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 Post subject: Source of the "idea" that a scripture like book was needed?
PostPosted: Fri Sep 13, 2019 10:20 am 
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In the January 2019 Book of Mormon stories podcast John Dehlin asked Dan Vogel: So where and when did Joseph Smith come up with the idea that a scripture type book was needed in his Restoration project?

You can't ask the mopologists or even Richard Bushman types because they would say God did and He through Moroni pointed Joseph Smith to the buried ancient gold-like plates,and the rest is history.

Those believing a written manuscript of some type was presented /given to Joseph Smith could say he just went along and came up with the Book of Mormon and used it as keystone for his overall scam.

So what theory do you have about just the idea, not the resulting text, that a Book of Mormon type book was deemed to be part of the Joseph Smith quest to restore Christianity?

FYI in a nutshell Vogel said that it was a key part of the need for Smith to show his special connection to God. Dan says initially Joseph Smith used the seer stone to convince people of his special "power" and the idea of the plates and the Book of Mormon replaced the seer stone as the sign that he would lead a restoration.

what do you think?

k


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 Post subject: Re: Source of the "idea" that a scripture like book was need
PostPosted: Fri Sep 13, 2019 10:26 am 
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I think it started out as a work of fiction, similar to the "Late War" and "View of the Hebrews", a genre popular at the time, and morphed into scripture when those involved realized the money potential of being religious leaders.

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 Post subject: Re: Source of the "idea" that a scripture like book was need
PostPosted: Fri Sep 13, 2019 10:43 am 
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The bible was so prevalent as the sole source of god's word back then that I think the idea of another book had to come from there. Only another book, blessed by god, supposedly, would have a chance to convince others that the bible wasn't the only source. Also, having another book would give credibility/authority to those peddling it to the population.

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 Post subject: Re: Source of the "idea" that a scripture like book was need
PostPosted: Fri Sep 13, 2019 12:33 pm 
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I think he first had to have the idea of needing a restoration before he could outline what might be needed for a restoration to happen.

Where/when did he get that idea?


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 Post subject: Re: Source of the "idea" that a scripture like book was need
PostPosted: Fri Sep 13, 2019 5:38 pm 
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It was basically the same thing that motivated the pseudepigraphists of the Old and New Testaments, that is, to smuggle into Christianity new doctrines or doctrines not clearly expressed in the Bible.

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 Post subject: Re: Source of the "idea" that a scripture like book was need
PostPosted: Sat Sep 14, 2019 9:38 am 
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Dan Vogel wrote:
It was basically the same thing that motivated the pseudepigraphists of the Old and New Testaments, that is, to smuggle into Christianity new doctrines or doctrines not clearly expressed in the Bible.

Thanx Dan-I am still a little confused about this.

So i know Joseph Smith could and did use the Book of Mormon to "smuggle " in some doctrine or negate others like infant baptism but the idea to come up with a book "translated " supposedly from the plates, but i am stuck on how his thinking evolved that he "needed" a book rather than some other device or artifact like maybe he could have decided to have found a scroll from some hitherto unknown prophet' s work and used that as his "authority device" rather than the seer stone- can you help us out?

BTW- i think your January Mormon stories podcast has allowed us to understand better you and your work which is absolutely brilliant!!

k


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 Post subject: Re: Source of the "idea" that a scripture like book was need
PostPosted: Sat Sep 14, 2019 10:28 am 
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To answer your question: The Campbellites wouldn't accept any new religious innovation unless its precedent was firmly couched in the scriptures. Therefore, Sidney Rigdon couldn't implement his pet projects without a new book of scripture to justify them.

Fortunately, his employee Oliver Cowdery informed him (Sidney) that his 2nd cousin, once removed--Joseph Smith, Jr.--was a treasure seer who could find buried things. Presto! Have him recover another book of scripture with all of Sidney's ideas couched therein.

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 Post subject: Re: Source of the "idea" that a scripture like book was need
PostPosted: Sat Sep 14, 2019 10:44 am 
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The idea of digging up buried scriptures was a stroke of genius for a treasure hunter. Treasure hunting is a wonderful gig because you don't need any actual stock. You're selling the idea of getting buried treasure. Ideas cost nothing. So you're in business with no money down. Carleton Sheets, eat your heart out.

