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Author Topic: Atheist Cultural Christianity
threads
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I think when you said:

quote:
Originally posted by seekingprometheus:
One doesn't technically have to lie to be a part of the Mormon community--one is allowed to at least remain in the community in a very low-status position if one simply shuts one's mouth--but one cannot successfully participate in the community without lying.

Pete interpreted the "one" as being generic over all Mormons.

[ August 08, 2011, 02:39 AM: Message edited by: threads ]

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seekingprometheus
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quote:
SP, even you've read enough to piece together that JS didn't even fully understand the book, let alone write it himself.
I agree that JS didn't have a full understanding of what could be interpreted from what he wrote, but I disagree that a critical reading yields a persuasive reason to disbelieve that the book is authored by someone in the 19th century--unless one includes the persuasive effect of religious experience as a valid function of an exercise of critical reading.
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Pete at Home
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Threads hit it on the head.

quote:
Originally posted by seekingprometheus:
quote:
I'm going through a very rough patch in life right now
I'm sorry Pete. I actually already assumed as much, since I respect your intellect and reading skills enough to assume that when you make mistakes (like the attribution thing with AI here), it's probably related to emotional stress elsewhere.
It's often due to my being drunk off my ass, which is the source of my own problems with the church, hence my repeated reference to myself as a jackmormon, despite the fact that I'm a regular churchgoer.

quote:
What I'm talking about is simply what is universal in the branches of the community that I've personally experienced.
I've got no quarrel with that, SP.

quote:
Feeling positive about something does not mean one knows it is true
Agreed.

quote:
the construct "if you feel good about it, you know it's true" is a LIE
Or an illusion. Folks "knew" that the earth was flat for generations, but that wasn't a lie. Take it out of the church context, and you'd realize that.

quote:
But when someone says it's "dumb" to suggest that a person would feel like they would have to lie to participate in the culture I grew up in...well, I'll have something to say about that.
*A* person might *feel* that way, but it seems dumb to me to assert that mormons plural are compelled to "lie." Your original attribution to Quag, and your more recent kinder gentler restatement, are light years apart, SP.

quote:
--which is more relevant to what quag thinks mormons are compelled to "lie" about in order to assimilate within the community.

When did quag say that? That's dumb.

See the diff?
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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by seekingprometheus:
quote:
SP, even you've read enough to piece together that JS didn't even fully understand the book, let alone write it himself.
I agree that JS didn't have a full understanding of what could be interpreted from what he wrote, but I disagree that a critical reading yields a persuasive reason to disbelieve that the book is authored by someone in the 19th century
I think you'd be trounced in that argument as well, but suffice to point out that it's a different argument than the one you made. Your retreat from "JS wrote this" to "a person in the 19th century wrote this" doesn't inspire confidence in the former statement. [Big Grin]
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Pete at Home
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quote:
I am saying that Smith was lying when he wrote in the book of Mormon that if an individual felt a "burning" or some vague goodness about about what they had read, that it meant that they "knew" the "truth" of the narrative he had constructed.
SP ... do you realize that you've mangled a D&C passage with the Moroni 10 promise ? Because that whole "burning" statement isn't in the book of mormon, nor does it say that it constitutes "knowledge."

Bunches of active churchgoing mormons might make the same error. But it is a clearly demonstrable error.

This isn't a matter of subjectivity. You're clearly wrong from the text. BoM doesn't say what you're attributing to it.

The only way you could try to make it fit would be to assume that tingling sensations are the only means through which the holy ghost can manifest truth. And that would be, well, if you don't like the word dumb, then how about "plainly contradicted by the rest of Moroni 10?"

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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by seekingprometheus:
In any case, you have my empathy (not sympathy--for I also am going through a very rough patch right now).

I appreciate your empathy. I could use a few more prayers as well if anyone's so inclined. [Smile]


quote:
When I didn't have a testimony of the church, I made the conscious decision to not lie about it, fearing that my community would reject me, and they didn't. I posted that story years ago on this forum; did you see it?
-
[sp]I didn't see it.

