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Sunday, July 29, 2007

Translation Of The Book Of Mormon

This seems to be the favorite topic of many, particularly of those that comment on this blog regularly. How exactly was the Book of Mormon translated?

The LDS version of how it transpired


Raised Mormon, I can testify myself of how I was personally taught in the church of the translation process of the Book of Mormon. The story goes like this: The angel Moroni appears to Joseph Smith and tells him about a book written on golden plates. Joseph recovers the gold plates as well as the Urim and Thummim deposited with the plates that he uses to translate the writing on the metal plates.

The Book of Mormon is translated to English with help from the Urim and Thummim and once the record is translated into English, Joseph Smith gives the golden plates back to the angel Moroni where they are now safely in his hands forever.

Regarding the actual translation process, on the official LDS website, we see depictions of Joseph Smith thinking and diligently studying the plates like a scholar. Joseph is depicted as a man looking at actual gold plates. Joseph Smith is supposed to be looking at actual characters etched on the plates and is working hard to translate the characters into English.

We are also told that there is no way Joseph could have been the author of the Book of Mormon because it was translated in a manner of months!

What the historical records tell us

Joseph is allowed to take possession of the plates on September 22, 1827, but apparently doesn't know what do do with them for 7 months because he doesn't begin translating them until April 1828. The manuscripts for the Book of Lehi are lost in June 1828.

However, this is where the story really starts to get fishy. Joseph starts to re-translate in September 1828 with Emma as his scribe. So that is 3 months after the manuscripts were lost. Joseph does this without any kind of instruction or revelation to do so. In fact, Joseph doesn't start the book of Lehi, not even the Books of Nephi. The really odd thing is that as Joseph is starting the re-translation process, he doesn't start at the beginning of the Book of Mormon. He starts where he left off: at the end of the Book of Lehi, or the beginning of the Book of Mosiah.

Joseph only manages to dictate a few chapters of Mosiah and forgets about the whole thing from September to April of the next year. Finally, 7 months after that, Joseph is ready to translate the Book of Mormon with rapid-fire succession, this time with Oliver Cowdery as principal scribe.

The Method of Translation

The manner of which the Book of Mormon was translated at this point is probably the most odd thing and troubling for most Mormons today. By this time, Joseph was not using the Urim and Thummim for the translation process as he did with Martin Harris. Now, instead of the Urim and Thummim, he used what he called a seer stone.

Here is where it gets a little complicated and confusing because people have referred to the seer stone as the Urim and Thummim, but they are 2 separate things. The seer stone is a magic rock that Joseph Smith found in 1822 while digging a well. There is no way the seer stone is the same thing as the Urim and Thummim, because he found it a year before he even saw the angel Moroni. The Urim and Thummim were some kind of crystal spectacles that were supposedly deposited with the plates, which were not uncovered until 1827. What makes it so strange is that the Angel Moroni gave Joseph Smith the gold plates to translate and said that the Urim and Thummim were prepared to assist him in the translation process, but Joseph Smith didn't use either one of those things.

and Joseph Smith had previously used this seer stone for locating treasure years before the gold plates came into the picture. In fact, Joseph Smith was brought to trial in 1826, a year before he received the gold plates and UrimThummim, for "glass-looking". He would place the seer stone into a hat and look into the hat to find buried treasure, a practice that was illegal. To the left is a copy of the original bill of Justice Albert Neely, which has been authenticated by both LDS and non-LDS historians. It says"Joseph Smith the Glass Looker March (20?)1826"

What is so odd is that Joseph Smith used the same method that he did in finding buried treasure as he did in the translation process of the Book of Mormon. He would place the seer stone into a hat, put his face in the hat looking at the seer stone and dictate the words that would appear to him. The plates would remain wrapped up in a cloth or sometimes in a different room, or even out in the woods somewhere. It begs the question why did Joseph even need the plates if he didn't even use them in the translation process? This is a very odd image of how we got the Book of Mormon. Neither the gold plates nor the Urim and Thummim were used in the translation process of the Book of Mormon, instead we have Joseph Smith sticking his head in a hat looking at a magic rock.

Oliver Cowdery Wants To Translate Like Joseph

Oliver Cowdery is absolutely amazed by Joseph's ability to look into the hat and translate the records by looking into the seer stone. So Oliver eagerly wants to help in this astonishing and amazing process and be more than just a scribe. Oliver is granted by God to be given the gift of translation in D&C 8 The lord responding to Oliver's request says "Ask that...you may translate and receive knowledge from all those ancient records which have been hid up...and according to your faith shall it be done unto you". So Oliver looks into the hat, and.........nothing. All he sees is a rock in a hat.

I can imagine the conversation that transpired between Joseph and Oliver. Oliver looked into the hat and saw nothing. Joseph looks into the hat and says "yup, it is certainly working, I can see the words just fine." Oliver looks in to the hat and...still nothing...hmmm...Frustrated, Oliver Cowdery went back to writing what Joseph was dictating by looking at the rock in the hat some more. Joseph then receives a revelation that is found in D&C 9 and gives Oliver this message from the Lord:

Behold, I say unto you,(Oliver)...that because you did not translate according to that which you desired of me, and did commence again to write for my servant, Joseph Smith, Jun., even so I would that ye should continue until you have finished this record...Be patient, my son, for it is wisdom in me, and it is not expedient that you should translate at this present time. Behold, the work which you are called to do is to write for my servant Joseph. And, behold, it is because that you did not continue as you commenced, when you began to translate, that I have taken away this privilege from you. Do not murmur, my son, for it is wisdom in me that I have dealt with you after this manner.
So the Lord Basically tells Oliver that he takes back what he said in D&C 8 about him being able to help out as translator, oh and and it's Oliver's fault for not having enough patience. God tells Oliver that because he started taking dictation from Joseph, now he lost his translating privileges all together. Oh, and Oliver, don't cry about it and be happy about being scribe.

Translation Continues

Joseph Smith STILL has not translated 1st and 2nd Nephi, and he still hasn't received any kind of revelation that instructed him to start the re-translation process of the Book of Mormon. However, finally in May of 1829 Joseph receives a revelation that is now known as D&C section 10 that tells Joseph to write the Book of Nephi instead of the Book of Lehi. So presumably after they finished with the rest of the Book, they went back and translated the 1st and 2nd books of Nephi and placed them at the beginning of the book.

The LDS church is Committing Fraud

Now the whole story sounds fishy to begin with. However, here is my biggest problem, and surprisingly, it isn't the 19th century folk magic, it is trying to match the dates with his story.

Revelation as published in 1833

Joseph Smith received what is now known as D&C section 10. However, the original publication of this revelation was in a book known as the Book of Commandments. The Book of Commandments was the original Doctrine and Covenants, which was published in 1833. The revelation is documented as chapter 9 in the original Book of Commandments. In it, it says that Joseph received the revelation in May of 1829.


Revelation as published in 1835

The original Doctrine and Covenants as published in 1835 also includes this same revelation and once again, it says the revelation was given to Joseph in May 1829. There is no doubt that Joseph had time to correct the date, because he made several "corrections" to the revelation, by adding the words "Urim and Thummim" and a few other alterations. The funny thing is that finally now in May of 1829, the Lord says referring to the gift of translation: "it is now restored unto you again...continue on unto the finishing of the remainder of the work of translation as you have begun"

So it is NOW restored to Joseph, even though he already had been continuing the translation since September of the previous year, 8 months prior. Hmm. So Joseph just instinctively knew not to re-translate the Book of Lehi when he began the re-translation process. Perhaps he thought it would turn up? But when he began the re-translation process, why did he skip over 1 Nephi, 2 Nephi, Jacob, Enos, Jarom, Omni and Words of Mormon to translate Mosiah without any instructions from God? It doesn't make any sense at all.

Revelation as currently published

The LDS church knows the dates don't make any sense at all and the revelation found in D&C 10 don't match Joseph's story. The historical records show us that Joseph began the re-translation process in September 1828, but he didn't receive the revelation with instructions on what to do about the Book of Lehi until May 1829. What the LDS church has done is simply changed the date of the revelation to better fit Joseph's story chronologically. In the current publication of the Doctrine and Covenants, the LDS church has changed the date of the revelation as found in D&C 10 from the actual date of the revelation in May 1829 to the summer of 1828. They have done this to reflect the fact that Joseph actually started the re-translation process in September of 1828. Now let's be clear on this, because, as I said, this is what is most troubling for me: The LDS church changed the date of the revelation to reflect a chronology that would better fit Joseph Smith's story. They have committed outright fraud. They are literally lying about the date of his revelation.

Apologists Response

The only arguments that I have heard is that the editor of the D&C only had the best intentions in mind and did not mean to commit fraud by changing the date of the revelation, yeah, as if making alterations to canonized scripture is done without authorization from the first presidency, riiight. Let's see what LDS apologist Richard Bushman has to say regarding the date change:

The order of translation in turn bears on the date of section 10 in the Doctrine and Covenants, currently dated "summer 1828". The manuscript version of the History of the Church gives May, 1829 for the date of section 10. The Book of Commandments, the first printed version of the Doctrine and Covenants dated the section May, 1829, as well. A later editor changed the date to summer, 1828, because the directions for translating I Nephi are in that section. The revelation would have lost its point by May, 1829 if Joseph had begun the translation of I Nephi three months previously
What Richard Bushman is saying is that whoever changed the date assumed that when Joseph began the re-translation of the Book of Mormon that he started with 1 Nephi and went to the entire book. Although I admire Bushman for his attempts that are much more satisfying than the typical "read the Book of Mormon and pray about it" response, the other problem is that the revelation instructs Joseph not to re-translate the Book of Lehi, which Joseph already skipped over. Joseph already skipped passed 1 Nephi as well, so if Joseph Smith had already translated 1 Nephi, the revelation would have been pointless. The whole thing just doesn't pass the "smell test". I think it is much more likely that Joseph Smith always had the fear in the back of his mind that someone had the original manuscripts and if he tried to reproduce the book of Lehi, his secret would be out. He probably came up with the 'replacing it with the Book of Nephi' idea mid-"translation".

Regardless, the LDS church is lying about the date of the revelation of section 10 to reflect a time line that makes the story more believable.

Regardless, if they have any integrity, they will change it back to the actual date to reflect reality. This is one of the biggest problems I have with the church, is that the date does not reflect the correct one. But then again, Joseph Smith might have been wrong about when he received his revelation and maybe he was just speaking as a man, after all, even prophets of God are not infallible. So what the LDS church is saying right now is that Joseph Smith didn't get the date right. If Joseph Smith couldn't even get the date right, how do we know he got the message straight? He made changes to the revelation years later, so how do we know we have the correct message now?

I think it is much more likely and reasonable to say that Joseph Smith simply got caught in his own lie. The date that he said he got that revelation doesn't match the historical records, so the LDS church changed the date. The LDS church has falsified a document and now knows the date is incorrect, and therefore is committing fraud.

So let's recap the timeline because it is a little confusing.

1822- Joseph Smith finds a seer stone while digging a well by his farmhouse
Sept 1823-Joseph Says he sees Moroni in a vision in his room and is allowed to see the plates but not take them.
Sept 1824-Joseph visits the plates again, but is not allowed to take them
Sept 1825-Joseph visits the plates yet again.
March 1826-Joseph is arrested for "glass looking" with the seer stone to find buried treasure
Sept 1826-Joseph visits the plates
Sept 1827-Joseph finally takes possession of the plates
April 1828-Joseph begins translation of Book of Lehi with Martin Harris as scribe
June 1828-Manuscripts for Book of Lehi are lost
July 1828- Joseph receives revelation telling him his gift of translating is taken away for a season
Sept 1828-Joseph starts re-translation of Book of Mormon without any instructions from God or any kind of revelation. He just does it on his own, the really odd thing is he doesn't attempt to re-translate the Book of Lehi, and skips 1Nephi, 2Nephi, Jacob, Enos, Jarom, Omni and Words of Mormon. He continues where he left off chronologically at the end of the Book of Lehi, or the beginning of Mosiah. His wife Emma served as scribe.
April 1829-Joseph begins the "rapid-fire" translation now with Oliver Cowdery as scribe
April 1829- Oliver Cowdery wants to translate with the magic rock in the hat, is granted the ability, then God changed his mind because Oliver isn't patient enough.
May 1829-Joseph receives revelation not to re-translate Book of Lehi and to replace it with Books of Nephi. The Lord also tells Joseph that "NOW" his gift of translating is "restored" hmm...
June 1829-Transcript is finished, witnesses "see" the plates and Joseph gives them back to Moroni.

Disillusioned Mormon

131 comments:

Elder Joseph said...

This whole Hat and Stone thing is what really started to engage my thinking faculties and probably started the mental exit route.When I first came across it I didn't realise the implications as I was a bit stunned at first wonedering what to think about it , whether to laugh or cry . But as time went on , it became apparent to me that the church is 'Lying' there is not other way to describe this . Its sheer deception and the more I looked the more serious it became .

The first missionaries I revealed the Hat and Stone to were absolutely dumb founded , they could not believe what I had revealed to them . We spent the rest of my appointment laughing and watching music videos .The whole Church officialness thing went out of the window that evening ! lol They stayed well after they should have been back at there flat.I was stunned at the impact it had on them myself .

I'm very intruiged at the date switching of D&C 10 , this I didn't know .Its amazing I always think there is nothing else to find out and lo and behold there is always something ...

Well as I've investigated further its just got worse and worse to the point where I can't take church lessons seriously anymore at least not when Mormon History/Apostles etc are mentioned and this is a very sad feeling . I know I probably won't ever join and at the same time I try not to break anyones faith in church ... quite a dilemma for me .

I've since mentioned the head in a hat to more missionaries and they are very concerned . I could unleash everything on them but it seems so cruel , the mission work is hard enough as it is , so I try to support them while at the same time not let them get away with passing on false information to me or prospective converts .A fine balancing act for me .

Zelph said...

EJ-

The first time I had heard about the head in the hat was actually relatively recently, as in maybe a year ago or so. I started to question the church on my mission as well as I was exposed to certain fun facts. The reason the date changing hit me so hard was because it demonstrates to me that the LDS church is willing to distort information like dates of revelations to make the story look more believable. That is lying.

Bishop Rick said...

I didn't know about the date change either. This really flies in the face of translating the BofM in 3 months.

Meaning no disrespect to tatabug, because I think she is a sincere, genuine, honest TBM, but the LDS church is lying to us all and it is just sad. They could be a great church offering great service to the world teaching moral messages, but it is all tainted with lies, deceptions and claims of sole authority.

So what is the real timeline?

Zelph said...

BR-

I have edited the blog to reflect the time line of the translation. The majority of the Book of Mormon was written from April through may and into June. However, The Book of Mosiah was already written, and keep in mind that Joseph had already given a "first draft" with the Book of Lehi that replace all the books before Mosiah. Then think about the word-for-word copies taken from the King James Bible, complete with the same translation errors, and it is not so miraculous.

joshsuth said...

Zelph, First do you feel that Joseph Smith recorded every thought, prompting, or spiritual experience that he had?
Second, you show a record of A Joseph Smith getting arrested for a crime. Now, being realistic, Joseph was a very common name at that time, I am sure also that Smith was a very common name at that time. Now, do you think there could possibly be another person out there with the name Joseph Smith? Cause if you google your name, you would be very surprised how many there are out there that share your same name.
And your statement "This is one of the biggest problems I have with the church, is that the date does not reflect the correct one." Thats one of your biggest problem with the church!!! WOW.

Bishop Rick said...

Josh,

I think what Zelph was referring to is the Lies that the false date represents. It is this constant lying and revisionist history practiced by the LDS church that is my biggest problem as well.

Do you condone lying?

Bishop Rick said...

This post fits in perfectly with other observations. First I was unaware that Mosiah was written before the books taken from the small plates of Nephi, but that helps to explain the gross disparity in what was written since the last half of the book of Omni and that written prior to the second half of the book of Omni. Research has been done analyzing details that are contained in the large plates that are missing in the small plates.

(side note: Joseph only ever referred to having 1 set of plates...things that make you go hmmm)

Things like names, places, kings, anything of detail that could be challenged by someone holding the lost 116 pages. In fact, This time period covers over 400 years and we are only given 13 names. East, west, north and south are never mentioned, place names are ignored and kings are not mentioned.

In fact none of Nephi's family are mentioned by name...not his wife or kids and he passes the plates to Jacob, his brother, not his son.

In short, it is not until Joseph has seemingly passed by the time covered by the lost pages, that he really starts to open up with incredible details, names, places, directions, wars, kings, geneologies, etc. this continues throughout the remainder of the book.

It seems obvious to me that Joseph used the small plate replacement to cover his tracks because he knew he could not reproduce details in the original lost pages.

Zelph said...

