The official, faithful fiction Book of Mormon Watchdog thread

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NorthboundZax
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Re: The official, faithful fiction Book of Mormon Watchdog t

Post by NorthboundZax »

Meadowchik wrote:Without agreeing on the value of Job, I will say that, as a story, it can have philosophical value much more important than the Book of Mormon. Of course the Book of Mormon, like any writing, could have philosophical insight, so the question is, what philosophical insight does it indeed offer the world?

So, what is it, NorthboundZax? You have my attention.


It isn't for me to say what value a story (scriptural or not) has for different people. People differ on what the book of Job means. They can differ on what philosophical insight the Book of Mormon provides as well, while both finding value. I tend to think that even the run of the mill Christian, while declaring inerrancy, gets value from the Bible that is inversely correlated with how 'historical' that part is. It is a rare Christian that really cares about Chronicles. I suspect that a major hurdle for the church moving towards a Joby approach is that prophets and apostles are pretty bad at finding meaning beyond the mundane in scripture - and they certainly don't want to open the door to that much independence in scriptural interpretation among the membership.

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Re: The official, faithful fiction Book of Mormon Watchdog t

Post by Meadowchik »

NorthboundZax wrote:
Meadowchik wrote:Without agreeing on the value of Job, I will say that, as a story, it can have philosophical value much more important than the Book of Mormon. Of course the Book of Mormon, like any writing, could have philosophical insight, so the question is, what philosophical insight does it indeed offer the world?

So, what is it, NorthboundZax? You have my attention.


It isn't for me to say what value a story (scriptural or not) has for different people. People differ on what the book of Job means. They can differ on what philosophical insight the Book of Mormon provides as well, while both finding value. I tend to think that even the run of the mill Christian, while declaring inerrancy, gets value from the Bible that is inversely correlated with how 'historical' that part is. It is a rare Christian that really cares about Chronicles. I suspect that a major hurdle for the church moving towards a Joby approach is that prophets and apostles are pretty bad at finding meaning beyond the mundane in scripture - and they certainly don't want to open the door to that much independence in scriptural interpretation among the membership.


I take the critical analysis approach. One can read a work, identify structures, themes, and the ideas it promotes. Then one can identify how unusual these products are, the effectiveness of delivery of the writing, and how they can be used by the consumer.

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Re: The official, faithful fiction Book of Mormon Watchdog t

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Gadianton wrote:Well, eh-hem, I don't want to speculate on what the Old Guard is capable or or not, but as it happens to be, I think there is a good chance that they will advance the fictional theory before it hits them that that's what they've done. The many steps they've taken toward the fictional theory have been a result of fighting against the fiction theory tooth and nail. They persecute the fiction theory as did Saul persecute Jesus, and I think we both know what ended up happening to Saul. The apologists have difficulty separating a naturalistic Book of Mormon from a fictional Book of Mormon. The Book of Mormon can both be supernatural and fiction. I am not claiming that the apologists will embrace a naturalistic Book of Mormon. I highly doubt they would do that.

To your example, yeah, there's some problems here with the talent pool. I'm sure Smoot's a very bright guy, but he isn't Nibley and certainly isn't this Vine Deloria person you've introduced us to. They really do need someone with some stage presence. Well, DCP is a good speaker and quite charismatic in his own way, but I think what you have in mind is someone who can sell an idea rather than someone who can sell sarcasm.


I think it's a bit more than that: a salesman needs something to sell. Peterson has been a great impresario for the cause, but that will only go so far. They've been selling Nibley and his brand of scholarship for 40 years, but there really was something there to sell. The shelves are about empty now, but for a fictionalist approach to be marketable, there will have to be a product: a significant argument made, and it will have to be persuasive. I totally agree with Doctor Scratch (and you, I think) that the FARMSian apologists' primary audience are other FARMSian apologists, not the general membership or even the Curiae in Salt Lake. Thus, there is a compounded difficulty: assuming that ideas are not merely interchangeable tools of social advancement or projections of power, a fictionalist apologist will have to assemble an intellectual product out of the materials currently available and recognized as valid in apologetic scholarship. At present, I don't see how those materials can be used to get a fictionalist product (I do see how they could get to a Book of Mormon that is both ancient and fiction, by treating it as revealed pseudepigrapha from antiquity, but John Gee has already and strenuously rejected that for the Book of Abraham). The recent and reactionary emotionalism of young Smoot's racism response makes it harder for me to see—and he's a liberal!

