Radio Free Mormon: Magic and the Book of Mormon (We Need Dan Vogel's Help!)

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Physics Guy
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Re: Radio Free Mormon: Magic and the Book of Mormon

Post by Physics Guy »

Mohammed doesn't seem to have had any schtick. As I understand his story, verses would sometimes be revealed to him while other people were watching and at least in those cases he had some kind of visible change of state, going into trance or something and listening to a voice that only he heard. It doesn't sound very dramatic, though. I think it might well have been a genuine psychological phenomenon rather than a deliberate put-on. At any rate there were no gadgets or gimmicks involved. Mohammed really just let the text of the Quran speak for itself. That was the only gimmick he needed.

Apparently the Quran speaks for itself very impressively. Even in English it does have some catchy passages, though most of it reads to me as a rambling sermon. In Arabic, I understand, it's pretty much verbal crack. If he wasn't actually a prophet then Mohammed was the Shakespeare and Goethe of Arabic.

I'm sorry but the Book of Mormon is not a Quran. If it were, it would have impressed people regardless of its provenance, so Smith could just have said it came to him in a trance or a dream and there would have been no need of any plates or translation. Smith didn't have what it took for that. And he clearly knew it.

L. Ron Hubbard was closer to Smith's level as a writer. He was a fluidly prolific hack who lived on a penny-a-word in the golden age of pulp fiction, though he was old-school enough that he didn't misspell words or screw up grammatically. Hubbard didn't get anywhere on the strength of his prose or ideas. As a cult leader, instead, he depended completely on a gimmick: the "auditing high". Hubbard discovered that if somebody listens to you carefully for a long enough while, occasionally asking you pregnant but open-ended questions and otherwise attentively letting you ramble, then at some point after an hour or so of this so-called "auditing" you will suddenly start to feel good. You'll feel calmly euphoric, with a sense that something in you has changed and you've advanced towards your goals.

Opinion is divided about how this high relates to hypnosis but it's a definite thing, about as reliable as the buzz from a bottle of beer. Psychoanalysts have been living from it for decades, charging even more per hour than most Scientology auditing, and all kinds of rich anxious people have been paying and paying. Some of them have paid Scientology auditors instead, for a knock-off version that apparently works roughly as well.

That's why Scientology exists. It's like a Rastafarianism where people come for the ganja. It doesn't stand on Hubbard's wonderful ideas, which are mostly so embarrassing that the Church of Scientology goes to lengths to conceal them.
Last edited by Physics Guy on Fri May 08, 2020 7:32 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Radio Free Mormon: Magic and the Book of Mormon

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Simon Southerton wrote:
Thu May 07, 2020 6:12 pm
Starting today I am reading No Man Knows My History again. I want to see if anything pops out again. The other reason is that I haven't studied church history closely. So my claim that I believed Joseph Smith acted alone was based on gut instinct, not knowledge. So it's an opinion that deserves to be challenged.
That's sounds like a great idea. You know, I don't think I've ever read it. Shame on me! You might also like to review Dan Vogel's work too which is available here on line:

Joseph Smith
The Making of a Prophet
by Dan Vogel


Dan uses a lot of sources you'd never get from the church or faithful scholars who hide information.

Frankly, I just don't consider myself qualified to handle RFM's bombshell theory in connecting it to the historical record. I'm just going to keep my mouth shut from this point on because I do have a loud mouth and on this matter I'm over my head.

We need Vogel. He can do it. I would love to hear what he says about RFM's podcast. Maybe somebody can contact him? He seems to be out to lunch., I guess. Where are you, Dan? We NEED you now more than ever.

:neutral:

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Re: Radio Free Mormon: Magic and the Book of Mormon

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Stem wrote:
Thu May 07, 2020 8:28 am
I agree that it feels pretty difficult to say Smith acted alone. I think that's a good point. If he had others in on it, then why the need for a trick? In my mind, the people devoted early to the project, had to be convinced somehow. If Smith convinced them that he had spiritual prowess beyond others, then the tricking had to grow more and more elaborate, and it simply doesn't feel possible he wouldn't have been found out by someone. But if Smith convinced them he had scriptural story and needed help creating it, and they could all start a new religion with devoted followers and the like, then it feels possible.

