162 Comments

Introduction to Spalding’s “Manuscript Found” Part 1

I was surprised at the recent burst of activity on my post back in April titled, Debunking the Spaulding Manuscript Theory. One of my commenters (Roger) seem to believe the Spaulding Theory still has merit.  I even had Craig Criddle stop by.   He is a leading proponent of the theory and published a peer-reviewed article at Oxford in support of this theory.  (You need a subscription to read it, but the abstract can be found there.)

Roger took issue Brodie’s characterization that Spaulding’s manuscript was “devoid of religious material”, and made several references to religious writings in this comment.  So, if Roger is right, it seems there should be quite a few religious similarities between this Spaulding manuscript, and the Book of Mormon, right?

As the theory goes, Joseph wasn’t smart enough to write the Book of Mormon by himself.  Sidney Rigdon must have stolen a copy of Spaulding’s manuscript, secreted it away to Joseph Smith somehow, and then Sidney pretended to convert in Dec 1830.  According to the theory, both Rigdon and Spaulding lived in Pittsburgh, PA, so Sidney must have come across the manuscript at a printer’s office.

Spaulding’s manuscript was discovered by Doctor Hurlburt (Doctor is his first name–he is not a “real” doctor) in the home of Spaulding’s widow, Matilda Davison, who gave the manuscript to Hurlburt.  Spaulding died on Oct 20, 1816, so this document was written well before Joseph Smith’s First Vision in 1820.  While there are some very general similarities, according to Brodie on page 144 of her book No Man Knows My History,

Now to his bitter chagrin he found that the long chase had been vain; for while the romance did concern the ancestors of the Indians, its resemblance to the Book of Mormon ended there.  None of the names found in one could be identified in the other;  the many battles which each described showed not the slightest similarity with those of the other, and Spaulding’s prose style, which aped the eighteenth-century British sentimental novelists, differed from the style of the Mormon Bible as much as Pamela, or Virtue Rewarded different from the New Testament.

LL Rice purchased the assets of the Painesville Telegraph in 1839-40.  In 1885 or so, he looked through the assets and discovered Spaulding’s Manuscript.  The manuscript was donated to Oberlin College after being discovered in Hawaii.  You may view the manuscript here.  Due to the obvious differences between the manuscript and the Book of Mormon, proponents of the theory have postulated that Spaulding must have another manuscript which is similar to the Book of Mormon.  Proponents think that perhaps Smith and Rigdon burned the manuscript after completing the Book of Mormon.

So, after hearing Roger talk about how much religion was in the book, I decided that I must read it.  I plan to review the introduction today, and in some future posts, I’ll outline the book, and offer my commentary on it.

Pages 3-11 tell how the document came into the hands of Oberlin College, and has letters to Joseph Smith III (Joseph’s son), who was ordained prophet of the RLDS church on April 6, 1860.  Apparently the RLDS church published the manuscript sometime around 1885.  Some interesting quotes from these pages start on page 5-6.  The document was discovered in Hawaii by Rice who was a friend Fairchild, president of Oberlin College in Ohio.  Many people wanted to claim the manuscript, but they felt it best to offer it to Joseph III, since he is the son of Joseph Smith.  I have underlined some points I find interesting.  Let me quote from pages 5-6,

    “There seems to be no reason to doubt that this is the long-lost story.  Mr. Rice, myself, and others, compared it with the Book of Mormon, and could detect no resemblence between the two, in general or in detail.  There seems to be no name or incident common to the two.  The solemn style of the Book of Mormon, in imitation of the English Scriptures, does not appear in the manuscript.  The only resemblance is in the fact that both profess to set forth the history of the lost tribes.  Some other explanation of the origin of the Book of Mormon must be found, if any explanation is required.”

    Signed, James H. Fairchild.

    From page 7 is another interesting difference between the Book of Mormon and this Oberlin College Manuscript.  This is the second half of a letter written March 28, 1885 from LL Rice to Mr. Joseph Smith III.  Rice bought the assets of the Painesville Telegraph in 1839-40.  President Fairchild of Oberlin College thought there might be some interesting slavery documents in the Telegraph assets.  While searching through the assets, Rice discovered Spaulding’s Manuscript titled, “Manuscript Found.”   Rice states that he unknowingly had the document for over 40 years.  Rice describes the manuscript on page 7.

    This manuscript does not purport to be “a story of the Indians formerly occupying this continent;” but is a history of the wars between the Indians of Ohio and Kentucky, and their progress in civilization, etc.  It is certain that this manuscript is not the origin of the Mormon Bible, whatever some other manuscript may have been.  The only similarity between them, is, in the manner in which each purports to have been found–one in a cave on Conneaut Creek–the other in a hill in Ontario County, New York.  There is no identity of names, of persons, or places; and there is no similarity of style between them. As I told Mr. Deming, I should as soon think the Book of Revelations was written by the author of Don Quixote, as that the write of this Manuscript was the author of the Book of Mormon.  Deming says Spaulding made three copies of “Manuscript Found,” one of which Sidney Rigdon stole from a printing-office in Pittsburg.  You can probably tell better than I can, what ground there is for such an allegation.

    As to this Manuscript, I can not see that it can be of any use to any body, except the Mormons, to show that IT is not the original of the Mormon Bible.  But that would not settle the claim that some other manuscript of Spaulding was the original of it.  I propose to hold it in my own hands for a while, to see if it can not be put to some good use.  Deming and Howe inform me that its existence is exciting great interest in that region.  I am under a tacit, but not a positive pledge to President Fairchild, to deposit it eventually in the Library of Oberlin College.  I shall be free from that pledge, when I see an opportunity to put it to a better use.

    Yours, etc.,

    L.L. Rice

    P.S.–Upon reflection, since writing the foregoing, I am of the opinion that no one who reads this Manuscript will give credit that Solomon Spaulding was in any wise the author of the Book of Mormon.  It is unlikely that any one who wrote so elaborate a work as the Mormon Bible, would spend his time in getting up so shallow a story as this, which at best is but a feebile imitation of the other.  Finally I am more that half convinced that this is his only writing of the sort, and that any pretence that Spaulding was in any sense the author of the other, is a sheer fabrication.  It was easy for anybody who may have seen this, or heard anything of its contents, to get up the story that they were identical.

    L.L.R.

    Another letter is found on page 8 dated May 14, 1885, also addressed to Joseph Smith III.

    My opinion is, from all I have seen and learned, that this is the only writing of Spaulding, and there is no foundation for the statement of Deming and others, that Spaulding made another story, more elaborate, of which several copies were written, one of which Rigdon stole from a printing-office in Pittsburg, etc.  Of course I can not be certain of this, as of the other two points.  One theory is, that Rigdon, or some one else, saw this manuscript, or heard it read, and from the hints it conveyed, got up the other and more elaborate writing on which the Book of Mormon was founded.  Take that for what it is worth.  It don’t seem to me very likely.

    Finally, Rice says on page 10,

    It devolves upon their opponents to show that there are or were other writings of Spalding–since it is evident that the writing is not the original of the Mormon Bible.

    So, that’s the introduction.  In the coming days, I’ll post some excerpts from the book, and you can see how similar/different it is to the Book of Mormon.  What do you think of Rice and Fairchild’s descriptions so far?

    162 comments on “Introduction to Spalding’s “Manuscript Found” Part 1

    1. Dale:

      If you’ll bear with me, I still do not understand what you are using as the denominator to convert the number of significant word string hints into a percentage. Using page 221 as an example, what link shows how you convert the 12 significant word string hits into a percentage>

    2. >If you’ll bear with me, I still do not understand what you are
      >using as the denominator to convert the number of significant word
      >string hints into a percentage. Using page 221 as an example, what
      >link shows how you convert the 12 significant word string hits
      >into a percentage

      I have not yet arrived at that part of my project. Right now I’m still
      working to make a final determination on the criteria for a significant
      word-string. One possibility is to simply use all instances where the
      four same words form a sequence, in both texts. In that case a string
      like “face of the earth” would have the same quantitative weight as
      a string like “and it was then.”

      That would be one way to go. Probably that method will be required,
      in order to meet criticism that I am being too subjective, in mapping
      out shared phraseology in the two texts. But such a “blind” automatic
      method overlooks the obvious situation of very unusual shared strings
      of words in the two texts. So, I think to begin with, I will make use
      of a combination of two methods of selecting “significant” word-strings
      for mapping in the BoM charts. All four-word shared phrases I find will
      be thus located in the BoM text, and mapped in my chart. But I will
      also include some three-word strings that I personally find compelling
      evidence of Spalding’s voice.

      Once all this word-string identification is finished, and highlighted in
      my e-text, I will add the word-string percentage to my vocabulary
      percentage for each page.

      Say an 1830 BoM page has 500 words (after unique proper nouns are
      eliminated). Let’s also say that 460 of those words are shared with
      Spalding’s writings. That would produce a vocabulary overlap of 92%.

      Let’s also say that the total number of words occurring in ten
      significant word-strings on that page amounts to 40. I would add
      those 40 words to the basic vocabulary count to arrive at the total
      number of 500 — which would translate to 100 on the percentage scale.
      In a few unusual instances the percentage will go over 100. It will
      be those pages which I select for even closer scrutiny — for matches
      of grammar, unique proper noun construction, biblical borrowings,
      etc. etc.

      Basically what I want to do is to come up with a quantitative method of
      selecting out the most “Spaldinglike” 1830 BoM pages for additional
      study. There is not much reason to select pages with low correspondence
      with Spalding’s language use — so I am attempting to look at the other
      end of the scale — to discover BoM pages Spalding may have written.

      Hopefully the combination of a high vocabulary overlap, added to a
      relative high occurrence of shared phraseology, will allow me to
      select those “Spaldingish” pages — by at least one quantitative method
      that other researchers can inspect, test and duplicate.

      At least this may offer a beginning, on de-constructing the BoM text
      at the page-by-page level of analysis. If so, perhaps I can move on
      later to some methods of identifying probably Spalding contributions
      on a paragraph-by-paragraph basis.