Again, I'm not saying you're wrong, only that it's hard for me to see how it will come about intellectually, and that I don't see anyone among their number now who is either inclined to pursue that line or capable of doing so.
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Re: The official, faithful fiction Book of Mormon Watchdog t

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Symmachus wrote:I do see how they could get to a Book of Mormon that is both ancient and fiction, by treating it as revealed pseudepigrapha from antiquity, but John Gee has already and strenuously rejected that for the Book of Abraham


What about a work of fiction from the spirit world written in 15th century English? Instead of a translation committee in the spirit world, there is a single fictional author. it was revealed word-for-word by the seer stone as skousen said. As the plates in Joseph Smith's hands are totally irrelevant to the production of the text, however you look at it, Smith was being deceived about what he was doing. Similar to believing he was "translating" the papyri in the catalyst theory, he believed he was "translating" the plates.
FARMS refuted:

"...supporters of Billy Meier still point to the very clear photos of Pleiadian beam ships flying over his farm. They argue that for the photos to be fakes, we have to believe that a one-armed man who had no knowledge of Photoshop or other digital photography programs could have made such realistic photos and films..." -- D. R. Prothero

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Re: The official, faithful fiction Book of Mormon Watchdog t

Post by Lemmie »

Gadianton wrote:
Symmachus wrote:I do see how they could get to a Book of Mormon that is both ancient and fiction, by treating it as revealed pseudepigrapha from antiquity, but John Gee has already and strenuously rejected that for the Book of Abraham


What about a work of fiction from the spirit world written in 15th century English? Instead of a translation committee in the spirit world, there is a single fictional author. it was revealed word-for-word by the seer stone as skousen said. As the plates in Joseph Smith's hands are totally irrelevant to the production of the text, however you look at it, Smith was being deceived about what he was doing. Similar to believing he was "translating" the papyri in the catalyst theory, he believed he was "translating" the plates.

I've been waiting all week, Gadianton, for you to break out this theory! Your hints were delicious to the taste, even delightsome. Seriously, though, Skousen and Carmack have gotten a number of apologists over on md&d to define the book as a 15th century text, and they brook no disagreement on the matter, in their stuffiest manner. It's pretty obnoxious, but it's slowly taking over the description of Book of Mormon writing in threads there. It's laying the ground work for your theory, slowly but inexorably.

Re: the gold plates, backing up the story like that really could work. Moroni TOLD him there were plates containing a true story, or, at least, he thought Moroni did. Maybe Moroni was passing along a 15th century allegory, and he just got confused. He needed plates so people would see how real he thought the 15th century stories were, so he coaxed the witnesses into believing his mistaken interpretation with a few well-planned substitutes.

Anyway, just a few of my thoughts about your OP. In my opinion, the LDS church absolutely will go this direction, especially considering how far they've come to date.

As an example, consider the Lamanites. When I was at BYU, the Lamanite Generation performed as the descendants of Book of Mormon people, but now, I see people actually saying that Mormons never really taught that American Indians were Lamanites, that was just a "misunderstanding." The Lamanite Generation was re-named, and its stories considered fictional. Why can't that happen to the book itself?

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Re: The official, faithful fiction Book of Mormon Watchdog thread

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The Ghost Committee is where it's at. Long live the GCT (Ghost Committee Theory)!
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Re: The official, faithful fiction Book of Mormon Watchdog t

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NorthboundZax wrote:
I think it is worth asking this question about Job. A lot of people (LDS and other Christians) find value in the book while not believing it is literal history. If that can be scriptural fiction with value, I fail to see why the Book of Mormon can't have the same kind of stature.


The problem isn't that the Book of Mormon can't have mystical value, obviously it can. The problem lies in the cost to the values of accepting it as myth inherent in the structure of Salt Lake City Mormonism itself. I think accepting it as myth also means rejecting the LDS claims to being God's one true church and the purveyor of His indulgences. If the Book of Mormon is fictional, then one has to accept the high probability that all the other claims to divine visitations by Joseph Smith were fictional also.
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Re: The official, faithful fiction Book of Mormon Watchdog t

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Gadianton wrote:
Symmachus wrote:I do see how they could get to a Book of Mormon that is both ancient and fiction, by treating it as revealed pseudepigrapha from antiquity, but John Gee has already and strenuously rejected that for the Book of Abraham


What about a work of fiction from the spirit world written in 15th century English? Instead of a translation committee in the spirit world, there is a single fictional author. it was revealed word-for-word by the seer stone as skousen said. As the plates in Joseph Smith's hands are totally irrelevant to the production of the text, however you look at it, Smith was being deceived about what he was doing. Similar to believing he was "translating" the papyri in the catalyst theory, he believed he was "translating" the plates.