Joshsuth-

Bishop Rick got it right, and in case you missed it, it isn't that they got a date wrong, it is that they have intentionally falsified, mis-represented, distorted, in other words lied about the date to fit better with Joseph's story. I thought it was odd enough that Joseph started translation of Mosiah in September 1828 without attempting to re-translate the Book of Lehi, then gets a revelation in May 1829 telling him not to re-translate the Book of Lehi. However, by changing the date they have made it much much worse.

Remember the family home evening lesson on how a lie grows because you usually have to cover up a lie with another lie? Well, here is a perfect example. The church has to lie about the date to cover the lie that Joseph received any kind of revelation at all, because the time line doesn't make sense.

So, my biggest problem is not that there are fishy stories about Joseph looking in a hat, or that the time line doesn't make sense, my biggest problem is that the church TODAY is currently lying to its members, and YES, that is a HUGE problem for me.

The stories on how we got the Book of Mormon are suspect at best, but when the church intentionally lies and distorts fact to make the story sound more believable, that is the biggest problem I have, so to answer you question, YES, that is the biggest problem I have with the church. And this is the same church that interviews me and asks me if I am honest in my dealings with my fellow man.

BR-

Very interesting observation on small plates of Nephi. I have often wondered if there were supposed to be 2 sets of plates as well. According to Joseph, there was only one set of plates, and about 2/3rds of it was sealed.

From what I understand about the Book of Lehi is that it was much a much more secular history of wars, much like Alma. I imagine it makes sense that there probably were much more details regarding place-names and other people and characters. Very interesting.

The 1 Truth said...

It makes sense to me when you think about it from the standpoint of Joseph Smith being a translator and not the author of the Book of Mormon. Maybe Joseph Smith continued translation where he left off because he thought that perhaps the missing manuscripts would turn up one day. Then, the Lord instructs him not to translate the Book of Lehi again and gives Joseph instructions on what to do with the small plates of Nephi. The church may have been presumptuous in thinking that Joseph got back to writing the books of Nephi in September 1828 and that is why they changed the date. It isn't because they are intentionally deceiving, they just figured that the date was a typo, and they thought they were making a correction. I am not arguing that the revelation was not given in May of the following year, I am just saying that the church is not intentionally lying as you say, but they changed the date to reflect what they thought was correct. However, I agree with you that they should change it back to the correct date to avoid confusion.

Bishop Rick said...

1 truth,

There is nothing the LDS church can do to avoid confusion unless they all of a sudden become honest and forthcoming.

Lies = confusion

Truth = understanding

Elder Joseph said...

Joshsuth

Concerning The validity of the arrest record of Joseph Smith
try this article

http://kutv.com/topstories/local_story_258111338.html

Its hardly a surprise that he should get arrested as its common knowleadge that he was a money digger with a Hat and Stone.There were many involved in magical and mysterious treasure hunts and such.In fact Olivery Cowdery had a dowsing rod for his divination .In the original Book Of Commandments it said he had the gift of the rod .Two years later in an altered Doctrine and Covenants it said he had the Gift of Aaron ! Well is sounds more biblical and authentic. We wouldn't be as impressed if we knew it was a dowsing rod .Think how many wandering about the earth today with dowsing rods really have the gift of Aaron if only they knew !!

Zelph said...

joshuth,

I don't recall ever saying or implying that Joseph Smith recorded every thought, prompting, or spiritual experience, however, the revelation regarding what to do about the Book of Lehi and the Books of Nephi was given to him in May 1829, not the summer of 1828.

I think I see your point- Joseph could have had a spiritual prompting to re-commence the translation of the Book of Mormon without telling anyone about it.

The fact remains that the church purposefully distorted the date to make it seem like Joseph received the revelation before he began the re-translation process. And once again, YES, I have a big problem with that.

Regarding the court documents, there are other documents and they have been authenticated by both LDS and non-LDS historians.

Elder Joseph-

Thank you for that excellent article.

joshsuth said...

Zelph, in your account you say that he was arrested for looking in his hat at a stone and finding treasure. Now, in the article that Joseph posts, it said that "glass looking" was a term for treasure hunting. But you assume the fact that he was looking into his hat, which I read nowhere in the article. Another point, you were 14 at one point. Did you ever go search for treasure? Or adventures similar to that? I know I did. And I am sure that there are hundreds of thousands of 14 year olds who have gone on treasure hunts. So why try to pin JS to the wall for it? Just curious, you should also realize he was a young boy, just like any other 14 year old boy at that time.
As for lying, Obviously you belive in the bible, and Christ, I would assume. Now Peter LIED 3 times when asked if he knew Christ. So Bishop Rick, does that prove that the bible is FALSE? If the HEAD of Christ's Church at that time LIED when asked about Christ!! So, would you all at that point, deny your testimony of Christ? Cause you you spend countless hours combing throuh detail, looking for anything that might prove the Mormon church to be wrong. So if you are to follow your line of thinking. What about Peter LIEING, does that forfiet everything he did? Just curious.

Zelph said...

Joshuth-

Really Joseph's treasure digging days is a whole new topic. This particular blog post is talking about the translation of the Book of Mormon, so I felt it important to include the fact that Joseph used the same seer stone to find buried treasure as he did to translate the Book of Mormon.

Check your dates again, my friend. Joseph was 14 when he said he saw the first vision, but was 16 when he finds the seer stone, 17 when he first sees Moroni, 20 when he gets arrested, and 23 when the Book of Mormon is completed.

I know the LDS church makes it sound like Joseph did all that as a 14 year old boy, but that is not how it happened.

Joseph is arrested for glass looking. The crime isn't treasure hunting, there is nothing wrong with that, the crime is the use of folk magic to find the buried treasure, which was considered scamming. Joseph was 20 years old and was hired by money diggers. This was more than just a teenager's fantasy, he knew what he was doing.

Pointing out flaws in the Bible does not rationalize or make it O.K. So I can go around lying to people and say "well Peter lied, and it is in the Bible, so it must be O.K.".

joshsuth said...

Zelph, I dont understand how you use the dates of a revelation to point out how untrue the church is and you continually emphasize lying in the church. I was not aware that the scripture passage of Peter lying was a flaw. Where have you been taught that? And I also thought that a lie is a lie. And I can say the same to you, that you will try to pin the church to the wall for a wrong date, but you have no problem with Peter lying. I am just pointing out, you should stay consistent with your critism of liars, and condemn Peter for his lying. Cause if you are justifying Peter lying, on what grounds are you justifying his behavior?

joshsuth said...

Zelph, do you believe in the Bible? Do you believe in Jesus Christ and that he is our Savior? Or do you rely on using historical facts to prove things of a historical nature. Your friend Samuel says he has records that prove that Christ never even existed. Historical records he said. Can you prove to me that Christ is the Son of God? If you cannot provide historical proof, or artifacts that prove to me the he is my Savior, should Christians forsake their belief in Christ? I know this section is focused on the translation of the BOM and how it was done. I just dont understand the demand for physical proof concering spiritual things.

Zelph said...

Joshsuth-

Let me make this perfectly clear. I do not condone lying in the Bible, on the North Pole, in the Rocky Mountains or anywhere else.

Sorry, I didn't mean that the passage of scripture was flawed, I was saying that you can't point out a flaw in Peter's character as found in the bible and say that lying is now justified.

Now, to answer your question do I believe in the Bible? I have not gone there yet, but I will say that I already do see some serious flaws that are so easily disproved, like the creation account for one, humans only being on Earth for the last 6,000 years and a global flood that wiped out all plants and animals. Let's just say I plan on tackling the question regarding the Bible in a future date, but for now, I know what I don't believe.

Anyways, regarding the date, as I said, it demonstrates that the church is capable, willing, able and ready to distort information to make the story sound more believable. They lose all credibility and trust because I can't help but wonder what else they have changed, altered or distorted to make the history look more believable. What I have found is that there are MANY things that the church is not telling us that can be found in our own church records.

Jeremy said...

Well, I just read through this entire post and it's comments. I find the whole topic very interesting and very well documented. Since I have a fresh eye to the post I would like to respond to a two people's comments.

Joshsuth,

Seems that you are set to the defensive mode and I can understand why however take a step back, take a deep breath and think through things before you start jumping to the standard song and dance of believers.

The bible is not in question here (at least not this post) and I don't see how Peter lying three times makes a valid argument with the exception of making it okay for the head of a church to lie about something... well at least three times anyway.

Asking someone to prove that Jesus existed is about as easy as asking someone to prove that he didn't exist. An argument that will never meet an end. Come to think of it, can you prove to me that Santa Clause doesn't really exist? Seems like an obsured request doesn't it?


1 Truth,

I find it hard to believe that you have the authority to speak on behalf of the LDS church and make a statement that the church never lies. I do, however, find it very easy to believe that you are so convinced that said organization would never offend you in such a way that it makes it difficult for you to take a step back and think rationally about some of the claims the church makes.

You said, "they just figured that the date was a typo, and they thought they were making a correction."

Re-think what you said here, if I understand you correctly, you are implying that it's okay to change details of an event because someone later on thought it was a typo and took the freedom they granted to them self to change it to better reflect what they thought happened.

Also, Omission is considered a sin by the LDS Church, which is exactly what the church has done a number of times on various topics.

Stance For Truth said...

Here is my take on it.

Were there ever any actual plates? Maybe or maybe not, I don't think anyone can ever know for sure.

Was the Book of Mormon a literal history?
Probably not, at least there is nothing that I have seen that demonstrates that it was.

I believe that the Book of Mormon is a spiritual story. I believe that God had a message to give us through Joseph and that Joseph used a means to tell us this message that he was familiar with. Joseph was a good storyteller, so it makes sense that Joseph selected the method of giving this message in a story format.

I am well aware of Joseph's treasure seeking ventures of his youth, but as he assumes position of prophet, his days of treasure digging are behind him.

As far as the method of translation, I do find the use of "folk magic" as you call it a little bizarre, as do many people. However, I think it is more of a reflection on his time period. What things do we do today that people 150 years from now will think is absolutely bizarre? Sponge Bob Squarepants comes to mind.

As far as the date switching, I agree with 1 truth that I don't think the church is intentionally lying about the date.

I know that my views are a little unorthodox, but I also know that I am not alone with my view that the Book of Mormon is a spiritual journey and not a literal journey.

Joshsuth- Hang in there, there is a lot of things to be discovered that might cast doubts, or might even be troublesome, but keep in mind that none of it proves that the church isn't true. I think the harmful thing about the internet is that people stumble across information that they are not ready to learn about.

Al Jordan said...

Stance for Truth -

You are correct when you say your views are "unorthodox" with regards to an LDS mindset.

You are free to believe that the Book of Mormon is a "spiritual story", but that is not what the LDS church teaches. The church has always maintained that the BOM is a literal historical document of the ancient americas and it's people.

Only recently, with the widespread availability of information, are people being exposed to all the overwhelming evidence against Book of Mormon claims, and as a result, are forced to re-examine their beliefs.

I for one, was stunned when I stumbled across things I had never been told about in church. After a year of research, I concluded that the church simply wasn't true and that I hadn't been given all the facts with which I could make an informed, rational decision.

You say that the internet provides information about the church that its membership isn't ready to learn about. With that statement, you're insulting the intelligence and cognitive capacity of any LDS member who reads it. When is withholding truth ever a good thing - especially where someone's religious beliefs are concerned?

I believe that people deserve to know the facts about LDS church history, not the sanitized, whitewashed version presented by the CES and Deseret Book.

Elder Joseph said...

'JoshSuth'

I find it a serious concern that you would justify any kind of lying by your church because Peter denied Christ 3 times at that critical point when he felt his life was in danger .

By your reasoning then it is ok to kill members of the church if they leave and worship differently because after all Moses ordered his 'congregation' to be slayed for an act of worship not to his or his God's liking .

You will justify incest as well because thats in the bible too.

You believe its Ok for your church to lie since its inception and still is doing today because of Peter ? This is exactly the same excuse Jehovahs Witnesses give for their deception when found out.

Peter's lie is recorded in scripture .Joseph Smith's lies and all the LDS church lies are conveniently kept out of your own scriptures,church books and lessons .

And going by your own scriptures then ,Its ok for OLD men to 'call' ( threaten with damnation in the name of God) teen girls to marry and concieve because the LDS Prophets did so .

and
'Stance For Truth'
Have you told Gordon Hinckley what you think about the Book Of Mormon.I must admit though that in the future The book Of Mormon will be regarded as just a Spiritual Parable and no longer Historical for the simple fact that it has no Historical truth whatsoever .

I think you are ahead of your time.But even further ahead the whole LDS church concept thing will be thrown out too.

Stance For Truth said...

First of all, let me say that I understand why people choose to leave the church. My experience was very similar to many of you. I was shocked, horrified and then that turned into anger. However, I ended up going the other way.

I believe that Joseph Smith was inspired by God. My understanding of it is evolving. I believe the Book of Mormon contains a message for us, even if the story is not literal.

Elder Joseph: Ahead of my time, I like that. Truth be told, I know I am not alone in my current belief that the Book of Mormon is a spiritual story and not a literal story. I know bishops, high counselors, stake patriarchs and stake presidents that share this view.

tatabug said...

Hi guys! I'm baaack. I'm way behind and trying to play catch up as best I can, so I chose to deal only with those things that stood out the most to me.

Zelph,

You said,"The plates would remain wrapped up in a cloth or sometimes in a different room, or even out in the woods somewhere. It begs the question why did Joseph even need the plates if he didn't even use them in the translation process?"

I have heard reference to this, but have never read any direct evidence of it. Could you please give me a reference to your source for this information? Thanks.

As for the dating of the D&C 10, we've been over this one before, and you know where I stand. I have no trouble believing that it was a genuine mistake, and that it is quite plausible that Joseph missed the mistake, more than once even, perhaps because he would have been much more concerned with the accuracy of the revelations themselves and therefore glossed over obviously trivial things such as dates.

With regard to your comment about how can we trust Joseph with anything if he can't even get the dates right (paraphrasing mine), I have complete confidence that Joseph got right those things that are important and essential to the Gospel and our eternal salvation. Other information, such as the issue of dates, are only relevant in terms of history, and really bear no weight with regard to the Gospel itself. That was Joseph's responsibility--to teach the Gospel perfectly. Anything else is subject to imperfection. I can appreciate and understand that. When I stop to think of the enormity of what Joseph undertook, I can see plenty of opportunity for error. But I am amazed at how little true and significant error there actually was, and that none of it had to do with the Gospel itself.

And yes, Joseph did use the actual Urim and Thummim, at least in the beginning, but he found that it was designed for someone much larger than himself, and it caused him eyestrain, and so he began using the seer stone because it was easier and less cumbersome for him.

Did you ever stop to think of the stones in the actual Urim and Thummim? Where did they come from? Do you think it's possible that they were of the same sort as what Joseph found in the well and used? After all, they had to have come from somewhere. I read that Joseph found his stone by using the stone of a friend. You failed to mention in the article I referred you to that Martin Harris tried to fool Joseph by putting another stone in his pocket of similar size and shape as his seer stone, and that when Joseph went back to translating, he was unable to see anything in that stone. His exact words were that it was "as black as Egypt." Martin confessed that he was trying to prove to the world that Joseph wasn't a fraud and that he really was a prophet.

As for the "trial", there was no trial. There was a pre-trial hearing, and as such Joseph would not have been found "guilty" of anything. Misdemeanor trials were not recorded in New York at that time, only felony trials, and so the document cannot be an official court transcript of a trial. If it were a trial, it would have required that there be signatures of witnesses, which there were none. In addition, there was no such crime as glass looking in New York at that time. This is just a desperate attempt to slander Joseph Smith.

Bishop Rick said:

(side note: Joseph only ever referred to having 1 set of plates...things that make you go hmmm)

I'm not sure what you mean here, but there is an explanation about the small plates and the large plates and other various plates at the beginning of the Book of Mormon just after Joseph Smith's testimony and before the Table of Contents.

Elder Joseph said...

Tatabug,

You said
"I have complete confidence that Joseph got right those things that are important and essential to the Gospel and our eternal salvation."

Do you include the fact that he married 10 already married women including Orson Hydes wife while he was on a mission .

Do you include the fact that he married Emily and Eliza Partridge without Emma his wife knowing and two months later after convincing Emma of polygamy married them again in another service in Emma's presence.

Its nice to know he has got right those things that we need to know!

you said
"And yes, Joseph did use the actual Urim and Thummim, at least in the beginning, but he found that it was designed for someone much larger than himself, and it caused him eyestrain,"

If God prepared and pre ordained all this for Joseph how could God have the wrong size? This is either a lame excuse or it doesn't give me much confidence in the Mormon God.Where did you get that line of reasoning from .Its barmy !!