How time flies. I bounced a 7 year old thread for you. The context in which I posted it is interesting enough in itself ...
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seekingprometheus
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quote:
It's often due to my being drunk off my ass, which is the source of my own problems with the church, hence my repeated reference to myself as a jackmormon, despite the fact that I'm a regular churchgoer.
Ah. I wasn't aware. I've observed in your writing references to the temptation of alcohol, but I presumed it indicated irony and wistful nostalgia, rather than an ongoing problem.

It does contextualize some of my perceptions about the emotional variability in your posts.

Ironically, I'm probably more Mormon than you on that particular front, cuz I've got a tiny tolerance for alcohol, and I'm rarely tempted to test it.

My rough patch is mostly related to family stress, but part of it is the difficulty associated with a somewhat life-altering neck injury I suffered recently.
quote:
Or an illusion. Folks "knew" that the earth was flat for generations, but that wasn't a lie.
Fair enough. If the construct is held by an individual, it is an illusion. But if an individual asserts knowledge of the truth of a proposition that is actually untrue, and simply a belief based a convincing illusion, that instance of communication constitutes a lie.

Because they didn't know, they believed. It doesn't even matter that they happened to be wrong. They lie when they acted to convince others that they knew something which, in truth, they only believed.

But people weren't really going around testifying to others that the earth was flat, they made an assumption based on appearances.

And people don't assume that a powerful emotional experience related to a given proposition is sufficient warrant to testify of knowledge of the truthfulness of said proposition...unless something in the landscape (like the insistent declarations of respected members of a community) makes the epistemologically invalid construct appear to be true...

In other words, the world does appear to be flat from the perspective of any flatlander. But it only appears that a range of emotional experience constitutes proof of knowledge of a given proposition to an individual who lives in a world that is shaped in a way that makes it appear that such an invalid construct is "true." The world I grew up in WAS shaped in such a way--by the assertions of the people I most trusted regarding the construct, as well as the relevant related proposition.
quote:
it seems dumb to me to assert that mormons plural are compelled to "lie."
Well, then replace the "compelled to lie" with "systematically inculcated to believe that it is good to express the validity of an untrue construct."

To my ear, the difference is just: potayto...potahto--but perhaps the second construction sounds less dumb to your ear--although I don't doubt that both produce an emotional response in you...
quote:
I think you'd be trounced in that argument
Only (as I already mentioned) in the eyes of someone already convinced of the religious "truthfulness" of the narrative.

Anyone without a dog in the fight would think it laughable that someone actually believes that there is a series of stretches in interpretive criticism that could validate the notion that an english-language document which appeared suddenly (in an explicitly magical and mysterious way in the 19th century, a document that contradicts an enormous swath traditionally held historical views) is something other than what it appears to be: a book written by Joseph Smith in the 19th century.

I don't have to be more informed, more intelligent, or more persuasive to not get trounced in that argument--because the disparity in the respective burdens of proof is so overwhelmingly loaded in my favor.

The very idea that the BoM can be persuasively presented as authentic on a set of merits not inherently dependent upon "religious experience" is absolutely and unequivocally absurd: To believe it is a valid historical document of authentic provenance, you have to believe that God HID the ****ing plates!--and apparently he did so specifically to **** up the objective evidence for its veracity! If it is true, God was pulling off miracles with the express intention of making it impossible to show that it's true based on the objective evidence available to a critically-minded individual. Even if it is true, one wouldn't just have to trounce me in an impossibly uphill battle, they'd have to do so while dodging lightning bolts from God.

[LOL]
quote:
SP ... do you realize that you've mangled a D&C passage with the Moroni 10 promise ? Because that whole "burning" statement isn't in the book of mormon, nor does it say that it constitutes "knowledge."

Bunches of active churchgoing mormons might make the same error. But it is a clearly demonstrable error.

This isn't a matter of subjectivity. You're clearly wrong from the text. BoM doesn't say what you're attributing to it.