      Dale R. Broadhurst

    3. Dale:

      This is fascinating, and seems like a good approach to identifying the most likely candidates to examine for contribution by a single aithor. I presume that you are following the same process for Cowdery, Rigdon, etc.

      But if, to use your example, 80 to 90% of the words on the page are coming from words that are not part of the significant word strings, its going to be significant for an outsider to understand your quantitative significance without constructing a control group somehow as well, Obviously, Joseph’s own writings, but figuring out a proper unconnected religiously-oriented control group, too, will be hard.

      I’ll be watching your progress with interest.

    4. >This is fascinating, and seems like a good approach to identifying
      >the most likely candidates to examine for contribution by a single
      >author. I presume that you are following the same process for Cowdery,
      >Rigdon, etc.

      Unfortunately I do not have the software available to me for an automated
      comparison of Rigdon’s writings with the BoM. Perhaps somebody will step
      in and perform that laborious task for me.

      My best guess is that Rigdon’s vocabulary and peculiar phraseology would
      appear in the BoM, most concentrated on those very pages where Spalding’s
      typical use of language is at its lowest concentration. Thus, if we come
      up with a run of pages in, say, 2nd Nephi, where overlap with Spalding’s
      vocabulary is very low, and occurrences of Spalding phrases is also very
      low, THAT is the EXACT place I would expect to see Rigdon’s typical use
      of language to be at its highest in the BoM.

      >But if, to use your example, 80 to 90% of the words on the page are
      >coming from words that are not part of the significant word strings,
      >its going to be significant for an outsider to understand your
      >quantitative significance without constructing a control group somehow
      >as well, Obviously, Joseph’s own writings, but figuring out a proper
      >unconnected religiously-oriented control group, too, will be hard.

      I can only use my tabulation of “best matches with Spalding” as a key
      whereby to single out those 1830 BoM pages where Spalding’s use of
      language is most concentrated — occurs at its highest frequency. That
      much, taken alone, will probably not be very interesting to most BoM
      students. It can only serve as a starting point, from which to identify
      probable Spalding paragraphs in the BoM.

      If I can identify the BoM’s paragraphs which stand closest to Spalding’s
      use of vocabulary and phrases, then perhaps an examination of the story
      themes and plot elements contained in those “Spaldingish” paragraphs will
      be compelling evidence for some students of the authorship controversy.
      In other words, we need to build a coherent argument for Spalding’s
      contribution to the Book of Mormon, based upon how his known fictional
      narrative, dialogue, description, etc. match up with certain parts of
      the Book of Mormon — but not with others. The quantitative methods by
      which those “Spaldingish” paragraphs were identified is material for
      the footnotes of some future thematic comparison.

      It will be months before I can announce to readers that I have identified
      the 100 most “Spaldinglike” paragraphs in the Book of Mormon, so that we
      all can begin to examine their contents, and try to make some sense as
      to how (and why) Spalding contributed that particular text to the BoM.
      Luckily I have the Jockers word-print analysis to back me up in this
      work. However, it would be much more useful if I had his authorship data
      broken down to the page level in the 1830 edition.

      Perhaps, if I can generate enough interest, somebody will eventually
      publish page-level authorship attributions for the 1830 BoM text. Then
      people like myself will be better prepared to respond to the type of
      postings we See in Mormon Heretic’s initial part of this discussion.

      Dale R.Broadhurst

    5. Dale: So the page attributions to Cowdery and or Rigdon on the chart you linked do not come from your research, or are you sayinf you’ve only used the technique for them on the segment of the BofM covered in the chart?

    6. >So the page attributions to Cowdery and or Rigdon on the chart you
      >linked do not come from your research, or are you sayinf you’ve
      >only used the technique for them on the segment of the BofM covered
      >in the chart?

      So far I have color-coded the 1830 texts of Mosiah, Ether and the last half
      of Alma, and am now in the process of transferring that page data to three
      composite charts. The top tier on all these charts is a generalization of
      the Jockers chapter-by-chapter data. The two lower tiers of the composite
      charts represent my page-by-page data for vocabulary and phraseology.

      What I’d like to see is Jockers (or somebody) apply the “non-contextual,”
      “frequently used” word analysis to the page level of the 1830 BoM text,
      (and not just to divisions of the entire text, cut up according to the
      modern LDS chapter breaks).

      The Rigdon-Cowdery-Pratt authorship attribution presently comes ONLY from
      Jockers’ chapter-by-chapter division of the 1830 BoM text (he used the
      old text, but cut it up according to the modern LDS divisions).

      Thus Jockers’ data is the ONLY data I have on hand, to give me any clue
      as to the whereabouts of possible Rigdon/Cowdery/Pratt blocks of text.
      That is an unfortunate circumstance. If I had more detailed language use
      data for those three men (where their use matches blocks of text in the
      BoM, tabulated on a page-by-page basis), THEN I might really be able to
      report some significant textual discoveries.

      But, since I do not have that sort of information available, I’ll make
      use of what I have at hand. Perhaps I can perform some limited testing
      for Rigdon’s language in a few of the BoM textual blocks where evidence
      for Spalding is very low. I’ll have to think about that.

      Dale R. Broadhurst

    7. Ya take a day off from this conversation, and it still goes on like the Energizer Bunny! Wow. I’ve only had 4 posts hit 100 comments, but this post is my quickest to 100 easily. I’m pretty sure it will take over my previous record holder on the Malay Theory (112.)

      Dale, thanks for the additional insight into Jockers study. The gif you posted is too small for me to read on my laptop, and my printer is broken right now. I’ll definitely have to print that out so I can read it better. The numbers are too small for me to make any sense out of it.

    8. >The numbers are too small for me to make any sense out of it.

      Is there some way for me to insert the larger version of the image
      here in my replies?

      I’m not sure how this software makes use of URLs and html code.

      Dale R. Broadhurst

    9. I’m not an html expert, so I’m not aware of any tricks to do that, short of chopping up the picture. It’s no problem–I was planning on buying a new color laser printer, and perhaps this will give me more incentive to do so! (I’m sick of clogged inkjets and the expensive ink anyway.) Anybody know of sales on color laser printers? It seems like they’re as cheap at $300 now, the last time I checked.

    10. Roger, I did not mean to ignore your comments. It seems that my last post hit at the same time as yours, but I did not notice it. Having since gone back to try and catch up on this thread (not an easy task) I noticed your post.

      First let me say that I don’t have to have settled on a theory of my own to disagree with S/R, so the compared to what question can only be answered, “compared to my own line of thinking.”

      I don’t necessarily subscribe to any of your 3 stated theories. If I had to choose one of them though, it would be the Smith alone theory. I just don’t think he could pull something like this off by himself. I think at the least, Cowdery would have been a co-conspirator as well as his father and brother, but if we are talking purely about producing the text and not producing a religion, then I think Smith alone rises to the top.

      Please state again, why you think S/R makes more sense compared to SA (Smith Alone).

      Smith’s mother even stated that Joseph used to keep them entertained with stories of ancient inhabitants of America, and told the stories with so much skill as if he had lived among them.

      This statement would seem to support both the OCV (official church version) and SA, but not S/R.

      BTW – I think your dissection of the 116 missing pages is spot on, but that does not damage the SA theory.

    11. Here’s an excerpt fro some of my recent correspondence of the S/R theory:

      Below is an example of how Spalding’s Roman story phraseology re-appears
      inthe Book of Mormon, in a section of “religious material.” However
      Spalding’s Roman story’s word-strings are used for different purposes in
      the BoM, where they generally are part of direct criticisms of the rich
      and powerful (atheists, apostates, etc.).

      In the Roman story the reader sees two ancient empires on the point of
      disintegration, due to various flaws in human character, particularly
      among the rich and powerful — the proud, ambitious and haughty. However
      Spalding ends his Oberlin manuscript before these social ills could
      be remedied by the institution of any new social order. If Spalding
      meant his Christian Romans to set a good social example, he never got
      around to developing their story, to allow for a good role model.

      I wonder if Spalding’s 1813-14 period, as a house guest of Campbellite
      Hugh Wilson, gave Spalding the idea of an unpaid, self-supporting clergy
      — since that was a major Campbellite tenet, even as far back as the
      1810s. On the other hand, Campbell was not an advocate of “equality
      among all men,”and especially not a promoter of class equality or
      communitarianism, such as is found among the Romans in Spalding’s story
      and the righteous Nephites of Mosiah and Alma’s period.

      Three streams of thought seem to come together here:

      ————> Campbell’s self-supporting clergy
      ————> Evolving Spalding story elements =====> Book of Mormon
      ————> Rigdon’s social/financial equality

      EXAMPLE:

      1830 BoM – Mosiah pp. 211-212:

      there was a strict command throughout all the churches, that there should
      be no persecutions among them; that there should be an equality among all
      men; that they should let no PRIDE nor HAUGHTINESS disturb their peace;
      that every man should esteem his neighbor as himself, laboring with their
      own hands for their support; yea, and all THEIR PRIESTS and teachers
      should labor with their own hands FOR THEIR SUPPORT, in all cases…

      1. There’s no BoM “equality among all men,” (except perhaps among the
      Roman colonists) in Spalding’s feudal mound-builder “empires”

      2a. BoM says: “let no PRIDE nor HAUGHTINESS disturb their peace”

      2b. Roman story: “PRIDE and HAUGHTINESS of a mighty prince was humbled”
      2c. Roman story: “The King of Sciota… His PRIDE, his HAUGHTINESS”

      3a. BoM says: “THEIR PRIESTS and teachers should labor with their own
      hands FOR THEIR SUPPORT…”

      3b. Roman story: “The people shall make contributions… FOR THE SUPPORT
      of THEIR PRIESTS…”

      The 1830 BoM’s Mosiah pp. 211-212 sounds like Sidney Rigdon’s social
      theology, but the passage incorporates some key Spalding phrases. It
      almost seems that Spalding’s story elements are blending into Rigdon’s
      preaching, but with some basic reinterpretations of how those elements
      effect the narrative.

