"I can't agree that defenses of the coherence and historical claims of
Mormonism are obsolete."But what if many of the claims of
Mormonism are indeed incoherent and obsolete? For example, many of the
astronomical and Newtonian concepts found in the BoA are scientific relics. The problem with apologists like Petersen is that their defense of the
truly incoherent is similar to the argument made against such dogmatists as
outlined in Ibn Rushd's "The Incoherence of the Incoherence." In
an effort to reconcile claims of truth with reality, apologists fail to
coherently apply the tools of logic and reason which are used in the sciences.
In my humble opinion, one simply cannot reconcile the supernatural
with reality without some kind of evidence beyond the claim of a supernatural
witness like the "Moroni challenge." Rather, acceptance of supernatural
claims should be a matter of faith. But when apologists abandon
logic and reason to defend the faith while at the same time laying claim to its
use, such defense often becomes incoherent. And at its worst, it becomes
Article quote - “I don’t believe that the sheer beauty of the
Christian idea can sustain faith in the absence of conviction, or at least
reasonable hope, that core events of Christianity (e.g., the incarnation of
Christ and his resurrection from the dead) are factually true.”Sad if this were true given the millions who are no longer able to believe in
things that (even couched in the most positive light) are highly improbably.But Fowler’s stages of faith suggests this may not be the case
– that there are stages beyond “mythic religion” where faith
stories can have just as much power to affect our lives without necessarily
seeing them as literally true.
I love the mind and works of Truman Madsen. He exercised an economy in writing.
Every sentence was packed with meaning. He was a man of extraordinary depth
and insight. We need more like him.
Truman Madsen's tapes on Joseph Smith were inspiring to me when I was
younger. I almost felt as though Smith was near deity. I taught about him on
my mission and in Gospel Doctrine classes and in Priesthood Quorums. Much of
why I taught with such conviction about him was because of Madsen's
writings and lectures.Nibley was another inspiring and
thought-provoking writer and lecturer. However, when I started
researching actual church history volumes and the Journal of Discourses and saw
that the Book of Abraham turned out to NOT be a translation of ancient papyrus,
I then very quickly realized that I didn't have the full picture of Smith
and his claims and now have a much different view on him. People
like Madsen and even Nibley are actually dangerous because they know the full
truth yet only choose to dwell on the faith-promoting aspects of Smith and the
LDS church and its claims of being divinely inspired.
RE: a chorus of(Mormon) witnesses VS a great cloud of(Christian) witnesses(Heb
12:1).Reading about great Christian thinkers of the past is like
being at a really good Bible study. They can help you think through things you
may have been puzzled by. They can inspire with new light on a familiar
scriptural passage.E.g. Augustine: The Grace of God. Anselm: The
death of Christ. Aquinas: Faith and Reason. Luther: Faith and Experience.
Calvin: Our knowledge of God. C.S. Lewis: Let God be God….. many more.“Unless you believe , you shall never understand. True theology
presupposes faith”. Augustine“Only God can save. Jesus
saves. Therefore Jesus is God”. Athanasius “The
otherness of God, to experience the overwhelming sense of divinity of God, and
to respond in humility ,obedience and wonder.” Karl Barth“God is not a human being, Nor does the necessity of a human mother
point to the need for a divine mother. They are analogies” Thomas Aquinas
Thinkman wrote: "...saw that the Book of Abraham turned out to NOT be a
translation of ancient papyrus..."Two additional pieces of
information might have changed your course had you considered them:1. The extant Abraham papyrus is a small remnant of what Joseph Smith
originally had in his possession. The remainder was destroyed in a fire. We have
no idea what he had.2. Joseph Smith used the word
"translate" differently than an academician might. The
"translation" of the Book of Mormon consisted of being given the English
words corresponding to the hieroglyphics on the plates. He didn't have to
learn the hieroglyphics in order to "translate". He didn't even
have to be looking at the plates. He only had to be a worthy, willing, and
chosen recipient of revelation. (Recall that his Bible "translations"
were made without physical possession of the original texts.)Given
that we can never have a perfect historical account of anything, we should rely
on God rather than man to understand God's dealings with Joseph Smith. God
is more than willing to reveal the truth to anyone who is more than willing to
obey God's revelations.
@sharrona:One prophet trumps a great cloud of philosophers.
Pops wrote:"@sharrona:One prophet trumps a great cloud of
philosophers."Human history proves otherwise.
