Three Powerful Books

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mentalgymnast
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Three Powerful Books

Post by mentalgymnast »

Previously I’ve mentioned two books that had a positive impact on my views in regards to the BofM:

By the Hand of Mormon (Terryl Givens)

Understanding the Book of Mormon (Grant Hardy)

A third one I would now add to the list:

A Case For the Book of Mormon (by Tad Callister)

https://www.amazon.com/Case-Book-Mormon ... 162972565X

These three books have had a big influence on me as I’ve read many books, pro and con.

Don’t rely on what others might say about any one of these books. After all, this is just a message board with many differing opinions. Read them for yourself. Elder Callister’s book is the one I’ve read most recently. Any lurkers on this board...please pick these books up and read them. Any ONE of them might cause you to do a 180 degree turn around if you’re struggling with BofM issues. In my opinion, however, a reasonable person who reads all three has some serious thinking to do.

Joseph Smith may have been onto something when he said the BofM was the keystone of the religion.

Regards,
MG

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Re: Three Powerful Books

Post by honorentheos »

mentalgymnast wrote:
Tue Jun 16, 2020 8:51 pm
In my opinion, however, a reasonable person who reads all three has some serious thinking to do.
When you getting around to that serious thinking part? Or...oh. I see. Nevermind.
Joseph Smith may have been onto something when he said the BofM was the keystone of the religion.
Agreed. The best evidence the Mormon religion is a relic of 19th Century thinking that finds itself in conflict with the 21st at every turn can be traced back to the Book of Mormon.
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Re: Three Powerful Books

Post by Philo Sofee »

Hardy's book did help me make a 180 degree turn... away from the Book of Mormon as having real truth from God. It demonstrated that Nephi and Alma and Mormon and others had their opinions, and that is what the Book of Mormon is, their opinions, not objective revealed universal truth. I see no particular reason to give their opinions special treatment as objective godly truth than anyone else's. Being in a book? So what? Every book is opinions of someone. If that someone says but I got this from God, so what? That is his opinion, his interpretation.
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Re: Three Powerful Books

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Philo Sofee wrote:
Tue Jun 16, 2020 10:49 pm
Hardy's book did help me make a 180 degree turn... away from the Book of Mormon as having real truth from God. It demonstrated that Nephi and Alma and Mormon and others had their opinions, and that is what the Book of Mormon is, their opinions, not objective revealed universal truth. I see no particular reason to give their opinions special treatment as objective godly truth than anyone else's. Being in a book? So what? Every book is opinions of someone. If that someone says but I got this from God, so what? That is his opinion, his interpretation.
Philo, did you read Hardy while still believing the Church's truth claims?

My issues with Hardy's book are different, not least of which being it was terrible and a waste of time to have read. But even more than that is the premise that the personalities of the three major authors claimed by Smith to have produced it was a fraudulent inductive exercise masquerading as literary richness that transcended belief in it as ancient history while only being somewhat believable if one accepts the Book of Mormon's claims of ancient authorship. That's different from adopting it's narrative view and chosing to read it based on its internal logic. The claims of literary richness don't stand up even when one accepts it's own rules.

For example, the book claims that the narrative voice of Nephi is colored by his having seen in vision the destruction of his people. He is supposedly writing as someone who is a father to a doomed nation, knowing the end of the story is they all perish at the hands of his brothers people due to their wickedness. This gives it a dark tone as well as causing Nephi to speak past them to the "modern" reader in 1829 who he has hope in their not following the path of destruction that overcomes his own people.

That's one theory I guess. But we also know that Smith and Cowdery wrote the Nephi chapters last since they had to go back and fill in what was lost when the 116 pages were lost. Smith is writing with the end in mind. Also, it's funny how Nephi happens to have seen the future of his people who happen to be in Smith's past. Yet Nephi has no idea about the future of the "modern" readers in 1829. Sure, he knows about Columbus and the American revolution. But once he has anything to say about the time after 1830 it's all about generic admonishments to believe in Christ, not follow the path his own people followed, etc., etc.

