Wayment on "borrowing" in the JST

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Dr Moore
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Wayment on "borrowing" in the JST

Post by Dr Moore »

In view of the upcoming Wayment article, which the church already acknowledges and tacitly embraces by virtue of linking to its abstract here, I am curious about how the church will treat the first part of the 8th article of faith.

“We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly...”

Surely Smith meant to incorporate his Bible translation in this statement.

Remember, this AoF is canonical scripture. Every child in church learns it. Is it not fair to suggest a rewrite AoF8 as “we believe Adam Clarke’s interpretation of the bible to be the word of God”?

It sure opens up a lot of possibilities, including a speculative notion that some parts of the PoGP should be decanonized.
Last edited by Dr Moore on Fri Jul 10, 2020 3:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Wayment, the JST and AOF8

Post by Dr Moore »

How might the church react to calls for “decanonization of plagiarization”?

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Re: Wayment, the JST and AOF8

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Scholars long dismissed Cicero’s philosophy because it was derivative of Greek thought. In more recent times, other scholars have become bored with the obsession with absolute originality, especially after it was found that philosophers such as even the great Plato were borrowing liberally from others. Mormonism is a system that, Givens has noted, is a bricolage.

Now, we can dismiss a bricolage as something that is just cobbled together from other sources and later passed off as original or tarted up in snooty academicese, but it is a case, I would submit, of the whole being greater than the sum of its parts. That greater whole is the genius of the one who makes the bricolage, i.e., the bricoleur, or, the believer might call it divine revelation.

Plagiarism is what a person with no ideas does. Art is skillful theft sanctified by genius. Individual parts of Joseph Smith’s career may look like plagiarism, but step back and examine the whole, and the art becomes visible.

Art, of course, is a matter of taste. Andy Warhol appropriated Campbell’s soup cans and filmed the Empire State Building for hours. Unimaginative? Genius? Art? Trash? I say art, but many disagree.
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Re: Wayment, the JST and AOF8

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You have a marvelous way with words, as always, reverend. Respectfully, Warhol and Plato are not canonized as having delivered the word of God.

By my limited reading, canonization was decided by ecclesiastical leaders and a church vote. Scholars had no say in the matter, correct?

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Re: Wayment, the JST and AOF8

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It sure opens up a lot of possibilities, including a speculative notion that some parts of the PoGP should be decanonized.


Care to elaborate on that one?
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Re: Wayment, the JST and AOF8

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There are hundreds of "revelations" Smith received that are not canonized, neither is the JST. I do not see how the impact of Wayment's future article will spill over into a re-evaluation of the the AoF#8.

That said, the entire book which contains Wayment's article promises to have break new ground on how Joseph Smith produced scripture. I think the chapters on the Book of Abraham may be even more controversial for believers than those on the JST. Here is a list of the chapters in the forthcoming Producing Ancient Scripture: Joseph Smith's Translation Projects in the Development of Mormon Christianity
I do have the say the price on this book is ridiculous. $70.00 for a hardcover?

Mormon Canon of Scripture Short Citations to the Joseph Smith Papers Contributors

1. Introduction Michael Hubbard MacKay, Mark Ashurst-McGee, and Brian M. Hauglid.

PART I: CONTEXT AND COMMENCEMENT

2.“By the Gift and Power of God”:Translation among the Gifts of the Spirit Christopher James Blythe
3.“Bringing Forth” the Book of Mormon:Translation as the Reconfiguration of Bodies in Space-Time Jared Hickman
4. Performing the Translation: Character Transcripts and Joseph Smith’s
Earliest Translating Practices Michael Hubbard MacKay
5. Reconfiguring the Archive: Women and the Social Production of the Book of Mormon Amy Easton-Flake and Rachel Cope

PART II: TRANSLATING THE BOOK OF Mormon

6. Seeing the Voice of God: The Book of Mormon on Its Own Translation Samuel Morris Brown
7. Joseph Smith, Helen Schucman, and the Experience of Producing a Spiritual Text: Comparing the Translating of the Book of Mormon and the Scribing of A Course in Miracles Ann Taves
8. Nephi’s Project:The Gold Plates as Book History Richard Lyman Bushman
9. Ancient Plates and Modern Commandments: The Book of Mormon in
Comparison with Joseph Smith’s Other Revelations Grant Hardy