Concerning the bit about the plates being in the woods at the time of translation.There is a statement by Isaac Hale validating this . But all the eye witnesses confirm that the plates were either wrapped up in a cloth or out of view during The Hat and Stone farrago of nonsense ( LDS view - Translation ),so what does it matter where they were ( if they really existed), he never used them.

Zelph said...

Tatabug-

Welcome back, I hope you enjoyed your trip. It is always more interesting when you are around.

There are many well documented accounts of the translation process. This description of translation comes from Emma Smith, Oliver Cowdery, David Whitmer, Martin Harris, and William Smith.

I would suggest that you read the book "rough stone rolling" for an honest biography of Joseph Smith from Richard Bushman.

"Emma said she sat at the same table with Joseph, writing as he dictated, with nothing between them, and the plates wrapped in a linen cloth on the table...Joseph looked in the seer stone, and the plates lay covered on the table"

Officially, Joseph Smith was charged as being a disorderly person. New York law specified that anyone pretending to have skill in discovering lost goods should be judged a disorderly person. So yes, there was a specific New York law under the definition of what a disorderly person is.

I read the article you sent me, and thank you for it. So Martin Harris replaces Joseph's seer stone with another seer stone and Joseph isn't fooled. If Joseph had a rock for a few years, I think he would know if it was not the same rock he is looking at. Joseph probably knew that someone had replaced it since it would be obvious to anyone that it was not the same rock. Or, they could have made up the whole story, who knows. Perhaps it would be different if Martin Harris had an exact replica of Joseph's seer stone, but how could Martin produce a rock that would fool Joseph into thinking it was the same one? If anything, it makes the story even more fishy. You would think that Joseph Smith would recognize right away that the stone had been replaced. So why did he go and pretend to attempt to translate? Probably because he was playing along to make people keep believing that he had this ability.

It seems that early Mormonism was more similar to Harry Potter and the sorcerer's stone than the Bible

Sister Mary Lisa said...

Joshsuth,

You wrote, "Another point, you were 14 at one point. Did you ever go search for treasure? Or adventures similar to that? I know I did. And I am sure that there are hundreds of thousands of 14 year olds who have gone on treasure hunts. So why try to pin JS to the wall for it? Just curious, you should also realize he was a young boy, just like any other 14 year old boy at that time."

While you did your treasure hunting, did you actually charge people money, swearing to them that your special seer stone was able to find them valuable treasure? Because that's how Joseph made his money in his pre-prophet days. He never did help anyone find things of value that I know of, yet he continued to charge them for his special services.

Once he became prophet, isn't it great how Joseph convinced someone to donate their wealth to publish the Book of Mormon, then charged people for the book? I sure am impressed.

If you look at his career as a prophet, you can plainly see that he benefited financially from his position of being the Chosen One Who Handles the Special Power of God, much like he benefited from being the One Who Handles the Special Power of the Seer Stone before he commenced with the prophet stuff.

tatabug said...

I like how conveniently you twist the story of Martin and the false seer stone. According to the story, Joseph obviously couldn't tell the difference between the two stones because he proceeded to put it in his hat and try to translate with it, which he of course was unable to do because it wasn't a seer stone at all. He probably didn't look at it before putting it in his hat to notice that it wasn't the seer stone.

My point about the alleged trial and conviction is that it wasn't that at all. The allegation is that he was a glass looker. If he was charged of disorderly conduct, then why would it instead say he was charged for the crime of glass looking which wasn't a crime at all?

But the plates did in fact exist, huh? It would seem that you believe they existed because you give credence to statements to the effect that Joseph didn't use the plates at all during the translation process, and the people who make these statements never argue their existence, but in fact Emma said they were there, but that they were covered. She may not have seen them, but she moved them around during her work and heard the sound of the metal pages rustling. If they did in fact exist, will you argue that the method of translation was wrong? Do you know the method of divine translation? I would venture to guess that you have no experience in that area, but yet you draw conclusions and make assumptions as though you do.

Sister Mary Lisa,

What proof have you that Joseph profited? Did you ever consider that money charged for the Book of Mormon was either to repay those from whom money was borrowed or used to help further the work of the Kingdom? Please give me some specific details of exactly how Joseph profited.

joshsuth said...

Sister Mary, I have a hard time even following your line of thought. Obviously you are a scholar with church history, so you know about the constant harassing, tar and feathering, destruction of property, being arrested and held without cause, having your howe raided and you drug outside to be tarred and feathered and your newborn child dying from exposure, and finally being killed. So you want to use common sense, then use it, how much money would you have to make to justify those things? Millions? Billions? Who knows. Maybe you have the answer.
Zelph, You did not really answer my question, you point that the church changed a date on a revelation, hence, the church lies and is false. But Peter is not the only one who did questionable things. Paul was one of the first anti-christ's before God appeared to him. He even organized the stonings of some of the inital Seventy. Yet he was called to be an Apostle!! We have already discussed Peter lying, also Christ refused to teach anyone who was not of the House of Israel, so obviously he was a bigot and a racist. Following your example, how can you overlook these obvious sins and transgressions, and still believe in Christ?
Elder Joseph,
First off in our earlier conversation we talked about the NT and OT. I encouraged you to read them. Now in your comments you talk about Moses and you tie that into the church. Now, if you had a basic knowledge of the Gospel you would know that Christ fulfilled the Law of Moses, (The Law of Moses was what people followed before the coming of Christ), hence your example of killing members for transgression would be valid if we were following the Law of Moses. But since we are not, it does not really make any sense. Once again you might want to study up on the initail Gospel that Christ talked about, because you are putting the cart before the horse.
Jeremy,
Asking you to prove that Christ is the Son of God is very realistic I feel. If you believe in Christ like I think you do, then you know you can only gain that on a personal spiritual level. Now concerning the BOM, you want the church to head out on some expedition and dig up Zarahemla with Mormons remains, now that might just eliminate the whole Faith concept, which would basically make the Gospel unnessacary, beause we would be living off of a sure knowledge, so it would not really work I feel.

Zelph said...

Tatabug- Joseph Smith was arrested for "glass looking". The specific law was filed under being a disorderly person, which specified that someone that claimed to have special powers to help people find objects and charge them for it was disorderly. They used the term "glass looking" when he was arrested and the court records use this term, and that is why I say he was arrested for "glass looking", that is the term that was used in his arrest.

So the law doesn't use the term "glass looking", but the people involved in the arrest use the term.

That would be like if I threw a water bottle out my car window and got cited for littering. I could say that the law does not use the term "water bottle throwing" so I have committed no crime. It is still littering.

Anyways glass-looking was a crime as specified under the definition of what a disorderly person is.

I have questioned if the plates were actually gold, and perhaps I should make that more clear. I do think that there were metal plates, probably made up of tin and not gold due to the calculations regarding the size and weight. So yes, I do believe there was something physical there, but the plates were not used in the translation process, so it still makes me wonder why Joseph needed them to begin with.

Joshuth-I believe that I have answered your questions, and I understand your point.

Elder Joseph said...

tatabug

The plates we are referring to are the 'own made' ones Joseph Smith used as a prop to fool everyone .No one saw them for what they were supposed to be.( except the later supposed witness statements which are no more valid than mafia testimonies ).

I'm certain they existed but they weren't gold Plates from Nephite Civilisations .They were probably made by Joseph himself as part of his hoax.

And the switched stone incident is simply him playing along to look credible , but he failed the Kinderhook plates one though and commenced translating those forgeries .

And anyway why shouldn't he translate with a different stone ? After all it was done by the Power and Spirit of God according to him ! Would a different Hat have made a difference also ?

JoshSuth
If the Moses incident is strictly related to Law of Moses and done away with under Christ .What about the Temple then ? is that not a part of the Law of Moses also ? That was destroyed and its day come to an end and you have reintroduced it. So reintroducing slaying congregational members is possible and justifiable by you also.Didn't you practice Blood Atonemeent before also?

and Yes Paul was a persecutor of Christians prior ,but after his vision he wasn't making a career of treasure hunting like Joseph.

Pauls experience is more closely aligned to Constantine.After his vision he too turned from prosector to defender of the faith and was instrumental in the origin of the New Testament Canon which you ask me to read thoroughly. It makes a nice change of being asked to read the Book Of Mormon though. ( which I have ).

Joseph Smith continued being a deceiver well after his vision.There is a difference between him and Paul.

Zelph said...

EJ-

You draw an excellent point. If Joseph was able to use the interpreters as well as a stone, it really shouldn't matter which stone he used. As you said, did it also matter which hat he used? So let's say Martin Harris switched Joseph's hat with a replica, which would be easier to reproduce, would Joseph have a hard time translating at that point?

Tatabug- How could Joseph look at the stone in the hat without 'looking' at the stone in the hat and realizing it isn't the same stone? You just made that up. Joseph would quickly realize it wasn't the same stone, even if he didn't look at it when he put it into the hat. He would have pulled it out, looked at it and said "HEY, THIS ISN'T MY ROCK!!!!" Instead, Joseph plays dumb by saying "hmm, I just don't seem to understand what the problem is here, but for some odd reason I am unable to translate anything right now, and I have absolutely no idea whatsoever what the problem could be, I mean it is almost like something is out of place, or something, but nah, that couldn't be it, I can't seem to translate, though.

I think people were much more gullible back then.

Stance For Truth said...

Sister Mary Lisa,

If Joseph Smith was a con-man, he was not a very good one because he didn't make much money. Most of the money he raised went into publishing the Book of Mormon or into buildings like temples. If Joseph was a good con-man, he would have taken the money and ran, but he must not have been a good con-man because he personally didn't make very much money.

When you look at some things about Joseph Smith, it is apparent to me that at least he believed he was on a divine mission from God. To me, that narrows the choices down to 2: either he was a true prophet of God or he was delusional. My point is that I don't think he was just a con-man because he never really made any money.

The other factor that is most important is that a con-man wouldn't take his game to the grave. At some point a con-man would say enough is enough, but Joseph never denied it to the very end.

I will agree that some of his arrests were warranted, and some of them were frivolous, but as I said, if he was a con-man, at some point before his death, he would have admitted it. So at least HE believed he was on a divine mission.

As far as the church today, I also think that the leaders from the very top absolutely feel they are doing God's work. My point is that I don't think they are doing it for financial gain, but what they think is right. I don't know how much the GA's make, but I am sure it is a modest but comfortable income. They do make a lot of money from their book publications, and one could argue that the only reason they sell so many books is because of their position of authority. However, like I said, I don't believe that they are sitting around in their priesthood meetings laughing at the members for believing their big con. I believe that they strongly feel they are doing the Lord's work.

Russell said...

"I think people were much more gullible back then" (?!)

Wow. Classic case of Freud's quip about the living thinking they're better than the dead because they're alive.

Anyway, this is a post I made on Mormanity when NM asked about the claims Zelph was making:

That post sounds to me to be sub-par in its analysis. It really sounds as though his disillusionment has gotten the better of his evidentiary analysis. In some ways, I sympathize; all Latter Day Saints who study Church history go through this stage to some degree or another. It appears that Zelph just has a harder time handling ambiguities and nuances. His testimony about how he was taught should be taken as just that--one testimony about how one, two or more sunday school teachers or even bishops explained something to him. Speaking for myself, I have found my leadership to be nothing but welcoming to scholarship on church history (one bishop even asked me to talked to me about working with his struggling daughter--she had issues with polygyny, polyandry and treasure hunting).

His talk about how "odd" the image of Joseph translating via a seer stone represents his own biases rather than a fair reading of the circumstances. He presented ABSOLUTELY no new information to me and yet here I am, having some good old fashioned "cognitive dissonance" (I never liked the completely harmonious classical-period music anyway). Seriously though, this information does nothing to affect my faith in the BOM, either intellectually or otherwise. The account of the seer stone is widely known and can be accessed in many histories, even those hagiographic histories whose treatment is less than scholarly. I knew full well that he used the seer stone for both endeavors; this would be expected for a prophet-in-training whose religious heritage had been incubated in a magical subculture.

He also (offensively, I believe) caricaturizes the testimony of most members I know. Some of my very best friends are STALWARTS in the faith and would never parrot some "pray about it" line, leaving it at that.

He claims that Joseph's decision to translate from the Book of Mosiah onward in Sept. 1828 was "odd"--only because Zelph refuses to accept Joseph's revelation that he was to avoid translating the Book of Lehi (this in itself, incidentally, is a hint that translation work begin soon--even though Zelph maintains that Joseph re-translated without direction).

Now his accusations on the dating of section 10 really do amount mere intellectual uppitiness, straining at a gnat. He claims that "now restored" must of necessity that it mean the action has just taken place. Herein is HIS ENTIRE CASE. Yet I could say "I am now living in Utah"--even though I might have moved 2 years earlier. HOw and when Joseph received his revelation depended much upon where his mind was (see the anecdote about how he was upset with Emma and how it affected his revelatory capacity). This is one explanation.

But here's the kicker (hopefully, you're still reading): James Mullohand, the prophet's scribe, dated section 10 right after section 3 (there was an insert in the Manuscript History to this effect). While Mullohand did not make the date change in the history itself, this was probably a scribal oversight, given his placement of the revelation. So the Church's changing of the date does represent propagandizing but historical genuinity. It fits better with the story because that's probably how the story played itself out.

Zelph appears to be willing to impugn the worst motives wherever there is ambiguity. He has his right to believe such things, but he is not right in exploiting that ambiguity to the detriment of the ill-informed, esp. when he is ill-informed himself.

Bishop Rick said...

These dialogues never cease to amaze me.

Joshsuth,

You paragraph to Sister Mary Lisa (SML) was nothing more than unorganized gibberish, but I will comment on the tarring and feathering. Joseph was attacked by a mob to be tarred and feathered for proposing to one of the attacker's underage daughters. They also brought along a doctor to castrate him. When it came down to it, the doctor refused to perform the castration so the mob tried to poison him and chipped his tooth in the unsuccessful process. Point is, I would have tarred and feathered him too if he propositioned my underage daughter...maybe worse.

tatabug,

The issue of Joseph being arrested and charged for "glass looking" is well documented. I saw the report myself on KUTV and there are many syndicated news articles about it. This is no longer a point of contention. It happened and there is documented proof.

stance for truth,

I still haven't figured which side of the fence you are on. Must get sore after awhile. That said, JS was a conman and profited much. I always hear the false claim that JS did not profit from his position. I guess he didn't have a house built for him, wasn't given carriages and expense money. The truth is JS never held an honest job in his life. All money given to him was due either to con games or religious exploitation.

Back to joshsuth,

Zelph did answer you question. I understood perfectly what he said in his response...oh and you need to stop talking about the bible and "gospel" topics because when you do, it is apparent you don't know what you are talking about. Your post had too many errors to respond to in this already long response.
But please stop using the lame, uneducated response that without faith the gospel falls apart. That is BS. If the gospel is true it should be true no matter what. If validation of BoM and other LDS theories wasn't so important, the LDS church wouldn't fund FARMS and Mormanity's blog would be very small.

russell,

Your post is exactly what it claims not to be...a classic example of cognitive dissonance. Both you and Jeff know these things are true, yet you choose to overlook them. You also claim Zelph only assumes the worst when there is ambiguity while at the same time, only assuming the best in the same case. Don't you see the irony with that statement?

If you ask me, Zelph is being cautious while you are being foolish.

Sister Mary Lisa said...

Once Joseph Smith was established as a Prophet of God, he enjoyed many gains (financial and otherwise), including:

*homes being built and paid for by the church everywhere he or his family went

*women and girls willing to live in his home and tend to his needs (oh my) as well as his family's

*other people giving him and his family their homes to live in rent-free

*power to act in God's name and direct others in any way he chose

*status and fame (which is indeed valuable to some)

*numerous women for himself, married or otherwise

*power to promise eternal salvation to entire family of 14 year old girl if they will allow him to take her as his plural wife (see Helen Mar Kimball)

*power to send desirable women's husbands on missions so they are free to accept his "revelation" that they are to be his plural wife

*influence to tell his followers that God told him to start a bank which they should invest all their money into because God told him that all other banks would fail ~ and the ability to not be answerable for failure of said bank. Where DID all that money go, do you think?

Of course there was some hardship associated with his fame and fortune. Many powerful people in history have endured hard consequences directly associated with things they've done with their power. Especially those leaders who used their power to gain women who "belonged to" other husbands...isn't that what inspired the tar-and-feathering incident that Joseph endured? He gained many enemies for his actions, not because Satan was trying to hinder God's work. Joseph pissed people off, yet the benefits he enjoyed certainly seemed to make the risk worth it, as that didn't stop him from trying new things.

Tatabug mentions if Joseph were a con-man, he'd have taken the money and run. Why would he run when staying meant a lifetime of money, power, and fame? You saw Brigham Young cash in well on what Joseph started. Our prophet and general authorities today are doing exactly the same thing, minus the marrying their buddies' wives.

