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 Post subject: Thoughts on the 116 pages
PostPosted: Sat Sep 02, 2017 11:32 am 
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From reddit: The faith-promoting explanation of the lost 116 pages asserts that Joseph’s critics truly believed he was translating ancient records. The faith-promoting narrative makes the claim that evil doers stole the 116 page translation from the alleged book of Lehi and were modifying them so the re-translation wouldn’t match. Luckily for Joseph, the Lord knew of this plan and instructed him to skip to the book of Nephi instead. So, these evil doers stole the manuscript in order to change it, expecting Joseph to re-translate it word-for-word, and then show the world that Joseph isn’t really translating. This begs the question, why... would someone devise such a stupid plan when they already believed that Joseph had real ancient records that he could accurately translate? Why would these evil doers go through such efforts to disprove Joseph when they already believed his claims?

I thought that was an interesting take on that subject, which I hadn't considered before.

So what do you all think about the 116 pages incident? I feel like any reasonable person looking at Mormonism objectively should read about that and say, "uhhh... hail no." Of course, once you're far enough in, you hear the story and shrug and say, "um, I guess so," and move on. It always bothered me, though, even as a believer, so I just avoided thinking much about it.

A fun thing about the 116 pages story is it further cements the Book of Mormon as being a very tight translation. Joseph Smith himself describes that in his explanation (which jibes with the translation witnesses, who also described the process as very tight). But of course, in order for anachronisms, and copying from the KJV, and other big Book of Mormon problems to have any possible answer, a very loose translation is required. If Joseph had merely said at the time that translation is not an exact process, and requires some measure of interpretation and fudging (okay, he probably wouldn't have used the term "fudging"), then he'd have been somewhat off the hook, both then and ever since, for a lot of his scriptural issues (perhaps even for the Book of Abraham being all wrong). But no, that's not what he describes in this incident, to his detriment.

I am also amused by the many better solutions to this problem, rather than ancient prophets needing to create another series of plate etchings as a redundancy for this event: Joseph being instructed on where to find the pages; Lucy Harris being prevented from stealing/destroying them; publications of the altered pages coming out along with the Book of Mormon and showing obvious erasures/additions, etc. This page has some funny examples along those lines.

I now consider the 116 page story to be one of the most smoking of guns, right up there with the Book of Abraham and Deutero-Isaiah and all that. So much wrong with it... So dumb dumb dumb dumb dumb.
:confused:

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Last edited by Grudunza on Fri Sep 08, 2017 9:41 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Thoughts on the 116 pages
PostPosted: Sat Sep 02, 2017 1:18 pm 
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A fun thing about the 116 pages story is it further cements the Book of Mormon as being a very tight translation.


that's a great point.


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 Post subject: Re: Thoughts on the 116 pages
PostPosted: Sat Sep 02, 2017 4:07 pm 
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That's an excellent observation about a tight translation. It really is. I mean, there are just so many holes in this tale, and once you actually take a second to think about it or examine it, much like with most Mopocrypha it falls apart pretty quickly.

1) The particular kind of parchment that was being used was impossible to alter without it being immediately noticed. Kind of like using a common eraser on ink on standard paper.

2) Seer stone could just reproduce the words on the parchment as they were written.

3) Seer stone could just show Joseph Smith where the parchment was hidden.

4) God could strike the woman dead.

5) Joseph could've just shown the plates to Lucy Harris, and explained the process of divination and why the stone wouldn't produce a tight translation.

6) Martin Harris could've just beat the ever living ____ out of Lucy until she gave the pages back.

Much like having Mormon haul around the plates and all these prophets creating abridgements of their history only to have Joseph Smith use peep stones to divinate the story, God had Lehi, arguably the most important and relevant Book of Mormon prophet, create a scriptural record with the knowledge that it would ultimately be lost through the actions of Joseph Smith?

Whatever. If you're a Mormon and you think about it too much odds are you'll become an ex-Mormon unless you can come up with a clever deus ex machina solution.

