Rough Stone Rolling -- Richard Bushman

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Roy
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Location: Pacific Northwest

Re: Rough Stone Rolling -- Richard Bushman

Post by Roy » 04 Apr 2016, 09:44

Rob4Hope wrote:Bushman says the BofM is more or less an enigma: the accounts of Martin Harris visit to the literary people and Charles Anton are mixed; the story of the push for people to steal the plates makes sense though because of the gold digging; but how the whole thing transpired with the Urim and Thummin is confusiong--at the beginning with the lost 116 pages he used the Urim and Thumin and had a curtain between him and Harris? Was he looking at the plates then, or something else?....Bushman is not clear on these details, and why Joseph would then go back to sticking his head in a hat and looking at that other stone makes little sense: why would he do that if he could breath more freely and just look through the spectacles? I would think that having your head stuck down into a hat for hours and hours would get a little uncomfortable after a while.
I remember something about Moroni confiscating the "spectacles" and then not returning them when JS ability to translate was restored. I am not sure if that was from historical sources or just apologetic interpretation. An interesting possibility nevertheless.
Rob4Hope wrote:It appears they used divining rods during this time, and Oliver Cowdry, according to Quinn, had one and that is what JS said was "a gift from God"...
nibbler wrote:What's the difference between a Ouija board and the Liahona? What about that brass serpent? What about Moses' staff?
I rationalize this. We still believe in an unseen world. We believe in spirits that help us and spirits to hinder us. We are told not to mess with Ouija boards and séances not because they do not work but because they might work too well and tap into malevolent forces.

I understand that in earlier times Mormons would apply the consecrated oil to the afflicted part of the body - or even drink it as though the oil itself had a magical property. More recently we have been counseled to apply the oil only to the top of the head. Even the temple anointings have now gone to this "just the head" method. We tend to understand more (in our day) that the anointing and blessing of health are more metaphorical and spiritual (something of an offering of support and best wishes) and yet we still expect miraculous and supernatural recoveries.

In the day of JS, they might use a divining rod to help find water. Today we pray to help find lost car keys.

In the day of JS, they might use a talisman of protection. Today, before a long car trip, my family takes a moment to pray for a safe journey.

Essentially, what I am saying is that some of the outward forms have changed but we still believe in the same basic principles.
"It is not so much the pain and suffering of life which crushes the individual as it is its meaninglessness and hopelessness." C. A. Elwood

“It is not the function of religion to answer all the questions about God’s moral government of the universe, but to give one courage, through faith, to go on in the face of questions he never finds the answer to in his present status.” TPC: Harold B. Lee 223

"I struggle now with establishing my faith that God may always be there, but may not always need to intervene" Heber13

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nibbler
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Re: Rough Stone Rolling -- Richard Bushman

Post by nibbler » 19 Oct 2016, 13:26

Heber13 wrote:nibbler...do you think Bushman's book had a purpose to bring readers to a certain conclusion about Joseph Smith?
It's been a while since I read the book and memories fade. Maybe? How's that for a cop-out?

I remember a lot of "it was the style at the time" language in the book and other language pointing out how JS's behaviors were characteristic of other religious leaders. I found that helpful in that the narrative painted a picture that allowed me to step into JS's shoes. At the same time I got a "consider this... but do know that this sort of thing doesn't disqualify JS as a prophet" vibe. So his certain conclusion may have been to urge people to not jump to conclusions.

For instance. I got a good idea about how much JS's father expected to haul in from his ginseng venture but I don't know a thing about JS's treasure digging and his relationship with Samuel Lawrence. I read a lot of stuff before RSR and I was surprised by the level of detail that I hadn't come across in other things I had read and I was also surprised by areas where I had read many things that appeared to be glossed over. That probably speaks more towards the difference between what interests me and what interests Bushman than anything.
I hereby place an order for one cheese pizza. -nibbler

Roy
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Joined: 07 Oct 2010, 14:16
Location: Pacific Northwest

Re: Rough Stone Rolling -- Richard Bushman

Post by Roy » 19 Oct 2016, 13:36

Bro. Bushman has said that he was writing to give the reader the perspective of how JS might have viewed himself (as near as possible). That in itself may be instructive. How I view myself may differ from how my own wife views me. I will emphasize certain things and gloss over others. I will most certainly not want to dwell on things that paint me in a negative light. I certainly believe that there is value in this type of historical writing.
"It is not so much the pain and suffering of life which crushes the individual as it is its meaninglessness and hopelessness." C. A. Elwood

“It is not the function of religion to answer all the questions about God’s moral government of the universe, but to give one courage, through faith, to go on in the face of questions he never finds the answer to in his present status.” TPC: Harold B. Lee 223

"I struggle now with establishing my faith that God may always be there, but may not always need to intervene" Heber13

Ann
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Joined: 09 Sep 2012, 02:17

Re: Rough Stone Rolling -- Richard Bushman

Post by Ann » 21 Oct 2016, 11:37

I wonder if it boils down to something like this: Bushman writes RSR including the facts that he can incorporate into his own testimony of Joseph Smith. And it's a lot, many more than the average church-curriculum bred member can handle. He's trying to bring us up to speed. But it doesn't mean that Bushman hasn't left out or deemphasized things that he considers faith-demoting.
"Preachers err by trying to talk people into belief; better they reveal the radiance of their own discovery." - Joseph Campbell

"The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes." - Marcel Proust

"Therefore they said unto him, How were thine eyes opened? He answered and said unto them, A man that is called Jesus made clay, and anointed my eyes...." - John 9:10-11

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