DAN VOGEL DISCUSSES THE SPALDING/RIGDON THEORY

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Dr. Shades
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DAN VOGEL DISCUSSES THE SPALDING/RIGDON THEORY

Post by Dr. Shades »

INTRODUCTION:

Dan Vogel, author of the critically-acclaimed book Joseph Smith: The Making of a Prophet (also the editor of the Early Mormon Documents series), has proposed a "pious fraud" model to account for Joseph Smith's behavior and/or motives.

He recently looked into RFM and met with a very chilly reception thanks to this model, which many people thought was too lenient on Smith. See this thread here on MormonDiscussions to "read all about it."

It turned out that a major reason for their rejection of the "pious fraud" model is that if the Spalding/Rigdon Theory of Book of Mormon origins is true, then Smith was an opportunistic fraud (just like all the rest), not a pious one.

Mr. Vogel, for his part, was amazed that so many non-Evangelical ex-Mormons adhere to the Spalding/Rigdon Theory. He considers the theory "a waste of time" and gave a few quick reasons why.

FORTUNATELY FOR US, however, he has agreed to share with us his reasons for rejecting it and/or discuss the issue further.

On the same thread linked above, Marg wrote:

by the way Dan, would you discuss the Spalding theory here in the moderated forum if someone or someones knowledgeable on it would come and discuss it with you?


Then Dan Vogel responded:

I don't see why not. But rather than it being a one-on-one debate, I think it better that all be allowed to comment on the strengths and weaknesses of the evidence. I'm very interested in various reactions. But it should be moderated with off-topic comments deleted.


This being case, the Celestial Forum is the obvious choice. So here the thread begins.

NOTE TO ALL: I, too, am extremely interested in this topic, so I'm determined to keep it as Celestial as possible. All off-topic posts will be moved, as per Dan's wishes. PLEASE KEEP IT CLEAN, since (again) this is the Celestial Forum.

I think the person defending the Spaulding theory should begin the discussion by outlining the strongest evidence (perhaps with links to longer discussions of each piece of evidence) so that we can see the entire flow of the arguments and conclusions. Then we can examine each point in more detail and debate the merits.


Sounds good. I'll start off; my first post on this topic is forthcoming.
Last edited by Dr. Shades on Thu Mar 20, 2008 5:52 pm, edited 2 times in total.
"Finally, for your rather strange idea that miracles are somehow linked to the amount of gay sexual gratification that is taking place would require that primitive Christianity was launched by gay sex, would it not?"

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Post by Polygamy Porter »

ok, I am no scholar and am simply tired of reading about this.

Just my thoughts.

For me the 116 pages that were "lost" seems to coincidental with several things that point to Spaulding's work:

First, 116 pages in length.

Second, knowing that rigdon was in the same proximity as Spaulding's work and he was bent on being known for something.. My theory is that he took the unpublished story to a distance that he thought was far enough to attempt to pass it off as his own. When he and smith realized that many of Spaulding's followers, friends, and family, perhaps even in smith's area, had already read the 116 pages and were familiar with it, they knew that they would be busted if they tried to publish it or even a slight variation of it.

So then, just prior to them publishing either the 116 pages intact, or a slight variation of them, they dreamed up the "oh we lost them, and god said to translate something else.." story, to buy them some time to REALLY modify the story.

What really bothered me as a child was the story of the lost 116 pages. Even as young child I thought it was ridiculous that smith could not just re translate them. As an adult, and digging deeper into that story, I find it even more ludicrous that smith dismissed it by blaming it on god..

Also, smith asked god how many times?

IF the first 116 pages WERE in fact lost, my observation was simple.

Translation of anything will result in the SAME EXACT translation. Simply put, a sun symbol will still translate to a sun symbol, especially since smith had the magic glow in the dark stones! So then, all he needed to do was just RE TRANSLATE the same exact portion. I mean c'mon, its not like they had scanners, photoshop and highend printers to modify the 116 pages that Lucy supposedly had..

My theory, if there were 116 pages originally penned by smith and company, was that smith and his buds ad libbed those initial 116 pages and those 116 pages were the ONLY copy. Smith and Rigdon knew there was no way that they could recreate stuff they had pulled out of a hat, especially WORD FOR WORD. Almost like trying to repeat a conversation that you had with someone days or months earlier, you could get the gist of it but NOT word for word.

Additionally, we are talking about the powerful god almighty no? The dude who created the universe, moved mountains and seas, killed thousands of people with a simple flick of the finger, BUT HE WAS POWERLESS when it came time to finding these silly 116 pieces of paper? Was he afraid of Lucy?

Sides all of that we all agree smith and rigdon were full bs.

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Post by Dr. Shades »

Dan:

So as not to rehash old material, here are my reasons for supporting the Spalding/Rigdon Theory of Book of Mormon origins:
  • The internal consistency vs. what Smith taught. I think that, like it or not, the apologists have adequately demonstrated that the Book of Mormon has an internal consistency pointing strongly to a limited geography. In spite of this, Smith clearly taught a hemispheric geography. So Smith himself was NOT conversant with the material in his own book, an inconceivable concept if he had written it himself.

    Here's a more specific pointer in that direction: Solomon Spalding's rough draft, the Oberlin Manuscript (not to beg the question, but just bear with me), clearly describes a rather limited North American geography. The Book of Mormon, for its part, mentions a narrow neck of land that was "a day's journey for a Nephite." The only isthmus in the Americas which is a day's journey for a Nephite is the Isthmus of Niagra--entirely removed from where Smith later became convinced the Book of Mormon lands were, i.e. Central America--but entirely consistent with Spalding's work.

    Not only that, but the "Isthmus of Niagra as 'Narrow Neck of Land'" model finally accounts for the severe directional skewing of the current limited geography theory. Rather than Southern Mexico/Land Northward being nearly west of Guatemala/Land Southward, Canada becomes the Land Northward, while the United States becomes the Land Southward. Let's face it, Canada is far easier to conceptualize as being "north" of the United States than is Southern Mexico being "north" of Guatemala.

    Finally, another bit of evidence that Smith was unfamiliar with his own book's contents is that he placed the Hill Cumorah virtually in his own backyard, when according to the book's internal geography it should've been in Canada, not the United States. (Of course, even the apologists locate the Hill Cumorah far, far away from Smith's home, but we're talking about Spalding geography, not Sorenson geography, and Smith's unfamiliarity with it.)
  • Speed of translation of Book of Mormon vs. Book of Abraham. It's hardly arguable that Smith produced the text of the Book of Abraham essentially by himself, much like the "Smith-as-sole-author" adherents believe he did with the Book of Mormon. Yet Smith had the Book of Abraham manuscripts in his possession since Kirtland, but never finished the translation (and didn't even start on the Book of Joseph). So Smith is a painstakingly slow translator. Yet years earlier, when Cowdery shows up on Smith's doorstep, voila! Smith finishes the bulk of the Book of Mormon in c. 60 days. Why so quickly in this case, if he didn't have a manuscript off which to read?
  • See-saw Smith/Rigdon power struggle. You mentioned that the Book of Mormon contains an overwhelming amount of correspondences to Smith's life and times. This means that, if the Spalding/Rigdon Theory is true, Smith inserted his own interpolations and perhaps story arcs into the Book. Now, chances are good that Smith would only do such a thing because he couldn't stand playing second fiddle to anyone else ("Why does Sidney think he's such a grand scriptorian? Watch me make this book even better!") Is there any evidence that Smith didn't like playing second fiddle? Yes, as evidenced by the near-constant power struggle, especially in the early years, between Smith and Rigdon.