PART III: TRANSLATING THE KING JAMES BIBLE

10. The Tarrying of the Beloved Disciple: The Textual Formation of the Account of John David W. Grua and William V. Smith
11. A Recovered Resource:The Use of Adam Clarke’s Bible Commentary in Joseph Smith’s Bible Translation Thomas A. Wayment and Haley Wilson-Lemmon
12. Lost Scripture and “the Interpolations of Men”:Joseph Smith’s
Revelation on the Apocrypha Gerrit Dirkmaat
13. Translation, Revelation, and the Hermeneutics of Theological Innovation: Joseph Smith and the Record of John Nicholas J. Frederick

PART IV: PURE LANGUAGE, THE BOOK OF ABRAHAM, AND THE KINDERHOOK PLATES.

14.“Eternal Wisdom Engraven upon the Heavens”: Joseph Smith’s Pure Language Project David Golding
15. “Translating an Alphabet to the Book of Abraham”: Joseph Smith’s Study of the Egyptian Language and His Translation of the Book of Abraham Brian M. Hauglid
16. Approaching Egyptian Papyri through Biblical Language:Joseph Smith’s Use of Hebrew in His Translation of the Book of Abraham Matthew J. Grey
17. “President Joseph has Translated a Portion”:Joseph Smith and the Mistranslation of the Kinderhook Plates Don Bradley and Mark Ashurst-McGee
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Re: Wayment, the JST and AOF8

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Dr Moore wrote:You have a marvelous way with words, as always, reverend. Respectfully, Warhol and Plato are not canonized as having delivered the word of God.

By my limited reading, canonization was decided by ecclesiastical leaders and a church vote. Scholars had no say in the matter, correct?


Point taken, but the art of religion depends in the first instance on whether the product is sufficiently compelling to gain adherents, not on a formal process of canonization. There was no Mormon canon when missionaries sold Books of Mormon on the American frontier. The book was, instead, enough of a hit with a sufficient number of people to build a core following.

I don’t see that as being all too different from other forms of art. Plato is not the foundation of Western philosophy just because he had great ideas. He also had wicked literary skills that heroized Socrates.

You are correct, of course, in saying that the LDS Church has the power to add or remove texts from the canon. Personally, I would hope that they not go this route, as it seems to me that rejecting the borrowing ideas from other sources would leave us with very little of worth in any canon to hold onto (including the Bible).
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Re: Wayment, the JST and AOF8

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Kishkumen wrote:Point taken, but the art of religion depends in the first instance on whether the product is sufficiently compelling to gain adherents, not on a formal process of canonization. There was no Mormon canon when missionaries sold Books of Mormon on the American frontier. The book was, instead, enough of a hit with a sufficient number of people to build a core following. ... Personally, I would hope that they not go this route, as it seems to me that rejecting the borrowing ideas from other sources would leave us with very little of worth in any canon to hold onto (including the Bible).


Good reminder. While I appreciate the scrappy beginnings may appear in hindsight more artful than hardened religious doctrine, those missionaries believed -- with all of their heart, family, time, resources and money -- that they carried the word of God, restored and translated by a prophet.

I wonder how many of those missionaries would have left their families for years at a time had they been given a choice to assess Smith's revelations in context as prayerfully considered bricolage, not revealing or restoring, as he claimed and as they believed, the hitherto hidden mind of God?

And furthermore, how many of the Saints would have voted to ratify, eg, JST Matthew or AofF#8 into the canon of scripture, after being shown the plagiarized sections from other sources and given a choice to judge whether Joseph was what he claimed: a restorer, or something different: an inspired bricoleur?

Missionaries and saints may have been blessed for their faith in action, but the same can be said of ANY high-demand, fundamentalist system in which people dedicate their hearts and minds to a cause.

It isn't my fault I was born into Mormonism. It's just a fact.

It isn't my fault that Mormon leaders lied about its origins and sources. It's just a fact.

I don't want my community to die, or even to leave it. I just want the lying to stop.

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Re: Wayment, the JST and AOF8

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Dr Moore wrote:Good reminder. While I appreciate the scrappy beginnings may appear in hindsight more artful than hardened religious doctrine, those missionaries believed -- with all of their heart, family, time, resources and money -- that they carried the word of God, restored and translated by a prophet.