I respect your need to keep your faith in your religion, but must respectfully disagree that Joseph behaved in an upstanding manner in all things.

Sister Mary Lisa said...

That's right. I stand corrected that the tar-and-feather incident happened over a woman who was someone's wife. It was a daughter/sister to the men who tarred and feathered him. I believe those were my ancestors.

:)

Russell said...

"Your post is exactly what it claims not to be...a classic example of cognitive dissonance. Both you and Jeff know these things are true, yet you choose to overlook them. You also claim Zelph only assumes the worst when there is ambiguity while at the same time, only assuming the best in the same case. Don't you see the irony with that statement?"

Here would be me overlooking something: "There's a contradiction? Ah, such is life. Let's talk about something else, more pleasant shall we?" I follow Quinn's injunction of Mormon history (of course, I am taking him at face value--"assuming the best" if you will) that we be sure to contextualize, that we not jump to premature conclusions, esp. when we don't have all the facts and interpretations. So pardon me if I am quite skeptical about the merits of blind skepticism.

In any case, I see you do not disagree re: Zelph's agenda. IN that case, I ask if either the optimist or pessimist paradigm is inherently correct. Ultimately, neither holds up to empircal scrutiny. They're simply paradigm. Now you might accuse me of being a naive optimist--I probably wouldn't argue with you on the optimist part. Like G.K. chesterton said, the more one knows what good is, the more one can see the good in everything.

Zelph said...

Russel,

Yes I read your whole comment, as I do take every comment very seriously.

People WERE more gullible back then, not because we are any better than them, but simply because of better technology and communication.

I am a musician, so I got your joke, and I have to say that was a good one.

The truth is that very few member of the church know much about church history. Very few of them know about things like the seer stone and the hat, so this blog serves as a PSA.

When I talk about the standard response of "read and pray about it", that is the usual response I get, so if your experience has been different, that is great for you, and I wish I could say the same. The only responses and council that I have got was the standard read and pray about it, outside of the internet, so I am speaking from my own personal experience.

The reson it is such an odd image is because I grew up in the church, but have never heard of such a thing. It wouldn't be such an odd image if the church was upfront about it from the beginning.

firefly123 said...

Hi, um yeah, I don't know what kind of anti-mormon sites you have been visiting, but I know the real history about joseph smith. Who are you going to believe? If I wanted to know more about catholicks, I would ask a catholick. joseph smith was a prophit and I want to say right now that most of the stuff on your blog is all lies. what it really comes down to is trust. are you going to trust in people that are biast against the church, or are you going to beleive the prophits who have been called by god? joseph smith was killed because nobody beleived him that he saw a vision. now you are spreading lies about him searching for burried treasure. I cant remember who said it, but it says somewhere that joseph smith has done more then anyone else on the earth except for jesus, and joseph was persecuted and killed, just like jesus.

Anonymous said...

OK

Anonymous said...

firefly,

have another drink.

Jeremy said...

firefly123,

It appears that you have not read most of this blog. If you had you would see that most of the information here is referenced back to church documents, historical information that can be authenticated. I will agree that some information is certainly opinion. Please read all the information provided before you begin to repeat the typical response you were taught in Sunday School.

PS, If you ever find a "catholick" let me know.

Russell said...

Zelph:

Thank you for your remarks and for appreciating my slightly dry humor. As I said earlier, I can always sympathize with anyone whose dealing with cutting through the flurry of voices that come from Sunday School manuals and skeptics alike.

However, in my meanderings, I saw something funny on my way to the gospel forum. Chesterton noted that it was the secular skeptics who convinced him of Christianity, who shook his faith in the virtue of skepticism. He added that he initially sought to create a heresy of his own and by the time he had put his finishing touches on it, he discovered to his wonder, that it was bona fide orthodoxy. To a degree, it's been the same for me. When I hear the claims of folks like the Tanners, Bill McKeever, and Ed Decker, my faith in critics' abilities to be seekers of truth is shaken...quite severely (the elipses were used there in honor of the Tanners :) I have presented scholarship--real scholarship--in Sunday School classes and the leaders have been generally open, in principle at least. One of them told me I was going a bit overboard (mind you, this is one of those more inclined to scholarship), overloading folks with historical quotes rather than with principles of salvation. I agreed, but even then, my lessons retained a scholarly flavor.

Having done my share of research on Mormon history (a la archival research, primary documents, journals, etc.), I could probably out-anti some critics.

Do I support prayer as the ultimate source of truth? Of course I do...I would be a hypocrite if I said otherwise. If I didn't believe that, then I really wouldn't believe in a personal God. That said, God asks--no, insists--that we utilize our minds to full capacity to learn the truth.

So if you have had leaders give you the slip and delegitimize scholarly thought, I wish you the best in letting those offenses behind you, in forgiving them for not valuing truth-seeking. Elder Maxwell once remarked that such attitudes were "local rather than institutional in nature."

Anyway, keep looking and keep searching. My experience has been that a hard-nosed determination to find truth of all kinds and in all venues can only do a person good.

Zelph said...

Russell,

I appreciate your comments. As I have stated earlier, most members of the church know very little if anything regarding church history.

Believe it or not, but I think it is great that you believe in the church. My wife still believes in the church and I support her in all her callings. However, the problem I have is that most members faith is not based on the whole story.

What I want is for people to see both sides to make an informed decision, instead I feel it is more of a bait and switch tactic. Missionaries unknowingly teach false information. I find that deeply offensive, because as a return missionary, the church has made me a liar.

I believe that the idea of a personal God is a beautiful one, and I think that is what draws people in, but I lose faith in the organization when I realize it is not based on reality.

Elder Joseph said...

Russel ,

I'm an investigator of the church.I attend every week and participate as much if not more than as many full members .I told my missionaries I am happy to learn.I decided to try word of wisdom being open minded and easy going and recognising it was a good thing ( and intend to keep this ),but my missionaries seem to have plotted with other church members to get me baptised despite my doubts as to the validity of the whole thing .

I told them I needed to investigate the claims of the church first but they insisited that the only way to investigate was to pray about it ? Why pray about it , why not actually see for myself the history , the lives of the leaders , their teachings ,its track record etc

I rebuked the baptisimal challenge as very irresponsible of them and suggested they perhaps think about actually teaching me something , which I now realise they can't because they don't know much themselves and the version they gave me was simply false .

Since then the tables have turned and I am able to correct them .Its not their fault they are just repeating what they have been taught by the church , but I can assure you how much shock and disbelief they display when confronted with the true version.

Its not my intention to take anyones faith from them but I do have a responsibility to be honest about things and I think the church should also. Yes there are some like yourself who know about the head in a hat and stone , but what about when you are sharing the gospel ? Do you keep the translation process hidden from Investigators ? Thats even worse then my missionaries who at least didn't know themselves.


It seems to me that this whole concept of Tuth Restored through Joseph Smith etcis flawed .

Don't expect us who know to quietly fade away while many unsuspecting people are being duped by the missionaries.

There would be a huge exodus if the members knew the real version of events in Church History and thats why the church purposely avoids them and sanitises its History .

The Hat and Stone was brought up in Elders Quorom by a recently baptised mamber .He isn't happy at being made a fool of and has stopped paying tithe and is looking to get out now .The Elders Quorom teacher didn't know where to hide himself.I would have commented myself but the Loud Forbidden Laughter would have got the better of me .

Ths Hat and Stone is nothing compared with the Ugly manner of calling terrified Teens to marry and concieve with OLD men in the name of God. Thats a subject for another time which quite frankly makes me feel physically sick .

I really thought at the beginning that the church would tackle my questions on polygamy, blacks etc but instead I was told to 'pray' about it and If the answer I got wasn't to their liking ,it probably meant I didn't pray sincerely enough ??

tatabug said...

Wow, everyone's been so busy since I last posted. It's taken me 20 minutes just to catch up.

Sister Mary Lisa,

Sorry, but I wasn't the one who said Joseph would've taken the money and run. That would be Stance For Truth. But I am glad you got back to me with "evidence" about Joseph's profitting. Unfortunately, I wouldn't consider that evidence. That is your opinion. And I didn't want to know how he benefitted in any other way but financially, since that was your original accusation. I want some real information with references, please. Otherwise, you are just making up charges which mean absolutely squat.

Bishop Rick,

Well, I guess if it was on TV news then it must be true. As far as documentation goes, what sort of documentation are you referring to? The fact is that the little piece of paper Zelph shows you was illegally removed from the Judge's dockett book and had to be retrieved through legal means after several months of its removal. Since it was removed in such a manner, there is no way of knowing for sure that it wasn't altered. Even if it wasn't tampered with, it was not a transcript of a trial. If he were to be found guilty of anything, a trial would have to have taken place, which I've seen no evidence of. Did you see anywhere on that little slip of paper indicating that he was guilty of anything? He may have had misdemeanor charges brought for being a glass-looker or disorderly person if you prefer, but I see no evidence of him being found guilty of such.

Zelph,

How many times must we go over this? It isn't lying unless it is done purposely with the intent to deceive. I don't believe you were made to be a liar, even if you were taught untruths. But even with what I know, I don't believe that the Church has lied about anything. Just because they only give one version of events without going into great detail about everything, doesn't mean they are lying or trying to cover things up. I see it as just a more expedient way to tell a story in some cases. If we had all grown up knowing that Joseph used a seer stone in his hat as the only method of translation, would you have a problem since he also used the Urim and Thummim and Breastplate and no one told you?

Anyway, I don't see this site as a PSA to inform people. You are not just presenting information, you are also presenting opinion and you are presenting the Church as being false. I don't see any positive information balancing out the negative information you present. It all has a slant which I truly believe is meant to sway people rather than merely inform. If you can prove to me otherwise, I would be happy to apologize.

The Church's history is out there. It's available to all who are interested in learning more about it, just as it is for you. I just don't see any proof of lying or cover-up. I've shown you that there has been an effort through the Church magazines to inform members about the peep stone since the early 1900's. There is just so much historical information, that I don't see how it would be possible to inform all the members about it without neglecting the spiritual, which is what people want and need. Fortunately, for those who want to learn more history, there's the History of the Church, there's the Journal of Discourses. And these contain some pretty shocking information, but I don't see the Church trying to sanitize them.

I see it as MY responsibility to be informed about things. I am not going to rely on anyone spoon-feeding me information. That is just as bad and irresponsible as someone who relies upon someone else's testimony, or someone else's "oil" (in reference to the 10 virgins) to fuel their lamps. I am learning the Church's history, and my reaction hasn't been the same as yours. I'm not sure why, but I'm not angry because no one ever told me, or that I've been lied to. I try to process information and understand it contextually because I know that things are not necessarily what they seem to be at first, and I know the very real possibility for error in every form. And because of my testimony, I am inclined to give the leaders of the Church the benefit of the doubt until I can gain a better understanding for myself.

Speaking of context, let me share a little gem from Jeff Lindsay. It just makes me feel better when I read it, and I hope you can all get a laugh out of it. I'm not including the entire thing, only a portion, and this is talking about Joseph of the Old Testament:

"...Today we read about Joseph. I know he was an inspired man of God, but the same attacks that are used against our modern Joseph Smith could be turned against the ancient Joseph as well. The critics could charge that he was involved in the occult, telling fortunes through dreams, using a cup for divination, etc. And they'd be sure to let everyone know that he was convicted and jailed for a sexual assault against Potiphar's wife - what kind of depraved beast was this man? But with his crafty ways, conspiring with other inmates, he was able to get out of jail and use his occult skills to gain the confidence of the Pharaoh. Rather than standing up for truth and individual liberty, he used the power of big government to tax the people and create vast stores of grain. Then, when natural disaster struck and there was famine in the land, Joseph exploited the famine to sell grain to the people at exorbitant prices, eventually forcing everybody to sell all that they had, even their land, to Pharaoh, resulting in a massive growth of power and wealth for a pagan dictator. If Joseph's story were told only in the Book of Mormon, LDS apologist would provide reasoned defenses, but the public would only hear the charges: con man! convict! pervert! occultist! conspirator! dictator's right-hand man!..."

tatabug said...

Oops! In case anyone would like to read Jeff's entire post, here is the link:

http://mormanity.blogspot.com/2004/09/glad-that-genesis-is-not-in-book-of.html

joshsuth said...

bishop rick, I appreciate your very educated response that contained nothing as far as facts, but was loaded with personal opinion. Good job. See the difference between me and you is I believe in the "gospel" as you put it. From your responses I could assume you dont believe in Christ as your savior and so forth? And no he did not answer my question and either did you. How can you so called "experts" overlook such condemning examples with Peter, Paul and Christ. Please explain to me using some sort of scripture refrences backing up your position, RATHER than spewin your OPINION please use some sort of reference Bishop Rick. Thanks

joshsuth said...

Tatabug, you need to understand that with the individuals on here you will do nothing but argue OPINION. Its fun, but it gets you nowhere. They will have a rebuttall for everything you say and so forth. Its fun to debate, but dont have any sort of goal in mind, cause you will never reach it.

joshsuth said...

Also bishop rick, I am sure the MOB could of dreamed up more than that as an excuse to raid his home. Its so funny how you take the testimony of men that were willing to kill innocent women and children just because of the fact they were Mormon!! But when one comes out with a statement about the behavior of JS you accept it with open arms!! Its entertaining to say the least.

tatabug said...

Joshsuth,

I understand your point, but when someone wants to state something as fact, I expect them to be able to back it up. I also have no illusions of converting anyone. My goal has been to try to establish some kind of balance here, and yes, it has been fun debating. But I've ended up learning more myself than I've probably done to influence anyone's opinion. However, my learning has been beneficial to my testimony rather than detrimental, as I'm sure Elder Joseph is disappointed and confused by.

Russell said...

Elder Joseph:
I ask your pardon for my long-winded response. You have raised some excellent questions, questions I believe deserve a sincere and at least somewhat complete answers. Feel free to ask more, esp. at Mormanity. I tend to check that one more often.

Having been a missionary myself, I know both the strengths and the follies of missionaries. And more often than I would have liked (I could point out specific instances, if you want), I became a bit zealous in getting folks baptized. Whatever motivates missionaries to get people baptized rapid-fire style, I can say having been on both sides of the tag (if you will) that it simply isn't right. As the cliche goes, if the church weren't true, the missionaries would have messed it up long ago. ;)

But I will say this, re: your ideas on polygamy to young women, it sounds to me (and again, I cannot easily be surprised on these matters, having read Quinn, Compton, and others) like you have been fed inaccuracies FAR MORE BRAZZEN than anything about the translation.

From the way it sounds, elder joseph, you've already begun an "exit-route" from the faith. As someone whom you can't surprise easily vis-a-vis church history, I would urge you to persist. You just might need to be judicious about the targets of your questions--that way, you might actually get some answers. Unfortunately (at least in some ways), there are a fair number of 'social gospelers' in the faith--those who see the social good the church does (and it DOES) and equate that with historical veracity.

I do not expect that the tough questions stop. Indeed, I would hope that they do not (see the lds.org website for an example of tough questions like these--the Pew Forum recently hosted a forum on Mormonism with Bushman as its moderator; great stuff)

You must understand, I know then but a fraction of what I know now. My teaching as a missionary reflected that. That said, however, I would suggest to you that it is perfectly right that we do not bring up the Hat and Stone account during the discussions. It figures into what I call the "fat man" theory of Church history. Essentially, the faith has sluffed off excess doctrinal fat over the years. It is thus leaner and more effective now than it was then (even though we still struggle with certain cultural assumptions that hinder the work--materialism in particular, in my view). Just because something is true does not mean it is important or necessary, any more than the fact that I prayed to a vase as a child (long story--very silly indeed) is important to my kids' salvation.

Here is why I feel I can generally avoid proactively propoagating the stone story and still look at the mirror in the morning (I still might--depends on the situation):

1) It is not as though Joseph never used the Urim and Thummim. The term was a fluid term in his mind, just as the meaning of words in general was (he calls the earth a Urim and Thummim in sec. 130). In many ways, the stone in Revelation 2 could also be called a "seer stone." The distinction between the means might be stark to us, but for someone incubated in magical Christianity as Joseph was, it was less so. He did use the U and T--in fact, on the night he received the plates, he was more enthusiastic about the Urim and Thummim than the plates. Simply because Joseph became excited about the prospects of 'seeing' tells us more about his magical subculture than it does about the veraciy of the plates.

2) Joseph's regional idiosyncracies have little to do with his transnational character. While God uses idiosyncracies to further his work (perhaps Joseph's experience in the subculture prepared his mind to deal with Moroni, who might be viewed as a Christianized treasure guardian? See Ashurst-McGhee for this), they only have limited connection to the work's divinity. For example, if Mormonism were based on an African shaman, would it matter if his early life had elements of African pagan traditions? Theoretically (that's all I can say for a counterfactual), I would say no.

