DAN VOGEL DISCUSSES THE SPALDING/RIGDON THEORY

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marg

Post by marg »

Brent
In short, Jeff, a Spalding theory isn't only speculative, it's unnecessary.


The Spalding theory is not necessary, it is based on what the evidence indicates happened. Sure simpler theories can be created but they don't include all the evidence. So do you want the simplest theory that one can construct , or do you want a theory representative of what actually happened?

jhammel
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Post by jhammel »

Hi Brent,

I think others, yourself included, are more qualified than I to assess the Book of Mormon text and content, so I prefer to be a curious bystander when authorship is discussed based on examinations of the text itself. I've never been able (or even tried) to make a case for Spalding or Rigdon authorship by a thorough examination of the text, but I have to add to that that I've never seen what I think is a convincing set of arguements to rule them out. So, I can't say I find too much problem with someone not introducing Rigdon into the picture based just on examination of the Book of Mormon text. If, on that basis, you start with Rigdon out and see no reason to rule him in, I can understand that.

My reasons for favoring some significant contribution of Spalding and Rigdon are much more based on the aroused suspicions of each of these men as contributors to the Book of Mormon by those who knew them, demonstrated both in short time and over several years by statements that shed varying degrees of light on what may have happened. Now, perhaps such things are mostly a product of false memory, deceit, or wishful thinking, and there is certainly an inherent amount of skepticism and critical examination one should aim at such evidence, but as far as I have studied until now, I think much of it stands as at least plausible - the amount of which is enough to paint a vague picture of how the Book of Mormon may have originated. It is also enough to make it difficult for me to assess the entire set as useless in determining Book of Mormon origins, which would seem to necessarily be the case if neither Spalding nor Rigdon contributed to the Book of Mormon. (One could posit Spalding contribution without Rigdon, or Rigdon without Spalding, but I think the involvement of both is a cleaner fit to the body of testimonial and circumstantial evidence.) So, there is a large body of evidence which I think rules Spalding and Rigdon in, or at least highly suspect, and I'm curious to see if arguments from the text should convince me to rule either of them out, and I'm also curiously watching to see what else may be learned about pre-1830 activities in Ohio, in case there is anything still there to be learned. That's where I'm coming from at the moment.

Jeff

PS - Happy Chinese New Year!

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Jason Bourne
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Re: How Sincere was Rigdon in his Mormon Conversion?

Post by Jason Bourne »

marg wrote:
Uncle Dale wrote:
a. Rigdon was an intellectual convert -- he heard the Mormon gospel and accepted its doctrines

b. Rigdon was an emotional convert -- he read the Book of Mormon and felt a "burning in his bosom," etc.

c. Rigdon was an opportunistic convert -- he may not have agreed with all of Mormonism, but "knew a good thing."

d. Rigdon was a convert before he ever read the Book of Mormon -- Mormonism was the same as Rigdonism.


# 4 but in order to respond in greater detail I'd need time, a day at least. In essence I don't think Rigdon was a religious follower, having been thrown out of a Baptist group for having different ideas. He was opinionated and not particularly open to persuasion. His eagerness to join so quickly bascially within a day, having only read the Book of Mormon in the evening and without having spent much time in evaluation leads one to question why would he act so fast. What was his primary motivation, what were his rewards? He already had a congregation, actually I believe 2 so why give them up to another authority unless he was offered a position within the new sect. And why would he be offered a position by them so soon as they had only just presented the Book of Mormon to him. So with the speed of events being so quick, it appears it was all planned out well in advance.



This is a weak argument. First, people often converted to religions quickly and rapidly, even at times on the spot, ministers of other faiths not excluded. Even today people may convert quickly. Second, Rigdon was constantly searching for the right religion. His background with the Cambelites already demonstrated that he believed in a restoration of primitive Christianity. He pushed for that more and more with Alexander Campbell. So, one could argue that he was ripe to accept the Book of Mormon and Mormonism quickly given his prior disposition and attitudes. Rigdon seemed given to radical decisions and actions. He already lost one flock due to his changing religous views. Losing another may not have been that traumatic to him given that perhaps his quest for "truth" was paramount for him.

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CaliforniaKid
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Post by CaliforniaKid »

Brent, my data show that Mosiah had a very high occurrence of both wherefore and therefore. Then in Alma, therefore stays high but wherefore drops to almost zero. Couldn't this sudden lexical shift be due to Smith's regular interaction (starting when he came to Alma) with a source text that tended to exclude the word wherefore? Just a thought.

Ocurrences per 1k words

.....................Mos ......................Alm
therefore..... 3.944077471.........3.362292943
wherefore.....4.672897196.........0.03206567

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Brent Metcalfe
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Post by Brent Metcalfe »

Hi CaliforniaKid,

I only have a quick minute, but let me encourage you to read my essay because I mitigate the very issues you’re raising (B. Metcalfe, “The Priority of Mosiah: A Prelude to Book of Mormon Exegesis,” New Approaches to the Book of Mormon: Explorations in Critical Methodology, B. Metcalfe, ed. [Salt Lake City: Signature Books, 1993], 395–444 [see especially 408–415, 434–37]).

For instance, the single occurrence of “wherefore” in the entire book of Mosiah was copied from KJV Exodus 20:11 (|| Mosiah 13:19; see Metcalfe, “Priority,” 411n22). So your conclusion that both therefore and wherefore appear at high rates in Mosiah, is highly problematic. (I also have severe reservations about usage of synonyms in ratio to total words as a viable method for discovering much of anything.)

Peruse my essay when you have time, and review the links that I provided here.

Now off to the gym …

My best,

Brent

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Brent Metcalfe
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Post by Brent Metcalfe »

Hi Jeff,

Good to hear from you, my friend. (And thanks for the succinct reiteration of your views.)

Cheers,

Brent

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CaliforniaKid
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Post by CaliforniaKid »

Ah yes, I had forgotten the problem of shorter books giving inflated ratios. It's been a while since I collected this data. In the charts I made, 4 Ne. also throws off the gentle flow of the curve because of its length.

I read the links you offered, but haven't read the essay yet. I think I've got it on the NMS cd; I'll give it a read as soon as I get a chance.

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Uncle Dale
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Re: How Sincere was Rigdon in his Mormon Conversion?

Post by Uncle Dale »

Jason Bourne wrote:
marg wrote:
Uncle Dale wrote:
a. Rigdon was an intellectual convert -- he heard the Mormon gospel and accepted its doctrines

b. Rigdon was an emotional convert -- he read the Book of Mormon and felt a "burning in his bosom," etc.

c. Rigdon was an opportunistic convert -- he may not have agreed with all of Mormonism, but "knew a good thing."

d. Rigdon was a convert before he ever read the Book of Mormon -- Mormonism was the same as Rigdonism.


# 4 but in order to respond in greater detail I'd need time, a day at least. In essence I don't think Rigdon was a religious follower, having been thrown out of a Baptist group for having different ideas. He was opinionated and not particularly open to persuasion. His eagerness to join so quickly bascially within a day, having only read the Book of Mormon in the evening and without having spent much time in evaluation leads one to question why would he act so fast. What was his primary motivation, what were his rewards? He already had a congregation, actually I believe 2 so why give them up to another authority unless he was offered a position within the new sect. And why would he be offered a position by them so soon as they had only just presented the Book of Mormon to him. So with the speed of events being so quick, it appears it was all planned out well in advance.



This is a weak argument. First, people often converted to religions quickly and rapidly, even at times on the spot, ministers of other faiths not excluded. Even today people may convert quickly. Second, Rigdon was constantly searching for the right religion. His background with the Cambelites already demonstrated that he believed in a restoration of primitive Christianity. He pushed for that more and more with Alexander Campbell. So, one could argue that he was ripe to accept the Book of Mormon and Mormonism quickly given his prior disposition and attitudes. Rigdon seemed given to radical decisions and actions. He already lost one flock due to his changing religous views. Losing another may not have been that traumatic to him given that perhaps his quest for "truth" was paramount for him.



No doubt different investigators will come away with different opinions here. As early as 1831, Ezra Booth and other
early observers were crediting Rigdon's conversion to a visionary confirmation from God. Rigdon's latest biographer,
Richard S. Van Wagoner cites the Booth account as one of his sources, in relating Rigdon's conversion. Dr. Lloyd
A. Knowles, in his recent Rigdon dissertation, footnotes Booth but gives some parallel information from Rigdon's local
newspaper, the "Painesville Telegraph."

Sources closer to Rigdon downplay any visionary response to the book on his part, and instead focus on Rigdon's
supposed exegetical skills -- he being one of the few men who really ever understood the biblical prophecies, etc.

I will paste in some sources on Rigdon's Oct.-Nov. 1830 conversion to Mormonism, below.

If anybody is aware of more detailed or definitive sources, please let me know. I would also appreciate knowing
which of these several accounts and reports Dan Vogel accepts as "unimpeached fact."




Sidney Rigdon's Conversion -- Various pre-1880 Sources

========================

1830 Newspaper Articles "Golden Bible" and "Campbellism Improved"

Since commencing this article, we have received information, which goes to corroborate the statements made
in the communication of our correspondent, and also furnishes several additional particulars. The Elder referred
to, is the famous Campbellite leader [i.e. Sidney Rigdon], who has made so much noise on the Reserve for a
few months past. He has finally concluded to receive the new Revelation, and has actually been baptized,
(now for the third time.) "The common stock family" mentioned in the communication, is a club of Campbellites,
who have all things common. It is said that they hold their meetings till late at night, and afterwards retire
to the river, and baptize by the score. They profess to have the power of working miracles....

sir, could you but see the multitude that follow those pretended Disciples [i.e. Cowdery, etc.], and know the
number they have baptized each night, (many of whom 'tis said have now been immersed for the third time;)
were you to be informed, that a certain Elder [i.e. Rigdon] hesitated in deciding whether to reject or receive
the new Revelation
, and that the "social Union," or as it is more familiarly called in its vicinity, the "common
stock family," have gone into the water again in token of embracing it.

(Hudson, Ohio: "Observer and Telegraph," I:38, Nov. 18, 1830)
http://www.sidneyrigdon.com/dbroadhu/OH ... htm#111830

========================

November 1830 Newspaper Article: "Delusion"

About a couple of weeks since, three men... appeared in our village, laden with a new revelation, which they claim
to be a codicil to the New Testament... conceiving they might do more good otherwheres, departed for Kirtland, where
is a "common stock family," under the charge of Elder Rigdon, a Campbellite leader of some notoriety....

Immediately after their arrival here, Elder Rigdon embraced the new doctrine and was baptised for the third time --
once as a regular Baptist, once as a Campbellite, and now as a disciple of the new revelation. He says he has
hitherto, ignorantly preached heresy. His flock, we understand, have principally followed their shepherd, and for
the second, and some for the third time, have gone down into the water. We are told that the [whole] number baptised
into the new order, is rising to one hundred.

Painesville, Ohio: "The Geauga Gazette" (prob. Nov. 16, 1830 -- text from reprints)
http://www.sidneyrigdon.com/dbroadhu/OH ... htm#110030


========================

Feb. 1831 Newspaper Article: "Mormonism -- or Grand Pugilistic Debate."

... a noted mountebank by the name of Elder Rigdon, who has flourished in and about the "openings," for the last
few years... Rigdon was formerly a disciple of Campbell's and who it is said was sent out to make proselytes,
but is probable he thought he should find it more advantageous to operate on his own capital, and therefore wrote,
as it is believed the Book of Mormon, and commenced his pilgrimage in the town of Kirtland, which was represented
as one of the extreme points of the Holy Land.