I wonder how many of those missionaries would have left their families for years at a time had they been given a choice to assess Smith's revelations in context as prayerfully considered bricolage, not revealing or restoring, as he claimed and as they believed, the hitherto hidden mind of God?

And furthermore, how many of the Saints would have voted to ratify, eg, JST Matthew or AofF#8 into the canon of scripture, after being shown the plagiarized sections from other sources and given a choice to judge whether Joseph was what he claimed: a restorer, or something different: an inspired bricoleur?

Missionaries and saints may have been blessed for their faith in action, but the same can be said of ANY high-demand, fundamentalist system in which people dedicate their hearts and minds to a cause.

It isn't my fault I was born into Mormonism. It's just a fact.

It isn't my fault that Mormon leaders lied about its origins and sources. It's just a fact.

I don't want my community to die, or even to leave it. I just want the lying to stop.


I understand the anger because I have spent a great deal of time there. So, I am not trying to make downplay the importance of your feelings about all of this. It is a huge shock to find out that all is not as one thought. It is a huge letdown to realize that there were people who knew and actively tried to hide the problems. The anger is justified and the process is worth it, although it is not always pleasant.

That said, I am not exactly there anymore. Where I am is no place superior to where you are. Perhaps it is just tired and jaded. Some time ago I consciously decided to put things in a different perspective, and it works for me in the place I am at. What is that perspective?

For one thing, I do not see a stark difference between a restorer and a bricoleur. More importantly, over time I have quit demanding so much from Joseph Smith. Here I might be somewhat idiosyncratic in my approach. Mormonism is a system in my view, and it could have come about many different ways. Joseph Smith was kind of a megalomaniac and narcissist, so his way of putting things together was to make himself the hero of the story.

It worked pretty well, and to this day lots of people put a lot of stock in Joseph Smith the person. Brigham Young, who knew him fairly well, seems to have had a somewhat more realistic perspective. He liked the system and made it work for himself.

To be continued....
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Re: Wayment, the JST and AOF8

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Brigham also didn’t trust Joseph in every respect. I think he knew Joe was a rogue. Brigham Young was too, in his own way.

I don’t connect emotionally with the leaders so much, the early ones or the current LDS leaders. I connect with my own experience, my family, and my friends. I don’t feel like the good things we have done and experienced were a fraud, even if Joseph Smith was a fraud of some kind. We may not be heading to godhood, but we did good here and there.

I am happy that the facts are coming out, and, as for me and my family, we will ever pay tithing again. But I am Mormon. I am coming to terms being who I am, holding on to the good of my LDS experience, and just dropping the LDS Church. At this point, I see it as almost a caricature of itself—and that is really saying something.

To me there is a point where it is all too much. I have a hard time doing it in good conscience, let alone encouraging others to do it. I still love my friends and family who do, and I am far from hating Mormonism or Mormons, but there is too much about the LDS Church that I personally find ludicrous or offensive to maintain any commitment to it. The November Policy was the final straw, and I should be ashamed, perhaps, that I did not wake up enough to stop before that.

Since I decided I was totally done, the trickle of gaffes and boners, as Scratch likes to call the, has been steady, confirming to me, as I gasp or guffaw over the latest thing, that I really did do the right thing for me. In other ways it’s a real shame, but damn they make it easy for me to stay out.
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“He says he has eyes to see things that are not . . . and that the angel of the Lord . . . has put him in possession of great wealth, gold, silver, precious stones.” ~ Jesse Smith

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Re: Wayment, the JST and AOF8

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Dr. Moore
By my limited reading, canonization was decided by ecclesiastical leaders and a church vote. Scholars had no say in the matter, correct?


When I was reading heavily in the Early Christian Church Fathers and Apologists, I discovered it was exactly backwards from what you are saying. The church and priesthood had nothing to do with the canon, it was all the scholars and politicians. There was not a single revelation to guide them in how to do it. It was all guess work and bias about what one already believed as to determine what one let into the canon.

