DAN VOGEL DISCUSSES THE SPALDING/RIGDON THEORY

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Uncle Dale
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Post by Uncle Dale »

Dan Vogel wrote:According to Pratt's account, which you have not impeached, his discovery of the Book of Mormon was a total surprise. Until it is impreach, it remains a historical fact. You might doubt it, but your doubts don't remove it as fact. While you might think some Mormons having too much confidence about knowledge, you might consider that too much skepticism can lead to nihilism and no basis on which to conduct an investigation.



Admitted then -- I will try as hard as my mind will bend, to give Pratt's testimony a place in my thinking as probable
as that of Darwin Atwater, Matthew S. Clapp, Adamson Bentley, Walter Scott, Henry H. Clapp, Alexander Campbell,
Thomas J. Clapp, J. J. Moss, Esak Rosa, Eber D. Howe, William Perkins, Lewis L. Rice, Ezra Booth, Warren Isham,
John St. John, Thomas Campbell, John Barr, Josiah Jones, John C. Dowen, George Wilber, Amarilla Brooks Dunlap,
John Henry, Dency Thompson, James A. Briggs, Isaac Butts, Alexander E, Kent, Joel Giles, Sr., Harvey Baldwin, Sr.,
Zebulon Rudolph, Lawrence Greatrake, Samuel Williams, and a host of others who knew Rigdon, Pratt or both.

But can I be allowed one small boon? Can I make their testimony cumulative, rather than standing each of them
up, one at a time, and having to always decide differences in favor of President Rigdon and Apostle Pratt?

That much conceded, let us see how a dictated Book of Mormon MS (or a mostly dictated MS) shows that Joseph Smith did not rely upon
pre-existing sources (or wherever it is that the copying vs dictating arguments are taking us) ...

Dale

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CaliforniaKid
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Post by CaliforniaKid »

Dan, just because somebody said something doesn't mean it's a historical fact. At least, not unless we're defining a historical fact as a claim that someone made about the past, which leads to circular argumentation. I define a historical fact as a fact (i.e. a truth, something that we positively know) about history. Here's Dictionary.com for fact:

fact /fækt/ Pronunciation Key - Show Spelled Pronunciation[fakt] Pronunciation Key - Show IPA Pronunciation
–noun
1. something that actually exists; reality; truth: Your fears have no basis in fact.
2. something known to exist or to have happened: Space travel is now a fact.
3. a truth known by actual experience or observation; something known to be true: Scientists gather facts about plant growth.
4. something said to be true or supposed to have happened: The facts given by the witness are highly questionable.

As you can see, your definition is number 4, and mine encompasses the first three. I'd say I'm on stronger footing, wouldn't you?

It is a fact that Pratt claimed the Book of Mormon was a surprise. That it really was a surprise is your hypothesis; NOT a fact.

And that's a fact.

-CK

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Brent Metcalfe
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Post by Brent Metcalfe »

Hi folks,

Unfortunately, my playtime is on the verge of extinction, so I can't actively participate in a discussion on whether Spalding, Rigdon, and/or et al. authored the Book of Mormon. But for those who are interested, I did post some thoughts on the topic on ZLMB in 2002 (see my response to Jeff Hammel and Brant Gardner here and my follow-up response to Jeff here; see also my follow-up responses to Brant here, here, here, and here).

I summarized my skepticism in 2002 this way:

    I have trouble with the 1814–1823 date for your proposed Book of Mormon Urtext. Book of Mormon themes don't merely fall under the broad rubric "early-19thC thought," they exhibit dependence on 1826–1829 events—in some cases, within days or weeks of a given pericope's dictation.

    Book of Mormon anti-Masonic rhetoric owes its inspiration to the furor ignited by the presumed 1826 murder of William Morgan. Instructions on ecclesiology and Book of Mormon witnesses are best situated in May or June 1829. Autobiographical echoes of Joseph Smith's life permeate the Book of Mormon narrative. Readers even learn details of Martin Harris's 1828 encounter with Charles Anthon. Book of Mormon stylistics are so intimately tied to Smith that we can trace lexical shifts through the narrative's unusual dictation sequence (see [the original post here]).

    In short, Jeff, a Spalding theory isn't only speculative, it's unnecessary.
Now in 2007, I've yet to read a coherent exegetical argument demonstrating that anyone other than Joseph Smith composed the Book of Mormon—the posts in this thread notwithstanding.

(by the way, CaliforniaKid, Oliver Cowdery's 1835 Messenger and Advocate article is not the earliest reference to the New York drumlin as "Cumorah" [see here, here, and here]).