It's a terrible book. And for the reasonable person who reads it, it ought to be apparent that Hardy is full of rubbish.
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Re: Three Powerful Books

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mentalgymnast wrote:
Tue Jun 16, 2020 8:51 pm
Joseph Smith may have been onto something when he said the BofM was the keystone of the religion.

Regards,
MG
:lol: :lol: :lol:
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Re: Three Powerful Books

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"And for the reasonable person who reads it, it ought to be apparent that Hardy is full of rubbish."

I have never found the brainyacrobat to be reasonable/able to reason/logical/sensible/fair/rational/or normal about anything having to do with anything Mormon.
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honorentheos
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Re: Three Powerful Books

Post by honorentheos »

Tator wrote:
Wed Jun 17, 2020 8:57 am
reasonable/able to reason/logical/sensible/fair/rational/or normal
:lol:

Nailed it.
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Re: Three Powerful Books

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Save your money, just buy your magic "Revelations referenced" and Horny Holy Joe promoted white stones from eBay, have them engraved with a male and if necessary female new name and wallah instant Mormon man god heaven and the bitches.

Hell give them to all your family and friends then you'll know for sure that Mormon man god heaven will be an endless orgy. Keep several on hand in case you meet some commodity you might want to own in Mormon man god heaven.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Big-Size-White ... SwhXJebOgs

All Hail Google GOD and her son eBay and the Holy Toaster, youtube.
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Re: Three Powerful Books

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Pretty sure we are being trolled once again. Hardy's and Given's books are problematic at best and while they may serve to reinforce someone predisposed to believe, they do not hold up well to any sort of non-biased review. But, to include Callister's book here is risible and why I think we are just being trolled again.
There is an excellent review at Amazon why this book should not be taken seriously.
Ted R. Callister’s purpose “is to present a case for the Book of Mormon – both intellectually and spiritually.” Among his goals, he hopes to “1) further strengthen the testimony of those who already believe the Book of Mormon to be true, (2) help resolve issues for those who may have some honest questions about its divine origin, (3) provide insights for those who seek answers for their family members and friends who have been or may be exposed to false claims against the Book of Mormon, (4) stimulate the interest of those who have not yet feasted upon its profound doctrine and witness of Christ, and (5) give the critics pause to reconsider the Book of Mormon as God-given.”

Perhaps the book provides a measure of support for goals 1) and 4) but I found it falls short for the others.

It is interesting that Callister presents an all or nothing choice to those wavering about the claim for the Book of Mormon’s divine origins. His first chapter is titled “Is There Room for Middle Ground?” (Spoiler – no) and he quotes his grandfather (presumably LDS Apostle LeGrand Richards) “[T]he Book of Mormon is either a divine work or a fraud.” Callister doesn’t speak for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and it is difficult to believe the church will maintain such a stance in the distant future. The Community of Christ, for instance, considers the Book of Mormon scripture but welcomes the middle ground. A number of LDS scholars already hold nuanced positions about its origins. Perhaps it’s these scholar’s he has in mind when he states “While I disagree with the Church’s critics on most points, I recognize that among them are good, intelligent people.”

While it isn’t possible nor necessary to address all criticisms of the Book of Mormon in a 272 page book, it is useful to discuss what Callister included and what he left out. What is included is seven paragraphs addressing the Spaulding manuscript. It is the first example he cites to attack the hypothesis that the “Book of Mormon was plagiarized from or heavily influenced by other books.” But this theory was discredited soon after it was espoused; it isn’t problematic for wavering members. It is, however, an easy theory to discredit to claim a victory against the critics. The same can be said about his two preceding examples arguing against Book of Mormon authorship by Oliver Cowdery or Sidney Rigdon. Again these are not issues relevant to the audiences Callister claims to be addressing.