(Cleveland Advertiser Vol. I:5 February 15, 1831)
http://www.sidneyrigdon.com/dbroadhu/OH ... htm#021531

========================

Feb 1831 Matthew S. Clapp Account

About the last of October, 1830, four men, claiming to be divinely inspired... took up their
abode with the pastor of the congregation, (Sidney Rigdon,) who read their book and partly
condemned it -- but, two days afterwards, was heard to confess his conviction of its truth.
Immediately the subtlety and duplicity of these men were manifest -- as soon as they saw a
number disposed to give heed to them, then it was they bethought themselves of making a party --
then it was they declared that their book contained a new covenant, to come under which the
disciple must be re-immersed. When called upon to answer concerning their pretended covenant,
whether it was distinct from that mentioned in Hebrews VIII, 10-13, they would equivocate, and
would say, (to use their own words) "on the large scale, the covenant is the same, but in
some things it is different." Immediately they made a party -- seventeen persons were immersed
by them in one night. At this Mr. Rigdon seemed much displeased, and when they came next day to
his house, he withstood them to the face -- showed them that what they had done was entirely
without precedent in the holy scriptures -- for they had immersed those persons that they might
work miracles as well as come under the said covenant -- showed them that the apostles baptized
for the remission of sins -- but miraculous gifts were conferred by the imposition of hands.
But when pressed upon the point, they justified themselves by saying, it was on their part merely
a compliance with the solicitations of those persons. Mr. Rigdon again called upon them for proof
of the truth of their book and mission: they then related the manner in which they obtained faith,
which was by praying for a sign, and an angel was shown unto them. Here Mr. Rigdon showed them
from the scriptures the possibility of their being deceived: "For Satan himself is transformed
into an angel of light" -- but said Cowdrey, "Do you think if I should go to my Heavenly Father
with all sincerity, and pray to him in the name of Jesus Christ, that he would not show me an
angel -- that he would suffer Satan to deceive me?" Mr. Rigdon replied, "if the heavenly Father
had ever promised to show you an angel, to confirm anything, he would not suffer you to be
deceived, for, says the apostle John, 'this is the confidence we have with him, if we ask things
according to his will, he hearkens to us.' "But," he continued, "if you ask the heavenly Father
to show you an angel when he has never promised you such a thing, if the Devil never had an
opportunity of deceiving you before, you give him one now."

However, about two days after, Mr. R. was persuaded to tempt God by asking this sign, which he
knew to be contrary to his revealed will; he received a sign, and was convinced that Mormonism
was true and divine
. Wherefore, to make use of his own reasoning, we presume the Devil appeared
to him in the form of an angel of light. The Monday following he was baptised.

Letter signed M. S. C. published in the Painesville newspaper
The Telegraph, n.s. II:35 (Feb. 15, 1831)
http://www.sidneyrigdon.com/dbroadhu/OH ... htm#021531
cf Howe, 1834 pp. 102-104
http://solomonspalding.com/docs/1834howe.htm#pg102

========================

Early 1831 Letter from the Campbellite Josiah Jones, of Kirtland

In the last part of October, 1830, four men appeared here by the names of Cowdery, Pratt, Whitmar
and Peterson; they stated they were from Palmyra, Ontario County, N. Y. with a book, which they said
contained what was engraven on gold plates... These men appeared in the town of Mentor at Elder Sidney
Rigdon's on Thursday evening about the 6th [sic - 26th?] of October last. On Sunday following the elder
with two or three of these men attended a meeting at Euclid. I also attended and here I was first
informed by I. Morley that such men and such a book had appeared. The next Wednesday evening they held a
meeting at the Methodist Meetinghouse in this place, at which time they read some in their new book,
and exhorted the people to repent of their pride and priestcraft and all other sins, and be baptized
by them for the remission of them, for they said that if they had been baptized it was of no avail,
for there was no legal administrator, neither had been for fourteen hundred years, until God had called
them to the office, and had sent them into the world to publish it to this generation. The next day we
heard that after they went home, or to the family where they put up, they baptized seventeen into the
faith which they published....

On Monday, Elder Rigdon was re-baptized, and additions have continued to be made almost daily to them
since that time. Sidney Rigdon said in private conversation that no one could tell what virtue there was
in Cowdery's hands, for when he took hold of him to baptize him he felt a shock strike through him
.
They pretend to give the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands....

First known publication: in Elder Walter Scott's periodical
(Carthage, Ohio: The Evangelist IX:6,June 1, 1841)
http://www.sidneyrigdon.com/dbroadhu/OH ... htm#060141

========================

Dec. 1831 Ezra Booth Account

After Cowdery, and his three associates had left the state of New York, while bending their
course to the west, he was directed by the spirit to Kirtland, for the special purpose of
enlisting Rigdon in the Mormonite cause. I have since learned, that the spirit which directed
in this enterprise, was no other than Pratt, who had previously become acquainted with Rigdon,
and had been proselyted by him into what is called the Campbellite faith.

This new system appears to have been particularly suited to Rigdon's taste, and calculated
to make an impression on his mind. But before he could fully embrace it, he must "receive a
testimony from God." In order to this, he labored as he was directed by his Preceptor,
almost incessantly and earnestly in praying, till at length, his mind was wrapped up in
a vision; and to use his own language, "to my astonishment I saw the different orders of
professing Christians passing before my eyes, with their hearts exposed to view, and they
were as corrupt as corruption itself. That society to which I belonged also passed before
my eyes, and to my astonishment, it was as corrupt as the others. Last of all that little
man who bro't me the Book of Mormon, passed before my eyes with his heart open, and it was
as pure as an angel; and this was a testimony from God; that the Book of Mormon, was a
Divine Revelation.


Rigdon is one who has ascended to the summit of Mormonism; and this vision stands as the
foundation of his knowledge. He frequently [affirms], that these things are not a
matter of faith with him, but of absolute knowledge. He has been favored with many
extraordinary visions...

Ezra Booth Letter dated Dec. 6, 1831
in Ohio Star (Ravenna, Ohio), Dec. 8, 1831
http://www.sidneyrigdon.com/dbroadhu/OH ... htm#120831
cf Howe, 1834 p. 217
http://solomonspalding.com/docs/1834howe.htm#pg217

========================

1843 "History of Joseph Smith" (with information supplied by Sidney Rigdon)

[The "four missionaries to the Lamanites] expressed a desire to lay the [Book of Mormon] subject
before the people, and requested the privilege of preaching in elder Rigdon's church, to which
he [i.e. Sidney Rigdon] readily consented. The appointment was accordingly published, and a
large and respectable congregation assemble. Oliver Cowdery and Parley P. Pratt severally
addressed the meeting. At the conclusion, elder Rigdon arose and stated to the congregation that
the information they had that evening received, was of an extraordinary character, and certainly
demanded their most serious consideration: and as the apostle advised his brethren "to prove all
things, and hold fast that which is good," so he would exhort his brethren to do likewise, and
give the matter a careful investigation; and not turn against it, without being fully convinced
of its being an imposition, lest they should, possibly resist the truth.

This was, indeed, generous on the part of elder Rigdon, and gave evidence of his entire freedom
from any sectarian bias; but allowing his mind full scope to range, untrammeled, through the
scriptures, embracing every principle of truth, and rejecting error, under whatever guise it
should appear. He was perfectly willing to allow his members the same privilege. Having received
great light on the scriptures, he felt desirous to receive more, from whatever quarter it should
come. This was his prevailing characteristic; and if any sentiment was advanced by any one, that
was new, or tended to throw light on the scriptures, or the dealings of God with the children of
men, it was always gladly received, and treasured up in his mind. After the meeting broke up, the
brethren returned home with elder Rigdon, and conversed upon the important things which they had
proclaimed. He informed them that he should read the Book of Mormon, give it a full investigation,
and then would frankly tell them his mind and feelings on the subject -- told them they were
welcome to abide at his house until he had opportunity of reading it.

About two miles from elder Rigdon's, at the town of Kirtland, were a number of the members of his
church, who lived together, and had all things common -- from which circumstance has arisen the
idea that this was the case with the Church of Jesus Christ -- to which place they immediately
repaired, and proclaimed the gospel to them, with some considerable success; for their testimony
was received by many of the people, and seventeen came forward in obedience to the gospel.

While thus engaged, they visited elder Rigdon occasionally, and found him very earnestly engaged
in reading the "Book of Mormon," -- praying to the Lord for direction, and meditating on the
things he heard and read; and after a fortnight from the time the book was put in his hands, he
was fully convinced of the truth of the work, by a revelation from Jesus Christ, which was made
known to him in a remarkable manner, so that he could exclaim "flesh and blood hath not revealed
it unto me, by my father which is in heaven."


Being now fully satisfied in his own mind of the truth of the work, and the necessity of obedience
thereto, he informed his wife of the same, and was happy to find that she was not only diligently
investigating the subject, but was believing with all her heart, and was desirous of obeying the
truth, which, undoubtedly, was great satisfaction to his mind.

Times and Seasons, IV:19 (Aug. 15, 1843), pp. 289-290
http://www.sidneyrigdon.com/Rigd1843.htm#p209

========================

1863 Rigdonite Doctrinal Statement

One priesthood was to bring forth the word of the Lord, for the benefit of the Lamanites, and the
other priesthood was to proclaim it to them, and thereby save them. Nothing can be plainer than
the case here is. He who held the keys of the first administration, was to bring forth the word, and
he who held the keys of the second, was to gather them by means of that word. In connection with this,
the 3d paragraph of the 95th section of the Book of Doctrine and Covenants says: "And it is expedient
in me that you, my servant Sidney, should be a spokesman unto this people; yea, verily, I will ordain
you to this calling, even to be a spokesman unto my servant Joseph." The Lord had said, in the
Book of Mormon, that he would raise up to Joseph Smith a spokesman; and the Spirit said, in the Book of
Doctrine and Covenants, that Sideny Rigdon was that spokesman. The case then stands thus: Joseph Smith
was to translate the Book of Mormon, and Sidney Rigdon was to take it, and gather Israel.

Here is the sum of the whole matter. The prophet Malachi had said that before Christ came, he would
send his messenger, and he should prepare the way before him. Joseph Smith said that Sidney Rigdon
was that messenger. The Spirit said that the Lord would raise up a spokesman to Joseph Smith, and
Joseph Smith said that Sidney was that spokesman. The Lord said he would prepare a priesthood with
which he would gather Israel. Joseph Smith said that Sidney Rigdon held that priesthood.

p. 27
http://sidneyrigdon.com/books/Appl1863.htm#pg27a

Joseph Smith nor Oliver Cowdery had never heard tell of him who was to hold this priesthood; and the
Lord said through Joseph Smith to Sidney Rigdon, that he had been sent forth as John, but he knew it not.

This was the position things were in when Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery had the keys of the gift
bestowed on them to bring the priesthood to light. Oliver Cowdery was the man who brought the Book of
Mormon to Sidney Rigdon (entire strangers to each other), and presented it as a revelation, and asked
him to give it a reading. He did so, and the Spirit of truth which was in him pronounced it a revelation.
The consequence was that Oliver Cowdery baptized him, and he was introduced into the church.

p. 28
http://sidneyrigdon.com/books/Appl1863.htm#pg28a

There is a sentence in the sayings here recorded that calls for a special notice. Where it is said to
Sidney Rigdon: "And I will give unto thee power to be mighty in expounding all Scriptures, that thou
mayest be a spokesman unto him." From these declarations it is manifest that to be a spokesman, a man
must be able to expound all Scriptures, or else the Spirit would not have said, "I will give unto thee
power to expound all Scriptures," that thou mayest be a spokesman: the same as to say, that unless thou
canst expound all Scriptures, thou canst not be a spokesman; and another implication is equally manifest:
that if not able to be a spokesman, then, thou canst not take the words of the Nephites, and declare
them to the Lamanites, for this required a spokesman...