It's a 10-scale though; not every deviation from the current narrative is equally drastic. Perhaps there is a distinction to be exploited: being ancient is not the same as being historical. In dealing with what has been said over the past 190 years, they can explain away a lot more by saying that the Book of Mormon is an ancient text, but not necessarily a historically accurate one. Joseph Smith may not have understood that distinction, but that is better than saying that Joseph Smith was deceived. That line presents nothing incongruous with the traditional claim that the Book of Mormon is an ancient record.

On the other hand, a 15th-century Book of Mormon is much harder to fit into the nearly two-centuries long narrative of an ancient Book of Mormon. For apologists, that would be to admit not only that Joseph Smith but they themselves and practically every Church leader and devout Church member for 200 years has been deceived. I just don't see the kind of room necessary to actually build a workable model for understanding both the text and its reception in what you outline above. In fact, I don't think there is much more that can be said about the book than your paragraph above. Even Skousen's work hangs on a handful of questionable examples, and it leaves no room for the other children in the sandbox: the only topic to be explored at this point is English syntax. There is a lot more that can be done perhaps (the hermetic tradition, as the brilliant work that Kish has done on this topic has shown), but all of that will get only farther and farther away from the starting point and make Joseph Smith and Daniel Peterson even bigger dupes.

I think the current fascination wtih Skousen is a symptom not of its persuasive power but of their desperation for something new to say about the Book of Mormon, especially something that feels empirically verified, since everything else has failed and no one else really has any ideas. I take the fact that none of the supposed fans of Skousen's and Carmack's has actually pursued their work's implications (or even explored what the implications are) as indicative of an anxiety about Skousen's fundamental absurdity and an awareness that he doesn't really help their case. All you get is: "this is interesting...hmmm...hmmm...this is really big." But why is it big? They don't want to touch that. NHM was big because it proved (in their minds) a factual claim made in the Book of Mormon. Emphatic syntax proves....a divine origin? Maybe, but then what? Nibley's comparative arguments about King Benjamin's coronation and the Babylonian Gaon pointed at something specific that also supported the general claim about the Book of Mormon: divine and ancient. But can they do something like that with the 15th century Book of Mormon? Suppose they going to discover next that the Book of Mormon conflict between Nephites and Lamanites is an allegory of the War of the Roses, and that King Benjamin reflects Henry VII, Amalicikiah is Lambert Simnel or the Earl of Kildare—hell, maybe the Jaredites are the Irish. Even so, all that might be very interesting (hmm....hmm....Joseph Smith couldn't have known that) and that might make the book divine, but it would also make it just plain weird and its origin and its point incomprehensible.

Anything they can get from the 15th century will be not quite on the same level as golden plates from the Achaemenid archives or NHM or Hebrew syntax patterns. Those bolster what they already think about the Book of Mormon; it's not clear what the ghost committee bolsters, but somehow you've got to justify 100k and 10 years to the club members and its financial backers.

I would think a work of pseudepigrapha, produced by a small band of exiles from, say, Roman Palestine post 70 (so perhaps they were Christians) who happened to make it to Guatemala and made sense of that world and its inhabitants in terms of their own tradition would be slightly more digestible. Mormon was an ancient prophet, the last of a small band of Palestinian Christians who had lived in Mexico for a few hundred years, and he interpreted the collapse of Teotihuacan at the end of the Classic period in terms of the Christian and Jewish apocalyptic that was a part of the tradition.
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Re: The official, faithful fiction Book of Mormon Watchdog t

Post by Lemmie »

Gadianton wrote:
What about a work of fiction from the spirit world written in 15th century English? Instead of a translation committee in the spirit world, there is a single fictional author. it was revealed word-for-word by the seer stone as skousen said. As the plates in Joseph Smith's hands are totally irrelevant to the production of the text, however you look at it, Smith was being deceived about what he was doing. Similar to believing he was "translating" the papyri in the catalyst theory, he believed he was "translating" the plates.

