Brant Gardner wrote:
thews wrote: Why would Thompson make this (dead Indian guarding treasure) up?
That is a very perceptive question, and one to which you ought to know the answer before you accept too many reminiscent statements as completely accurate.
You use “reminiscent” to cast doubt, but why? What is wrong with this reasoning? If treasure guardians were most commonly dead humans, it would make sense that Joseph Smith claimed a dead human was moving the treasure when it wasn’t found. If Indian burial mounds supposedly contained treasure, then the story fits perfectly.
Brant Gardner wrote:First, the idea of the treasure guardian was pretty well known in the community. It was pervasive enough that it wouldn't only have been Joseph who knew it. Secondly, could Thompson have added that detail after the fact? The information on eye-witnesses and reconstructed remembrances tell us that it is entirely possible. So, it isn't that Thompson would have made it up intentionally, but that his cultural constructs fed into and redefined his recollection--a rather well-documented process.
Why Brant, when it comes to Joseph Smith, are things always not what would seem to be when it’s unfavorable? Treasure guardians were the ones that supposedly moved the treasure, and there are many stories of treasure moving underground. Some data:http://www.utlm.org/onlinebooks/changech4.htm
In the account of Thompson, he believed in Joseph Smith’s skill of seeing… why would he lie about what Joseph Smith said?
Jonathan Thompson says that prisoner was requested to look for chest of money; did look, and pretended to know where it was; and prisoner, Thompson, and Yeomans went in search of it; that Smith arrived at spot first; was at night; that Smith looked in hat while there, and when very dark, and told how the chest was situated. After digging several feet, struck upon something sounding like a board or plank. Prisoner would not look again, pretending that he was alarmed on account of the circumstances relating to the trunk being buried, [which], came all fresh to his mind. That the last time he looked he discovered distinctly the two Indians who buried the trunk, that a quarrel ensued between them, and that one of said Indians was killed by the other, and thrown into the hole beside the trunk, to guard it, as he supposed. Thompson says that he believes in the prisoner's professed skill; that the board which he struck his spade upon was probably the chest, but on account of an enchantment the trunk kept settling away from under them when digging; that notwithstanding they continued constantly removing the dirt, yet the trunk kept about the same distance from them. Says prisoner said that it appeared to him that salt might be found at Bainbridge, and that he is certain that prisoner can divine things by means of said stone. That as evidence of the fact prisoner looked into his hat to tell him about some money witness lost sixteen years ago, and that he described the man that witness supposed had taken it, and the disposition of the money:
Brant Gardner wrote:So the basic answer is that there is a very well-accepted explanation for why he might have "made up" that detail--even if it had never actually happened. The fact that it fit into other similar circumstances would be sufficient.
That leaves us with the question of whether or not it really represented what Joseph said, or whether it was something that Thompson added. Unfortunately, there is no objective way to know. Both explanations fit perfectly well with the historical context and with known science of autobiographical memory.
And again your only out here is to cast doubt on what is known, rather than just accept what Thompson said, which all makes sense regarding treasure guardians. Using your logic, nothing can ever be true as autobiographical memory may have tainted it. This data didn’t come from some campfire chat, but a trial. The fact that Thompson believed
in the ability of Joseph Smith to see things with his seer stone makes him a favorable
More data to support what Thompson said:http://newsletters.cephasministry.com/l ... n7.99.html
Joshua Stafford of Manchester recalled that he "became acquainted with the family of Joseph Smith, Sic et Non. about the year 1819 or 20.
They then were laboring people, in low circumstances. A short time after this, they commenced digging for hidden treasures.. and told marvelous stories about ghosts, hob-goblins, caverns, and various other mysterious matters." Willard Chase, another friend of the family, similarly recalled, "I became acquainted with the Smith family.. in the year 1820. At that time they were engaged in the money digging business."" (Inventing Mormonism, Marquardt and Walters, p.64)
While one may view this as shocking, one needs to understand the climate of his culture. Belief in magic was not unusual. Mormon Historian, B.H. Roberts, acknowledged that Smith’s family believed in “fortune telling . . . warlocks and witches,” and added that “to be credulous in such things was to be normal people.”
In one instance, according to William R. Hein, he gazed into his stone, and:
He saw Captain Kidd sailing on the Susquehanna River during a freshet, and that he buried two pots of gold and silver. He claimed he saw writing cut on the rocks in an unknown language telling where Kidd buried it, and he translated it through his peep-stone.
For example, William Stafford, a contemporary of Smith tells how Joseph said there was a buried chest of gold watches guarded by an evil spirit. To pacify the spirit, he ordered stakes set up in the form of a circle. He then sent a man to obtain a long knife, or sword, and to march around the spot with drawn weapon to guard against any satanic assaults. (Treasure spirits were usually considered evil and were thought to have the power to kill a person unless appeased by magic circles and blood sacrifices.)
In this activity, Joseph and his father worked in conjunction with each other. Often, while his father was performing this service for customers, Joseph would be in the house using his peep stone to keep track of what the evil spirit was doing. William Stafford again gives an account:
Joseph, Sr. first made a circle, twelve or fourteen feet in diameter. This circle, said he, contains the treasure. He then stuck a row of witch hazel sticks, around the said circles, for the purpose of keeping off the evil spirits. Within this circle he made another, of about eight or ten feet in diameter. He walked around three times on the periphery of this last circle, muttering to himself something which I could not understand. . . .[He then] asked leave of absence, and went to the house to inquire of young Joseph the cause of our disappointment. He soon returned and said, that Joseph had remained all this time in the house, looking in his stone and watching the motion of the evil spirit - that he saw the spirit come up to the ring and as soon as it beheld the cone which we had formed around the rod, it caused the money to sink.