Who cannot understand, that all the learning thus required would want years in order to obtain it,
a literature of a higher degree than that which is peculiar to the priesthood? Indeed, when we read
these things, we say in our heart, Who is sufficient for them? We presume to answer, No other man,
only he of whom the requirement is made. How will a man be able to expound all Scriptures, not to say,
be mighty to do it? for that implies perfection in his attainments, and corresponds exactly with the
duty of perfecting his ministry: the thing that is said he should do. He should perfect his ministry,
by being perfect in expounding all Scriptures
....

pp. 44-45
http://sidneyrigdon.com/books/Appl1863.htm#pg44a

it could not be otherwise than that Joseph Smith should be cut off; for if there ever was a man who
got to eating and drinking with the drunken, Joseph Smith was one. Not only did he eat and drink with
the drunken, but got drunk himself, and abused his fellow-servants to the extent of his power,
and that without any regard to truth, and taught those over whom he had influence, that they ought to
lie for him; and Parley P. Pratt, who has, since Smith was cut off, shared a similar fate himself,
and for the same cause, that of transgression, had the boldness once to say that they ought to lie
for Brother Joseph; and it was a fact that he and others did so on the grand scale.


p. 52
http://sidneyrigdon.com/books/Appl1863.htm#pg52a

Sidney Rigdon, et al.
"An Appeal to the Latter Days Saints"
(Philadelphia, self pub., 1863)

========================

1869 "The Mormons" series of articles

About this time a stranger was seen to visit the home of the Smiths. It has been asserted that this
mysterious stranger must have been SIDNEY RIGDON, to whom has been very generally attributed the furnishing
of the manuscript from which the Mormon Bible was printed. Rigdon, who is now living, and with whom the
writer recently had a personal interview, positively denies all knowledge of the Book of Mormon until after
it was printed. If Rigdon's denial be admitted, this stranger remains unknown...

http://sidneyrigdon.com/1869Moor.htm#Moore1

Sidney B. Rigdon was the master intellect of the whole movement prior to the settlement of the "Saints"
at Nauvoo. A few weeks ago the writer visited this original apostle, the first preacher, the ablest
lecturer of all the early days of Mormonism, and the principal materials for this sketch were communicated
from his own lips....

Rigdon... became acquainted with a Baptist minister and his attention was called to personal religion.
He received baptism... and spent a number of months in the family of his new friend and spiritual counsellor,
the Baptist minister before mentioned. Here he found what seemed to him a perfect paradise of books and
intellectual companionship. He found in himself an insatiable thirst for reading. He read history,
divinity, and general literature, without much method or aim, except to gratify his intense love of reading.
He gave great attention to the Bible, and made himself very familiar with all parts of it. He readily committed
to memory and thus stored up large portions of the most attractive portions of the Bible....

His intense love of investigation and new modes of thought here continued to grow upon him. He claims that
he thoroughly reviewed the Scriptures, and reached down to their profoundest depths. Dissatisfied with all
ordinary interpretations, he began a series of new and original explanations of doctrine, of history and of
prophecy. These novelties soon appeared in his preaching... Oliver Cowdery, Joe Smith's amanuensis...
came along with his pack. He had heard of the erratic and heretical preacher. He presented him with a copy
of the golden Bible. Rigdon solemnly affirms that this was his first personal knowledge of Joe Smith and the
Mormons. After a few days Cowdery returned and held a long interview with Rigdon. Rigdon had read a considerable
portion of the book. He questioned Cowdery about Smith, and found that he was entirely illiterate. Rigdon
expressed the utmost amazement that such a man should write a book which seemed to shed a flood of light on
all the old Scriptures, and give them perfect consistency and complete system. In his fresh enthusiasm, he
exclaimed that if God ever gave a revelation surely this must be divine. Thus Mormonism gained its first
clerical convert
, and from this time Rigdon became one of the great lights and leading spirits of the
Mormon movement.

http://sidneyrigdon.com/1869Moor.htm#Moore2

Articles by Austin W. Cowles (former disciple of Rigdon's post-Nauvoo teachings)
Rochester: "Moore's Rural New-Yorker," Jan. 02, 1869 & Jan. 23, 1869


========================

1868 Sidney Rigdon Revelation

Section 37th

As the time appointed of the Lord for the beginning of the organization of Zion is drawing near.
It is of great importance that the incoming priesthoods should understand the relation they bear
to Zion...

Behold & lo! saith the Holy one of Israel all that the Lord you God has done since he inspired
Joseph Smith Jr. to bring from darkness and obscurity the book of Mormon has been in view of & for the
purpose of bringing to pass this... I the holy one of Israel brought forth through my servant
Joseph Smith Jr. the record of the Nephites, the book of Mormon which contained the fullness of my gospel,
and I the Lord sent it forth among the nations of the earth calling on all alike to hear and obey my
word that they might be saved...

And now saith the Lord out of all those who were called from among the nations, one only was found who
could accomplish the work of separation, and that one was my servant Sidney Rigdon. He was great in the
land of the living in the midst of the Gentiles before he was called. Those of all denominations or
religious sects in Babylon stood in fear of him. Their teachers shrunk from his presence and in consequence
the world of Babylon sought occasion against him, that they might have wherewith to accuse him, but when
they could find none, their teachers warned their people against hearing him, for he was a dangerous man,
and his knowledge of the bible was so great that none could stand before him....

I the Lord called him from his plow, as I did Amos from among the herdsmen of Jehoa. He was then
unlearned & I the Lord myself became his teacher, and assisted him to understand all things till he became
the head of the literary world. There was no man living so well qualified to judge of the divine authenticity
of the book of Mormon as he was. His knowledge of the Lords manner of writing was such as enabled him to
detect it when he saw it, & thus it was that he received the book of Mormon when I the Lord sent it to him.

At the time the book of Mormon came to him he was the teacher of the largest congregation in the part of the
country where he lived composed of all classes, rich and poor, and he was dependant on them for his living.
And at the time the book of Mormon came his congregation was purchasing a place & prepareing to building him
a house and settle him under pleasant circumstances. At this time saith the Lord my messenger in the person
of Oliver Cowdery came to him with the Book of Mormon; he being prepared by previous acquaintance with the
word of the Lord received it at the expense of all the bright prospects and high sounding honors bestowed on
him by the world. Like Moses choosing to suffer affliction with the people of God rather than enjoy the
pleasures of sin for a season having respect to the recompense of reward. He had a family of small children
to provide for but trusted them and himself to the mercy of God. but no sooner was this done than the fury of
Satan with all his host were let loose on him in fury and have followed him till this day.

Stephen Post Collection, box 1, fd 16, Copying Book A
(Van Wagoner cites the date as "1 July 1868" in his "Sidney Rigdon," p. 61)

=====================================

1875 "Advent of Mormonism" Account (evidently updated by Matthew S. Clapp from his 1831 statement)

The next scene opens in Mentor. About the middle of November, came two footmen with carpet bags filled
with copies of the book of Mormon, and stopped at Rigdon's. What passed that night between him and these
young prophets no pen will reveal; but interpreting events came rapidly on, Next morning, while Judge Clapp's
family were at breakfast, in came Rigdon, and in an excited manner said: "Two men came to my house last night
on a c-u-r-i-o-u-s mission;" prolonging the word in a strange manner. When thus awakened, all around the
table looking up, he proceeded to narrate how some men in Palmyra, N. Y., had found, by direction of an angel,
certain plates inscribed with mysterious characters; that by the same heavenly visitant, a young man,
ignorant of letters, had been led into the secret of deciphering the writing on the plates; that it made
known the origin of the Indian tribes; with other matters of great interest to the world, and that the discovery
would be of such importance as to open the way for the introduction of the Millennium. Amazement! They had
been accustomed to his stories about the Indians, much more marvelous than credible, but this strange statement,
made with an air both of wonder and credulity... two days afterward he [Rigdon] was persuaded to tempt God by
asking this sign. The sign appeared, and he was convinced that Mormonism was of God!
...

Amos S. Hayden's "History of the Disciples"
(Cincinnati: Chase & Hall, 1875) pp. 210-212
http://www.sidneyrigdon.com/1875Hay2.htm#pg210

=====================================

Jan. 28, 1879 Letter from Henry H. Clapp


The whole matter of Rigdon's conversion to Mormonism was so secret, so sudden and so perfectly unexpected,
that it was to us like a clap of thunder out of a clear sky. The four Mormons came to Mr. Rigdon's... I was
present at the time of the incident... Mr. Rigdon... proceeded to state the curious errand of some men from
the State of New York who had put up with him the night before, giving a very plain but brief view of the
history and object of the new revelation. He was evidently expecting encouragement, but the response of my
brother so decided and evidently unlooked for, showed him that he had nothing to hope for from us. His
countenance fell and without another word he returned home, and, though living in a house on my father's
farm but a few rods away, he never set foot in our house again.

at Kirtland... he affected to exhibit great sorrow and contrition for the inutility of his past preaching,
"that he feared it had only tickled their ears, etc." I cannot speak for all that were there, but I saw no
signs of sympathy with any except those already enlisted in Mormonism. As for myself, the whole thing was
such an evident piece of hypocrisy that I turned away sick and disgusted. I had heard all I wished and
returned home.... There was no attempt to get up a public meeting for the purpose of examining the claims
of the Book of Mormon before Mr. Rigdon embraced it, either in Mentor or Kirtland
, or anywhere in the vicinity.
It is sheer fabrication and gotten up (I presume) for the purpose of covering over the indecent haste with
which he embraced it.

Reproduced in James T. Cobb's "Sidney Rigdon's Conversion to Mormonism"
"Salt Lake Tribune," XVII:27 (May 16, 1879)
http://www.sidneyrigdon.com/dbroadhu/Utah ... htm#051679

=====================================


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Post by Uncle Dale »

I noticed a response to Dan Vogel at the bottom of Ted Chandler's web-page on Skousen, etc.

http://mormonstudies.com/scribe.htm#Vogel


A few excerpts:

Dan Vogel has offered a critique of my work on a message board at mormondiscussions.com.

Vogel states: "Unfortunately, Chandler's response to Skousen is based on a very poor understanding of O-MS,
as well as the mechanics of Skousen's transcription. ... His evidence for visual copying is almost exclusively
from misspelled words, or rather malformed letters and slips of the pen, which were later corrected." ...

Vogel's discussion of Skousen's examples amounts to little more than opining that Skousen's explanations are
"more likely" than mine. This a rather poor argument and seems to depend on accepting Vogel's position that
the manuscript was dictated.

Vogel declares that there is no evidence in the O-MS of either dittography or haplography. This is incorrect.
I haven't gone through the entire manuscript, but here are a few examples.

Dittography: [several examples cited]...

Haplography: [several examples cited]...

Vogel hasn't shown that Skousen didn't mean exactly what he said about replacing one letter by another,
he hasn't demonstrated that Skousen's explanations are "more likely" than other possibilities, he is completely
unaware of dittography and haplography in the O-MS, and he ignores changes similar to those in Knight's journal.
All of this poses serious challenges to Vogel's position.