So there are my thoughts on the matter. Keep looking, my friend. No one has come out the worse if they look for truth from ALL sources. If I were to tell you that I did not believe prayer to be the prime source for truth, I would be a bit of a hypocrite because I do. I accept that God is real, that answers prayers through our intellect and through revelation; both are not only important, but essential.

Zelph said...

Tatabug- Of course this blog is filled with opinion. I think it is balanced by giving people the opportunity to post their comments and rebuttals. I also feel that I am simply presenting things the way I see them, which is opinion, but it is opinion that draws so much interest. From a realistic standpoint, not many people have the time or the energy to sift through historical documents, if they do, I commend them as most people do not.

Now to church history. It is out there thanks to the internet. I have never in all my years as a member of the church have ever been encouraged to read about church history. People can read everything they want for free online.

The Journal of Discourses are pretty much dead in the church. According to John Delin, the leaders of the church have instructed people that edit priesthood manuals and sunday school lesson books to avoid the JoD.

As I said before, what will really shock you is that I think it is great if you want to believe in Mormonism. In real life, I don't go around telling people how terrible Mormonism is. I tell people that I was raised Mormon, but I am just not very religious right now.

The problem I have is that people have a belief in the church that is based on half of the story.

I have brought up this example before, but I think it is worth repeating.

Say you have a woman that dies a few months after her husband died. You would say that she died of a broken heart.

Then, a few days go by and then you learn that the woman was 150 lbs. overweight and was a chain smoker. That new information might change your opinion on how she died.

Both versions of the story are "correct" because they both include factual information, but if you only heard one side, you might have a different opinion on how she died.

You have taken a step past the standard "read the book of Mormon and pray about it" so you have surpassed 90% of the members out there. At least that has been my experience. I have always been told just to stay away from the anti stuff. Just stay away from the anti stuff. I think that now with the availability of information thanks to the internet, it is much more difficult for the church to control information.

So if your testimony is stronger, why doesn't the church tackle these tough issues head on instead of keeping them buried down? Yes, the information is there, but I have never heard anyone encourage me to read about church history. Most members of the church don't know much about Mormon history outside of what they read in the Ensign.

Firefly123-

My mom used to use that same argument about if you wanted to learn more about Catholics you would ask a Catholic. Let me answer that with another example. If you were looking at Ford cars, would you only ask Ford dealers about them? Maybe you would ask Ford owners if they are happy with their Ford, you would find disgruntled Ford owners and ask why they are unhappy with their Ford, you would ask other dealerships what they think of Fords. Do you see what I am saying? The idea is to look at all perspectives and not just one opinion. So to answer your question, if I wanted to learn more about "Catholicks", I would hear both sides.

Zelph said...

Russell-

No matter how you sugar coat it, yes, even if you use big fancy words, it is still lying. The Urim and Thummim was referred to as "Interpreters" until years later. The seer stones were also referred to as being the Urim and Thummim.

Joseph used the interpreters for the translation of the Book of Lehi, which we do not have. The books in the Book of Mormon that we have today was translated with the seer stone in the hat. I think the church has a responsibility to show things how they actually happened. You call it sliming down, I say it is white-washing, I will just have to disagree with you on what you consider the "fat man theory".

Russell said...

Zelph--

If you feel inclined to disagree, that's entirely your right and liberty. After all, this is your blog :)

However, know that my "fancy words" are simply my effort to communicate an alternative view. Mormons are often accused of being dogmatic, inflexible in their thinking. I have seen that people often call "fancy words" any view which poses a serious and thought-out dissent to the accepted view; I've seen it in the church myself. In this case, it seems that the critics are the ones who stridently oppose any positive paradigm re: Mormon origins while I, the supposedly dogmatic Mormon, simply request more flexibility in thinking.

I've been where you are, Zelph. Don't think I just magically zapped from being a snot-nosed teenager to a well-informed member; I've had my awkward moments of research and I occasionally have them still. I've worked as a researcher for one of the founding editors of Dialogue. My research has provided ample opportunity for me to question my beliefs and yet it remains fully intact.

People can interpret the facts as they will, but I've known enough members who know more of them than either of us, who could outbash any critic if desired, and yet their faith in the divine origins of the Church remains. Just know that there is NO skeleton in this Church's closet that forces anyone to the conclusion that this Church is not exactly what it claims to be.

Elder Joseph said...

Russel

I appreciate your long winded response .

To summarize you basically said that you would not tell an investigator or prospective convert that Joseph Smith used a Stone in a Hat and yet this is the accounts we have from church member eye witnesses of how the 'translating ' was done or at least MOST of it , admitted by Dan Peterson of FAIRS on National Tv .He didn't have much choice but to come clean .

My opinion - ALL of it was done this way , as the evidence and circumstances show it to be a deception .He was a confidence trickster.

The real reason you won't tell anyone investigating about the Hat and Stone is because you are probably embarrassed yourself about it and you know you've no chance of a conversion if they knew at the beginning .I even have church members denying the head and hat trick .How laughable if not tragic is that .

Its the same reason Blacks are not told they are the less valiants and cursed .You just prey on many peoples ignorance and lack of education .

The reason NON whatsoever of all my missionaries ( nearly 2 years worth) don't tell of the hat and stone is simply because they didn't know themselves .When I asked them what will you tell investigators now ? I see the dilemma they now face, knowing how important honesty is .

What was the point of the Biblical style Urim and Thummim if not just a plot from Joseph Smith to impress and hoodwink his potential followers.

The Urim and Thummim supposedly prepared with the supposed Gold Plates was totally pointless then as was the plates too because he never even read from them as he 'translated'.

God and countless Nephite Historians prepare Gold Plates and an Urim and Thummim and Joseph didn't bother to use either in the end ?


The whole thing gets worse as I look into it .In fact I couldn't even bring the church doctrine up on the blacks Temple Ban in classes because we have black brothers and they haven't a clue !

Its an embarrassment for all in church .

The whole thing has started to fall apart for me and the scary thing is that I was even beginning to believe in it a few months in . What a tragedy that would have been for the church if I'd baptised and then saw the history , I wouldn't have been very polite or civil about it .

I'm glad I know what I know. I learnt a big lesson from nearly being duped by the JW's as a youth and the frightening thing is that I see a similar problem here also .
Both organised religions from New York .

The reason missionaries urge and pressure vulnerable people into baptism is because they are pressured themselves .They are told that if they are worthy and sin free then they will get converts . It must come as a surprise to them then when they get a convert because more often than not they have probably proved mission President wrong .

You also advise me to keep looking /questioning ?, but my ward bishopric and fellow church members advise me not to read Richard Bushman or other church historians .

You say as many church members do that you get answers from prayers .
Can you ask God if the Indians in North America are descended from Israel or from Asia for me ..... that would be a good start as I seem to believe that they are not really Israelites after all .

Russell said...

Elder Joseph,

I must disagree with your assessment of the Hat and Stone account. But I think there are larger issues at hand than just an isolated account. After all, we're both basically aware of the same sources, the same issues re: the translation. Yet we're taking very different approaches.

And fyi, I find implications of you reading into my motives offensive; you don't know me at all. I understand how these issues can become heated; just know that simply because you've met some dishonest members does not mean I am dishonest. I was under no obligation to acknowledge these things--I might well have ignored this whole conversation. But here I am, engaging in full transperancy--even though these facts have little relationship (in my view) to the fundamental truth of the gospel.

My experience has been that there is indeed a hierarchy of inquiries--not all questions are created equal. If a person does not believe God can/will answer their prayers, then it makes precious little sense to concern oneself over stones, hats, or DNA. What do these things matter on questions of eternity, esp. if one is not convinced there is an eternity? I wouldn't give ANY organized the time of day! There have been too many atrocities committed in its name. No God=no religion=every man fare as he will.

Again, i do not know you, but from your last comment--asking ME to pray to God on your behalf--it seems you don't even believe that God would answer your prayers.

Just pray to find truth. I don't know what God will give you, but Jesus says that if an earthly father, being wicked, gives his children goodly gifts, then we ought to expect at least as much from our Heavenly Father.

Provided, of course, that he is real...

Anonymous said...

I believe that God answers prayers, but I disagree with Mormons in the way that God answers them. Mormons teach that God answers prayers by giving you a special feeling, as if that is the ultimate authority on what is true- your feelings?

I think the way God answers prayers is when we pray to God, he provides us with the means and resources to study it in our minds, think about it with our brains and reach a conclusion that is reasonable and logical.

If God gives us answers through our feelings and emotions, why are there so many religions in the world? Do you really think that only Mormons are the ones that are sincerely praying to God to know the truth? That is a nice egotistical view of the world. And which Mormon church is true? hahaha. There are several, and they all say that they have prayed and felt the holy ghost through their feelings confirm to them that they are the real Mormons and they have the true prophet. hahahaha

The bible says not to add or take away from God's word. The Book of Mormon is an addition to God's word. I like Mormons, don't get me wrong, because I have several friends that are Mormon and they are great people. They may have a point about taking good care of their bodies, like abstaining from drugs and alcohol, but then I guess that is just common sense. Although I don't see how drinking an occasional glass of wine is such a sin. Jesus drank wine, and yes you Mormons out there, it was wine with alcohol, not grape juice.

Sister Mary Lisa said...

Tatabug ~

You wrote, I didn't want to know how he benefitted in any other way but financially, since that was your original accusation. I want some real information with references, please.

Do you agree that to not have to work at a paying job, but still being given a home(s), food, clothes, and travel money for you and your family IS benefiting financially, even without seeing bank statements as proof of gain?

Every single prophet from Joseph Smith to Gordon Hinckley has benefited financially in this way, as do our general authorities today.

Russell said...

"Mormons teach that God answers prayers by giving you a special feeling, as if that is the ultimate authority on what is true- your feelings?"

I wonder what Mormons you are referring to...certainly not moi! God answers in sundry ways, as Paul has indicated in Hebrews chpt. 1. I'm not inclined to dictate to God how run his revelatory business.

And yes, as a Mormon, I am fully aware that Jesus drank wine. And oddly, I also live the Word of Wisdom. A very well-respected doctor has informed me that alcohol acted as a preservative, thus making the juice palatable in the days prior to refrigeration. The Word of Wisdom was given in OUR day for OUR salvation--not in the days of Christ.

Jeremy said...

EJ,

I am with you most of the way on your comments however be careful to jump to conclusions on certain things. There is a verse near the end of the OT and the NT that both say similar things about adding to or taking away. This however is no indication that there can not be additional scriptures revealed (if you actually believe that the scripture came from God of course). So what am I saying? I'm saying that there is no text saying that there can not be more scripture. The bible is only a collection of scripture which has many versions, King James, Gideon, Watchtower, etc...

Russell,

I agree with EJ and Zelph, you have very long winded and very wordy responses. I might be the only one who wants this, but please get to the point. You come off as a very educated man, which can be a good thing except it comes off as you being better than others. I would like to take you more seriously but I can't because I don't view you as a peer.

Zelph said...

Russell, I actually do enjoy reading your comments, particularly because I like to see people break the "stereotypes", so for that I appreciate you. However, it does come across as a little arrogant, even if it is not intentional. I am not saying that you are being arrogant, I am saying that it certainly can come across that way. I do read your responses to simple questions, and I feel like I want to say "get to the point". Now I don't want to tell you how to express yourself, but my advice would be to (for lack of a better term) think about "dumbing it down" a little. Just try to keep your audience in mind.

I hope you don't take offense to that, but I am just making an observation.

Russell said...

Fair enough. My intention is only to be thorough. I've had professors tell me similar things though--so I'll work on it. Sound like my writing could go for a dose of the fat man theory too, eh?

Bishop Rick said...

Joshsuth,

You really need to stop talking. Your one-sided information reeks of ignorance...and this isn't opinion, it is obvious fact.

Bishop Rick said...

I find it extremely odd that the pro-LDS on this blog find nothing wrong with the following:

The Nephites PAINSTAKINGLY write, abridge, protect, store up information on precious metal, that had to be hard to come by, and provide a means to interpret/translate the plates that were written in pig-egyptian

(Side Note: this pig-egyptian was known by everyone from Nephi to Moroni - but no one before or after that group ever heard of it.)

only to have those efforts dismissed by the great Joseph Smith, that needed neither to create the Book of Mormon.

If he didn't need the plates or the Urim and Thumum, he dang sure didn't need the stupid head in the hat. This whole thing is simply rediculous.

Elder Joseph said...

Russel

You say I don't know you or your motive for not disclosing to investigators about the Hat and stone .

I agree I don't know you and to be honest I probably wouldn't want to if you are not going to be straight with things .And you wonder why mormonism is challenged .

What if someone specifically asked how was the translation done , would you still hide or avoid it ?

I asked my Bishop EXACTLY how was the translation done .No mention of a Hat and stone . Was he hiding it also ? How disgusting if thats the case .I thought he might not know so I spared him the embarrassment at the time , but I think he may have known after all now after seeing your take on it .

I notice you avoid my questions . I asked you to ask God if the American Indians are of Israeli descent or Asian . I just wondered if the same God gives two different answers .Why don't you ask in prayer and tell me what the answer is ? I'll tell you the answer he gave me over and over after I studied it out in my mind first.

What are you going to do when a revelation comes telling us the BofM is not literally a true History but only a parable ?

Will you quit or follow the prophet ? I believe this is coming at some point so why should I insult my intelligence by following the current prophet who is wrong . Just like those who followed the prophet Brigham Young into Adam is God , Mary had physical sex , Blacks are Cursed etc etc .

They were being led astray too.

Elder Joseph said...

Jeremy

I think you got me confused with someone else.I didn't say that the bible says not to to add to it.I am aware of the old testament statement and the one in Revelation which both refer to their respective 'books'.

I'm actually quite happy to have additional revelation but I don't think Joseph Smith got it .

By the way I just wondered did Joseph Smith himself serve a two or three year mission or did he just send out his followers and then marry the wives while they were away ?

joshsuth said...

bishop rick, you make me smile. obvious fact? LOL be realistic. can you imagine goung to court and your key witnesses to a crime were a bunch of angry mob, people who actively attacked woman and children based only on their religious beliefs, and burned homes and destroyed peoples property!! these are the people providing your obvious FACTS!!!! PLEASE BE REALISTIC. And I have noticed that of course you have no rebuttal to my observations which I think are perfectly valid, you just claim they are ignorant and move on to something that you can pitch your never-ending uneducated opinion on something that you obviously know very little about. Facts huh! Its funny. So do you get your FACTS from people like OJ on the murder of his wife? He is very credible. When you have a point to make, with a little more backbone than your opinion. Let me know. Thanks
Josh

Russell said...

Elder Joseph and co.:

I've been perfectly candid with you here, telling you why I don't find the account relevant, why it has no bearing on the divine origin of the BOM for me. If someone asked me the exact process, I would tell them. I don't know how much your bishop knew, but if someone wants to know minutiae, they've got it.

Yet I'm only criticized and castigated for suggesting that there's a hierarchy of truth. I was sympathizing with your position--these are tought issues--, but it appears you don't really think anyone who believes in these things can be trusted. It's sad.

Like Terryl Givens has noted, I pay a price for believing in a God that intervenes in history--something might turn up causing us to revisit the whole paradigm. So I don't know what God MIGHT tell us any more than I know about counterfactuals in history.

As per the Native Americans, i could give you my very limited understanding of it--God has not given me the answer to that. After being ridiculed for just urging you intellectual flexibility, however I'm not inclined to share what few views I do have.

If you all want to continue to validate yourselves by telling each other how bad the Church is, have at it. If you want to continue to engage in serious dialogue, drop a line. I might check occasionally.

Anonymous said...

I’m getting acquainted with blogging and in the process I’ve visited a dozen or so sites in the last few days on the subject of “Mormonism”. It’s interesting to see all the different sites.

The author of this site, and many who have made comments here, are apparently dealing with the conflict that arises from what they learned at church, and what they are learning from other sources about matters in church history. Intellectuals call this kind of conflict “cognitive dissonance”. One PhD quipped, “That most babies would not survive the first diaper change if parents did not learn how to cope with a little cognitive dissonance.” That’s funny but cognitive dissonance is tough to deal with. Lehi calls it “opposition in all things”. It’s what life is made of; for Adam and Eve it was the Tree of Life in opposition to the Forbidden Fruit, for the jilted suitor its unrequited love—I’ve been there, ouch! Learning to cope with and tolerate some ambiguity and paradox in life is seen as healthy. Rational people must deal with it almost every day: Do we stop driving because we observed someone running a red light? Hopefully not! Do we stop attending church because our Bishop was rude to us? With that said, we can’t be expected to ignore troubling questions. We must wrestle with them and win a victory.

