Teryl Givens article on BH Roberts - where did it go?

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Teryl Givens article on BH Roberts - where did it go?

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On Teryl's website, under the section "short articles" there's a hyperlink that is now (as far as I can tell) broken.
NOTE ON B H ROBERTS AND BOOK OF Mormon GEOGRAPHY, BLOG POST, 3 SEPTEMBER 2014

This note clarifies the question of B. H. Roberts’ operative assumptions about Book of Mormon geography.
https://www.terrylgivens.com/articles

Please can someone point me to where this article is now available?

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Re: Teryl Givens article on BH Roberts - where did it go?

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You mean this one: https://bit.ly/2YXEVe7

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Re: Teryl Givens article on BH Roberts - where did it go?

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I loved when Givens said, "However, lack of evidence would not be evidence of lack". You can tell it'd true because of the chiasmus.
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Re: Teryl Givens article on BH Roberts - where did it go?

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That's Givens "smart" way of saying I ain't got nuttin evidence wise, so here, let me say something kinda cool that will replace evidence for the weaker minded. His vapid attempts are on par with Neal A. Maxell's vapid thinking and scurrilous "apostolic blessing" to the Mopologists of "No more slam dunks." They still wallow in their religious filth and name calling and mocking others' religious beliefs attempting to feel holy by supposedly fulfilling a wrong, muddle headed approach to the Gospel. What if Maxwell would have actually taken the higher and far better ground of saying forgive our enemies, love them into the Gospel? What if he would have practiced and demanded Jesus love instead of the pig sty thinking they have wallowed in for over 2 decades? Oh had Maxwell only not fumbled the football and that the Mormon apologists had not scooped it up and continue to run into the wrong endzone. They score vastly more points than the anti-Mormons ever could do.
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Re: Teryl Givens article on BH Roberts - where did it go?

Post by I have a question »

Fifth Columnist wrote:
Mon Jun 22, 2020 9:12 am
You mean this one: https://bit.ly/2YXEVe7
I do, thanks. I wonder why the hyperlink on TG’s blog is broken?

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Re: Teryl Givens article on BH Roberts - where did it go?

Post by I have a question »

Fifth Columnist wrote:
Mon Jun 22, 2020 9:12 am
You mean this one: https://bit.ly/2YXEVe7
In his note TG suggests that the Book Of Mormon text indicates the presence of an indigenous population, and he criticises Roberts for working with a geography model that assumes no indigenous population.

Does Givens elsewhere explain what parts of the text indicate the presence of an indigenous population?

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Re: Teryl Givens article on BH Roberts - where did it go?

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Givens spoke about this at one of his travelling fireside pandemonium shadow shows for my stake. I was surprised and excited when he brought up the topic of B. H. Roberts' investigation of Book of Mormon challenges. I was equally disappointed when he showed a slide of Limited Geography and said, "if Brother Roberts had considered this it would have answered all of his concerns." And then he moved on. I wanted to jump up and yell, "no it wouldn't !"
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Re: Teryl Givens article on BH Roberts - where did it go?

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Hagoth wrote:
Tue Jun 23, 2020 7:30 am
Givens spoke about this at one of his travelling fireside pandemonium shadow shows for my stake. I was surprised and excited when he brought up the topic of B. H. Roberts' investigation of Book of Mormon challenges. I was equally disappointed when he showed a slide of Limited Geography and said, "if Brother Roberts had considered this it would have answered all of his concerns." And then he moved on. I wanted to jump up and yell, "no it wouldn't !"
I'm not a big fan of Givens, and I think his approach throws too much baby out with the bathwater in an attempt to keep people "in the boat." He is ignorant on this point, and it's disappointing (but not surprising) to hear that he said "if Brother Roberts had considered this it would have answered all of his concerns." Roberts mentions Limited Geography in his letter to William Riter itself (which was the impetus for his Book of Mormon Studies):

"Moreover, there is also a possibility that other peoples may have inhabited parts of the great continents of the Americas, contemporaneously with the peoples spoken of by the Book of Mormon . . . A number of our Book of Mormon students . . . are inclined to believe that Book of Mormon peoples were restricted to much narrower limits in their habitat on the American continents, than have generally been allowed; and they were not in South America at all." (Letter from B. H. Roberts to William Riter, February 6, 1922. Quoted in "Studies of the Book of Mormon," ed. Brigham Madsen [Signature: Salt Lake, 1992], pp. 53-54).

I'm amazed that critics of the Book of Mormon seeking to use Roberts's studies to paint him as a closet doubter don't seem to have read the actual studies themselves --- or his correspondence with apostles and laymen in letters where he explains the studies and his intent and approach. Instead, they rely solely on the editorial opinions of Sterling McMurrin and Brigham Madsen in the introductory material. He was compiling a sort of "lawyer's brief" outlining possible lines of attack, but made no effort to answer the attacks in the studies. In his actual responses to people like William Riter, it is obvious that he had answers and responses to lines of attack he simply lists in the studies (such as this early reference to the LGT).

So, yeah, it's disappointing, but not surprising, that Givens doesn't seem familiar with Roberts's own explanations of his Book of Mormon studies, or with his actual response to Riter, outside of the studies he prepared for the apostles.