I also still wonder if he truly felt the story in his head was scripture. It wasn't trick per se, but just him thinking he really was inspired by God and the words that came out of him, inspired-feeling as they were, were, as he saw it, God dictating scripture through him. There just happened to be people who felt impressed he was inspired. The whole magic trick stuff just feels way too sophisticated and elaborate. The level of scheming, plotting and then maintaining and covering it up in front of dozens of different people just feels impossible.
It seems to me that you are forgetting that he was an established trickster who was engaging in treasure-digging schemes. His skills and his subject matter come directly from that milieu. The Book of Mormon starts off as a treasure that he and other treasure seers were looking for. The translation springs out of that, and it cannot be divorced from it. He had first to convince others that he recovered the plates. Then he eventually commits to translating them himself. Knowing that this all originated in a ruse, we should instead think it would have been strange for him to do other than he did.

How did he manage to keep people looking for treasures that were not there? Seems kinda needlessly complicated. Then too, however, do lots of cons. The complication covers up the aim of making money. Joseph must spin out the process of finding the treasure in order to be paid for looking for it. The Book of Mormon translation process is sold to Martin Harris in a certain way so that he will believe in it and fund it. To imagine this unfolding in other, simpler ways and then say that it would be more sensible and credible to have done so is to ignore so much of the history leading up to the discovery of the plates and their translation.

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Re: Radio Free Mormon: Magic and the Book of Mormon (We Need Dan Vogel's Help!)

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Kishkumen wrote:. . . . he was an established trickster who was engaging in treasure-digging schemes. His skills and his subject matter come directly from that milieu. The Book of Mormon starts off as a treasure that he and other treasure seers were looking for. The translation springs out of that, and it cannot be divorced from it. He had first to convince others that he recovered the plates. Then he eventually commits to translating them himself. Knowing that this all originated in a ruse, we should instead think it would have been strange for him to do other than he did.
Here is a masterful example of Smith's treasure digging by Vogel:
Dan Vogel wrote:When we examine specific examples of Smith’s treasure seeing, most attempts to minimize his involvement fail to persuade. For example, Jonathan Thompson, testifying in Smith’s defense at the 1826 court hearing, reported that Smith once located a treasure chest with a seer stone. After digging several feet, the men struck something like a board or plank. They asked Smith to look into his stone again, but Smith refused, stating that the treasure was protected by the spirit of a murdered native American. Thompson remained a firm believer in Smith’s “professed skill,” adding that “on account of an enchantment, the trunk kept settling away from under them while digging.”
This friendly testimony in defense of Joseph Smith attests that Smith was using his stone to locate treasure and learn about a historical curse upon it -- how so ? Revelation from God or just making ____ up out of thin air?
Dan Vogel wrote:Any interpretation of Smith that is to be taken seriously must account for Thompson’s friendly testimony. As I see it, there are three possible explanations: (1) Smith saw an imaginary treasure in his stone, (2) Smith pretended to see a treasure in his stone, or (3) Smith saw a real treasure which disappeared before being unearthed. Thus, we either accept the treasure-seeking lore of Smith’s day as reality and reject rationalist categories of traditional historical investigation or come face-to-face with a man who consciously or unconsciously deceived. Personally, as both a ration­alist and skeptic, I find it easier to assume that the treasure never existed and that Smith deceived Thompson or was himself deluded rather than believe that a buried treasure supernaturally vanished or relocated itself to another hiding spot.
Likewise we can use the above pattern to surmise what Smith did with his hat and stone:

1. Smith saw imaginary writing in his hat
2. Smith pretending to see writing in his hat
3. Smith saw real writing in his hat put there by God

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Re: Radio Free Mormon: Magic and the Book of Mormon (We Need Dan Vogel's Help!)

