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 Post subject: Re: Don Bradley’s Kinderhook Bomb
PostPosted: Sun Aug 07, 2011 2:13 pm 
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onandagus wrote:
Doctor Scratch wrote:
Don,

In your opinion, what was the nature of Joseph Smith's interpretation of the character from the GAEL? I.e., did he receive this knowledge via revelation?


Hi Scratch,

Do you mean the GAEL definition itself?


Yes, that's what I mean. Did he come by that definition via revelation, or some other means, in your view?


Quote:
I'm still open on exactly what the GAEL is. My strong suspicion is that it was created for multiple purposes.

Get back with me on this one in a few years.... ;-)

by the way, regarding Joseph's KP translation as revelatory or nonrevelatory, see my response to Aristotle's interesting question on the other thread.

Don


Yeah, I saw that. But if both "translations"--i.e., the GAEL and the Kinderhook symbol--are coming from the same place--whether that be revelation, pure invention, or something else entirely--I'm not sure how/why it matters.

I get that believers want critics to acknowledge that Joseph Smith didn't pray over the Kinderhook Plates and ask God to help him translate them, and I have no problem conceding that point. Based on the evidence, it doesn't appear that he did that. After all, as your research helpfully points out, he wouldn't have needed to do that if he'd already received revelation (or whatever) for the familiar symbol.

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 Post subject: Re: Don Bradley’s Kinderhook Bomb
PostPosted: Sun Aug 07, 2011 2:15 pm 
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onandagus wrote:
Jon,

Yes.

This will be sooo much clearer when the video is up.

Don


I can't wait. But in the meantime, is the GAEL available online and can you tell us what character you are referring to if it is?


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 Post subject: Re: Don Bradley’s Kinderhook Bomb
PostPosted: Sun Aug 07, 2011 2:57 pm 
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I am not sure I understand the argument that Don's presentation destroys the "strong" critical argument against Joseph Smith based on the Kinderhook Plates translation. Don presents the "strong" critical argument as, essentially, "a true prophet would not be fooled into translating bogus plates." But I am not sure I follow the logical chain from "Joseph used the GAEL to 'translate' the KP" to "the KP translation therefore has no bearing on whether Joseph Smith was a fraud." Leaving aside the question of whether Don accurately presents the "strong" critical argument, and taking it at face value, I still don't see the significance of the finding about the character comparison (although I do find it interesting). Here's a summary of what we know:

1. The Kinderhook Plates were not ancient; they were a 19th-century creation.
2. The KP contained made-up characters that do not comport with any known actual language.
3. William Clayton says that Joseph Smith attempted to translate the characters and that he produced a partial translation, in which Joseph Smith said the KP were about the fellow with whom they were found and that "He was a descendant of Ham, through the loins of Pharaoh, King of Egypt, and that he received his Kingdom from the ruler of heaven and earth."
4. Don's presentation confirms that William Clayton was telling the truth, and that Joseph Smith actually did attempt a translation, and that this is what Joseph said the plates were about.
5. The translation Joseph produced was about the purportedly ancient skeleton with whom the KP were allegedly buried anciently and recently uncovered.
6. Because the characters on the KP were just gobbledygook, no "secular" translation was possible.
7. If Joseph Smith attempted a secular translation, he would have failed; he would be unable to produce anything other than gobbledygook. Any resulting English text would necessarily be fraudulent. That is, there is no way he could get the story about the "descendant of Ham" through a secular translation.
8. If Joseph Smith used revelation to translate the KP, he would have known that it was a hoax. That he produced a translation, again, shows that he was engaged in the act of deceiving his followers into believing he had the "gift" of translation. Whether he used "secular" means (i.e., consulting a lexicon, even a bogus one like the GAEL) or "revelatory" means to adduce the translation, the conclusion is the same: he pretended to translate something he could not, and he gave a translation that did not match what was on the plates. There is one out, I suppose: God could be a trickster, like Loki, or something along those lines.