    Now, I know what you're thinking: "What does a power struggle have to do with Spalding/Rigdon?" and "If Smith wrote it himself, why theorize about any 'second fiddle' business?" The reason is this: It provides a character motive for Smithisms in the Book of Mormon, even assuming Spalding/Rigdon. Also, the second fiddle/interpolations model accounts for the inability of Smith to recreate the missing 116 pages (since, if the Spalding/Rigdon Theory is true, Smith-as-sole-author adherents would wonder about the Small Plates bruhaha since Smith could just dictate from Rigdon's altered manuscript a second time).

    Plus, Rigdon's early assumption of equality with Smith would make sense if Rigdon was equally responsible for starting the whole thing vis-à-vis the creation of the Book of Mormon.
  • The curtain separating translator from scribe. I'm sure Smith trotted out the "Seer Stone in a Hat" trick when it was necessary to impress his financial backers such as the Whitmers. But why was it ever necessary to separate the scribe from the translator, if the plates were often hidden in a field? It sounds to me that Smith didn't want some or all of his scribes to catch him reading off a pre-existent manuscript.
  • Emma to Joseph Smith III. Let's face it: During the Joseph Smith III/polygamy business, Emma made it obvious that she was more than willing and able to lie about historical facts when it suited the purposes of her or her family. So her adherence to the seer-stone-in-a-hat model may have been a bit too convenient in her case.
  • Cowdrey, Vanick et. al.'s fine book, Who Really Wrote the Book of Mormon? The Spalding Enigma. This book goes far, far beyond the Conneaut Witnesses. The amount of new sources and statements they've located is breathtaking. I can't possibly do it justice here, but let's just say that the sheer weight of information in that book is another reason I adhere to the Spalding/Rigdon Theory.
So, Dan, those are some of my major reasons for accepting Spalding/Rigdon as the most likely model accounting for Book of Mormon origins.
"Finally, for your rather strange idea that miracles are somehow linked to the amount of gay sexual gratification that is taking place would require that primitive Christianity was launched by gay sex, would it not?"

--Louis Midgley

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Book of Mormon Discussion

Post by Uncle Dale »

If I can offer any assistance on this topic, please let me know.

I do not check this forum very often, so my replies will be sporatic.

Dale R. Broadhurst

web-host:
SidneyRigdon.com
SolomonSpalding.com
OliverCowdery.com

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Jason Bourne
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Post by Jason Bourne »

ok, I am no scholar and am simply tired of reading about this.

Just my thoughts.

For me the 116 pages that were "lost" seems to coincidental with several things that point to Spaulding's work:

First, 116 pages in length.



Can you clarify why length has anything to do with this? Is 116 [ages significant?

Second, knowing that rigdon was in the same proximity as Spaulding's work and he was bent on being known for something.. My theory is that he took the unpublished story to a distance that he thought was far enough to attempt to pass it off as his own. When he and smith realized that many of Spaulding's followers, friends, and family, perhaps even in smith's area, had already read the 116 pages and were familiar with it, they knew that they would be busted if they tried to publish it or even a slight variation of it.


The problem with this is based on this theory not just the 116 pages were familiar to who knew of the Spalding manuscript, but the whole Book of Mormon, allegedly being based on the manuscript, would have been familiar to them as well. So what is special about the 116 pages that would make Rigdon and Smith want to ditch them?


So then, just prior to them publishing either the 116 pages intact, or a slight variation of them, they dreamed up the "oh we lost them, and god said to translate something else.." story, to buy them some time to REALLY modify the story.


So you think that the 116 pages were not altered enough so they would be too familiar, but the rest of the Book of Mormon was altered enough so they would not recognize it?

What really bothered me as a child was the story of the lost 116 pages. Even as young child I thought it was ridiculous that smith could not just re translate them. As an adult, and digging deeper into that story, I find it even more ludicrous that smith dismissed it by blaming it on god..

Also, smith asked god how many times?

IF the first 116 pages WERE in fact lost, my observation was simple.

Translation of anything will result in the SAME EXACT translation. Simply put, a sun symbol will still translate to a sun symbol, especially since smith had the magic glow in the dark stones! So then, all he needed to do was just RE TRANSLATE the same exact portion. I mean c'mon, its not like they had scanners, photoshop and highend printers to modify the 116 pages that Lucy supposedly had..


Re translations do not result in exactly the same copy because when one translates they have to find words in their language that approximate the words in the other languages. But the main reason given for not retranslating was that someone could then publish the 116 pages, claim them as their own and accuse Smith of plagiarizing.


My theory, if there were 116 pages originally penned by smith and company, was that smith and his buds ad libbed those initial 116 pages and those 116 pages were the ONLY copy. Smith and Rigdon knew there was no way that they could recreate stuff they had pulled out of a hat, especially WORD FOR WORD. Almost like trying to repeat a conversation that you had with someone days or months earlier, you could get the gist of it but NOT word for word.



But this argument holds true if Smith were the only sole author or if God gave them to him. Rigdon does not need to be involved for this to work.

Additionally, we are talking about the powerful god almighty no? The dude who created the universe, moved mountains and seas, killed thousands of people with a simple flick of the finger, BUT HE WAS POWERLESS when it came time to finding these silly 116 pieces of paper? Was he afraid of Lucy?

This is your best argument.

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Post by Jason Bourne »

So as not to rehash old material, here are my reasons for supporting the Spalding/Rigdon Theory of Book of Mormon origins:[list][*]The internal consistency vs. what Smith taught. I think that, like it or not, the apologists have adequately demonstrated that the Book of Mormon has an internal consistency pointing strongly to a limited geography. In spite of this, Smith clearly taught a hemispheric geography. So Smith himself was NOT conversant with the material in his own book, an inconceivable concept if he had written it himself.



The apologists may have made a great case but that in and of itself does not make LGT fact nor that Joseph or anyone else was conversant with it? I believe Rigdon had a hemispheric view of the Book of Mormon as well as Smith. So then this would debunk Rigdon as author relying on Spalding just as much as Smith relying on Rigdon.

Here's a more specific pointer in that direction: Solomon Spalding's rough draft, the Oberlin Manuscript (not to beg the question, but just bear with me), clearly describes a rather limited North American geography. The Book of Mormon, for its part, mentions a narrow neck of land that was "a day's journey for a Nephite." The only isthmus in the Americas which is a day's journey for a Nephite is the Isthmus of Niagra--entirely removed from where Smith later became convinced the Book of Mormon lands were, i.e. Central America--but entirely consistent with Spalding's work.

Not only that, but the "Isthmus of Niagara as 'Narrow Neck of Land'" model finally accounts for the severe directional skewing of the current limited geography theory. Rather than Southern Mexico/Land Northward being nearly west of Guatemala/Land Southward, Canada becomes the Land Northward, while the United States becomes the Land Southward. Let's face it, Canada is far easier to conceptualize as being "north" of the United States than is Southern Mexico being "north" of Guatemala.



Finally, another bit of evidence that Smith was unfamiliar with his own book's contents is that he placed the Hill Cumorah virtually in his own backyard, when according to the book's internal geography it should've been in Canada, not the United States. (Of course, even the apologists locate the Hill Cumorah far, far away from Smith's home, but we're talking about Spalding geography, not Sorenson geography, and Smith's unfamiliarity with it.)