Post by Shulem »

Joseph Smith: The Making of a Prophet
by Dan Vogel

Dan Vogel wrote:As a teenager I dabbled in stage magic and sleight-of-hand tricks, but my attention soon turned to charlatans and confidence men who use similar methods. The more I learned of the art of deception and its history, the more skeptical I became of any kind of real magic. While I later enjoyed D. Michael Quinn’s Early Mormonism and the Magic World View (1987), I thought his treatment of magicians was too generous. Indeed, the book says virtually nothing of charlatans or of those who use magic as a backdrop for trickery and seems to accept uncritically the possibility that magicians—aside from stage magicians—actually possess to some degree the supernatural powers they claim. In fact, there is a variety of possibilities for categorizing magicians, as follows:

1. The charlatan who may or may not believe in magic but uses its vocabulary and props while employing trickery for profit, power, and prestige.

2. The sincere charlatan who believes in magic but occasionally uses trickery both to enhance his presentation and more easily convince others of his powers.

3. The deluded magician who, for a variety of reasons, believes he really possesses magical powers.

4. The sincere magician who practices magic without trickery but may support his belief through anecdotal evidence.

5. The real magician who possesses supernatural gifts, controls nature, performs miracles, etc.
Dan Vogel wrote:The magician requires the cooperation of his audience-–the abandonment of skepticism and the suspension of disbelief. To penetrate the illusion, to expose the fraud, one must first stop collaborating.

Since all magicians use the same vocabulary and exploit the same world view, we may ask what kind of magician/shaman Joseph Smith may have been. I believe that during his early career as a treasure seer, he was a charlatan but came to believe that he was, in fact, called of God and thereafter occasionally used deceit to bolster his religious message.
Interesting, indeed.

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Re: Radio Free Mormon: Magic and the Book of Mormon (We Need Dan Vogel's Help!)

Post by moksha »

Shulem wrote:
Fri May 08, 2020 3:25 pm
Joseph Smith: The Making of a Prophet
by Dan Vogel
Dan Vogel wrote: 5. The real magician who possesses supernatural gifts, controls nature, performs miracles, etc.
Was there any Twilight Zone music to accompany this statement on real magicians?

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Re: Radio Free Mormon: Magic and the Book of Mormon

Post by Stem »

Kishkumen wrote:
Fri May 08, 2020 10:36 am
It seems to me that you are forgetting that he was an established trickster who was engaging in treasure-digging schemes. His skills and his subject matter come directly from that milieu. The Book of Mormon starts off as a treasure that he and other treasure seers were looking for. The translation springs out of that, and it cannot be divorced from it. He had first to convince others that he recovered the plates. Then he eventually commits to translating them himself. Knowing that this all originated in a ruse, we should instead think it would have been strange for him to do other than he did.

How did he manage to keep people looking for treasures that were not there? Seems kinda needlessly complicated. Then too, however, do lots of cons. The complication covers up the aim of making money. Joseph must spin out the process of finding the treasure in order to be paid for looking for it. The Book of Mormon translation process is sold to Martin Harris in a certain way so that he will believe in it and fund it. To imagine this unfolding in other, simpler ways and then say that it would be more sensible and credible to have done so is to ignore so much of the history leading up to the discovery of the plates and their translation.
I've tried to imagine being a teenager of that era with incredible sounding stories of hidden treasures and magical ways to find them. I can imagine getting caught up in it to some degree or another. Once he convinced someone of his own skills and abilities, he doubley convinced himself. That he employed traditional tricks was not a sign of fraud, to him. It was because he had the magical gifts and powers. He could see places appearing in his head...he could imagine digging and finding treasure, right at the exact moment he wanted to see it. Any failures weren't because he didn't see it, they were because someone in the party did something wrong, or he did, or they were too greedy...or other such stuff. But he and his associates still thought there was treasure...and that he and/or others could detect it. I mean, I imagine that's what they were thinking and doing.