The only problem is that eventually even the most patient and gullible mark is going to want something actually dug up. Salting the dig site with gold is a chump's move because it costs gold, and anyway you don't have gold. Before Smith the state of the art way of dealing with the problem of delivering something was to leave town just ahead of that point. Smith's breakthrough allows the scammer to deliver an actual product. It's brilliant.

You dig up a book, which no-one gets to see because it's holy, and then an angel takes it back to heaven. But in the meantime, by gum, you translated that scripture. You give the people the translated text. It still costs you nothing, but to the marks it counts as real ancient treasure that you really dug up. It's just brilliant.


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 Post subject: Re: Source of the "idea" that a scripture like book was need
PostPosted: Sat Sep 14, 2019 2:49 pm 
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If I remember correctly, there was talk among the treasure diggers of a lost book idea of Captain Kid? Can't quite remember, and can't find the source right now. The idea of a hidden book was being talked about however, amongst those for whom the treasure they were seeking just would not sit still long enough to enjoy being spent. It might have been influenced by Lumen Walters......

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 Post subject: Re: Source of the "idea" that a scripture like book was need
PostPosted: Sat Sep 14, 2019 4:06 pm 
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kairos wrote:
Dan Vogel wrote:
It was basically the same thing that motivated the pseudepigraphists of the Old and New Testaments, that is, to smuggle into Christianity new doctrines or doctrines not clearly expressed in the Bible.

Thanx Dan-I am still a little confused about this.

So i know Joseph Smith could and did use the Book of Mormon to "smuggle " in some doctrine or negate others like infant baptism but the idea to come up with a book "translated" supposedly from the plates, but i am stuck on how his thinking evolved that he "needed" a book rather than some other device or artifact like maybe he could have decided to have found a scroll from some hitherto unknown prophet' s work and used that as his "authority device" rather than the seer stone- can you help us out?

BTW- i think your January Mormon stories podcast has allowed us to understand better you and your work which is absolutely brilliant!!

k

If you are asking why a metal book rather than a scroll, I think the Book of Mormon answers that itself. “But whatsoever things we write upon anything save it be upon plates must perish and vanish away; ...” (Jacob 4:2). I think the Apocrypha is the probable source for Joseph Smith knowing the Jews wrote on metal plates.

“And this is the copy of the epistle which the senate wrote back again in tables of brass, and sent to Jerusalem, that there they might have by them a memorial of peace and confederacy.” (1 Maccabees 8:22)

And this curious description of “abridgement” in 2 Maccabees 2:23-32:

Quote:
23 All these things, I say, being declared by Jason of Cyrene in five books, we will assay to abridge in one volume.
24 For considering the infinite number, and the difficulty which they find that desire to look into the narrations of the story, for the variety of the matter,
25 We have been careful, that they that will read may have delight, and that they that are desirous to commit to memory might have ease, and that all into whose hands it comes might have profit.
26 Therefore to us, that have taken upon us this painful labour of abridging, it was not easy, but a matter of sweat and watching;
27 Even as it is no ease unto him that prepareth a banquet, and seeketh the benefit of others: yet for the pleasuring of many we will undertake gladly this great pains;
28 Leaving to the author the exact handling of every particular, and labouring to follow the rules of an abridgement.
29 For as the master builder of a new house must care for the whole building; but he that undertaketh to set it out, and paint it, must seek out fit things for the adorning thereof: even so I think it is with us.
30 To stand upon every point, and go over things at large, and to be curious in particulars, belongeth to the first author of the story:
31 But to use brevity, and avoid much labouring of the work, is to be granted to him that will make an abridgment.
32 Here then will we begin the story: only adding thus much to that which hath been said, that it is a foolish thing to make a long prologue, and to be short in the story itself.

Thomas Upham, tr., Jahn's Biblical Archaeology (Andover: Flagg and Gould, 1823) is interesting. Not to show that Joseph Smith saw it but to demonstrate that he was not unique in claiming the Jews wrote on metal plates.