I actually wasn't specifying a passage from the text. But fair enough. I'll acknowledge the validity of your quibble, rather than dig trenches around the inherent mendacity in claiming that the subjective experiences of subjective beings can establish a state of "knowing" the truth regarding a related proposition.

I'm not trying to isolate a specific instance of a lie, I'm talking about a systematic deception function within a culture that emphasizes the importance of convincing others of the validity of an invalid epistemological construct.

[ August 08, 2011, 06:35 AM: Message edited by: seekingprometheus ]

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seekingprometheus
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Oh, and:
quote:
Your retreat from "JS wrote this" to "a person in the 19th century wrote this" doesn't inspire confidence in the former statement.
My "retreat" from your claim was just to make room for the possibility that Joseph Smith wasn't necessarily the sole author. I'm inclined to think that Smith wrote it alone, because in spite of quite complex claims to the contrary, it does read to me like the work of a single author--but it wouldn't be too surprising to me if it was actually a collaboration with his associates.
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seekingprometheus
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...and I do hope that you're not taking my comments here too personally. My intent here really isn't to offend, just to say what I think on a touchy topic that's very personal to me...as well as to vent some mental steam...

I sincerely appreciate the bumped thread, and the experience you shared therein.

[ August 08, 2011, 07:11 AM: Message edited by: seekingprometheus ]

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Pete at Home
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quote:
To believe it is a valid historical document of authentic provenance, you have to believe that God HID the ****ing plates!--and apparently he did so specifically to **** up the objective evidence for its veracity!
Neither proposition is necessary, particularly in light of two facts: (1) that two of JS' kids died from exposure as mobs ransacked his house for the gold plates during winter. (2) the sealed portion. T'would not surprise me greatly if the LDS or CoC still had them in possession, waiting for the time for the sealed part to be revealed.

A lie like that -- designed to save lives, would not bother me greatly, and I suspect that you'd understand where I'm coming from on that particular. A lie to save lives is not the same thing as all as a lie designed to save or build "faith."

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Pete at Home
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Ah, well saying that the BoM was the product of a 19th century collaboration would be much harder for me to disprove. Seems highly unlikely to me given the witness context, the 17 persons who swore to have seen and touched the plates, and never recanted; the fact that the weight the witnesses attributed to the plates is clearly NOT the weight of gold but *IS* the weight of a gold-appearing alloy later shown to have been popular in Mesoamerica...

quote:
The very idea that the BoM can be persuasively presented as authentic on a set of merits not inherently dependent upon "religious experience" is absolutely and unequivocally absurd
Sure, but disproving that JS authored the book on his own is a much more modest proposition, as well as having the virtue of being what I actually said. [Smile]

[ August 08, 2011, 11:15 AM: Message edited by: Pete at Home ]

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TomDavidson
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quote:
disproving that JS authored the book on his own is a much more modest proposition
I've always found this particular claim to be sort of ridiculous on its face, since we're weighing the probability of this proposition -- however unlikely it is that one person can create a convincing fanfic -- against the probability that the Hebrew God exists, the Bible is mostly accurate, and God hung out for a few thousand years before He felt like revealing Himself via angelic contact to a young farmer in New England.
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quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
quote:
To believe it is a valid historical document of authentic provenance, you have to believe that God HID the ****ing plates!--and apparently he did so specifically to **** up the objective evidence for its veracity!
Neither proposition is necessary, particularly in light of two facts: (1) that two of JS' kids died from exposure as mobs ransacked his house for the gold plates during winter. (2) the sealed portion. T'would not surprise me greatly if the LDS or CoC still had them in possession, waiting for the time for the sealed part to be revealed.

A lie like that -- designed to save lives, would not bother me greatly, and I suspect that you'd understand where I'm coming from on that particular. A lie to save lives is not the same thing as all as a lie designed to save or build "faith."