And I don't see the translation as much different. After convincing his family, he tells Emma, Martin, encounters Oliver. Once he starts focusing in on it and finding lines coming out, seemingly appearing in his head out of nowhere, I still imagine him thinking it's all from God. To him that's nothing but God feeding him scripture. How else would God work?

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Re: Radio Free Mormon: Magic and the Book of Mormon

Post by Simon Southerton »

Simon Southerton wrote:
Thu May 07, 2020 6:12 pm
Starting today I am reading No Man Knows My History again. I want to see if anything pops out again. The other reason is that I haven't studied church history closely. So my claim that I believed Joseph Smith acted alone was based on gut instinct, not knowledge. So it's an opinion that deserves to be challenged.
I have only been reading for a day and something has already leapt out at me. Looking into his hat caused Joseph Smith eye strain.

Fawn Brodie included a large appendix in No Man Knows My History. It includes the court record of Joseph Smith's trial in Bainbridge, New York, March 20, 1826. It also includes sworn statements of more than a hundred of the early friends and neighbours of Joseph Smith. A portion of the record is a statement read out in defense of Joseph Smith. It includes the following:
...that he has occasionally been in the habit of looking through this stone to find lost property for three years, but of late had pretty much given it up on account its injuring his health, especially his eyes-made them sore; that he did not solicit business of this kind, and had always rather declined having to do with this business.
Other witness statements confirm this. Someone named McMaster said this:
Prisoner pretended to him that he could discern objects at a distance by holding this white stone to the sun or candle; that prisoner rather declined looking into a hat at his dark-colored stone, as he said that it hurt his eyes


Joseph Smith was either lying or telling the truth, and neither paints him in a good light. The implication that peering into a dark hat caused eye strain, but looking through a white stone at the sun didn't, is laughable. I don't believe Smith was lying, a risky thing to do in a court situation. I believe there is truth to his admission.

The only way looking into a hat could hurt his eyes would be if he was straining very hard to read something. We know the stone didn't glow, so this suggests he was straining to see something else. Could it be he was straining to read a map of a property he had already scoped out in order to fool the farmer?

I read somewhere that on one treasure dig, Joseph Smith remained in the farmers cottage where he gave instructions to the party who were out in the field doing the hard work. His father was in the field with them. I can imagine the instructions being passed from the house to the workers. "Take fifteen paces towards the old oak tree then 10 paces towards the duck pond" A whole series of bullseyes with his directions would have been very convincing for some folk. It may have helped a few get over the fact that he never found anything.

The fact that Joseph remained in the house raises even more questions. If he was reading off the stone why did he need to be in the house where there was light? The whole purpose for the hat was to exclude light so he could read off his seer stone. If the hat was to exclude light, why not go out into the dark to enhance the light-blocking effect of the hat? He needed to be near light so he could do his magic trick.

All of this makes sense if Joseph Smith's hat was a magic prop that allowed just enough light in to read. I don't know if at this stage his hat was white, but it's not hard to imagine ways he could have modified a hat to allow enough light in to read. All he would have to do would be to make a hidden slit that came apart to allow just a small amount of light in. Maybe the act of pressing his face into the hat was all he needed to do to push the slit open. It would be almost impossible for someone to pick up on this trick unless they were to suspect what he was doing and handle the hat. But the odds of that would have been extremely low. His hat was a personal item of clothing and it would have been rude to ask to look at it. Also, if Smith wasn't using his hat with the stone in it, it would have been on his head.

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Re: Radio Free Mormon: Magic and the Book of Mormon

Post by Lemmie »

Simon Southerton wrote:
Sat May 09, 2020 10:47 pm
Simon Southerton wrote:
Thu May 07, 2020 6:12 pm
Starting today I am reading No Man Knows My History again. I want to see if anything pops out again. The other reason is that I haven't studied church history closely. So my claim that I believed Joseph Smith acted alone was based on gut instinct, not knowledge. So it's an opinion that deserves to be challenged.
I have only been reading for a day and something has already leapt out at me. Looking into his hat caused Joseph Smith eye strain.