The two principal foundations of the critical argument with respect to the KP are these: (1) Joseph Smith attempted a translation and what he produced was bogus, which shows he was a fraud; and (2) Joseph was tricked, did not have the spirit of discernment one would expect from a Prophet who speaks face to face with Jesus (as he claimed), etc. and this casts doubt on his prophetic claims (likewise, the church leaders who followed him who believed in and proclaimed the authenticity of the plates for over a century.

It seems Don solidified the critical arguments and severely weakened the chief apologetic argument, which has been in recent years that Clayton's account could not be trusted. As long as it was plausible that Joseph Smith did not actually say that the KP were about the descendant of Ham, etc., the apologist could maintain that Smith was not necessarily fooled by the hoax. But even a "secular" translation shows that Smith was engaged in fraud in deception.

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Last edited by Equality on Sun Aug 07, 2011 3:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Don Bradley’s Kinderhook Bomb
PostPosted: Sun Aug 07, 2011 3:06 pm 
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So does the single character that's the same in GAEL and the KP mean this:
" he was a descendant of Ham through the loins of Pharaoh king of Egypt, and that he received his kingdom from the ruler of heaven and earth."

?

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 Post subject: Re: Don Bradley’s Kinderhook Bomb
PostPosted: Sun Aug 07, 2011 3:38 pm 
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Wilbur Fugate claimed to have taken the KP letters froma Chinese Tea box. A Chinese fellow wrote me once and said many of the characters do match up with common Chinese names like 'tree'.

I suspect Fugate used some of the Chinese characters from the tea box and then modified some of the others.

Having one character from the KP match one from the GAEL sounds like mere coincidence.

I once examined the Anthon Manuscript against the Kinderhook Plates and also found that at least one charcter was an exact match. I mentioned it to Grant Palmer who dismissed it as a coincidence. I agreed.


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 Post subject: Re: Don Bradley’s Kinderhook Bomb
PostPosted: Sun Aug 07, 2011 4:01 pm 
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Are the apologists at FAIR and NMI now in day three of wiping the egg off of their face for having for years doubted even disparaged Clayton and the accuracy of his journal entry, Clayton a confidante and scribe trusted by Joseph Smith, Jr.?

Is the silence by those apologists as thundering and deafening to other as it is to me?

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 Post subject: Re: Don Bradley’s Kinderhook Bomb
PostPosted: Sun Aug 07, 2011 4:03 pm 
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Does Don's thesis suppose that the GAEL was not inspired by God and was an 'off the plan' endeavor to which Joseph Smith, Jr. and his scribes spent countless hours while living off of the contributions of hard labouring Saints?

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 Post subject: Re: Don Bradley’s Kinderhook Bomb
PostPosted: Sun Aug 07, 2011 8:23 pm 
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Equality,

Chris Smith has given an honest and accurate summary of the critical based on the KP and how this affects it on the "secular translation" thread:

Quote:
The traditional "anti-Mormon" objection to the KP incident has been that if Joseph translated a portion of the KP by revelation, then the "revelation" was based on the false premise that the KP were authentic. Don's paper successfully resolves this problem by showing that no revelation was involved in the translation of the plates.


Chris also notes that this KP find has implications for the Book of Abraham discussions. I agree. But it would be disingenuous to insist on the implications this has for the Book of Abraham discussion without acknowledging that it effectively disarms Joseph Smith's translation of the Kinderhook plates as itself a point of criticism. Chris, to his great credit, is the first nonbeliever in Mormonism to acknowledge that.

Don

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 Post subject: Re: Don Bradley’s Kinderhook Bomb
PostPosted: Sun Aug 07, 2011 8:31 pm 
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onandagus wrote:
Equality,

Chris Smith has given an honest and accurate summary of the critical based on the KP and how this affects it on the "secular translation" thread:

Quote:
The traditional "anti-Mormon" objection to the KP incident has been that if Joseph translated a portion of the KP by revelation, then the "revelation" was based on the false premise that the KP were authentic. Don's paper successfully resolves this problem by showing that no revelation was involved in the translation of the plates.