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Post by Dan Vogel »

Dale,

# 4 but in order to respond in greater detail I'd need time, a day at least. In essence I don't think Rigdon was a religious follower, having been thrown out of a Baptist group for having different ideas. He was opinionated and not particularly open to persuasion.


And this you say of a man who was baptized for the third time into Mormonism? He was also somewhat erratic and eccentric. Campbell and Scott had different opinions about Rigdon as he was slipping towards the irrationality of religious enthusiasm. He was just the type to make a hasty emotionally-based conversion.

His eagerness to join so quickly bascially within a day, having only read the Book of Mormon in the evening and without having spent much time in evaluation leads one to question why would he act so fast. What was his primary motivation, what were his rewards? He already had a congregation, actually I believe 2 so why give them up to another authority unless he was offered a position within the new sect. And why would he be offered a position by them so soon as they had only just presented the Book of Mormon to him. So with the speed of events being so quick, it appears it was all planned out well in advance.


This kind of thing was a regular occurrence with early Mormon missionaries. Remember, these were charismatic conversions. They didn't have to take 7 or 8 missionary lessons. Sometimes the elders would preach, and people would come forward right then to be baptized.

Don't forget there were others baptized at the same time as Rigdon.

In a letter dated 12 November 1830, Kirtland, Ohio, Oliver Cowdery states:

... seventeen went immediately forward and were baptized, between eleven and twelve at night, and on the 6th there was one more, on the 7th nine in the day time and at night nineteen, on the 8th three, on the 9th three, on the 10th at night one, on the 11th one, on this day another, making in the whole fifty five, among whom are brother Sidney Rigdon and wife.

--(Newel Knight, Journal, circa 1846, private possession).


What do you imagine these other converts, who received baptism before Rigdon, were offered in exchange for membership? Generally, you are going on a very subjective hunch--not exactly compelling.

by the way, thanks for bringing Chandler's reply to my attention. It was rather unexpected. I will post my response later today.

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Post by Uncle Dale »

Dan Vogel wrote:
Dale,

marg wrote:# 4 but in order to respond in greater detail I'd need time, a day at least. In essence I don't think Rigdon was
a religious follower, having been thrown out of a Baptist group for having different ideas. He was opinionated
and not particularly open to persuasion.



And this you say of a man who was baptized for the third time into Mormonism?



Probably marg has not yet had time to study the 1830 situation in depth -- hopefully my having provided a
number of sources will help her better reconstruct the events surrounding Rigdon's quick Mormon conversion.

Rigdon was both a follower and a leader. When the Church of Christ was organized in Pittsburgh in 1823-24
he took a secondary position, behind the primary elder, Walter Scott. And, at a distance, Alexander Campbell
had a great influence over the theology and religious practices of both men. So, in that sense, Rigdon was a
"follower." I do not know whether he or Elder Scott composed the "3rd Epistle of Peter." The very fact that the
pseudo-scripture has no attribution means that, if Rigdon did write it, he was content to let it be published by
Scott (and re-published later by Campbell) without Sidney being able to take any credit for the composition.
http://www.sidneyrigdon.com/1824Scot.htm#page36a

Rev. Lawrence Greatrake, who was Rigdon's 1824 replacement, as the pastor of the hyper-Calvinist loyalists
in the Pittsburgh First Baptist Church, provides the details of Rigdon's being "thrown out of a Baptist group
for having different ideas." Actually the scene in 1823 was more complex than this. The congregation was split,
with Rigdon evidently attempting to secure himself the position of hosting the 1823 Redstone Baptist Assoc.
annual meeting in Pittsburgh, as a pro-Campbell leader in that city. In order to carry this secret manipulation
forward, Rigdon first of all attempted to disfellowship the hyper-Calvinists in his congregation. They responded
by seeking ecclesiastical support from their fellow Calvinists in surrounding Redstone congregations. By the
time that the annual meeting began (in Rigdon's Pittsburgh chapel), Alexander Campbell had been forced to
withdraw from the Redstone Association and Sidney Rigdon had so little remaining support, that he was
compelled to step aside and allow others to preside over the gathering in his own church. The hyper-Calvinists
won the concession of a Redstone investigation and were subsequently judged by that Association to be the
rightful Regular Baptist congregation in Pittsburgh. Thus Sidney and his pro-Cambell followers were not so
much "thrown out" of the Redstone Association, as they were "left out" by counter-manipulations carried out by
Alexander Campbell's religious rivals. Rigdon was at that stage very much a "follower" and a failed "leader."
http://www.sidneyrigdon.com/1836Grtk.htm#pg28b

As I said, when the Pittsburgh Church of Christ was formed a few months later, Rigdon's position slipped down
another notch, he being the Second Elder in that pro-Campbell "restored church."

Sidney's subsequent exploits in southern Geauga Co., Ohio soon cost him his pastor's position in the Bainbridge
congregation of the Grand River Association Regular Baptists in that place, and he had to resort to being a
travelling minister into Mahoning Association territory (Hiram, Mantua, etc.) in order to carry on as a disciple
of Alexander Campbell's "Reform." He was still very much a "follower" and a failed "leader." That situation
continued after he took up the pastor's office in the northern Geauga Co. Regular Baptist congregation at
Mentor. Within two years of his assuming that position, he had instituted Walter Scott's "Ancient Gospel" system
of Christian conversion and baptism -- and his semi-Arminian "Reform" efforts cost him the excommunication of
the entire Mentor church -- Rigdon was at that stage still very much a "follower" and a failed "leader."

So, Dan -- it was marg who was provisionally viewing Rigdon as an opinionated leader, instead of being a
"follower" in the Campbellite "Reform." At some point (I think 1827-28) Rigdon began to openly rebel against
Campbell's restrictive theology, but he remained at least an ostensible follower as late as 1829.

At the time he was baptized for a third time, the religious tenets he accepted in going into Mormonism were
exactly those of his own Rigdonite sub-group in the Baptist "Reform." Thus, Sidney Rigdon did not have to
accept any new relegious precepts by "persuasion," other than perhaps the overt act of tempting God for signs
and wonders through supplicatory prayer.

Dan Vogel wrote:He was also somewhat erratic and eccentric. Campbell and Scott had different opinions about Rigdon as he
was slipping towards the irrationality of religious enthusiasm. He was just the type to make a hasty emotionally-based conversion.



Dan -- on what basis can you say that? Was he "slipping towards the irrationality of religious enthusiasm," or
had his childhood head injury left him the victim of frequent visions and delusions, all through his life? Did
he make life-changing decisions hastily, based on "emotion," or had he been confident that he was a channel
for God's revelation for years prior to his Mormon baptism? In short -- WHAT was there for him to convert to?

Marg makes a good point -- that Rigdon was surrendering control over his Mentor and Kirtland congregations
when he became a Mormon convert. Those congregations had already lost the oversight and leadership of
their original Grand River Baptist Association moorings, and their temporary alliance with the neighboring
Campbellite Mahoning Baptist Association ended in the fall of 1830. Rigdon was left the unchallenged leader of
his own nothern Ohio Rigdonites, with followers in a number of adjacent Reformed Baptist congregations. In
his Mormon conversion he surrendered all of that -- he surrendered even a roof over the heads of his family.
It would be the modern equivalent of the "prophetic" Pat Robertson handing over his enthusiastic following
to Charlie Manson or to David Koresh.

Such a hand-over of ecclesiastical power does not strike me as being very typical of Sidney Rigdon. He was
used to being the #2 man in religious reforms -- of sharing power with Elder Walter Scott -- of operating with
"shared billing" as the rather secretive and manipulative agent of Alexander Campbell -- but for him to demote
himself to the status of an ordinary, powerless new member of Mormonism strikes me as being more than a
little problematic. It seems "unRigdonlike" to me -- unless there was an agreed to hidden agenda, which very
quickly propelled him into the SECRET MEETINGS in the New York Church of Christ, already discussed. I say
that we need to investigate this strange occurrence more closely. What hitherto unexamined evidence might
we be able to uncover? Scott Kenney has already been working on these matters and has gathered some new
material for his upcoming Kirtland era book. If you ever get past your work with the "Histoey of the Church"
compilations, and get back into investigating the Kirtland period, you yourself may well uncover the 1830
personal journal or obscure correspondence that gives us better information on the matter.

Dan Vogel wrote:
marg wrote:His eagerness to join so quickly bascially within a day, having only read the Book of Mormon in the evening and without having spent much time in evaluation leads one to question why would he act so fast. What was his primary motivation, what were his rewards? He already had a congregation, actually I believe 2 so why give them up to another authority unless he was offered a position within the new sect. And why would he be offered a position by them so soon as they had only just presented the Book of Mormon to him. So with the speed of events being so quick, it appears it was all planned out well in advance.



This kind of thing was a regular occurrence with early Mormon missionaries. Remember, these were charismatic conversions. They didn't have to take 7 or 8 missionary lessons. Sometimes the elders would preach, and people would come forward right then to be baptized.

Don't forget there were others baptized at the same time as Rigdon.



No, Dan -- you have that wrong. Whitmer and Peterson went to Kirtland and there set in motion the conversion
of those 17 communitarians. Then Cowdery left Rigdon, went over to Kirtland, and baptized them. And more
than one source says, at this Rigdon SEEMED much upset or angered.

Why did those 17 Rigdonites defy their own pastor and go into another church entirely? Rigdon lived within
walking distance of the Morley farm commune. Do you not think it strange that nobody thought to first ask for
his imput, on such a great transfer of religious loyality? By all accounts the communitarians were those members
of the Rigdonite fold most loyal to Sidney and his theological departures from Campbellism.

My reconstruction of the history tells me that Rigdon allowed Whitmer and Peterson to go missionizing in Kirtland;
and that he encouraged Cowdery to go over there and reap the fruits of those missionaries' labors -- but that
Rigdon at the same time put on a public face of being displeased with his loss of those 17 followers.

Dan Vogel wrote:What do you imagine these other converts, who received baptism before Rigdon, were offered in exchange
for membership? Generally, you are going on a very subjective hunch--not exactly compelling.



I cannot speak directly for marg, but I suppose that she would say that the 17 Rigdonites were offered salvation.
Back before the introduction of the semi-Universalist "three degrees of glory" tenet into Mormonism, the message
was that any person who was exposed to the Mormon "fulness of the gospel" and who rejected it, was bound for
eternal hellfire --- while those who accepted it were assured of their Ephraimite "eternal inheritance in Zion."
For the joiners of the Rigdonite commune (who had little or no personal wealth), the prospect of such godly
paternalism, made manifest in earthly treasure and eternal glory, must have made the Mormon gospel a very
attractive proposition. My own Winegar ancestral Mormon family were of this dirt-poor, enthusiastic, and
communitarian-minded sort -- and I attribute their 1832 conversion to just the sort of reasons that the 17
members of the Kirtland commune were enticed into Mormonism. With one difference -- my ancestors were
not loyal followers of Sidney Rigdon, living ten miles away from his residence, when they became Mormons.

The Mormons' conversion of those 17 makes sense for the reasons I have given -- and especially so, if Oliver
could wink and nod at his Allegany Co., New York friend Lyman Wight, and say under his breath, "Brother Sidney
fully approves of your conversion, and will himself be baptized into this new dispensation in short order."

Dan Vogel wrote:by the way, thanks for bringing Chandler's reply to my attention. It was rather unexpected. I will post my response
later today.