Fawn Brodie included a large appendix in No Man Knows My History. It includes the court record of Joseph Smith's trial in Bainbridge, New York, March 20, 1826. It also includes sworn statements of more than a hundred of the early friends and neighbours of Joseph Smith. A portion of the record is a statement read out in defense of Joseph Smith. It includes the following:
...that he has occasionally been in the habit of looking through this stone to find lost property for three years, but of late had pretty much given it up on account its injuring his health, especially his eyes-made them sore; that he did not solicit business of this kind, and had always rather declined having to do with this business.
Other witness statements confirm this. Someone named McMaster said this:
Prisoner pretended to him that he could discern objects at a distance by holding this white stone to the sun or candle; that prisoner rather declined looking into a hat at his dark-colored stone, as he said that it hurt his eyes


Joseph Smith was either lying or telling the truth, and neither paints him in a good light. The implication that peering into a dark hat caused eye strain, but looking through a white stone at the sun didn't, is laughable. I don't believe Smith was lying, a risky thing to do in a court situation. I believe there is truth to his admission.

The only way looking into a hat could hurt his eyes would be if he was straining very hard to read something. We know the stone didn't glow, so this suggests he was straining to see something else. Could it be he was straining to read a map of a property he had already scoped out in order to fool the farmer?

I read somewhere that on one treasure dig, Joseph Smith remained in the farmers cottage where he gave instructions to the party who were out in the field doing the hard work. His father was in the field with them. I can imagine the instructions being passed from the house to the workers. "Take fifteen paces towards the old oak tree then 10 paces towards the duck pond" A whole series of bullseyes with his directions would have been very convincing for some folk. It may have helped a few get over the fact that he never found anything.

The fact that Joseph remained in the house raises even more questions. If he was reading off the stone why did he need to be in the house where there was light? The whole purpose for the hat was to exclude light so he could read off his seer stone. If the hat was to exclude light, why not go out into the dark to enhance the light-blocking effect of the hat? He needed to be near light so he could do his magic trick.

All of this makes sense if Joseph Smith's hat was a magic prop that allowed just enough light in to read. I don't know if at this stage his hat was white, but it's not hard to imagine ways he could have modified a hat to allow enough light in to read. All he would have to do would be to make a hidden slit that came apart to allow just a small amount of light in. Maybe the act of pressing his face into the hat was all he needed to do to push the slit open. It would be almost impossible for someone to pick up on this trick unless they were to suspect what he was doing and handle the hat. But the odds of that would have been extremely low. His hat was a personal item of clothing and it would have been rude to ask to look at it. Also, if Smith wasn't using his hat with the stone in it, it would have been on his head.
Excellent analysis, thank you. Obviously I don’t know the full background here, so please forgive what may be an obvious question, but how do we know the stone didn't glow? I thought it did, hence the likening of it to an I-phone, but when I checked the LDS essays, they refer only vaguely to a spiritual glow. Is there a more specific statement somewhere about the alleged properties of the stone?

Obviously it can’t really glow, so I’m not arguing that, I’m just thinking that your argument is strengthened by definitely stating how we know it was not claimed to glow.

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Re: Radio Free Mormon: Magic and the Book of Mormon

Post by moksha »

Lemmie wrote:
Sun May 10, 2020 2:14 am
Fawn Brodie included a large appendix in No Man Knows My History.
https://archive.org/details/NoManKnowsM ... y/mode/1up

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Re: Radio Free Mormon: Magic and the Book of Mormon

Post by Lemmie »

moksha wrote:
Sun May 10, 2020 2:38 am
Lemmie wrote:
Sun May 10, 2020 2:14 am
Fawn Brodie included a large appendix in No Man Knows My History.
https://archive.org/details/NoManKnowsM ... y/mode/1up
I didn’t say that, but I’ll certainly take the hint if that’s where details about non-glowing stones can be found!