      Oddly enough, the “pride,” “haughtiness,” “priests” and “support”
      word-strings do not show up in my color-coded BoM charting results —
      because they are not at least four consecutive words, written in the
      same order, in both texts. These phraseology parallels occur at at
      “lower level” of exhibition than do the word-strings I’m charting.

      Dale R. Broadhurst

    12. >Here’s an excerpt from some of my recent correspondence of the S/R theory:

      MORE from the same recent e-mail exchange.

      “Did Solomon Spalding write the Alma conversion story in Mosiah?”

      At first thought, such a thing seems impossible, because Alma’s
      missionary work is so typically “Mormon,” and Spalding’s old
      neighbors did not recall his having written such religious text.

      A closer look at the Book of Mosiah provides some surprising
      oddities, however; and possibly the Alma conversion story is
      was a literary creation of Spalding’s, which Sidney Rigdon or
      some other writer later edited and embellished.

      At the beginning of the Alma conversion story we are told that
      an angel appeared in the sky, “and HE DESCENDED as it were
      in a cloud.” The coming of the angel is similar to the story
      of Spalding’s Lobaska — who flies through the sky, and then
      “HE DESCENDED slowly,” to declare revelation from Heaven. At
      the beginning of his Roman story Spalding also has one of his
      characters announce revelation via “A VOICE from on high.”

      Once the BoM angel has descended, he speaks WITH A VOICE…
      WHICH caused the earth to shake. This BoM scene is thus
      similar to one in the Roman story where an emperor speaks
      WITH A VOICE that is heard by his vast assembly of auditors.
      The emperor must have spoken with a particularly loud VOICE,
      for it is heard above the “distant THUNDER.” In the BoM
      story, it is the angel himself whose words are like THUNDER.

      At the opening of the angel visitation, A CLOUD is mentioned;
      At the beginning of the emperor’s address “A dark CLOUD began
      to ARISE AND distant thunder was heard.” In the BoM story the
      angel tells Alma to “ARISE AND stand forth.”

      There are several other, more minor, overlaps of phrases and
      vocabulary in these BoM and Spalding stories — but the above
      examples will serve as an illustration of the more easily
      noticed textual parallels.

      The BoM account and Spalding’s account are not identical.
      They share only vague thematic elements, such as the VOICE
      of a very important being making a THUNDEROUS announcement.
      At they same time, the language within the two accounts is
      close enough to catch the attention of a careful reader,
      as to the vicabulary and phraseology overlap in the stories.

      The overall shared vocabulary with Spalding, on pages 212-13
      of the 1830 BoM’s Mosiah, is about 94% — not the highest
      such instance of vocabulary overlap, but a strong enough
      measurement of language to show that Spalding COULD HAVE
      written the Alma conversion story, using his own words.

      Whether Spalding actually did compose the account is a more
      important question. It remains unanswered — but if he did
      write that part of the Book of Mormon, Spalding likely
      wrote a good deal more of the narrative of the two “Almas.”

      Dale R. Broadhurst

    13. Dale, with this more nuanced Spalding theory where it isn’t really plagiarism, but rather elements of the Oberlin document tied into Rigdon re-working a new manuscript and adding spiritual, Campbellite theology, shouldn’t we find some document from Rigdon incorporating Spalding into a religious treatise that Joseph used? Is this another missing manuscript that was probably destroyed? If so, then it seems to me that this theory relies on many destroyed documents to make it’s case, and I view that as problematic.

      I know Roger makes the case that the reason the translation occurred so quickly was due to the fact that Joseph was plagiarizing from Spalding. Perhaps it was Rigdon’s re-worked Oberlin document in reality that sped up the translation process. Whatever the source of the “plagiarism”, it seems to me that Joseph was open to having others–specifically Oliver Cowdery–assist in translation. Why do you think Sidney needed to resort to a cloak and dagger conspiracy, when it seems he could have easily assisted in the translation just as Oliver had? It seems to me that Rigdon would have had no problem introducing the manuscript at this time, and easily translating from his previously prepared manuscript. It would have ensured his status as a legitimate #2 ahead of Oliver who had trouble translating. It wouldn’t matter if Rigdon’s theology agreed with Campbellite theology. Rigdon and Joseph could explain that Sidney had been inspired all along, and the BoM just reinforces similarities where the Campbellites “got it right.” Certainly the BoM contained portions of theology different to Campbellite theology as well, so the Mormons and Campbellites certainly weren’t in 100% agreement.

      A few other questions Dale, I was wondering if you could clarify your status for me. It seems you have referred to yourself as both LDS and and RLDS. I was just curious–it seems your contacts with Elder Holland and Leonard Arrington are pretty unusual. Also, do you believe in the divinity of Jesus, and have you put substantial effort into Biblical authorship questions as well?

    14. >Dale, with this more nuanced Spalding theory where it isn’t really
      >plagiarism, but rather elements of the Oberlin document tied into
      >Rigdon re-working a new manuscript and adding spiritual, Campbellite
      >theology, shouldn’t we find some document from Rigdon incorporating
      >Spalding into a religious treatise that Joseph used?

      The late Ted Chandler thought he had discovered something like this in
      the 1843 “Times & Seasons” series on the History of Joseph Smith. Ted’s
      URL no longer for that article no longer works, so I reproduced it:

      http://www.solomonspalding.com/bomstudies/fragment.htm
      http://www.solomonspalding.com/bomstudies/fragmnt2.htm

      Of course it was Ted’s idea that Rigdon worked directly from an account
      very similar to Spalding’s Roman story — another possibility is that
      Spalding himself wrote a subsequent text only partly like the badly
      composed Roman story. So there are several possibilities here.

      >Is this another missing manuscript that was probably destroyed? If so,
      >then it seems to me that this theory relies on many destroyed documents
      >to make it’s case, and I view that as problematic.

      I’m not sure. I just don’t think that the Roman story was ever used for
      much of anything — it is an unfinished, unpublishable mess. It could
      have been written in as little as a week or so, and then totally discarded.
      Our problem today is that the Roman story is all that we have to look at,
      when we need to see a lengthy sample of his fiction. It is useful for
      some purposes, but is not at all what I’d really like to have in my hands
      as I try and read the Book of Mormon in light of the Spalding/Rigdon theory.

      >I know Roger makes the case that the reason the translation occurred
      >so quickly was due to the fact that Joseph was plagiarizing from
      >Spalding. Perhaps it was Rigdon’s re-worked Oberlin document in reality
      >that sped up the translation process.

      That’s pretty much the conclusion I’ve reached over the past few months —
      That what Smith received was a re-write of some now lost Spalding story,
      which only resembled the Roman story in a few places. If that is what
      happened, Smith may have not known the original source for the “Nephite
      record,” and may have not been aware of anything like “plagiarizing.” He
      must have been aware that he had no golden plates, however.

      >Whatever the source of the “plagiarism”, it seems to me that Joseph was
      >open to having others–specifically Oliver Cowdery–assist in translation.

      Yes — that is my conclusion — that Smith felt that he was doing something
      important — was working with a true Divine revelation. Perhaps Oliver also
      had the same belief. It is difficult for us today to fathom how such a
      thing could have happened. It is certainly not what I was taught in RLDS
      Sunday School. But then again, there is quite a lot of quasi-biblical
      apocrypha and pseudopigraphia which modern scholars attribute to writers
      who believed they were conveying a Divine revelation, and yet who were
      actually fabricating their supposedly sacred accounts. Looked at in that
      respect, the Book of Mormon is nothing unique — it has its place alongside
      such oddities of the “Book of Jasher” and the several “Books of Enoch.”

      >Why do you think Sidney needed to resort to a cloak and dagger conspiracy,
      >when it seems he could have easily assisted in the translation just as
      >Oliver had?

      I cannot fathom Rigdon’s mind. In 1844 at his excommunication trial he
      was convicted of just such secret “cloak and dagger conspiracy,” with a
      small handful of duped followers at Nauvoo. Several of them went with
      Rigdon back to Pennsylvania, even after his scheme was exposed at his trial.
      Why did Rigdon resort to secret stuff at Nauvoo in 1844, when he might
      just as easily argued against The Twelve on purely legal/procedural ground?
      I cannot understand his mind. It must have worked differently than mine.

      >It seems to me that Rigdon would have had no problem introducing the
      >manuscript at this time, and easily translating from his previously
      >prepared manuscript. It would have ensured his status as a legitimate #2
      >ahead of Oliver who had trouble translating. It wouldn’t matter if
      >Rigdon’s theology agreed with Campbellite theology. Rigdon and Joseph
      >could explain that Sidney had been inspired all along, and the BoM just >reinforces similarities where the Campbellites “got it right.”

      Those are all good points. Between 1832 and 1835 Rigdon produced a series
      of theological articles for the Mormon newspapers. He supposedly also
      wrote the “Lectures on Faith.” He was obviously a capable restoration
      theologian. It seems to me that he could have duplicated 99% of the BoM
      religion in an even lengthier series of written essays — openly and
      without any recourse to Nephites, etc. His only problem would have been
      the Campbellite need to pattern any religious innovations upon scripture.
      Rigdon could not have convinced his followers in the Kirtland area of
      any new additions to their religion without scriptural proof. Eventually
      they evolved to the point that they accepted oral revelations, without
      any need for additional ancient holy books. I wonder why Rigdon did not
      attempt that program as early as 1828-29 — simply issue revelations
      and call them scripture. That is what he ended up doing in his post-Nauvoo
      period. He manufactured holy writ, but did not pass it off as ancient.
      Certainly the BoM contained portions of theology different to Campbellite theology as well, so the Mormons and Campbellites certainly weren’t in 100% agreement.

      >A few other questions Dale, I was wondering if you could clarify your
      >status for me. It seems you have referred to yourself as both LDS and
      >and RLDS. I was just curious–it seems your contacts with Elder Holland
      >and Leonard Arrington are pretty unusual.