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Re: Teryl Givens article on BH Roberts - where did it go?

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Addendum: I see in the item Fifth Columnist gave from the Wayback Machine that Givens acknowledged that Roberts cited the LGT, but then he dismisses this by saying (without evidence) that he didn't really believe it. That item is dated 2014.

Hagoth --- when did you experience "Brother Givens' Traveling Salvation Show?" :) Was it around 2014, or much later? If later, than "boo" for Givens, because he clearly knew better.

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Re: Teryl Givens article on BH Roberts - where did it go?

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moinmoin wrote:
Tue Jun 23, 2020 8:15 am
Hagoth --- when did you experience "Brother Givens' Traveling Salvation Show?" :) Was it around 2014, or much later? If later, than "boo" for Givens, because he clearly knew better.
The ebb and flow of memory makes me dread a police investigator ever asking me "where were you on the night of...? but an internet search places that fireside in September of 2015.
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Re: Teryl Givens article on BH Roberts - where did it go?

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Hagoth wrote:
Tue Jun 23, 2020 9:41 am
moinmoin wrote:
Tue Jun 23, 2020 8:15 am
Hagoth --- when did you experience "Brother Givens' Traveling Salvation Show?" :) Was it around 2014, or much later? If later, than "boo" for Givens, because he clearly knew better.
The ebb and flow of memory makes me dread a police investigator ever asking me "where were you on the night of...? but an internet search places that fireside in September of 2015.
Then he knew better. [Sigh]. I'd like to know what he was basing his opinion that Roberts didn't believe in the LGT on. Just his own impression?

Roberts continued in his letter to Riter, after the part I quoted: "If this be true [LGT], it might allow of other great stretches of the continents to be inhabited by other peoples, with other cultures and languages, which would still further tend to solve the difficulties of the Book of Mormon in regard to the existence of the great diversity of language stocks among the American race" (ibid, 54).

Do you remember if Givens believed (so, probably believes?) that Roberts lost his belief in the Book of Mormon? That would indicate to me that he didn't have much firsthand familiarity at all with Roberts's own explanations about his studies. Was he saying that if Roberts had considered the LGT, it would have answered all his concerns? That's also disappointing, but again, I've never been a fan of Givens, and I don't think he and his wife are actually very helpful (they do try to be, but their approach makes too many concessions I am not willing to make).

While McMurrin and Madsen (whom those who tout Roberts losing his faith rely solely on) rejoice in the points Roberts brings up in the studies, even they recognize that he didn't personally believe the points he brought up. For example (one of many examples), Roberts acknowledges in his studies the chasm between modern geology and anthropology and the timeline of the Book of Mormon, which they pounce on with delight, but then chide Roberts for his "inability to escape the yoke of a sometimes abject biblical literalism [and] traditional patterns of biblical thought that often tie [him] to an outworn and intellectually frustrating scriptural literalism . . . Despite Roberts’ rather high level of historical and theological sophistication, he failed to distinguish effectively history from myth and legend in the biblical writings, accepting literally such accounts as the Garden of Eden and flood stories of Genesis" (ibid, xxviii and xxiv-xxv). In other words, he actually believed the Bible and Book of Mormon stories literally happened within historic times; yet, the studies point to geological and anthropological time frames as being in conflict with the Book of Mormon. It's actually just as astonishing that McMurrin and Madsen cling to his studies as evidence that he lost his faith, as it is that Givens seems ignorant of or simply ignores Roberts's own explanations.

I'm also fascinated that people seem to gloss over his own explanation: " Let me say once and for all, so as to avoid what might otherwise call for repeated explanation, that what is herein set forth does not represent any conclusions of mine. This report herewith submitted is what it purports to be, namely a ‘study of Book of Mormon origins’ for the information of those who ought to know everything about it pro et con, as well as that which has been produced against it, and that which may be produced against it. I am taking the position that our faith is not only unshaken but unshakable in the Book of Mormon, and therefore we can look without fear upon all that can be said against it. While searching for the answers to the questions of Mr. Couch submitted through Mr. William E. Riter, I came in contact with the material here used, and concluded that while the subject was fresh in my mind to make it of record for those who should be its students and know on what ground the Book of Mormon may be questioned, as well as that which supports its authenticity and its truth… I am very sure that you will find the material herewith submitted of intense interest, and it may be of very great importance since it represents what may be used by some opponent in criticism of the Book of Mormon" (letter to Heber J. Grant, ibid, 57-58).

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Re: Teryl Givens article on BH Roberts - where did it go?