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Re: Radio Free Mormon: Magic and the Book of Mormon

Post by Shulem »

Lemmie wrote:
Sun May 10, 2020 3:02 am
details about non-glowing stones can be found!
Oh man, I can't wait to read No man Knows my History. I'm sure it's going to be a real treat. But right now I'm getting ready to head down to the Texas Coast (Galveston) for a few days and enjoy the beach, in style. Doesn't that just sound delightful?

I wonder if Dan the man (Vogel) will ever show up and comment? Perhaps his book pretty much says all he has to say on the matter but I would love to hear his commentary on RFM's podcast. I'm glad Simon Southerton and others have been studying the matter and commenting. Thank you.

Imagine the Church doing a documentary film on the early life of Joseph Smith to include details of his treasure hunting activities! It ain't gonna happen. The Church only paints Smith in the kind of image and picture they want to make of him. The Church is a dishonest organization having created their own idea of what they want Joseph Smith to be -- the ideal man according to their desired expectations.

In reality, Smith was a liar and a cheat -- and an adulterer.

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Re: Radio Free Mormon: Magic and the Book of Mormon

Post by Lemmie »

Shulem wrote:
Sun May 10, 2020 6:34 am
Lemmie wrote:
Sun May 10, 2020 3:02 am
details about non-glowing stones can be found!
Oh man, I can't wait to read No man Knows my History. I'm sure it's going to be a real treat...
Ok, I sense I am getting a hint here, I’ll join you in your reading!

I envy you your vacation. We don’t walk out the front door here without masks and gloves, and right now there’s nowhere to go to escape.

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Re: Radio Free Mormon: Magic and the Book of Mormon

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Shulem wrote:
Sun May 10, 2020 6:34 am
Oh man, I can't wait to read No man Knows my History. I'm sure it's going to be a real treat. But right now I'm getting ready to head down to the Texas Coast (Galveston) for a few days and enjoy the beach, in style. Doesn't that just sound delightful?
I am surprised to hear you have never read it given your interest in Joseph Smith. Brodie's book is essential reading even now. For those just diving into the field of Mormon history it should be the first thing they read. It remains the gold standard of biographies on Joseph Smith and is the base on which people like Bushman, Vogel, Hill, Quinn and many other built their own work. I think I went though RSR and counted 130ish references to NMKMH in it.

It is one of Blixa's favorite books and she has read it over 100 times.

Brodie was a fantastic writer.

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Re: Radio Free Mormon: Magic and the Book of Mormon

Post by Simon Southerton »

Fence Sitter wrote:
Sun May 10, 2020 9:21 am
Brodie's book is essential reading even now. For those just diving into the field of Mormon history it should be the first thing they read. It remains the gold standard of biographies on Joseph Smith and is the base on which people like Bushman, Vogel, Hill, Quinn and many other built their own work. I think I went though RSR and counted 130ish references to NMKMH in it.

It is one of Blixa's favorite books and she has read it over 100 times.

Brodie was a fantastic writer.
Brodie is amazing. She's was an extremely thorough researcher and she writes beautifully. A giant among historical scholars. In comparison Bushman is an apologist.

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Re: Radio Free Mormon: Magic and the Book of Mormon (We Need Dan Vogel's Help!)

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Perhaps the abundance of so-called witnesses is an artifact of the intentional fabrication itself. Intent on producing a miracle, the magician needs an audience, in the style of the spiritualism of the day. It is not a personal spiritual experience, but a group experience.

What a contrast to the First Vision story, which epitomises the genuine, personal quest for God. And what a coincidence that Smith could produce it years after the fact.

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Re: Radio Free Mormon: Magic and the Book of Mormon

Post by moksha »

Fence Sitter wrote:
Sun May 10, 2020 9:21 am
It is one of Blixa's favorite books and she has read it over 100 times.

