinking. Weird stuff there 1:32

Anonymous said...

2:04: Huh?

Anonymous said...

11:58 Huh?

Jared said...

Members of the church believe all kinds of things about the church, church leaders, Book of Mormon, PofGP, D&C, church history/doctrine, and the Bible. That isn't the problem we're facing. In my mind, the problem we're facing is that too few are experiencing the fruits of the gospel (Holy Ghost and Gifts of the Spirit). Those who are experiencing the fruits and stay faithful will be just fine. Those who don't will eventually fall away.

I believe after nearly 200 years since the restoration started we're going to be tried and proven.

Heber C Kimball said it best:

This Church has before it many close places through which it will have to pass before the work of God is crowned with victory. To meet the difficulties that are coming, it will be necessary for you to have a knowledge of the truth of this work for yourselves. The difficulties will be of such a character that the man or woman who does not possess this personal knowledge or witness will fall. If you have not got the testimony, live right and call upon the Lord and cease not till you obtain it. If you do not you will not stand. Harold B. Lee quoting Heber C. Kimball, BYU, June 28, 1955; also in “We Believe” by Rulon T. Burton, p. 1038-39.

Anonymous said...

Jared - If it the Church was "true", then Mormons doing what the Church asks would be experiencing the fruits. As you say, they are not, proving the Church is not true.

Anonymous said...

Rhetoric from dead so-called prophets won't save anyone, Jared. Observing the actions (the lies, the half truths, the obfuscations, the back pedaling) of your living leaders WILL save you from wasting any more time in this religion. Life is so much better on the outside. True freedom awaits. Search your mind and your heart. You don't have to accept lies from leaders. You have the power to walk away and never look back. I did. You can. You should. We'll welcome you with open arms and you'll find the happiness you deserve.

Jeff Lindsay said...

By my count, fully 100% of our leaders have been mere mortals, and sometimes say things based on their own mortal knowledge and biases. This can be frustrating. It was that way when Christ left the Church in the hands of his Apostles and it was that way for all previous leaders and prophets in Israel. Plenty of frustrating moments when mortals are involved. But there's a revealed and divine core to the Gospel, full of divine vigor, that brings wonderful fruits to those who are grafted into its trunk. That core includes revealed truths about the nature of Christ and the deliverance He alone brings through repentance and faith in Him, our relationship to Christ and the Father, the plan of salvation, the mercy and justice of God with His plan to redeem the dead and treat all mankind fairly, the power and beauty of the Temple, the power of the Priesthood, the divine nature of families in God's plan, and the reality of the Restoration, including the divine, revealed nature of the Book of Mormon. its power as a witness for Christ and a witness for the reality of the Restoration has only increased with time. Things that seemed crazy in 1830 have been overturned in many cases as things that are actually plausible. The many confirmed details in 1 Nephi, especially for Lehi's Trail, does much to confirm that 1 Nephi cannot possibly be inspired fiction that Joseph made up based on his knowledge. But there's much beyond that book that calls for us to take this book seriously. The less clear and more confusing issue of the Book of Abraham is best handled in light of the stage that Joseph set by translation of the Book of Mormon, not the other way around. But both provide evidence that Joseph could not have concocted those accounts based on his environment. Both provide majestic teachings that are inspiring, even breathtaking. But in spite of the fascinating evidences, both require faith and come with plenty of opportunities for us to reject them, if we wish, as is the case with the New and Old Testaments as well. But those who take the scriptures seriously and look for revelations in them that can guide our lives today tend to find great fruits from the quest Fruits of joy, of knowledge, of peace, of greater closeness to the Savior. Those are wonderful fruits indeed.

Anonymous said...

"Things that seemed crazy in 1830 have been overturned in many cases as things that are actually plausible."

Lie. Just the opposite is true. Things like wandering Israelites being the pre-Columbian ancestors of the Native Americans were more than plausible in 1830 and now seem crazy.

"both require faith"
Make up your mind. Previously you have limited yourself to the vague, obscure notion of plausibility. Is it provable or not? Do you mean to say you have faith that the books are not explainable by the environment, or that the books provably contain elements that are not explainable by the environment and therefore must contain some sort of extra-human provenance. If it is provable, are you then falling desperately into psychological delusion that academia is in some massive conspiracy against you?

Everything in the 8:51 should be taken with a grain of salt, considering the author is the same Mormon that has declared the idea of prophet, seer, revelator frequently God face to face a dim view of prophethood and the bright view is mere administrator prophet.

Anonymous said...

If the claims of 1830 were true, then most definitely they should be more rational today. The reality is, the claims from 1830 are less rational today. There are new discussions about wordprint studies, chiasmus, etc, but those discussions did not exist in 1830.