Symmachus wrote:It's a 10-scale though; not every deviation from the current narrative is equally drastic. Perhaps there is a distinction to be exploited: being ancient is not the same as being historical. In dealing with what has been said over the past 190 years, they can explain away a lot more by saying that the Book of Mormon is an ancient text, but not necessarily a historically accurate one. Joseph Smith may not have understood that distinction, but that is better than saying that Joseph Smith was deceived. That line presents nothing incongruous with the traditional claim that the Book of Mormon is an ancient record.

On the other hand, a 15th-century Book of Mormon is much harder to fit into the nearly two-centuries long narrative of an ancient Book of Mormon. For apologists, that would be to admit not only that Joseph Smith but they themselves and practically every Church leader and devout Church member for 200 years has been deceived.

Of course, but aren't we already seeing that? Native Americans are no longer Lamanites, a stone instead of the plates were used to produce the Book of Mormon, Joseph didn't have sex with all the women he married, Mormons don't get their own planets, "I don't know that we teach that," etc., etc., etc. Practically every piece of Mormonism I grew up with has been disavowed, from the sublime to the ridiculous. There is nothing about this 15th century idea that is any more ridiculous than every bit of bizarre Mormonism every Mormon BIC adult grew up with.

... Even Skousen's work hangs on a handful of questionable examples, and it leaves no room for the other children in the sandbox...

Absolutely. And yet, it is gaining more and more traction among the set of mopologists Gadiantion is referring to. The people I would expect to bring some logic to the argument are silent. It is as though their religious position stops them from being logical. I wonder why.
....I think the current fascination wtih Skousen is a symptom not of its persuasive power but of their desperation for something new to say about the Book of Mormon, especially something that feels empirically verified, since everything else has failed and no one else really has any ideas. I take the fact that none of the supposed fans of Skousen's and Carmack's has actually pursued their work's implications (or even explored what the implications are) as indicative of an anxiety about Skousen's fundamental absurdity and an awareness that he doesn't really help their case. All you get is: "this is interesting...hmmm...hmmm...this is really big." But why is it big? They don't want to touch that. NHM was big because it proved (in their minds) a factual claim made in the Book of Mormon. Emphatic syntax proves....a divine origin? Maybe, but then what?

....Anything they can get from the 15th century will be not quite on the same level as golden plates from the Achaemenid archives or NHM or Hebrew syntax patterns. Those bolster what they already think about the Book of Mormon; it's not clear what the ghost committee bolsters, but somehow you've got to justify 100k and 10 years to the club members and its financial backers....

Agreed. A cornered rat will bite....

Ultimately, there is no logical position one can take that justifies believing in a historical Book of Mormon. The positions mopologists can take will only be increasingly desperate and illogical.

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Re: The official, faithful fiction Book of Mormon Watchdog t

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Lemmie wrote:Of course, but aren't we already seeing that? Native Americans are no longer Lamanites, a stone instead of the plates were used to produce the Book of Mormon, Joseph didn't have sex with all the women he married, Mormons don't get their own planets, "I don't know that we teach that," etc., etc., etc. Practically every piece of Mormonism I grew up with has been disavowed, from the sublime to the ridiculous. There is nothing about this 15th century idea that is any more ridiculous than every bit of bizarre Mormonism every Mormon BIC adult grew up with.....Ultimately, there is no logical position one can take that justifies believing in a historical Book of Mormon. The positions mopologists can take will only be increasingly desperate and illogical.


If the question is, "which of these two ideas is the most ridiculous," then I agree that it is hard to see which one wins over the other on the merits alone and in the abstract. If we are talking, however, about what avenues are open to traditionalists (as John Gee aristocratically put it, "whither Mormon Studies?"), then it matters where the starting line is. I don't think you can draw a line from where they are now to just any point, and one must start from where they are. Note how difficult and long it has taken to get from "plates on a table" to "stone in hat" (and even now, they are still rather coy about it). It's hard for me to see how one can get from the position where the historicity of the Book of Mormon is strenuously affirmed to one where its fictionally is even permitted, let alone argued. Anything is possible, theoretically, but it's not random. Perhaps "ancient but not historical" is a first stop on the way from historicity to all-out fictionality. I think the imagined link with the biblical past is not something that can go away that easily.
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Re: The official, faithful fiction Book of Mormon Watchdog t

Post by Gadianton »

Thanks for the feedback Symmachus. Unlike Sic et Non where contrary views are "tolerated", I welcome critique of my ideas and appreciate your feedback and also Physics Guy's. I think ultimately the odds are with you both, but I have to follow my inner light. I think your strongest point thus far (as far as my limited abilities can make of it) is that it's highly questionable where the 15th century thing can go from here. Is there enough material to keep the engines going? Of course, that's just the closest example to "going fiction" -- even if unintentionally -- that we currently have, and it could be something else entirely like:

Symmachus wrote:I would think a work of pseudepigrapha, produced by a small band of exiles from, say, Roman Palestine post 70 (so perhaps they were Christians) who happened to make it to Guatemala and made sense of that world and its inhabitants in terms of their own tradition would be slightly more digestible.


