Skip to comments.The tight control theory in the Book of Mormon
Posted on 12/29/2009 12:30:09 PM PST by Colofornian
The "tight control" theory for the Book of Mormon translation suggests that Joseph dictated a fairly literal translation of the Nephite text into the scriptural language of his day. According to several witnesses, Joseph actually spelled out proper nouns the first time he dictated them to his scribe. One interesting example is the name "Coriantumr."
Dr. Royal Skousen, the foremost expert on the original Book of Mormon manuscript (the text written by scribes as dictated by Joseph), explains that when Joseph dictated "Coriatumr" to Oliver Cowdery, Oliver wrote "Coriantummer," crossed it out, and then wrote "Coriantumr." The first spelling makes sense based on what Oliver would have heard. There is no way Oliver could have known that the name ended with "umr" unless Joseph offered the correct spelling.
Decades after the Book of Mormon was published there was a wide diversity of ways that members pronounced Book of Mormon proper names. Finally, in the early 1900s a church committee was organized to produce a "pronunciation guide." This committee formulated a set of rules -- based on common English standards rather than revelation -- for pronouncing proper names. The intent of the committee was not to dictate the absolute correct way to pronounce the proper names, but rather to establish some uniformity...
The original grammar of the 1830 Book of Mormon also provides some evidence for "tight control." Before we get to this evidence some explanation is in order. All LDS scholars recognize that changes were made to later editions of the Book of Mormon. For many critics, this is a sure sign that God was not the source for the book's translation. For Mormons, however, who do not believe in infallible prophets or inerrant scripture, this presents no problem whatsoever.
(Excerpt) Read more at mormontimes.com ...
(Of course, Ash doesn't mention that there were about 3,000 changes...including entire characters who were kings switched......or how can it be that in 1 Nephi 11:21, 32 the words "even the Son of" and "the Son of God" were added SINCE the 1830 version -- changing the theology & meaning from a reference to God to the Son of God???)
What Ash, the great "waffler" apologist, is doing here...
...is knowing that he can't deny how bad the end result appeared...spelling wise, grammar wise, mistakes in the text, etc.
-- and how much editing was LATER needed to the document to make it appear King James-Bible like...
...Mormon apologist Ash knows he can't strictly hold to the first position...
...but then he knows if he holds the second position, strictly speaking, how on earth would Smith have known how to spell all of the proper names that pop up?
Therefore, he is compelled to believe that when it came to proper names, the Mormon god revealed His thoughts one way -- literally & straightforward without extra steps -- as if the spelling of proper names was the most important thing God had in mind...the Mormon god must be fanatical about spelling of places, I guess...
...but then on the most important things -- the historical & theological components, the Mormon god decided to let Smith do a lot of "free hand" translation??? (Yeah, right)
[Link to Ash's last column addressing this same thing: Mike Ash: Translation of the Book of Mormon ]
The thing is, like where I mention above that king characters were switched (Mosiah 21:28) how then did Joseph get the proper names wrong in this verse if it was a proper name given directly to him by God and if Joseph "actually spelled out proper nouns"???
In Mosiah 21:28, the name "Mosiah" was "Benjamin" in the 1830 edition...but in Mosiah 6:5, Benjamin had died. So did proper names pop up in Joseph's hat as he was "seeing" and how could he have relayed the name "Benjamin" to the person taking the dictation if God was steering him on proper names?
I see you’ve renewed your single issue freeper license. lol.
No worse than some of the other single issue folks around here
When the prophet or God gets something wrong, the problem is not with the prophet or God. The problem is that they didn’t properly understand the prophet or God, and the new doctrine represents their new, supposedly more profound understanding.
I’ve always thought who cares if the Bible or other religious text is inerrant or infallible, when the only thing that matters is how that text is interpreted, and interpretations change.
This is a misleading statement. They think their prophets are perfect and then when something they say is perceived as incorrect they spin, push aside, and generally apologize for the error. [Penny]
Ah, very good pick-up, Penny.
Mr. Ash has demonstrated for us how LDS always love to try having it both ways?
What do I mean? Well, LDS missionaries/LDS always tout Amos 3:7: "Surely the Lord GOD will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets"...
I dont think Ive yet encountered an LDS missionary (of any lengthy convo, that is) who doesnt get around to citing Amos 3:7 as a proof text to underscore the need for an ongoing living revelator [The way they apply this verse, Im often thinking, What? Now we have prophet-weathermen because the Lord wont let it rain & snow without telling an LDS prophet of his plan?]