Kind regards,

Brent

[Edit: Edited first time to bold the links; edited second time to add this note about the first edit.]
Last edited by Brent Metcalfe on Fri Feb 16, 2007 11:13 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Uncle Dale
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Post by Uncle Dale »

Brent Metcalfe wrote:[list]I have trouble with the 1814–1823 date for your proposed Book of Mormon Urtext. Book of Mormon themes don't merely
fall under the broad rubric "early-19thC thought," they exhibit dependence on 1826–1829 events—in some cases,
within days or weeks of a given pericope's dictation.



Have you read William H. Whitsitt's biography of Sidney Rigdon, long available in the web?

Summary:
http://sidneyrigdon.com/wht/WhitIdx0.htm#1891

Table of Contents:
http://sidneyrigdon.com/wht/1891WhtB.htm#pg001b

Dale
Last edited by Uncle Dale on Fri Feb 16, 2007 8:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Dan Vogel
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Post by Dan Vogel »

CaliforniaKid wrote:Dan, just because somebody said something doesn't mean it's a historical fact. At least, not unless we're defining a historical fact as a claim that someone made about the past, which leads to circular argumentation. ...

It is a fact that Pratt claimed the Book of Mormon was a surprise. That it really was a surprise is your hypothesis; NOT a fact.


How does one know anything about history, if someone hasn't made a claim about it? We have no direct access to history. The problem is finding the claims that are credible. In this instance, Pratt tells us his story. He is either telling the truth or lying. If he is telling the truth, it's a fact of history. Until his accout is impeached, it stands as counter evidence for the claim that Rigdon faked or staged his conversion.

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Post by CaliforniaKid »

(by the way, CaliforniaKid, Oliver Cowdery's 1835 Messenger and Advocate article is not the earliest reference to the New York drumlin as "Cumorah" [see here, here, and here]).


Thanks, Brent. I believe it was Grant Palmer that I gleaned that tidbit from.

How does one know anything about history, if someone hasn't made a claim about it? We have no direct access to history. The problem is finding the claims that are credible. In this instance, Pratt tells us his story. He is either telling the truth or lying. If he is telling the truth, it's a fact of history. Until his accout is impeached, it stands as counter evidence for the claim that Rigdon faked or staged his conversion.


Dan,

This statement is more carefully worded, and I can agree with it.

I agree that we have no direct access to history, and that in that sense "historical facts" in the absolute sense do not exist. However, there are historical propositions that can be established with so high a degree of probability that we can call them facts. For example, it is a historical fact that John F. Kennedy was assassinated. The documentation and evidence of that event is positively unimpeachable. There are also propositions that can be established with a high degree of probability, but that do not qualify as "fact" because there are other plausible (if unlikely) explanations for them. Then there are propositions that are moderately likely, because they're the "best fit" or the simplest explanation for a set of data, but for which another proposition could easily be substituted. And finally, there are propositions that are tenuous, speculative, improbable, even downright absurd.

Which category does Orson Pratt's surprise fit under? Since the historian's default position is usually to trust eyewitness testimony, maybe we can put it in the highly likely category. On the other hand, Uncle Dale can knock it down from this pinnacle of probability by providing counter-evidence/counter-testimony, by casting doubt on Pratt's credibility, or by suggesting likely motives for dishonesty.

You suggested above that "If he is telling the truth, it's a fact of history." Of course. But whether he's telling the truth or not is precisely what is at issue here. You can't begin by assuming that he is telling the truth. You also said, "Until his account is impeached, it stands as counter evidence for the claim that Rigdon faked or staged his conversion." This is correct. Pratt's account stands not as "historical fact," but as "counter-evidence." Just as, I might add, Joseph's claims and the Three Witnesses' claims and the Conneaut Witnesses' claims stand as counter-evidence to your own particular construction of Mormon history. No matter what position we adopt, there will be counter-evidence. The question is, what do we find more compelling: the evidence or the counter-evidence? D'Unk finds his evidence more compelling than your counter-evidence; you find your evidence more compelling than D'Unk's counter-evidence. I actually tend to side with you over my dear old uncle. But if you start suggesting that one man's testimony is sufficient to establish your position as a "historical fact," I'm gonna call ya on it.

Peace,

-CK

marg

Re: Critique of Ted Chandler

Post by marg »

Dan I'm responding to your Critique of Ted Chandler post.

Dan,
There is a significant point I’d like to mention before commenting on your post. The Spalding theory does not assume that only Spalding’s manuscript was used. It also does not assume that Smith did not dictate or read from sources be it Spalding’s, Ridgon, the bible or his ownwords to the scribe. I get the impression you assume that the Spalding theory suggests one and only one possible method, that the scribe sat and copied from a source. That’s an incorrect assumption. It is quite conceivable that Smith worked with the scribe and read to the scribe for parts and other parts the scribe may have copied straight from the source.