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 Post subject: Re: Thoughts on the 116 pages
PostPosted: Sat Sep 02, 2017 4:35 pm 
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Doctor CamNC4Me wrote:
That's an excellent observation about a tight translation. It really is. I mean, there are just so many holes in this tale, and once you actually take a second to think about it or examine it, much like with most Mopocrypha it falls apart pretty quickly.

1) The particular kind of parchment that was being used was impossible to alter without it being immediately noticed. Kind of like using a common eraser on ink on standard paper.

2) Seer stone could just reproduce the words on the parchment as they were written.

3) Seer stone could just show Joseph Smith where the parchment was hidden.

4) God could strike the woman dead.

5) Joseph could've just shown the plates to Lucy Harris, and explained the process of divination and why the stone wouldn't produce a tight translation.

6) Martin Harris could've just beat the ever living ____ out of Lucy until she gave the pages back.

Much like having Mormon haul around the plates and all these prophets creating abridgements of their history only to have Joseph Smith use peep stones to divinate the story, God had Lehi, arguably the most important and relevant Book of Mormon prophet, create a scriptural record with the knowledge that it would ultimately be lost through the actions of Joseph Smith?

Whatever. If you're a Mormon and you think about it too much odds are you'll become an ex-Mormon unless you can come up with a clever deus ex machina solution.

- Doc

I'd have an easier time in believing in Harry Potter than again in Mormon claims.

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 Post subject: Re: Thoughts on the 116 pages
PostPosted: Sun Sep 03, 2017 9:40 am 
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Doctor CamNC4Me wrote:
That's an excellent observation about a tight translation. It really is. I mean, there are just so many holes in this tale, and once you actually take a second to think about it or examine it, much like with most Mopocrypha it falls apart pretty quickly.

1) The particular kind of parchment that was being used was impossible to alter without it being immediately noticed. Kind of like using a common eraser on ink on standard paper.

2) Seer stone could just reproduce the words on the parchment as they were written.

3) Seer stone could just show Joseph Smith where the parchment was hidden.

4) God could strike the woman dead.

5) Joseph could've just shown the plates to Lucy Harris, and explained the process of divination and why the stone wouldn't produce a tight translation.

6) Martin Harris could've just beat the ever living ____ out of Lucy until she gave the pages back.

Much like having Mormon haul around the plates and all these prophets creating abridgements of their history only to have Joseph Smith use peep stones to divinate the story, God had Lehi, arguably the most important and relevant Book of Mormon prophet, create a scriptural record with the knowledge that it would ultimately be lost through the actions of Joseph Smith?

Whatever. If you're a Mormon and you think about it too much odds are you'll become an ex-Mormon unless you can come up with a clever deus ex machina solution.

- Doc


It amazes me that as an apologist, these ideas never even entered my head. And I was WELL read in Book of Mormon "evidences"! A very good and useful summary Doc. Thanks.

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 Post subject: Re: Thoughts on the 116 pages
PostPosted: Sun Sep 03, 2017 10:07 am 
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Doctor CamNC4Me wrote:
That's an excellent observation about a tight translation. It really is. I mean, there are just so many holes in this tale, and once you actually take a second to think about it or examine it, much like with most Mopocrypha it falls apart pretty quickly.

1) The particular kind of parchment that was being used was impossible to alter without it being immediately noticed. Kind of like using a common eraser on ink on standard paper.

2) Seer stone could just reproduce the words on the parchment as they were written.

3) Seer stone could just show Joseph Smith where the parchment was hidden.

4) God could strike the woman dead.

5) Joseph could've just shown the plates to Lucy Harris, and explained the process of divination and why the stone wouldn't produce a tight translation.

6) Martin Harris could've just beat the ever living ____ out of Lucy until she gave the pages back.

Much like having Mormon haul around the plates and all these prophets creating abridgements of their history only to have Joseph Smith use peep stones to divinate the story, God had Lehi, arguably the most important and relevant Book of Mormon prophet, create a scriptural record with the knowledge that it would ultimately be lost through the actions of Joseph Smith?

Whatever. If you're a Mormon and you think about it too much odds are you'll become an ex-Mormon unless you can come up with a clever deus ex machina solution.

- Doc

"With god, all things are possible." No matter how improbable and against all evidence and logic.