Q, Mr. Ash: What good's an ongoing living seer & revelator of God if he cant even properly ID who God is? (Brigham Young: Hes Adam. Youre kidding? Nope. Imagine that. Well, well just have to name our most prominent university after you because of your amazing perception of who God is!)
In our contemporary convo, it'd be more like: "He was once a man." "You're kidding?" "Yup.--Well, actually, I'm sure he was a man. But I'm sure they'll come a day when the Prophet in my place won't be so sure." "So, Lorenzo [Snow], why don't you add this to the D&C to clarify it for them?" "Oh, I DON'T KNOW. It's only a couplet." [..."only a couplet" comment by a laterLds "prophet" -- Hinckley]
Tell us, Mr. Ash, what good's an ongoing living seer & revelator of God (like Young, Smith or someone named Snow who's Snowed you over) if he inserts ourselves in place of the Saviors blood a temporary doctrine of blood atonement? (How trustworthy then is it to apply Amos 3:7 in any absolute way to an LDS prophet?)
Or since Young inserted our blood for Jesus blood in that doctrine, what about a John Taylor or a Joseph Fielding Smith who emphasized the LDS church as "saviors of the world" due to the practice of baptizing dead folks? (And I thought we only had one Savior of the world)
Joseph Smith said it was the "first principle of the gospel to know for certain the character of God." What good is an LDS "prophet" even he can't for certain identify the character of God as an exalted man (or not?)
According to BYU prof Robinson, Snow's couplet isn't canonized, either. (But that hasn't stopped the LDS curricula department for teaching it forever!)
Bottom line: Whats ironic here?
(1) LDS cite Amos 3:7 & say God doesnt do anything without revealing His plan & will to His prophet.
(2) So you expect to tell us that we can continually look to him for church-wide ongoing plan revelations and ongoing will revelations?
(3) --yet when we look at the LDS prophetic track record of canonless PUBLIC statements by LDS prophetsand then when we quote them back to LDSwe tend to get qualifier after qualifier after qualifier from Mormons. They essentially say, Hey dont be disappointed 99.99999999999% of what Prophet X or Prophet Y had to say publicly didnt even qualify as core doctrinal level statements let alone be sustained as a new revelation. What gave you the idea that everything that comes out of the mouth or the pen of every living revelator, seer, prophet, Gods only authoritative rep on earth is the authoritative gospel? Why we just cant understand how you would misconstrue our build-up of an Amos 3:7 prophet!!!
Lets say, for arguments sake, that we buy what LDS criticize others for Lets say, OK, heavens revelationally wide open God still reveals Scripture Youre telling us His mouthpiece is that old guy over there Lets take a look @ what he has to say since I guess we need to apply Amos 3:7 according to the way youve structured it
Two minutes later we say, Wait a minute. You say, What? I thought you told me that the Lord does nothing without revealing his plan to his prophet? And? Well, I just reviewed his general conference talk on the Lords will? And? Well, whens this going to be added to the D&C as a new revelation? Uh, it probably wont be. Why not? (Silence)
LDS speak out of both sides of their mouth:
(a) On the one hand, they imply that LDS revelation from their "prophets" goes beyond what can be found in the D&C & BoM.
(b) The problem arises when LDS suddenly seem quite satisfied to lambast some deceased LDS prophets & apostles as dried-up, antiquated sources of irrelevant obscure directives from the Lord.
Example: Notice the cartwheels they jump through to not face squarely the sermonic words of a Brigham Young in Journal of Discourses. I mean just look how they tend to distance themselves from the words of a Brigham Young or an apostle like Bruce R. McConkie when these sources embarrass Mormons.
Yet, inevitably, we get zealous white-shirted & online LDS missionaries who ensure they elevate the current prophet to the highest post on earth when they want their PR ambassadors to be able to market to the world, See, we have Gods ONLY direct authoritative pipeline to earth.
Conclusion: LDS, please stop putting prophets up on the New Scripture-producing pedestal. LDS folks can't keep saying out both sides of their mouth that this guy is the highest revelational post on earth--but whatever his predecessor said publicly was irrelevant, non-doctrinal, uncanonized, unofficial drivel because as Mr. Ash NOW claims, "Mormons...do not believe in infallible prophets..." [You can't blame us for identifying a disconnect there, can you?]
Guess you haven't been around too long. Instead of "single issue freeper" I should have said "how's the Jihad goin'"? lol.
