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 Post subject: Inviting More S/R Criticism...
PostPosted: Sun Aug 02, 2009 11:29 pm 
God

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...because I'm a glutten for punishment. :wink:

On another thread quite a while back Ben wrote:

Quote:
The discovery narrative issue is rather amusing to me. After all of this talk of data, you are asserting the following:

1) Joseph used an unknown Spalding manuscript to produce his discovery narrative. He did so very early on - incorporating certain individual elements into his own discovery narratives a piece at a time, only pulling all of these individual pieces together, finally, in 1838, when he assumed that it was safe to do so.


I would like to see a listing of official plate discovery accounts in chronological sequence that preceded the 1838 version. Can anyone post this? What is the earliest known account of the plate discovery and then what are the following versions leading up to the 1838 account?

Quote:
2) We know that this happened because the unknown Spalding Manuscript - despite its obvious differences from the known Spalding Manuscript (the so-called Roman Story) must have reused the same discovery narrative, and, the Joseph Smith's 1838 discovery narrative, which is so obviously similar to the Roman Story, used those elements of the unknown manuscript that were so similar to the Roman Story that we can assume that those elements weren't taken from the Roman Story but from the virtually identical (on these points - but really only these points) unknown manuscript.


This is confusing. Perhaps intentionally so. I don't see anything problematic in what S/R claims here. First we don't know anything happened. But the evidence strongly suggests something happened. The parallels exist. Even Ben admits to that. He simply downplays their importance. But, as we debated up and down on another thread the witness testimony associated Smith with Spalding long before 1838. This adds a lot of weight to the D/N parallels whether Ben wants to admit that or not. But I don't think there's any point in reopening that discussion on this thread. The point here simply being that there is nothing problematic in observing parallels, noting the relevant prior claims and then attempting to fit all that into a broader context of the rest of the data.

Quote:
3) We can assert this even though we have no text of the unknown manuscript, nor do we actually have any details unique to the unknown manuscript that also cannot be accounted for from either the Book of Mormon or other statements made about it - this even though some of these statements must come either through multiple parties or from previously unknown co-conspirators (for example, Pratt's geography, which just so happens to mimic alleged recollections of those whom Spalding shared his story with).


Again it may be Ben's intention to purposely confuse this issue giving the impression of a disjointed and weak theory, but I'm just not sure I follow the above logic in any event.... so let me break it down....

Quote:
3) We can assert this even though we have no text of the unknown manuscript,


This is a rather poor criticism, imo. If we had MF we wouldn't even be having this debate. Joseph Smith or Sidney Rigdon or Oliver Cowdery or many other individuals could easily have destroyed MF and it is logical and reasonable to conclude that they would have done exactly that after they had made use of it. At the very least there is no claim here that God whisked MF off to heaven.

Quote:
nor do we actually have any details unique to the unknown manuscript that also cannot be accounted for from either the Book of Mormon or other statements made about it


Since we don't have MF how would we know any of the details that are "unique to it"? It's a little like demanding from you details unique to the sealed section of the Book of Mormon.

On the other hand, it seems like you are setting up a rather impossible standard here.... let me see if I understand what you want.... you want something unique to MF (which we don't have so I have no idea how we could even begin to satisfy that) that also cannot be found in the Book of Mormon or from other statements made about MF... how realistic is that anyway? It's like stating that we are not going to accept the statement of a witness to a crime (witness A) unless he comes up with some specific detail that he could not have gotten from the papers and that can't also be found in the testimony of 7 other witnesses (witnesses B,C,D,E,F,G,H) to the crime who already gave their testimony. Even if witness A is alive and we can question him, he would most likely have a difficult time coming up with some unique detail about the crime that was not also in the papers or not already stated by the other witnesses.

In this case our witnesses are long dead and you are simply demanding something unnecessary and unrealistic in order to downplay the significance of their testimony.

Quote:
- this even though some of these statements must come either through multiple parties or from previously unknown co-conspirators (for example, Pratt's geography, which just so happens to mimic alleged recollections of those whom Spalding shared his story with).


I'm not sure I follow this...maybe you could clarify.

Quote:
This is your data - primarily consisting of a web of assertions, and possibilities - but with no real evidence.


Not really. This is merely a small portion of the overall body of evidence including but not limited to such things as a mail-waiting notice that proves Rigdon lied.

Quote:
You are forced to consider that the witnesses are absolutely honest


Not really. They were known as upstanding citizens and others testify to that. That's more than can be said for Smith, Cowdery and Rigdon.

Quote:
because without them, the theory falls apart. You are forced to have this non-extent mansucript, because without it, the theory falls apart. Its quite possible that you could live without the similarities between the unknown mansucript and the 1838 discovery narrative, but, since it fits your method of operations (i.e. parallelomania), why not throw it in the mix.


LOL! Billy Joel has a song called: We didn't start the fire.... It's rather amusing that even though Smith was the guy wrote an account that parallels Spalding, you blame us for throwing it in the mix! :lol:

Quote:
Not only is it reasonable to discount it, it seems quite normal to do so.