Also Brant, if you care to comment, what do you make of the bizarre story of Joseph’s brother Alvin being dug up 10 months after he died? Joseph and Alvin were the supposed gifted
seers in the family, and while the story takes many turns, the most probable culprit for digging Alvin up would be Joseph Smith. The use of “black art” would be evidenced by the sacrifice of a black sheep, the wearing of black clothes and riding a black horse, and the need for Alvin’s blood. Any comments? http://www.saintsalive.com/resourcelibr ... nial-magic
Alvin died in November of 1823 and in the 1824 audience Joseph had to report to Moroni alone again. Several sources cited by professor D. Michael Quinn quoted Smith as telling them that the message he received from the spirit personage was, in effect: "Without your dead brother, Alvin, you cannot have the golden plates."1 One can imagine Joseph's frame of mind as he turned toward home. His prospects were ebbing, but all was not yet lost. The unique context of the quest for the plates allowed for substituting a talisman of body parts wretched from the corpse of a dead man as a stand in for the man himself.
TO THE PUBLIC;
Whereas reports have been industriously put in circulation that my son, Alvin, has been removed from the place of his interment and dissected; which reports every person possessed of human sensibility must know are peculiarly calculated to harrow up the mind of a parent and deeply wound the feelings of relations, I, with some of my neighbors this morning repaired to the grave, and removing the earth, found the body which had not been disturbed. This method is taken for the purpose of satisfying the minds of those who have put it in circulation, that it is earnestly requested that they would desist therefrom; and that it is believed by some that they have been stimulated more by desire to injure the reputation of certain persons than by a philanthropy for the peace and welfare of myself and friends.
(Signed) Joseph Smith [Sr}
Palmyra, September25, 1824
Evidently, the Smith family had made some arrangement about the requirement for Alvin's presence. It most likely did not involve a family decision to use Alvin's remains because the fact of the opened grave seemed to catch them so badly off guard. However, when we re-read Alvin's dying injunction to Joseph Jr. it appears that Alvin virtually sanctioned Joseph to bring his remains to the Hill if the need arose: "DO EVERYTHING THAT LIES IN YOU (sic) POWER to obtain the record. BE FAITHFUL in receiving instruction, and in keeping EVERY commandment that is given to you." (Emphasis added). When the requirement of Alvin's presence proved to be a stumbling block, Joseph had only to recall Alvin's words of solemn urgency for all the permission he would need.
And more...http://www.saintsalive.com/resourcelibr ... nial-magic
We can now flesh out this interpretation of the events of September 22, 1824. Joseph Jr., his family, and the inner circle of the money digging company knew long beforehand that Alvin's death changed the circumstances of the 1824 audience. They hoped that the spirit being would accept the death as a reasonable excuse for Alvin's absence. The family talked over the problem and on the night of September 21 they dressed Joseph Jr. in Alvin's clothing with Alvin's personal articles in the pockets.
Joseph Jr. set out for the Hill Cumorah on foot, shortly after ten PM under a full moon. He canted his ceremonial dagger and robes with him. Most of the family stayed up all night awaiting the results. Joseph performed the ceremony of conjuration correctly and at midnight Moroni appeared. When Joseph was informed that without Alvin he could not have the plates he concluded this was a problem he could solve. He quietly returned home, surreptitiously picked up a shovel and hurried to the gravesite.
With roiling emotions, he dug up the corpse, murmuring prayers and incantations the whole time. He took what he needed and hastily recovered the corpse. He returned to the Hill Cumorah and implored Moroni for another audience. Moroni either did not appear at all or else told Smith that his effort was useless, to try again the following year.33 He returned home after daybreak, physically and emotionally exhausted. He told his family the entire train of events, of failure at every turn, and fell into bed.
Smith Sr. went out in the sunlight to pack down the earth around Alvin's grave as needy as possible. Other members of the money digging team, intensely curious, came to the Smith home and were told that Joseph failed to obtain the plates. They learned then, or very shortly afterward on their own accord, that Alvin's grave had been violated. The knew who had done it and why. This development was so sensational and so impossible to keep secret that they started bruiting the whole story around the countryside. Within a day or two the appalling rumors begin to reach the Smith family. Smith Sr. was confronted with an impossible situation. Joseph Jr. had acted rashly but he was only doing his best in a project that involved the entire family.
Soon the senior Smith launched his investigative charade and issued his forlorn newspaper statement which pasted a fig leaf of propriety over the whole affair. The episode might seem peculiar to chose who read about it 164 years later but to Smith Sr. it seemed like the reasonable dining to do at the time. Likewise with his son. His actions might seem horrific to an outside observer but they seemed perfectly reasonable to Joseph Smith Jr.
Edit to add the thread Mike Reed got closed on MADB. This was an interesting thread, but as usual Mike Reed offers no opinion other than :highfives: and acts like a whiney little NARC. The stanard response of failing to answer questions and hiding behind other opinions fails to answer the question asked:
Question: Was the dead Indian Joseph Smith claimed was guarding the treasure (testimoney of Thompson who was a favorable witness) an evil spirit? http://www.mormonapologetics.org/topic/ ... e__st__120
2 Tim 4:3 For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine.
2 Tim 4:4 They will turn their ears away from the truth & turn aside to myths