Quote:
Those books, which were inscribed on tablets of wood, lead, brass, or ivory, were connected together by rings at the back, through which a rod was passed to carry them by.” (pp. 95-96)

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 Post subject: Re: Source of the "idea" that a scripture like book was need
PostPosted: Sun Sep 15, 2019 7:42 am 
God

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Quote:
If you are asking why a metal book rather than a scroll, I think the Book of Mormon answers that itself. “But whatsoever things we write upon anything save it be upon plates must perish and vanish away; ...” (Jacob 4:2). I think the Apocrypha is the probable source for Joseph Smith knowing the Jews wrote on metal plates.

“And this is the copy of the epistle which the senate wrote back again in tables of brass, and sent to Jerusalem, that there they might have by them a memorial of peace and confederacy.” (1 Maccabees 8:22)

And this curious description of “abridgement” in 2 Maccabees 2:23-32:

Quote:
23 All these things, I say, being declared by Jason of Cyrene in five books, we will assay to abridge in one volume.
24 For considering the infinite number, and the difficulty which they find that desire to look into the narrations of the story, for the variety of the matter,
25 We have been careful, that they that will read may have delight, and that they that are desirous to commit to memory might have ease, and that all into whose hands it comes might have profit.
26 Therefore to us, that have taken upon us this painful labour of abridging, it was not easy, but a matter of sweat and watching;
27 Even as it is no ease unto him that prepareth a banquet, and seeketh the benefit of others: yet for the pleasuring of many we will undertake gladly this great pains;
28 Leaving to the author the exact handling of every particular, and labouring to follow the rules of an abridgement.
29 For as the master builder of a new house must care for the whole building; but he that undertaketh to set it out, and paint it, must seek out fit things for the adorning thereof: even so I think it is with us.
30 To stand upon every point, and go over things at large, and to be curious in particulars, belongeth to the first author of the story:
31 But to use brevity, and avoid much labouring of the work, is to be granted to him that will make an abridgment.
32 Here then will we begin the story: only adding thus much to that which hath been said, that it is a foolish thing to make a long prologue, and to be short in the story itself.

Thomas Upham, tr., Jahn's Biblical Archaeology (Andover: Flagg and Gould, 1823) is interesting. Not to show that Joseph Smith saw it but to demonstrate that he was not unique in claiming the Jews wrote on metal plates.

Quote:
Those books, which were inscribed on tablets of wood, lead, brass, or ivory, were connected together by rings at the back, through which a rod was passed to carry them by.” (pp. 95-96)

Thanx -So have you an estimated date/year when Joseph Smith decided the new book of scripture was going to emerge as the authority to anchor his restoration scenario? Also would you comment on Dr Shades response above?

thanx again
k


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 Post subject: Re: Source of the "idea" that a scripture like book was need
PostPosted: Sun Sep 15, 2019 8:47 am 
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Dan Vogel wrote:
Thomas Upham, tr., Jahn's Biblical Archaeology (Andover: Flagg and Gould, 1823) is interesting. Not to show that Joseph Smith saw it but to demonstrate that he was not unique in claiming the Jews wrote on metal plates.

Quote:
Those books, which were inscribed on tablets of wood, lead, brass, or ivory, were connected together by rings at the back, through which a rod was passed to carry them by.” (pp. 95-96)

I do not know when it came into his possession, but "Jahn's Biblical Archaeology was one of the books Joseph Smith donated the Nauvoo library in early 1844.

(I am sure Dan knows this but posting it for others to read.)

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 Post subject: Re: Source of the "idea" that a scripture like book was need
PostPosted: Mon Sep 16, 2019 3:27 pm 
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Fence Sitter wrote:
I do not know when it came into his possession, but "Jahn's Biblical Archaeology was one of the books Joseph Smith donated the Nauvoo library in early 1844.

(I am sure Dan knows this but posting it for others to read.)

Also the following:

“It may be well to state, that the prophet of God, in ancient days, according to the accounts of men, kept their sacred records on plates of gold, and those of less consequence on plates of brass, copper, wood, &c., see Jahn's biblical archeology, Josephus, and others. These plates were generally made from the sixteenth to the thirty second part of an inch thick (of metal) and something like six by eight inches square, and fastened at the back with three rings through which a rod was put to carry them, or hang them.” (The Evening and the Morning Star, Vol.1, No.8, p.58).