After seeing Ted's comments, I e-mailed him and said I was willing to suspend judgment -- and that for all
I know, parts of the O-MS were indeed dictated, while other parts may have been the product of a copyist.

Dale

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Book of Solomon

Post by Uncle Dale »

Just a quick message to say that I have begun to post the "Book of Solomon" research findings that I
conducted in cooperation with the late Vernal Holley.

This will comprise a series of web-pages devoted to documenting the thematic, phraseology, vocabulary, and
"non-contextual" word patterns for a Solomon Spalding authorship of the 1830 Book of Mormon Alma XX-Helaman II text:
http://solomonspalding.com/SRP/MEDIA/BookSol1.htm

The work may take a few weeks -- I'll try add some new material every few days.

Dale

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Re: Book of Solomon

Post by Dan Vogel »

Uncle Dale wrote:Just a quick message to say that I have begun to post the "Book of Solomon" research findings that I
conducted in cooperation with the late Vernal Holley.

This will comprise a series of web-pages devoted to documenting the thematic, phraseology, vocabulary, and
"non-contextual" word patterns for a Solomon Spalding authorship of the 1830 Book of Mormon Alma XX-Helaman II text:
http://solomonspalding.com/SRP/MEDIA/BookSol1.htm

The work may take a few weeks -- I'll try add some new material every few days.

Dale


I hope they are better than the one page you gave previously. I have comments to make on that but my response to Chandler has taken more time than it should have. I'm trying to cut it down. Chandler has a bad habit of just listing undigested material, which forces his respondent to do the analyzing for him. I'll probably post it tomorrow.

marg

Post by marg »

Dan,

I don't want to distract you from replying to Ted Chandler, but there is something I do want to comment on.


You wrote to Dale: Apparently, the only reason you suggest Pratt lied about the circumstances of Rigdon's conversion to Mormonism as well as his own is because your thesis demands it. Arguing that early Mormon leaders kept polygamy secret and therefore kept Spalding secret as well is not evidence. It's wishful thinking. You must give us reason for believing Pratt lied in this specific case. If you can't impeach Pratt's testimony, your theory that Rigdon was involved with Smith before December 1830 is in trouble.

Dan, the fact that Mormon leaders were able to keep secrets such as polygamy is evidence. It’s evidence that secret were able to be kept and therefore it’s not unreasonable to carry the reasoning further based on that evidence and assume the possibility that other secrets which may not be fully appreciated were kept.

You say to Dale “You must give us reason for believing Pratt lied in this specific case. If you can't impeach Pratt's testimony, your theory that Rigdon was involved with Smith before December 1830 is in trouble.”

Dale gives you your answer here, that is he offers reasoning why one should not necessarily trust everything Pratt said in particular having anything to do related to the Rigdon/Spalding theory.

Dale explained: "I was concentrating more upon the fact that he (Pratt) was a partisan with authority to speak for the Church on this
matter.
When you turn on your TV and hear a lawyer speaking for his client (even if the client is a church)
do you automatically conclude that you are receiving the full and unvarnished truth?

And if that same lawyer were later to take the witness stand, and there provide testimony exhonorating both
himself and his client, would you not hope that he would be carefully cross-examined by an opposing attorney?

I said before that I do not view my own work on this topic as being the same as prosecutor, judge and jury in
a legal case, and I do not present my findings and provisional conclusions with that same degree of precision
and adversarial process. But I will say that I see Pratt acting somewhat like a partisan lawyer-spokesman whose
main concern is in defending his client and himself -- and not in his disclosing facts harmful to his case. "


Dan your approach lacks good critical thinking. You may have lots of knowledge of facts but you do not seem to apply good reasoning to them. For example, you seem to start off with a presumption that all Book of Mormon witnesses are telling the truth; that all people who were at the top of the Mormon organization in its early days, who were influential were all telling the truth. But there is NO reason that particular presumption should rest, in fact the opposite is the case. If you want to argue this presumption you need to establish that all those involved in this hoax which involved claims to angels appearing, God speaking, Jesus appearing, historical knowledge of America, divine guidance in translation of non existent plates ...were telling the truth. The presumption Dan is that they were not truthful. And anyone associated with the initial stages in this organization who had a vested interest, one must be skeptical of anything they say. The presumption Dan is that all those involved were dishonest and to overturn that you have to establish why anyone should assume they were truthful.

As far as Pratt goes, if he carried on duties in the church as spokesman against the Spalding/Rigdon theory it means he had a vested interest in saying anything which would lead away from a conclusion that Spalding and Rigdon were involved. He’s not some disinterested participant. And he does have something to gain being as his employment is with the church. It is crucial that one is able to apply reasoning to evidence, Dan. Evidence just doesn’t stand as is, it needs to be evaluated and reasoning applied to it and from there probable theories drawn.

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Post by Uncle Dale »

marg wrote:
As far as Pratt goes, if he carried on duties in the church as spokesman against the Spalding/Rigdon theory
it means he had a vested interest in saying anything which would lead away from a conclusion that Spalding
and Rigdon were involved...



I'd like to call attention again to an assertion that I trace back to the pen of Sidney Rigdon:

"Joseph Smith... taught those over whom he had influence, that they ought to lie for him; and Parley P. Pratt,
who has, since Smith was cut off, shared a similar fate himself, and for the same cause, that of transgression,
had the boldness once to say that they ought to lie for Brother Joseph; and it was a fact that he and others
did so on the grand scale
.

http://sidneyrigdon.com/books/Appl1863.htm#pg52a

Sidney Rigdon, et al.
"An Appeal to the Latter Days Saints" p. 52
(Philadelphia, self pub., 1863)

Similar claims can be found in Rigdon's post-Nauvoo Messenger and Advocate, as well as here and there
in his numerous "revelations" (see the Stephen Post Collection in the LDS Church Archives, microfilm at BYU)

Although I do not believe Rigdon over Pratt in most cases, I think that these claims from the Rigdonites are
laced with more than a little irony --- that we are cautioned not to believe Pratt, because he lies in the name
of Joseph Smith, or in the name of the Church, or in the name of the Lord, or in the name of his own honor.

Based upon the old saying, that it "takes one to know one;" and based upon the fact that Rigdon lost his own
Mormon Elder's license for "lying in the name of the Lord," I would at least say Rigdon would know a holy lie
when he saw one.

In another place, Rigdon once said: "lies become holy things in the hands of such excessive piety,
particularly when they are graced with a few Reverends; but the days have gone by, when people are
to be deceived by these false glossings of Rev'd sanctions; the intelligent part of the communities,
of all parts of the country, know that Rev'ds are not more notorious for truth than their neighbors."
http://www.sidneyrigdon.com/dbroadhu/IL ... htm#rigdon

Again the irony here is palpable -- Rigdon being essentially the head of an entire church when he wrote
those words (Joseph Smith having just barely returned to Mormon protection after escaping from custody).

None of which overturns Dan's odd preoccupation with giving the old Mormon leaders the benefit of the
doubt, when their public honesty is at stake ----- but I thought it worth sharing here, all the same.

Dale

marg

Post by marg »

Dan,

One other example in which I find your critical evaluation on this Pratt issue rather weak. I'm not going to quote or get the exact details but off the top of my head..my understanding is that Pratt sold his farm and went with his wife on a journey to preach and visit relatives. And I believe at the point of starting out he had been associating with Rigdon. So he goes on this journey along some waterway (I believe) and makes a pit stop by himself and has his wife go ahead of him alone..though I believe he escorted her quite a few miles. I believe you said something along the line that Pratt gave his reason for this pit stop..as the spirit had moved him to stop...and that this reasoning he gave, you accept because you have no reason to doubt Pratt.

Well what husband goes on a journey with a wife, in pretty much the wilderness..and has her continue on alone..even if a feeling/spirit had moved him? Doesn't it seem strange to you that he apparently didn't want his wife with him? Why does she go on alone? What reason did he give for that? Doesn't it seem as if he had business or something to do, which he'd rather she be not present for? So he makes this pit stop and just happens to come across the Book of Mormon, just happens to be converted, just happens to go back to Rigdon with the Book of Mormon. Is my understanding wrong in this? Is my skepticism too extreme? I appreciate you seem to have a problem with skepticism ..arguing that it's a slippery slope leading to nihilism...but do you not see there is good reason to be skeptical of Pratt's actions and his justification for them?

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Vogel Responds to Chandler

Post by Dan Vogel »

Vogel's Response to Chandler's Reply

This a lengthy response, but Chandler's method of making lists without analysis forces his respondent to unpack his assumptions and misapprehensions. Hopefully, if Chandler wishes to respond to this, or even if he plans to publish more of his research on the internet, this critique will motivate him to expend more effort in his presentation of arguments and evidence.

Introduction

Dan Vogel has offered a critique of my work on a message board at mormondiscussions.com.


Actually, I'm not finished with my critique. I have only posted Part 1.

1. Chandler's response to Skousen.

2. Chandler's evidence of visual copying from O-MS.

3. Chandler's conclusions from preceding evidence.

4. Chandler's reply to critics of the preceding evidence.

In Part 1, I showed that Chandler's response to Skousen's evidence for hearing mistakes was inadequate. Chandler's response to this part of my critique is still inadequate. Chandler focused on my discussion of dittography and haplography instead.

In Part 2, I will show that Chandler's evidence from malformed letters and nonsensical words does not prove the scribes were copying from a proto-BOM MS, but rather they were rushed to keep up with dictation.

In Part 3, I will show that Chandler's conclusions based on malformed letters and nonsensical words are incorrect.

In Part 4, I will show that Chandler's reply to his critics is inadequate.

I pause from my course to reply to Chandler's response to my Part 1.

Chandler's Response to Vogel

Vogel states: "Unfortunately, Chandler's response to Skousen is based on a very poor understanding of O-MS, as well as the mechanics of Skousen's transcription. ... His evidence for visual copying is almost exclusively from misspelled words, or rather malformed letters and slips of the pen, which were later corrected."
So, apparently Vogel's position is that Skousen doesn't really mean what he says. When Skousen explains a symbol as "x has been overwritten by y," or another symbol as "the text may be x or y, with x preferred or intended," we are to understand that x and y do not represent two different letters but two attempts by the scribe to form the same letter. Skousen is not talking about spelling errors where one letter is mistaken for another. Unfortunately for Vogel, this is not what Skousen actually says. For example, Skousen states: "The original manuscript is not letter-for-letter perfect, but evidence suggests that it contained relatively few errors (excluding spelling variants)" (p. 6). Then in explaining overwriting, Skousen says: "If the text is changed or a whole letter is overwritten, I specify both the original text and the correcting text, separated by a vertical bar" (p. 22). Skousen is talking about spelling variants and replacing one letter by another, not merely correcting a slip of the pen. In fact, Skousen uses other symbols to designate ways in which a letter has been malformed. It seems to me that it is Vogel who doesn't understand the mechanics of Skousen's transcription.


Chandler conflates Skousen's "few errors (excluding spelling variants)" (from p. 6) with his method of dealing with the correction of "whole letters" (from p. 22). Skousen's example on page 22 is a slip of the pen. In the sentence following Chandler's quote, Skousen explains--

In 1 Nephi 2:11 ..., Oliver Cowdery first started to write foolish with fl, but then overwrote his partially written l with an o:

26 ... because of the f{l(-)|o}olish imma{g}ionations of


Nowhere does Skousen call this a misspelling, although loosely speaking it might be called that. Chandler thinks that a letter can only be malformed by leaving out or adding a stroke. But a malformed letter can also look like another letter--for example, a malformed "r" can look like an "n", or visa versa. Chandler himself acknowledged that

There are resemblances between the ways in which Oliver forms his "r," "n," and "v."