      I followed in the wake if RLDS historian F. Mark McKiernan, who was
      using the LDS archives just before I began — and who overlapped me for
      a while in 1978 or so. McKiernan was writing his Rigdon biography and
      was well received by Arrington. I was another RLDS (never LDS) who came
      along at the same time, and I think that Arrington guessed I was another
      scholar of the same conservative type. I was invited to submit an
      application for a research grant to the LDS CEP in 1977. Again, I think
      that McKiernan’s work in the LDS Archives at that time helped me out.

      >Also, do you believe in the divinity of Jesus, and have you put
      >substantial effort into Biblical authorship questions as well?

      I graduated with a degree in Christian theology (for education) in
      1981 — but by that time my views were radical, even for the RLDS. I am
      essentially a restorationist Unitarian with a corporate, adoptionist
      Christology. That is, I look to Jesus as the head of the Body of Christ,
      and view all members of that body as participating in the messiahship,
      in ways great and small. My testimony has always been, that for us to
      encounter Jesus is the same as encountering God. I do not attempt to
      define all of that, as was done in the early Christian creeds, etc. I
      am not a big fan of creeds and systematic theologizing.

      Dale R. Broadhurst

    15. MH:

      I know Roger makes the case that the reason the translation occurred so quickly was due to the fact that Joseph was plagiarizing from Spalding.

      Actually I don’t think Smith was plagiarizing directly from Spalding but rather that Rigdon did while adding a lot of his own material to the text. Some of Spalding’s orginal pages may have been incorporated into the story by Rigdon to save time, but I think the document Smith was working from was not a Spalding original, but rather a Rigdon supplied manuscript that may have contained some Spalding pages.

      Bishop Rick:

      Roger, I did not mean to ignore your comments. It seems that my last post hit at the same time as yours, but I did not notice it. Having since gone back to try and catch up on this thread (not an easy task) I noticed your post.

      No problem. My schedule is hectic this time of year so I may not be able to respond either.

      First let me say that I don’t have to have settled on a theory of my own to disagree with S/R, so the compared to what question can only be answered, “compared to my own line of thinking.”

      Well I suppose no one has to come to any conclusion on anything, but my point is that the Book of Mormon had to have gotten here some way. If someone is going to criticize the S/R theory for how the BOM got here, then I would expect they would, at the same time, be able to defend a different position, answer the same types of criticisms they propose against S/R and explain why their explanation is better. Just seems reasonable to me.

      I don’t necessarily subscribe to any of your 3 stated theories. If I had to choose one of them though, it would be the Smith alone theory. I just don’t think he could pull something like this off by himself. I think at the least, Cowdery would have been a co-conspirator as well as his father and brother, but if we are talking purely about producing the text and not producing a religion, then I think Smith alone rises to the top.

      The question in my mind was whether anyone involved understood that there were no ancient Nephites. I’m not even convinced that Sidney Rigdon didn’t believe that Nephites were real. In my mind Smith is the most likely one of the bunch to have not believed any of it but I think he had the ability to so totally immerse himself in the con that no one around him–at least those who wanted to believe in him–would doubt his sincerity. Of course plenty of apostates did.

      As to producing the text, I don’t think Smith could have done it on his own–at least not in the time frame given–from the time of the loss until the completion. Best as I can tell his dictation was rather slow. I think the whole dictation thing was a ruse. First to convince Martin Harris and later the Whitmers. Possibly Emma too. I think most of the real work was done off-site somewhere. Several people claim it was written inside a cave.

      If you are open to the idea that Cowdery may have been “in on it” then you are truly close to accepting the logic of S/R. I think half the reason most non-LDS critics don’t want to accept S/R is they don’t like the idea of others being in the know… they prefer to defend the idea that it was only Joseph who did the conning and everyone else was duped.

      Please state again, why you think S/R makes more sense compared to SA (Smith Alone).

      Well that’s a long explanation. In short, if you start looking at the evidence from a S/R perspective, in my opinion, it explains what we know better than any of the other two (main) explanations. This is why I prefer to consider the pros and cons of each explanation side by side. Another reason is that the S/R explanation was the first widely accepted non-LDS explanation for the BOM. In other words, nearly all of the earliest critics of the BOM (many of whom knew Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon) believed that a Spalding ms was used in the production of the BOM. Think about that. Most LDS critics aren’t even aware of that.

      Smith’s mother even stated that Joseph used to keep them entertained with stories of ancient inhabitants of America, and told the stories with so much skill as if he had lived among them.

      This statement would seem to support both the OCV (official church version) and SA, but not S/R.

      Alright, let’s consider this in light of all three major explanations…

      Official version: Smith obviously knows about Nephites before the BOM because he’s getting nightly instructions from Moroni.

      Smith Alone: Smith knows details about Nephites because he’s making it up off the top of his head years before he starts to write the BOM.

      S/R: Smith knows details about Nephites because he’s been exposed to a Spalding ms.

      The timing of the nightly recitals is questionable. Lucy Mack reports this years later but she may have been embellishing the facts a bit herself.

      In any event, each theory interprets the same data differently. In my view, it makes sense that Smith starts reciting details about Nephites because he’s been exposed to a Spalding ms. So, yes, in my mind this statement supports S/R although I am not sure about the timing.

      BTW – I think your dissection of the 116 missing pages is spot on, but that does not damage the SA theory.

      I agree. But I think there are factors that do damage the SA theory. For example I am reading American Aprocrapha right now and there is an essay by Mr. Wright (forgot his first name) but he meticulously shows overwhelming evidence that the Isaiah chapters in the BOM were taken from the English KJV rather than from an underlying Hebrew to reformed Egyptian text. I heartily agree. But, given his acceptance of SA (as most scholars do), he comes to the only conclusion allowable… that Joseph himself did the plagiarizing! I think there is a better explanation. I think Rigdon is likely responsible for most of the Isaiah plagiarism. Rigdon was a minister. Whoever revised the Isaiah chapters was highly skeptical of the italic words in the KJV. Wright shows solid evidence that italic words were often changed when there was no reason to, and even worse, he shows examples of where the changes actually did damage to the text. To me, it makes more sense that Rigdon would have been concerned about changing italic words to allegedly reproduce the “purity” of the text (from the corrupted King James) than Smith. Smith was more interested in locating buried treasure with his seer stone at this point in his life.

      But the underlying problem here is that SA advocates are willing to allow for plagiarism at all! Plagiarism does not harmonize with the eyewitness accounts. They all claim Smith dictated every word. This is what SA advocates like Vogel, Metcalf, Brodie, etc. believe. Joseph dictacted it all. But that does not work with the plagiarized sections unless Joseph had an amazing memory.

      Now he MAY have. There is evidence that he in fact did memorize pages out of books in an effort to convince people he could see the book in his seer stone. So he may indeed have had an almost superhuman memory. But this works in favor of either S/A or S/R. If Smith was memorizing from the Bible, he could have easily also memorized from a Spalding ms.

      Therefore, I suggest if SA advocates are willing to allow for the notion of plagiarism of anything in the BOM, then they need to explain why they will not allow for the one case, of plagiarism (Spalding/Rigdon/Smith) that the majority of the earliest critics flatly stated as fact.

    16. A few questions:

      What portion of the BoM was translated behind a cloth?
      Was the head-in-hat portion also done behind a cloth?
      Were the plates present during the head-in-hat portion?
      Was a Bible present?

      If the work was done behind a cloth (due to the plates being there) then there would be no need for memorization.

    17. >The timing of the nightly recitals is questionable. Lucy Mack reports this
      >years later but she may have been embellishing the facts a bit herself.

      I think it is entirely possible that Joseph was providing his family with
      oral excerpts from the “Nephite record” even before Alvin died. Here is one
      recollection from the Bainbridge, NY area:

      >He [Joseph Smith] went into Pennsylvania [Harmony?, Erie?, Pittsburgh?]
      >and afterward returned to Broome County, New York, where he was again
      >arrested and came near being treated to a coat of tar and feathers. While
      >there he was in possession of “Manuscript Found,” or some part of it.
      >This was in the year 1826 or 1827, and before he had met Sidney Rigdon.

      Of course Smith did not “meet” Rigdon openly until the end of 1830. But
      if the S/R explanations are correct, Smith was with Rigdon in 1826 and
      obtained access to something like the “Manuscript Found” at that time,
      if not earlier (before Alvin’s death?)

      The 1881 McMaster article continues:

      >He professed finally to have received his Bible from the angels,
      >communicated to him while in the tops of trees, for the purpose of
      >receiving it.

      Compare this to Smith’s later rendition of his first vision, where
      one or two Divine personages descend down past the tree tops.

      >He read it repeatedly to many in that section; and often in the family
      >of Reuben Bridgman, one of whose sons followed him west, having put
      >money into Smith’s hands which he was never able afterward to recover.
      >That he had seen Spaulding’s manuscript before his work in Chenango
      >County was finished, is evident from the fact; that the words Nephi
      >and Mormon were well known then.

      http://www.sidneyrigdon.com/dbroadhu/IL/mischig.htm#071681

      This recollection is independent of that supplied by Lucy Mack Smith —
      and yet it also reports that, well before the “translation” of the BoM,
      Smith was reciting some of its contents to his intimate associates.

      Although McMaster reports that Smith “read it repeatedly,” the actual
      events recalled more than 50 years later, might have involved Smith
      reading from the “Nephite record” once and then reciting “repeatedly”
      those parts which most interested him — perhaps accounts of people
      riding about on elephants in the now lost “Book of Lehi.”

      Dale R. Broadhurst

    18. >What portion of the BoM was translated behind a cloth?

      I think only the first part (“Book of Lehi”) when Martin Harris was the
      scribe. What I think actually happened was that Joseph sat on the stairs
      to the upper part of the house at Harmony, while Martin sat at a table
      in the living room below. Maybe on a couple of the colder days a fire
      was needed in the fireplace, and Joseph came closer to Martin, with a
      sheet hung up between the two of them, near the fire-place. The nails
      from which the sheet-line was hung were reportedly still in the house’s
      downstairs walls many years later.

      >Was the head-in-hat portion also done behind a cloth?