Chris also notes that this KP find has implications for the Book of Abraham discussions. I agree. But it would be disingenuous to insist on the implications this has for the Book of Abraham discussion without acknowledging that it effectively disarms Joseph Smith's translation of the Kinderhook plates as itself a point of criticism. Chris, to his great credit, is the first nonbeliever in Mormonism to acknowledge that.

Don

Are the fruits of revelation only the illogical, unnatural? If it is logical or explainable, then it must be without prophetic involvement?

How does use of the GAEL take God out of the equation that Joseph Smith, Jr. was using when he pronounced the KP to be about Zelph?

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 Post subject: Re: Don Bradley’s Kinderhook Bomb
PostPosted: Sun Aug 07, 2011 8:45 pm 
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onandagus wrote:
Equality,

Chris Smith has given an honest and accurate summary of the critical based on the KP and how this affects it on the "secular translation" thread:

Quote:
The traditional "anti-Mormon" objection to the KP incident has been that if Joseph translated a portion of the KP by revelation, then the "revelation" was based on the false premise that the KP were authentic. Don's paper successfully resolves this problem by showing that no revelation was involved in the translation of the plates.


Chris also notes that this KP find has implications for the Book of Abraham discussions. I agree. But it would be disingenuous to insist on the implications this has for the Book of Abraham discussion without acknowledging that it effectively disarms Joseph Smith's translation of the Kinderhook plates as itself a point of criticism. Chris, to his great credit, is the first nonbeliever in Mormonism to acknowledge that.

Don


It would weaken the criticism but to say it disarms it completely is going too far. It isn't necessary to contend that Joseph Smith claimed to make a revelatory translation to throw doubt on Joseph Smith's credibility, and to focus on this strong form of the criticism misses the fact that you can't do a translation of bogus plates, secular or revelatory.

However, the claim that this translation may have come from a single character may make his mistake more understandable. We are moving away from fraud to mere incompetence. But he is still boldly making a claim to have translated something he had no ability to translate. It still would mean that he displayed a false sense of confidence that would only strengthen the perception of his authoritativeness among his followers. It still throws a bad light on the "prophet" to be sure. Where was his sense of discernment? How could he not realize, if he had any special relationship to God at all, that this was a fraud?

But that doesn't lessen the significance of your claim, if proven true. I concur that this would be a game changer. It significantly changes how apologists will defend the KP and how critics will evaluate the episode as well. But before I'm willing to say that the game has changed, I would like to see the evidence.


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 Post subject: Re: Don Bradley’s Kinderhook Bomb
PostPosted: Sun Aug 07, 2011 9:35 pm 
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Dad of a Mormon wrote:

It would weaken the criticism but to say it disarms it completely is going too far. It isn't necessary to contend that Joseph Smith claimed to make a revelatory translation to throw doubt on Joseph Smith's credibility, and to focus on this strong form of the criticism misses the fact that you can't do a translation of bogus plates, secular or revelatory.

However, the claim that this translation may have come from a single character may make his mistake more understandable. We are moving away from fraud to mere incompetence. But he is still boldly making a claim to have translated something he had no ability to translate. It still would mean that he displayed a false sense of confidence that would only strengthen the perception of his authoritativeness among his followers. It still throws a bad light on the "prophet" to be sure. Where was his sense of discernment? How could he not realize, if he had any special relationship to God at all, that this was a fraud?

But that doesn't lessen the significance of your claim, if proven true. I concur that this would be a game changer. It significantly changes how apologists will defend the KP and how critics will evaluate the episode as well. But before I'm willing to say that the game has changed, I would like to see the evidence.


This is basically the point I was trying to make. Smith was engaged in fraud and deception with respect to the KP whether his purported "translation" resulted from his consultation of a bogus lexicon or from a direct revelation from God. What's the difference? That's the question I would like to see answered. So far, I don't think Chris or Don have really addressed that particular point. I do think this is an interesting topic and certainly congratulate Don on a provocative presentation (from the secondhand accounts; I haven't yet seen it myself).

