Joseph Smith Could Not Have Written the Book of Mormon

Public forum to discuss questions about Mormon history and doctrine.
Arrakeen
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Re: Joseph Smith Could Not Have Written the Book of Mormon

Post by Arrakeen » 11 Apr 2019, 15:38

Minyan Man wrote:
11 Apr 2019, 08:10
Do you ever ask yourself:
- Jonah and the whale. Was it a true story?
- Abraham and Isaac. Was it a true story?
- Does it matter?
Personally, one of my biggest concerns about the Book of Mormon is how it deals with parts of the Old Testament that I do not consider to be history, like the Tower of Babel or the Garden of Eden. It seems to me to insist on a literal acceptance of the Old Testament, which I do not like.

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SamBee
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Re: Joseph Smith Could Not Have Written the Book of Mormon

Post by SamBee » 11 Apr 2019, 23:30

dande48 wrote:
11 Apr 2019, 14:28
Minyan Man wrote:
11 Apr 2019, 08:10
Do you ever ask yourself:
- Jonah and the whale. Was it a true story?
- Abraham and Isaac. Was it a true story?
- Does it matter?
If you use it allegorically, no. If you appeal to its authority and authenticity, yes. For example, in the story of Abraham, we learn that we should be prepared to do anything, including something we consider to be grossly immoral, because God told us to. Whether or not that story is true, impacts our receptiveness of the message it is trying to teach. If it is used to... as it was... convince others to participate in polygamy despite their moral reservations, I'd say that is pretty immoral. How would Joseph Smith have convinced so many to practice polygamy, if he appealed to the poly-amorous lifestyle of Zeus? People would ignore it.
Abraham's sacrifice can be read in several ways:
* A demand of utter obedience.
* A prototype of the atonement.
* A repudiation of child sacrifice, and human sacrifice.
* Abraham's fanaticism.
* Abraham's God being kinder and fairer than many of the gods in the region.
* An ethnic myth - Jews think Isaac was on the altar, but the Arabs and Koran say it was Ishmael, their ancestor.

In regard to the second last one, it says that Jehovah demands obedience but will not make us do certain things because they are unnecessary and/or cruel.
DASH1730 "An Area Authority...[was] asked...who...would go to the Telestial kingdom. His answer: "murderers, adulterers and a lot of surprised Mormons!"'
1ST PRES 1978 "[LDS] believe...there is truth in many religions and philosophies...good and great religious leaders... have raised the spiritual, moral, and ethical awareness of their people. When we speak of The [LDS] as the only true church...it is...authorized to administer the ordinances...by Jesus Christ... we do not mean... it is the only teacher of truth."

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SamBee
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Re: Joseph Smith Could Not Have Written the Book of Mormon

Post by SamBee » 11 Apr 2019, 23:42

Arrakeen wrote:
11 Apr 2019, 15:38
Minyan Man wrote:
11 Apr 2019, 08:10
Do you ever ask yourself:
- Jonah and the whale. Was it a true story?
- Abraham and Isaac. Was it a true story?
- Does it matter?
Personally, one of my biggest concerns about the Book of Mormon is how it deals with parts of the Old Testament that I do not consider to be history, like the Tower of Babel or the Garden of Eden. It seems to me to insist on a literal acceptance of the Old Testament, which I do not like.
Both Eden and Babel are best read as parables. Again, the main point is not whether they happened but what they mean to us now.

Adam and Eve just mean "man and woman". As small children, we have no sense of right and wrong, have no self-consciousness of being naked when we are etc. A child, likewise, creates new names for the things around it. Then at some point, we develop away from both these things or at least most do (in societies where nudity is not commonplace). We progress when we move out of Eden, into a tougher world full of thorns and briers, away from the protection of our parents.

Babel, likewise, has meaning for today. We live in Babel right now. Look at the obsession with ever bigger infrastructure, while at the same time we fail to look after the needs of most people. In some senses, Nazi Germany, Tojo's Japan, Yugoslavia and the Soviet Union were Babels, chasing after the big idea which collapsed into a big mess of scattered nations and differing languages. The PRC and Western Society seems to be going down a similar route. There is a desperate rush these days to create a one world government (and forget the conspiracy theories - most of it's out in the open), but at what cost? Humans are becoming arrogant again and forgetting their roots. What happens if society and technology collapses tomorrow? Great hardship at the very least.
DASH1730 "An Area Authority...[was] asked...who...would go to the Telestial kingdom. His answer: "murderers, adulterers and a lot of surprised Mormons!"'
1ST PRES 1978 "[LDS] believe...there is truth in many religions and philosophies...good and great religious leaders... have raised the spiritual, moral, and ethical awareness of their people. When we speak of The [LDS] as the only true church...it is...authorized to administer the ordinances...by Jesus Christ... we do not mean... it is the only teacher of truth."