      I don’t think so. My impression is that Joseph pretended to be using the
      magical urim & thummim when Martin was the scribe — and that Martin was
      told that if he saw such holy things it would be bad for him. Thus, I
      doubt that Martin ever saw any urim & thummim. At some point, however,
      Martin did see Smith using a peepstone in a hat for “translating.”
      Martin even related that he exchanged a common rock for the peepstone
      and that act halted Smith’s translation ability for a while. Thus, while
      I suppose Martin was told that Smith had the urim & thummim, all Martin
      ever saw with his physical eyes was a peepstone, placed in a hat.

      >Were the plates present during the head-in-hat portion?

      Perhaps under a pillow-case covering. That is, something was under the
      cloth, which Emma and others believed was a stack of plates. But at a
      very early time, at Harmony, the “plates” were no longer used. I think
      that Smith started out with the ruse of telling people that he needed
      the plates and he needed the urim & thummim — to play the role of
      king Mosiah in a magical, latter day version of “translating.” But that
      ruse did not work well, and during the “Book of Lehi” period of the
      translating project, both the plates and the u&t were discarded, and
      Smith reverted to his old head-in-a-hat money-digger “seer” routine.

      >Was a Bible present?

      Probably. In Ohio Rigdon would have had a Bible — perhaps even some
      transcripts from the Book of Jasher, excerpts from Clark’s Commentary,
      the writings of Josephus, etc.

      Smith, at Harmony and at Fayette, would have had little use for a
      Bible, if Rigdon had already prepared a text for Smith. Nobody in those
      places recalled Smith using a Bible — but it is difficult to believe
      that it was he who recalled all of the italicized words requiring changes
      by simply consulting his supposed photographic memory. While I suppose
      that Smith sometimes did dictate purely from memory, I do not believe
      that he supplemented that dictation process by pulling out a Bible and
      reading from it to his scribe. Had he done that, he might have just
      called out the italicized KJV words as printed. But that was not the case.

      >If the work was done behind a cloth (due to the plates being there) then
      >there would be no need for memorization.

      I think there was very little use of the curtain — it was probably only
      used for a few days when Martin was the scribe.

      Dale R. Broadhurst

    19. Dale, I checked out your first link comparing Sidney’s writings to the Oberlin document, and the first thing that struck me was how similar the First Vision account is. Then I read the second weblink which implies that Sidney wrote that too? For some reason I thought it was written by William Clayton or WW Phelps. I noticed many phrases common to all three, and I wonder how similar a group of people’s vocabulary is. For example, it is common for many Mormons to bear testimony “with every fiber of my being”, or “without a shadow of doubt”, or “I exhort you.” Similarities of vocabulary are common to groups of people, and I wonder how many of these phrases crept into the common Mormon vocabulary. It causes me to question these wordprints, and I certainly need to look into them in more detail.

      Roger, thanks for the clarification–I didn’t mean to mischaracterize your position, and appreciate your update. Bishop Rick, those were great questions, and Dale thanks for answering them. Dale, I know you’re not overly impressed with Grant Palmer’s research, but Grant does make the claim that he felt Joseph had a near photographic memory. Joseph frequently spoke with Biblical phrases, so doesn’t it seem possible that he could have borrowed phrases from other speakers, including Rigdon, Phelps, Cowdery, and others. I just wonder how much of the common vocabulary we can really attribute to Spalding, when the common vocabulary was shared throughout Mormonism. Certainly, others quoted from Smith and picked up his common phraseology, as well as vice-versa.

      Dale, thanks also for letting me know your background. I’ve asked Roger previously about his opinion regarding the Bible, and I’m also curious about your position. I don’t know if you saw my post asking if Moses Plagiarized Hammurabi. I expect you’re aware of the Documentary Hypothesis, as well as Source Q for the New Testament (I need to post on that sometime). These theories seem to imply that it is likely that Biblical authors plagiarized from a myriad of sources as well. John Dominic Crossan of The Jesus Seminar believes that many quotes attributed to Jesus were never said by Jesus. Some believe Jesus wasn’t really resurrected, but was just a great teacher who never intended to establish a new religion. I just wonder (1) how much weight you give to Biblical plagiarism claims, (2) if you believe Jesus truly paid for our sins and was resurrected, or was merely a great teacher.

    20. >These theories seem to imply that it is likely that Biblical authors
      >plagiarized from a myriad of sources as well. John Dominic Crossan of
      >The Jesus Seminar believes that many quotes attributed to Jesus were
      >never said by Jesus.

      That would be an acceptable conclusion for many Reorganized LDS, who
      have long maintained that the “Great and Abominable Church” has altered
      some “plain and precious” parts of the scriptures. The notion that such
      tampering could extend back even as far as the first transcription of
      oral traditions, would sound a bit strange to RLDS ears — but many of
      us would be open to hearing more of such explanations. Skepticism as
      to the correctness of the biblical text is part of our tradition.

      If we look at the Gospels of Matthew and Luke, alongside of the Coptic
      Gospel of Thomas, we can see how an oral tradition of the sayings of
      Jesus (“Q”) has been handled differently in the texts. Mark and John
      practically ignore the sayings of Jesus, while Matthew and Luke present
      them differently from Thomas. I suppose that Matthew and Luke are usually
      more reliable, and that Thomas has adapted the Jesus sayings for a
      gnostic audience. In this case, perhaps, we can equate Thomas with the
      “G&A Church;” but that does not mean that Matthew and Luke always give
      us a better reading of the original oral tradition. I trust Mark a bit
      more than Matthew and Luke — and agree that their gospels may include
      words attributed to Jesus, which actually came from his Apostles.

      >Some believe Jesus wasn’t really resurrected, but was just a great
      >teacher who never intended to establish a new religion.

      I suppose he must have realized that he was re-defining the Covenant
      to such an extent that it becomes a “new covenant” for his disciples. In
      that sense, at least, I suppose he knew he was radically changing the
      Judaism of the late second temple period. Also, his disciples easily
      accepted Gentiles into their midst — so I think that Jesus set the
      stage for that great transformation of Judaism as well. He must have
      known that future generations in “The Kingdom of Heaven” would be
      something different from the Jews of his day.

      >I just wonder (1) how much weight you give to Biblical plagiarism
      >claims, (2) if you believe Jesus truly paid for our sins and was
      >resurrected, or was merely a great teacher.

      I suppose that quite a substantial amount of the material in our Bibles
      came from unidentified sources, including Ancient Near Eastern literature
      and other extra-Israelite sources. That doesn’t bother me much.

      As for Jesus’ resurrection, I do not know how it occurred, and do not
      care much. What I think is important is that his disciples interacted
      with him after the crucifixion. No matter what the details of that event
      may have been, the most important part is that his relationship with
      the disciples did not die out — it grew and expanded into millions of
      people over the centuries.

      I do not profess a universal vicarious atonement. For a few months I
      served an internship as a student pastor with an American Baptist
      Conference congregation in Ohio. I recall that they were totally into
      the notion that they were washed clean in the spilt blood of Jesus —
      and that had he died by some other means, without the flow of blood,
      that they would all be condemned to endless hellish torture and burning.
      Although I understand the history of bloody sacrifices in Israelite
      religion, I do not support the precept that the spilling of blood is
      necessary to keep our souls from an everlasting hell. It simply isn’t
      part of my Christology.

      As for Jesus being a great teacher, probably 99% of what he taught to
      his disciples was also being taught by other Jewish teachers of his day.
      I think that his personal role modeling and interactions with his
      disciples was far more important than “teachings” as we generally
      understand them from reading the Christian Bible. I’m more interested
      in the core teachings of Jesus — his version of the “Good News,” which
      I doubt very much was simply the later “Apostles Creed.”

      I said earlier, that to encounter Jesus is to encounter God. I meant
      that precisely as I said it. To stand in the presence of Almighty God
      is an awesome experience — like nothing else in our lives. I would have
      been awe-struck just to have listened to Moses, while the glory of God
      was yet illuminating his countenance. Multiply that level of revelation
      by infinity, and I think we then just begin to describe the incarnation
      within the person of Jesus. I, for one, am not inclined to debate the
      fine details of how that incarnation occurred. All I know is that it
      was a unique manifestation and marks the “meridian of time” for us RLDS.

      Dale R. Broadhurst

    21. >American Baptist Conference congregation in Ohio.

      “American Baptist Convention,” actually. In 1980-81 I was a student pastor
      at the University Baptist Church in Columbus, Ohio. Probably the only
      Latter Day Saint ever accepted into the baptizing-marrying-burying duties
      of a Baptist elder. It was an interesting experience.

      Dale R. Broadhurst

    22. Dale:

      I’m curious as to why you refer to yourself so regularly as RLDS and seldom or ever as Community of Christ. Are you just using shorthand, or is there some distinction you make between the 2 concepts?

    23. Dale, are you comfortable with calling the Book of Mormon, “inspired fiction”? Is the Bible “inspired fiction” as well?

    24. >I’m curious as to why you refer to yourself so regularly as RLDS and
      >seldom or ever as Community of Christ.

      I had my name removed from the CoC membership rolls a few years back. My
      spiritual heritage is Reorganized Latter Day Saint. Like many others, I
      disapproved of the name change and the drift towards creedal trinitarian
      religion. I’ve always been a restorationist — will die a restorationist.
      That much said, there are probably some fundamentalist RLDS restoration
      branches which would not accept me as a member, due to my Jewish wife, etc.

      >Are you just using shorthand, or is there some distinction you make between
      >the 2 concepts?

      Perhaps this web-page will help clarify matters:
      http://sidneyrigdon.com/DRB/RESTOR/restore2.htm

      Dale R. Broadhurst

    25. >Dale, are you comfortable with calling the Book of Mormon,
      >”inspired fiction”? Is the Bible “inspired fiction” as well?

      I don’t think that it is my role in life to make such judgments. I have for
      years worshiped alongside Saints who accept both books as literally true,
      in every sense of the word. While that is not my personal profession, I am
      not about to criticize fellow Jesus-followers for their scripture belief.