I heard one person make an interesting point about expectations that I think bears on the discussions on this site; “In the Catholic Church everyone says the pope is infallible but nobody believes it; and in the Mormon Church everybody says the prophet is fallible but nobody believes it.” Funny but true—I think we need to cut some slack for those individuals who were and are leading men/women in the church. All of them are and were fallible. So how do we approach this? First, realize that the Lord has allowed there to be “opposition” in church history, second, apply your spiritual gifts.

At the end of the Book of Ether the prophet Moroni is troubled because of his weakness in writing and fears the Gentiles, you and me, will mock him. He expresses his concerns to the Savior—note what the Savior says: Behold, I will show unto the Gentiles their weakness, and I will show unto them that faith, hope and charity bringeth unto me—the fountain of all righteousness (Ether 12:28). This is one of many scripture that tell us that in order to learn the truth about spiritual things we need to obtain an answer from God.

Years ago, when I was troubled by some of the things talked about on this site,I decided to find out the truth regarding the Book Mormon, Joseph Smith, and the church the way the Lord invites us to. I went on a spiritual quest and just as the Lord promises (in many places) I was rewarded with a very clear and irrefutable answer—a vision. I don’t know why I was given a vision, but I was. A vision, as I experienced it doesn’t leave any room for doubt. I realize that this not how the Lord usually answers our prayers—but he does on occasion. I know the truth, now I am working on being true to what I was given. That’s the only question I have—can I be faithful and endure to the end.

I hope that what I’ve said will motivate a few of you to learn the truth by obtaining your answer by the Spirit. It’s worth it!

Bishop Rick said...

joshsuth,

Your comments are so inaccurate I did not think them worthy of a response, but since you insist, Joseph Smith and his followers were not attacked simply because of their religion. There were many reasons, one of which are the raids that the LDS ran against them. Then there was the case of polygamy which was found disgusting to the non-mormons, and the polygamy included propositions by LDS leaders towards married women and underage girls. This is what ultimately got JS killed, and Parley Pratt killed.

This is not opinion, it is documented fact, but I am too weary of you to look up the sources, but they can be found on the famous LDS apologist, Jeff Lindsay's site. Even he knows this stuff is true and does not dispute it.

Do some research before spouting your one-sided diatribes here.

Bishop Rick said...

anonymous,

Moroni did not have any weaknesses in his writing. He had the same strengths that all the other writers had because they were all really just one writer...Joseph Smith.

The voice is exactly the same as the rest of the BoM and the D&C...hmmm, didn't think of that one before.

tatabug said...

You go Russell! I completely agree that there is way too much telling how bad the Church/Joseph Smith is and not enough serious dialog. I also agree with your "fat man theory." I've felt similarly, but wasn't able to describe it as concisely as you have. It makes perfect sense to me, and I could elaborate, but it would fall on deaf ears here. BTW, I enjoy your long-winded responses, and am able to comprehend at least 90% of it :).

Sister Mary Lisa,

If you want to consider having your minimum physical needs being met by someone else as benefitting financially, go ahead. I would prefer to call it getting by. Benefitting financially to me means to actually have some money to show for it. I have read of instances where he helped others in similar circumstances. So it seems to me that it was more a matter of helping each other out when times were tough, not benefitting financially. But still, you fail to provide any EVIDENCE that he benefitted financially. It is my understanding that Joseph did work when he was able. One instance was in fact in July 1829. Oops, I mean 1828 (hee, hee). Anyway, it was just after Joseph had been reprimanded over the lost manuscript and then once again received the U & T to be able to resume translation. He said, "I did not, however, go immediately to translating, but went to laboring with my hands upon a small farm which I had purchased of my wife's father, in order to provide for my family." And it seems that he didn't resume translation again until the following April. See HC vol. 1. The farm wasn't even given to him. He actually purchased it. So, do I agree with you? No, not really. At least not in the way you describe or try to sensationalize.

Jeremy said...

It seems that the deaf ears can be said about both sides here. (or however many sides there are)

Equally no one appears to listen to each other. One side says one thing the other side says prove it, the first side repeats the information more clearly the other says, you are making it up.

Yes, this is a tiresome battle of who can shout louder.

Sister Mary Lisa said...

Tatabug ~

I venture a guess here that you are a stay-at-home-mom, being a righteous LDS woman and all. (If you previously shared your history on this blog, I haven't seen it yet). Would you say that your husband thinks you benefit financially from his efforts, or not?

My humble opinion about Joseph Smith is that he was working hard to create a powerful church so that he could "have something to show for it" after a while. This would have inevitably happened had he not been martyred first. Brigham Young was the one to capitalized instead on all of Joseph's initial hard work. And that's totally understandable to me, I actually GET why someone would do what he did. I don't condone their behavior, but I understand what drove them.

It seems a bit much to revere Joseph and place him on such a high pedestal like the church leadership seems to, however. Especially considering how they castigate today's televangelists for asking for money in God's name then buying homes and real estate with it for themselves, as if this isn't what they are doing too.

Elder Joseph said...

Russel,

You said "As per the Native Americans, i could give you my very limited understanding of it--God has not given me the answer to that."

GOD HAS NOT GIVEN YOU AN ANSWER ?

The Book Of Mormon tells us they are descendants of Israelites .Joseph Smith taught us they are descendants of Israelites.
D&C tells us they are descendants of Israelites .
Every LDS prophet has taught us they are descendants of Israelites.
The whole Mormon 'Rock'is based on them being descendants of Israelites.

And you say you have a very limited understanding of it ? Not sure what God has told you ?

Have you ignored your scriptures , your prophets and why ???

Does not God speak through his LDS prophets , his scriptures ?

JoshSuth

You state that we get all our facts from angry murderous mobs etc ? We get our facts from LDS church members. Journal of Discourses , Smiths wives ,etc etc .

If we used statements from non mormons , they would bring to light even more the sinister organisation devised by Joseph Smith and his close companions.

Martin Harris's wife said her husband wasn't bothered if it was a hoax because at least he could make some money out of it .

tatabug

Concerning Smiths motive for money etc , he tried to sell the copyright to the book of Mormon for enough money to set him up for life .And where would the restored Gospel be then ?

Just look how LDS leaders benefit from members contributions .Gordon Hinckley , a private Jet , apartment , company cars , five star hotels , dinners . Its an easy life being a prophet because no one can even challenge you if/when you talk absolute baloney.

Brigham Young successfully lived off the church members , Did he ever pay tithes ? .He condemned blacks to always be slaves because God had Ordained it that way , while William Wilberforce successfully outlawed the slave trade back in England many years prior .And you expect us to believe that the spirit was working through Brigham Young ?

He called young teens to marry and conceive because he was so righteous and God said so.Its the worst kind of Arrogance I've ever come across .

Its absolutely ridiculous.And now we have 50,000 missionary kids who haven't a clue what they are talking about roaming around the globe .

tatabug said...

Sister Mary Lisa,

Heck yeah I benefit financially. I have access to bank accounts and credit card accounts. I am even in charge of the budget and finances. But the situation we are referring to here is still different. If you want to continue avoiding the issue of evidence, go ahead. I think you have nothing but contempt for Joseph Smith, so whatever you feel justified in saying, whether truthful or not, you do.

Elder Joseph,

Same to you. Now you are joining in on the issue of finances. I challenge you to show me EVIDENCE of your wreckless statements as being true. You are wearying me, and that's all I can say without being offensive.

My frustration level has had about all it can take, and I'm about to wash my hands of you all. You people are absurd in your sensationalistic rhetoric which does nothing to aid the issue of serious debate. It reeks of sheer anti-Mormonism and I feel some of you are walking that line.

Jeremy,

To some degree, you are right about both sides having deaf ears. As for your side repeating things, you can repeat the same thing, numerous times, and in different ways, but if it's unbacked, sensationalistic rhetoric, it is meaningless, and that is where my problem lies.

Russell said...

I'm with Tatabug. Far too much simpletonism here to have a serious discussion of the issue--I've had better, more critical discussions with deeper questioning amongst believing Latter Day Saints. I was willing to grant the benefit of the doubt--after all, these are difficult issues we're dealing with.

Now, however, you all appear no better off than the naive Sunday School adherent who blindly parrots the Church. Like the blind adherent who sees no ill, you all similarly seem to think that any stick is good enough to beat up Mormonism.

And on the Native American question, EJ, you betray a SEVERE lack of knowledge concerning the literature and the issues on the topic--so serious that you need to do some better background reading before any serious discussion can be had.

Elder Joseph said...

tatabug

Your reply is just typical .You are the dramatic one. I saw this same pattern with JW's.They deny something , then its proven , then they find an excuse for it . Same pattern .

Joseph Smith did try to sell the copyright to the Book Of Mormon . Read David Whitmers account of this 'Fiasco' in his " An Address To All Believers In Christ". A simple search on the net is all it takes and a few mins to read it .

Its in My Richard Bushman Book also .

Concerning Brigham Young ,
Can you prove he did pay a tithe ?

How did he have time to get wealthy if he had to give up his 'Job' to be called as a Prophet then ? He got wealthy within the church , simple as that .

Here is some financial Information on a quick look . The internet is my only source

http://www.utlm.org/onlineresources/brighamyoungsestate.htm

I'd write and ask the General Authorities but if Greg Dodge won't even reply to a simple letter asking about yearly resignations its unlikely the 1st presidency will inform or admit to anything .

This is the same problem I had with JW's, SECRECY at the top !

I'll look into this more as time allows.

Russel ,

You claim I have a SEVERE lack of knowleadge concerning the American Indians . Quite the opposite I have a good knowleadge and thats why you are evading the question and threatening to run off .

I was taught by my missionaries that they were decendants from Laman from Lehi from Israel . Another Lie .


You don't know where they came from , God hasn't given you an answer and yet you say you can turn to God for answers.

You have as much chance of knowing as Gordon Hinckley who was asked if God was once a man ? He said " I don't know that we teach it ? ".

Sister Mary Lisa said...

Tatabug ~ I too want open and honest discourse with you and others here, and will try to not come across as argumentative. I will look up references as "evidence" for you but it may take some time.

For me, the very nature of a prophet's role in our church points rather obviously to how he benefits financially and otherwise from his status as prophet and president of the church. He alone directs what happens with the tithing dollars that pour into SLC daily. He alone determines if God wants him to buy land in Hawaii for housing and/or hotels, or billion dollar malls, or renovations to his church-owned living space. He alone determines where the interest on business investments made from tithing money are to be spent. He alone is able to tell the members of his church that God has revealed to him that they must be willing to give their monetary means to further the Gospel or face eternal damnation, just as Joseph did to Martin Harris when Martin was about to pull out of investing in the printing of the Book of Mormon when it became obvious Joseph wasn't going to be paying the half of the investment he had previously agreed to pay...Joseph had a sudden revelation to command Martin to pay for the printing in full or face eternal damnation by God. Harris ended up selling off land to pay it.

At the time Joseph Smith was killed in Carthage jail, he was serving as mayor of Nauvoo, and also running for President of the United States. I'd call that profiting from his position as prophet. But I'll still look up "evidence" for you, since you require it.

Meantime, maybe you'd like to address the sexism in the church issue from a few posts back...

:) sml

Jeremy said...

SML,

It would seem to me by logical thinking that you would not have research anything. I think you have stated very clearly how one would benefit financially from being in a position of power such as the prophet. Besides it appears that Tatabug is convinced that the benefit has to be in cold hard cash and not assets, donation of time or space in homes, etc...

I will agree that this has started to get to the point of argument which goes no where. And it's unfortunate because I was enjoying the topic.

Bishop Rick said...

Russell,

Please take your holier than thou attitude and your lofty educational attributes and get the hell out of dodge.

I'm sure Zelph wants you around, but I could care less.

Bishop Rick said...

tatabug,

There is plenty of evidence, but would it really make a difference to you?

Russtafarian said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Russell said...

"You claim I have a SEVERE lack of knowleadge concerning the American Indians . Quite the opposite I have a good knowleadge and thats why you are evading the question and threatening to run off."

Well, call this my last words. The dissent has been effectively shouted down.

Elder Joseph--I still wonder why I sincerely believed that you were struggling like I once was. I just see anger and vitriol.

In any case, I have yet to see you demonstrate that you have the knowledge necessary to be taken seriously on this question--no quotations from GA leaders or recognition of nuance, no knowledge of the major Mormon theorists of this subfield. You don't discuss the key documents relating to the topic such as Joseph Smith's famed Times and Seasons editorial after Stephens' trip to Central America or the shift in the institute manuals' teachings around mid-century. How about LDS author Stewart Brewer's discussion (and ultimate debunking of) Stela 5--the tree of life stone--as a viable connection between the Old and New Worlds? You say nothing of Joseph's holgraphic writings on the Lamanites,the Zelph story, or Joseph Smith finding a Nephite alter in Illinois, etc. How about a knowledge of any of the linguistic issues, such as Brian Stubbs' work comparing Hebrew and Uto-Aztecan or the work done on names in the BOM (deseret, Cumorah, etc.)? How about Bruce R. McConkie's famed role in crafting the 1981 introduction to the BOM? What about John A. Widtsoe's noted article in the Improvement Era on BOM geography that argues for our lack of knowledge concerning the geographic model, James E. Talmage's role on the 1921 scripture revision committee or Orson Pratt's footnoting system ascribing a hemispheric model to Central America. How about B.H. Roberts and Thomas Ferguson, both of which (the latter, wrongly so) is touted as a poster child for how emprical analysis destroys the BOM? How about recent work, such as John Sorenson's book-length treatment of the native milieu in Central America or Butler's discussion of archaeological DNA and haplogroup X? Nothing on Rebecca Cann or even a citation of Frank Zindler (a famed critic who pioneered the DNA attack). How about Donald Parry (one of the editors/translators of the Dead Sea Scrolls) on Hebrew language structures in the BOM? Jeffrey Chadwick on King Zedekiah and the Mulekites? I'm no ancient scholar, but I am a well-informed member who knows something about the scholarly process and am pretty hard-nosed about evidence, EJ. These things aren't just niceties.

I'm not angry, just disappointed. Given Zelph's willingness to dig into the sources, I expected the same from others. I was wrong.

tatabug said...

Okay, if you want to say the prophets benefit in some way, fine. I agree with that. But I believe the benefit they receive is not tangible. It is spiritual. In no way do I believe they benefit financially. Which is why I would like some corroborating evidence to your assertions. If they receive a stipend to assist in their livelihood, I don't call that benefitting. I call that necessary for them to be able to carry out their responsibilities which are full-time. Do you know how much time they sacrifice on the behalf the church and hence others? Do you know how much they have contributed to tithing in their lifetime? You act as though they take, take, take, but don't bother to consider how much they give and have given.

Do you realize that this is the order of things as set forth by Christ himself? He told the seventy in Luke 10 to take neither purse nor scrip and in essence depend upon the support of others to sustain them physically as they served in the kingdom.

And even if President Hinckley has sole control of the Church's finances, how does that benefit him, unless he is extorting money? It is my guess that there is counsel among the twelve or perhaps the presiding Bishopric as to the dispersal and investing of funds. I have no problem with investments either. It is very wise to get the most out of your money as possible through perfectly legal means (please don't take off on this one either, because I will not entertain it).

If it isn't too much trouble, will you please reference the Martin Harris incident you cite?

Any citizen of age can run for president. Mayor? Of a city of LDS? Wow, what an anomaly. I bet he made a lot of money at that too. Of course, if he did, he would be entitled since it is a legitimate job.

I just think this is all, to quote Zelph, "grasping at straws."

I will briefly reply to your statement on sexism in the Church on that page, but that will be the end of that subject for me.

Jeremy,

Yeah, I guess there really is no need for research. That would go right along with reason and logic and who needs that? We can just make up stuff because it sounds good. SML specifically said Joseph "benefitted financially" but then when I called her on it, she changed that to include other things, because I believe that her original intent was to say that he made money off of poor unsuspecting souls, but then that was a little difficult to prove so she put less emphasis on the financial aspect and branched out to other things so as to not diminish herself while still making some more sensational statements. Here is her original statement so you can determine what her original intent may have been:

"While you did your treasure hunting, did you actually charge people money, swearing to them that your special seer stone was able to find them valuable treasure? Because that's how Joseph made his money in his pre-prophet days. He never did help anyone find things of value that I know of, yet he continued to charge them for his special services.

"Once he became prophet, isn't it great how Joseph convinced someone to donate their wealth to publish the Book of Mormon, then charged people for the book? I sure am impressed.

"If you look at his career as a prophet, you can plainly see that he benefited financially from his position of being the Chosen One Who Handles the Special Power of God, much like he benefited from being the One Who Handles the Special Power of the Seer Stone before he commenced with the prophet stuff."