Of course it does if one has a testimony that the Book of Mormon is true.

Quote:
Its rational to discount it.


Now there is where you are simply wrong. It is irrational to simply reject evidence and testimony solely because it does not match your theory. The things you want us to accept as being problematic are not.

Quote:
I mean, you can't even provide us with a single sentence of this imaginary text.


How about a phrase: "And it came to pass..." :wink:

Again, Ben, demanding a sentence from a ms we admittedly don't have is a lot like demanding you to come up with a sentence from the sealed portion of the Book of Mormon. It's both impossible and irrelevant.

Quote:
The only reason why there must have been this imaginary text is that clearly the existing Spalding manuscript doesn't actually have the necessary similarities ...


That is quite incorrect. There are many reasons why MF is not RS. MF was written on foolscap--gee ya think they got that from the newspapers or the Book of Mormon?--RS is not. MF was submitted to a publisher who said he would print it so long as Spalding would write a title page and preface, RS is disjointed, not complete and in no way ready to submit for publication, and then there's what the witnesses state.

The irrational approach is to assume RS is MF in spite of all that.

_________________
"...a pious lie, you know, has a great deal more influence with an ignorant people than a profane one."

- Sidney Rigdon, as quoted in the Quincy Whig, June 8, 1839, vol 2 #6.


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 Post subject: Re: Inviting More S/R Criticism...
PostPosted: Sun Aug 02, 2009 11:36 pm 
God
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Roger wrote:
...
What is the earliest known account of the plate discovery...?




This is a beginning:

Quote:
THE PALMYRA FREEMAN.
Palmyra, New-York, August 11, 1829.

"Golden Bible."

The greatest piece of superstition that has ever come within the sphere of our knowledge is one which has for sometime past, and still occupies the attention of a few superstitious and bigoted individuals of this quarter. It is generally known and spoken of as the "Golden Bible." Its proselytes give the following account of it: In the fall of 1827, a person by the name of Joseph Smith, of Manchester, Ontario county, reported that he had been visited in a dream by the spirit of the Almighty, and informed that in a certain hill in that town, was deposited this Golden Bible, containing an ancient record of a divine nature and origin. After having been thrice thus visited, as he states, he proceeded to the spot, and after having penetrating "mother earth" a short distance, the Bible was found, together with a huge pair of spectacles! He had been directed, however, not to let any mortal being examine them, "under no less penalty" than instant death! They were therefore nicely wrapped up, and excluded from the "vulgar gaze of poor wicked mortals!" It was said that the leaves of the Bible were plates, of gold about eight inches long, six wide, and one eighth of an inch thick, on which were engraved characters or hieroglyphics. By placing the spectacles in a hat, and looking into it, Smith could (he said so, at least,) interpret these characters.

An account of this discovery was soon circulated. The subject was almost invariably treated as it should have been -- with contempt. A few however, believed the "golden" story, among whom was Martin Harris, an honest and industrious farmer of this town. So blindly enthusiastic was Harris, that he took some of the characters interpreted by Smith, and went in search of some one, besides the interpreter, who was learned enough to English them; but all to whom he applied (among the number was Professor Mitchell, of New York,) happened not to be possessed of sufficient knowledge to give satisfaction! Harris returned, and set Smith to work at interpreting the Bible. He has at length performed the task, and the work is soon to be put to press in this village!! Its language and doctrines are said to be far superior to those of the Book of Life!!!

Now it appears not a little strange that there should have been deposited in this western world, and in the secluded town of Manchester, too, a record of this description, and still more so, that a person like Smith (very illiterate) should have been gifted by inspiration to read and interpret it. It should be recorded as a "new thing under the sun." It is certainly a "new thing" in the history of superstition, bigotry, inconsistency, and foolishness. -- It should, and it doubtless will, be treated with the neglect it merits. The public should not be imposed upon by this work, pronounced as it is, by its proselytes, to be superior in style, and more advantageous to mankind, than the Holy Bible!

The following, it is said, will be the title page of the work:

"The Book of Mormon: an account written by the hand of Mormon, upon plates taken from the plates of Nephi:

"Wherefore it is an abridgment of the record of the people of Nephi; and also of the Lamanites, written to the Lamanites, which are a remnant of the house of Israel; and also to Jew and Gentile; written by way the commandment, and also by the spirit of prophesy and of revelation; written, and sealed up, and hid up unto the Lord, that they might not be destroyed. -- to come forth by the gift and power of God; unto the interpretation thereof -- sealed by the hand of Moroni, and hid up unto the Lord, to come forth in due time by the way of Gentile -- the interpretation thereof by the gift of God: an abridgement taken from the Book of Ether.

"Also, which is a Record of the people of Jared, which were scattered at the time the Lord confounded the language of the people when they were building a tower to get to Heaven; -- which is to shew unto the remnant of the house of Israel how great things the Lord hath done for their fathers: -- and that they may know the covenants of the Lord, that they are not cast off forever; and also to the convincing of the Jew and Gentile that Jesus is the Christ, the Eternal God; manifesting himself unto all nations. And now if there be fault, it be the mistake of men; wherefore condemn not the things of God, that ye may be found spotless at the judgement seat of Christ. -- By JOSEPH SMITH, Junior, Author and Proprietor."