I agree that the Ontario peninsula fits the Book of Mormon geography quite well. But again, if this is a fatal flaw for Smith being the author so it is for Rigdon as well who held to the same geographic ideas about the Book of Mormon as smith. If Rigdon was involved you don't think he had a say as to where the Hill Cumorah is?

[*]Speed of translation of Book of Mormon vs. Book of Abraham. It's hardly arguable that Smith produced the text of the Book of Abraham essentially by himself, much like the "Smith-as-sole-author" adherents believe he did with the Book of Mormon. Yet Smith had the Book of Abraham manuscripts in his possession since Kirtland, but never finished the translation (and didn't even start on the Book of Joseph). So Smith is a painstakingly slow translator. Yet years earlier, when Cowdery shows up on Smith's doorstep, voila! Smith finishes the bulk of the Book of Mormon in c. 60 days. Why so quickly in this case, if he didn't have a manuscript off which to read?



This may lend evidence to the idea that Smith had a manuscript but not that Rigdon produced it from the Spalding document. Why couldn't Smith had pre written the manuscript?

[*]See-saw Smith/Rigdon power struggle. You mentioned that the Book of Mormon contains an overwhelming amount of correspondences to Smith's life and times. This means that, if the Spalding/Rigdon Theory is true, Smith inserted his own interpolations and perhaps story arcs into the Book. Now, chances are good that Smith would only do such a thing because he couldn't stand playing second fiddle to anyone else ("Why does Sidney think he's such a grand scriptorian? Watch me make this book even better!") Is there any evidence that Smith didn't like playing second fiddle? Yes, as evidenced by the near-constant power struggle, especially in the early years, between Smith and Rigdon.



I see the power struggles as some evidence that Rigdon and Smith could have been in collision about something. But then again, Joseph tended to bring in to power quickly those with capability and education. I bit him more then once. Rigdon was bright, had education, was well known and Smith may have just put him in a prominent spot to build the kingdom better and faster. Rigdon, who was ever ambitious may have just been trying to promote himself more then was wanted.



[*]The curtain separating translator from scribe. I'm sure Smith trotted out the "Seer Stone in a Hat" trick when it was necessary to impress his financial backers such as the Whitmers. But why was it ever necessary to separate the scribe from the translator, if the plates were often hidden in a field? It sounds to me that Smith didn't want some or all of his scribes to catch him reading off a pre-existent manuscript.



Same as above. This does not prove Rigdon provided a manuscript.

marg

links for interest

Post by marg »

I'm posting a few links to a message board in which Craig Criddle wrote some posts on the Rigdon/Spalding theory. I haven't heard from him personally but my understanding is that he will be unable to participate in this. I'm posting these for information only which may possible add value to the discussion. Use Flat view and focus on Craig's posts. I might add others later.

http://2thinkforums.org/phorum3/read.ph ... 91&t=17791
http://2thinkforums.org/phorum3/read.ph ... 31&t=17731
http://2thinkforums.org/phorum3/read.ph ... 68&t=12168

Some more added:

http://2thinkforums.org/phorum3/read.ph ... 97&t=17697
http://2thinkforums.org/phorum3/read.ph ... 68&t=12168
http://2thinkforums.org/phorum3/read.ph ... reply_5827
http://2thinkforums.org/phorum3/read.ph ... reply_4941
Last edited by marg on Wed Feb 07, 2007 2:22 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Dan Vogel
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Question-Begging Speculations as Evidence for Spaulding?

Post by Dan Vogel »

So as not to rehash old material, here are my reasons for supporting the Spalding/Rigdon Theory of Book of Mormon origins:


Thanks for being concise, as it will help us focus on some issues and undoubtedly will get the discussion going.

The internal consistency vs. what Smith taught. I think that, like it or not, the apologists have adequately demonstrated that the Book of Mormon has an internal consistency pointing strongly to a limited geography. In spite of this, Smith clearly taught a hemispheric geography. So Smith himself was NOT conversant with the material in his own book, an inconceivable concept if he had written it himself.


The geography is generally consistent with hemispheric geography, although it creates distance and population growth problems. The two issues are not connected. One must determine which geography fits the Book of Mormon best without considering the distance problems, because no one in Joseph Smith's day, including Joseph Smith, realized there were distance problems. (In fact, the average Mormon believes hemispheric geography without the slightest awareness of the unreality of it.) To include distance problems in determining the best fit is to beg the question. If Book of Mormon geography fits a limited geography better, then perhaps distances are less of a problem (but not entirely overcome). If Book of Mormon geography fits hemispheric geography better, then distances are a problem and evidence of the author's naïvété. So, here you argue that Joseph Smith was naïve, but dismiss hemispheric geography as naïve, which is begging the question. Now, if you assume Joseph Smith did understand his own book, that would change the way you interpret the passages.

I won't belabor the point now, we can go into detail on geography if you like. I have debated with the LGT advocates, including Keven Christensen, Sorenson, and Brant Gardner, and believe I can show the best fit is Panama as the neck of land. (If you want to discuss this aspect of the Spaulding theory, I would suggest starting another sticky thread and begin it by reproducing your argument and my response.)

(Note: while you argue for consistency in Book of Mormon geography, keep in mind that there are internal inconsistencies in doctrine and narrative.)

Here's a more specific pointer in that direction: Solomon Spalding's rough draft, the Oberlin Manuscript (not to beg the question, but just bear with me), clearly describes a rather limited North American geography. The Book of Mormon, for its part, mentions a narrow neck of land that was "a day's journey for a Nephite." The only isthmus in the Americas which is a day's journey for a Nephite is the Isthmus of Niagra--entirely removed from where Smith later became convinced the Book of Mormon lands were, i.e. Central America--but entirely consistent with Spalding's work.


Yes, Spaulding was obviously incorporating local legends about Mound Builders and had no global ambitions about explaining the history of the entire hemisphere, as well as the entire world, from Adam to the Second Coming of Christ. The Book of Mormon is vastly more global in its scope.

No, the Isthmus of Niagra is not the only place in the Americas narrow enough to qualify (that is, if one wants to avoid the apologetic contortions necessary to maintain Tehuantepec). Panama is about 60 miles and on the mountains water can be seen to the east and west. This was well known and mentioned in geography books in Joseph Smith's day.

I'm having difficulty understanding your position. In what way is the Isthmus on Niagra consistent with Spaulding's work? That its closer than Panama? You aren't suggesting that Spaulding mentioned this narrow neck. If he didn't, what relevance could it have? If you imagine the missing MS included more details like the Book of Mormon does, then you are begging the question again. You don't have any clue as to what the other MS said (if there was one). If you are using the Book of Mormon to speculate about its contents, then you are still begging the question. One could equally speculate that Spaulding changed his geography to hemispheric, and you would have the same amount of evidence to support it--nothing.

Not only that, but the "Isthmus of Niagra as 'Narrow Neck of Land'" model finally accounts for the severe directional skewing of the current limited geography theory. Rather than Southern Mexico/Land Northward being nearly west of Guatemala/Land Southward, Canada becomes the Land Northward, while the United States becomes the Land Southward. Let's face it, Canada is far easier to conceptualize as being "north" of the United States than is Southern Mexico being "north" of Guatemala.