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moinmoin wrote:
Tue Jun 23, 2020 10:18 am
Then he knew better. [Sigh]. I'd like to know what he was basing his opinion that Roberts didn't believe in the LGT on. Just his own impression?
Do you remember if Givens believed (so, probably believes?) that Roberts lost his belief in the Book of Mormon?
As I recall (and I may be totally wrong about this) it was intended to be sort of a mike drop to tell you, "move on, nothing to see here."
moinmoin wrote:
Tue Jun 23, 2020 10:18 am
I don't think he and his wife are actually very helpful (they do try to be, but their approach makes too many concessions I am not willing to make).
Fiona was definitely the more entertaining of the two. She stated that she prefers Harry Potter to the Book of Mormon. I was also surprised at the way she seemed quite critical of church leadership, in an eye-rolling sort of way.
moinmoin wrote:
Tue Jun 23, 2020 10:18 am
While McMurrin and Madsen (whom those who tout Roberts losing his faith rely solely on) rejoice in the points Roberts brings up in the studies, even they recognize that he didn't personally believe the points he brought up.
It is very possible that Roberts was playing devil's advocate and I have seen later faithful comments from him that suggest his faith was not diminished, but at the same time my overall take from Studies of the Book of Mormon was that he personally came away from this study, if not shaken, then at least looking for some new perspective.

It's been a long time since I read it but some statements that stood out to me were:

Discussing the similarities of anti-Christs who were separated by centuries: "...they are all of one breed and brand; so nearly alike that one mind is the author of them, and that is a young and underdeveloped, but piously inclined mind. The evidence I sorrowfully submit, points to Joseph Smith as their creator. It is difficult to believe that they are the product of history..."(270).

"For these absurdities in expression; these miraculous incidents in warfare; those almost mock - and certainly extravagant - heroics; these lapses of the main characters about conditions obtaining, are certainly just such absurdities and lapses as would be looked for if a person of such limitations as bounded Joseph Smith undertook to put forth a book dealing with the history and civilization of ancient peoples." (277)

"Is all this sober history inspired written and true, representing things that actually happened? Or is it a wonder-tale of an immature mind, unconscious of what a test he is laying on human credulity when asking men to accept his narrative as solemn history?" (283)

Pretty strong words. Was he playing devils advocate? Was he trying to shake up the Q15 to think more deeply about these problems, rather than just pass them off to the smartest guy in the room to solve for them? Was he sincerely questioning the historicity of Book of Mormon? Did he later decide to just settle back into his expected roll and go with the flow?

I dunno.
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Re: Teryl Givens article on BH Roberts - where did it go?

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Hagoth wrote:
Tue Jun 23, 2020 4:44 pm

Pretty strong words. Was he playing devils advocate? Was he trying to shake up the Q15 to think more deeply about these problems, rather than just pass them off to the smartest guy in the room to solve for them? Was he sincerely questioning the historicity of Book of Mormon? Did he later decide to just settle back into his expected roll and go with the flow?

I dunno.
It's certainly possible that he lost his faith. When I researched it after my mission, I expected to find just that because of the hype and ballyhoo. I had read DHC (History of the Church, edited and compiled by Roberts) prior to my mission, and I read everything Roberts wrote after my mission (other than Seventies Course in Theology, which I would like to read). Either way, he remains the premier thinker Mormonism has produced, and certainly its most able defender.

His writing/polemic style is along the lines of the harsh things you quoted, and he didn't suffer fools gladly and had no patience for people unwilling to pay the intellectual price necessary. He wasn't afraid to call a spade a spade, even when talking to the president of the Church, and he resented them not taking his warning about future attacks based on Book of Mormon criticisms seriously. He was undiplomatic and harsh, and that shows in his studies. He was even harsher in his marginal notes on items in "The Truth, the Way, the Life" rejected by the Twelve (some name-calling), and the end of his autobiography (dictated to Elsie Cook, one of his missionaries in the mission he presided over, near the end of his life) contains a scathing disagreement with President Grant over changes in the Seventies quorums (he is very convincing to me on the logic of his position, but President Grant had the keys of authority and the final say. He would have lost it with the elimination of stake seventies in the 1980s, and the changes with elders and high priests quorums a couple of years ago).

The things like "wonder story" lines were intended to a) sound like a mocking critic, and b) spur action (i.e., this is what and how these will be thrown at us). With the exception of DNA criticisms (which he couldn't have anticipated), he was dead on as to what the Schwerpunkt of future criticism would be.

I think I really came to know him and where he was from 1922 to his death in 1933 reading letters to others in Special Collections. It made me wish I were independently wealthy and could read all sorts of things in archives!

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Re: Teryl Givens article on BH Roberts - where did it go?

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moinmoin wrote:
Tue Jun 23, 2020 8:38 pm
The things like "wonder story" lines were intended to a) sound like a mocking critic, and b) spur action (i.e., this is what and how these will be thrown at us). With the exception of DNA criticisms (which he couldn't have anticipated), he was dead on as to what the Schwerpunkt of future criticism would be.
Thank you for that insight moinmoin. I guess maybe it all boils down to who the I is in this statement and whether the sorrow is genuine or feigned: "The evidence I sorrowfully submit, points to Joseph Smith as their creator. It is difficult to believe that they are the product of history..."
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Re: Teryl Givens article on BH Roberts - where did it go?

Post by moinmoin »

Well, the "I" is he, the speaker, in this study submitted to the apostles. As he explained, he was speaking in the voice of a critic, showing them on what grounds it could be questioned (and why sophisticated attacks along these lines would be a threat to members' faith --- especially young people in an age of increasing inquiry --- if the Church wasn't prepared to competently address them).

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