      I have too many differences with the BoM, for me to call it “inspired.” If
      we remove the Isaiah passages, I’m comfortable with reading the remainder
      of the volume as fiction (rather poorly written fiction, I think).

      On the other hand, if I take a very broad view of sacred history, I must
      admit that the Latter Day Saints probably never would have come together
      without the Book of Mormon and Book of Commandments (D&C). Since I
      accept the Saints as part of what we call “God’s plan of salvation,”
      I probably must also accept at least the end results of the BoM and the
      Smith “revelations.” I do not pretend to explain how all of that works.

      I do not read the BoM as inspired myth — but I do discern inspired myth
      in some parts of the Bible. If you take the trouble to really study the
      phenomenon of mythology, you’ll come to see that myth can often convey
      truths which simple history or simple theological instruction cannot.

      Take the books “Pilgrim’s Progress” and “Paradise Lost,” for example.
      Even though they are Christian myth, they still convey important truths
      of the human relationship to God.I view parts of the Bible in the same
      way. Take parables, for example — do all the characters mentioned in a
      parable have to be true historical personages, in order for the message
      of that parable to be true and spiritually impactful? I would say “no.”
      The characters in the parable of the prodigal son may be entirely
      non-historical — that does not matter, the message of forgiveness, and
      of Divine fatherly acceptance is the important part of the text.

      Dale R. Broadhurst

    26. Dale, I know we’ve drifted off topic, but I thank you for your answers. I know many would view your statement as paradoxical: “It has been suggested — by no less learned authority than myself, by the bye — that dissident Latter Day Saints have a responsibility to remain within Mormonism, or within the Reorganization, or within Community of Christ, and there work for the common good. “

      I’ve heard Jewish rabbis say the same thing with regard to Judaism. It really seems odd that one would advocate a position to stay within the faith despite beliefs contrary to the teachings. I’m not sure I understand why you would choose to stay despite your disbelief, and I’m sure others question that as well. (Thanks for allowing me to sidetrack the issue for a moment.)

    27. >why you would choose to stay

      Had God seen fit to have me born among the Amish, I’d probably remain
      Amish, despite some disagreements over doctrine. And if ten generations
      of my ancestors had been Amish before me, I’d definitely remain. But I
      was born among the Restorationists — they are my people, even if we
      occasionally disagree. My Jewish wife could walk out into the street
      and yell at the top of her voice: “I renounce Judaism totally!” She
      would still be Jewish — it is her ethnicity. My ethnicity is Latter
      Day Saint. There is no way I can walk away from all of that. Plus I
      have the added advantage of the current “Restoration branch movement”
      which is congregational in nature. Somewhere there is most certainly
      an RLDS restoration branch that would accept me as I am. That’s good.

      Dale R. Broadhurst

    28. Dale, you mention that Jesus’ disciples easily accepted gentiles into the fold. I have to disagree with you on that one.
      It was clearly Paul (not a disciple) that bullied that transition. The original disciples reluctantly accepted them. Remember the standoff about whether gentiles should be circumcised. This was all about them converting to Judaism, not Christianity.

    29. Dale:

      I myself think it is meaningless to use Community of Christ to mean anything less than a planetary civilization, so I understand where you’re coming from on that point.

    30. >Dale, you mention that Jesus’ disciples easily accepted gentiles
      >into the fold. I have to disagree with you on that one.
      >It was clearly Paul (not a disciple) that bullied that transition.
      >The original disciples reluctantly accepted them. Remember the standoff
      >about whether gentiles should be circumcised. This was all about them
      >converting to Judaism, not Christianity.

      I think that Jesus was heavily influenced by Second Isaiah — and with
      the tenet that one day all the nations would come to Jerusalem — to
      Judaism in its fulness, as the Kingdom of God. I think that the disciples
      of Jesus were also ready for this millennial reign. The Jews were meant
      to be a “light unto the Gentiles,” and I think that Jesus’ disciples had
      that idea in mind. They obviously were not interested in Saul’s version
      of the religion, and I suppose that apostles such as Peter only slowly
      and reluctantly admitted Gentiles without some initial signs of conversion.

      But I am not speaking of the immediate aftermath of Jesus’ death — I am
      speaking of a process that began with Jesus and continued to expand outward
      into the non-Jewish world. I think Jesus realized that would happen. Again,
      go back to Isaiah, where I think Jesus found his role model.

      Dale R. Broadhurst

    31. >I myself think it is meaningless to use Community of Christ to mean
      >anything less than a planetary civilization, so I understand where
      >you’re coming from on that point.

      I would not mind going back to some pre-Pauline nomenclature — such as
      “The Poor,” or “The Way,” or “The Nazarenes.” Even “The Covenant People”
      would be fine with me. But Latter Day Saints are so tied to the Book of
      Mormon, that they can only envision a “church” with the “name” of its
      founder. I am not convinced that Jesus ever founded any new “church,”
      in the sense of the term commonly accepted by the Latter Day Saints.

      That much said, I can also live with the church name “RLDS.” It is not
      my favorite descriptor, but at least people know what it means, and what
      it once stood for.

      Today’s CoC leaders seem poised on the brink of creedal trinitarianism:
      Not doubt Tony Chvala-Smith would be happy to inflict the Presbyterian
      Westminster Confession upon the members as a test of faith, along with
      triangle-stamped communion wafers.

      “Restorationism” has become a foreign word in that “community,” and
      perhaps even an unwelcome word, equated with Smithite fundamentalism.
      My hope is that the CoC leadership will eventually collapse, and the
      entire RLDS movement will evolve into a congregational polity, with
      no office higher than elder. Call me a Whitmerite, I guess.

      Dale R. Broadhurst

    32. Dale, I wish you had been available with I did my interview with the Community of Christ. John Hamer made it sound like “creedal trinitarianism” has been a big part of RLDS history. Is that not the case?

    33. >John Hamer made it sound like “creedal trinitarianism” has been a
      >big part of RLDS history. Is that not the case?

      We started out with the Book of Mormon and 1835 D&C, wherein there is but
      One God — who apart from us is called The Father, and who with us is
      called The Son. The Holy Spirit not being a “person” at all. This is a
      type of modalistic Christology, but it can also be expressed as a type
      of Unitarianism. That is my profession — I believe it is pre-apostolic.

      Somehow the RLDS of the late 20th century drifted towards trinitarian
      beliefs: too much graduate instruction from Protestant seminaries, I’d
      guess. Creeds will naturally follow. They are already being promoted
      by the CoC Theologian-in-residence, as a means by which to make CoC
      more recognizably “Christian.”

      Perhaps Bro. Hamer was born in the last 30-40 years and is unaware of
      our previous theological development.

      Dale R. Broadhurst

    34. >Roger took issue Brodie’s characterization that Spaulding’s manuscript
      >was “devoid of religious material”, and made several references to
      >religious writings in this comment. So, if Roger is right, it seems
      >there should be quite a few religious similarities between this
      >Spaulding manuscript, and the Book of Mormon, right?

      Here is where the task of making comparisons gets tricky. A writer may
      produce two works of fiction, both covering the general topic of religion,
      and yet not use the same vocabulary and phraseology in the two texts.

      In his Roman story Spalding gives only brief attention to the first
      planting of Christianity in preColumbian America. Because he says so
      little about this story theme, we do not have much textual matter to
      compare with the Book of Mormon’s depiction of ancient Christianity.
      Thus, Roger’s correction of Brodie’s reporting does not automatically
      lead us to locating examples of textual correspendence in the BoM and
      Spalding’s known fictional writings.

      There is, however, attached to the Roman story a three-page draft letter
      in Spalding’s handwriting which gives his personal views on Christianity,
      which are not very supportive. By the time he wrote that latter (1814?)
      Spalding had lost any earlier Chrustian profession he had among the New
      England Congregationalists and New York Presbyterians. So, again, the
      text does not supply us with much material for comparison with the BoM.

      There is one possibility remaining, wherein we might hope to locate
      “quite a few religious similarities between this Spalding manuscript and
      the Book of Mormon;” and that possibility lies in his non-Christian
      religious depictions. These fall into two sections:

      1. The “Deliwan” Indians, whom Spalding describes early in his story.

      2. The mound-builder “Ohian” people, whom he next describes, and whose
      society’s story comprises the remainder of Spalding’s fictional account.

      The reason I say “possibility,” is that the reader of the Roman story
      must look beyond the surface appearance of Spalding’s non-Christian
      religious depictions, in order to perceive that he is actually writing
      a satire/critique of Christianity and Christians in these descriptions.

      If the reader can recognize this fact, in reading Spalding’s story, then
      he will more easily begin to make comparisons with the BoM’s religious
      passages. Since Spalding fabricates mound-builder scriptures, to quote
      from in his story, the reader can place these fictional excerpts along
      the side of actual quotations from the BoM for comparison.

      While doing this, I think it is important that the investigator keep in
      mind that Spalding was both being critical of religion’s content and
      also demonstrating its effectiveness in controlling/structuring human
      society. At the same time Spalding is offering satirical criticism of
      religion, he is admitting that it contains useful teachings/practices.

      We can start such a comparison by examining shared word-strings in the
      two texts, and examining how they are used for similar purposes. We
      could begin by looking at the Divine names in both texts, for example.
      The only name shared by the two sources is “Jesus Christ,” but titles
      of descriptors for the biblical God also occur throughout Spalding’s
      Roman story. He had obviously heard of the “Great Spirit” which writers
      of his own day attributed to American Indian religion — and he makes
      use of some version of that Divine title all through his Roman story.

      The obvious “match” with the Book of Mormon text is found in the story
      of Ammon and king Lamoni in LDS BoM Alma 18.

      An entire Master’s thesis might be constructed, just in following up on
      Roger’s assertion — of the many pages of Spalding “religious” matter
      that Fawn Brodie missed seeing.

      Dale R. Broadhurst

    35. The references to individuals in the Community of Christ probably need some clarification for this largely LDS audience, and certainly their roles in the church do.