A wavering member, however, might want to know how to address the fact that Joseph Smith used a seer stone in a hat to “translate” the Book of Mormon, or to address the question of how intertwined the coming forth of the Book of Mormon is with Smith’s treasure seeking. Smith used the stone and hat for both translating and treasure seeking. Hidden/slippery treasure is very much enmeshed in the Book of Mormon narrative (for instance see Helaman 12:18, 13:18-20, 31-37). The seer stone recently was revealed to still exist with the church and made worldwide news. This is problematic for wavering members and yet Callister doesn’t address it at all. Like any well trained attorney he is confronting only the questions where he already has an answer.

Another problematic issue that would be of interest are racist elements of the Book of Mormon that comport to early 19th century thought. Again, Callister is silent.

He inadequately addresses anachronisms by pointing out some anachronisms critics may have had but were later resolved (he points to writing on metal plates, cement, and barley several times). But he leaves a myriad of anachronisms unaddressed, for instance the Book of Mormon’s Deutero-Isaiah problem, or the Book of Mormon’s reliance on the 1769 version of the King James edition of the Bible (identified by the 1769 version’s errors being included in the Book of Mormon). His approach to anachronistic items such as horses, cattle, elephants, silk, and steel is to complain it is rash to point to these things “when one recalls that “experts” in prior years were absolutely certain there were no such things in the Book of Mormon times as metal plates, cement, or barley”. He un-ironically seeks to bolster his argument here by quoting George Santayana “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it”

What is most problematic is Callister’s constant reference to the honest seeker. He repeatedly uses the terms “honest seeker,” “honest questions,” “honest intent,” “honest in heart,” “honest searcher,” or “honest desire” for those seeking to know the origin of the Book of Mormon. Ultimately, Callister states “[The Book of Mormon] is not on trial, it is we who are on trial to see if we will read it with a sincere heart and real intent to discover and live its truths” Presumably those who fail to be convinced by Callister’s book and do not come away with a testimony of its divine origin, are dis-honest.
Callister's book is about as informative and reliable as a Trump news conference.
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honorentheos
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Re: Three Powerful Books

Post by honorentheos »

I suspect MG was taking past us and hoping to earn a few brownie points in heaven by reaching out to lurkers who may end up here. He should realize that those people don't end up on this board these days. They all end up on reddit or some newer, more trendy place where the kids hang out. No one comes to MormonDiscussions.com because they googled, "Is the Book of Mormon true?"

My first hit: https://lareviewofbooks.org/article/hid ... vilization.

Interesting. I thought the church would have bought enough ad space and optimized enough to have the first place hit locked down.
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Philo Sofee
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Re: Three Powerful Books

Post by Philo Sofee »

Honorontheos
Philo, did you read Hardy while still believing the Church's truth claims?
I was beginning to transition and looking for something that I might have missed. I found it, in Hardy. But what I missed was how full of personal bias it [the Book of Mormon] was, and Hardy handily pointed that out in great significance. It was not doctrine that Lehi's dream was a revelation of pure truth for all time, and all peoples, it was his own view. And Nephi's view did not align with it, and neither man were told anything more. They were allowed to have their own opinions. THERE IS THE KEY. Every single doctrine, experience, prayer, historic analysis, etc., is simply someone's opinion and interpretation, not fundamental universal truth from a God who wishes we had the truth. The Book of Mormon, even granting the reality of the so-called historic personalities as real people is just another book of someone's opinion from somewhere. Even Joseph Smith saying it is the most correct book is merely his own opinion. I have no reason anymore to believe that. There is no solid objective ground of truth and reality, let alone evidence, on the ground, real evidence, in any of the scriptures. Hardy's book finished yanking the rug out from under my feet. It was a light bulb moment. ALL scripture is simply some ancient person's opinion. I have no reason to give it any special status.
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Re: Three Powerful Books

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mentalgymnast wrote:
Tue Jun 16, 2020 8:51 pm

A third one I would now add to the list:

A Case For the Book of Mormon (by Tad Callister)

https://www.amazon.com/Case-Book-Mormon ... 162972565X


Regards,
MG
Lol I was taking you seriously there for a minute.