Here's an example from the Oliver Cowdery Letterbook--

Image

The word is "present". Note the similarity between the "r" and "n", as well as between the "r" and the "s". Note also how his "p" has a high riser and resembles an "f".


So, when Cowdery (and other scribes) rushes to keep up with Joseph Smith's dictation, he may write malformed letters and, due to the similarity between his "r" and "n", he may write words that look like the following two examples--

[Skousen's symbols= {x|y} for x has been overwritten by y]

Chandler: the Lord hath concecrated this lard=land unto me (165:29)
Skousen: the Lord hath concecrated this la{r|n}[d] unto me (165:29)

Chandler: the tempest began to be exceding sone=sore (147:25)
Skousen: the tempest [be]gan to be exceding so{n|r}e (147:25)

So, although the words look like "lard" and "sone", Cowdery intended to write "land" and "sore". If I were quoting this part of the MS, I would have simply ignored the doctoring of letters, but what does an exacting transcriber like Skousen do when he wants to show every stroke a scribe makes? When Cowdery's "r" and "n" look so similar, he has to decide if the malformed "r" is still an "r" or looks more like Cowdery's "n". So, for example, Skousen will transcribe "land" and "sore" in the following two ways when an overwrite has occurred--

la{r|n}d or la{n}d
so{n|r}e or so{r}e

In the first instance r has been overwritten by n, or visa versa.
In the second instance n has been overwritten by n, or visa versa.

These are examples of where the malformed letters can make nonsensical words, but what if the similarity in lettering makes sense either way? Skousen handles those situations in a different way, as explained on pages 18-19--

Sometimes when a letter (or group of letters) is difficult to read, more than one reading is possible. Again I use square brakets to represent this difficulty with legibility. For instance, if a letter could be either x or y, I represent this as [x | y]. A vertical bar separates the two possibilities. The reader should assume that the x, the first reading, is the intended or most probable reading. For instance, in 1 Nephi ... there are two examples of the past-tense verb bare which could also be read as bore , although bare (with a capital B ) seems to have been scribe 2's intended spelling:

26 B[a|o]re record & they B[a|o]re record according to the



The subtle distinction between Skousen's use of {x|y} and [x|y] was lost on Chandler. The firs involves overwritten letters, while the second is an ambiguous reading. Imagine if Skousen tried to blend the two methods to indicate what Chandler believed should have been Skousen's method with malformed letters.

Chandler: the Lord hath concecrated this lard=land unto me (165:29)
Skousen: the Lord hath concecrated this la{r|n}[d] unto me (165:29)
Skousen?: the Lord hath concecrated this la{[n|r]|n}[d] unto me (165:29)

Chandler: the tempest began to be exceding sone=sore (147:25)
Skousen: the tempest [be]gan to be exceding so{n|r}e (147:25)
Skousen?: the tempest [be]gan to be exceding so{[r|n]|r}e (147:25)

So far as I can tell, Skousen does not use the third almost unreadable representation. With malformed letters, Skousen is apparently going solely on appearance because there is no ambiguity in meaning.

Chandler's logic doesn't make sense. Technically, these are not misspelled words. A misspelled word would be something like "verry" or "Citty". These are nonsensical words. Chandler has an odd notion of what a scribe does when copying from another MS. What scribe copies letter by letter nonsensical words? Typically, a scribe reads the text and writes down what he reads, not what he sees, unless it is an unfamiliar word like Zarahamla, curelom, or Cumorah. So, a scribe copies word for word, not letter for letter. If a word is difficult to read, the scribe will use the context to decipher the word. If an error is made, it would involve substituting the right word for an incorrect similar-looking word, examples of which Skousen has given (see my previous post dealing with Skousen's evidence for dictation).

Rather than imagining scribes mindlessly copying letter for letter in a badly written Spalding-Rigdon text, even words they knew how to spell, a more reasonable explanation is that Cowdery's malformed "n" looks like an "r", so Skousen transcribed it as an "r". Of course, Chandler has no idea what the postulated proto-BOM MS looked like, but we do know that some of Cowdery's letters--even under ideal conditions--look very similar to one another, which Chandler himself admited. So, it would seem an obvious place to look for problems in O-MS is with Cowdery's penmanship. Besides, the presence of nonsensical words cannot tell us that the scribes were copying from another MS. Hence, Chandler's argument is a non sequitur . He doesn't take the time to show readers what the evidence means and how exactly his evidence from "misspellings" is supposed to demonstrate what he is trying to prove. If he had, perhaps he would have realized the weakness of his evidence before publishing it on the internet. (I will return to this matter in Part 3 of my critique of Chandler's methodology.)

Chandler Fails to Respond to Skousen's Evidence ... Again!

Vogel's discussion of Skousen's examples amounts to little more than opining that Skousen's explanations are "more likely" than mine. This a rather poor argument and seems to depend on accepting Vogel's position that the manuscript was dictated.


Rather, it was Chandler who was opining and speculating some far fetched scenarios to explain away Skousen's evidence, and ignoring one argument altogether. He seems to think that any alternative explanation is equally likely simply because he can make one up while at the same time ignoring eyewitness testimony. His alternate explanations require us to also accept the unlikely, less parsimonious, and unfounded assertion that not only Oliver Cowdery, but two other unidentified scribes, as well as Martin Harris and Emma Smith were involved in a conspiracy with Joseph Smith. It would also mean that those who testified to Joseph Smith's method of dictation were either lying, or Joseph Smith and his scribes in Fayette managed to keep the true method hidden from the Whitmer family. So, Skousen's evidence is consistent with eyewitness testimony, and Chandler's is not.

Moreover, Skousen's examples of hearing problems are typical source-critical methodology, whereas Chandler's evidence from malformed letters is not, which is why I brought up dittography and haplography. Chandler believes his ad hoc rationalizations are equally likely as Skousen's evidence for dictation, but he neglects to defend them or to respond to my criticisms. Simply asserting that I'm "opining" won't cut it. It's not enough to come up with imaginative alternative explanations for Skousen's evidence, Chandler must come up with equal or better explanations. Otherwise, how can he disagree with my criticisms of his work if he has such a low standard for evidence?

Dittographic Evidence from O-MS?
Vogel declares that there is no evidence in the O-MS of either dittography or haplography. This is incorrect. I haven't gone through the entire manuscript, but here are a few examples.


Dittoggraphic evidence is certainly a much better approach than the appearance of nonsensical words. But the mere presence of repetition is not automatic evidence of visual copying of a MS. While it is correct to refer to unintentional repetition as dittography, the kind that's used to demonstrate visual copying has to be more definitive and less ambiguous than those listed by Chandler. It is to this latter type of dittography that I referred. This is clear from the context of the above statement, which Chandler neglected to quote. In Part 1 of my critique where I discussed Skousen's evidence for hearing mistakes in O-MS, I said:

4. Cowdery mishears him for them in Alma 55:8 and Ether 8:17

O-MS: & behold they saw him <a> comeing & they hailed him but he sayeth unto <him> them not

Chandler asserts: "In the first him/them example, the word "him" occurs twice in the text before the incorrect occurrence; therefore, Oliver could simply have become confused while looking back and forth between an original text and his copy." Of course, it's possible that the scribe was about to start a dittograph but caught himself before the next word. So, it's not a definitive dittograph either. But it is well known problem in dictation, so Skousen's explanation seems more likely. Skousen: "One particular difficulty for the scribe occurred whenever Joseph Smith pronounced unstressed 'em (for either them]/i] or [i]him)." (68)


The explanation Chandler here gives is what he now calls a dittograph. If it is a dittograph, the scribe caught himself immediately before copying the next word or words--thus, "him a comeing". That would better evidence for a dittograph. Also, in a dittograph, one looks for a reason the scribe's eye jumped back to the first "him" like the same word appearing before both occurrences of "him", which it doesn't. So, this is not an example of a definitive dittograph; in fact, it is not likely. Thus, Skousen's explanation seems more likely. But the main point here is that Chandler should have learned something from this statement, but evidently he chose to ignore it and present other similar situations a dittographic evidence.

Another statement I made about dittography occurred in my initial presentation of Skousen's evidence for oral dictation of O-MS, where I said:

While it's certainly possible to have a repeated word in oral dictation from false starts, other types of dittography are clearly from the scribe's eye skipping lines. Dittographic evidence is absent from the O-MS, but frequently appears in P-MS.


It is certainly possible to have dittographs in dictation. When the person dictating stops to think, and recommences by repeating the last word or words. Of the two kinds of dittographs I describe, it is the latter that I claim is absent from O-MS. Admittedly, I haven't read every page of Skousen's transcription, but of the kinds of evidence Chandler could bring forward to prove O-MS was copied and not dictated, the latter type dittograph would be the best. However, Chandler might have been confused when I included both types of dittographs in my examples from P-MS. I did this because we know it was visually copied. So we know all dittographs are the result of the scribe's eye skipping to the wrong place in O-MS. However, when one is looking for proof, the standards are higher. Remember, the definition of dittography I gave was

The error of parablepsis (a looking by the side) is caused by homoeoteleuton (a similar ending of lines). Dittography is when a word or group of words is picked up a second time by the scribe and as a result the same line is copied twice when it only appears once.

http://www.earlham.edu/~seidti/iam/dittography.html


The key here is not just the repetition of a word, but showing that the scribe's eye skipped back to the same word or words, which causes the scribe to copy a line twice. An example of a more definitive dittograph would be 2 Ne. 25:25--

[symbols= <word> for strikeouts; \word/ for above the line insertions; italicized words are the repeated words]

the Jews do understand the things of the Prophets, & there is none other People that understand the things <of the Prophets> spoken unto the Jews ... (P-MS, 211:29-30)

Here, apparently, after writing the second "understand the things", the scribe's eye skipped to the first occurrence of the phrase, which caused the scribe to write "of the Prophets" twice--although the canceled phrase fits the repetitive style of the Book of Mormon. The ideal dittograph would be where the scribe apparently does not catch the mistake, as in the following imaginary situation using the above as an example--

the Jews do understand the things of the Prophets, & there is none other People that understand the things of the Prophets & there is none other People that understand the things spoken unto the Jews ...

Although dittography is better evidence than Chandler's evidence from malformed letters and nonsensical words, it is not without problems. Most dittographs are not ideal and pose interpretive challenges of their own. For those who remember the exchange between Brent Metcalfe and Brian Hauglid and Wil Schryver, the issue of dittographic evidence was hotly debated, with Schryver using the weakest examples of dittography to counter Brent's evidence for dictation. There, too, Schryver overstated his dittographic evidence and ignored the strength of hearing problems. Needless to say, none of Chandler's examples fall into the category of definitive dittograph.