Anonymous said...

"By my count, fully 100% of our leaders have been mere mortals, and sometimes say things based on their own mortal knowledge and biases. This can be frustrating."
Jeff, you know as well as I (a member for well over 40 years) that this is a very new way of speaking about leaders. Mormons have always been taught that their leaders are the mouthpiece of deity and that "whether by his voice or by his servants it is the same." You can't have it both ways.
"It was that way when Christ left the Church in the hands of his Apostles and it was that way for all previous leaders and prophets in Israel."
Only according to Mormons. There wasn't always a direct explicit implication that apostles and prophets spoke FOR God. That's just what you've been taught. It's not supported by the texts nor by scholarship.
"But there's a revealed and divine core to the Gospel, full of divine vigor, that brings wonderful fruits to those who are grafted into its trunk."
These fruits are available without an organized church.
"That core includes revealed truths about the nature of Christ and the deliverance He alone brings through repentance and faith in Him, our relationship to Christ and the Father, the plan of salvation, the mercy and justice of God with His plan to redeem the dead and treat all mankind fairly, the power and beauty of the Temple, the power of the Priesthood, the divine nature of families in God's plan, and the reality of the Restoration, including the divine, revealed nature of the Book of Mormon."
Look how complicated and convoluted you've made something that should be so simple!

Anonymous said...

"its power as a witness for Christ and a witness for the reality of the Restoration has only increased with time."
This is demonstrably false. Look at your church's conversion numbers. They're slipping precipitously. Why do you think they stopped publishing them? Ask any missionary how things are going. Not good!
"Things that seemed crazy in 1830 have been overturned in many cases as things that are actually plausible. The many confirmed details in 1 Nephi, especially for Lehi's Trail, does much to confirm that 1 Nephi cannot possibly be inspired fiction that Joseph made up based on his knowledge. But there's much beyond that book that calls for us to take this book seriously."
Not really, Jeff. You keep beating this same drum, but it's such a weak rhythm. No one is convinced by this stuff except you and your dwindling circle of bloggernacleites. The bloom is off the rose. No one's becoming more convinced of anything. Your word salads have wilted.
"The less clear and more confusing issue of the Book of Abraham is best handled in light of the stage that Joseph set by translation of the Book of Mormon, not the other way around."
The simplest explanation -- that he bought a mummy and then made up a bunch of stories, just like he did with Zelph and with so many other fanciful notions -- has got to be the true one. Your mental gymnastics can't hide the obvious truth.
"But both provide evidence that Joseph could not have concocted those accounts based on his environment."
This simply isn't so.
"Both provide majestic teachings that are inspiring, even breathtaking."
As has been said so very often: the things that make it good are not unique, and the things that make it unique are not good.
"But in spite of the fascinating evidences, both require faith and come with plenty of opportunities for us to reject them, if we wish, as is the case with the New and Old Testaments as well."
Absolute faith in the accepted canon are not required for a fundamental faith in Christ. Mormons haven't afforded themselves this, and so you're left clinging to the shreds of ridiculous notions long after the case of their authenticity is settled in the minds of reasonable minds.
"But those who take the scriptures seriously and look for revelations in them that can guide our lives today tend to find great fruits from the quest Fruits of joy, of knowledge, of peace, of greater closeness to the Savior. Those are wonderful fruits indeed."
There are better guides out their. Guides that aren't foisted on us by leaders who lie and hide the truth.
I am certain your church will walk away from these scriptures. They have to if they want to survive.

Anonymous said...

"But both provide evidence that Joseph could not have concocted those accounts based on his environment."
Allow yourself to believe for one split second that Joseph did not work alone and things become crystal clear.

Hoosier said...

The lengthy response of the various Anonymouses are just as monotonous as they claim Jeff is being. Your rhetoric has no power.

@ 11:02 My resistance to the idea that Joseph had accomplices is based in the fact that the best forensic data regarding the Book of Mormon manuscript and all associated historical accounts do not leave room for that hypothesis. It only becomes relevant when required to patch a hole in the critical paradigm. I'm interested in sticking with the historical data.

Your certainty isn't worth too much, regarding what the prophets choose to do or not. Thank you for your commentary, but it isn't particularly convincing especially since it's all just declarations ex cathedra. Perhaps I'm just a "bloggernacleite", but I don't find your declarations at all authoritative. Having served as a missionary within the past two years, honestly, it looked pretty good to me. Those who seek, find. Furthermore, your equivalency of "power as a witness" with "conversion numbers" is false.

"Look how complicated and convoluted you've made something that should be so simple!"

Why should it? Simplicity is an aesthetic preference but that doesn't mean that that's how all things ought to be, or even that such simplicity is inherently good. The real world is quite complicated. Nobody says that Einstein screwed up by introducing relativity into the relatively simple world of Newtonian physics.