Brodie was a fantastic writer.
That would impress even the most diehard Tolkien addicts. :biggrin:

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Re: Radio Free Mormon: Magic and the Book of Mormon

Post by Shulem »

moksha wrote:
Sun May 10, 2020 2:38 am
Lemmie wrote:
Sun May 10, 2020 2:14 am
Fawn Brodie included a large appendix in No Man Knows My History.
https://archive.org/details/NoManKnowsM ... y/mode/1up
Apparently there is a section on the Book of Abraham to include prints of the Facsimiles.

Do you think Fawnbaby knew the name of the king in Facsimile No. 3?

Between Brodie and Vogel, I got my work cut out for me -- good time reading.

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Re: Radio Free Mormon: Magic and the Book of Mormon (We Need Dan Vogel's Help!)

Post by Shulem »

Treasure Seeking
https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/stu ... g?lang=eng

Joseph Smith’s critics often tried to disparage him by calling him a money digger or a treasure seeker.
A spade is a spade. One who digs for money IS a money digger. One who digs for treasure IS a treasure seeker. Right?
Rather than deny the charge, Joseph acknowledged in his official history that Josiah Stowell had hired him in 1825 to assist in a treasure-seeking venture in northern Pennsylvania.
It's kind of hard to deny having been involved with something when you've been convicted in a court of law. You're damn right he "acknowledged" his "TREASURE-SEEKING" venture because he was a treasure seeker!
“Seeing” and “seers” were part of the culture in which Joseph Smith grew up.
You mean to say that Joe Smith and his loony father WERE the very people that contributed to that culture insomuch as they helped MAKE the culture!
Some people in the early 19th century believed it was possible for gifted individuals to see lost objects by means of material objects such as stones. Joseph Smith and his family, like many around them, accepted these familiar folk practices.
Some people believed, what? What you really mean to say is that Joe Smith and his loony father believed they could see lost objects with stones and practiced this belief for years on end! Yeah, these folk practices cult magic was wholly embraced by the loony Smith family.

How about this:

Tell us ALL about the treasure seeking venture! References, please. Give us all the DIRTY details. Do tell all.

You stoopid Mormons. You're all full of ____. Sugar coating adulterous Joe Smith doesn't make him sweet. He was a liar and a cheat.

:mad:

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Re: Radio Free Mormon: Magic and the Book of Mormon (We Need Dan Vogel's Help!)

Post by Shulem »

Joseph Smith wrote:I frequently fell into many foolish errors
Please note that Smith confesses that he FREQUENTLY fell into foolish errors. In others words, Smith was playing the fool on a frequent basis and the errors of his ways were frequent. Joe was a fool and he admits it. His foolish ways were frequently steeped in error choosing to live that kind of life because it suited him.
Joseph Smith wrote:and displayed the weakness of youth, and the foibles of human nature
Oh the weakness of YOUTH! Yes, blame it on being young. Blame it on the human nature of just being young. Blaming your character flaws on being young is an excuse.
Joseph Smith wrote:which, I am sorry to say, led me into divers temptations,
Oh, so you were led into divers temptations by SATAN? You confess to being led and being strung along by the devil in being tempted to commit all kinds of juicy sins. Do tell us all about your sins, Joe. I want to know.
Joseph Smith wrote:offensive in the sight of God.
Oh, so your sins were offensive to God, were they? Really, are you sure you're not just exaggerating, Joe? Do tell us exactly what those SINS were so we can examine them under the light. I want to know all about your offenses.
Joseph Smith wrote:In making this confession,
CONFESSION. Are you still feeling guilty, Joe? It sounds like you're simply trying to cover your ass and admit to a little wrong doing, right?
Joseph Smith wrote:no one need suppose me guilty of any great or malignant sins.
Really? So what were those SINS exactly, Joe? Tell me the juicy details and then I can judge whether they are great or not. Did you bang a girl behind the barn? Did you fleece someone of their money by lying about your ability to see treasure in a stone? Just what did you do?
Joseph Smith wrote:A disposition to commit such was never in my nature.
I think you're just trying to talk yourself out of it, Joe. Your justifying yourself in order to make yourself look good. Tell us exactly what those sins were so we can judge. I think it was in your disposition to do all kinds of devious things because that's why you did them!
Joseph Smith wrote:But I was guilty of levity
BUT? If IF and BUTS were candy and nuts we'd all have a merry Christmas, Joe. You're justifying yourself in your sins. You know, a little levity goes a long way. There is a little levity and there is a lot of levity. Do tell us all about your sins, Joe.
Joseph Smith wrote:and sometimes associated with jovial company,
Sometimes? I think you're lying, now. Earlier you said you "FREQUENTLY" fell into foolish errors which means you must have frequently been around "jovial" company doing all kinds of foolish things. I want to know all about those activities, Joe. You're guilty, and you know it!