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 Post subject: Re: Thoughts on the 116 pages
PostPosted: Sun Sep 03, 2017 10:31 am 
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God told Nephi to murder Laban while burglarizing his home so the brass plates would be in the new world.

Wonder why he did not tell Joseph Smith to murder Lucy Harris and get the 116 pages back?

The same today, yesterday and forever?

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 Post subject: Re: Thoughts on the 116 pages
PostPosted: Sun Sep 03, 2017 11:14 am 
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Grudunza wrote:
So what do you all think about the 116 pages incident?


What I've always found interesting is the interest/concern Joseph took in getting the manuscript back. Right after Martin left Harmony to travel to Palmyra Emma lost what would have been her and Joseph's first son.

Quote:
"Immediately after Mr. Harris's departure, Emma became the mother of a son, but she had but small comfort from the society of the dear little stranger, for he was very soon snatched from her arms and borne aloft to the world of spirits before he had time to learn good or evil."


Things became rather dicey for Emma at that point.

Quote:
"For some time, the mother seemed to tremble upon the verge of the silent home of her infant. So uncertain seemed her fate for a season that, in the space of two weeks, Joseph never slept one hour in undisturbed quiet. At the expiration of this time she began to recover, ..."


Joseph was concerned that time was a fleeting since the time Martin had left with the manuscript. He apparently was 'on hold' in the translation process until things were resolved and the manuscript was returned.

Quote:
It appears that Joseph was required to return the Urim and Thummim to the angel during that time while Martin Harris had the manuscript in his possession.

"(For it [the Urim and Thummim] had been taken from me in consequence of my having wearied the Lord in asking for the privilege of letting Martin Harris take the writings which he lost by transgression)" [PJS 1:2878; see HC 1:21]

"The angel appeared and gave him the interpreters, which had been taken from him when Martin went off with the manuscript." [JSBM 92.]


Joseph decided that as soon as Emma was in good enough health he would travel to Palmyra to check on the status of the manuscript.

Quote:
Lucy indicates that Emma was on the verge of death for two weeks, after which she finally began to recover. Joseph determined that as soon as Emma was well enough, he would travel to Palmyra to see what had become of Martin Harris. It had been "nearly three weeks" since they had heard from him. Joseph did not tell Emma of his plans, nevertheless "in a few days" Emma voiced to Joseph her own concerns on the subject, but Emma was still weak enough that Joseph was not willing to leave her "just then."

"After much persuasion, he concluded to leave his wife in the care of her mother for a few days, and set out on the before-mentioned journey." [REH 162]


When Joseph finally left for Manchester/Palmyra it took a good deal of travel to get there.

Quote:
Lucy says that Joseph took the stage, which would have taken about 3 days. After Joseph left the stage, he still had 20 miles to walk. Larry Porter is probably correct in suggesting that Joseph took the stage to Genesee, which is one of the larger towns on the southeast of Palmyra and about 20 miles distant. With the assistance of a stranger whom Joseph met on the stage, Joseph arrived at the Joseph Smith Sr. farm about daybreak (which a footnote suggests would be about 4:15 or 4:30 a.m. in July). Under the existing conditions, a 20 mile walk, much of the way through woods at night, would probably have taken Joseph about 8 hours, so he would have left Genesee about 8:30 or 9:00 on Thursday night. Richard Bushman says the stage "stopped twenty miles from the Smith house at ten in the evening." [JSBM 91] Martin Harris was sent for (a distance of 1.5 miles) about 6:00 a.m., but did not show up until nearly 1:00 p.m., when he disclosed the terrible news that he had lost the manuscript. [REH 164-165]


Source for quotes: http://eldenwatson.net

Why was Joseph so concerned...along with Emma and possibly others...about the time lapse in which the 116 pages hadn't been returned? Why did Joseph, rather than continuing to wait for their return go to all the effort, leaving Emma behind, to go after the pages and find out what was going on? Was the translation 'on hold'? Did Joseph have a real concern that things were going to go awry unless he made the effort to have the 116 pages returned?

Whatever one wants to say about the 116 pages, the fact is, Joseph seemed to place a lot of 'stock' in: 1. not wanting to give up the pages in the first place 2. having real concern when they weren't returned on time (knowing that the translation was 'on hold') 3. feeling as though he was under condemnation for having lost the pages.