-------
Note: The above is thought to be a faithful reproduction of the text of the article appearing in Jonathan A. Hadley's Palmyra Freeman a few days before it was reprinted in the Aug. 27, 1829 issue of the Niagara Courier. A shortened version of the article was featured in the Aug. 31 issue of the Rochester Daily Advertiser and Telegraph. That edited version of the article was reprinted by Eber D. Howe in the Sep. 22, 1829 issue of his Painesville Telegraph...
http://www.sidneyrigdon.com/dbroadhu/New York ... htm#081129



UD

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-- the discovery never seems to stop --


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 Post subject: Re: Inviting More S/R Criticism...
PostPosted: Mon Aug 03, 2009 12:04 am 
God

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Thanks Dale! So then it would appear that if this is the first known account of the plate discovery that the first known account was not published by the Mormons themselves but by a newspaper. I don't see anything in this account that downplays the significance of the D/N parallels, do you?

I'm wondering what is the first official version given by Smith or published by the LDS?

Also of interest to me--apart from S/R--is the Anthon incident. I note that this newspaper account parallels Smith's earliest recorded version of Harris's visit to Anthon/Mitchill: (emphasis mine)

Quote:
So blindly enthusiastic was Harris, that he took some of the characters interpreted by Smith, and went in search of some one, besides the interpreter, who was learned enough to English them; but all to whom he applied (among the number was Professor Mitchell, of New York,) happened not to be possessed of sufficient knowledge to give satisfaction!


This parallels Smith's 1832 version of the Anthon incident but contradicts his 1838 account. It seems as though the story changed from Anthon & Mitchill not being able to translate the characters to Anthon proclaiming he'd never seen a better translation in his life!

But that's a side issue here. What I'm interested in at the moment is addressing Ben's caricature of what S/R holds as follows:

Quote:
He did so very early on - incorporating certain individual elements into his own discovery narratives a piece at a time, only pulling all of these individual pieces together, finally, in 1838, when he assumed that it was safe to do so.


So this is apparently what Ben thinks we think. But as usual, this is at best an oversimplification. I think it is more likely that MF had a D/N that was similar to what we see in the RS.

Now how could we prove that wrong? Well if the earliest D/N accounts have elements that greatly differ from the RS then that might suggest that the parallels we think we see between RS and the 1838 D/N are merely an illusion (like Ben wants us to believe)... no? I suppose it could also mean that Spalding changed his D/N from RS to MF, so differing details might not mean much. But, if I am not mistaken, the same elements are there throughout. The lever detail, I think, only came out in 1838... correct? I certainly don't see anything in the 1829 account you just posted that bolsters Ben's case, do you?

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"...a pious lie, you know, has a great deal more influence with an ignorant people than a profane one."

- Sidney Rigdon, as quoted in the Quincy Whig, June 8, 1839, vol 2 #6.


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 Post subject: Re: Inviting More S/R Criticism...
PostPosted: Mon Aug 03, 2009 12:28 am 
God
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Roger wrote:
...
I'm wondering what is the first official version given by Smith or published by the LDS?
...


You'll find hints of that in the published reports of preaching by the earliest Mormon missionaries.
More fragmentary data can be gleaned from the Independence Evening and Morning Star.
But what you are really looking for, is the history edited by Oliver Cowdery and serialized in
the Kirtland Messenger and Advocate.

http://centerplace.org/history/ems/default.htm
http://centerplace.org/history/ma/default.htm

UD

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 Post subject: Re: Inviting More S/R Criticism...
PostPosted: Mon Aug 03, 2009 1:51 am 
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Roger wrote:
I think it is more likely that MF had a D/N that was similar to what we see in the RS.

I know what "MF" is, but what do "D/N" and "RS" mean?

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 Post subject: Re: Inviting More S/R Criticism...
PostPosted: Mon Aug 03, 2009 2:02 am 
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Dr. Shades wrote:
Roger wrote:
I think it is more likely that MF had a D/N that was similar to what we see in the RS.

I know what "MF" is, but what do "D/N" and "RS" mean?


Discovery Narrative and Roman Story?


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 Post subject: Re: Inviting More S/R Criticism...
PostPosted: Mon Aug 03, 2009 2:12 am 
God

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Quote:
I know what "MF" is, but what do "D/N" and "RS" mean?


Alma b is correct. Sorry I'm lazy! I use Roman Story in leiu of Manuscript Story (as does Dale) because it tends to avoid the natural confusion resulting from the similarity of Manuscript Found and Manuscript Story. The D/N's in comparison are the one found in the RS and Smith's 1838 D/N.

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"...a pious lie, you know, has a great deal more influence with an ignorant people than a profane one."

- Sidney Rigdon, as quoted in the Quincy Whig, June 8, 1839, vol 2 #6.


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