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honorentheos
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Re: Three Powerful Books

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Philo Sofee wrote:
Wed Jun 17, 2020 5:49 pm
Honorontheos
Philo, did you read Hardy while still believing the Church's truth claims?
I was beginning to transition and looking for something that I might have missed. I found it, in Hardy. But what I missed was how full of personal bias it [the Book of Mormon] was, and Hardy handily pointed that out in great significance. It was not doctrine that Lehi's dream was a revelation of pure truth for all time, and all peoples, it was his own view. And Nephi's view did not align with it, and neither man were told anything more. They were allowed to have their own opinions. THERE IS THE KEY. Every single doctrine, experience, prayer, historic analysis, etc., is simply someone's opinion and interpretation, not fundamental universal truth from a God who wishes we had the truth. The Book of Mormon, even granting the reality of the so-called historic personalities as real people is just another book of someone's opinion from somewhere. Even Joseph Smith saying it is the most correct book is merely his own opinion. I have no reason anymore to believe that. There is no solid objective ground of truth and reality, let alone evidence, on the ground, real evidence, in any of the scriptures. Hardy's book finished yanking the rug out from under my feet. It was a light bulb moment. ALL scripture is simply some ancient person's opinion. I have no reason to give it any special status.
Hi Philo, thanks for sharing that. It's a perspective on the implications of Hardy's approach I hadn't considered before but it's interesting. Hardy lost me pretty quickly when, after a forward promising an approach that would place the Book of Mormon firmly within the category of great literature independent of it's claims to be historical, he based the literary approach on assuming they were historical persons and then went about trying to prove the authors were unique from each other by the most tenuous means possible. Since I had long since stopped believing the book was anything other than a product of the 19th C., his approach left me feeling cheated by a bit and switch. Darth J's efforts to contextualize the Book of Mormon within ancient Italy had more depth. I'm sure there are at least a half dozen or more posters who affiliate with this board who could have produced a more imaginatively fulfilling theory. His slavish need to ensure historicity and Smith's truth claims were preserved dragged it down.

I get why MG likes it. He like the idea of it. But given the conversations we've had over the years on the topic of this book - a book I read because he challenged someone on the board to do so - I don't think he actually thought about what it actually had to say. You are the only person I've heard talk about the book who was at least tentatively still active and open to the truth claims who read it and internalized what Hardy had to say in order to synthesize your own understanding of it.

MG is almost certainly not going to engage with anyone on the content of his "powerful" books or you might find that out for yourself.
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Re: Three Powerful Books

Post by Mormonicious »

No book about Mormons or Mormonism will have value until the first question is answered. Where did the book of Mormon take place? Until the Mormon corporation addresses that simple requirement, nothing about the book of Mormon can be stated. AND ONLY the Mormon corporation can state where the lands of the book of Mormon are.

Where, oh where, did my little jaradites, Nephites and/or Lamanites go? Oh where, oh where can they be? South America, no evidence, Central America, no evidence, North America, well at least Horny Holy Joe said it was so.
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mentalgymnast
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Re: Three Powerful Books

Post by mentalgymnast »

Philo Sofee wrote:It was not doctrine that Lehi's dream was a revelation of pure truth for all time, and all peoples, it was his own view.
How do you know? Looking at the basic elements of the dream, what causes you to think that the dream does not apply to mankind as a whole? And thus, doctrinal?
Philo Sofee wrote:And Nephi's view did not align with it, and neither man were told anything more.
Wasn’t Nephi’s dream similar?

So how would you verify the difference between an opinion and a revelatory, doctrinal view?

Regards,
MG

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Re: Three Powerful Books

Post by mentalgymnast »

Stem wrote:
Wed Jun 17, 2020 5:51 pm
mentalgymnast wrote:
Tue Jun 16, 2020 8:51 pm

A third one I would now add to the list:

A Case For the Book of Mormon (by Tad Callister)

https://www.amazon.com/Case-Book-Mormon ... 162972565X


Regards,
MG
Lol I was taking you seriously there for a minute.
Yes, I’ve read some of the comments on Amazon in regards to this book. I know there are those who are already pre-dispositioned towards ignoring many of the evidences that point to the authenticity of the Book of Mormon. Truth be told, however, it was Callister’s book that I believe gives the best all around evidentiary basis/foundation for the truth claims of the Book of Mormon.