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rrosskopf
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Re: Joseph Smith Could Not Have Written the Book of Mormon

Post by rrosskopf » 12 Apr 2019, 02:03

Arrakeen wrote:
11 Apr 2019, 15:38
Personally, one of my biggest concerns about the Book of Mormon is how it deals with parts of the Old Testament that I do not consider to be history, like the Tower of Babel or the Garden of Eden. It seems to me to insist on a literal acceptance of the Old Testament, which I do not like.
If is really odd that someone who lived in Jerusalem in 600 BC would believe in these things? It seems to me that these stories are much older. It would be odd if they didn't.
One of the things that I find fascinating is the glowing stones in Ether. There is an ancient Jewish tradition that Noah's ark also was lit with glowing stones. What are the odds? Is that where the Brother of Jared got the idea? Well visiting the Smithsonian, I saw a whole exhibit of glowing stones. I don't believe these stones glowed without first being subjected to sunlight, but at the time they were being subjected to blacklight to make them glow. I know for myself that it doesn't take much light to see, albeit in black and white.

One thing that seems to be well established, is that ancient Americans did believe in a flood, and in the tower of Babal. Spanish chroniclers, who made it their mission to learn about local customs and history, were surprised to discover these stories being passed down, and they are represented in the few codexes that have been discovered. The Catholics made a great effort to destroy all the books in the New World because of great similarities between the two religions. They also outlawed the growing of Amaranth, because it was used in some sort of religious ceremony like the Catholic Eucharist. The descendants of the Maya made it into little cakes and used it to remember some ancient event. As far as I have been able to determine, there are old world varieties of Amaranth as well, and it may even have been brought over from the Old World.

There is also an oral tradition, written down by the descendants of the Maya using Spanish letters to represent Uto-Aztecan sounds - that some of their ancestors were Israelites that originally came across the sea. The book was kept by the Catholic church, but not translated into Spanish until 1832. Obviously, Joseph Smith must have got hold of an early copy and translated it! ;-)
Uto-Aztecan is still spoken today by about a million Mexicans.

Roy
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Re: Joseph Smith Could Not Have Written the Book of Mormon

Post by Roy » 12 Apr 2019, 10:34

rrosskopf wrote:
12 Apr 2019, 02:03
One thing that seems to be well established, is that ancient Americans did believe in a flood
I too have been fascinated by the occurrence of flood stories in multiple cultures. One of these is the Epic of Gilgamesh found on Mesopotamian clay tablets.
Smith’s work revealed that Mesopotamian writings included an account of a great flood similar to the one described in the Book of Genesis. However, the tablets long predated the Bible, placing the flood story further back in history than originally thought.
https://www.nationalgeographic.com/arch ... discovery/
"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

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dande48
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Re: Joseph Smith Could Not Have Written the Book of Mormon

Post by dande48 » 12 Apr 2019, 11:32

Roy wrote:
12 Apr 2019, 10:34
I too have been fascinated by the occurrence of flood stories in multiple cultures. One of these is the Epic of Gilgamesh found on Mesopotamian clay tablets.
There are a lot of parallels and common threads between religions, which I find fascinating. The stories are important and meaningful, there's no doubt about it. But just because it's meaningful and important, doesn't mean it's historically true.

If the world were burning, I'd put just as much effort into saving great works of fiction as anything else.
"The whole world is a comedy to those that think, a tragedy to those that feel." - Horace Walpole

"Even though there are no ways of knowing for sure, there are ways of knowing for pretty sure."
-Lemony Snicket

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DarkJedi
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Re: Joseph Smith Could Not Have Written the Book of Mormon

Post by DarkJedi » 12 Apr 2019, 16:09

dande48 wrote:
12 Apr 2019, 11:32
There are a lot of parallels and common threads between religions, which I find fascinating. The stories are important and meaningful, there's no doubt about it. But just because it's meaningful and important, doesn't mean it's historically true.
Well said. :thumbup: A story doesn't have to be literal for it to have meaning. Again, the parables themselves were not literal "true" stories but they were a main teaching tool of Jesus and even 2000 years later some of them resonate with people. My personal favorite is the prodigal son and his brother. I believe the fullness of the gospel is contained in that parable.

As to Joseph and the BoM, I'm comfortable with the idea it may have been inspired (or in Joseph's words by the gift and power of God) and it doesn't need to be any more than that - no real gold plates or Lamanites necessary.
In the absence of knowledge or faith there is always hope.