Who knows, maybe one of the Transhumanists will come up with some imaginative idea? The beating heart to my position is, of course, that the apologists are advancing arguments that make a fictional Book of Mormon increasingly possible. I think the rebuttal to that is that while it may seem that way, going fiction is too big of a break (as you say). Well, let's see how it goes.
FARMS refuted:

"...supporters of Billy Meier still point to the very clear photos of Pleiadian beam ships flying over his farm. They argue that for the photos to be fakes, we have to believe that a one-armed man who had no knowledge of Photoshop or other digital photography programs could have made such realistic photos and films..." -- D. R. Prothero

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Re: The official, faithful fiction Book of Mormon Watchdog t

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Lemmie wrote: Seriously, though, Skousen and Carmack have gotten a number of apologists over on md&d to define the book as a 15th century text, and they brook no disagreement on the matter, in their stuffiest manner.


pure gold.
FARMS refuted:

"...supporters of Billy Meier still point to the very clear photos of Pleiadian beam ships flying over his farm. They argue that for the photos to be fakes, we have to believe that a one-armed man who had no knowledge of Photoshop or other digital photography programs could have made such realistic photos and films..." -- D. R. Prothero

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Re: The official, faithful fiction Book of Mormon Watchdog t

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Gadianton wrote:Thanks for the feedback Symmachus. Unlike Sic et Non where contrary views are "tolerated", I welcome critique of my ideas and appreciate your feedback and also Physics Guy's. I think ultimately the odds are with you both, but I have to follow my inner light. I think your strongest point thus far (as far as my limited abilities can make of it) is that it's highly questionable where the 15th century thing can go from here. Is there enough material to keep the engines going? Of course, that's just the closest example to "going fiction" -- even if unintentionally -- that we currently have, and it could be something else entirely like:

Symmachus wrote:I would think a work of pseudepigrapha, produced by a small band of exiles from, say, Roman Palestine post 70 (so perhaps they were Christians) who happened to make it to Guatemala and made sense of that world and its inhabitants in terms of their own tradition would be slightly more digestible.


Who knows, maybe one of the Transhumanists will come up with some imaginative idea? The beating heart to my position is, of course, that the apologists are advancing arguments that make a fictional Book of Mormon increasingly possible. I think the rebuttal to that is that while it may seem that way, going fiction is too big of a break (as you say). Well, let's see how it goes.


I think you're right, Dr. Robbers, because I think the notion of the "big break," as you put it, has to be put into context. Symmachus agrees with me that the Mopologists' primary audience is other Mopologists, so who else is going to see or read about a fictional Book of Mormon? When we limit this strictly to that audience, then the question becomes: are the other Mopologists "convincible"? We know how much there is something of an internal power struggle within this coterie of people (and now I want to lump in other Mormon apologists, including the MI people: that, to me, is the basic social circle that these people operate within). So the hardcore Mopologists are feeling pressure from other, more liberal, more "Mormon Studies" academics, such as Grant Hardy and Thomas Wayment. Meanwhile, they Mopologists have a seemingly bottomless inferiority complex: they are so desperate for approval and affirmation--from anyone, sadly, including the yokels and zealots who post in the Comments sections of their blogs, but really from the Brethren, from other LDS scholars who aren't too liberal, and especially from the secular academic establishment (particularly the more conservative elements of it--i.e., the parts that venerate the Ivy League, and Oxford, and that sort of thing). What I'm saying is that I believe there are complex political and motive-related waters that have to be navigated here.

Again, consider the audience, which, I freely admit, is complicated: Who are the Mopologists' principal readers? Who are the people they most want to speak to? At the end of the day, it's other people who are angry about criticism of the Church, and who want to see these "hot shots" marching in and lobbing bombs at Church critics. It's people who want bloodshed. Part of the way that the people at the top of the hierarchy shore up their status is by linking it to the academic social network I described above. The bloodthirsty numbskulls will go along with this because, hey, they participated in a conference at Yale! They have Ph.D.s! But we know how troublesome this has been for them anytime someone who actually works in academia has confronted them: it never turns out well. So they are always forced to walk this line between whatever their own malign beliefs happen to be, plus however they plan to try to keep their main "fanbase" interested, while also trying to not totally alienate themselves from the mainstream academic establishment.