You wrote:
1. Scribe 2 mishears and for an in 1 Ne. 13:29

O-MS: & because of these things which are taken away out of the gosple of the Lamb & exceeding great many do stumble

Chandler asserts that this "could as easily be the result of visual misreading as mishearing." However, Skousen argues: "The use of the ampersand (&) shows that the error was not based on visual similarity. Hearing an, the scribe interpreted it as the casual speech form an' for and." (67) Skousen's explanation is far more likely.


I might be wrong but I get the impression that you are assuming the source document would have had to have had an ampersand. Let’s assume it didn’t but that the scribe chose to use it to shorten his work. So the scribe focusing on copying shortens their work and uses the ampersand, but as they are copying they aren’t focusing on content or context of words within the sentences and quickly looks at the cursively written “an” and assumes in haste it’s also an “and” If the scribe slowed down and focused on context and content, they’d realize it should be an “an” but likely with the extent of writing they had to do, content became of less significance than getting the majority of the words downs. Later corrections could always be made. Skousen and you for that matter are incorrect to assume this error can only indicate a hearing error. It is just as likely a function of the copier hurrying and not focusing on the meaning of the sentence and words within and attempting to take short cuts.


2. Cowdery mishears weed for reed in 1 Ne. 17:48

O-MS: & whoso shall lay their hands upon me shall wither even as a dried weed

Chandler again asserts that this "could as easily be the result of visual misreading as mishearing." While it's easy to see how the scribe could mishear "weed" for the less familiar "reed", Chandler does not explain how an "r" can look like a "w". Samples of Rigdon's handwriting in Joseph Smith's 1832-34 diary did not bear out Chandler's assertion.

There is a significant problem here with this analysis. The source document if there was one is not available for comparison purposes. My handwriting is very messy ( I developed the messiness from notetaking in previous years) I just wrote out for myself weed ..it’s too bad I can’t show it on here but not only is it difficult to read but the loops in my w could be interpreted as an r then another letter possibly an i maybe a u following the 'r' . My first “e” is one line/stroke going up with no loop while my second e has a slight loop. If that was in a sentence and someone was trying to figure out the word from the context..weed or reed could be interpreted. Dan it is just as plausible that the person reading the script, couldn’t decifer the word, perhaps the “e” and “d” at the end were clear as in my own example for myself and they then assumed the word was “weed”. As for this being an example of a “hearing” error only I disagree. While that is a possibility it is no more likely than a copying error. Here is why, if someone was dictating to me, I think I wouldn’t have any problem telling the difference between weed or reed unless they had a lisp. Of course if someone was dictating I'd could easily ask what word they meant if their words weren't clear.


3. Cowdery mishears meet for beat in Alma 57:22

O-MS: for it was they who did <meet> \beat/ the Lamanites

Chandler asserts: "either 'meet' or 'beat' fits the context of the sentence, which reads 'for it was they who did beat the Lamanites.' Perhaps Oliver Cowdery didn't mishear the word but simply decided to change it." Obviously, it's hard to explain how the scribe could misread "m" for a "b", which forces Chandler to offer a third option. However, the closeness in sound favors Skousen's interpretation.

Contrary to your claim, there is no closeness in sound between “m” and “b”. One is a soft sound and the other a hard sound. It is more plausible that a scribe rushing and not paying much attention to context thought ..”no it can’t be saying “beat” the Lamanites, it must be "meet" the Lamanites.

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] or him)." (68)


I agree with Chandler. The person copying is likely not focused on what he’s writing but much more focused on speed, getting the words down quickly and in doing so is not thinking. This mistake of 'him' versus 'them', could be based on hearing but it can also be based on assuming incorrectly that another “him” followed the other two previous him(s). Our perspective in analysis is much different than someone who would be concentrating on quickly copying words which often times would be difficult to read and at which point in copying they may have been tired and careless.


O-MS: wherefore Akish administered it unto his kindreds & friends leading (<%him%>|them) away by fair promises

Chandler asserts: "In the second him/them example, it may be that Oliver incorrectly anticipated what the next word was going to be." Anticipating the next word is more typical of dictation than copying from texts. But, again, Skousen's explanation from casual pronunciation is more likely.

What you don’t appear to be considering Dan is that the words if being copied were not necessarily easily decipherable. It can become frustrating and tiring deciphering long texts of messy cursive writing. If the copiest is trying speed things up, he may attempt to take short cuts, one being to read the whole sentence or at least a group of words ..commit those to memory and then write them down. Consequently mistakes such as in this particular example ..as others previously above can easily be made.