I'm sorry for your experiences in the past with the Church. I hope you heal in whatever way you see fit. But your declarations cannot be considered authoritative and therefore are not convincing.

Anonymous said...

"My resistance to the idea that Joseph had accomplices is based in the fact that the best forensic data regarding the Book of Mormon manuscript and all associated historical accounts do not leave room for that hypothesis."
I demand proof of this. Show me exactly where and why you believe this. You've made the claim, now back it up. I don't care about anything else you said. Just this. Prove it or you are lying.

Hoosier said...

@ 12:31

With pleasure. Jeff doesn't much like links in his comments, but if he assents I'd be pleased to post them. Sound good, Jeff?

Forensic analysis of the Book of Mormon manuscript provides a strong corroboration of the dictation accounts of the Book of Mormon, per the work of Stanford Carmack and Royal Skousen. It is not generally contested that Joseph Smith dictated to his various scribes the text of the original manuscript of the Book of Mormon. All witnesses to the act are united in stating that he was working with no manuscript. It's also pretty well supported in the historical record that he was inserting his face into a hat while dictating, ostensibly to block out the light. This is so well accepted that it is still used as ammo against the Church. I think it backfires in this usage, because it renders it impossible for him to have been reading from a manuscript for sustained periods of time without anybody noticing. However, if you're not concerned with people in the room noticing your fraud, why go through with the whole dictation act in the first place? Yet we have evidence that it was dictated. For Joseph to have memorized a manuscript and dictated it would have required eidetic memory, which he cannot be shown to have had. The evidence leads me to conclude that, whatever its nature as rubbish or revelation, it came from Joseph Smith.

You might be willing to dismiss witness testimony, both member and nonmember, but I am not. If we're making historical conclusions they have to be at least based on the historical data. I cannot with integrity say that I'm making a historical case while playing fast and loose with the data, and that includes witness testimonies.

The only reasonable candidates for the title of co-conspirator would be elements of the Three and Eight Witnesses. To expand it beyond their numbers is to cast a broad conspiracy net which is wholly unsupportable by the evidence. Yet I find their subsequent behavior quite unlikely for co-conspirators. Put aside the whole "never denied the testimonies" shtick which I find moving but you clearly do not. What's undeniable is that David Whitmer revered the Book of Mormon printer's manuscript as a divine token. Martin Harris gave outlandish financial support to a project which was mocked even more heavily then than it is now. Oliver Cowdery sacrificed a profitable law office and a burgeoning political career to try and rejoin the Saints, even though the body of the Saints was firmly led by Brigham Young, historically their opponent in church governance. These are not opportunistic moves, therefore I find it difficult to sustain the narrative that they were the sort of cynical opportunists required for fraud. Thus, I must conclude that there are not any reasonable suspects for this alleged ring.

In conclusion, the data from eyewitness testimony and forensic analysis of the manuscript indicate that Joseph could not have relied on external sources while dictating. Analysis of the actions of the Witnesses suggests that they are not likely candidates for conspiracy charges. Nobody else really had the means or opportunity within the historical record. Therefore, I cannot accept the hypothesis that Joseph Smith acted at the head of or at the behest of a conspiratorial clerical cartel.

Anonymous said...

Have you read Lucy Harris's affidavit, or do you only read approved sources that support what you want to believe?

Hoosier said...

I have read Lucy and Abigail's affidavits as recorded by D. Philastus Hurlbut, thanks for your consideration.

I find them much the same as I find the rest of Hurlbut's output: questionable. He came into it having made death threats against Joseph Smith and even E.D. Howe thought him unreliable. He wasn't even able to get his affidavits published and had to sell them to Howe before they could see the light of day. Furthermore, much of his work focused on enhancing the case for the now-discredited Spalding theory, so the quality of his work is in question. Abigail and Lucy's testimonies also differ on the consequential matter of Martin having admitted his indifference to the truth: Abigail's maintains it while Lucy doesn't mention it, which I find curious. On the whole I think these testimonies are underwhelming, especially since they are the only two sources implying a profit motive and in so doing confront legions of witnesses and a lifetime of lived evidence which suggests the opposite. Lucy and Abigail, to my knowledge, did not independently corroborate Hurlbut's account in any way, so I think it's questionable evidence at best.

Anonymous said...

Hoosier - Most critics agree the exact text was not produced by an elaborate conspiracy.

1. Who gave Joseph Smith a memory test?

2. "These are not opportunistic moves, therefore I find it difficult to sustain the narrative that they were the sort of cynical opportunists required for fraud." I understand your point as applied to conspiracy, but not to fraud. The same could be said of any number of movements dismissed by Mormons as fraud. Anyone that has witnessed firsthand fraud perpetuated by a charismatic organizer has seen followers wittingly and unwittingly lie to in favor of the fraud.