Chandler's Examples of Dittography

Dittography:
[1] we (we) went down to the land of our inheritance (68:12-13)
[2] out of (out of) captivity (70-71:54, 1)
[3] the spirit said unto me again (to me) slay him (72:31-32)
[4] ishmael and his wife (and) (his Wife) and his three other daugters(83:12-13)
[5] they did give thanks unto the lord their god and they did (give) offer (thanks) sacrifice (87:24-25)
[6] after that i had traveld for the space (for) of menny hours (88:44)
[7] the river of water (of) (water of water) a great and spesious bilding (91:48-49)
[8] a prophet which should come before the masiah (whi) to prepare the way (96:33-34)
[9] the fall there of (there of) was exceding great (107:16-17)
[10] of great worth unto the gentiles & the (gen) Angel of the Lord said (116:20)
[11] wherefore the final (fi) state of the souls (131:38)
[12] they being lead the Lead their God (141:28)
[13] to the Queen informing her that the (Qu) King had been slain (395:20)

--(numbers added for convenience)


Half are simple immediate repetitions (1, 2, 4, 7, 9, 11), which can happen in dictation and are therefore ambiguous. With one possible exception (5), none are preceded by similar words that can cause the scribe's eye to skip back. Several are one or two words, or even part of a word, which Chandler assumes were near-dittographs due the scribe's eye skipping back (for no apparent reason) but catching the mistake on the first word or two or partial word (3, 5, 6, 8, 10, 12, 13). This isn't at all apparent. For example,

[3] the spirit said unto me again (to me) slay him (72:31-32)


If this were a visual mistake, one would expect it to read: "unto me again unto me". Because it doesn't fit a visual explanation well, speculation as to how it could fit a dictation scenario is warranted. Perhaps Joseph Smith paused after "unto me again ..." And then, either intentionally or unintentionally repeated himself without "again".

[5] they did give thanks unto the lord their god and they did (give) offer (thanks) sacrifice (87:24-25)


Skousen: ... they did give thank(s)
unto the lord their god and they did {[giv<%e%>] | offer} {<%tha%>North Korea<%s%> | sacrific}e and of
-fer burnt ofrings unto him (87:24-26)

[symbols= <%x%> for x canceled by erasure; {x | y} for y written over x; [x] for x partially legible]

1 Ne. 7:22. Perhaps Chandler's best example, but problematic. However, Chandler has left out the end of the sentence, which is important because it creates a repetition of the word "offer". While the phrase "offer sacrifice and burnt offerings" occurs in the Book of Mormon several times (1 Ne. 5:9; 7:22; Mos. 2:3), the phrase "offer sacrifice and offer burnt ofrings" does not. In copying this passaged into P-MS, Cowdery deleted the second "offering".)

In his analysis of this passage, Skousen states:

A tapering off of the ink flow for offerings (spelled ofrings) suggests that scribe 3 quit at that point to make a messy correction of his conflated text. He first erased the repeated "give thanks" (with considerable smearing) and then overwrote it with "offer sacrifice". The problem here is that he apparently neglected to delete the now-repeated verb offer. ...

There is considerable internal evidence that scribe 3's repeated offer ... is highly unexpected.

--(Skousen, vol. 4, Pt. 1, 155-56)


If Skousen is correct that the scribe reached "ofrings" before correcting the mistake, a dittograph did not occur since more words would have been wrong. Assuming the scribe did not notice the mistake until the end of the sentence, the dittography would have read as follows--

they did give thanks unto the lord their god and they did give thanks unto the lord their god and they did offer sacrifice and burnt offerings [unto him]

So it's not a typical dittograph. Hence, Skousen calls it a "conflation". Recreating the sequence of emendation is difficult, but Skousen doesn't seem to have an explanation for the appearance of the second "offer". Cowdery's deleting it was undoubtedly based on the awkward reading, but only when "give thanks" was erased and replaced with "offer sacrifice" did the second "offer" become awkward. Given the Book of Mormon's repetitive style and Joseph Smith's impromptu dictation, it is entirely possible that the original more difficult reading was just as Joseph Smith dictated it. Thus--

"they did give thanks unto the lord their god and they did give thanks and offer burnt ofrings unto him"

[6] after that i had traveld for the space (for) of menny hours (88:44)


Skousen: after that i had tr{u | a}ve{<%d%> | l}ed(-) {r |f}or the space <f^or> \of/ me(n)
[-]New York hours ... (88:44)

Chandler's transcription obscures an important fact. Note that "for" was canceled and "of" inserted above the line, rather than on the line following the canceled word (in Skousen's transcription the "of" is actually above "for"). This means the error wasn't caught immediately and wasn't the result of a dittograph. If a dittograph had been committed and not immediately caught, one would expect it to read before emendation:

after that i had traveld for the space for the space of menny hours (88:44)


[8] a prophet which should come before the masiah (whi) to prepare the way (96:33-34)


Chandler presumes the "whi" was a near-dittograph of the preceding "which", but the scribe caught himself before finishing the word, which is difficult to do when the scribe is looking away from the source to write the word. There is also no similar words to explain why the scribe's eye went to the wrong place.

[10] of great worth unto the gentiles & the (gen) Angel of the Lord said (116:20)


Skousen: of great worth un(-)to the gentiles & the {<%gen(-)%> | An}ge
-l of the Lord said ...

Here the scribe wrote "ge" and part of an "n", then erased it. Then wrote "An" over the erasure and finished "ge-l". Did the scribe anticipate the wrong word Joseph Smith would say? Or did the scribe's eye skip back three words? How does a scribe catch himself before completing the word when looking away from the MS? There are no words to confuse the scribe.

[12] they being lead the Lead their God (141:28)


1 Ne. 17:30. This is not a dittograph, but accidentally writing "Lead" instead of "Lord" having just written "lead". Since it wasn't caught and corrected, if it were a dittograph, it should have read:

they being lead the Lead the Lord their God

[13] to the Queen informing her that the (Qu) King had been slain (395:20)


Skousen: to the {Q}ueen informing here that the <%[Q]u%> [K]ing had bee[n] ...

Alma 47. There is nothing to indicate why the scribe's eye would skip back. Perhaps the scribe incorrectly anticipated the next word. Again, a partial word is difficult to explain as a copying error.

Haplographic Evidence from O-MS?

Haplography is harder to detect since it is an accidental omission of a phrase, which doesn't always disturb meaning. As defined,

... haplography occurs when text is missing owing to lines which have a similar ending in a manuscript.

http://www.earlham.edu/~seidti/iam/haplography.html


None of Chandler's examples follow this pattern. Just because the scribe appears to jump ahead of what is eventually written doesn't mean he is copying from a proto-BOM MS. He may have simply fallen behind in the dictation. One has to show that there was a reason his eye skipped to the wrong place, as in the example I provided from P-MS--

Page 165: therefore the king couldD not confer the kingDom upon him; \neither would Aaron take upon him the kingdom/ neither was any of the Sons of Mosiah willing to take upon them the kingDom

Here Hyrum Smith missed a phrase because his eye skipped to the next neither. Cowdery restored the lost phrase.

This kind of visual error is difficult to detect without an original to compare or an above the line insertion by a proof reader. If Cowdery proofed P-MS against O-MS, could we not expect him to have proofed O-MS against the Spalding-Rigdon MS? Regardless, there is no evidence for haplography in O-MS.


Again, none of Chandler's examples fall into this category.


Chandler's Examples of Haplography from O-MS

Haplography:
[1] I had smote off his (own) head with his own sword (73:49)
[2] and Laban also (d) was a descendant of joseph (80:5)
[3] how is it (how great things) that ye have forgotten how great things (84:25-26)
[4] it came to pass that (I) after i had praid unto the lord (88:47-48)
[5] for the plates uppon which i make a (pe) full account of my people (94:44-45)
[6] come to the (Re) knowlledge of the true masiah their lord and their redemer (98:14-15)
[7] i desire to be hold (to) t(re)he things which my father saw ... thy father saw the tree (101:4-7)
[8] have been lifted up (above) by the power of God above all other Nations (119:11-12)
[9] & (pre) most precious parts (120:40)
[10] I did slay (bea) wild beasts (136:1)
[11] make himself a (Ru) King & a ruler over us (137:21)
[12] O house of (I) Jacob which are called by the name of Israel (153-54: 38, 1)
[13] the Lamanites could not come upon us by (many) night and slay us which they attempted many times (450:9)

--(numbers and bold added for convenience)


Except for one example (3), all are one word or part of a word, even a single letter, that appear to jump ahead, which can happen in dictation. With the exception of (1), none have similar wording that could cause the scribe's eye to skip to the wrong place. Just because the scribe appears to skip ahead doesn't mean he is visually copying another MS. Skousen interprets these examples as evidence of "scribal anticipations".

Evidence from scribal anticipations (caused by the scribe accidentally skipping ahead while writing down dictation) suggests that Joseph Smith sometimes dictated up to thirty words at a time. (p. 6)


This is a far more likely reason, than Chandler's belief that they are haplography due to the scribe's eye skipping ahead. Another reason for the apparent skipping ahead is that Joseph Smith apparently changed direction in his dictation. In other words, he sometimes got ahead of himself in the dictation. Skousen also hinted at this in his introduction--

In general, there are very few signs of any editing or Joseph changing his mind about the translation. (p. 6)


I think these two principles are operating behind Chandler's examples--at least this seems more likely since there are no similar words to confuse the scribe and mostly one word or part of a word.


[1] I had smote off his (own) head with his own sword (73:49)


The only example with similar wording ("his"), but probably just bad English being corrected.

[2] and Laban also (d) was a descendant of joseph (80:5)


Skousen: {<%d%> | w}as a desendant

No reason for eye to skip. Caught too soon to be accidental haplography. Probably scribe getting ahead of himself.

[3]how is it (how great things) that ye have forgotten how great things (84:25-26)


1 Ne. 7:11. Is this evidence that the scribe's eye skipped ahead? There is no reason for the eye to skip. Or is it evidence that Joseph Smith was struggling with impromptu dictation of a difficult passage? Or, perhaps the scribe got ahead of himself, as Skousen suggests? Regardless, not good evidence of haplography.

[4] it came to pass that (I) after i had praid unto the lord (88:47-48)


Skousen: it came to pass that <I> after i had praid unto the lord ^i^ be{h}eld ...

1 Ne. 8:9. The third "i" is above the line. Bad English being corrected, or Joseph Smith correcting himself when he added a dependent clause. In other words, he started to say, "I beheld ..." But then changed his mind, which is expected in dictation.

[5] ... [my people] for the plates uppon which i make a (pe) full account of my people (94:44-45)


No reason for the eye to skip, either forwards or backwards. Scribe wrote "pe", erased it, and then wrote "full". Skousen would say the scribe got ahead of himself, especially since "wrote people" makes no sense.

[6] come to the (Re) knowlledge of the true masiah their lord and their redemer (98:14-15)


1 Ne. 10:14. No reason for scribe's eye to skip forward. Either Joseph Smith changed his mind, or scribe couldn't keep up.

[7] i desire to be hold (to) t(re)he things which my father saw ... thy father saw the tree (101:4-7)


1 Ne. 11:2-4. Not haplography. Chandler thinks the scribe's eye skipped three lines for no apparent reason? Not likely.

... and the Spirit saith unto
me be hold what desirest thou and i said i desire to
be hold <to> tree|the ^things^ which my father saw and the spirit
saith unto me believest thou that thy father saw
the tree of which he hath spoken

More likely, Joseph Smith's started to say,

"and i [Nephi] saith i desire to behold [the] tree which my father saw ...

But changed his mind and had the scribe change "tree" to "the ^things^ ("things" written above the line).

[8] have been lifted up (above) by the power of God above all other Nations (119:11-12)


No reason for eye to skip. Rather, the type of correction one would expect in impromptu dictation, when Joseph Smith change his mind about word ordering. Starting to say "have lifted up above all other nations by the power of God", but changing it to present word ordering.

[9] & (pre) most precious parts (120:40)


Probably Joseph Smith correcting himself by adding "most". Like saying, "... most plain and precious ... (rather) ... most precious ..." Which would explain why the scribe only writes three letters, whereas in copying one would expect the scribe to complete the word before looking back at the source document.