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 Post subject: Re: Source of the "idea" that a scripture like book was need
PostPosted: Mon Sep 16, 2019 3:39 pm 
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kairos wrote:
Also would you comment on Dr Shades response above?

Between you and me: the Spaulding theory is dead.

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 Post subject: Re: Source of the "idea" that a scripture like book was need
PostPosted: Mon Sep 16, 2019 4:26 pm 
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Dan Vogel wrote:
Fence Sitter wrote:
I do not know when it came into his possession, but "Jahn's Biblical Archaeology was one of the books Joseph Smith donated the Nauvoo library in early 1844.

(I am sure Dan knows this but posting it for others to read.)

Also the following:

“It may be well to state, that the prophet of God, in ancient days, according to the accounts of men, kept their sacred records on plates of gold, and those of less consequence on plates of brass, copper, wood, &c., see Jahn's biblical archeology, Josephus, and others. These plates were generally made from the sixteenth to the thirty second part of an inch thick (of metal) and something like six by eight inches square, and fastened at the back with three rings through which a rod was put to carry them, or hang them.” (The Evening and the Morning Star, Vol.1, No.8, p.58).


I have a 1827 copy of Jahn's. Are there any other references from it that were used by Joseph Smith?

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 Post subject: Re: Source of the "idea" that a scripture like book was need
PostPosted: Wed Sep 18, 2019 3:41 am 
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Bump for more scholarly answers or guesses!

When/year Joseph Smith got the idea he needed a new book of scripture?


Did he get the idea all by himself or is there evidence of collaboration- Shades thinks Rigdon was perhaps a catalyst or instigator.

thanx
k


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 Post subject: Re: Source of the "idea" that a scripture like book was need
PostPosted: Wed Sep 18, 2019 2:16 pm 
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kairos wrote:
Bump for more scholarly answers or guesses!

When/year Joseph Smith got the idea he needed a new book of scripture?


Did he get the idea all by himself or is there evidence of collaboration- Shades thinks Rigdon was perhaps a catalyst or instigator.

thanx
k


I am not a Mormon history scholar but I have read a few different points of view. I see no story that I can be sure of on the creation of the Book Of Mormon. I do think the person behind it has some story telling i ability and likes to tell stories. Joseph Smith is not a bad fit for that. It is possible the books creation started first in verbal form and only slowly found its Christian restoration role. I see no reason the story could not have started germination as early as say 1819.(I remain influenced by Fawn Brodie)

..
Choosing the arbitrary date 1819 means I think that the story telling is the engine pulling the entire train of later events.


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 Post subject: Re: Source of the "idea" that a scripture like book was need
PostPosted: Wed Sep 18, 2019 6:49 pm 
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My guess, and I'm no historian, is that the 1826 trial with Joe Smith Sr. suggesting his son no longer uses his "gift" for treasure digging, coupled with pressure from Joe's father-in-law Isaac Hale to earn an honest living, had Joe thinking of any way possible to provide for his family and keep his peep-stone looking reputation. IMO Joe was a sincere believer in Christ and probably wasn't thinking full-on restoration movement. He was making it up as he went along, knowing if he could just persuade Martin he could keep his venture alive. If Samuel Lawrence could think-up large spectacles why is it that hard for Joe to imagine plates?


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 Post subject: Re: Source of the "idea" that a scripture like book was need
PostPosted: Thu Sep 19, 2019 1:14 am 
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There is a Restoration is in the Old Testament, in 2 Kings 22-23. The whole thoroughly paganized Israelite nation is abruptly jerked back to the Mosaic religion by the righteous boy-king Josiah, and it all starts with the discovery in the temple of an old forgotten book of scripture.

So the idea of a Restoration based on the discovery of a lost book of scripture is not something that Smith invented. It's in the Bible. The story of Josiah's reform is a dramatic one which would have been a wonderful text for anyone preaching revival, so it seems quite likely that a young Joseph Smith would have known the Josiah story and been impressed by it.