Anonymous said...

Hoosier - Will you give us an example of something that was crazy in 1830 but today is not? You ought to have thousands of examples.

Anonymous said...

What about Hyrum?

Ramer said...

Anon 5:24 - I’m not Hoosier, and I doubt there are “thousands” of examples, but I can think of two off the top of my head:

Large cities in the ancient Americas, and writing on metal plates buried in the ground.

I’m sure there’s more, but those are the two that stand out to me at the moment.

Anonymous said...

Those were not crazy ideas on 1830.

Writing on metal may be easy w modern tech, but the idea that an ancient cultural had extensive system for doing do so in a repeatable fashion is far less rational today. The copper dead sea scroll etc all now demonstrate that it was a nice idea, but hard to do in reality. With the advantage of modern understand we now know the idea is not that rational. We did not know how unlikely it was before and that fact is more commonly understood now than before.

If those are the examples that stand out, then all examples exist in your head only. You are declaring ideas like large cities crazy in 1830 when they were not.

Anonymous said...

On the note of large cities, the population dynamics of the BoM have long been questioned and essentially conceded by modern apologist. That is apologist now say mixing w a pre-existing population explains the population growth and is more rational than how the BoM was originally "interpreted" in 1830.

Ramer said...

"It will not be long before men forget that in Joseph Smith's day the prophet was mocked and derided for his description of the plates more than anything else."
- Hugh Nibley, 1952

Thank you for proving him right.

Anonymous said...

Have you read the descriptions of Mexico and the Americas from that time period? Plenty of people were aware that large cities existed or had existed. Read the descriptions of the early settlers to the US regarding the population/civilization they encountered.

Have you ever heard of the longhouse?

Anonymous said...

No, no, Ramer, thank you for proving me right. Backup for the Nibley 1952 claim (which is not 1830) has been thin. Now you know why it is no longer in vogue to use Nibley. Before the internet, guys like Nibley got away with a lot on the aire of their scholarship and supposed authority. Then with the internet it became evident they were turning single characters into whole paragraphs.

"I'm unaware of any of Joseph's contemporaries being opposed to the notion of ancient records being engraved on metal plates."
http://www.mormondialogue.org/topic/50890-metal-plates-joseph-smith-mocked-for-his-discription/

It is all in the tradition of Mormonism to create fictitious "wicked men" and then declared them vanquished, when the truth is the "wicked men" were just clever old ladies or never existed. As usual, the supposed "wicked men" are actually VALIDATED, not vanquished. As you know, the claim here is not that JS was not mocked, the claim here is awareness of the mocking and its correctness is more common knowledge now.

Ironically it is the apologist themselves that made this common knowledge. We actually have the apologist to thank for making the public aware that outside of the BoM, we do not have evidence of ancient Mediterranean cultures succeeding in breaking metal writing out of novelty use and into a repeatable fashion across generations. It less believable today then in 1830, end of story. But yes, thank you for proving me right.

Ramer said...

Mormography, if you want to trust an offhand remark from a random forum-goer over the published work of an actual scholar, I guess that's your prerogative.

As for me, I'll stick with those who are actually educated on the subject.

Which, by the way, is irrelevant to the point of Jeff's original post.

Hoosier said...

Anon @ 11:45 and 8:04, you have a weird definition of believability. The plates referenced in the Book of Mormon are all elite records maintained by kings and lords. They WERE novelty use. The Copper Scroll, if anything, indicates that even lowly Essenes could do this sort of stuff. Your end of story is anything but.

But since we're talking about concessions, I think you for yours @5:20. My original objection was to your assertion that problems are cleared up by adopting a model where Joseph Smith has co-conspirators in the creation of the Book of Mormon. You have now said that you see my point where relating to conspiracy, which was the whole point of the discussion. It's also somewhat nonsensical to suggest that "lying wittingly in defense of fraud" is anything other than conspiracy, so that leaves us with the Witnesses lying unwittingly in defense of fraud. Given that they said they saw plates and angels, I view that idea as ludicrous. Either you've seen and handled plates and angels or you haven't.

"Hoosier - Will you give us an example of something that was crazy in 1830 but today is not? You ought to have thousands of examples."

Given that there weren't thousands of novel objections to the Book of Mormon in 1830, I find this benchmark to be arbitrary and disingenuous. Ramer's submissions are valid. Middle Eastern steel is another. Hebraic-Egyptian writing another. Book of Mormon linguistics another. Alma. Land of Jerusalem. All considered outrageous. All vindicated. Shall I continue?