5. Cowdery mishears sons for son in Alma 41:14

O-MS: therefore my Sons see that ye are merciful unto your Brethren

Chandler skips over this example. This kind of error is a well-known problem in oral dictation. Skousen states: "The source of this error is the following word see, whose initial s sould have made it hard for Oliver Cowdery to hear any difference between son see and sons see. This passage comes from Alma's discourse to his son Corianton; he is speaking to only one son." (69) This error is corrected by Cowdery in the Printer's MS (P-MS).

Adding an extra “s” is an easy mistake which can be attributed to simple sloppiness. If Cowdery were paying attention to context he would have realized as he did the second time around in the Printer’s manuscript that it was 'son' not 'sons'. But perhaps the first time around he wasn’t paying attention to context and just attempting to get words down quickly, while making plenty of spelling mistakes along the way as pointed out by chandler in his list of spelling mistakes in the O manuscript. If Smith were to have dictated as you assume and didn’t use a source document to read off of, it can be argued that he would have understood well what he was saying. And given that, he would have paused i.e. he would have said “therefore my Son…taken a pause and cont’d …see that ye are merciful unto your brethren.” If reading from a source he is less likely to pause.

B. Problems of Vision.
Quote:
On the other hand, Skousen gives examples of changes made in the printer's manuscript (P), which he claims are due to visual misreading of the original manuscript (O) rather than mishearing. In one sentence, Oliver wrote "also" in P rather than "always" in O. In a second passage, he wrote "many" in P rather than "among" in O, and in a third he misread "pressing" written by scribe 3 in O and wrote "feeling" in P. If Oliver could misread "always" as "also" and "among" as "many," he could certainly also misread "an" as "and" and "reed" as "weed."


The problem with Chandler's reasoning here is that we know P-MS was visually copied, and "also" and "always", or "many" and "among", or "pressing" and "feeling" don't sound the same or similar. Whereas the examples cited by Skousen are well-known problems in oral dictation. I wouldn't say all of Skousen's examples have the same clarity, but Chandler ignores the best ones.

You’ve not demonstrated there is anything wrong with Chandler's reasoning. If one observes evidence that Cowdery substituted entirely different words when copying from the O manuscript to the P (printer’s manuscript), one can assume he could have done so when copying from a source text to the O manuscript…such as weed for reed. There is little value that I can see of attempting to show Cowdery made visual errors going from the O Ms to the Printer’s Manuscript. I’m not sure why you are bothering with that. There is no question that the original manuscript was copied so to look for evidence of that is not necessary.

However what Chandler was suggesting is that all sort of changes to spelling were made in the O manuscript, which could quite conceivably have been made as copy errors while rushing and later corrected upon reading it back again or even comparing it to the source. I’ll explain this with an example later.




Chandler" "Skousen's explanation for the pressing/feeling example is especially interesting. He says that scribe 3's "p" looks like an "f" and his elongated "s" looks like an "l." But there are literally hundreds of examples of this type of error in the original manuscript, none of which are ever mentioned by Skousen."


Dan: Again, the problem with Chandler's reasoning here is that his examples do not lead to misreadings of real words--they are simply malformed letters or an obviously wrong letter within the same word.


In other words, Skousen's examples of malformed letters lead the copyist to write another word instead of the one intended, such as the following--

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/

The above you point out were initially miscopied from O to P manuscript as totally different words but then corrected later either above or immediately following the word. Of course, comparison of the 2 texts the O and the P manuscript allows one to determine for a fact when a word has been completely changed. But we don’t have a source document to compare to with the O manuscript so there is no way to know with certainty which words may have been changed completely. But just the same if there are lots of examples of incorrect letters..resulting in misspellings in the O manuscript and no reason to misspell upon hearing the word..then it would seem those are copy mistakes. For example look at the first 2 which Chandler lists

1. there was also writher=writhen [written] upon them a new writeing (135:35)
2. be hated amorg=among all Nations (152:7)

If someone is dictating and says “written” why would the scribe write “writher” that appears to be a copy error. The same applies to #2. And so on with the rest of the errors Chandler lists. Yet these errors were corrected in the O manuscript. Inother words those sorts of spelling errors would be more likely in copying while a scribe is not focusied on making sense or using a valid word. If someone says to you “among” you aren’t likely to write “amorg. So all those spelling mistakes Chandler lists as being in the O manuscript and corrected are indicative of someone copying text not making the mistakes because of hearing wrong.