Moving northward from South America into Panama one passes between water on the east and on the west. You are not only competing against the LGT of the apologists, but traditional Mormon geography that was later worked out in great detail by Orson Pratt and George Reynolds. So, you don't have a problem with directions, there are other considerations. Like, having temperate weather year around, for instance. What about a land southward nearly surrounded by water and a suitable place for Lehi's landing?

Finally, another bit of evidence that Smith was unfamiliar with his own book's contents is that he placed the Hill Cumorah virtually in his own backyard, when according to the book's internal geography it should've been in Canada, not the United States. (Of course, even the apologists locate the Hill Cumorah far, far away from Smith's home, but we're talking about Spalding geography, not Sorenson geography, and Smith's unfamiliarity with it.)


Again, begging the question because one has to assume your geography is correct, which if we did would make the Hill Cumorah location unnecessary. If we were to assume Joseph Smith wrote the Book of Mormon, then his locating the Hill Cumorah in western New York disproves your theory--that's how begging the question works.

In sum, speculations about geography to support a speculation about Spaulding is hardly the way to go. It is called the fallacy of obscurum per obscurius consists in attempting to explain the more certain with the less certain.

Speed of translation of Book of Mormon vs. Book of Abraham. It's hardly arguable that Smith produced the text of the Book of Abraham essentially by himself, much like the "Smith-as-sole-author" adherents believe he did with the Book of Mormon. Yet Smith had the Book of Abraham manuscripts in his possession since Kirtland, but never finished the translation (and didn't even start on the Book of Joseph). So Smith is a painstakingly slow translator. Yet years earlier, when Cowdery shows up on Smith's doorstep, voila! Smith finishes the bulk of the Book of Mormon in c. 60 days. Why so quickly in this case, if he didn't have a manuscript off which to read?


Again, you are taken in by the apologists' arguments, which are wrong. Joseph Smith's rate of dictation with Cowdery varied, but the average was about 6 (1st ed.) pages per day. Maybe a few hours at the most (but probably in spurts throughout the day, not necessarily all at once). That gave him plenty of time to think about what to dictate next. He dictated many of his revelations in the same manner. There was no MS to read from, according to all the witnesses.

Comparing his dictation of the Book of Mormon with the Book of Abraham is irrelevant for several reasons. First, Joseph Smith wasn't a "painstakingly slow translator"; he wasn't a translator at all. Second, we have no comparative descriptions of how the Book of Abraham was dictated, although Parley P. Pratt said it came from the stone. Aside from the working papers (Alphabet and Grammar of the Egyptian Language), the translation MSS are comparable to the original Book of Mormon MS, with no signs of hesitation a few revisions.

See-saw Smith/Rigdon power struggle. You mentioned that the Book of Mormon contains an overwhelming amount of correspondences to Smith's life and times. This means that, if the Spalding/Rigdon Theory is true, Smith inserted his own interpolations and perhaps story arcs into the Book. Now, chances are good that Smith would only do such a thing because he couldn't stand playing second fiddle to anyone else ("Why does Sidney think he's such a grand scriptorian? Watch me make this book even better!") Is there any evidence that Smith didn't like playing second fiddle? Yes, as evidenced by the near-constant power struggle, especially in the early years, between Smith and Rigdon.


With this concession, the Spaulding theory becomes the unnecessary hypothesis. The simplest explanation is that Joseph Smith wrote the entire book. If Joseph Smith has the ability to rewrite Spaulding and make the story his own, then obviously the Spaulding theory is no longer needed to explain how the ignorant farm boy came up with the Book of Mormon.

Joseph Smith had many power struggles, even before Rigdon showed up in New York. He had a dispute with Cowdery and the Whitmers over a passages in D&C 20 that seemed to give too much authority of church leaders. Cowdery even received a revelation challenging D&C 18 and the establishment of 12 apostles. Page challenged Joseph Smith with his revelations. In Ohio, Hubble and others received revelations and threatened Joseph Smith's leadership. In 1832, he had a jurisdictional dispute with Bishop Edward Partridge in Missouri--out of which grew the concept of a First Presidency. Don't forget about his struggle with James A. Bennett. So, any disputes with Rigdon should be seen in this context. Sure, Rigdon had an ego, but so did many other men around Joseph Smith. Remember McLellin's attempt to dictate a better-worded revelations than Joseph Smith's?

Now, I know what you're thinking: "What does a power struggle have to do with Spalding/Rigdon?" and "If Smith wrote it himself, why theorize about any 'second fiddle' business?" The reason is this: It provides a character motive for Smithisms in the Book of Mormon, even assuming Spalding/Rigdon. Also, the second fiddle/interpolations model accounts for the inability of Smith to recreate the missing 116 pages (since, if the Spalding/Rigdon Theory is true, Smith-as-sole-author adherents would wonder about the Small Plates bruhaha since Smith could just dictate from Rigdon's altered manuscript a second time).


I'm having difficulty following your argument here. Perhaps you need to elaborate. You seem to be arguing that Joseph Smith could not replace the lost 116 pages because he was adding his Smithisms and couldn't simply re-read the Spaulding-Rigdon MSS. But this would also be true if he was dictating his own words and not reading from a MS at all. Your assertion that Joseph Smith read the 116 pages from a MS is contradicted by all eye witnesses testimony. Whereas my assertions fits the evidence. Certainly, you believe the replacement text (i.e., 1 Nephi - Words of Mormon) is a complete Smithism? If he had the ability to dictate that on his own (which contains some of his best stuff), then the Spaulding-Rigdon theory becomes unnecessary. The replacement text was dictated in Fayette in June 1829 before many witnesses, who testify that Joseph Smith's face was in the hat. Apparently, the lost 116 pages was less religious and the replacement text filled with doctrine and prophecy, which is odd if Rigdon had authored the first version.

Plus, Rigdon's early assumption of equality with Smith would make sense if Rigdon was equally responsible for starting the whole thing vis-à-vis the creation of the Book of Mormon.


This assumption was held by many in the early church before the formation of the hierarchy. Rigdon did more than double church membership and undoubtedly expected certain privileges and respect. These are things that were inevitable for group making the transition from charismatic-based authority to a more stable institutional-based authority--all of which I covered years ago in Religious Seekers and the Advent of Mormonism. (now available on the Signature site).

The curtain separating translator from scribe. I'm sure Smith trotted out the "Seer Stone in a Hat" trick when it was necessary to impress his financial backers such as the Whitmers. But why was it ever necessary to separate the scribe from the translator, if the plates were often hidden in a field? It sounds to me that Smith didn't want some or all of his scribes to catch him reading off a pre-existent manuscript.


The only evidence for a curtain separating Joseph Smith from the scribe is Anthon's report of what Harris told him. That was only during the initial stages of the dictation, probably when Joseph Smith copied the characters from the plates and the plates could not be seen. After that and from then on, all the testimony is uniform in stating that Joseph Smith was in the open with his head in the hat. That's why the Spaulding theory never made sense to those who knew the circumstances of dictation, and why the myth flourished among the less informed. With all the sources and information we have today, I'm at a loss to explain its appeal.

Emma to Joseph Smith III. Let's face it: During the Joseph Smith III/polygamy business, Emma made it obvious that she was more than willing and able to lie about historical facts when it suited the purposes of her or her family. So her adherence to the seer-stone-in-a-hat model may have been a bit too convenient in her case.