Here is the definition of benefit:
Something that promotes or enhances well-being; an advantage.
Some synonyms are: capitalize, profit. These verbs mean to derive advantage from something.

I too regret the course of this discussion, but if someone wants to launch outrageous accusations, I don't think they should get a pass. At least not every time, since I do manage to overlook quite a lot of it.

Bishop Rick,

Yes, it would make a difference to me. Not to my testimony, but it will help me have more understanding of the issue and I will know for sure if SML is making stuff up or if there is a real substantial basis to her accusations.

tatabug said...

Bishop Rick,

With regard to your last comment to Russell, you are a jerk, and I won't be sad to never hear from you again.

Jeremy said...

Tata,

Based off the definition that you gave for benefit you still don't think that Joseph Smith had an advantage because of the position he was in?

tatabug said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
tatabug said...

Jeremy,

Any advantage he may have enjoyed would have been of a spiritual nature, and not of a financial nature. I've only challenged the issue of financial benefit.

Jeremy said...

So if I understand you correctly, he had an advantage in his spiritual needs but not in any temporal needs?

tatabug said...

Jeremy,

The only argument I wish to discuss is the issue of financial benefit. If you are fishing to try and catch me in something that you want to argue, I'm not biting. We are off-topic as it is. Let's not get in any deeper.

I would like proof of financial benefit or gain if you wish, and having one's basic needs being met doesn't count in my opinion. A requirement from God in all dispensations of time is sacrifice for the building up of the kingdom. The Lord's servants are to have their basic needs provided for as they serve in the kingdom. Anything above and beyond that would not be appropriate.

And if you are trying to annoy me by acting like you don't understand so I will keep repeating myself, it is working.

Bishop Rick said...

tatabug,

Having YOU call me a jerk hurts, because I respect where you are coming from.

russell however, is a pompous A** and my only regret for my last post to him is your reaction.

Bishop Rick said...

If someone gives me $300 and I use it to purchase a home. That is exactly the same as if that person gave me said home. Financial gain is any monetary gain.

Basic needs would be a room and meals. Joseph received FAR more than that as did/do the prophets since that time.

Jesus was never given a house and money to live off. He did however receive meals and a place to sleep on occasion.

Don't be confused with the term "stipend". That is used to make you think it is nominal. I assure you it has to be more than nominal because the full-time prophets and apostles live well above the poverty line. I think a penthouse suite on top of the Hotel Utah and a chauffeur driven Lexus is pretty posh.

Neither Jesus, nor his apostles ever had anything like this.

Jeremy said...

Tata,

I'm sorry you feel like I'm trying to trick you, I assure you that is not my intention.

What I am doing is seeking more information from you to understand where you think the line between advantage and "sufficient for our needs" is.

Elder Joseph said...

Russel

Despite all that supposed scholarly stuff you have evaded the original point when you said you get your answers from God.

God has not given you an answer about the origin of The Indians and you don't seem to believe in your own Church Prophets on the issue , so why should I or anyone else .

Now you will blame Bruce McConkie for getting it wrong in the introduction to the Book Of Mormon .He has a terible track record of blunders . All that Arrogance of his has come to nothing .He's not fit to judge a Tapir let alone be a Judge of Israel.


Why not ask The prophet,why is everyone afraid to ask him ,has anyone ever asked anything from him ?What is the point of having him.

It seems to me that its all a big mess,a barrage of excuses and numerous Church Scholars all denying they speak for the church and at the same time discrediting Joseph Smith and The Church's Teachings .

They don't speak for the church , so why speak at all ,and the prophet hasn't a clue himself .

Go then and post somewhere where you'll get a warm reception just like Paul Dunn did.Post on a pro Mormon blog.

Tatabug

Have you found An Address To All Believers In Christ by David Whitmer yet and read about how he tried to sell the copyright to the BofM.

Elder Joseph said...

Tatabug

By the way How Joseph Smith wanted to sell the copyright to the BofM !

Sister Mary Lisa said...

Tatabug ~

You wrote, "If it isn't too much trouble, will you please reference the Martin Harris incident you cite?"

See Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling by Richard L. Bushman, pgs 80-83.

"Martin Harris mortgaged his farm for $3,000 as security in case the books did not sell." (p. 80)

"The alarmed inhabitants of 'the surrounding country' resolved never to purchase the Book of Mormon and tried to presuade Grandin to stop publication. They argued that since the Smiths had lost their farm tehy could not pay him unless the book sold, and they were not buying. Having entered the contract reluctantly in the first place, Grandin stopped work until he could be assured of payment. In an attempt to start the presses again, Harris consented to sell part of his farm to raise some cash, although only after getting a signed agreement from Joseph Sr. giving Harris the right to sell books on his own account." (p. 81-82)

Hyrum was irritated by this and "urged Joseph to leave him [Harris] out entirely and raise the money by other means. Hyrum had heard that the copyright could be sold in Canada and asked Joseph to inquire of the Lord. David Whitmer later reported that Joseph told Cowdery and Hiram Page to go to Toronto and promised them success, but the two returned empty-handed. They had to depend on Harris after all." (p. 82)

After the books were published, they did not sell well. Joseph told Harris that he had received ample instructions about his role already [of financing the Lord's work] but Harris repeatedly insisted "I must have a Commandment" meaning a revelation. The next morning, according to Joseph Knight, Joseph received a revelation on Harris's behalf in which he was told he must not covet his own property but to "impart it freely to the printing of the book of Mormon, which contains the truth and the word of God." "Pay the printer's debt. Release thyself from bondage." (p. 82)

"Martin did sell his farm on April 7, 1831, even though Tucker judged that Harris could have paid the bill from other resources." (p.80)


..Also, this information can be found on Wikipedia.

Elder Joseph said...

I've heard from a church member in Utah that the Apostles drive round in Bullett proof Lexus's,eat in the best retaurants and all paid for by the church expenses.These men seem to be very well looked after.What happened to Jesus teaching of Leadership meaning service of washing other peoples feet when these Apostles don't even drive the Lexus's themselves but even have Chauffeurs .

TBM's may say we don't know exactly who pays for sure , but why does the church keep the finances and expenses of Leaders secret and even from church members .

I find this so suspicious. An issue of finances being cut to missionaries led a Mormon convert of 27 years and family out of the church .

There is the podcast here entitled
"The Millionth Mormon
Missionary’s Mom" on

http://www.eighthourlunch.com/

It seems that the £2 billion property development of church assetts and the recently announced $15 a month cut to missionaries was the final blow in her Mormon Faith .

I think alot of members are on a tight rope in this faith and just one final imbalance is all that is needed for the final exit .

I've probably given up on Mormonism , I never had one satisfactory answer from the beginning nearly two years ago .I just learned to ignore them , shelve them ,and even forget about them in the hope of an assured overwhelming burning in the bossom which would answer everything .

I feel sorry for the American Indians to have the white man come and throw them out of the land they freely roamed .Now I see another grave injustice , telling them they are special and descendants from Laman Son Of Father Lehi a great Israelite Prophet from Jesusalem and converting them on this basis .

Its sheer Identity rape.They deserve better than that.

Spencer Kimballs comment in General Conference of them turning shades whiter when placed in Mormon homes should send a shudder to every Mormon church member .

The face in the hat and Stone was just the beginning of the end for me.

I told my church members thank goodness I didn't take their baptism Challenge and then find all this out .The consequences may have been very Hostile.

I also regret to admit that in all my attendences of various church denominations , that Mormonism is the first and only one I have openly shared Jokes during Sacrament with a fellow baptised member (now skeptic). Such is the contempt I have come to and apologise sincerely for this and repent .But I'm not alone ,just watching the 18/19 year olds playing with their mobile phones during sacrament and just weeks before going on a mission made me realise how fake missionaries can be .

Worse still my Bishop Announced he had Interviewed a Young man that Sunday and found him worthy for his mission , the same Sunday he played games on his mobile during sacrament.

And Investigators are supposed to and often convinced to take missionary's Testimonies seriously ?

tatabug said...

Bishop Rick,

I appreciate your regret, but you need to realize that just because someone speaks in a scholarly tone doesn't mean that they are TRYING to act superior. Russell previously stated that he has been told similar things by his professors and that he would try to do better. Here is his quote:

"Fair enough. My intention is only to be thorough. I've had professors tell me similar things though--so I'll work on it. Sound like my writing could go for a dose of the fat man theory too, eh?"

I think you need to cut him some slack and show a little more tolerance. I think all of us can be offensive at times, so we should try not to be hypocrites about it. Yes, Bishop Rick, you too. You sounded very high and mighty in at least one of your replies to Joshsuth. And the comments between you and SML on another post make fun of Mormon belief--my beliefs--which hurts me. It sort of seems to me that you may feel threatened by the fact that he actually makes a lot of sense and does it in an educated, informed way, rather than feeling like your being talked down to. I haven't seen you try to refute anything he's said, but instead criticize his methods.

And yes, I am aware that financial gain would also include assets. But I am asking for proof that he profitted in any way financially. If you can show me proof of assets, that would also work. Keep in mind, however, that the law of consecration was in effect in Nauvoo, so that may prove difficult.

SML,

Thank you very much for the reference and for the actual quotes, since I don't have the book and wouldn't be able to look them up. It seems to me, however, from the quotes versus what you said that there is some discrepancy. You characterized Joseph as unwilling to pay rather than unable. You also said that Martin was told he would receive eternal damnation, which the quote doesn't say. That is the problem I have with a lot of the things you and others say. I don't mind the truth, but I hate embellishment and distortion of it to make it look worse than it is. Tithing and sacrifice are a requirement from God from the beginning. It is found in the Bible if you don't believe me, and there are promised consequences for those who don't pay. Are you equally upset at all the other churches who expect and "offering" from their congregation? Or all those televangelists who while they talk of being saved also ask you to send in money? Where else do you think the money would come from? Joseph gave all he could financially and otherwise for the building up of the Church, and there probably were times when he required help from others.

EJ,

Did you not know that the Church does not fund missionaries? That is done by the missionaries' families. However, their budget is limited no matter how much the parents would be willing or able to give. I think it wisely gives these guys a great lesson of life. It requires them to be wise and prudent with their money, and gives them little to no room to be doing things which would take them away from their responsibility. It makes it easier for them to focus on their mission.

Is there anyone who can back up their statements about five star hotels, expensive dinners, chauffer driven bullet-proof Lexuses, penthouse suites, and a private jet? Then, if you can prove these things, will you also prove to me that these things were purchased with church money? Do you realize the wealth within the Church? I've heard of HUGE donations being given to the church, such as a private jet. Many of the Apostles and General Authorities are wealthy, and they are probably providing for themselves quite well. That would not suprise me in the least. They may have their travel expenses paid for, but I think that is acceptable. But I suspect that you will not be able to prove much or any of these claims since, as you've stated, the Church's finances are not made public. So anything you want to say is unsubstantiated, and it is a shameful tactic to use. I will not engage in it, and if it continues, I will not stick around for it. You should also consider the amount of money from fast offerings used to help support the poor and needy in the Church. Support goes where it's needed.

Jeremy,

Sorry for reading into your intentions incorrectly. The line between advantage and sufficient for one's needs is a difficult question to answer. Food, clothing, and shelter are basics. I would see no problem with him receiving a house, only if he were unable to provide one for himself. If he had his own money and were then provided for on top of that, that could be one form of advantage.

Sister Mary Lisa said...

"Pay the printer's debt. Release thyself from bondage."

He WAS talking about spiritual bondage, as in facing eternal damnation by God. It's the same thing, seriously. How is it not? Especially after he said the words came from God in a revelation. And this all came after Joseph promised to help pay, but he never delivered. Why would a prophet of God sign a contract and then not fulfill his portion of the agreement? Not cool.

You wrote, "Then, if you can prove these things, will you also prove to me that these things were purchased with church money? Do you realize the wealth within the Church? I've heard of HUGE donations being given to the church, such as a private jet."

Tata, we only know the wealth of the church is huge because we know we are pouring tithing dollars in, and we see the malls, businesses, and real estate that are purchased, but we have no idea what is donated to the church, or what the church donates, because THE CHURCH KEEPS THAT SECRET FROM ITS MEMBERSHIP. This smacks of unethical behavior, especially when compounded with the constant teaching that we should completely trust the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve because they are righteous men of God. If they have nothing to hide, why not share it? I wouldn't call that a complete waste of time or resources, I'd call that a very good way to solicit confidence by the members that our church is as generous to the poor and as upstanding and good as they claim.

Truth is, you have no idea if their jet was donated or purchased, because THEY DON'T TELL US.

Wonder why they keep that information so close to their chests?

Jeremy said...

There is one jet that I am aware of that is free for the use of the church on the tab of John Huntsman. The same who is also the owner of the cancer institute that sits on the U of U Campus. The same who's son is the current governor of Utah. And the same who is a current GA in the church.

What I don't know is if he donated it or lets them use it when ever they need it.

As far as some of these other things, there is no doubt in my mind that they have the luxury items because I have seen a number of very expensive things floating around the property downtown Salt Lake. Jeremy = Used to work for the Church.

The 5 star hotels, I don't know that was never my concern. BUT regardless of what they have now, I still think Joseph benefited in many ways along with financially. There is no need to go out and find church records that say Joe received a check for $1000 because he's the prophet and a really nice guy. Just look at the things he did and what things the church had by donation.

Anyway, my thoughts on this topic are finished. I've seen enough things personally today in the 5 years I've worked there to know they have it good and it was set up that way for a reason.

Lets get back to the translation, shall we?

tatabug said...

SML,

I disagree with your interpretation of "bondage." If you look that revelation up in D&C 19, you will read in the footnotes, bondage, physical. It also cross references Proverbs 22:7 which says, "The rich ruleth over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender." They were in debt to the printer. We are encouraged by the Church to avoid debt in order to avoid being in "bondage" to our debtors.

The wealth to which I was referring to within the Church is personal wealth. There are many wealthy members, some of whom are GA's and apostles. It wouldn't be suprising to see them spending their own money on nicer things like cars. But to assume that it has been furnished by the Church without evidence of that is just a pathetic attempt at slander. I would be embarrassed.

Jeremy,

Joe, as you so affectionately refer to him, did not get money just because he was a good guy. He was the prophet. He led the Church and used that money for the sole purpose of building up the Church which was and is to the benefit of all who are partakers in it. The purpose of this particular line of discussion is to try and prove otherwise, which no one has managed to do with any evidence to back it up. Yes, Joseph took money to publish the Book of Mormon. He took money to help support and sustain himself and family when necessary (I think). But it wasn't for the purpose of getting rich, which you would all love to think and would try to prove if you could. He didn't steal any money, or force anyone into giving it either.

You are all just looking for a reason to have a grudge against the Church, and you feed that grudge in any way you can. You also have no problem twisting the truth and avoiding the facts to do so. It is very pathetic indeed.

Jeremy said...

I personally have no grudge or any reason to fuel said grudge. What I have a problem with are the people who have these blinders on and can't see anything but what they are taught by their sunday school teacher.

Since you are asking for evidence then please show us your evidence that he did not benefit in any way.

Let me tell you what's going to happen, you are going to come back with one or two quotes of some church historian or leader that says something that could be understood in your favor. But that wont be good enough for us just like our "evidences" aren't good enough for you. The point here is no one is going to win because what proofs are showing are not valid in this court (apparently).

Maybe he didn't intentionally set the church up to benefit financially, I'll give you that, BUT there is no doubt that he, and Brigham were benefactors of the church. Again, I'm not saying they got a handsome check each week for being who they are. There is much more to financial benefits than just money. Any further discussion on the matter will not come from me simply because you can't talk to someone who wont listen.

tatabug said...

Jeremy,

The only attempt to provide evidence was by SML, with regard to the Martin Harris incident, but the proof she gave did nothing to support the notion which she made that Joseph benefitted financially.

I won't argue that he and others enjoy benefits as prophets. Heck, I enjoy benefits from being in the Church. Those benefits are spiritual, social, and in some ways financial. Not because I receive money from the Church, but because I have been blessed through the paying of tithing. I won't go into detail with you about it because that would likely be ridiculed and disregarded as coincidence. But I know that it isn't. We will naturally disagree on this point.

How would you like me to prove a negative? If there is a basis for SML's claims, there will be evidence, unless she "divined" those claims. If there is no evidence, then there is no basis for condemnation. That's like being guilty until proven innocent. If there is no benefit, as I believe, then the only way I would be able to prove that would be through financial records.
Sorry, but I don't have that access.

Please stop trying to dodge the issue by saying that the evidence won't be good enough for me. If it's good evidence I will accept it. But I would think that anyone who wants to maintain their credibility would be more than happy to furnish evdience to back their claims and would try hard to be accurate when making claims in the first place.