Why hide them now?
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Pete at Home
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@ threads: there's part of the book that's sealed and must remain sealed until God gives the word. Even JS wasn't allowed to look at it.

quote:
[Tom] we're weighing the probability of this proposition
Who is "we," Tom?

quote:
God hung out for a few thousand years
[LOL] Have fun with that proposition, Tom, since it's flatly contradicted by the BoM. The fact that I don't know what all God was up to doesn't mean he was up to nothing.

-------

quote:
[sp] part of it is the difficulty associated with a somewhat life-altering neck injury I suffered recently
Life-altering injuries, family problems, resentments ... I've been there. Thank God that alcohol isn't a temptation for you, because that combo was deadly to me; I've been living in my own personal "leaving Las Vegas" without whats her face
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TomDavidson
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quote:
Have fun with that proposition, Tom, since it's flatly contradicted by the BoM.
Only in broad strokes. There's a lot of free time there that doesn't appear fully booked. [Smile]
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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
quote:
Have fun with that proposition, Tom, since it's flatly contradicted by the BoM.
Only in broad strokes. There's a lot of free time there that doesn't appear fully booked. [Smile]
Booked by mormon or by nephi, no, but the weren't God's travel agents, and this is not his only world.
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threads
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Is it booked anywhere? Why are you sure that God was actively intervening throughout the years if the documentation is so sparse? Can you name any observable properties of his activity such that we could look at a series of modern day events and infer that they are too unlikely to have occurred without divine intervention? I say "modern day" because you believe that God is still actively influencing the world.
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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by threads:
Is it booked anywhere? Why are you sure that God was actively intervening throughout the years if the documentation is so sparse?

Because He said we're not his only world, only his most annoying one. The only one that would kill him. And that synchs with my general observation of this global society.
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Pete at Home
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quote:
Can you name any observable properties of his activity such that we could look at a series of modern day events and infer that they are too unlikely to have occurred without divine intervention?
You mean events on the news, or events that I've personally observed?
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Wayward Son
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quote:
Because He said we're not his only world, only his most annoying one. The only one that would kill him.
That's an interesting notion. What is different about this world as compared to all of God's other worlds?
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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
quote:
Have fun with that proposition, Tom, since it's flatly contradicted by the BoM.
Only in broad strokes. There's a lot of free time there that doesn't appear fully booked. [Smile]
Booked by mormon or by nephi, no, but the weren't God's travel agents, and this is not his only world.
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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by Wayward Son:
quote:
Because He said we're not his only world, only his most annoying one. The only one that would kill him.
That's an interesting notion. What is different about this world as compared to all of God's other worlds?
Most significantly that Jesus lived and died here. The fall probablly also occurred more gently elsewhere than here, as loosly speculated by CS Lewis.
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quote:
Originally posted by threads:
Can you name any observable properties of his activity such that we could look at a series of modern day events and infer that they are too unlikely to have occurred without divine intervention?

Like the Red Socks winning the World Seried? [Smile]
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Wayward Son
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quote:
Most significantly that Jesus lived and died here. The fall probablly also occurred more gently elsewhere than here, as loosly speculated by CS Lewis.
I was more interested in figuring out why Earthlings are significantly different from all of other God's creations on other worlds. Did He do something different here, on Earth, when He created Man versus His creation on other worlds? Or was we just some outliers on the statistical probability of evil and general cussedness of His creation?
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AI Wessex
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"Most significantly that Jesus lived and died here."

If Jesus was a manifestation of the son of God, why couldn't he manifest on every planet?

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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by AI Wessex:
"Most significantly that Jesus lived and died here."

If Jesus was a manifestation of the son of God, why couldn't he manifest on every planet?