Whereas Chandler's examples are not substitute words, but rather malformed words, such as--

feace=peace
feople=people
ufon=upon
afopstles=apostles
pals=pass

Thus, Chandler argues--
Quote:
For example, in the original manuscript Oliver wrote an "f" for "p" while writing the word "peace" (385:13), and he wrote "f" for the second "p" in "People" (414:4). Even scribe 3 made this mistake, writing "f" for "p" in "upon" (98:8) and in the word "apostles" (107:6). In attempting to write the word "pass," scribe 3 first wrote "pals" but then changed the "l" to an elongated "s" (87:41). If Skousen accepts this type of example as proof of copying errors in the printer's manuscript, why does he not accept the evidence of copying in the original manuscript?


Chandler does not understand that this was Skousen's way of showing malformed letters that were sometimes later touched up by erasure or overwriting. Nevertheless, Chandler gives a couple of hundred or so examples of this type of correction, believing that they are evidence that O-MS was visually copied from a very poorly written manuscript, when in fact they prove no such thing.

What Chandler was showing is the errors are likely copy errors from a source document. But if someone is copying and not paying attention to context and being rather careless and rushing..they are quite likely to make lots of spelling errors especially when what they are copying from may be difficult to decipher which cursive often is.

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Brent Metcalfe
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Post by Brent Metcalfe »

Hi Dale,

Uncle Dale wrote:Have you read William H. Whitsitt's biography of Sidney Rigdon, long available in the web?


I’ve only read the portions of Whitsitt’s manuscript that address the content of the Book of Mormon narrative proper. His conjecture of a multitier redaction for the Lehite/Jaredite tale strikes me as fanciful. Whitsitt’s musings don’t even begin to address the core concerns that I outlined in the links that I provided in my post above (see here).

Our differences on elements of Book of Mormon authorship aside, I have to commend you, Dale. Your Web sites are an important contribution to our growing understanding of the world from which Mormonism emerged.

My best,

Brent

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Post by Brent Metcalfe »

Hi CaliforniaKid,

For an additional 1833 reference to Cumorah, see my comments here.

Cheers,

Brent

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Post by Uncle Dale »

Brent Metcalfe wrote:Hi Dale,

Uncle Dale wrote:Have you read William H. Whitsitt's biography of Sidney Rigdon, long available in the web?


I’ve only read the portions of Whitsitt’s manuscript that address the content of the Book of Mormon narrative proper. His conjecture of a multitier redaction for the Lehite/Jaredite tale strikes me as fanciful. Whitsitt’s musings don’t even begin to address the core concerns that I outlined in the links that I provided in my post above (see here).

Our differences on elements of Book of Mormon authorship aside, I have to commend you, Dale. Your Web sites are an important contribution to our growing understanding of the world from which Mormonism emerged.

My best,

Brent


Thank you for the kind words, Brent --

I'll cut and paste below an example of an 1830 Book of Mormon page demonstrating a very high overlap with the
vocabulary and phraseology occurring in Solomon Spalding's preserved writings. The vocabulary in common with
Spalding (less unique proper nouns) is 98.1% --- The phraseology word-string count in common with Spalding rates
in the upper 20% of Book of Mormon pages containing known Spalding phraseology. The thematic similarities with Spalding's
battle tactics are substantial.

This will give you an idea of the type of material in the Book of Mormon which I and some other contemporary researchers
attribute to Solomon Spalding's pen. There are, of course, also other pages (and runs of pages) in the 1830 Book of Mormon
which have a very low overlap with Spalding (but which share vocabulary, non contextual words, etc. with Rigdon):


374 Book of Alma

was determined to slay them, and cut his way through to the city of Mulek. But behold, Moroni and his men were more powerful; therefore they did not give way before the Lamanites.

And it came to pass that they fought on both hands with exceeding fury; and there were many slain on both sides; yea, and Moroni was wounded, and Jacob was killed. And Lehi pressed upon their rear with such fury, with his strong men, that the Lamanites in the rear delivered up their weapons of war; and the remainder of them, being much confused, knew not whether to go or to strike. Now Moroni seeing their confusion, he said unto them, If ye will bring forth your weapons of war, and deliver them up, behold we will forbear shedding your blood. And it came to pass that when the Lamanites had heard these words, their Chief Captains, all those who were not slain, came forth and threw down their weapons of war at the feet of Moroni, and also commanded their men that they should do the same; but behold, there were many that would not; and those who would not deliver up their swords, were taken and bound, and their weapons of war were taken from them, and they were compelled to march with their brethren forth into the land Bountiful. And now the number of prisoners which were taken, exceeded more than the number of those which had been slain; yea, more than those which had been slain on both sides.