Also, for what it's worth, to whoever said "I'm unaware of any of Joseph's contemporaries being opposed to the notion of ancient records being engraved on metal plates":

"These plates, the book of Mormon says, were 'written on.' One writer says of another p. 149: 'I saw the last which he wrote, that he wrote it with his own hand.' How could brass be written on?"
- Sunderland, LaRoy. “Mormonism.” Zion’s Watchman (New York) 3, no. 8 (24 February 1838).

Also from LaRoy:

"This book speaks (p. 9,15,29,) of the Jewish Scriptures, having been kept by Jews on plates of brass, six hundred years before Christ. The Jews never kept any of their records on plates of brass."

Tell that to the Essenes. Copper and brass are pretty close.

Finally, regarding Hyrum, historical accounts are almost unanimous in declaring his honesty. Unlikely candidate for a co-conspirator. If you want further proof, he was not present during the Book of Mormon translation. He was hundreds of miles away in Palmyra with his own set of problems. His assistance in the production of the manuscript is therefore implausible.

Anonymous said...

Ah, yes, resulting to the fallacy of proof by supposed authority, one who Jeff happens to parrot. A desperation that is the ultimate a sign you don't know what you are talking about, which of course is irrelevant to Jeff's original post which you have been utterly incapable of defending. You, like Nibley and Jeff, have been completely incapable of defending your claim that more people today than in 1830 believe that a system of metal writing existed across generations in ancient American or Mediterranean cultures. You have been completely humiliated into the FACT that more people today believe that is irrational than in 1830 and Jeff completely lied stating the contrary.

Hoosier said...

Anon @ 9:31

When you declare your opinion with the imprimatur of "FACT" you are obligated to provide some backup. What was it you told me earlier? Oh yes. "Prove it or you are lying."

Seriously, the bald antipathy which you don't even try to hide weakens your whole rhetorical front. You declare victory when you haven't done anything to earn it, just assert and assert and assert. That won't fly. Neither Ramer nor Jeff have been completely humiliated into anything because you haven't provided supporting evidence for anything! For one thing, the accusation "fallacy of proof" in this context is trumped up nonsense as the point of an expert is that they really do know more than the average joe.

What's more damning is that you aren't even responding to Ramer's comment here or even Jeff's, you are responding to a fictional post of your own imagination. Jeff has not even mentioned the "controversy" regarding the plausibility of the plates 1830 vs 2019. So your accusation of Jeff lying to the contrary is in fact incorrect, if not a lie itself.

Anonymous said...

5:20 is a different person does not believe in co-conspirators. You will have to ask that person what they meant by "not working alone" and Hyrum. I took it to mean Rigdon Cowdery type theories of the BoM content creation, not plate witnesses.

"It's also somewhat nonsensical to suggest that "lying wittingly in defense of fraud" is anything other than conspiracy"

So you have not witnessed it firsthand, but you have secondhand, recall the syringes in Pepsi cans. Not a one of the liars conspired with each other. I have witnessed plenty being defrauded lie to bring in new investors.

"I find this benchmark to be arbitrary and disingenuous"

Take it up with Jeff then, it is his claim.

"Ramer's submissions are valid."
Given they were completely debunked, you lose all credibility.

""This book speaks (p. 9,15,29,) of the Jewish Scriptures, having been kept by Jews on plates of brass, six hundred years before Christ. The Jews never kept any of their records on plates of brass.""

Thank you for that. Even more true (not less) nearly 200 years later. And your point? Lamb elborated more in the 1880s. Scrolls not books. Texas sharp shooters are more than close, they are always spot on. The Essenes demonstrated all the problems Lamb pointed out and explains why the attempted and gave up on the idea of metal writing.

I love how you pretend you have actually retorted something.

Anonymous said...

Hoosier 10:06 - Again, you are confusing different people, I never said "Prove it or you are lying."

But yes you are clearly focus on "authority" regardless of independent thought. You are pure double standard, you only assert and complain of others asserting. Where is your evidence of anyone anywhere finding metal writing as crazy. Any child can see that etching or scratching metal is easily done.

Ramer said...

you are confusing different people
Well, there's an easy way to fix this, isn't there? Comment with a name instead of just being anonymous. Why did you stop using your Mormography account to post here anyway?

Ramer said...

Hoosier - I would heavily suggest you stop trying to use logic with this Anon. You've mentioned that he just asserts, asserts, asserts and declares victory; if you look through these comments he also does massive amounts of projecting and parroting.

Anonymous said...

Hoosier 10:06 - "Jeff has not even mentioned the "controversy" regarding the plausibility of the plates 1830 vs 2019. So your accusation of Jeff lying to the contrary is in fact incorrect, if not a lie itself."