Occam's razor could be used to support Joseph's/Emma's story and/or side of things.

Regards,
MG

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 Post subject: Re: Thoughts on the 116 pages
PostPosted: Sun Sep 03, 2017 11:45 am 
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Grudunza wrote:
So what do you all think about the 116 pages incident?


As a BIC raised in the church, hearing the tale a dozen or so times in Primary, Sunday School and seminary, I didn't give much thought to it. It did not resonate with me as faith promoting. But until years and years after apostatizing and then seeing the South Park dumb-dumb-dumb-dumb-dumb-dumb episode, the incident had not struck me as farcical against and transparent of JSjr's duplicity and scam--as it now, after South Park pointed out, so clearly does. Until South Park, the 116 pages incident was an event of no significance for me. Now it's just another brick in the wall through which LDS truth claims cannot shine a light.

Reflecting back now, I wonder why the LDS church has preserved the little vignette of the 116 lost pages incident in its Correlated narrative of the production of the Book of Mormon. Those pages are not in the Book of Mormon. No need to tell how they came to be in the Book of Mormon because they are not there. I think that the reason it is included is to innoculate the LDS against what appears to have been criticisms arising out of it that date all the way back to Eber Dudley "E D" Howe, Mormonism Unvailed. A point of criticism that I have since learned has dogged the LDS church and its truth claims in the 180+ years since. (Of course, like a dutifully obedient young BIC, I didn't read the criticisms until I realized without having done so that there were too many wide gaps and holes in the LDS narrative.)

Fawn Brodie wrote that JSjr "realized that it was impossible for him to reproduce the story exactly, and that to redictate it would be to invite devastating comparisons. Harris's wife taunted him: 'If this be a divine communication, the same being who revealed it to you can easily replace it.'" No Man Knows My History: The Life of Joseph Smith the Mormon Prophet 2nd ed. (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1986), 54. Even with E/J/HG backing, JSjr, the bold prophet of the Restoration, wilted in the face of Harris's wife's taunting--this Restoration team E/J/HG//JSjr instead steering clear. Better to forget the 116 pages of 'precious' scripture than face the fate that Harris's wife threatened.

I also find it just hilarious that when JSjr doesn't please E/J/HG, he gets grounded or a 'time-out' punishment. The 'interpreters' are taken from him for a time, but then after a while returned. So that obviously delayed the 'word of god' in the Book of Mormon from coming forth. How many souls missed out on it because they departed areas the Mormons came to just weeks before? Had the ball got rolling earlier--had E/J/HG not saw fit to give JSjr a 'time-out'--how much more progressed might the 'work' be? Why not have had Oliver Cowdery take over the face-in-the-hat role during JSjr's time-out?

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 Post subject: Re: Thoughts on the 116 pages
PostPosted: Sun Sep 03, 2017 12:45 pm 
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Is it really such a stretch to imagine an alternate set of golden plates containing a slightly different account in case Mrs. Harris was to destroy the English translation at some future date?

Perhaps this second set was the original copy with all the spelling errors and over used phrases included in an unedited form. That would explain enough to make it an apologetics worthy explanation. So there.

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 Post subject: Re: Thoughts on the 116 pages
PostPosted: Sun Sep 03, 2017 2:05 pm 
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moksha wrote:
Is it really such a stretch to imagine an alternate set of golden plates containing a slightly different account in case Mrs. Harris was to destroy the English translation at some future date?

Perhaps this second set was the original copy with all the spelling errors and over used phrases included in an unedited form. That would explain enough to make it an apologetics worthy explanation. So there.

More plates (and ancient writings, like papyrus) has frequently been the go-to answer of Mormons, including JSjr himself, when faced with thorny criticisms of their plated-scriptures.

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 Post subject: Re: Thoughts on the 116 pages
PostPosted: Mon Sep 04, 2017 11:01 am 
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Gadianton wrote:
Quote:
A fun thing about the 116 pages story is it further cements the Book of Mormon as being a very tight translation.


that's a great point.