Once there was a gentile...who came before Hillel. He said "Convert me on the condition that you teach me the whole Torah while I stand on one foot." Hillel converted him, saying: That which is despicable to you, do not do to your fellow, this is the whole Torah, and the rest is commentary, go and learn it."

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SamBee
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Re: Joseph Smith Could Not Have Written the Book of Mormon

Post by SamBee » 13 Apr 2019, 02:54

dande48 wrote:
12 Apr 2019, 11:32
Roy wrote:
12 Apr 2019, 10:34
I too have been fascinated by the occurrence of flood stories in multiple cultures. One of these is the Epic of Gilgamesh found on Mesopotamian clay tablets.
There are a lot of parallels and common threads between religions, which I find fascinating. The stories are important and meaningful, there's no doubt about it. But just because it's meaningful and important, doesn't mean it's historically true.

If the world were burning, I'd put just as much effort into saving great works of fiction as anything else.
The following things that turn up almost universally across human cultures are -

* Dwarfs.
* Giants.
* Dragons/giant serpents
* The Pleiades myth
* The Flood
* Adam & Eve type figures.
* Fire in the sky.

Surprisingly there is a sort of evidence for all of these. Giant hominids and dwarf ones have been discovered - one just recently in the Phillipines. Early humans would have lived by giant reptiles - crocodiles, massive snakes, large monitor lizards etc. The Pleiades story is an explanation of patterns in the sky, but the myth is widespread. The flood is also widespread and probably a result of massive ancient catastrophes (the flooding of the Black Sea and Persian Gulf are two candidates and there are plenty of other drowned lands around our coastlines)... Science also agrees that we descend from a very small number of individuals at some point in our early history... Fire in the sky probably comes from meteorite strikes, vulcanism etc.

Mother Earth and Father Sky are common although sometimes the genders are reversed e.g. ancient Egypt.
DASH1730 "An Area Authority...[was] asked...who...would go to the Telestial kingdom. His answer: "murderers, adulterers and a lot of surprised Mormons!"'
1ST PRES 1978 "[LDS] believe...there is truth in many religions and philosophies...good and great religious leaders... have raised the spiritual, moral, and ethical awareness of their people. When we speak of The [LDS] as the only true church...it is...authorized to administer the ordinances...by Jesus Christ... we do not mean... it is the only teacher of truth."

mfree6464
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Re: Joseph Smith Could Not Have Written the Book of Mormon

Post by mfree6464 » 18 Apr 2019, 07:40

Sorry I'm like a week late to the party. Only today am I noticing that this thread I started has some new life.
rrosskopf wrote:
09 Apr 2019, 16:18
I jumped into several conversations where the topic clearly called for evidence and a conclusion ... If you don't want an answer, then don't ask the question.
I don't have much to add to the conversation, I only wish to clarify that in starting this thread I wasn't asking a question. In my original post I was simply stating that I disagree with those who claim that Joseph's lack of education is proof that the BofM is true. If the book is true, then in my opinion it was written by many men who came from even humbler circumstances than Joseph and were likely far less educated from a formal standpoint. The title of my post is actually a quote from a family member who is a very firm, ardent believer.

Do I believe in the book? I'm still working that out. If God were to somehow give me the option to choose whether or not the book is true I would certainly wish for it to be true. Prior to experiences that led me to question I had been a believer for nearly 40 years, was born into the church and am surrounded by family on both sides who are members. Not to mention my children who are coming into adolescence and know nothing other than this gospel. For me, no longer believing is the path of MOST resistance. I desperately want the book to be true.

AmyJ
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Re: Joseph Smith Could Not Have Written the Book of Mormon

Post by AmyJ » 18 Apr 2019, 08:04

mfree6464 wrote:
18 Apr 2019, 07:40
Do I believe in the book? I'm still working that out. If God were to somehow give me the option to choose whether or not the book is true I would certainly wish for it to be true. Prior to experiences that led me to question I had been a believer for nearly 40 years, was born into the church and am surrounded by family on both sides who are members. Not to mention my children who are coming into adolescence and know nothing other than this gospel. For me, no longer believing is the path of MOST resistance. I desperately want the book to be true.
I think more cognizant questions are "What do you do about your degree of belief in the book?" and "How much weight do you give to what it says?".
I think that finding those passages in the BoM that resonate with you and challenge you to be a better person could be helpful in personal growth and in interacting with others to keep it "true" for you.

One of the surprising benefits to a faith transition is starting to evaluate in depth what you personally believe, how you got there, and how to piece together your world view (especially regarding Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon).

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