So, in a cultural context where evidence of a historical Book of Mormon is collapsing pretty much constantly, and even LDS scholars like Grant Hardy (who does not teach at BYU) are saying publicly and in Mopologetic venues that believing a fictional Book of Mormon is OK.... Yeah, they may go this route. Will they lose a few people along the way? Yeah, I imagine they will, but I see no reason why that should stop them. They don't really care one way or the other if they wind up driving people out of the Church (so long as those people are "losers"). I've said elsewhere that the key Mopologetic personnel are "bullies," and I think that's accurate: as a group, the fundamentally behave like a gang. So, one of them will go viciously after a critic and the rest of them will hoot and holler and pat one another on the back. Doubtless a lot of knee-slapping is involved. If you extend that metaphor about the gang to their application of Mormon doctrine and theology, I think it works. They'll be down for a fictional Book of Mormon if it allows them to stomp on and humiliate people they don't like (the "weaklings") and if it will reassert their status as "Alpha Wolves" who are supposedly protecting the "neighborhood." I can definitely see how they'd find something appealing in this notion.
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Re: The official, faithful fiction Book of Mormon Watchdog t

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Looks like Dan Peterson has taken notice of this thread
https://www.patheos.com/blogs/danpeters ... eople.html

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Re: The official, faithful fiction Book of Mormon Watchdog t

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Dr. Peterson:

Please answer Dr. Jenkins about evidence of historicity, if even possible, otherwise the statement about "containing a history" is pretty empty. The fact is that one cannot find a piece of pottery, etc., in the new world that can be directly linked to israel/Palestine circa 600 b.c.e. or b.c. if you like. So, a fiction model seems the way to go in order to preserve whatever divinity you imagine coming from or surrounding the book.

I like the ghost committee idea like others here have proposed. It seems like this would sell as well as can be expected to the masses. .... a committee of inspired men and perhaps include a women and a Native American to bolster the now lack of racism that pervades the post 1978 church, inspiring a book, written in EmodE and chock full of complexity and chiasmus, etc., etc. (I can see E. Holland giving a revised threat speech in a future conference to those who doubt the ghost committee and it's true calling).

No, sir, inspired fiction with a ghost committee leading the way is the direction to go.
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Re: The official, faithful fiction Book of Mormon Watchdog t

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tapirrider wrote:Looks like Dan Peterson has taken notice of this thread
https://www.patheos.com/blogs/danpeters ... eople.html



Nice. Except I think this directly references the latter part of the Smoot and Politics thread where Doctor Scratch makes an amazing discovery.
FARMS refuted:

"...supporters of Billy Meier still point to the very clear photos of Pleiadian beam ships flying over his farm. They argue that for the photos to be fakes, we have to believe that a one-armed man who had no knowledge of Photoshop or other digital photography programs could have made such realistic photos and films..." -- D. R. Prothero

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Re: The official, faithful fiction Book of Mormon Watchdog t

Post by Maksutov »

Don't call it a "ghost committee". It has a proper name: Seance.

Questions in Smith's early days were put to the "rod", which indicated yes or no by moving up or down. A forerunner of the planchette, which was used with Ouija boards. To this day LDS authorities are unusually "spooked" by Ouija boards--because they believe they could work. :lol:

Mormonism is firmly rooted in necromancy. It is in its DNA, along with a host of paranormal absurdities that cannot be questioned without questioning Smith's entire "career".
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Fence Sitter
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Re: The official, faithful fiction Book of Mormon Watchdog t

Post by Fence Sitter »

Symmachus wrote:I do see how they could get to a Book of Mormon that is both ancient and fiction, by treating it as revealed pseudepigrapha from antiquity, but John Gee has already and strenuously rejected that for the Book of Abraham).