This is a misleading statement. They think their prophets are perfect and then when something they say is perceived as incorrect they spin, push aside, and generally apologize for the error. [Penny Farmer]
Pretzel logic, indeed, JPG. And I thought, Penny, of another way to illustrate how Lds try to have it both ways as they make misleading statements. So, the following dialogue illustrates that (see bold-face below) + provides plenty of "pretzel logic" of Mormons:
Imagine having the following convo with a Mormon -- starting with his bashing of Christians, as they do citing their Book of Mormon 1 Nephi 13:28 -- see vv. 20-42 for context + 1 Nephi 14:9-10, 23), where they cite the non-Mormon church as being the "church of Satan":
"Aha!" "Plain & precious thing, remover, you!" "You post-Christ church people removed them, didn't you!"
"Uh. Removed what?"
"Plain & precious things."
"Like all the things we've restored."
"How do you know they were originally there?"
"'Cause our prophets tell us so"
"And they know this how?"
"'Cause Heavenly Father told them so"
"And you know that how?"
"A burning in my bosom"
"And this voice Joseph Smith heard. Was it always reliable?"
"Oh, of course"
"This voice always lived up to 2 Nephi 9:20's presentation of who God is? That 'he knoweth all things, and there is not anything save he knows it?'"
"Well, what about the voice Joseph heard in D&C 130:14-15?"
"What about it?"
"Joseph said: "...I heard a voice repeat the following: 'Joseph, my son, if thou livest until thou art eighty-five years old, thou shalt see the face of the Son of Man'"
"Well, he didn't live til 85 did he? Nor did Jesus return, did he?"
"But he still saw that face when he died"
"Well, in that way, we're ALL going to see His face. (You don't need to be a 'prophet' or 'seer' to say we're going to see Jesus' face when we die.) Do you know the context for this claim?"
"He was wondering when Jesus would return"
"He was more than wondering. Joseph said he was 'praying very earnestly to know the time of the coming of the Son of Man' (D&C 130:14) and he claimed a voice responded with the 'if thou livest until thou are 85, thou shalt see the Son of Man...' (v. 15)
"Well, Joseph then said this voice told him 'therefore let this suffice, and trouble me no more on this matter' So he claimed this voice was God's revelation"
"Well, didn't the Mormon god know when Joseph would see the Son of Man's face?"
"Then what's with this '85' number? Why would a God who 'knows all things' (2 Nephi 9:20) ever even say 'if' on anything that's 100% in His control -- the death of a saint? He didn't know if Joseph would live to be 85 or not? And why '85?' That wasn't any different of a number than if he had used 80, 75, 70, 65, 60, etc.? No Mormon prophet has expounded upon the significance of 85, has he?"
"Not to my knowledge."
"So why did Joseph record this as canonized 'revelation?'"
"He heard a voice. Unlike you, our God continues to speak to our prophets."
"And so your prophets have added hundreds & thousands of revelations to the D&C since Joseph died?"
"Well, not exactly"
"Well, that depends if you include manifestos or not. Both of the big social ones weren't exactly written as 'Thus saith the Lord'"
"So, PERSONAL revelations aplenty. But CANONIZED revelations, the D&C has hardly thickened, eh?"
"You might say that"
"Well, don't grassroots Mormons believe in PERSONAL revelations they receive within themselves"
"Does that make you prophet status, then?"
"So if a prophet has many PERSONAL, uncanonized revelations and you have many PERSONAL, uncanonized revelations, why do you need him again?"
"Amos 3:7. God doesn't do anything without telling his prophets"
"So, I could get good weather forecasts if I asked your prophet?"
"Don't be profane"
"What? God isn't the author of weather?"
"Of course, He is. But his revelations hold weighty imports beyond the weather"
"You mean like Brigham telling his people for over 25 years that Adam was God? Or the supposed necessity of shedding your own blood for your sins?"
"Prophets are men, and don't always speak as God"
"What about when they are before the Salt Lake tabernacle and telling the saints for over 25 years that Adam is God?"
"Well, that's not canonized revelations."
"Well, what good is your Amos 3:7 application if we always have to wait for LDS to 'officialize' God's revelation? I mean it took the LDS church til 1880s to 'officialize' Smith's first vision and the Pearl of Great Price. Your 50-year wait isn't going to help people process God's 'ongoing' revelation, is it?"
"Well, we not only sustain our prophets, but we vote what revelations are to be canonized."
"Could you imagine, though, Jeremiah's unpopular prophecies being sustained by God's unruly people (at that time) in a vote?"
"Well, God always has a remnant of faithful people."
"Exactly. That's what Christians say as to why the so-called universal apostasy of the Christian church was never fully apostate. God ALWAYS has a remnant of faithful people."
"But Joseph said Christ failed in His mission to keep a church together"
"But Jesus prophesied in Matt. 16:18 that the gates of hell would NEVER prevail against it. And in Eph. 3:21, Paul prophesies that the church would glorify God through ALL ages. Are you calling Jesus & Paul false prophets?"