And it came to pass that they did set guards over the prisoners of the Lamanites, and did compel them to go forth and bury their dead; yea, and also the dead of the Nephites which were slain; and Moroni placed men over them to guard them while they should perform their labors. And Moroni went to the city of Mulek with Lehi, and took command of the city and gave it unto Lehi. Now behold this Lehi was a man who had been with Moroni in the more part of all his battles; and he was a man like unto Moroni; and they rejoiced in each other's safety; yea, they were beloved by each other, and also beloved by all the people of Nephi.

And it came to pass that after the Lamanites had finished burying their dead, and also the dead of the Nephites, they were marched back into the land Bountiful; and Teancum, by the orders of Moroni, caused that they should commence laboring in digging a ditch round about the land, or the city Bountiful; and he caused that they should build a breastwork of timbers upon the inner bank of the ditch; and they cast up



That page, color-coded in brown for Spalding vocabulary overlap, is online here:
http://solomonspalding.com/SRP/Alma20c.htm#374a

The same text may be found on my color-coded mark-ups fro Spalding phraseology, indexed and linked here:
http://solomonspalding.com/SRP/MEDIA/SRPpap16.htm#Alma

That page, color-coded in red for Spalding phraseology overlap, is online (in modern LDS format) here:
http://solomonspalding.com/SRP/MEDIA/P4/330.JPG

A word-strings tabulation, showing that most phraseology parallels are found in the last 1/3rd of Alma is here:
http://solomonspalding.com/SRP/SCIOTA/Tabulatn.htm

A word-strings chart, showing that most phraseology parallels are found in the last 1/3rd of Alma (RED) is here:
http://solomonspalding.com/SRP/MEDIA/BOMcolr1.jpg

Image

I also have a non-contextual words graph for the Book of Mormon, compared with Spalding, which shows a
marked uptick in Spalding "word markers" in the vicinity of page 374, in the 1830 Book of Mormon.

Given all of these textual indicators, I am comfortable in attributing page 374 of the Book of Mormon to Spalding's pen --
That only leaves 587 other pages that I need to direct your attention to, for my yea or nay vote -- Curious yet?


Dale
Last edited by Uncle Dale on Fri Feb 16, 2007 11:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by Brent Metcalfe »

Hi Dale,

I’m familiar with your color-coded graphs. In what way do you feel they directly and specifically address the lexical shifts and autobiographical echoes that I illustrated in the links that I provided here?

Best regards,

Brent

[Edit: Added an “I” … reminder to self: proof before you post.]

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Post by Uncle Dale »

Brent Metcalfe wrote:Hi Dale,

I’m familiar with your color-coded graphs. In what way do you feel they directly and specifically address the lexical shifts and autobiographical echoes that I illustrated in the links that I provided here?



Just trying to initiate our deconstruction of the Book of Mormon text, so that we can begin to formulate a "coherent exegetical
argument, demonstrating that anyone other than Joseph Smith composed the Book of Mormon" sections which I attribute to
Spalding, Rigdon, etc.

The blind men who went to inspect and report on the characteristics of the elephant each came away with a different
conclusion. With that illustrative fable in mind, I just hope we can eventually agree on which parts of the Book of Mormon look
most like Smith, which parts look most like Rigdon, and which parts look most like Spalding.

I'm willing to say that the elephant looks like a rope with you -- just as long I can be sure that we are each holding
onto his tail, and not some other part of the beast..... if you follow my analogy.

Dale

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Brent Metcalfe
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Post by Brent Metcalfe »

Hi Dale,

I appreciate your humor; you’re one of the few posters that I truly enjoy reading.

I encourage you—and our readers—to carefully review my illustrations for lexical shifts and autobiographical nuances (see the links that I provided here) as I’ve carefully weighed wordprint-type proposals for both supernaturalistic (God/ancients) and naturalistic (Spalding/Rigdon) theories of Book of Mormon origins.

Best wishes,

Brent

(Just a quick correction for CaliforniaKid: I think you meant David Palmer, not Grant Palmer.)

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CaliforniaKid
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Post by CaliforniaKid »

Brent, two thoughts. 1) It seems that Phelps was the first known person to make the Cumorah connection. That still may mean that Joseph was not the first (though in light of the Woodruff journal entry about Zelph, we can probably conclude that he did so very early on). 2) Do you find lexical shifts and autobiographical content in the latter third of Alma?

EDIT: Yeah, definitely not Grant Palmer. :-P

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Brent Metcalfe
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Post by Brent Metcalfe »

Hi CaliforniaKid,

Thanks for your queries. A couple of quick comments and then I’m off to dreamland.