Granted, I am way back in the early Christian era, but the Bible canon did start there, and I have no reason to accept their selection. It hasn't been solved to this very day/ Some outstanding texts on this are:

1. Dennis R. MacDonald, "Two Shipwrecked Gospels, The Logoi of Jesus and Papias's Exposition of Logia About the Lord,"
2. Peter W. Flint, "The Bible at Qumran, Text, Shape, and Interpretation."
3. James E. Brenneman, "Canons in Conflict, Negotiating Texts in True and False Prophecy."
4. Lee Martin McDonald, James A. Sanders, "The Canon Debate."
5. Bart D. Ehrman, "Lost Scriptures, Books That Did Not Make it into the New Testament."
6. Jason D. BeDuhn, "The First New Testament, Marcion's Scriptural Canon."
7. Thomas L. Brodie, "The Birthing of the New Testament."
8. John Barton, "Holy Writings, Sacred Text, The Canon in Early Christianity."
9. Willis Barnstone, "The Other Bible."
10. Willis Barnstone, "The Gnostic Bible."
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Re: Wayment, the JST and AOF8

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All true Philo, and excellent research as always by the way. And yet... I believe we are describing two sides of the same coin.

The LDS narrative revolves around an idea that it was the conspiring scholars who removed those plain and precious truths from the Bible. Only a true prophet can restore them. Only the words from a true prophet are worthy of canonization, which is why we must caveat belief in the Bible with a proviso: “as far as it is translated correctly.”

So back to the dilemma. LDS canonical authority, and indeed priesthood authority itself, relies on Joseph being a restorationist prophet in the purest sense. But...but... Scholars who study the details find that simplicity impossible to uphold. Some of them, like Givens, are bold enough to call Joseph’s prophetic revelations what they are: bricolage, or for those of us in less literarily advanced departments, for whom a cruder description feels more at home, artful plagiarization.

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Re: Wayment, the JST and AOF8

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Actually, I believe the plan is to update article faith 7 instead.
It will read, “We believe in the gift of tongues, prophecy, revelation, visions, healing, interpretation of tongues, plagiarism, &c and so forth.
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Re: Wayment, the JST and AOF8

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Dr Moorse
The LDS narrative revolves around an idea that it was the conspiring scholars who removed those plain and precious truths from the Bible.


I have no reason to accept that hypothesis of the church. :biggrin: But I see where they take it. They imagine it helps them out, but as you are pointing out, if they don't get eaten by lions, they get drowned, twisted, slashed, and consumed by the crocodiles.
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Re: Wayment, the JST and AOF8

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So back to the dilemma. LDS canonical authority, and indeed priesthood authority itself, relies on Joseph being a restorationist prophet in the purest sense. But...but... Scholars who study the details find that simplicity impossible to uphold. Some of them, like Givens, are bold enough to call Joseph’s prophetic revelations what they are: bricolage, or for those of us in less literarily advanced departments, for whom a cruder description feels more at home, artful plagiarization.


You are correct, Dr. Moore. It is quite a pickle. Traditional understandings of who Smith was and what he was doing do not hold up. Once that credibility is so severely challenged or altogether destroyed, what happens then? Well, we see that most people who encounter and understand the full import of this information leave the LDS Church or at the very least go inactive and stop giving the Church their money. Those with believing spouses may be stuck attending and paying tithing.

That is the short term prognosis. The future looks potentially bleak. The Church will continue to draw in people who don’t know the facts that put the lie to the myth the missionaries sell. Anyone who looks on the internet for information on Mormonism is unlikely to join once they find the fuller story. Enthusiasm among members will decrease over time and the LDS Church will decline in numbers and influence. How it will then use its monetary resources will be interesting to see.

Will the LDS Church become more like the CoC? Will the scriptural forgeries become deutero-canonical, lacking the status of the Bible?

Although, let’s be honest, the Bible is essentially footnotes to Near Eastern myth with characters (in its early books especially) who have about as much factual meat as Odysseus. And let’s not start on Jesus, whoever he may have been, and his fanboy Paul, who never even met Elvis before he left the building but saw him in vision only.