In a court of law, one can impeach testimony with an argument like that. But historians don't operate that way. They take each issue separately. Just because one lies, doesn't mean they always lie. If such a person is alone in their testimony, that might be cause for caution. But Emma is corroborated by many others. Moreover, in the case with polygamy, she had motivation to lie (or at least dissemble) about polygamy. In the case of Joseph Smith's translation method, one is hard pressed to discover a motivation. One can't simply accuse her of lying because it contradicts one's theory. That would lead to the unlikely assertion that all the witnesses were lying.

Cowdrey, Vanick et. al.'s fine book, Who Really Wrote the Book of Mormon? The Spalding Enigma. This book goes far, far beyond the Conneaut Witnesses. The amount of new sources and statements they've located is breathtaking. I can't possibly do it justice here, but let's just say that the sheer weight of information in that book is another reason I adhere to the Spalding/Rigdon Theory.


JFK assassination theorists have lots of circumstantial arguments as well. And Creationist have mountains of evidence as well. I'm well aware of the tangled web of unsupported inferences Spaulding advocates have woven over the years, but to those who are knowledgeable about the Book of Mormon, Joseph Smith, and early Mormon sources, it doesn't fit. The best cure for the Spaulding theory is a better understanding of Mormon history and contents of the Book of Mormon. It's not as exciting and sensationalistic as conspiracy theories, but it interesting enough for me.

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Head in the Hat and no MS

Post by Dan Vogel »

HEAD IN THE HAT AND NO USE OF MS

This is so well documented, but I will give some of the main sources. First, recommend the following essays:

James E. Lancaster, "The Translation of the Book of Mormon," in Dan Vogel, ed., The Word of God: Essays on the Book of Mormon (Salt Lake City: Signature Books, 1990), 97-112.

Richard S. Van Wagoner and Steven Walker, "Joseph Smith: 'The gift of Seeing,'" Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 15 (Summer 1982):48-48.

EMMA SMITH (in Harmony, ca. late Dec. 1827 - 12 April 1828, lost Book of Lehi)

Q. Where did father and Oliver Cowdery write?
A. Oliver Cowdery and your father wrote in the room where I was at work.
Q. Could not father have dictated the Book of Mormon to you, Oliver Cowdery and the others who wrote for him, after having first written it, or having read it out of some book?
A. Joseph Smith [and for the first time she used his name direct, having usually used the words, "your father," or "my husband"] could neither write nor dictate a coherent and well-worded letter, let alone dictating a book like the Book of Mormon. And, though I was an active participant in the scenes that transpired, and was present during the translation of the plates, and had cognizance of things as they transpired, it is marvelous to me, "a marvel and a wonder," as much so as to any one else. ...

Q. Mother, what is your belief about the authenticity, or origin of the Book of Mormon?
A. My belief is that the Book of Mormon is of divine authenticity--I have not the slightest doubt of it. I am satisfied that no man could have dictated the writing of the manuscripts unless he was inspired; for, when acting as his scribe, your father would dictate to me hour after hour; and when returning after meals, or after interruptions, he would at once begin where he had left off, without either seeing the manuscript or having any portion of it read to him. This was a usual thing for him to do. It would have been improbable that a learned man could do this; and, for one so ignorant and unlearned as he was, it was simply impossible.

--Joseph Smith III, "Last Testimony of Sister Emma," Saints' Herald 26 (1 October 1879): 289-90. Also published in Saints' Advocate 2 (October 1879): 49-52. (EMD 1:541-42)


MICHAEL MORSE (Emma's brother-in-law, non-believer; in Harmony, no specified time)

He further states that when Joseph was translating the Book of Mormon, he, (Morse), had occasion more than once to go into his immediate presence, and saw him engaged at his work of translation.

The mode of procedure consisted in Joseph's placing the Seer Stone in the crown of a hat, then putting his face into the hat, so as to entirely cover his face, resting his elbows upon his knees, and then dictating, word after word, while the scribe--Emma, John Whitmer, O[liver]. Cowdery, or some other, wrote it down.

--William W. Blair, Letter to Editors, 22 May 1879, Saints' Herald 26 (15 June 1879): 190-91. (EMD 4:343)


MARTIN HARRIS (in Harmony, 12 April 1828 - ca. 14 June 1828, lost Book of Lehi; possibly March 1829, first part of Mosiah)

Martin explained the translating as follows: By aid of the seer stone, sentences would appear and were read by the Prophet and written by Martin, and when finished he would say, "Written," and if correctly written, that sentence would disappear and another appear in its place, but if not written correctly it remained until corrected, so that the translation was just as it was engraven on the plates, precisely in the language then used. Martin said, after continued translation they would become weary and would go down to the river and exercise by throwing stones out on the river, etc. While so doing on one occasion, Martin found a stone very much resembling the one used for translating, and on resuming their labor of translation, Martin put in place the stone that he had found. He said that the Prophet remained silent unusually and intently gazing in darkness, no traces of the usual sentences appearing. Much surprised, Joseph exclaimed, "Martin! What is the matter? All is as dark as Egypt." Martin's countenance betrayed him, and the Prophet asked Martin why he had done so. Martin said, to stop the mouths of fools, who had told him that the Prophet had learned those sentences and was merely repeating them, etc.

--Edward Stevenson to the Editor, 30 November 1881, Deseret Evening News 15 (13 December 1881). Reprinted in Deseret News 30 (28 December 1881): 763; Millennial Star 44 (30 January 1882): 78-79; 44 (6 February 1882): 86-87. (EMD 2:320-21)


OLIVER COWDERY (in Fayette, 7 April 1829 - ca. 1 June 1829, first part of Mosiah - Moroni; in Fayette, ca. 1 June 1829 - 1 July 1829, 1 Nephi - Words of Mormon)

Sidney Rigdon did not write it; Mr. Spaulding did not write it. I wrote it myself, as it fell from the lips of the Prophet.

--Reuben Miller, "Last Days of Oliver Cowdery," Deseret News 9 (13 April 1859). Reprinted in Millennial Star 21 (1859): 544-46. (EMD 2:495)


DAVID WHITMER (in Fayette, June 1829, 1 Nephi - Words of Mormon)

Mr. Whitmer emphatically asserts, as did Harris and Cowdrey, that while Smith was dictating the translation he had

NO MANUSCRIPT NOTES OR OTHER MEANS OF KNOWLEDGE

save the seer-stone and the characters as shown on the plates, he being present and cognizant how it was done.

--"The Last Man. Of the Men Who Attested to the Truth of the `Book of Mormon,' David Whitmer Only Is Left. In the Sunset of Life He Bases His Hopes of Heaven on the Records of the Lost Tribe. And Solemnly Reiterates All that He Has Ever Said Regarding Them," Chicago Times, 17 October 1881. Reprinted in Saints' Herald 28 (15 November 1881): 346-47. (EMD 5:86)


We asked him the question: Had Joseph Smith any manuscripts of any kind by him at the time of translating the Book of Mormon that he could read from?

"His answer was: `No, Sir. We did not know anything about the Spaulding manuscript at that time.'

--DAVID WHITMER INTERVIEW WITH J. W. CHATBURN, 1882--Saints' Herald 29 (15 June 1882): 189. (EMD 5:94)


Father Whitmer, who was present very frequently during the writing of this manuscript affirms that Joseph Smith had no book or manuscript, before him from which he could have read as is asserted by some that he did, he (Whitmer) having every opportunity to know whether Smith had Solomon Spaulding's or any other persons' romance to read from.