I will be happy to drop the issue if SML would like to alter her statement in some way. I don't particularly enjoy this line of discussion, but I believe it's important. If people here do not wish to debate with some degree of credibility, then I am wasting my time here, because anyone can say whatever they want without basis. Elder Joseph does that to a large degree, but I try to ignore him. He just brings up too many issues at once and they are nearly all off-topic. However, I expect more from the rest of you.

tatabug said...

Also Jeremy,

Just because you believed everything your Sunday School teacher taught you doesn't mean that everyone else does. Many of us do use reason and logic, but we also like to verify it spiritually as well. Just because I don't agree with you, doesn't mean I am wearing blinders. I suppose the same could go for you too.

Sister Mary Lisa said...

Tatabug.

I say nothing that isn't true here. Martin Harris was unwilling to cover the debt...he insisted that he first needed revelation from God through Joseph before he was willing to pay the debt that Joseph had contracted into for the printing of the BoM. The revelation came, and you can quibble all you want, it meant exactly what I said it meant. He was told by God (so JS said) to pay the debt to the printer, or face bondage. God doesn't threaten civilian consequences in his revelations. Sheesh. He threatened eternal bondage, or damnation. It isn't a different meaning as you suggest. As if Harris needed God to tell him if the debt wasn't paid, that the law would be after them. He wanted God to tell him that it should be paid, because he'd already lost his marriage over it, and was skeptical of the books ever selling. A losing investment, if you will. He saw this, his wife saw it in order to leave him, and Joseph saw it too, which is why he wanted to sell the copyright of the BoM in Canada to make money to pay the printing fees. He even swore God would make the sale of the copyright happen. But it didn't...Interesting.

What is humorous is the fact that you insist on evidence of them profiting, but you can't show evidence that proves Joseph and subsequent prophets DIDN'T profit from being president of the church, financially or otherwise. Let's see YOUR credibility ~ show me proof that they don't.

Bishop Rick said...

tatabug,

You are absolutely correct about me talking down to joshsuth. I stand accused and plead guilty and ask for forgiveness.

Now regarding russell, I don't believe he ever talked down to me, but most certainly did to others. I am not the least bit intimidated by his presumed intelligence. If he writes something that you don't totally understand, don't worry, he doesn't even understand his circular nonsense. And I did refute his assertion that Moroni used the Mississippi river to transport the plates to NY. Yes, I did it with a tone of sarcasm, but it did that to make a point. The point being, that my rediculous example is no worse than the rediculous excuses given by apologists to explain the unexplainable. Could have Moroni dug up all the plates and packed them to NY, even using the Miss. River? Sure, it is minutely possible, but we all know that the probability is as close to zero as you can get while still being possible. It would have been a herculean effort that could not have happened without some serious devine intervention. And let's just say that it did happen that way, why go to all that effort when NONE of it was ever used?! THERE IS NOTHING ANYONE CAN SAY that will make that make sense.

Regarding tithing, there is no such thing as the law of tithing. That phrase was made up by the LDS church. It is not found anywhere in the scriptures...nowhere. Your challenge is to find in the scriptures (any of the canon) that talks about the law of the tithe.

It doesn't exist. I have found it in church talks, but never with a reference, and I searched the scriptures myself, and found nothing.

You say that the church does not pay the missionary funds, but rather they are paid by the members. This is NOT a good defense of the cut in missionary allowance. You see the problem is that the members pay the church a fee, and the church pays a lesser fee to the missionaries. We are talking (and I don't have the exact figures) like a difference of $400 and $300 a month. Where is the missing $100 going? So it is true, the church isn't paying the missionaries, rather the church is making money, just like it makes money on the perpetual education fund. We the members pay the church who then LOANS the money and makes a profit by charging interest. ARE YOU KIDDING ME? When I found this out, I stopped contributing to it.

My last comment (of this post) is around proof.

tata,

You constantly say you need proof for the wild things that are said on this blog, but yet you make assertions in every post you ever write, and never give references. You do the exact same thing you accuse everyone else of doing.

Bishop Rick said...

Sorry, one last thing.

tata,

You mentioned that it was said that JS didn't use the U and T because it was made for a much bigger man and did not fit properly.

Do you really think that the towering Joseph Smith was smaller than a 5' jew from 2000 years ago?

Jewish people are not even big today. They were most certainly smaller 2000 years ago. That one just doesn't make sense.

tatabug said...

Well folks, I think I've had just about all I can stomach here. It's been fun (?) for the most part, and pretty frustrating the rest of the time. There are some people here who I disagree with, but who truly do try to use reason and logic and are able to back up what they say, and also admit when they're wrong. But I can't say the same for others. For my part, if I've said something, I have always done my best to back it up WHEN I've been asked to, and when I can't back it up I'm willing to admit it when confronted. Right now, whether or not I could, I will not try to prove what I've been asked to prove, because I resent the way the tables were turned on me. If you can prove something, prove it, if not, admit it. Simple as that. And Bishop Rick, the comment you said which supposedly centered around proof, contained no proof of anything other than that assets are the same as money.

You may hear from me again in the future, but for now, enjoy the bliss of blind skepticism without me.

Jeremy said...

Good luck on your journey through life Tata, I'm wish you the best in finding what gives you joy in your life.



Back to the topic of the translation, today I was thinking about the seer stone and recall what a seminary teacher taught me back in my high school days. We were on the topic of the Jaredites and the stones that glowed because of the finger of the lord. On a side note as this teacher mentioned that he thought that one of these stones was also the same seer stone that Joseph used and that the two U & T stones were part of these also.

My question is, has anyone else been taught this and where can one find a resource that talks about the stones to validate this teachers assumption?

Sister Mary Lisa said...

Tata~

I'm still looking up the proof you asked for; I told you it may take me some time. It's too bad you're leaving, and too bad you resent tables that you enjoy utilizing being turned on you.

I wonder what you would have felt about me had I said I refused to comply with your request because I resented that you asked it of me.

It's probably best that you leave until you feel better. It's been fun.

Sister Mary Lisa said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Zelph said...

Tatabug, I have enjoyed your comments and think that you have contributed in a positive way to these discussions. I know that these topics are difficult ones and I have always enjoyed debating them with you. I hope to hear from you in the future.

Sister Mary Lisa said...

Tatabug (if you're still reading)~

You wanted me to find specific examples: "Please give me some specific details of exactly how Joseph profited."

From Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling by Richard L. Bushman, p. 119, we read:

Like her father, Isaac, Emma worried about Joseph as a provider. The July revelation told her to "lay aside the things of this world, and seek for the things of a better." But injunctions did not feed the household or provide for the future. An earlier revelation had said that Joseph's support was to come from the Church. "In temporal labors thou shalt not have strength, for this is not thy calling." He was to "continue in calling upon God in my name, and writing the things which shall be given thee by the Comforter; And expounding all scriptures unto the church." Joseph was to derive his support like the itinerant Methodist preachers. "Thou shalt take no purse nor scrip, neither staves, neither two coats, for the church shall give unto thee in the very hour what thou needest for food and for raiment, and for shoes and for money, and for scrip."

(see D&C 24:18)

paranoidfr33k said...

Wow. This post and all the comments took me a full 8 hours to read. No I'm not a slow reader, I do have to work for a living.

Here is my two cents...

Both sides seem to very passionate about their cause and can provide some evidence for their point of view, although that evidence is seen as anecdotal on both sides. The process seems to be very circular.

Evidence is important and should not be discounted. But it seems that unless every comment is chalk full of quotes and specific references, nobody will listen. Does everyone have that kind of time? I doubt it. I think its quite OK for both sides to present their sides without having to write a discourse on every minute point they make. If that were the case, we would never get anywhere. Furthermore, I think that if you have a brain and have some kind of understanding of the topic, the outrageous claims will be ignored without much fanfare. Incidentally, I've researched the translation topic a bit and have not been able to refute anything in the original post. Great post by the way. Very well done.

What I get from all the bickering is that no one can prove their point to a satisfactory level to the other side. All of us have a limited understanding of the topics at hand. We cannot watch Joseph Smith from birth till death like Robin Williams in The Final Cut. If that were the case we would not have anything to debate. Debate is fine and entertaining but only if both sides are sincere in their intent and humble enough to accept facts from the other side and then reconsider their opinions. That doesn't seem to have happened, although there has been complaints that it isn't happening. This has been my experience with most discussions of this type in the blogosphere. Its sad, but thats how it is.

Having a similar spiritual journey to Zelph's, I would like to say that the history of the church is, at the very least, suspicious. The claim that the church is lying comes from the rewriting of the church's history into a more mainstream story that can be believed by more and more unsuspecting investigators. Its the "faith promoting" history that causes many of us to question whether the church is really in the business of "truth" or not. There are plenty of counter theories to why the history has been massaged since the beginning, but the fact that it has to be massaged gives us enough doubt to continue searching for more answers. Unfortunately for many, including me, that search just offers more questions, not answers.

/paranoidfr33k

veynep said...

I think you are all a bunch of whiny asswipe losers!

And I mean all of you, the "TBMs", the "DAMU-ites", and the "Ex-Mos". I have never heard more whining in my life. You are idiots, all of you, and obviously idiots with lots of time to kill.

Sister Mary Lisa said...

As opposed to your quality use of time displayed here, huh veynep?

Zelph said...

Veynep, I guess you sure showed us.

I love it when people take the time to post on this blog just to say what a waste of time it is to post on this blog. Gotta love irony.

I thank you for your insightful thought provoking insight.

veynep said...

Thanks. My eloquence has won many accolades.

Russell said...

paranoidfr33k:

And you need to re-read some of the posts. You're not the only one who has researched this; I pointed out earlier that James Mullohand's notation in the Manuscript history clarifies the ordering of the D&C sections.

Your approach to evidence is also a little disturbing to me. One minute, you say that it is important and the next minute you claim that we shouldn't worry too much about using it. And as to our ability to discount outrageous claims, Voltaire noted that common sense is anything but common. Plus, Stalin's purges and the Rwandan genocides were outrageous--common sense ought to have dictated against their existence. ONce we forgo evidence, we welcome in propaganda and intellectual laziness. For topics as explosive as these, such things are not welcome.

paranoidfr33k said...

Russell,

I apologize for being contradictory in my statements regarding evidence. I was not clear. I think that evidence can be twisted to back any argument made. I try, as best I can, to look at all sides and all the evidence before making a determination as to my position. I think this is the case with most people here.

It would make more sense that that Section 10 was actually two different revelations, combined.

"In preparing this detailed timeline of the translation of the Book of Mormon, I can come to no other logical conclusion than that D&C 10 is actually a combination of two separate revelations, the first (verses 1-5) received on September 22, 1828, and the second (verses 6-70) received in May of 1829."
http://eldenwatson.net/BoM.htm

Also see pages 80-84, "A Preliminary Analysis of the Dating of Section 10," The Seventh Annual Sidney B. Sperry Symposium, The Doctrine and Covenants, Brigham Young University, 1979

The time-line doesn't make sense when you analyze the content of Section 10. This isn't a theory that I've seen very often, but seems to be more accurate based on all of the information and circumstances.

I'm offering this alternative explanation as another reason why we cannot know for sure what really happened. At the very least, the date change is suspicious. There has not been a satisfactory, in my opinion, explanation on the date change that I have yet found. Its nice to beleive that the accuracy of church history is 100% factually accurate, but the fact is that there is too much inaccuracy in its inception with further modifications down the road that it provides enough doubt for me to reconsider having blind faith in the matter. This, in turn, has taken me down a road that is very enlightening. I can no longer beleive everything that the church teaches me as true and factual, and that has lead me to change my believes. I continue to research and read, but there has not been sufficient evidence for me to beleive again all that the church teaches.

/paranoidfr33k

Russell said...

I've heardthis comment a lot "I can no longer believe everything that 'the church' teaches'"

We could debate documents, evidence, what not. Of course, the timeline does not make sense. That's why B.H. Roberts argued that the date should be changed to 1828. A scribal error on the part of James Mullohand, I would submit, is what this issue comes down. While there is ambiguity, it is not crippling ambiguity.

But I'm not feeling like that right now. So I would submit that this idea of 'the church' that we should no longer listen does not even exist. Half of the things people lambast 'the church' for teaching, they never taught as doctrine in the first place. George Q. Cannon once remarked (two weeks after the Manifesto) that the apostles and first presidency learn light and truth along with the rest of the membership of the Church. I classify the intro. to the BOM (the famed "primary ancestors" quote), BOM chapter headings (Nephite coinage) and other teachings in this category. They're glimpses of truth, reflections of an inferior light off an mind-bogglingly brilliant diamond.

Reed Durham relates an insightful anecdote about an encounter w/Sandra Tanner. Say what you will about sources, and Mormon myths, but the principle Sandra shares is correct regardless:

In the mid-1960s, Sandra Tanner came to see me at the LDS Institute at the University of Utah and said, ‘Reed’ (we have always been on good terms and called each other by first name), ‘I just don’t understand you. You know all the stuff that we write and yet you keep firing away with a view that is inconsistent with ours.’ I explained to Sandra that I look at revelation as a process and that line upon line a church or a prophet or anyone for that matter can learn and improve. I told her that we all make mistakes and errors and said, ‘But Sandra, you look at it differently. If you find one little mistake with a church or a prophet you believe they cannot be of God. I see a process of growing and learning. God sometimes has trouble helping us because of our limitations, not his. Oh sure, he could coerce us, but he doesn’t and so we can only progress as fast as our limitations let us.’ After listening to me, Sandra then said, ‘If I had learned or been taught these concepts from the beginning, things might have been different with me.

Jeremy said...

So if I understand the last part of your post, Russell, you are trying to say that it's okay for the true church to change some things because they are still learning how to be God's church?

That to me seems contradictory to what is taught by said church. If I understand what I was taught all my life it's that the church was formed as the only true and perfect church on Earth. If thats the case I would then have to understand that since it is God's perfect church that there can not be any imperfections in the establishment. If there were any that would cause God to be a liar and thus God would cease to exist... At least according to how I was raised in the church.

paranoidfr33k said...

Jeremy,

I think he means that the Church is the one and only true church regardless of all the mistakes. The gospel is perfect. The church isn't. That's because its made up of imperfect people. Those imperfect people make a ton of mistakes, which is why we have so many different sources in church history that contradict each other.

People make mistakes. We are human after all and I know that. What I can't understand is why the church has had to make so many changes/modifications/removals /tweaks/updates/additions along the way. I'm sure they were all changed to make things easier to digest and understand, but that is the problem. Why couldn't these minute details be cleared up before they were published? I know what you are going to say to that question, but the main issue is that I have a problem with all the imperfections and have decided to change my beliefs because of the new information.

Its entirely possible that I may change my mind down the road, but right now I just can't justify it. If God allowed all of those imperfect people to make so many errors, he certainly didn't care of those people made changes without documenting the reasons behind all of the changes. He must have understand what that would do to our faith and allowed it to happen so that He could weed out the imperfect people who don't have enough faith to beleive all the imperfect information.

/paranoidfr33k

Russtafarian said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Russell said...

Jeremy-

In answer to your question, I would just point out that "the true and perfect church" phrase does not exist in scripture. "True and living" does--the second word should explain much.

"He must have understand what that would do to our faith and allowed it to happen so that He could weed out the imperfect people who don't have enough faith to beleive all the imperfect information."

Of course, this could be said of any misstep by any man anywhere, esp. given the atrocities of the last century. These words are just the "Why are there big problems in the world thesis" phrased in different words. He must have seen that my hurtful words weakened a person's testimony. He must have seen that a couple--utterly unfit to be parents--would raise their child to be a drug addict and spawn a generation of project families. He must have seen that Hitler, Stalin, and Mao would be monsters who would inflict horror on millions upon millions of innocents. Why?

If we're going to ask these tough questions, let's ask them about tough issues and not about little scribal errors that have almost no bearing on the divinity of the revelations.

Bishop Rick said...

When the little scribal errors are exactly the same as the errors in the Bible, the source becomes suspect.

Russell said...

"When the little scribal errors are exactly the same as the errors in the Bible, the source becomes suspect."

Odd, I was talking about D&C 10, its 19th century dating, and James Mullohand's role as Joseph's scribe for his history. What does that have to do with the biblical transcriptions? You're not trying to pull a sleight-of-hand deflection, are you?

Jeremy said...

Okay replace what I said with perfect and insert True and Living. That still doesn't mean a "living" prophet, or anyone for that matter can go back and change truths to make it fit a storyline a little better.

I know these small things don't seem like the tough issues you are concerned with but they are still important no matter the size.

Bishop Rick said...

Fair enough, my BofM comment doesn't fit in a D&C discussion, however I find it interesting that the voice and language of the D&C is strikingly similar to that of the BofM. Gives one pause.