It makes it clear that 1-Joseph thought he was doing a "tight" translation (pious fraud) or 2- Joseph felt others expected a "tight" translation. (scam)
My observation is that the typical TBM in the pews believes in a tight translation, but most apologists emphasize that it doesn't have to be.


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 Post subject: Re: Thoughts on the 116 pages
PostPosted: Mon Sep 04, 2017 4:21 pm 
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sock puppet wrote:
Fawn Brodie wrote that JSjr "realized that it was impossible for him to reproduce the story exactly, and that to redictate it would be to invite devastating comparisons. Harris's wife taunted him: 'If this be a divine communication, the same being who revealed it to you can easily replace it.'"

If there was a God working within this scenario, he would seem to have manifested via Harris' wife.


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 Post subject: Re: Thoughts on the 116 pages
PostPosted: Mon Sep 04, 2017 7:33 pm 
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I wonder what parts of 1st Nephi-Omni were also in the 116 pages. I would imagine some of the migration story, possibly even the names of the kings for the first few hundred years or so.....interesting that the kings aren't named until the Nephites join with the Mulekites.


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 Post subject: Re: Thoughts on the 116 pages
PostPosted: Mon Sep 04, 2017 11:19 pm 
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 Post subject: Re: Thoughts on the 116 pages
PostPosted: Tue Sep 05, 2017 1:01 am 
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deacon blues wrote:
I wonder what parts of 1st Nephi-Omni were also in the 116 pages. I would imagine some of the migration story, possibly even the names of the kings for the first few hundred years or so.....interesting that the kings aren't named until the Nephites join with the Mulekites.


The Tanners have an interesting theory about that here: http://www.utlm.org/newsletters/no72.htm

Quote:
It seems obvious from our research that a great deal of material which was originally in the Book of Mormon has disappeared... We have always believed that there was something strange about this portion of the Book of Mormon... why were the accounts of the wars in the later portion of the book given in such great detail, whereas the material replacing the lost 116 pages was so surprisingly sparse with regard to details?


See the article at the link for a lot more detail about that.

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 Post subject: Re: Thoughts on the 116 pages
PostPosted: Fri Sep 08, 2017 9:35 am 
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A couple of fringe sources are saying that a guy has claimed the 116 pages from a safe deposit box inherited from ancestors (one of whom was involved with Lucy Harris and acquired the pages), and that the LDS church is now in possession of them and is going to make some kind of statement about them soon.

HUGE grain of salt (bucket of salt?) needed for all of that, especially as one of the fringe sources is Shelle McDermott. But an ExMo on reddit says that the guy was in his former ward and that the general story checks out (whether or not what was in the box is actually the 116 pages).

Ah, probably a dumb dumb dumb waste of energy, but I am fascinated by the 116 pages story and have always held out a sliver of hope that they might turn up somewhere, so I can't help but play along and hope that there might be something to this.

Question is, aside from whether the above story has any merit (it probably doesn't), would the church actually publish something like that if it ends up showing huge problems for the Book of Mormon? I think they might, considering that they published all of the Hoffmann materials, even though the salamander letter was pretty damning. And there's the potential for the "Book of Lehi," whatever it might contain, to be viewed as faith-promoting by believers, who I think are probably desperate for something new in the way of scripture and revelation to come out of Salt Lake City, even if it's something peripheral to the Book of Mormon.

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 Post subject: Re: Thoughts on the 116 pages
PostPosted: Fri Sep 08, 2017 9:55 am 
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Grudunza wrote:
Question is, aside from whether the above story has any merit (it probably doesn't), would the church actually publish something like that if it ends up showing huge problems for the Book of Mormon? I think they might, considering that they published all of the Hoffmann materials, even though the salamander letter was pretty damning. And there's the potential for the "Book of Lehi," whatever it might contain, to be viewed as faith-promoting by believers, who I think are probably desperate for something new in the way of scripture and revelation to come out of Salt Lake City, even if it's something peripheral to the Book of Mormon.


The church published the Hoffman materials because they knew the materials were going to be or already had been leaked. They had no choice.

I really doubt the 116 pages have been found, but if they are in the possession of the church, and the church is confident no one else will publish them, they will not see the light of day, ever.

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