CaliforniaKid wrote:1) It seems that Phelps was the first known person to make the Cumorah connection. That still may mean that Joseph was not the first (though in light of the Woodruff journal entry about Zelph, we can probably conclude that he did so very early on).

Or Joseph Smith may have in fact been the first to identify the oversized grassy knoll as “Cumorah.” The point is that such evidence doesn’t tell us one way or the other.

CaliforniaKid wrote:2) Do you find lexical shifts and autobiographical content in the latter third of Alma?

I’m not sure what you’re asking since the lexical shifts involve the Book of Mormon author favoring one word through the first half of the Book of Mormon and then favoring a synonym in the second half. In Alma, for instance, the word therefore occurs 289 times, the word wherefore 3 times; later in the dictation, in 2 Nephi, therefore occurs 5 times, wherefore 137 times. The therefore > wherefore shift occurs gradually over the course of the entire Book of Mormon dictation.

My best,

Brent

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Post by Uncle Dale »

Brent Metcalfe wrote:
CaliforniaKid wrote:2) Do you find lexical shifts and autobiographical content in the latter third of Alma?



I’m not sure what you’re asking since the lexical shifts involve the Book of Mormon author favoring one word through the first half of the Book of Mormon and then favoring a synonym in the second half. In Alma, for instance, the word therefore occurs 289 times, the word wherefore 3 times; later in the dictation, in 2 Nephi, therefore occurs 5 times, wherefore 137 times. The therefore > wherefore shift occurs gradually over the course of the entire Book of Mormon dictation.



I browsed your links but did not see a chapter by chapter breakdown of your attribution conclusions. It seems that
you view the entire Book of Mormon text as being largely homogeneous. So, you'll have to spoon feed me your conclusions
as to why you do not think Joseph Smith used any source material for the last 1/3 of Alma and the adjacent part of Helaman.

If your "lexical shifts" rule out any possible redaction, you'll have to explain that to me in simple English.

Once again, to make myself clear -- I want to know what the textual evidence is, for and against Joseph Smith having made
use of any pre-existing texts. I assume you have applied your "lexical shifts" and other literary criticism methods
to the Isaiah chapters of 1st Nephi and Mosiah, and can say how they fit into your over-all scheme of things.

Sorry to be so dense -- I am in a state of continuing neurological degeneration, so my thought processes can be
very s-l-o-w at times.

Dale

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Post by Brent Metcalfe »

Hi Dale,

Before I doze off, let me recommend that you read my essay:

    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 where I discuss the therefore > wherefore lexical shift in considerable detail)
I simply don’t have the time (nor the inclination) to restate what has already been in print for well over a decade.

My best,

Brent

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Post by Uncle Dale »

Brent Metcalfe wrote:Hi Dale,

Before I doze off, let me recommend that you read my essay:

    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 where I discuss the therefore > wherefore lexical shift in considerable detail)
I simply don’t have the time (nor the inclination) to restate what has already been in print for well over a decade.

My best,

Brent



Yes -- I have that right here in front of me while I'm responding to you. To me it looks like a case for redaction
by a final editor of the text, but evidently you see it as an argument for a homogeneous, non-composite text.

That is about as far as I can go, unless you tell me what else to look for.

Once again, my purpose is to determine whether the Book of Mormon is internally consistent and the product of a single writer
(as Dan seems to argue) -- or whether there is a possibility that it contains embedded source material.

You can pretty much answer my question with a "yes" or "no," and the discussion can move on to other matters.

I'll paste in below some more documentation of page 374 in the 1830 Book of Mormon:

Image

The above image is a screen shot of the page 374 URL I provided earlier in this thread. The highlighted .981"
at the top of the page is the 98.1% overlap with Spalding's "Oberlin MS" vocabulary (highlighted in brown text).
The brown underlinings are some word-strings found in both the Book of Mormon and Spalding.


Image


The next graphic is a small excerpt from my 1830 Book of Mormon chart, comparing the text to Spalding vocabulary and
non-contxtual word markers.

As can be seen in the bottom bar graph, the non-contextual word indications rise continually through 1830 Book of Mormon
Ch. XXIV, and then drop off suddenly near the end of that chapter.

As can be seen in the coordinated top line graph, the 1830 Book of Mormon Ch. XXIV vocabulary overlap rises on a similar
slope and then suddenly drops off after page 374 (near the end of that chapter).

