That defense always makes me shake my head. Even if you remove any possibility of large portions being plagiarized to one degree of another, the Book of Mormon authorship by other than the divine is easy to explain.
For one, there is nothing complex about the Book of Mormon. It has a very simple and repetitive story line. There is no real depth to the characters to the point of them being cardboard. The battles, interactions, travels, and overall plot are cartoonish at best.
All of those problems are evident in the current, highly edited version. When reading the early editions, it is apparent that no omniscient deity dictated this text to Joseph Smith. It is riddled with thousands of grammatical errors that an average 5th grader would not make.
The average 5th or 6th grader today, if given an early edition of the Book of Mormon with no foreknowledge of the book, would likely discard it for being exactly what it is; poorly written fiction.
I see it as representing one of two possibilities: (1) The person making the claim is making a bold bluff, hoping that no knowledgeable person will call them out on the bluff and make them explain why it is too complex in the face of well-informed counterarguments; OR (2) the person making the claim is semi-illiterate and is projecting their own incompetence/lack of imagination--in other words, they cannot imagine how THEY would ever be able to write a lengthy book with many strange names and scenarios, SO they think it makes sense that nobody could do it without divine inspiration.
The bluffers are always hoping that the person they're talking to doesn't know enough about the Book of Mormon to poke holes in the bluff.
The projectors are people who themselves don't understand the Book of Mormon and think of it as complex and scripture-y because it has many words and sounds like the Bible.
There are Christian novels and talks out there in the "apostate" Christian world that are much more inspirational than the Book of Mormon. TSCC and zealous believers are putting videos out there explaining this incredible complexity that the Book of Mormon supposedly has. In reality, Joseph (and those who helped him) emulated the literary patterns of the Bible. Not that hard to do when you read something a lot.
A lot like what the church did with NHM written on a post in Yemen. Videos are out declaring the wondrousness of finding these three letters together somewhere. Proof that the Book of Mormon is true! It doesn't begin to qualify as evidence to any scientist.
"It is riddled with thousands of grammatical errors that an average 5th grader would not make."
One thing to keep in mind is that the book is old. It's written in the time of King George, before standard punctuation that you may take for granted which was adopted in late Victorian/Edwardian times. So if words were spelled differently, there's a good reason. Also there aren't many great American works of fiction at this time. Yes the masters in the old world created many wonderful works of art. But American art and literature and music didn't really get going until after the civil war.
I mean if we want to compare it to other New England works of the time we could look at Rip Van Winkle? Or maybe Jane Austen?
The challenge with that defense is that it only bolsters the case for Joseph Smith being the author of the Book of Mormon. Given the claims within Mormonism that the translation process worked as follows:
"...when Joseph looked into the instruments, the words of scripture appeared in English..."
Any errors in the Book of Mormon would thus be the work of God. Meaning that God speaks in early frontier U.S. English.
It just seems to me that if the bom was true, grammatical errors don't matter because god speaks in frontier Americana and god has very little fiction to compare it to.
And if Joe made it all up, it still doesn't matter because he wasn't good with grammar anyway.
What may have improved the bom is if old Joe and Samuel Clemens had gotten together and collaborated nephi to be more mischievious he could have been recast as Tom, and Sam could have been Huck, Sariah could have had a bigger part in the story as aunt polly. Uncle Laman could have been recast as Injun Joe!
But your broader point is correct: Joseph Smith supposedly received the text through magic spy glasses or through a "crawl," like that at the bottom of a TV screen, on a brown rock. In either case it was the power of God dictating precisely, word for word, what Smith saw.
So either the BoM prophets spoke like hillbillies or God does. And that casts doubt on his ability to speak in proper Adamic, Hebrew and Aramaic, which would then pose problems for the Bible.
I'll bet money that these Mormon BOM defenders haven't read the New England authors, Emerson, Thoreau, Hawthorne, Poe, Dickensen, Longfellow, Noah Webster....
People who know that Mormonism is a hoax and that JS lied, aren't going to believe the false claims that the BOM was a divine piece of historical literature, more true than any book ever written, more inspirational than The Bible. We can't fault these wise non-Mormons for not reading it. I didn't have to read "Dianetics" all the way through--or read it 7 times--to understand that it was nonsense.
(1) Stuff either copied directly from the KJV of the Bible or slightly modified re-tellings of famous Bible stories (e.g. the "Daughter of Jared" doing a sexy dance in front of a powerful man and, as her prize, asking for a decapitation (see Salome in the New Testament).)
(2) Insertions of very simplified versions of popular doctrines being preached by famous preachers in Joseph Smith's day (e.g. Alexander Campbell).
(3) The "righteous nation" notion that was a popular theme in Joseph Smith's day with regard to the rise of the United States and the rise and fall of empires and nations of Europe. In the Book of Mormon it's just a constant repetition of the idea that the Jaredites were favored of God as long as they listened to the "prophets" (a self-serving idea for Joseph Smith, a self-proclaimed prophet, to insert into his holy book) and when they were disobedient, they were abandoned by God and destroyed by orc-like enemy hordes. (The climax of course was the slaughter/genocide of the Nephites at Cumorah involving the annihilation of more than a quarter million.)