Have you read the whole book?

Regards,
MG

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Re: Three Powerful Books

Post by mentalgymnast »

Fence Sitter wrote: Hardy's and Given's books are problematic at best and while they may serve to reinforce someone predisposed to believe, they do not hold up well to any sort of non-biased review.
Could not this assertion that you’ve made, “they may serve to reinforce someone predisposed to believe, they do not hold up well to any sort of non-biased review” be applied to books written describing Atheism as being the only reasonable game in town? Simply by changing “believe” to disbelieve? Doesn’t that make your point moot?

Regards,
MG

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Philo Sofee
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Re: Three Powerful Books

Post by Philo Sofee »

MG
Wasn’t Nephi’s dream similar?

So how would you verify the difference between an opinion and a revelatory, doctrinal view?
Yes, because daddy Lehi had already discoursed to him about it thus implanted it in his head. Are you really that obtuse man?
I don't have any reason to distinguish anything, it's always been men who have written and interpreted knowledge. Once Hardy demonstrated that so powerfully, it was curtains for scripture even being in a separate category from all other writings ever done. Everything written is someone's opinion. Doctrine is someone's mere opinion. A revelation from God to someone is that someone's mere opinion, including the doctrine (opinion) of the revelation (opinion). There are no separate categories, hence no need to distinguish anything. Everything religious is man-made.
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mentalgymnast
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Re: Three Powerful Books

Post by mentalgymnast »

Philo Sofee wrote:
MG
Wasn’t Nephi’s dream similar?

So how would you verify the difference between an opinion and a revelatory, doctrinal view?
Yes, because daddy Lehi had already discoursed to him about it thus implanted it in his head.
Who’s to say that both Lehi and Nephi were given the same vision/dream by God and thus it’s doctrinal?
Philo Sofee wrote: I don't have any reason to distinguish anything, it's always been men who have written and interpreted knowledge.
Bingo! But who’s to say whether or not it’s always ONLY their own opinion or if it’s a doctrinal revelation from God?
Philo Sofee wrote: Everything written is someone's opinion. Doctrine is someone's mere opinion. A revelation from God to someone is that someone's mere opinion, including the doctrine (opinion) of the revelation (opinion).
And that’s your opinion.
Philo Sofee wrote: There are no separate categories, hence no need to distinguish anything. Everything religious is man-made.
And that’s where we disagree. I think there was much more to take away from Hardy’s book than what you took away. To each his own.

Did you read Callister‘s book cover to cover? Or did you simply read some of the commentary over Amazon?

Regards,
MG

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Re: Three Powerful Books

Post by Dr Moore »

I've purchased and read all 3 books.

Each author make some inspiring points here and there, but my review in summary is that none of them offers anything of genuine, objectively verifiable evidence to compel belief in the BofM as a literal history. You'll maybe say, well obviously - that can never be done, but then in their own way, each author builds up to that as the implied end result of their endeavor. As if to smuggle via brute force the idea that the plural of coincidence is evidence, or that the plural of anecdote is data.

I thought Callister's was the worst - some of his examples are just too deceptive in my view to be accidental. Hardy's was the best of the 3 books, in my opinion, and I think that is because he mostly kept his approach to devotional teaching opportunities. Givens reminds me of reading Bushman: the words are there, but the facts and the logic around them feel too often like conclusion before reason, masked in a "but actually, this is the reason before conclusion." To me it's off putting and tiring after long enough.

That's all I have to say about this, not interested in debating with you line by line in the markups I made in these books.

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Re: Three Powerful Books

Post by Dr Moore »

Aren't the rest of you supposed to be acting like squealing swine in response to a faith-promoting believer posting on this board? I'm shocked, shocked by the civility shown here. Where is all of the morally nonequivalent venom, sarcasm and disrespect I was promised? :)

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