The saving graces of the Bible are its antiquity and unfamiliarity. Paul may be lying, but who can test him on that? That letter may be a forgery (or half of them or more may be), but there will always be millions of people who will take them at face value. Too bad (or thank goodness) Mormonism was founded in an age of print and higher literacy. Smith could only get away with his whoppers for so long. Now that this time has ended, revision is a necessity. Revision will be painful.
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Re: Wayment, the JST and AOF8

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This has been a great thread so far for me as Dr. Moore's complaints hit home and the Reverend's responses have been enlightening. Divorce from the church has been difficult for me just as realizing a lying spouse is toxic and leaving is the only alternative. There is perspective once one is away from the continual lying spouse. The lies are seen for what they are. One begins to realize that the lies aren't tied any more to individual worth and that one can live a good life without the constant control and manipulation the lying spouse uses.

So, I think it's wonderful Joseph Smith's lies are being exposed to a wider audience. The truth needs to come out and we all need to go through what our Reverend Kishkumen so eloquently described above. Life is better without having my identity so tied to unsupported "truth" claims.
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Re: Wayment, the JST and AOF8

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Philo Sofee wrote:When I was reading heavily in the Early Christian Church Fathers and Apologists, I discovered it was exactly backwards from what you are saying. The church and priesthood had nothing to do with the canon, it was all the scholars and politicians. There was not a single revelation to guide them in how to do it. It was all guess work and bias about what one already believed as to determine what one let into the canon.

Granted, I am way back in the early Christian era, but the Bible canon did start there, and I have no reason to accept their selection. It hasn't been solved to this very day/ Some outstanding texts on this are:

1. Dennis R. MacDonald, "Two Shipwrecked Gospels, The Logoi of Jesus and Papias's Exposition of Logia About the Lord,"
2. Peter W. Flint, "The Bible at Qumran, Text, Shape, and Interpretation."
3. James E. Brenneman, "Canons in Conflict, Negotiating Texts in True and False Prophecy."
4. Lee Martin McDonald, James A. Sanders, "The Canon Debate."
5. Bart D. Ehrman, "Lost Scriptures, Books That Did Not Make it into the New Testament."
6. Jason D. BeDuhn, "The First New Testament, Marcion's Scriptural Canon."
7. Thomas L. Brodie, "The Birthing of the New Testament."
8. John Barton, "Holy Writings, Sacred Text, The Canon in Early Christianity."
9. Willis Barnstone, "The Other Bible."
10. Willis Barnstone, "The Gnostic Bible."


Textual analysis had a lot to do with the decision regarding what to put in the canon. Good old philology. It later kept Hermes Trismegistus out of the canonized company of saints. The Book of Mormon would have never been entertained as a remote possibility. None of Joseph Smith’s scriptures would have been. Of course, there are always those willing to entertain things they like for whatever reason.
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“He says he has eyes to see things that are not . . . and that the angel of the Lord . . . has put him in possession of great wealth, gold, silver, precious stones.” ~ Jesse Smith

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Re: Wayment, the JST and AOF8

Post by kairos »

Checking out the Wayment essay with the table of
contents in the upcoming book leads me to
believe that the average chapel Mormon,e.g. the Parowan widow will
never be exposed to the Wayment article simply becaude
it would be "hidden" amongst 450 pages of "intellectual/scholarly" BS.
Why Wayment decided not to write his own book I can only imagine- even a lengthy stand alone essay in DIALOGUE would have been sufficient to garner a significant audience and scare the garments off the bruuutheeerrn! Remember the Lester Bush article on blacks and the
Priesthood in Dislogue? Still a very readable and the premier piece on the subject.
And can/ will chapel Mormons including the famous Parowan widow will
fork over $75 for the upcoming book?
Something tells me Wayment was pressured to put his work in the upcoming book- perhaps his job would be in jeopardy
if he went on his own.

Just postulatin'
k

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Re: Wayment, the JST and AOF8

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I don’t doubt that the information is being parceled out in opaque dollops to minimize the damage. There is no question that is true.
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“He says he has eyes to see things that are not . . . and that the angel of the Lord . . . has put him in possession of great wealth, gold, silver, precious stones.” ~ Jesse Smith

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Re: Wayment, the JST and AOF8

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kairos wrote:Checking out the Wayment essay with the table of
contents in the upcoming book leads me to
believe that the average chapel Mormon,e.g. the Parowan widow will
never be exposed to the Wayment article simply becaude
it would be "hidden" amongst 450 pages of "intellectual/scholarly" BS.
Why Wayment decided not to write his own book I can only imagine- even a lengthy stand alone essay in DIALOGUE would have been sufficient to garner a significant audience and scare the garments off the bruuutheeerrn! Remember the Lester Bush article on blacks and the
Priesthood in Dislogue? Still a very readable and the premier piece on the subject.
And can/ will chapel Mormons including the famous Parowan widow will
fork over $75 for the upcoming book?
Something tells me Wayment was pressured to put his work in the upcoming book- perhaps his job would be in jeopardy
if he went on his own.