@ Pops....."One prophet trumps a great cloud of philosophers."I
don't know any "prophets". I've met 5 men in my life that
claimed to be such but went away feeling deceived. How is it that you're so
sure that anyone is a prophet?Harold B. Lee, Howard W. Hunter, Gordon B.
Hinckley, Spencer W. Kimball and Thomas Monson left me pretty flat at meeting
them. I've met and had dealings with about a dozen other general
authorities and came away thinking they were unhappy business men. Just my
impression.I'm fairly sure I wouldn't follow any of them
PopsRight.... Joseph Smith didn't even need the plates to
translate... yet he went to great lengths to retrieve them anyways. That makes
little sense. He put his life on the line to get plates that he didn't even
need. Why would god have Joseph go get the plates to translate, but then not
have him use them to translate? There is no common sense there. You are right -
he didn't use the plates for translation... the most likely scenario is
that they didn't exist, thats why he didn't use them.Regarding the papyri... Yes there may be pieces missing, we will never know
what they said. What we do know is the part that egyptologist do have access to
are NOT translated correctly by Joseph Smith - not even close. So then why would
we assume that the other parts that are lost are translated correctly when the
very small example we got from him turned out to be wrong? If this small sample
is wrong, where is the leap to believeing the rest would be right??? It
doesn't add up.
2 Nephi 9:42And whoso knocketh, to him will he open; and the wise,
and the learned, and they that are rich, who are puffed up because of their
learning, and their wisdom, and their riches—yea, they are they whom he
despiseth; and save they shall cast these things away, and consider themselves
fools before God, and come down in the depths of humility, he will not open unto
It is clear that the process of "revelation" is not understood by those
decrying Smith's "translation" of the papyri.When an
LDS Bishop contemplates a calling that needs to be filled, he may feel strongly
impressed to extend a call to some person. He talks to his counselors. They
help confirm the feeling. Then the person is called in to talk about it. From
time to time, that interview reveals additional information that may cause the
Bishop to reconsider the call. Does that mean he was uninspired? No.To say so is to deny the process. The Lord wanted that person
to come in and talk with the Bishop. But sometimes the reason for the talk only
reveals itself as they talk. If Joseph was inspired by Egyptian
hieroglyphics, his inspiration is no less valid because a learned man says
"that ain't what it says." The real key is found in what the Holy
Spirit testifies to you. If you read it, does it testify of eternal truth?
Does it enlighten your mind? If so, let the academics bury the
academics. Understanding how revelation works (with imperfect
people) may help you understand why prophets occasionally even misspell names.
terra novaOne problem that you ignore is that Joseph didn't say
he was getting the information by revelation. He said it was by translation. He
tried to translate the papyri from one language to another - and failed
miserably. Are you now claiming that the papyri somehow "inspired" him
and that opened the revelation that is now the pearl of great price? Quite a
stretch considering he said he translated them, and that it was from the hand of
Abraham himself. So he needed revelation, and that revelation had to be
triggered by the papyri that he said he translated.... Yeah totally adds up.....
Either way, the translation/revelation is not what was on the papyri, so either
way it is false.
terra novaBtw - you use translation and revelation as if they are
one in the same. They obviously aren't. You example of the bishops
interviews is grossly off point because the bishops never claim they
"translated" in the interview. They only claim the calls come by
revelation. They aren't "translating" anything from one language to
another... they are interviewing. Don't you see the difference?
Weber State GraduateJust remember, at one time logic and reason had
the sun revolving around the Earth. I think one of the greatest errors humans
make is the belief that we know it all now because we are in a time when we can
know it all. I'll bet many generations of philosophers, scientists, and
religious people have been caught in that trap. It is a little arrogant to
believe that we know it all, just because this is the 20th century, or the 21st
century. It doesn't take much imagination to conceive of things we might
know in the 22 or 23rd century. Or do you believe that we have reached the
pinicle of human knowledge? You don't have to answer that, it's
rhetorical. And as for the Book of Abraham, the very fact that it talks about
worlds without number, is enough for me to know that a prophet saw those things.
Think how limited the universe was in Joseph Smiths day. Today, with Hubble
and other modern technology, we are beginning to see what Abraham saw.
I agree with the premise that the beauty of the Gospel is a witness of its
truthfulness. I also agree that it is useful to give people something to hang
onto until they are spiritually converted, which makes outside evidence
necessary in a limited sort of way. Further, I think that God always intended
us to balance our intellectual, physical, emotional, and spiritual selves, and
all of those things may come into play as evidences of the truth of the
Gospel.For me, though, the evidence that supersedes all other
considerations is direct personal communication with God through the Holy Ghost.