--"Revelation Revisers," St. Louis Republican 77 (16 July 1884): 7. Reprinted in Saints' Herald 31 (9 August 1884): 516-17. (EMD 5:128)


I will say that all who desire to investigate the Spaulding manuscript story will not be obliged to go very far before they will see the entire falsity of that claim. I testify to the world that I am an eye-witness to the translation of the greater part of the Book of Mormon. Part of it was translated in my father's house in Fayette, Seneca County, N.Y. Farther on I give a description of the manner in which the book was translated. ...

I will now give you a description of the manner in which the Book of Mormon was translated. Joseph Smith would put the seer stone into a hat, and put his face in the hat, drawing it closely around his face to exclude the light; and in the darkness the spiritual light would shine. A piece of something resembling parchment would appear, and on that appeared the writing. One character at a time would appear, and under it was the interpretation in English. Brother Joseph would read off the English to Oliver Cowdery, who was his principal scribe, and when it was written down and repeated to Brother Joseph to see if it was correct, then it would disappear, and another character with the interpretation would appear. Thus the Book of Mormon was translated by the gift and power of God, and not by any power of man. . . .

--David Whitmer, An Address to All Believers in Christ (Richmond, Missouri: David Whitmer, 1887), 10-11, 12 (EMD 5:196-97)

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Dan Vogel
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Re: links for interest

Post by Dan Vogel »

marg wrote:I'm posting a few links to a message board in which Craig Criddle wrote some posts on the Rigdon/Spalding theory. I haven't heard from him personally but my understanding is that he will be unable to participate in this. I'm posting these for information only which may possible add value to the discussion. Use Flat view and focus on Craig's posts. I might add others later.

http://2thinkforums.org/phorum3/read.ph ... 91&t=17791

http://2thinkforums.org/phorum3/read.ph ... 31&t=17731

http://2thinkforums.org/phorum3/read.ph ... 68&t=12168

Some more added:

http://2thinkforums.org/phorum3/read.ph ... 97&t=17697

http://2thinkforums.org/phorum3/read.ph ... 68&t=12168

http://2thinkforums.org/phorum3/read.ph ... reply_5827

http://2thinkforums.org/phorum3/read.ph ... reply_4941


Sorry to make you work Marg, but I think instead of firing off links you need to at least summarize why you are making a link. What are you trying to prove here. This is a discussion board. Make your best arguments, with a link if necessary. I want to know why you are so convinced by the Spaulding theory that pious fraud seems so out of the question. Thanks.

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Re: Head in the Hat and no MS

Post by why me »

[quote="Dan Vogel"]HEAD IN THE HAT AND NO USE OF MS

This is so well documented, but I will give some of the main sources. First, recommend the following essays:
quote]

Why me wrote:
And this dan in one of the reasons I cannot buy into the Rigdon/Spaulding idea. Now only if we could get Uncle Dale to see the light of day, we will all live longer.

However, this is also the reason why I cannot buy into Joseph Smith writing it. The book itself seems to be beyond his reach or intellect. Well, anyway, you gave us all something to think about when it comes to the book of Mormon and just a few reasons why the book has not been kicked to the curb just yet.

The book is an enigma that is for sure. But I still cannot see Joseph Smith writing it.

marg

Re: links for interest

Post by marg »

Sorry to make you work Marg, but I think instead of firing off links you need to at least summarize why you are making a link. What are you trying to prove here. This is a discussion board. Make your best arguments, with a link if necessary. I want to know why you are so convinced by the Spaulding theory that pious fraud seems so out of the question. Thanks


I understand your point Dan. I made the links for information purposes only and review, because some of what will likely be discussed has been discussed on 2think. But I'm not making any point. If anything I have to reread some of those posts by Craig and I thought other's might be interested. When individuals put in lots of time on posts and are knowledgable I think it is of value to save those and reread them. What spurred me to post the links initially is the discussion in this thread on the 116 lost pages. Craig who's much more knowledgable than I makes comment on this. One being he speculates that Smith had original copies and then burned them after dictation to Harris. So once they were taken away, Smith wouldn't have been able to reproduce them. That's one idea. In addition Craig mentions that the religious ideas changed after the time period of these missing pages. This sort of detail I'm not conversant with, but others might find it of interest. It's not the sort of detail that ended up convincing me, but for those deep into this, it probably would.

At this point Dan I'd rather read your responses to Shades and perhaps others. I don't want to clutter the thread, so I tried to write the minimal numbers of words in the post with links.
Last edited by marg on Wed Feb 07, 2007 2:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Head in the Hat and no MS

Post by Dan Vogel »


Why me wrote:
And this dan in one of the reasons I cannot buy into the Rigdon/Spaulding idea. Now only if we could get Uncle Dale to see the light of day, we will all live longer.

However, this is also the reason why I cannot buy into Joseph Smith writing it. The book itself seems to be beyond his reach or intellect. Well, anyway, you gave us all something to think about when it comes to the book of Mormon and just a few reasons why the book has not been kicked to the curb just yet.

The book is an enigma that is for sure. But I still cannot see Joseph Smith writing it.


If there is no way Joseph Smith could have used a MS, then the only alternative is that he DID write it. Just like he dicated all those revelations, the Book of Moses, the Book of Abraham, and the Liberty Jail letters, the last of which are arguably his best stuff. Really, you have bought into two false premises of the apologists: first, the Book of Mormon is great literature; and, two, Joseph Smith wasn't literary. Joseph Smith had charisma and eloquence as a speaker. It was a minimum requirement for the job. Nevertheless, I think you are not alone in your thinking, but it's backwards. Let me explain why. You are attempting to put a subjective judgment--like an assessment of the Book of Mormon's quality and Joseph Smith abilities--before more objective evidence--like those who saw him dictate the Book of Mormon, as well as his revelations. Which kind of evidence do you trust more?

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Re: Head in the Hat and no MS

Post by why me »

Dan Vogel wrote:

Why me wrote:
And this dan in one of the reasons I cannot buy into the Rigdon/Spaulding idea. Now only if we could get Uncle Dale to see the light of day, we will all live longer.

However, this is also the reason why I cannot buy into Joseph Smith writing it. The book itself seems to be beyond his reach or intellect. Well, anyway, you gave us all something to think about when it comes to the book of Mormon and just a few reasons why the book has not been kicked to the curb just yet.

The book is an enigma that is for sure. But I still cannot see Joseph Smith writing it.


If there is no way Joseph Smith could have used a MS, then the only alternative is that he DID write it. Just like he dicated all those revelations, the Book of Moses, the Book of Abraham, and the Liberty Jail letters, the last of which are arguably his best stuff. Really, you have bought into two false premises of the apologists: first, the Book of Mormon is great literature; and, two, Joseph Smith wasn't literary. Joseph Smith had charisma and eloquence as a speaker. It was a minimum requirement for the job. Nevertheless, I think you are not alone in your thinking, but it's backwards. Let me explain why. You are attempting to put a subjective judgment--like an assessment of the Book of Mormon's quality and Joseph Smith abilities--before more objective evidence--like those who saw him dictate the Book of Mormon, as well as his revelations. Which kind of evidence do you trust more?


I tend to trust my instinct. To tell you the truth, I just can't see him writing it. So much time and so much paper and ink and in secret with such grand visions of glory...that I find it all impossible. Of course you have done more research in the area but really dan, where does this farmer find the time...and what about emma? If no one saw the manuscript, then what is there to see? Except his head in the hat and him moving around a heavy piece of material, perhaps metal.