:twisted:

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Dan Vogel
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Re: Radio Free Mormon: Magic and the Book of Mormon (We Need Dan Vogel's Help!)

Post by Dan Vogel »

I listened to RFM’s theory about a text or notes being in the hat. As I mentioned in the introduction to my biography on Joseph Smith, I too dabbled in slight of hand and stage magic as a teenager and on my mission. I was known as the Mission Magician. I understand RFM’s logic about the hat being unnecessary because it is an unnecessary element in the trick. If a magician could really cut a person in half, he/she wouldn’t need a box. However, RFM also understands that magicians don’t like repeating their tricks because then the observer(s) will know what to look for. I believe this applies to the speculated text-in-hat-theory.

I’m not saying that it could never happen the way RFM suggests, but I seriously doubt it could be the method Joseph Smith relied on. Too many angles; sometimes the room was full of people moving about in the room. Smuggling the tiny text into the hat and changing pages constantly is a problem.

The hat wasn’t introduced as part of the translation trick, but was part of his practice as a treasure seer. So it wasn’t superfluous like a magic box.

The text of the Book of Mormon bears evidence that it was an oral text, rather than a written one. Dan Wees and I talked about this aspect of the Book of Mormon on Facebook a couple of years ago. He pointed out that “a tell-tale sign that Joseph Smith was dictating is ‘backtracking,’ as he needed to correct/modify/clarify what he had previously stated.” One example:

“And now, my son, this was the ministry unto which ye were called, to declare these glad tidings unto this people, to prepare their minds; or rather that salvation might come unto them, that they may prepare the minds of their children to hear the word at the time of his coming” (Alma 39:16).

Joseph Smith had a penchant for digression as he groped for words and a thread of thought for his largely impromptu dictation of the Book of Mormon. In this example, when he finally gets back to the original thought it doesn’t quite fit. Alma 16:16-19—

“[A] And it came to pass that Alma and Amulek,
[...came over into the land of Zarahemla]

[1] Amulek having forsaken all his gold, and his silver, and his precious things, which was in the land of Ammonihah, for the word of God,
[2] he being rejected by those which were once his friends, and also by his father and his kindred;
[3] therefore, after Alma having established the Church at Sidom,
[4] seeing a great check,
[5] yea, seeing that the people were checked as to the pride of their hearts,
[6] and began to humble themselves before God,
[7] and began to assemble themselves together at their sanctuaries to worship God before the altar,
[8] watching and praying continually,
[9] that they might be delivered from Satan, and from death, and from destruction:

Now as I said, Alma having seen all these things, therefore he took Amulek and came over to the land of Zarahemla, and took him to his own house, and did administer unto him in his tribulations, and strengthened him in the Lord.

And thus ended the tenth year of the reign of the Judges over the people of Nephi.”

This is a huge mess that might take more than a rearrangement of sentences to fix.


As far as the fear of being destroyed kept people from looking into the hat because the stone was in it: David Whitmer said he looked but couldn’t see anything. Harris said he was afraid to look because he would want to see God, and no man could see God and live. Nevertheless, he switched the stone in the hat to test Joseph Smith. So I don’t think that would have kept people from looking into the hat.

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