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 Post subject: Re: Don Bradley’s Kinderhook Bomb
PostPosted: Sun Aug 07, 2011 10:10 pm 
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Dad of a Mormon wrote:
However, the claim that this translation may have come from a single character may make his mistake more understandable. We are moving away from fraud to mere incompetence. But he is still boldly making a claim to have translated something he had no ability to translate. It still would mean that he displayed a false sense of confidence that would only strengthen the perception of his authoritativeness among his followers. It still throws a bad light on the "prophet" to be sure. Where was his sense of discernment? How could he not realize, if he had any special relationship to God at all, that this was a fraud?

But that doesn't lessen the significance of your claim, if proven true. I concur that this would be a game changer. It significantly changes how apologists will defend the KP and how critics will evaluate the episode as well. But before I'm willing to say that the game has changed, I would like to see the evidence.


I appreciate that, Dad of a Mormon. I hope the video and transcript are up for you asap.

Don

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 Post subject: Re: Don Bradley’s Kinderhook Bomb
PostPosted: Sun Aug 07, 2011 10:18 pm 
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Equality wrote:
This is basically the point I was trying to make. Smith was engaged in fraud and deception with respect to the KP whether his purported "translation" resulted from his consultation of a bogus lexicon or from a direct revelation from God. What's the difference?


The difference is that the new argument you offer above looks at Joseph Smith's Kinderhook plates translation as part of a pattern of fraud, rather than using it as primary evidence of the alleged fraud, which is what the old project does. In other words, if one doesn't already hold with you that Joseph Smith is a fraud, one can't conclude it merely from his application of the GAEL to the Kinderhook plates. The old argument could extrapolate from the premise of translation of fake plates to the conclusion that Joseph Smith was a false prophet: "Only a bogus prophet translates bogus plates." Your new argument extrapolates from the premise that Joseph Smith was a false prophet to the conclusion that his attempt to translate from the Kinderhook plates was fraudulent.

Quote:
I do think this is an interesting topic and certainly congratulate Don on a provocative presentation (from the secondhand accounts; I haven't yet seen it myself).


Why thanks!

Don

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 Post subject: Re: Don Bradley’s Kinderhook Bomb
PostPosted: Sun Aug 07, 2011 10:49 pm 
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Equality wrote:
This is basically the point I was trying to make. Smith was engaged in fraud and deception with respect to the KP whether his purported "translation" resulted from his consultation of a bogus lexicon or from a direct revelation from God. What's the difference? That's the question I would like to see answered. So far, I don't think Chris or Don have really addressed that particular point. I do think this is an interesting topic and certainly congratulate Don on a provocative presentation (from the secondhand accounts; I haven't yet seen it myself).


The difference is that it wouldn't have been fraud and deception. If Joseph Smith had reason to think that he did a partial translation, then it wasn't fraud or deception. I might quibble with whether a single character can reasonably called a "portion", but he may have thought that he really did translate something.

I still think that you can rightly criticize his lack of competence and discernment, but those are different problems than fraud and deception.


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 Post subject: Re: Don Bradley’s Kinderhook Bomb
PostPosted: Mon Aug 08, 2011 1:18 am 
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Don,

Did you cover off the other possibility in your presentation?

The one where the KP characters were used to complete the GAEL.
The reverse of Joseph using the Gael to understand the KP.

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 Post subject: Re: Don Bradley’s Kinderhook Bomb
PostPosted: Mon Aug 08, 2011 2:24 am 
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It seems that the crucial new evidence is an eyewitness of Smith consulting the GAEL. That raises a few
questions. Is the account dated? Is there evidence that Smith linked the exact character from the GAEL to the KP? (besides modern visual observation) How does Charlotte Haven’s account fit in to all this? Who is this witness, and were they there at the time? Is there any way we can see a reference quote to this witness?

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 Post subject: Re: Don Bradley’s Kinderhook Bomb
PostPosted: Mon Aug 08, 2011 5:44 am 
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Dad of a Mormon wrote:
However, the claim that this translation may have come from a single character may make his mistake more understandable. We are moving away from fraud to mere incompetence.