And it is one thing to be charismatic, it is quite another thing to write a book that can be cross-referenced with the bible and stand the test of time. And as you know, the LDS would claim that he wrote nothing that you listed above, except his jail house letters. It all came from god.

And I saw nothing in your quotations that even hinted at the people involved doubting that the book of Mormon is not what it claims to be. What should I think?

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Book of Mormon Discussion

Post by Uncle Dale »

I might also add, that in thirty years of my studying this particular topic, I have heard
just about every possible reason given, as to why it should be avoided and ignored.

In 1979, while I was conducting my studies at Oberlin College and elsewhere in Ohio,
I was pretty much kicked out of the Worthington RLDS branch because of that research.
My membership had been transferred there from Wyoming, but the local pastor was
adament, that my conducting such studies was a "sure ticket to hell." I moved my RLDS
membership from there to nearby Westerville, but again met with a very chilly reception.

At first I was told that such research was a "waste of time," and that I ought to do something
more productive. Then, when that did not phase me, the Westerville pastor told me that
such studies tended to destroy testimonies and that he did not want that sort of disruption
in the congregation. At last, I was reduced to occasional visits to the Columbus branch,
where the local Church Appointee, Seventy Stan Hunt, supported my work.

Among RLDS scholars (such as F. Mark McKiernan), the most typical reason I encountered,
for why I should discontinue my studies, was that the Church had published Spalding's
only fictional manuscript and that the text proved that Solomon Spalding could not have
possibly written a word of the Book of Mormon. When I gave an interim report on my
research, to the John Whitmer Historical Association in 1980 at Omaha, RLDS scholar and
educator Wayne Ham again told me that I should read Spalding's manuscript. When I
informed him that was the very topic of my paper, he switched his argument, to saying
that "external evidences" proved that Spalding could have had nothing to do with the Book of Mormon.

I would estimate that in about 100 different encounters with Reorganized LDS officials and
scholars (from Richard P. Howard to Grant McMurray) I was only encouraged in my studies
two or three times, and was almost always given counsel to cease and desist.

So, if modern critics have the same advice -- I can only say that they are too late. The work
has largely been accomplished and now only the reporting remains to be done. I hope to
begin that with the publication of a book on the pre-Mormon religious career of Sidney Rigdon
in 2009 or 2010. I have already received plenty of advice on why I should NOT write such a
book -- but, surprisingly, Steve Sorenson of the LDS Church Archives said he would welcome
such an addition to his library -- (which has over 100 books on Smith, but only 3 on Rigdon).

Dale R. Broadhurst
Hilo, Hawaii

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Dan Vogel
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Post by Dan Vogel »

Why Me,

I tend to trust my instinct.


Instinct is good, but it should be balanced with reason. But what is instinct? Is it not a hunch based on the available information preliminary to a more formal investigation? Some instincts prove valid, while others do not. Certainly, you don't think instinct can't be sharpened and enhanced with training?

I don't want to tell you how to think. Unlike some on the RfM board, I'm not insistent that everyone accept my views. I like putting my arguments out there and letting everyone decide for themselves what they think. I'm just saying instinct shouldn't be a barrier to accessing the strengths and weaknesses in opposing views, because instinct has a lot to do with what we know. Gather more facts and analyze better the one's we already have, and instinct changes.

To tell you the truth, I just can't see him writing it. So much time and so much paper and ink and in secret with such grand visions of glory...that I find it all impossible.


I don't see Joseph Smith writing the Book of Mormon on paper. There was no MS from which he read, not Spaulding's and not his own. The process was more working it out in his mind until he felt good about it, and then he dictated it. With only a few hours of dictation each day, he had plenty of time to work it out in his mind.

Of course you have done more research in the area but really dan, where does this farmer find the time...and what about emma? If no one saw the manuscript, then what is there to see? Except his head in the hat and him moving around a heavy piece of material, perhaps metal.


You see only what Joseph Smith wants you to see. And what you see is an illusion created with your assistance, because it exploits your belief that a farmer couldn't write something like the Book of Mormon (perhaps we need to look at the Book of Mormon with a critical eye), or no one would dare deceive in God's name, or that deception is easily detected, or that manmade scripture couldn't possibly produce spiritual feelings and change people's lives.

And it is one thing to be charismatic, it is quite another thing to write a book that can be cross-referenced with the bible and stand the test of time.


Joseph Smith's real achievement wasn't the Book of Mormon; it was the church he established. Without the church, I doubt the Book of Mormon would still be read by anyone. Moreover, the Book of Mormon didn't even stand the test of time during Joseph Smith's own life time, because his revelation quickly moved beyond the Book of Mormon. Today, the book is revered more as a symbol of the restoration, than for its contents.

And as you know, the LDS would claim that he wrote nothing that you listed above, except his jail house letters. It all came from god.


Yes, I know. But I'm not speaking to the inspiration of the BOM--that assessment is beyond scholarship. The fact that Joseph Smith could stand in front of people or sit at a table and dictate long revelations that are in every way comparable to the Book of Mormon is evidence that he had the ability to dictate something like the Book of Mormon without the use of a MS, irregardless of whether you think his revelations were inspired. In fact, that is my thesis--JS believed he was inspired as he dictated the Book of Mormon.

And I saw nothing in your quotations that even hinted at the people involved doubting that the book of Mormon is not what it claims to be. What should I think?


They can only testify to what they observed. What they believed is irrelevant. Like in court, the witness can only testify to observations, but their speculations and interpretations are irrelevant. Perhaps if they knew what we know, they might have come to different conclusions.

Now, this kind of discussion might be beneficial, but we should keep it on Spaulding.

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Re: Book of Mormon Discussion

Post by Dan Vogel »

Uncle Dale wrote:I might also add, that in thirty years of my studying this particular topic, I have heard
just about every possible reason given, as to why it should be avoided and ignored.

In 1979, while I was conducting my studies at Oberlin College and elsewhere in Ohio,
I was pretty much kicked out of the Worthington RLDS branch because of that research.
My membership had been transferred there from Wyoming, but the local pastor was
adament, that my conducting such studies was a "sure ticket to hell." I moved my RLDS
membership from there to nearby Westerville, but again met with a very chilly reception.

At first I was told that such research was a "waste of time," and that I ought to do something
more productive. Then, when that did not phase me, the Westerville pastor told me that
such studies tended to destroy testimonies and that he did not want that sort of disruption
in the congregation. At last, I was reduced to occasional visits to the Columbus branch,
where the local Church Appointee, Seventy Stan Hunt, supported my work.

Among RLDS scholars (such as F. Mark McKiernan), the most typical reason I encountered,
for why I should discontinue my studies, was that the Church had published Spalding's
only fictional manuscript and that the text proved that Solomon Spalding could not have
possibly written a word of the Book of Mormon. When I gave an interim report on my
research, to the John Whitmer Historical Association in 1980 at Omaha, RLDS scholar and
educator Wayne Ham again told me that I should read Spalding's manuscript. When I
informed him that was the very topic of my paper, he switched his argument, to saying
that "external evidences" proved that Spalding could have had nothing to do with the Book of Mormon.

I would estimate that in about 100 different encounters with Reorganized LDS officials and
scholars (from Richard P. Howard to Grant McMurray) I was only encouraged in my studies
two or three times, and was almost always given counsel to cease and desist.

