Comments about ‘BYU conference explores Joseph Smith and the ancient world’

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Published: Saturday, March 9 2013 11:30 p.m. MST

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layton, UT

RE:Twin Lights, By his mid to late 30s Joseph had become a talented man. But still not talented enough to have done what he did and produced what he wrote on his own.

In 1965 a Jewish atheistic psychologist from Columbia University began to channel messages from a spirit she believed to be Jesus. She ultimately produced, or she says Jesus revealed to her, well over a thousand pages of revelation during the next seven years.
A course in miracles,Who there is Jesus? Jesus evolutionary elder brother shows the rest of us our evolutionary potential. " So in reality Jesus is a way-shower.

(2Cor 11:4)”For if someone comes to you and preaches a Jesus other than the Jesus we preached, or if you receive a different spirit from the Spirit… . Or,

Joseph Smith, “Don’t employ lawyers, or pay them money for their knowledge, for I have learned that they don’t know anything. ‘ I know more than they all do’. (D.H.C. v. 5 p.467).

Twin Lights
Louisville, KY

Craig Clark,

I have no wish to engage in an argument over the issue of whether Joseph was or was not a prophet. You have made your opinion obvious. I assume mine is equally so.

You and Woolybruce had posed questions as to why members responded the way they often do and I was simply trying to provide (my interpretation of) the “why”.

One would suppose that most prophetic claims have been greeted with skepticism. Understandably so. I was once skeptical as well.


I have no doubt there have been many such as the psychologist you mention. Do folks of all backgrounds around the world subscribe to that person’s prophetic gifts?

Of course any and all prophetic claims can be ridiculed (and Biblically many were). Of course Joseph could have been a false prophet. Just as John the Baptist could have been. But I believe in both.

You keep trotting out the different Jesus issue. But perhaps it is your understanding which is less true to what the apostles understood.

I have no idea why you quote Joseph on lawyers. Attorneys have so few friends to defend them . . .

Craig Clark
Boulder, CO

Twin Lights,

"I have no wish to engage in an argument over the issue of whether Joseph was or was not a prophet."

That wasn't my intent. My point is that, for non-Mormons, the Mormon belief that Joseph Smith was a prophet is an obstacle to understanding his ideas. In my view, accepting his prophetic claims shouldn't be prerequisite to considering his theological thought.


There is no "rewrite" or change of history. Joseph Smith was very unlearned. He translated the plates in his early 20's throughout a time when he had little formal education in the ways of reading and writing. His thirst for knowledge allowed him to teach himself several things throughout his life. It is inaccurate to say that Joseph was not intelligent. Few people have accomplished such a variety of difficult things in such a short time.
It IS accurate to say that he was uneducated. Especially at the time of the translation.

sandy, ut

Iron & clay - Where is any reference that the stones Joseph found while digging a well were 'touched by the finger of god'? They were common stones, not only that, but people using supposed magic stones were very common in that day. People used them to treasure hunt. Also, why would he need stones to translate the plates? He knew he had the urim and thummim to translate. He didn't actually translate the plates, as witnesses state he didn't use the plates during translation. Why would he go to all of the trouble to get the plates when he didn't even use them in translation?

The point I think that thinkman is trying to make is that the church often makes Joseph Smith seem to have been illiterate, unable to read, and write and that clearly wasn't the case. It is overstated to the maximum. There is a big difference in uneducated(formally) and illiterate. You can be literate withough being educated (formally) and that is where the problem is. I was taught that as well, that Joseph was illiterate.

Average Me
Bremerton, WA


If compare the Book of Mormon account and the Bible version of Mathew 5 you will notice that there are a few small differences but with great significance. 1. In Math Jesus says bring your sacrifice to the alter. In the BOM he says bring your sacrifices unto me. 2. in vs 48 Jesus says be perfect even as God is perfect. In the BOM it says be perfect even as I, and your God are perfect. It's interesting to note that Jesus in Mathew is talking before he comopleted his mission. In BOM he already completed his mission and therefor can say bring your sacrifice unto me, because that is the new law, and be perfect like him and God because he can actually say, after completed his life and mission, was perfect. Again very small changes but very significant and in my opinion shows Joseph as being more inspired than a fraud.

Ghost Writer

Thinkman -- First of all, you're clinging to a strict, personal definition of the phrase "not a learned man", that precludes Joseph from seeking an education as he progressed in his life. My take is that he was unlearned in that he did not have access to a formal public education up to the time that the gospel was restored.

As for your criticism of the translation of verses in the Bible, I think you're setting a standard that is not valid -- As in any translation from one language to another, there are going to be ambiguities -- ambiguities that well need constant clarification as time progresses and language changes. Languages rarely translate literally. There will be descriptions and phrases in King James English that could always be further clarified. I believe this was true in Joseph's time as well as ours. The purpose of the translation of the Book of Mormon under Joseph was to provide a 2nd witness for Jesus Christ, not to meet some Socratic standard of logic. I always like to remember the Book of Mormon admonishing us to not condemn the things of God because of the weaknesses of men.

Gilmer, TX

I have a B.A. degree from BYU in Provo and a M.A. degree from Stephen F. Austin in Nacogdoches, TX. Therefore, I have been associated with many highly educated people. I'm also a retired teacher and that occupation helped me continue to be associated with highly educated people. My father had a first cousin who did not complete the eighth grade. He probably was the best educated man I have ever been associated with. His formal education was considerably greater than that of Joseph Smith but considerably less than that of college professors. But in the end both he and Joseph Smith were indeed highly educated.

m.g. scott

From what little I know of Joseph Smith history, it seems to me that in all his moving and travels he was basically in very rural areas of America. It's not like he spent a year studying at Harvard in Boston, or even had access to any major libraries. I could be wrong, but I would like to know just what sources of scholarly information he had access to and where they came from. No matter how smart you are, without some way to inform yourself you will mostly stay a third grade educated person. So, did this symposium address this issue? From the article is didn't seem so. Anyone know?

Craig Clark
Boulder, CO

m.g. scott,

Here are my impressions. Joseph Smith founded the school of the prophets in Kirtland to encourage learning across a wide spectrum of secular and religious studies. Joseph himself never mastered any subject but he could put on a pretense to an erudition he didn’t possess.

He was easily consumed with burning enthusiasm to learn but couldn’t sustain a study to fruition. One example was Hebrew. Another was law. He plunged into both, mastered neither, learned just enough to impress people, then pontificated like a world class authority. He relied too heavily on a spectacular intuition until he would find himself in water over his head. How sad that he had the intellect but lacked the necessary discipline to channel it.

Tyler D
Meridian, ID

@ Craig Clark – “He relied too heavily on a spectacular intuition until he would find himself in water over his head.”

Curious what your sources on JS are – books, etc… grateful.

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