You truly do not know what you are talking about
https://www.jefflindsay.com/LDSMetal.shtml

https://www.jefflindsay.com/bme25.shtml

"For one thing, the accusation "fallacy of proof [authority]" in this context is trumped up nonsense as the point of an expert is that they really do know more than the average joe."

You truly are ignorant. The whole point of the fallacy is that it does not matter how much the person knows, some sort of evidence is required.

"What's more damning is that you aren't even responding to Ramer's comment here"
The fact that you were incapable explaining what Ramer's comment here even is proves you know you are lying.

Now that we all see your pattern, have at it and do it some more, at this point you have even lost credibility lying to yourself.

Anonymous said...

Ramer -

"Well, there's an easy way to fix this, isn't there? "

Yes. Focus on solid reasoning, logic, and not who is an authority. But I understand that is too hard for you.

Hoosier said...

"I took it to mean Rigdon Cowdery type theories of the BoM content creation, not plate witnesses."

Rigdon theory is historically unsound, the timeline of his conversion is pretty well established. Cowdery is a poor suspect for conspiracy for reasons aforementioned.

"So you have not witnessed it firsthand, but you have secondhand, recall the syringes in Pepsi cans. Not a one of the liars conspired with each other. I have witnessed plenty being defrauded lie to bring in new investors."

How is that relevant in this case? The relevant witnesses were all within 1 degree of Joseph Smith. If they lied knowingly in defense of his fraud that makes them co-conspirators. False parallel.

"Take it up with Jeff then, it is his claim."

Citation please. Jeff claims that there are boomerang evidences, not that there are thousands of them. That one's on you.

"Thank you for that. Even more true (not less) nearly 200 years later. And your point? Lamb elborated more in the 1880s. Scrolls not books. Texas sharp shooters are more than close, they are always spot on. The Essenes demonstrated all the problems Lamb pointed out and explains why the attempted and gave up on the idea of metal writing."

I'm afraid you missed the point entirely. I was responding to the claim that writing on metal plates was considered absurd in Joseph's time, using this quote to rebut Anon @ 8:04 which might be you, might not. It's hard to keep track of those of you who don't use a name. In any case, whoever Anon @ 8:04 was, they were wrong. A contemporary of Joseph Smith who thought writing on plates was ridiculous, served to order.

"Texas sharp shooters are more than close, they are always spot on."

Then...this isn't an instance of Texas sharp shooter? That's a novel argument.

"Scrolls not books."

This argument is impotent. For one, codex-style records have been found in the Middle East. The Ketef Hinnom tablets, which produce 10 pages of translated material. BM 57371 and 57372 from the British Museum collections also count, being Egyptian tablets from the 1st century BC. A.F. Shore, speaking of the latter, said that “the
value of all metal during the ancient period virtually excludes the survival of such records except in the most fortuitous circumstances. The
practice would certainly have been more common than the surviving
material would suggest.” Kevin Barney also raises the point that 1 Maccabees 8:22 specifically describes writing on bronze tablets and the Hebrew of Job 19:23-24 suggests writing on metal. All these point to metal writing in the ancient Near East as being rather more common than your posts suggest. The argument that the Book of Mormon plates could not exist just because they are longer specimens of verified forms is really quite weak.

For further reading I recommend "One Small Step" by John Tvedtnes, "Metallic Documents of Antiquity" by H. Curtis Wright, and "Sacred Writing on Metal Plates in the Ancient Mediterranean" by William J. Hamblin. I'm not appealing to their authority here, I'm inviting you to look at their data.

"Given they were completely debunked, you lose all credibility."

We've been discussing one of them at length for now and it is far from debunked. I dispute your assertion in that regard. However, my disputation is pointless. Given the transparent contempt you have demonstrated towards Jeff, Ramer, and myself, I doubt any of us has ever had credibility to lose with you in the first place. That's not a problem I'm bothered by.

Anonymous said...

Jeff will you delete this post when the church de-canonizes it? You don't speak for them, after all, and you don't know what they'll do 1, 5, or 10 years from now.

Anonymous said...

Hoosier 10:50 - Yes you have missed all the points entirely. When you have a coherent argument let us know. When you can tell us what conspiracy and supposed lies you are referring to, then we can determine what parallels apply. For now you are mixing all sort things.

"We've been discussing one of them at length " Hilarious, you could not even say which one.

Anonymous said...

Anon 10:50 - No. He will write another post about how great revelation is and blame you for believing in the canon in the first place.

Hoosier said...

In the scales of coherence I am not at all in doubt where I stand. You should be.

The "conspiracy" we were discussing was the alleged conspiracy by which Joseph Smith produced the Book of Mormon in league with co-conspirators who presumably helped him produce the Book of Mormon, as suggested by Anon @ 11:02:

"Allow yourself to believe for one split second that Joseph did not work alone and things become crystal clear."