      John Hamer has been in these pages, and posts regularly on By Common Consent. As the outgoing president of the John Whitmer Historical Association, he is certainly one of the experts on the early beliefs of most branches of the Restoration.

      The influence of Tony Chavala-Smith on the theology of the church seems highly overstated. The Community of Christ had one theologian on staff at HQ for many years; that can’t even be supported now, and Tony’s salary is split with Graceland University.

      If you want to attribute the theology of the Community of Christ over the past generation, it would be fair to attribute some of that to teaching of protestant theologians, but only if you recognize that the impetus to do that came from the existing Presidency and Twelve at the time. Church ministerial employees are now trained in the Graceland University’s Community of Christ Seminary. A third of the current faculty list are members of the 12, one is the wife of a former member of the twelve, another is a former Presiding Evangelist, etc.

      The leadership of today’s church is embracing its theology — whether you regard it as right or wrong — collectively.

      I certainly do not share Dale’s “hope” for the collapse of the Community of Christ leadership. Since I do believe in the historicity of the Book of Mormon (unlike Dale or, for that matter, John Hamer) and won’t be seeking a temple recommend any time soon, I look on the decline of my church with great sorrow. But the mathematics of the decline of the infrastructure in North America seem pretty inexorable now.

    36. >I look on the decline of my church with great sorrow. But the
      >mathematics of the decline of the infrastructure in North America seem
      >pretty inexorable now.

      I look upon it in just the opposite way — as a chance for God’s Spirit
      to break through what has been a Sudducean leadership, and take us back
      to where we went wrong in 1860.

      My own ancestral family (the Winegars of SW Iowa) were in a congregation
      that for 13 years belonged to no faction. Finally they united with the
      Reorganization — reluctantly and slowly. This was the Wheeler’s Grove
      Branch, (which became the church home of Q12 President Briggs after his
      break with the Church) —
      http://iagenweb.org/pottawattamie/hist-RLDS-wheelersgrove.htm

      Elder Briggs came to the conclusion that the Church had taken some
      wrong turns at an early date — such as denying Smith’s polygamy and
      insisting upon a Smith Presidency succession. If my information is
      correct, he also abandoned the tenet of ordained apostles and high
      priests. But he did not force his beliefs upon the branch, and it
      remained within the Reorganization.

      I’m happy to go a few steps beyond Briggs, and look for a return to
      what we had in 1859 — before Amboy and before JSIII. I believe that
      God could better work through a new start, without a “Prophet” at
      the head of the movement. We once grew from a small start, and we can
      do the same again, if it is God’s will.

      But, no matter what I might say, the membership and conversion numbers
      are heading in that direction anyway. The day will come when Restoration
      branch membership will outnumber CoC membership in North America. And
      that is perfectly fine with me.

      Dale R. Broadhurst

    37. >The influence of Tony Chavala-Smith on the theology of the church
      >seems highly overstated.

      I tried to post a lengthy reply, but it has yet to appear here.
      Tony is a symptom of what has happened — not the cause.

      Dale R. Broadhurst

    38. I’ll await your lengthy reply, but “symptom” I can probably go with.

      MH:

      I apologize if this has become a complete threadjack.

    39. Dale, thanks for the “heads up”. I just released the comment. I’m not sure why it didn’t show up. (I found another comment of yours about Fairchild from 10/24 that I released.)

      FireTag, no need to apologize. I’m the one who threadjacked this,and I’m enjoying this perspective. I just wish Dale had showed up a few months ago when I did my “interview”. (That has been one of my most popular posts this year.)

    40. Dale, I find your perspective on Jesus and the Gentiles interesting. I agree that your suppositions line up with what we know about Jesus, but there is no scriptural backing to support it. Isaiah doesn’t quite fit that bill. Is this your opinion or do you have some non-canon scripture that leads you in this direction?

    41. “The day will come when Restoration branch membership will outnumber CoC membership in North America.”

      That, unfortunately, is condemming the Restoration Branch movement with faint praise. 😀 I can project what happens to CofChrist membership all too well, but Restoration Branches don’t assemble their membership data, I suppose, so I can’t analyze it. (We have BRANCHES that grow spectacularly, but I think the institution seeks its future abroad.)

      I’ve said the following in a paper I delivered in Independence several years ago:

      “What then is to be the role of church institutions in this future that we cannot institutionally control? I would suggest that it is first and foremost to help God create prophetic people who increasingly sense Christ’s touch and guidance directly, and can therefore be a key means by which He controls and directs the evolution of society in the 21st Century. The church fulfills that role primarily through disciplines of spiritual development and worship, Christian education, theological interpretation, and support and celebration…But there will be no assumption that the primary function of church organizations is to identify and lead such actions, nor one that individual members should place personal missions secondary to institutional concerns.

      “Just as important as creating prophetic people – and perhaps a lot harder objective to live up to – will be lovingly surrendering those prophetic people, and the resources they hold, from our administrative control to the control of the Holy Spirit. The decentralization in the Community of Christ that has been occurring for some time now down to the local level has been painful enough for those whose sense of relationship with Christ has been entwined with their roles in, and sacrifices to fulfill, church leadership requirements. Decentralization below the congregational level will expose many more dedicated local leaders to this same pain and struggle for a new identity as individual ministers instead of primarily agents of church institutional ministry. Nevertheless, I am convinced that if we are to override the decline in North America and preserve our church as a tool for God’s use, the data points to this course of action.

      “Indeed, one reason I have no qualms about recommending this prescription is that the continuing decline of membership and the deterioration of organizational infrastructure would lead to a similar outcome in any event. More and more of us would find ourselves being the only Community of Christ resource that was present – like it or not, prepared or not. We seem unable to avoid a time of increasing ministerial autonomy for the individual Christian. We can still embrace it in hope and faith and prepare for it.

      “Yet I don’t propose this seeing of the individual Christian as the primary actor within the church organization simply as a clever trick to preserve the church. Rather, we live now in a world community that is increasingly complex, in which there are many more powerful, independent agents, and in which all types of change grow in both magnitude and speed. In such a world, the ability to deliver prophetic people into the specific places in the community where God can best use them may come to be seen as even more critical to the world than it is to the church. Indeed, we may discover that this need for individual prophets in daily life is part of what God foresaw when He attached this “tail” of a religious denomination to the “dog” of His worldwide community in the first place.”

      So, in some ways, Dale, I’m even farther toward decentralization than you are.

    42. >So, in some ways, Dale, I’m even farther toward decentralization
      >than you are.

      Perhaps so. At least we both are looking at the same phenomenon and trying
      to comprehend God’s perspective on the situation. I have total optimism
      that God will indeed make good use of a “righteous remnant,” and that all
      of our past experience as a people has not been in vain.

      Where we went wrong, at a very early date, was in expecting an apocalyptic
      Second Coming of Christ, in which we would be the “gathered Saints” and
      the rest of the world would be the condemned “wicked Gentiles.” We truly
      believed that Enoch’s city would descend upon Independence, Missouri and
      that we would build the Millennial Temple there, as the center stake of
      a heaven-on-earth Zion. We were wrong. Missouri was not our Canaan.

      All of that, coupled with the gathering and Joseph Smith’s excesses put
      us on the wrong track and we never recovered. The Mormons are still on
      the wrong track, and all that has happened to us will eventually happen
      to them as well.

      The key to Restorationism is to reach back BEFORE Apostolic Christianity,
      to the actual religion and Gospel of Jesus. That is the “Kingdom of
      Heaven” we must seek: not the Council of Fifty or the Political Kingdom.
      JSIII had some glimmerings of this realization, and thus removed from
      our Epitome of Faith the literal gathering of Israel in the Americas.
      That was a start, but it was far too little. The entire emulation of
      Apostolic Christianity was a mistake. The “Great Apostasy” began with
      that version of the religion. It was successful on a world-wide basis,
      but it was an impure, accomodationist evolution of the Gospel. We have
      taken many wrong turns, but a true “Restoration” is still possible, and
      it will take a Covenant People to carry out that Restoration.

      Dale R. Broadhurst

    43. >Dale, I find your perspective on Jesus and the Gentiles interesting.
      >I agree that your suppositions line up with what we know about Jesus,
      >but there is no scriptural backing to support it. Isaiah doesn’t quite
      >fit that bill. Is this your opinion or do you have some non-canon
      >scripture that leads you in this direction?

      Unfortunately the non-canon scriptures closest in time and space to Jesus
      were the Dead Sea scrolls and their contents are Gentile-unfriendly. He
      no doubt knew of the Qumranim; perhaps even read some of their writings.
      But Jesus patterned his later years on a constellation of messianic
      scriptures. The swriter of the Gospel of Matthew was not too far off base
      in trying to structure his text as a fulfillment of a whole basket full
      of messianic passages from the Hebrew Bible.

      There is one development from Qumran that may overlap Jesus however. If
      you read the episode where John’s disciples come to Jesus and ask him
      whether they should accept him, or look for another, he does not answer
      them directly. Rather he points out the messianic phenomena surrounding
      his movement, by paraphrasing Isaiah — with one addition to the signs:
      an addition also found in the Dead Sea scrolls writings.

      When Jesus quotes from Isaiah in the synagogue, he adds his own words
      to the reading — which was unacceptable to his Jewish audience. He
      tells them not to look to the future for the messianic era — but to
      look to the present.

      There is a very slight echo of that message in the 19th century Shakers,
      who also told people to live as though they were in the Millennium.

      The Shakers created their own scriptures, to express their realizations.
      Jesus did not write scripture, but he did add new elements to the Oral
      Law — which stood equal to, or above the “Prophets and the Writings.”

      Dale R. Broadhurst

    44. >We can start such a comparison by examining shared word-strings in the
      >two texts, and examining how they are used for similar purposes. We
      >could begin by looking at the Divine names in both texts, for example.
      >The only name shared by the two sources is “Jesus Christ,” but titles
      >of descriptors for the biblical God also occur throughout Spalding’s
      >Roman story. He had obviously heard of the “Great Spirit” which writers
      >of his own day attributed to American Indian religion — and he makes
      >use of some version of that Divine title all through his Roman story.