Just postulatin'
k


Actually it is possible that the average member could encounter at least the idea that Joseph Smith was using commentaries to facilitate his JST. In the link Dr Moore gave above to the Chruch essay on the JST we find this passage at the end of the first paragraph in the essay.

As he worked on these changes, he appears in many instances to have consulted respected commentaries by biblical scholars, studying them out in his mind as a part of the revelatory process.3


If the member were motivated enough to click on the footnote at the end of the paragraph it takes them to a BYU link which contains a lengthy abstract of Wayment's upcoming chapter which states

Our research has revealed that the number of direct parallels between Smith’s translation and Adam Clarke’s biblical commentary are simply too numerous and explicit to posit happenstance or coincidental overlap.2 The parallels between the two texts number into the hundreds, a number that is well beyond the limits of this paper to discuss. A few of them, however, demonstrate Smith’s open reliance upon Clarke and establish that he was inclined to lean on Clarke’s commentary for matters of history, textual questions, clarification of wording, and theological nuance.3 In presenting the evidence, we have attempted to both establish that Smith drew upon Clarke, likely at the urging of Rigdon, and we present here a broad categorization of the types of changes that Smith made when he used Clarke as a source.


Now i realize that most members don't bother to read the church essays and even fewer will follow the links, but they do not have to layout $45 for a PB or $70 for a HB (by the way that price is probably that high because it is being printed at a University press) to find out Joseph Smith was using Clarke to revise the Bible. This new info may take a while to seep in but eventually we will be hearing from members trying to gaslight us who will say the church has always known that Joseph Smith took from sources around him, so what's the big deal?

And Wayment's chapter isn't the only one in that book that is and will cause waves within the faithful scholastic community. There are several other chapters offering naturalistic explanations for texts produced by Joseph Smith, explanations that are not going over too well with some.

The days where members can take comfort in thinking Joseph Smith was an ordinary man who solely through divine assistance produced scripture, are numbered.
"Any over-ritualized religion since the dawn of time can make its priests say yes, we know, it is rotten, and hard luck, but just do as we say, keep at the ritual, stick it out, give us your money and you'll end up with the angels in heaven for evermore."

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Re: Wayment, the JST and AOF8

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Lately I have been interested in contemporary sources that might of impacted or were directly imported into Joseph Smith's writings.

Charles Buck produced his popular "Theological Dictionary" in 1802 first published in London. This is one of the books that was known to be part of Joseph Smith's personal library, it was quoted by John Taylor in 1843 T&S and also Buck's entry on 'Theology' was directly quoted in its entirety in the Lectures on Faith.

Some notable parallels to Mormonism in Buck's include it entry on the Origenists a third century denomination who:
1. Believed in a pre-existence and eternal souls.
2. Souls got their mortal bodies in order to expiate faults committed in the pre-existence.
3. Souls joined with spirits of purest matter.
4. Christ was before the “Beginning of the World” similar to Joseph Smith terminology.
5. Resurrection. We will be clothed in ethereal bodies.
6. After period of time, the damned will be released from their torment. They did not believe in eternal damnation.
7. Earth after the conflagration will become the mansion of men.

Or Buck's entry on the Dunkers' a Philadelphia German denomination founded in 1724 who believed in a gathering, theMelchizedek Priesthood, Baptism of the Dead, they did not believe in original sin, and they believed in the righteous preaching to the dead.

It would be interesting to see if Buck's work directly or even indirectly influenced the JST in the same way that Clarke's did.
"Any over-ritualized religion since the dawn of time can make its priests say yes, we know, it is rotten, and hard luck, but just do as we say, keep at the ritual, stick it out, give us your money and you'll end up with the angels in heaven for evermore."

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