I was demonstrating that that is not a viable possibility.

As for the particular evidence of Ramer's which we were arguing about, it was the viability of metal plate writing.

Kindly go back and actually read through the thread. If you have anything substantive, as in data or coherent arguments, I'll hear them. If we've reached the "empty exchange of insults" phase that tends to accompany the decisive conclusion of an Internet argument, I'll be leaving now.

Anonymous said...

Hoosier -

"I'm afraid you missed the point entirely. I was responding to the claim that writing on metal plates was considered absurd in Joseph's time, using this quote" ... "A contemporary of Joseph Smith who thought writing on plates was ridiculous, served to order."

You have provided no such quote. The quote you provided does not say what you claim.
What it says : """This book speaks (p. 9,15,29,) of the Jewish Scriptures, having been kept by Jews on plates of brass, six hundred years before Christ. The Jews never kept any of their records on plates of brass."""

is still true today.

Plus, obvious you can find someone anywhere that thinks something is absurd. Clearly you have a difficult time understand points, your own included. The point was never did someone somewhere think something was ridiculous, but are the claims more credible or less credible. Clearly less credible.

Anonymous said...

"In the scales of coherence I am not at all in doubt where I stand. "

Well you just incoherently switched back to the content of the Book of Mormon which would Rigdon Cowdery type theories which is different from plate witnesses.

"Anything substantive, as in data or coherent arguments, I'll hear them." Plenty have been presented, so now go back and listen as you just promised.

"it was the viability of metal plate writing"
Again, metal writing has always been viable. Plate form in Ancient Americas and Mediterranean has been proven to have occurred only in novelty form, something previously unknown. As you point out the Essenes did not use plates and found their experiment with metal writing nonviable. As you know, you lie when you say Ramer has not been debunked.

That's not a problem I'm bothered by standing up to bullies like you.

Hoosier said...

I notice you only quoted one of the two quotes from LaRoy Sunderland that I posted at 9:19. Let me just post the other one for clarification, though you and anybody else could just scroll up and see it.

"These plates, the book of Mormon says, were 'written on.' One writer says of another p. 149: 'I saw the last which he wrote, that he wrote it with his own hand.' How could brass be written on?"
- LaRoy Sunderland

LaRoy is pretty clear: he doesn't think writing on plates is possible. It's plain. I believe that answers the objection that Joseph's contemporaries saw no problems with writing on plates.

However, I'd like to circle back around to the fact that you quoted one of two quotes that I mentioned in the same exact post. How did you miss the other one? Selective omission is bad debate technique but selectively quoting my own post right back to me is a new low. Doesn't look good from here.

The artifacts I have mentioned before and the sources to which I referred you do a sufficient job of sinking your claim that metal writing is ludicrous. It's not ludicrous now, but since LaRoy felt confident publishing his piece in 1838, clearly it was considered ludicrous then. M.T. Lamb corroborated this assumption in 1887, proving its survival 50 years later, so LaRoy Sunderland cannot be considered an outlier. This is significant because it demonstrates that Joseph actively bucked prevailing orthodoxy of the time, an unlikely tactic for a forger.

Anything else?

Hoosier said...

@11:45

I will not accept the title of bully when handed down from you. You have called me a liar, you have called me ignorant, you have engaged in all of this invective after coming here and insulting Jeff and Ramer out of your own free will. "Stand up" to me all you want, I have given you far less of a tongue-lashing than you deserve. You came here first. If your feelings are bruised it is on you.

Meanwhile you have jumped from point to point and argument to argument like a hummingbird. My points have been as follows:

1) It's unreasonable to assume that Joseph Smith acted in conspiracy with others to produce the Book of Mormon.
2) Metal writing was considered ridiculous by Joseph Smith's contemporaries.
3) The usage of metal plates in the context of the Book of Mormon is plausible, especially since the plates themselves were novelties created and maintained by the elites.

At this point you have engaged in unadulterated invective. You have not offered real data or resources to back your claims. Your only technique has been to insult and assert without corroboration. I am not indicting your character, I am indicting your conduct.

I believe now is the time for novel arguments.

Anonymous said...

You're talking to multiple anons, Hoosier. They are each in their own place, not one person all over the place.
It's not unreasonable to assume that there was a conspiracy. That's a thing that actually happens. Fraud happens every single day. It's a perfectly plausible explanation for all of this. What isn't plausible is the long line of convenient "miracles" that came one after another, all of which have reasonable refutations. Yet you accept NONE of them.
Please allow this irrefutable definition of miracles to sink in: miracles are the least plausible and least likely explanation for a phenomenon. Since this is the case, any number of explanations are more reasonable and likely. You won't win this argument without asking us to rely on faith, which many of us now refuse to do. No amount of praying and reading and praying and reading can make up for lies. The leaders of the LDS church lie to their followers faces all the time. Look for the lies. You'll start seeing them all over the place. You don't have to stand for it any longer.