(4) A hodge-podge of other ideas, themes and such that were popular in Joseph Smith's time and locale, such as the anti-Masonic themes (e.g. corrupt judges and secret combinations), the Ethan Smith View of the Hebrews theme (i.e. the pre-European inhabitants of the Americas being from Israel), and treasure hunting (slippery treasures, precious metals, etc. being referred to in the BoM).
The complete absence of any kind of unique or new information coming from the Book of Mormon is one of the most obvious clues that it is a hoax. Although it is claimed to be an ancient record of a vanished people, it offers absolutely nothing of value with regard to information/insights relevant to any discovered artifacts, buildings or legends and traditions associated with the ancient inhabitants and cultures in the Americas. For example, it refers to animals that did not exist in the Americas and fails to refer to unique animals that did exist in the Americas. It refers to languages, metallurgical technology, wheeled vehicles and crops that did not exist and fails to exist to unique crops that did exist.
If the Book of Mormon was too complex for Joseph Smith and his partners (remember, he had several collaborators) to come up with without divine assistance, then my excuses for not doing my homework in the 5th grade are also obviously divinely inspired.
babyloncansuckit Wrote: ------------------------------------------------------- > There will always be BoM defenders, just as there > will always be people who believe the Earth is > 6000 years old. Or people who believe in a flat > Earth. > > The problem is with the top leadership pushing the > BoM as valid scripture. They should at least know > better. But I doubt that any church in history has > thrown out its core canon.
Never argue with stupid people. They will drag you down to their level and beat you with experience. --Mark Twain-- (The same guy who said the Book of Mormon is chloroform in print.
The two worst books I ever read were the Book of Mormon and Adolf Hitler's Mein Kampf. I'm sure in Nazi Germany Der Fuehrer's book was probably touted as the best book ever written. Kind of the same nonsense we hear about the Book of Mormon from the Mormons.
The Book of Mormon is just a bunch of silly nonsense that doesn't hold up on many levels. It's 19th century garbage.
The more books you read, the more obvious it becomes that the BoM is not all that well written. The more obvious it becomes that it is exactly the kind of book you would expect from JS's personality, ability and time.
Even if we cede that the BOM is "complex," which is debatable, that has no bearing on whether it is what it claims to be.
Native Americans still have no DNA relationship to Israelites.
The language problems in the Book of Mormon are still present--despite any complexities--Semitic or otherwise.
Complexities do not explain the heavy emphasis on the theological controversies of frontier Americans--particularly the theological issues Sidney Rigdon was active in discussing. Complexities also do not explain why the Book of Mormon contradicts subsequent Mormon theology.
There are no living hold-overs from the Nephite civilization.
There used to be, until around 1980 or so. Then they I guess went up to the North Pole and joined the Lost Tribes from Israel. I dunno. Maybe Russell Nelson could show us the tunnel into the center of the earth.
By the way, the center of the earth is hotter than the sun.
That's the kind of thing the Book of Mormon claims.
The Mormons also probably think their temple ceremony is complex as well. If the BoM is complex, then the bar is set pretty low.
However, you have a verified "glass looker" who got thousands of people to follow him devotedly. He got them to give their money, their wives, their daughters. He got them to go on missions leaving their own lives in shambles. He got them to build him a bank and print his own currency. He started an army. Crowned himself king. Built a temple complete with spittoons and masonic ceremonies. He had a goon squad even. This was no "innocent, uneducated, naive, farm boy" as my mother always describes him when she bares her tearful testimony.
He may not have written the BoM technically though. Let's just say somehow he came up with it. Piece of cake for The Joseph who was good at piecing together all sorts of things.
He didn't write it alone. He did it with Oliver Cowdery, who was a school teacher. They were both quite familiar with the View of the Hebrews by Ethan Smith and plagiarized the racist 19th Century narrative from him, along with the Smith family Bible, complete with spelling errors. They were also both quite familiar with Thomas Paine's Common Sense and the Age of Reason. Between those 4 books they plagiarized practically the whole thing, with local geographical names thrown in.
His mother wrote about his ability to tell stories:
“During our evening conversations, Joseph would occasionally give us some of the most amusing recitals that could be imagined. He would describe the ancient inhabitants of this continent, their dress, mode of travelling, and the animals upon which they rode; their cities, their buildings, with every particular; their mode of warfare; and also their religious worship. This he would do with as much ease, seemingly, as if he had spent his whole life with them.” Lucy Mack Smith
So the Mormons are saying is that there is just no way an uneducated farm boy could put stories into writing that are just as fake as his tales to his family of ancient Americans riding on animals.
Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/04/2018 01:09PM by mikemitchell.
Thomas Edison only had a few months of formal education. He was home schooled by his mother and he was partially deaf. Yet he was considered one of the world's greatest inventors. He held over 1000 patents on his inventions. I always tell that to TBM's when they try to tell me that Joseph Smith couldn't write the book because he was uneducated.
My take on old lazy Joey writing the BofM alone is absolutely zero (and then some). I can see him being part of his family members and others like Syndey Rigdon who I think were involved but his "part" would have been "Hey, that sounds great and I'll sign my name when you all are fini!" He would have gone and found the wine when the group of workers ran out or taken off to "check out" his latest young thing or found a shade tree to sit under and dream about his next con job.
The BofM, for him to have lasted long at at, was too boring, too boring, way too boring.
I know I'm way cynical, but I do not think ole Joey was deeply religious and was using the zeal others had for religion to line his pockets.