      >The obvious “match” with the Book of Mormon text is found in the story
      >of Ammon and king Lamoni in LDS BoM Alma 18.

      Well, then, let’s get back to the first volume of Clavigero’s
      “History of Mexico,” looking at the 1806 American edition, published
      in English —
      http://olivercowdery.com/texts/1806Clv1.htm#pg305a

      On pp. 305-308 of that volume we read the story of a death and
      resurrection (or, at least recovery from death after burial in a tomb)
      that corresponds rather well with Alma 18-19 in the current LDS edition
      of the BoM.

      In Claverigo we read an account of the royal family of the Indian nation,
      headed by a great king, etc. Among other events related on pp. 305-308 is
      the deathly swoon of the Princess of the “Indians. She recovers after a long
      time (being thought dead) and bears witness of the true God. She declared
      unto the people that she had seen an angel and had conversed with him,
      and thus told her people the things of God, and of his righteousness. And
      she did believe in the angel’s words and was baptized (after Christian
      ministers came to Mexico) and thus was a righteous Queen of the Lamanites
      when at last there was a church established among them.

      What sparks my interest in Claverigo, is that the parallels with Book
      of Mormon stories and peculiarities just seem to stack up, one after
      another. I’m only drawing attention to the parallels that most caught
      my interest. I may eventually go back through his “History of Mexico”
      and make a more detailed list of similarities.

      But, for right now, here is another one — from Volume II, pp. 13-15:
      http://olivercowdery.com/texts/1806Clv2.htm#pg013a

      Quote:
      >Some Mexican writers are persuaded that the gospel had been
      >preached in America some centuries before the arrival of the
      >Spaniards. The grounds of that opinion are some crosses which
      >have been found at different times, which seem to have been
      >made before the arrival of the Spaniards: the fast of forty
      >days observed by the people of the new world, the tradition
      >of the future arrival of a strange people, with beards, and
      >the prints of human feet impressed upon some stones, which are
      >supposed to be the footsteps of the apostle St. Thomas.

      Jeff Lindsay believes there are NO substantial thematic parallels in
      the BoM and Clavigero. At his web-site, I find this quote:

      “Clavigero’s volume on Mexico appeared in an English edition in 1817
      in Philadelphia, but it was mainly a description of the Aztecs that
      gave little ancient historical information. ”

      Actually, there were 1804 and 1806 editions published in the USA (well
      before the death of Solomon Spalding, in 1816). Contrary to the quote
      at the Lindsay web-site, I see a great deal of “ancient historical
      information” in Clavigerio’s writings.

      I wonder why Lindsay dismisses Clavigero’s possible influence on the
      BoM text so easily? Most likely he is just following Sorenson’s ideas,
      and has no knowledge of his own to contribute on this topic.

      Dale R. Broadhurst

    45. >Well, then, let’s get back to the first volume of Clavigero’s
      >”History of Mexico,” looking at the 1806 American edition, published
      >in English –
      >http://olivercowdery.com/texts/1806Clv1.htm#pg305a
      >
      >On pp. 305-308 of that volume we read the story of a death and
      >resurrection (or, at least recovery from death after burial in a tomb)
      >of the BoM.

      The Mormons have not totally ignored this Alma parallel with Clavigero;
      in 1879 the LDS artist, George Martin Ottinger, exhibited his painting,
      “Papantzin Explaining Her Dream to Montezuma” to the world. The picture
      was purchased by the Mormon Church and has not been published since.

      http://olivercowdery.com/texts/1806Clv1.htm#comments

      Dale R. Broadhurst

    46. >”Papantzin Explaining Her Dream to Montezuma”

      Of course it might be argued by writers like Dan Vogel, that Joseph Smith
      did not need to plagiarize Solomon Spalding, in order to incorporate the
      Princess Papantzin tradition into the BoM’s story of Lamoni’s family. It
      might have been lifted, second-hand, from an 1825 book, sold door-to-door
      in the neighborhood of Palmyra:

      http://olivercowdery.com/texts/prst1826.htm#pg058a

      Still, I think that the shining Jaredite stones, the “interpreters,” the
      Liahona, and Lobaska’s flying machine all came into the BoM via Spalding
      and his reading of Southey (whose footnotes led him to Clavigero).

      Dale R. Broadhurst

    47. Dale:

      “Perhaps so. At least we both are looking at the same phenomenon and trying
      to comprehend God’s perspective on the situation. I have total optimism
      that God will indeed make good use of a “righteous remnant,” and that all
      of our past experience as a people has not been in vain.”

      Well, here believing in the historicuty of the BofM gives me an advantage in optimism that the past of the Restoration was not in vain, even if the LDS don’t pull it off (and no bad wishes for the LDS intended). To butcher Pogo, “We have met the righteous remnant, and it ain’t us!”

      In fact, it probably speaks Spanish.

      What an irony it would be if what makes the Book of Mormon convincing to tens of millions in the Americas were to be the decline of the “gringo” and the rise of the Latinos — much the way the rise of Constantine from the civil strife of Rome made the western (Pauline) form of early Christianity dominant. Prophecy is so much easier to embrace when it can be used to justify your own central position in history.

    48. >What an irony it would be…

      And what an irony it would be, if our de-canonization of the Nephite record
      is the act which brings many new God-fearing people into our ranks.

      What would such people say? Perhaps: “These Latter day Saints must truly
      love one another. They have stuck together as God’s Covenant people, even
      after realizing that much of their past was error that needed correcting!”

      Dale R. Broadhurst

    49. >Lobaska’s flying machine all came into the BoM via Spalding…

      My error! Lobaska’s flying machine is in the Roman story; not the BoM.

      Here’s a summary of something I said elsewhere recently:

      So far as I can discern, all of the magical devices in Spalding’s Roman story
      and in the Book of Mormon are his inventions — or adaptations from other
      sources, whether meant for satirical purposes or not.

      1. Lobsaka’s flying machine — an adaptation of the flying ability of
      Quetzalcoatl,the Aztec god of the air — (taken from Clavigero)

      2. The Liahona — an adaptation of the magical Divine gift that suddenly
      appears in the camp of the migrating Aztecs — (taken from Clavigero)

      3. Jaredite submersibles — taken from Southey’s mention of Merlin’s
      submarine, coupled with the biblical ark of Noah

      4. Shining stones — taken from Southey’s mention of the shining stone in
      Merlin’s submarine — coupled with traditions of a light in Noah’s ark

      5. Seer-stone — taken from Solomon Spalding’s own Revolutionary War
      experiences among necromancers in Rhode Island — probably including
      the Stafford family, who later settled next door to Joseph Smith, Sr.

      6. Interpreters — probably an adaptation of the Roman story’s seer-stone,
      but also related to the “urim” which provided light in Noah’s ark

      Here’s a short-cut to the origin of the Liahona, in Clavigero:
      http://olivercowdery.com/texts/1806Clv1.htm#pg154a

      Quote:

      >Proceeding from the country of the Zapotecas towards the south …
      >in the year 1196 they [the first Aztecs] arrived at the celebrated
      >city of Tula.
      >
      >In their journey from Chicomoztoc to Tula, they stopped a while in
      >Coatlicomac, where the tribe was divided into two factions, which
      >became perpetual rivals, and alternately persecuted each other. This
      >discord was occasioned, as they say, by two bundles which miraculously
      >appeared in the midst of their camp … they prized them more than the
      >precious stone.
      >
      >They who appropriated to themselves the gem were those, who, after the
      >foundation of Mexico called themselves Tlatelolcas… they who took the
      >pieces of wood were those who in future bore the name of Mexicans…
      >
      >Notwithstanding this dissention both parties travelled always together
      >for their imaginary interest in the protection of their god…

      And a follow-up from Sorenson, in “Book of Mormon Authorship Revisited”

      Quote:

      >…The Título de los Señores de Totonicapán, another lineage history,
      >speaks of “the precious gift which our father Nacxit gave us; it will
      >be useful to us, because we have not yet found the place in which we
      >are going to settle” (p. 205); — in other words, it served as an
      >instrument to receive divine guidance as to where they should travel
      >and settle.
      >
      >Carmack,following Nicholson, says that “this sacred symbol of power
      >corresponds precisely” with the sacred bundle revered by descendants
      >of the Toltecs in central Mexico. There it consisted of green stones
      >(jade or turquoise) set into pieces of wood with holes bored in them
      >and wrapped in cloth mantles; it symbolized “the hearts of [their]
      >gods” (see Carmack, “Toltec Influence,” 73).
      >
      >I find the similarities to the Liahona and the ” interpreters” of
      >the Nephites striking. The Liahona was a guide for Lehi’s party when
      >they had “not yet found the place in which they were to settle.” The
      >interpreters were sacred stones set in a device to facilitate their
      >handling. Both instruments were divine gifts…

      Of course Sorenson does not mention that Clavigero was the source for
      the Toltec/Aztec tradition of the sacred gift that appeared suddenly in
      the camp of the two rival factions, migrating to a new home under the
      direction of their God.

      Of course Sorenson does not mention that this tradition was made available
      to readers like Solomon Spalding, by writers like Robert Southey, who
      re-told Aztecs stories in his fictionalized Madoc epic long before the BoM.

      It’s kinda like saying “I got this book from my ancestors,” without
      bothering to mention that it was your uncle who gave it to you, at a
      certain date, etc.

      Sorenson simply leaves out the early 19th century “middle-man” writer(s),
      and tells us how the 1830 BoM Liahona story INFLUENCED BACKWARDS IN
      TIME, the creation of preColumbian American religious traditions.

      Dale R. Broadhurst

    50. Here are some links to my preliminary charts for
      authorship attribution in the last part of Alma,
      as well as Mosiah and Ether.

      The bar charts at the bottom show shared pahraseology
      — the line chart in the middle show percentage of
      shared vocabulary, and the color-codes at the top
      are Jockers’ authorship results.

      I’ll be working more on these next month.

      same URL + /phrchrtM2.gif

      same URL + /phrchrtE2.gif

      Dale R. Broadhurst

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