I think he did, both as the premortal Jehovah and as the resurrected Savior.
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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by Wayward Son:
quote:
Most significantly that Jesus lived and died here. The fall probablly also occurred more gently elsewhere than here, as loosly speculated by CS Lewis.
I was more interested in figuring out why Earthlings are significantly different from all of other God's creations on other worlds. Did He do something different here, on Earth, when He created Man versus His creation on other worlds? Or was we just some outliers on the statistical probability of evil and general cussedness of His creation?
Self selection. You and I chose the toughest world. We have the greater capacity for good and evil than our brethren on other worlds.
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Wayward Son
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quote:
Self selection. You and I chose the toughest world. We have the greater capacity for good and evil than our brethren on other worlds.
Oh, great. So it was my overinflated ego got me in this mess.

I should have known... [Frown] [Wink]

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I think, in Breivik's mind he was not killing real children. He was killing the children of Labor Party members--not deserving to live. I you hate flies, you will hate maggots too. They were destroying his culture, he thinks.
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quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
quote:
Originally posted by threads:
Is it booked anywhere? Why are you sure that God was actively intervening throughout the years if the documentation is so sparse?

Because He said we're not his only world, only his most annoying one. The only one that would kill him. And that synchs with my general observation of this global society.
A general theme I notice in a lot of your posts on this subject is that you compare events to how compatible they are with Mormonism. That's an error if you don't also consider how compatible they are with other belief systems. For example, Mormonism may very well be compatible with how society is progressing (I wouldn't know) but is there something about how society is progressing that can't be explained by natural causes? Even stronger, is it something that directly contradicts our current knowledge of the natural world? The answers to these questions are critical to the atheist position.
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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by threads:
quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
quote:
Originally posted by threads:
Is it booked anywhere? Why are you sure that God was actively intervening throughout the years if the documentation is so sparse?

Because He said we're not his only world, only his most annoying one. The only one that would kill him. And that synchs with my general observation of this global society.
A general theme I notice in a lot of your posts on this subject is that you compare events to how compatible they are with Mormonism. That's an error if you don't also consider how compatible they are with other belief systems.
Why is that an error, unless I were arguing that particular events are incompatible with atheism, etc? I'm not threatened by atheism and am happy to let God argue his own existence with you.
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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by threads:
For example, Mormonism may very well be compatible with how society is progressing (I wouldn't know) but is there something about how society is progressing that can't be explained by natural causes? Even stronger, is it something that directly contradicts our current knowledge of the natural world? The answers to these questions are critical to the atheist position.

Dude, I can't answer that question, because if empirical evidence of God's existence were to leak out, the FCC would regulate prayer, the PRC would slaughter Christians like Falun Gong ... Y'all would demand empirical evidence that God was benevolent, and freedom of religion would go straight to hell.

No thank you. Please keep doing your part to preserve God's plausible deniability.

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seekingprometheus
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quote:
Life-altering injuries, family problems, resentments ... I've been there. Thank God that alcohol isn't a temptation for you, because that combo was deadly to me; I've been living in my own personal "leaving Las Vegas" without whats her face
Oy. Sorry to hear it. Elizabeth Shue was the only thing about that movie that didn't make me want to kill myself.
quote:
Ah, well saying that the BoM was the product of a 19th century collaboration would be much harder for me to disprove.
It clearly was a collaboration to some degree. According to Smith's account, scribes wrote the text which he dictated. The text is thus a collaboration no matter how you look at it. Personally, I see no reason to assume that the "translation" sessions didn't include contributions from the scribes, though the text seems to me to be characterized by a single authorial voice throughout, albeit with differing styles at different points of the text. I don't personally see any disparity in style sufficiently large to require the assumption of a distinct authorial voice, but wouldn't be too surprised if short segments had a different 19th century author. I certainly presume that the collaborative nature of the effort means that those who worked with Smith on the text contributed to some degree to the content.
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Pete at Home
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Really don't think js composed it. From his sermons I spometimes wonder if he even read it. Don't think that any other LDS prophet quotes less often from the BoM.
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seekingprometheus
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quote:
Really don't think js composed it.
I know you don't. But the question is whether that is based on a critical read that is NOT informed by a confirmation-seeking bias.

Is there sufficient reason for a critically-minded individual, who does not have religious experiences that impact the disposition in determining a conclusion, to determine that the book was not (as it appears) authored in the 19th century?