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 Post subject: Re: Source of the "idea" that a scripture like book was need
PostPosted: Thu Sep 19, 2019 4:04 am 
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Physics Guy wrote:
There is a Restoration is in the Old Testament, in 2 Kings 22-23. The whole thoroughly paganized Israelite nation is abruptly jerked back to the Mosaic religion by the righteous boy-king Josiah, and it all starts with the discovery in the temple of an old forgotten book of scripture.

So the idea of a Restoration based on the discovery of a lost book of scripture is not something that Smith invented. It's in the Bible. The story of Josiah's reform is a dramatic one which would have been a wonderful text for anyone preaching revival, so it seems quite likely that a young Joseph Smith would have known the Josiah story and been impressed by it.

Very insightful-thanx!

i have leaned toward the development of a manuscript by Rigdon? handed off to Joseph Smith who read and added to it as he went along, eg Lehi/Nephi's dream. In my scenario there is one copy of the manuscript and each page is destroyed as OC writes down what Joseph Smith is dictating/reading. Thus when the 116 pages is lost, there is no backup so Joseph Smith begins the second "phase" with the manuscript beginning in Mosiah and backfills the first part later.

Dan Vogel believes that Joseph Smith could easily dictate 8 pages a day from his brain and uses the rest of his time to "work it out " in his mind " using the Bible or other books he has access to. Dan says in his Mormon stories podcast with john dehlin that Joseph Smith csme up with the book of moses and abraham with his own brain power so the Joseph Smith was capable of coming up with the BOM-and Dan indicates the Book of Mormon reads like an "oral " dictation- i hope i got Dan's position right.

Finally in the backfill phase, Joseph Smith has no prop so he has to try to remember what he did in the first 116 pages and the story is somewhat vague and lots of isaiah is copied into the Book of Mormon.

so for me the idea for a book of scripture was an idea by Rigdon and deemed essential to a restoration of Christianity - Joseph Smith went along gladly probably in 1827 or so .

other thoughts- i just a guessin'

k


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 Post subject: Re: Source of the "idea" that a scripture like book was need
PostPosted: Thu Sep 19, 2019 7:44 am 
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For skeptics the episode of the lost pages is strong evidence that Smith was not just reading from a previously written text. He might have been working from notes but he must have been improvising his exact wording. In D&C 10 Smith put into God's mouth his own keen awareness that he would not be able to reproduce his original text exactly.

According to Wikipedia, at least, D&C 3 (which also deals with the loss of the pages) was the first revelation that Smith claimed to have received directly. Perhaps it marks the last step in development of Smith's evolving scheme from treasure finder to translator to prophet. The whole elaborate con may well never have been thought out in advance, but have grown in response to events.

Maybe Smith started simply with some kind of fake artifact that he would finally, after all his years of treasure hunting, actually dig up. He publicized his "discovery" enough that he was committed to producing something ancient, but then he got cold feet about really trying to pass off his gimmick. Perhaps he got cold feet because he attracted more interest than he had expected from people who wouldn't be as easy to fool as the marks he originally targeted. He rose to the occasion, however, by brilliantly representing the discovered relic as an ancient record and offering the translation of its text instead of the relic itself.

This brilliant improvisation led to a new problem, however. His reason for never showing the actual object had to be good enough to discourage a bigger and somewhat less gullible audience. So folk magic pivoted into religion. The records were holy and the translation was by the gift and power of God. Or perhaps the idea of an ancient text and the idea that it was a holy text came together, thanks to the Josiah precedent. At any rate the two concepts worked well together. Smith was still just a sort of holy hedge witch, however, exercising his divine gift of translation through a stone in a hat.

Then came the crisis with Harris losing those pages. The one weak point in the translator scheme was reproducibility of the dictated text. As damage control Smith resorted to receiving a message directly from God. How he must have kicked himself when people bought it. If he had known he could get away with things like that he would never have bothered with those doggoned plates and the translation charade.

Maybe that's how Joseph Smith wound up multi-classed as a treasurefinder-translator-prophet. It was a series of unintended consequences. If he had set himself up as a prophet right from the beginning he could just have written out his Book of Mormon as a revelation from God, with no awkward nonsense about translating metal plates, and saved himself a lot of trouble.


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