[10]I did slay (bea) wild beasts (136:1)


Again, probably Joseph Smith adding an adjective after dictating the noun.

[11] make himself a (Ru) King & a ruler over us (137:21)


No reason for eye to skip. Most likely Joseph Smith rephrasing.

[12] O house of (I) Jacob which are called by the name of Israel (153-54: 38, 1)


No reason for eye to skip. Most likely, Joseph Smith saying "Israel" and then deciding to qualify the term.

[13] the Lamanites could not come upon us by (many) night and slay us which they attempted many times (450:9)


Alma 57. O-MS at this point is badly damaged and seems to have been a challenge to dictate since there are many corrections, erasures, and overwrites. But the scribe caught the error immediately, erased it, and wrote "night". In the previous line, the scribe wrote "many da", erased "da" and wrote "night", which may have been the source of confusion.

Chandler's Argument from Personal Circumstances

In the last section of his response to my critique, Chandler tries to coerce my ascent to his analysis by reference to my own source-critical notations to the Newel Knight journal in Early Mormon Documents . Thus Chandler argues:

Let's consider another type of error documented by Vogel in his own edition of the Newel Knight Journal. Vogel notes two places in which the manuscript replaces "my" with "his," three places where "me" is overwritten by "him," another place where "I" is overwritten by "he," and "he" is overwritten by "him." Vogel states: "This kind of change is important because it shows how closely Knight followed Joseph Smith's published history" (Early American Documents, 4:31). But similar changes are found in the O-MS. Here are some examples.


Then, Chandler gives the following examples from O-MS, which make corrections to personal pronouns.

[1] many were lost from (My view) his view (92:16)[2] which (their) thy father saw (111:30)
[3] the Angel saith ... the rath of God is upon the seed of (my) thy Brethren (114:28)
[4] the one pointed the way whither (they) we should go (133:31)
[5] the power of the Lord that hath shaken (me) us (145:22)
[6] in as much as ye will not keep (his) my commandments ye shall be cut off from (his) my presance (169:4-5)
[7] according to the time which (he) they laboured (212:13)
[8] behold (he) we went forth even in wrath (264:19)
[9] destruction among those who (he) they so dearly beloved (268:19)
[10] also his people with them if (Moro) they would spare the remainder (372:17)
[11] the armies of the Nephites or of Moroni returned & came to (his) their houses (372:26)
[12] that if (he) they would support (379:32)
[13] for he knew (that he) that they would stir up the Lamanites (385:9)
[14] went forth unto him to be Baptised for (he) they came repenting (509:15)
[15] (they could) we can not hit him (509:19)

--(numbers added for convenience)


From these examples, Chandler makes the following conclusion--

These emendations seem to indicate that a text was being followed closely but was also being changed in ways similar to Knight's journal.


The difference is that I can compare Knight's journal entries against Joseph Smith's history, but Chandler does not have access to his proposed proto-BOM MS. Nor have I based my comment on the emendation of personal pronouns, but on the body of the text itself. Where Joseph Smith says "I", Knight must change it to "his". This is not what happens in most of Chandler's examples. Again, Chandler wastes our time with a list of indiscriminately chosen pronoun changes without explaining exactly how they become evidence for a proto-BOM MS. There are other reasons for changing pronouns than what Knight found necessary for his situation. Problems in pronoun agreement are typical of dictated texts, especially by someone of Joseph Smith's education, but not of Rigdon. There are no systematic changes of first to third person as in Knight's journal, but rather most of the examples deal with correction of error resulting from internal textual problems. Joseph Smith wasn't the best grammarian, and problems of pronoun agreement are to be expected. Similar examples appear in his Old Testament MS #1--

[<word> for strikeouts; \word/ for above the line insertions]

OT MS #1
p. 7-- remain with <thee> \me,/ she gave me
p. 9-- I know not am I <thy> my brothers keeper
p. 13-- made known unto <our> \my/ fathers
p. 17-- and all the workmanship of <thine> \mine/ hands


Conclusion

Vogel hasn't shown that Skousen didn't mean exactly what he said about replacing one letter by another, he hasn't demonstrated that Skousen's explanations are "more likely" than other possibilities, he is completely unaware of dittography and haplography in the O-MS, and he ignores changes similar to those in Knight's journal. All of this poses serious challenges to Vogel's position.


I hope I have shown that Chandler doesn't understand Skousen's editorial procedure. Chandler hasn't responded to either me or Skousen on the hearing evidence, so he loses by default. Chandler hasn't produced definitive dittography or haplography from O-MS. When Chandler produces evidence from O-MS similar to Newel Knight's shifts in perspective, then he can say that I ignore such evidence. It is Chandler's position that is in serious trouble. It has been since he received his first criticisms, which he didn't take seriously. Hopefully, we have got his attention now.

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Uncle Dale
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Re: Vogel Responds to Chandler

Post by Uncle Dale »

Dan Vogel wrote:Chandler hasn't responded to either me or Skousen on the hearing evidence,
so he loses by default. Chandler hasn't produced definitive dittography or
haplography from O-MS... It is Chandler's position that is in serious trouble.



Well then, that may be so -- or perhaps not, depending on how convincing such arguments are preceived
by whomever decides "losses" and "wins" in a discussion such as this one.

Let us suppose, for the sake of further consideration, that a substantial portion of the O-MS was indeed
dictated. How does that argue against any pre-existing textual sources being incorporated into the Book of Mormon?
California Kid is asking essentially the same question, but whether enough pages of 1st Nephi are extant
to conduct the study he has suggested, I do not know. But, to follow his his Isaiah suggestions just a little:

We already know that a good deal of Isaiah was incorporated into the O-MS -- whether that material
was dictated, copied, or some combination of both.

Since we know pre-existing textual matter was somehow transferred over into the pages
of the O-MS (by one means or another), should not that fact alert us to the possibility of finding
other transferred or plagiarized text preserved within the body of the Book of Mormon manuscript(s)?

I continue to plod along, doing quantitative analysis on the story themes, vocabulary, phraseology, and
non-contextual word patterns in the block of Book of Mormon text which I refer to as the "Book of Solomon" --
but if the consensus opinion of the readers of this thread is that this section of the book could not have
possibly originated with Solomon Spalding, then perhaps I should devote my time to some more productive
line of investigation....
http://solomonspalding.com/SRP/MEDIA/BookSol1.htm


Image

????

Uncle Dale
Last edited by Uncle Dale on Thu Feb 22, 2007 2:38 am, edited 4 times in total.

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CaliforniaKid
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Post by CaliforniaKid »

I think, Dan, that you have done a very good job of demonstrating the weakness of the visual copying hypothesis. Very thorough, methodical, and right on in terms of your understanding of text-critical markers. I am curious whether any of Skousen's hearing errors occur in the Isaiah section of the Book of Mormon. I have a strong suspicion that these chapters were dictated like the rest (thus the careful changes to italicized words and phrases), but I know it has been suggested that Joseph might have Cowdery copy them directly out of the Bible. If it can be demonstrated that the lengthy KJV quotations were orally dictated, then we are left with only a couple options: (1) Joseph memorized very lengthy passages of the KJV, perhaps unconsciously as in automatic writing, or (2) Joseph was dictating from a written source text. If we side with the second option, that he was reading aloud from the printed KJV, then what's to stop us from believing that he also read aloud from some other manuscript (or even that the KJV material had first been copied over onto said manuscript)? We know that he spelled out proper names (like "Coriantumr") during dictation, and that he occasionally expressed surprise at things he came across (e.g. that Jerusalem had walls). To have him dictating from a pre-existing manuscript explains these things quite nicely, I think. If we were looking for evidence that a person was reading aloud from a written text and that the dictation was being recorded by a scribe, what might we look for? Perhaps confusion of visually-similar words that don't sound alike, rather like the examples you gave earlier from the P-MS:

Mosiah 15:9: <sanctified> \satisfied/
Mosiah 27:37: <deliver> declare
Alma 8:13: <cursed> \caused/
Alma 34:10: <sacrament> \sacrifice/
Alma 56:27: <prisoners> \provisions/
Alma 58:22: <suppose> \suffer/
Hel. 4:25: <cause> \cease/
3 Ne. 8:25: <burned> \buried/
3 Ne. 20:42 <reward> \rearward/


If we don't find anything like this in O-MS, then we may be on thin ice even in suggesting that Joseph Smith read the KJV portions from a printed text. In that case perhaps automatic writing would be a better thesis.

Just thinking out loud.

-CK

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Post by CaliforniaKid »

CaliforniaKid wrote:Brent, my data show that Mosiah had a very high occurrence of both wherefore and therefore. Then in Alma, therefore stays high but wherefore drops to almost zero. Couldn't this sudden lexical shift be due to Smith's regular interaction (starting when he came to Alma) with a source text that tended to exclude the word wherefore? Just a thought.

Ocurrences per 1k words

.....................Mos ......................Alm
therefore..... 3.944077471.........3.362292943
wherefore.....4.672897196.........0.03206567


By the way, my chart was offset by one book when I wrote this. The correct data for Mosiah and Alma is:

.....................Mos ......................Alm
therefore..... 3.944077471.........3.362292943
wherefore.....0.03206567.........0.035268807

So the apparent anomaly disappears when the amateur gets his facts straight. Just for fun, I charted the data for wherefore and therefore for all the world to see. Brent's vocabulary shift is clearly apparent.

Image

Use ratios of the word "according" also follow a pattern that seems to support Mosiah priority. Most of the other 15 non-contextual or semi-contextual words I studied, however, vary almost haphazardly from book to book. A few follow patterns that would seem to belie Mosiah priority, but as Brent alluded earlier, straight word ratios (especially when uncontrolled for KJV citation) are less reliable indicators than the kinds of out-and-out vocabulary shift we find in the wherefore/therefore case. Still haven't read your article, Brent, but I plan to. In the meantime I just wanted to set the record straight for posterity.

-CK

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Uncle Dale
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Post by Uncle Dale »

CaliforniaKid wrote:Still haven't read your article, Brent, but I plan to...



I have read it -- a couple of times when I first bought the book and a couple of times
again in the last two days.

When I asked Brent how his findings prove that the Book of Mormon does not incorporate pre-existing
text, he simply referred me back to the article -- as though it were a universal law of
physics, or something.

I am quite content to suppose Joseph Smith and associates continued "bringing forth" the books from
Mosiah forward, after the loss of the Book of Lehi. I have no trouble in supposing that Moroni
and 1st/2nd Nephi were the last texts finalized.

But if the argument is stated, that Rigdon could not have had a hand in compiling the text, because
no person would switch from using "therefore" to "wherefore," then that argument must be applied
to all potential authors for the text. And if it is stated that Smith could have been influenced to
change his word useage, then I'd say that the same could be supposed for Rigdon.

One thing that I did notice, and that is, while Solomon Spalding made use of "therefore" about
20 times in his extant writings, he did not use "wherefore" (unless it was in a legal document).

Thus, Spalding's known use of the word pair falls 100% on the "therefore" side of word choice.
The same may be said of the "Book of Solomon" portion of Alma/Helaman I've been studying.
And, a quick check of the other, shorter Book of Mormon sections I've long attributed to Spalding's pen,
only turns up a couple of "wherefores."

Here is the vocabulary list of the Alma-Helaman section I'm still working with -- just in case you
feel the urge to chart some more word selection in the Book of Mormon text:
http://solomonspalding.com/SRP/MEDIA/BookSol2.htm

Uncle Dale

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