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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by seekingprometheus:
quote:
Really don't think js composed it.
I know you don't. But the question is whether that is based on a critical read that is NOT informed by a confirmation-seeking bias.
If that's your impression then you should re-read what I said, because most mormons aren't happy when I say stuff like that. Not exactly confirmation bias. And the BYU religion teacher that got me thinking down these lines, Eugene England, I'll bet dollars to donuts that he faced more egregious persecution and isolation from the Latter-Day Pharisees (pseudomormon self-hating intellectuals) than you ever did in the church. (Of course now that he's dead, the Latter-day Sadducees (pseudointellectual self-hating mormons) pretend him to be one of theirs, but he wasn't; he was a faithful LDS who just wasn't ashamed to be an intellectual.
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seekingprometheus
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quote:
If that's your impression then you should re-read what I said, because most mormons aren't happy when I say stuff like that.
Meh. Just a different variation of the "Smith wasn't educated enough to have written it" argument.

Which relies on a peculiar, and flawed assumption: that the fact that it is accepted by millions means that it is either authentic or written by an individual of an unimpeachable level of genius.

To a critical reader not motivated by religious considerations, it doesn't appear to be a work of genius, but a clear hoax--full of anachronisms and blatant plagiarism, a mix of sermons straight out of 19th century Christian revivalism and a fantastical narrative envisioning mesoamericans as only an imaginative but uneducated early 19th century writer could.

I'm not suggesting that a motivated individual can't come up with a very complicated series of arguments to claim that the mountain of evidence suggesting that it was a hoax doesn't definitively prove it was a hoax (impossible to PROVE such a thing beyond a shadow of a doubt--especially if believers can always just reach into the back pocket and claim that some mysterious miracle could have happened to refute contrary evidence)--on the contrary, I'm just saying that there happens to be a mountain of evidence which makes it appear unlikely that it is authentic.

I'm not arguing that Smith presented a coherent position--which I don't think at all--so I don't see any reason to argue with a claim that his other teachings didn't all jibe perfectly with the BoM.

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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by seekingprometheus:
quote:
If that's your impression then you should re-read what I said, because most mormons aren't happy when I say stuff like that.
Meh. Just a different variation of the "Smith wasn't educated enough to have written it" argument.
No, it's not, but if that's how you want to avoid the argument, fine; I'm not trying to drag you kicking and screaming back to the church. [Big Grin]

But misrepresentation, especially on a topic like this, really pisses me off.

quote:
I don't see any reason to argue with a claim that his other teachings didn't all jibe perfectly with the BoM.
NOT what I said, SP [Mad]

I said that JS hardly ever QUOTED the book of mormon in support of his positions. That other LDS prophets do quote the BoM extensively.

That's NOT the same thing as what you attributed to me; I didn't say that JS' teachings didn't jive with the book of mormon.

[ August 10, 2011, 11:22 AM: Message edited by: Pete at Home ]

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MattP
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quote:
I didn't say that JS' teachings didn't jive with the book of mormon.
quote:
From his sermons I spometimes wonder if he even read it. Don't think that any other LDS prophet quotes less often from the BoM.
I think this is what sp is referring to. It wasn't clear that the second sentence was expanding on the first. I also read it as "His teachings weren't always in line with it AND he didn't quote it often."
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Pete at Home
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OK; good faith error. Sorry for getting pissed.

The Bible synchs with the BoM to a greater extent that the different Bible books synch with each other. JS' teachings were in line with the BoM, but he hardly seemed aware of it as a source text; he focused on the NT primarily, the OT secondarily, then the D&C, and the BoM last of all. This doesn't exactly jibe with the image of someone who had authored the book by himself, committed it to memory, and then dictated it to 4 different scribes. He talked *about* the BoM a lot, but didn't use it much for doctrinal support.

[ August 10, 2011, 03:37 PM: Message edited by: Pete at Home ]

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