That provides the foundation, then all other things may be properly built upon
RE: Pops: In(D&C 84: 6-17) the line of priesthood is given from Moses to
Adam. verse 13, Esaias, who lived in the days of Abraham. Esaias, from Greek
LXX, S/B Isaiah, Hebrew lineage. To avoid confusion Modern
N.T. translations have Isaiah instead of Esaias, see (Romans 9:27,29, NKJV,
NIV,NET). JS used KJV,but didn't read Greek.RE: Cowboypriest,
2Nephi 9:42,come down in the depths of humility, he will not open unto them. “Above all the grace and the gifts that Christ gives to his
beloved is that of overcoming self.” ― St. Francis of Assisi(D.H.C. v 6. P 408,409) “I have more to boast of than ever any man
had. I am the only man that has ever been able to keep a whole church together
since the days of Adam. A large majority of the whole have stood by me. Neither
Paul, John, Peter, nor Jesus ever did it. I boast that no man ever did such a
work as I. The followers of Jesus ran away from Him; but the Latter-day Saints
never ran away from me yet..
There's a certain amount of hubris in many of the criticisms of Joseph
Smith. Critics imply that if Joseph Smith were really a prophet, he would have
done such-and-such rather than what he did, as if the critics knew better how
God would have dealt with a prophet than does the prophet himself, or even God.
It isn't difficult to postulate reasons why Joseph Smith needed plates in
order to produce the Book of Mormon, yet didn't in order to produce
corrections to Bible translations. Simply because one don't understand
God's economy doesn't mean that God didn't do what he did. God is
under no obligation to conform to our expectations when it comes to such things
as how one translates through revelation.Sure knowledge of
God's dealings with man comes not through reason or philosophy, but through
obedience and revelation. I suspect most of us live below our privileges with
respect to receiving revelation due to our disobedience. To the degree that I
have learned to obey God's commandments and seek his will rather than mine,
I have been blessed with assurances of his reality and purposes.
PopsThat is a great answer when you really have no good answer for
the problems I presented. Your answer only confirms that I am on the right path,
and that if something doesn't make sense, it isn't true. Thanks!
Thats OK Dennis you felt that way a hole bunch of people at the time of the
Saviour didnt think much of Him as well and did not follow Him
SCfan wrote:"Just remember, at one time logic and reason had the
sun revolving around the Earth."No, that is not true. That
belief came directly from arrogant religious dogma, not from logic and
reason."And as for the Book of Abraham, the very fact that it
talks about worlds without number, is enough for me to know that a prophet saw
those things."No, that is evidence it was written in the 19th
century and is not an authentic ancient text.Religion has a long
history of dubious claims that have been debunked by science, reason, and
careful observation. The opposite is not true: religion has never supplanted
scientific explanations with better understanding of the universe.Never.
@ The Scientist: You quoted SCFan, who said, "Just remember, at one time
logic and reason had the sun revolving around the Earth." Then you
countered: "No, that is not true. That belief came directly from arrogant
religious dogma, not from logic and reason."You're right
*only* if you refer to the pre-Renaissance tendency to use the ancient Greek
formulations of the heavens as doctrinal. SCFan's statement that "at
one time" is certainly true in reference to the ancient Greeks.The point is that logic and reason are useful but flawed. Your point might be
better expressed if you were to say that something ought not be considered
dogmatically unless it is true, but that would be a bit circular, wouldn't
it?I submit that it is just as necessary for scientific dogma to be
true (SCFan's point) as it is for religious dogma. On the other hand, I
suppose that it's less embarrassing for scientists to say, "Oh, I guess
our dogma was wrong," than it is for religionists--so much less is at stake.
Begging the question, non sequiturs, pseudo-logic, false premises,disingenuous “reasoning”, “cherry-picking” history,
semantic discussions over words, selective science—this stuff is not new,
folks. It’s all been around at least since Joseph Smith’s youth. As to Joseph Smith’s ‘gift of prophecy’, consider
this—a twenty-something farmer lad painted a vivid picture of what is
happening today: anti-religion, anti-Christ, Korihor by name (Alma 30), and his
ideology fits the profile of most of the LDS critics of today. One can either
accept his story of how it all came about, or the Brodie ‘prodigious
talent’ proposition.Fiction, translation, or revelation, one
cannot easily dismiss the straightforwardness and accuracy in which the Book of
Mormon, in many places, becomes a reflection of today’s society.