"In your opinion, did the gates of hell prevail against Jesus' church?"
"Well, maybe temporarily."
"About 1700-1800 years is what you call 'temporarily?'"
"Well, a day to the Lord is as 1,000 years"
"Yeah, how convenient of a proof text for that. What about Paul? The church hasn't glorified God throughout ALL ages?"
"Well, if it did, the church wouldn't have needed a full restoration, would it have?"
"So Paul was a false prophet?"
"Somebody may have altered the text there."
"And Joseph Smith corrected it in the JST?"
"Besides, how could Joseph historically put himself above the authors of the Bible by correcting them when even the voices he was hearing couldn't properly forecast the future?"
"What do you mean?"
"Joseph prophesied -- -"Verily thus saith the Lord" (D&C 114:1) that David W. Patten would "perform a mission unto me ["me"=the Mormon god] next spring in company with others, even twelve including himself, to testify of my name and bear glad tidings unto all the world." (D&C 114:1)
"Well, David W. Patten died, and never made the mission in company with 11 others. Your Mormon god didn't know this in advance? Or your Mormon god didn't know that the "united order" established to care for the poor wouldn't be an "everlasting order," after all? (D&C 104:1) Where's your "United Order" today? Joseph also claimed that "temple lot" in the "New Jerusalem" (D&C 84:2-3) was "appointed by the finger of the Lord in the western boundaries of the State of Missouri" (D&C 84:3) and that "Verily this is the word of the Lord, that the city of New Jerusalem shall be built by the gathering of the saints beginning at this place, even the place of the temple, which temple SHALL BE REARED IN THIS GENERATION." (D&C 84:4) Where's the temple in Independence, MO reared in Joseph's generation?
The bottom line is it only takes one theft to be convicted as a thief; one murder to be convicted as a murderer; and one false prophecy to be convicted by the Holy Ghost as a false prophet. Come out, LDS, of the leaky umbrage of false prophesy. Come to the True Prophet who speaks to us now, and with 100% revelatory accuracy, Jesus Christ (Hebrews 1:1-2)."
II, I love ya. (Have a wonderful new year)
You find the most interesting articles on Mormonism! Thanks.
Well, thank you. And not only that, I try to post Mormon articles written by Mormon authors published in many cases by Mormon publishers. I think, in light that there's not enough Mormon FReepers stepping forth to highlight what the Mormon voices are saying, we should hear from that element since they, too, tend to be conservative.
(I just think that like any good publication, there also should be a letter-to-the-editor section and I try to post what I'd say in "letters to the editor" in response -- as are the rest of FR posters.)
Is THIS a religion thread?
Wow. Must be the holiday season. I've never seen you turn the other cheek before. lol. Happy New Year to you and yours as well.
So, I could get good weather forecasts if I asked your prophet?”
“Don’t be profane”
“What? God isn’t the author of weather?”
“Of course, He is. But his revelations hold weighty imports beyond the weather”
The mormons sure could have used that knowledge when Brigham Young made them walk 1300 miles pushing 17 pounds of their belongs in a handcart...
Many perished in the snow...
The snow that BY didnt ask the mormon god about...
(Thank you. And to your family as well!)
I saw the Dead Sea Scrolls exhibit in San Diego a couple of years ago and learned about the name “Alma son of Judah” which appeared on one of the scrolls - first time (outside the Book of Mormon) that the name “Alma” appears as a man’s name. Interesting.
Also at the same exhibit was a well preserved - excellently preserved - brass plate. Very interesting.
Skousen was to be the great answer to bom textural changes throughout the years, yet his 'studies' go more to show the spuriousness of the bom than most 'anties'. Clearly Smith was using the 'tight control' method - leaving virtually no room to justify the thousands of mistakes in the bom.
And yet they hold to the 'truth' of the bom only by the thinnest thread of a subjective feeling, thinking it is a steel cable.
|The Official Scriptures of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
© 2006 Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.
I saw the Dead Sea Scrolls exhibit in San Diego a couple of years ago and learned about the name Alma son of Judah which appeared on one of the scrolls - first time (outside the Book of Mormon) that the name Alma appears as a mans name. Interesting.
Also at the same exhibit was a well preserved - excellently preserved - brass plate. Very interesting.
- - - - - -
Interesting I will have to check my exhibit book on that.
And will call Risa Levitt Kohn (the curator of the exhibit), who is a good friend and wonderful scholar to see what she has to say about the LDS use of this.
I suspect she will not be happy to hear it is being used as a “proof” for the Book of Mormon. She has some pretty choice words about Smith.