Hoosier said...

I thank you for your more conciliatory tone than the other anon(s) with whom I have recently engaged. That said, I do not see the same clean picture you do.

It is, in fact, unreasonable to assume a conspiracy in this case. My resistance to this idea is rooted in the historical implausibility of the proposal. I'm not saying fraud never happens, but I'm saying that in this case there are no plausible suspects and the forensic and circumstantial evidence is against it. It does not matter that "fraud happens every single day", what matters is that the evidence is against it this time. Fraud is not "a perfectly plausible explanation."

I also take exception to your question-begging definition of "miracle." It is not, as you suggest, an irrefutable definition. That's not the definition that comes up in the dictionary, which is as follows: "a surprising and welcome event that is not explicable by natural or scientific laws and is therefore considered to be the work of a divine agency." Your definition has your conclusion built into it without justification. You are attempting to define your way to rhetorical success, but I see no need to accept your a priori construct definition.

I won't win this argument without asking you to resort to faith. That's the whole point. I am not concerned with your refusal to do so; that's on you, not me, and the mere fact of your refusal does not justify you.

Finally, I take exception to your characterization of the Church as peddlers of lies. I have known leaders of the LDS Church. I reject utterly your casual accusations of dishonesty on their part. You tell me to "look for the lies." I have. I have looked into Church history, I have seen the arguments against, traveled through dark nights of the soul, but even as I have done so I have not been without the divine light of my Maker. I act on Authority above yours and speak with confidence begotten of Him. I will stand for the "it" you impugn, the restored Church of Jesus Christ, until time itself waxes old.

Anonymous said...

Hoosier - I noticed you were extremely selective in what you omit, yes you surfer tremendously from selective omission. It was I, not you, that introduced the topic of the copper scrolls, the LaRoy quote (in the mormondialogue thread, Lamb, etc). " The copper dead sea scroll etc all now demonstrate that it was a nice idea, but hard to do in reality." Your Essene demonstrate that it was just not practical.

Again you invent a fake objection that one presented "I believe that answers the objection that Joseph's contemporaries saw no problems with writing on plates." No one said that no one thought writing on metal was impossible. As I said, you can find someone anywhere to find any particular item absurd. Furthermore you are deliberating misunderstanding LaRoy. His question was elaborated on my Lamb (again I, not you, am the one that introduced this) and Lamb has been proven RIGHT. "Nevertheless, there is no known extant example of writing on metal plates from the ancient Mediterranean longer than the eight-page Persian codex, and none from any ancient civilization in the Western Hemisphere." https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Latter_Day_Saint_movement_and_engraved_metal_plates

LaRoy and Lamb were attempting to educate people in a time of no internet etc. What they were presenting was not common knowledge. The idea is in FACT MORE credible today and this was not common knowledge in 1830. It is now common common knowledge. Something that seem plausible in 1830 is now proven to be an irrational claim and it is now common knowledge. You have not offered real data or resources in objection and your only technique has been to insult and assert without corroboration.

A fourth century Korean monastery is the closest apologist have ever come to an example of metal "plate" writing of any consequential length and its vertical stacking addresses one of Lamb's observation of the Mormon version of plate writing. LaRoy and Lamb, when read in actual context, did not say no one where anywhere did this, but were careful to point out plates in book form in the Mediterrean and Americas. Further, the Korean example demonstrates that it is a one off, not something done repeatedly across generations, but again Lamb and LaRoy are not saying some hypothetical culture somewhere could have overcome the difficulties, they only point out the difficulties and that overcoming them was not known to have occurred in the Mediterranean or Americas, nor did it fit their know traditions, tradition not one-offs. The BoM claims a tradition of metal plate writing, not one-offs, and that is what they address. You are inventing a imaginary LaRoy and Lamb that say metal writing is impossible, when they addressing plate writing in book form of Hebrew scripture. The Korean find further indicates that after 200 years many examples should have been found in the Americas.

It is on you Hoosier that this reality bruises you and frustrates you. Hoosier, from the moment you came you have insulted people's certainty and deliberately misstated them. You provide responses to fictitious posts of your imagination, jumping form point to point, and when you actually address others it is invective's of bald antipathy etc.

Anonymous said...

You metal writing strawman is like saying: Emma said Joseph could barely dictate a letter. Now we now Joseph had actually learned to read comprehensively and frequently told native american campfire stories before the Book of Mormon.