If my reading of Gee's defense of the Book of Abraham is correct, what he is rejecting completely is any combination of the catalyst theory along with any notion that Joseph Smith translated the text of the Book of Abraham from the extant papyri. He is hanging everything on trying to sell the preposterous notion that there is enough missing scroll to not only contain the hieratic text for the existing 5 chapters of the Book of Abraham, but 2 to 3 times more which are now missing. According to Gee:

John Gee wrote:Unfortunately, the location of the original manuscript of his [Joseph Smith] translation is currently unknown, and thus, according to the estimate, about two-thirds to three-quarters of Joseph Smith's translation of the Book of Abraham is lost


I don't think Gee is defending the Book of Abraham as a text written by Abraham himself, so much as he is defending the theory that if all the missing sections of the papyri were to suddenly be found, somewhere on them would be a hieratic text containing the Book of Abraham we have today plus a bunch more. Whether or not that text actually represented an exact copy of something Abraham himself wrote or was simply a reproduction of a pseudepigraphal Ptolemaic scroll is not part of his argument as far as I can tell.

By the way, in my completely uniformed view, I suspect that rift between Hauglid and Gee is due to the fact Hauglid has changed his position on the existence of a now lost original translation manuscript and no longer believes it ever existed. The existence of that purported manuscript is key to arguing the theory that the KEP are attempts to reverse engineer the Book of Abraham translation and not original translation manuscripts themselves.
Last edited by Fence Sitter on Sat Mar 02, 2019 7:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Gadianton
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Re: The official, faithful fiction Book of Mormon Watchdog t

Post by Gadianton »

Fence Sitter wrote:Whether or not that text actually represented an exact copy of something Abraham himself wrote or was simply a reproduction of a pseudepigraphal Ptolemaic scroll is not part of his argument as far as I can tell.


A brilliant contribution Fence Sitter and I'm envious that you thought of this while I did not. You've struck on the key component I've hypothesized that must snap into place in order to move from a historical book to a (faithful) fictional book and I can't thank you enough for this contribution. Here, the apologists find themselves in a fork, where they must choose between losing the rook and losing the queen. It's a fork like this that I believe will move them to the fictional camp one day. What you're saying here fits all the elements I'm proposing about a fictional theory and after others have had a chance to comment on this, in case my optimism is premature, I will likely be updating my OP to reflect this critical information.

Without dragging out the whole argument right here, let's unpack the crucial missing piece to what I've written above: it could be an authentic Abraham autograph or pseudedipigrapha, but it's infinitely more likely that it's pseudepigrapha. Here's the scenario: there are lots of breathings texts around, and so somewhere there must be a few more of these longer works. One is discovered. It matches Joseph Smith's "translation" faithfully. How could he have known?

But we already know in the real world, such a scroll would almost certainly be fictional, it would be a huge anachronism otherwise, and so sacrifice the rook (Book of Abraham as real history) to keep the queen, (Joseph Smith produced a miraculous document that can't be explained by science). The key again is that there is an incentive within this theory to make it fiction in order to increase the viability of the overall theory.

I'd love to get Symmachus's and Physics Guy's skeptical feedback on this -- go ahead, ruin my day!
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Lemmie
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Re: The official, faithful fiction Book of Mormon Watchdog thread

Post by Lemmie »

On Md&d, the poster Rajah Manchu has for quite a while been arguing in favor of a book of Mormon setting outside of the Americas. Here he proposes what seems to me could be taken as a fictional, but still ancient and still inspired source for the Book of Mormon:
The statement placing the setting for the Book of Mormon on the American continent was also a secondary source. The primary source has nothing to say about which continent the account took place. If you go by what we find in the primary source, the text doesn't fit the Americas at all.

Shifting the setting to the the American continent creates dozens if not hundreds of anachronisms (cows, sheep, horses, steel, chariots, silk elephants, swords, cimiters etc.) and problems that don't exist in the text itself. The text fits perfectly in the region known in ancient geographies as Rahma/Komoriyya/Kamara. The author of the Book of Mormon was writing a history about the legendary Kumr who sailed to Kamara shortly after the tower and the Rechabites, Israelites that were carried by God to Kamara in 600 BC.

Secondary sources shifted the narrative to the Americas, where it doesn't fit.

http://www.mormondialogue.org/topic/715 ... 1209890670

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Res Ipsa
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Re: The official, faithful fiction Book of Mormon Watchdog t

Post by Res Ipsa »

It’s been a long time for me, but aren’t there prophecies in the Book of Mormon that tie it to the Americas?
​“The ideal subject of totalitarian rule is not the convinced Nazi or the dedicated communist, but people for whom the distinction between fact and fiction, true and false, no longer exists.”

― Hannah Arendt, The Origins of Totalitarianism, 1951

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