So, if modern critics have the same advice -- I can only say that they are too late. The work
has largely been accomplished and now only the reporting remains to be done. I hope to
begin that with the publication of a book on the pre-Mormon religious career of Sidney Rigdon
in 2009 or 2010. I have already received plenty of advice on why I should NOT write such a
book -- but, surprisingly, Steve Sorenson of the LDS Church Archives said he would welcome
such an addition to his library -- (which has over 100 books on Smith, but only 3 on Rigdon).

Dale R. Broadhurst
Hilo, Hawaii


Dale,

Just be glad you weren't trying to spread the "good news" about Spaulding in the LDS church. At least the RLDS let you stay in the church. I can remember some 20 years ago trying to sleep down in Mike Marquardt's basement and you upstairs diligently pounding away on the typewriter late into the night excerpting page after page of Spaulding documents. Although I'm not convinced about Spaulding, I do appreciate your efforts to uncover early Mormon sources and put them on the internet. I hope your health holds up long enough for you to complete your projects.

Dan "I don't have carpel tunnel yet" Vogel

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Re: Book of Mormon Discussion

Post by Uncle Dale »

Dan Vogel wrote:Dale,

Just be glad you weren't trying to spread the "good news" about Spaulding in the LDS church.



Actually, Leonard Arrington was very nice about the whole thing -- although, had I been a member of that church,
he might have been less helpful.

At least the RLDS let you stay in the church. I can remember some 20 years ago trying to sleep down in Mike Marquardt's basement and you upstairs diligently pounding away on the typewriter late into the night excerpting page after page of Spaulding documents. Although I'm not convinced about Spaulding, I do appreciate your efforts to uncover early Mormon sources and put them on the internet. I hope your health holds up long enough for you to complete your projects.

Dan "I don't have carpel tunnel yet" Vogel


My doctor advises my getting away from the computer and enjoying the next couple of years of so.
I am taking longer and longer breaks these days. The Rigdon book will be the last thing I do on my
own -- after that, it's up to Craig Criddle and others to follow up on anything I have missed or have
failed to make good use of.

Don't look for much more on the web from me. Two of the sites are already in the hands of another person
and the Rigdon site may pass away, next time the domain is up for renewal (2010, I think).

Dale

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Post by Dan Vogel »

Dale,

I'm glad that your sites are safe for the time being. Now, don't be timid. Is there something you can contribute here. I suggested at the beginning an outline of the major arguments in support of the Spaulding theory and links to longer discussions. Obviously, there is a lot on the web. Much too voluminous for us to survey here. Can you help us get to the meat of what you find compelling about the Spaulding theory?

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Re: links for interest

Post by Jason Bourne »

marg wrote:I'm posting a few links to a message board in which Craig Criddle wrote some posts on the Rigdon/Spalding theory. I haven't heard from him personally but my understanding is that he will be unable to participate in this. I'm posting these for information only which may possible add value to the discussion. Use Flat view and focus on Craig's posts. I might add others later.

http://2thinkforums.org/phorum3/read.ph ... 91&t=17791
http://2thinkforums.org/phorum3/read.ph ... 31&t=17731
http://2thinkforums.org/phorum3/read.ph ... 68&t=12168

Some more added:

http://2thinkforums.org/phorum3/read.ph ... 97&t=17697
http://2thinkforums.org/phorum3/read.ph ... 68&t=12168
http://2thinkforums.org/phorum3/read.ph ... reply_5827
http://2thinkforums.org/phorum3/read.ph ... reply_4941


Ihave read the Criddle paper finally. Some of it is a good argument, some weak. The Smith/Rigdon connection still seems weak. The idea that the beginning and end of the Book of Mormon contains Rigdon's post 1828 theology seems weak. If the book were his invention why not just send Joseph Smith new material and make the book of Mormon consistent through out? They certianly had the time.

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Post by Uncle Dale »

Dan Vogel wrote:Dale,

I'm glad that your sites are safe for the time being. Now, don't be timid. Is there something you can contribute here. I suggested at the beginning an outline of the major arguments in support of the Spaulding theory and links to longer discussions. Obviously, there is a lot on the web. Much too voluminous for us to survey here. Can you help us get to the meat of what you find compelling about the Spaulding theory?



My genesis on this came in the form of a chance encounter with the late Vernal Holley in Sam Weller's book store in
1975 (I think it was). One thing led to another and Vernal grabbed a copy of the 1910 LDS "Manuscript Story" off the
shelf and began showing me word-strings of 3 to five words in length, that he said were also in the Book of Mormon. I dismissed
his examples as odd coincidences, but kept in contact with him. A year or two later Howard Davis of the "California
Researchers" got in touch with me through Phyllis Farkas, an Evagelical Christian who was trying to convert me out
of the RLDS Church. Davis was interested in the fact that one of my ancestors was the first Mormon to leave the Church
over the Spalding authorship claims -- but he gave me no new information and again I dropped the matter.

Then, in 1977, I took Vernal's textual findings and presented them to Richard P. Howard, RLDS Church Historian --
asking if they ought not be investigated, in light of an advertised, upcoming Spalding book from the "California
Researchers." Dick Howard was very uninterested and again I let the matter drop, until the next year, when a set of
photocopies of the Oberlin Spalding manuscript were floating around Ogden and a friend gave me a copy. At almost
the same time another associate forwarded to me a solicitation for grant proposals from LDS CE head, Jeffery Holland.
At that time I still looked at the whole matter as merely an oddity, but I was a bit miffed when Holland's secretary
informed me that my grant proposal on the subject would not be funded until "after your baptism."

In 1978-79 I re-wrote the grant proposal and submitted it along with my application to several different graduate
schools. Methodist Theological Seminary in Ohio was the only school that accepted me with an assistantship -- so I
took up their offer and used their money to study the Oberlin Spalding manuscript at nearby Oberlin College.

Still, in all of that time, I was not convinced that the Spalding-Rigdon authorship claims had any basis in fact --- but my
continued bout of bad experience with the RLDS officials and scholars convinced me that, like Smith's polygamy, the
"conspiracy theory" of Book of Mormon orgins was a stone they did not want turned over. That resistance sparked my further
interest, but I still did not personally accept the theory as fact -- only as a potential fact, and even then only parts of it.

When, in 1982, Lester E. Bush responded to a MHA paper I wrote on the subject, and advised me to drop the topic
altogether and "go on a mission," I did just that -- and have never returned to the US mainland for more than a few
days at a time since then.

My acceptance of a key piece of the Spalding-Rigdon explanation came in 1994-95 when I read Richard S. Van Waggoner's
report -- saying that Rigdon knew of the Book of Mormon before the published book was ever placed in his hands. I
guess ever since then it has been a downhill slide for me, with each new piece of evidence that came into my hands
serving to reinforce all of the rest. My happening upon the 1945 manuscript of Prof. Carl M. Brewster, who quoted an
1826 pamphlet accusing Rigdon of associating with a "crystal-gazer and confidence man" in southern Geauga Co., Ohio
in 1825-26 was pretty much the "straw that broke the camel's back" for me, I guess. I had already made a public
statement in support of the Spaldimg-Rigdon claims, but after 2005-06 there was no going back.

Paralleling all of this, I left Community of Christ -- so I no longer feel the pressure to hold back my findings.

I hope to provide better details in due time.

Dale

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