I'll disagree. If only one character is supposedly understood, how then does a very specific translation involving the descendant of Ham come from that one character? Regarding the lack of divine intervention, how does one prove he didn't use his seer stones to make the translation? If there was no account of using seer stones, does this qualify as proof he didn't use them? If he didn't use the seer stones or consulted God, why wouldn't he? If one accepts divine intervention was used to translate the Book of Mormon and the papyrus to "translate" the Book of Abraham, wouldn't logic dictate that a prophet of God, who consulted with God, just ask God about it? Conversely, if Joseph Smith sent the plates off for authentication before a full translation was made, it would seem obvious that Joseph Smith, while believing the plates were authentic, needed an external human source to validate them. He needed this because he wasn't in control of the source as he was with both the BofM plates and the papyrus. When one factors in the Greek Psalter attempted translation, I fail to see how this moves away from fraud and sides with incompetence.

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 Post subject: Re: Don Bradley’s Kinderhook Bomb
PostPosted: Mon Aug 08, 2011 7:57 am 
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Simon Belmont wrote:
Analytics: why did you refer to it as a "bomb?" Are you trying to be a jerk?

I meant to imply that his work here is an explosive, seminal work that will change the nature of Kinderhook discussions.

On a different note, I do wonder if this whole "by revelation" vs. "by secular means" distinction is a false dichotomy. After all, the "by revelation" method explained in the D&C is to study it out in your own mind, take your best shot at making a translation, and if you don't get a stupor of thought, roll with what you came up with. There is a lot of overlap between that and a secular translation.

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 Post subject: Re: Don Bradley’s Kinderhook Bomb
PostPosted: Mon Aug 08, 2011 8:51 am 
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onandagus wrote:
Here's the gist:

The content Clayton says Joseph got from the Kinderhook plates can all be derived from a single character definition given in the GAEL. A character matching the one thus-defined is found at the top of one of the Kinderhook plates and is even arguably the most prominent character on the plates.

Joseph Smith could thus have derived the entire "translation" from the Kinderhook plates by a simple character match. And--in fact--I have an eyewitness account, written six days after the Clayton journal entry, in which someone sees Joseph comparing these characters and identifying a match, using the "Egyptian alphabet"--the GAEL.

Making a visual match of characters is not revelatory: it's something anyone can do. Thus Joseph's reported translation from the Kinderhook plates is not a revelatory one, but a visual and intellectual one.

I hope that's clearer.

Don


Thanks, that clears a lot up about Joseph's ability to "translate."

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 Post subject: Re: Don Bradley’s Kinderhook Bomb
PostPosted: Mon Aug 08, 2011 8:58 am 
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Dad of a Mormon wrote:
However, the claim that this translation may have come from a single character may make his mistake more understandable. We are moving away from fraud to mere incompetence.


Either way, it discredits his ability as a "translator" of ancient documents (real or forged).

Well, the real translation of the Book of Abraham facsimiles already did that, but this pounds another nail into the coffin.

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 Post subject: Re: Don Bradley’s Kinderhook Bomb
PostPosted: Mon Aug 08, 2011 9:36 am 
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Analytics wrote:
On a different note, I do wonder if this whole "by revelation" vs. "by secular means" distinction is a false dichotomy. After all, the "by revelation" method explained in the D&C is to study it out in your own mind, take your best shot at making a translation, and if you don't get a stupor of thought, roll with what you came up with. There is a lot of overlap between that and a secular translation.


I think this is a major problem too. The apologists are wanting to have it both ways on this.

For years critics have been pointing out all of the ways that the Book of Mormon and the Book of Abraham cannot be translations. Apologists will usually accept some of the criticisms but still proclaim that it is inspired of God in some vague sense.

But, now the apologists now want to assert with 100% certainty that there is no revelation involved. Well, if the apologists wanted to insert some inspiration in the back door to account for the BofM and the BofA being of God, critics are entitled to also call the KP translation inspired in some vague sense as well.


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