Consulting my previously linked scans of the modern LDS Book of Mormon pages 330-331 (which are roughly the same as
the 1830 page 374-375), it can be seen that phraseology overlap between the two texts (red underlines) remains
high through the end of the modern LDS Ch. 53, but then suffers a sudden drop-off a few sentences of the chapter
break (on LDS page 333).
http://solomonspalding.com/SRP/MEDIA/P4/330.JPG
http://solomonspalding.com/SRP/MEDIA/P4/332.JPG

As though anticipating this coming change, the text at the end of LDS Cg. 53 contains some anomalies at
LDS 53:2, 53:9-10, 53:15 and 53:21. These passages aree so unlike the surrouding test, that they evidently impose
a severe change upon both the vocabulary overlap and the non-contextual word markers.

In other words, although Spaldingish phraseology continues through the end of LDS Ch. 53, changes in the text
begin to make it far less Spaldingish than it had been a couple of pages below.

For three different reasons (vocabulary, phraseology and non-contextual words markers) I see what had been
a very highly corresponding Book of Mormon narrative very quickly lose its previous correspondence with Spalding right
around the chapter break.

This indicates (to me at least) a literary transition from one writer to another, though the break is not a sharp one.
I credit most of the 1830 Ch XXIV (LDS 52 & 53) to Spalding, but with a transition near the end to another writer
or editor's voice.

So far, in my charting of the 1830 Book of Mormon text, page 374 bears the highest similarity with Spalding's known writings.
I therefore cite it as a "benchmark" by which I compare and categorize other 1830 Book of Mormon pages as being "high,"
"moderate," or "low" in their similarity to Spalding.

Dale
Last edited by Uncle Dale on Sat Feb 17, 2007 6:08 pm, edited 6 times in total.

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Brent Metcalfe
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Post by Brent Metcalfe »

Hi Dale,

This is precisely the type of interminable online discussion that keeps me away from message boards. (Feel free to take my grumpiness as a byproduct of sleep deprivation.)

You now tell me concerning my New Approaches essay …

Uncle Dale wrote:Yes -- I have that right here in front of me while I'm responding to you. To me it looks like a case for redaction by a final editor of the text, but evidently you see it as an argument for a homogeneous, non-composite text.


Yet you had just finished posting, among other things, …

Uncle Dale wrote:I assume you have applied your "lexical shifts" and other literary criticism methods to the Isaiah chapters of 1st Nephi and Mosiah, and can say how they fit into your over-all scheme of things.


Well, you tell me, Dale; you’re the one with my essay “right … in front of” you.

(Here’s a hint: I address the implications of the Book of Mormon author’s appropriation of the KJV and its effect on the therefore > wherefore lexical shift on pp. 411–13 and again on pp. 435–37 [in 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)].)

by the way, how did you edit your post without a note appearing to indicate that you had edited it? (Cool trick.)

In any event, sleep well, Dale.

My best,

Brent

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Post by Uncle Dale »

Brent Metcalfe wrote:
(Here’s a hint: I address the implications of the Book of Mormon author’s appropriation of the KJV and its effect on the
therefore > wherefore lexical shift on pp. 411–13 and again on pp. 435–37 [in 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)].)



I'll have to go back and read this stuff, sentence-by-sentence, with a red pen in my hand. I am up three hours
past my regular bed-time, waiting for a phone call from the mainland -- but I give up. I can hardly remember
my own name at this point.


by the way, how did you edit your post without a note appearing to indicate that you had edited it? (Cool trick.)



Perhaps Shades gave me uber-mod status and over-ride access to the server. If so, I cannot tell you without
your signing away all rights to your soul first.


In any event, sleep well, Dale.



That shall commence in 30 seconds -- if I can make it over to the bed without falling asleep on my way.

Dale

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Post by CaliforniaKid »

Or Joseph Smith may have in fact been the first to identify the oversized grassy knoll as “Cumorah.” The point is that such evidence doesn’t tell us one way or the other.


True.

CaliforniaKid wrote:
2) Do you find lexical shifts and autobiographical content in the latter third of Alma?

I’m not sure what you’re asking since the lexical shifts involve the Book of Mormon author favoring one word through the first half of the Book of Mormon and then favoring a synonym in the second half. In Alma, for instance, the word therefore occurs 289 times, the word wherefore 3 times; later in the dictation, in 2 Nephi, therefore occurs 5 times, wherefore 137 times. The therefore > wherefore shift occurs gradually over the course of the entire Book of Mormon dictation.


I guess I'm just wondering if this portion of Alma is an exception to the trend. Years ago I did a book-by-book breakdown of the ratios of usage of certain words in the Book of Mormon. Tomorrow I will compare it with your data in the paper you linked above. But for now I should be in bed.

-CK

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