Melonakos Interview with John Dehlin

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Arcturus
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Melonakos Interview with John Dehlin

Post by Arcturus » Mon Oct 15, 2018 5:57 pm

RE: Mormon Stories #994-997

This interview is insane. A lot of what Kathleen says regarding Joseph Smith's early "money digging" days is that it was done entirely with fraudulent intent, to "swindle" people out of their money. Is this consistent with Quinn's early Mormonism and the magical world view work?

This angle into the reason behind Joseph's money digging, if true, would seriously, seriously challenge the BofM, considering that he used the same seer stone to "translate" the gold plates, which were - sitting at the bottom of the hat he was peering into???

What does everyone think of this interview? Pretty damning stuff if true. The early Cowdery connection between Joseph Smith Sr. and Oliver's father is fascinating. Also, the emphasis Kathleen made in #994 about the secret oaths that counterfeit syndicates would make would also provide a great mechanism to keep a coordinated effort to ignite a new radical religion secret between the individuals involved (BofM multiple authorship?). Similar to the discussion in this post:

viewtopic.php?f=5&t=3101
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Hagoth
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Re: Melonakos Interview with John Dehlin

Post by Hagoth » Mon Oct 15, 2018 9:29 pm

Arcturus wrote:
Mon Oct 15, 2018 5:57 pm
Is this consistent with Quinn's early Mormonism and the magical world view work?
It's been a long time since I read Quinn's book but even though he revealed a lot of wacky stuff about the Smith family's treasure digging, the fact that Quinn claims to still be a believer suggests that he did not come to such a harsh conclusion.

I think the most fascinating parts of Melonakos' research are the Dartmouth connection and the fact that the Smith, Cowdery, Hale, Mack and Young families have deep connections in treasure digging and many of the formative elements of Mormonism.

I had to put down Melonakos' book because of my other studies, (I will finish it when I can), but I must admit to some eye rolling at some of the leaps of logic she took to build her forgery case. Not to say there isn't some evidence, but she does make some assumptions. Other than that it's very eye opening.
“The easy confidence with which I know another man's religion is folly teaches me to suspect that my own is also.” -Mark Twain

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Re: Melonakos Interview with John Dehlin

Post by FiveFingerMnemonic » Mon Oct 15, 2018 9:32 pm

I was very uncomfortable throughout the interview but especially during the final part where Dehlin was grilling her about her continued belief in Christianity. Just like Tanner, Palmer and some other older generation critics they can see the issues in mormonism but not the bible stories for some odd reason. She came across as not very credible to me after that last part.

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Re: Melonakos Interview with John Dehlin

Post by jfro18 » Tue Oct 16, 2018 5:50 am

FiveFingerMnemonic wrote:
Mon Oct 15, 2018 9:32 pm
I was very uncomfortable throughout the interview but especially during the final part where Dehlin was grilling her about her continued belief in Christianity. Just like Tanner, Palmer and some other older generation critics they can see the issues in mormonism but not the bible stories for some odd reason. She came across as not very credible to me after that last part.
I run into this problem personally... like I am 100% sure the BoM is a fraud, but I still have that hope that there's something to Christianity even though we've kind of seen every element of it disproven in the same ways the BoM has.

The one thing the Bible has is that there's evidence for some of the cities/etc actually being there unlike the BoM, but there's a reason that like 70% of Mormons who leave become atheists... once you see how easily this stuff can get made up, there's no going back.

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Re: Melonakos Interview with John Dehlin

Post by wtfluff » Tue Oct 16, 2018 6:58 am

jfro18 wrote:
Tue Oct 16, 2018 5:50 am
The one thing the Bible has is that there's evidence for some of the cities/etc actually being there unlike the BoM...
There are countless fictional books that talk about cities that actually exist.
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felixfabulous
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Re: Melonakos Interview with John Dehlin

Post by felixfabulous » Tue Oct 16, 2018 7:18 am

I thought the material was fascinating. But, I thought it was a hard interview to follow. I feel like I know a fair amount about early Mormon history and was lost during parts. Melonakos seems brilliant but very scatterbrained and kept trying to blurt out facts or left thoughts hanging in mid-air. Some examples were the Mormon cave and the murder on the Josiah Stowell neighbor's farm. I wish she would have given more background and how that fit into the overall narrative. I would like to read her book, hopefully it's easier to follow.

It was interesting to me how similar it was to the presentation D. Paul Trebas did on The Lucy Code. Both connect back to Dartmouth, both show it as a Smith family project and both show the strong ties to freemasonry. Trebas says the Smiths were part of a network of grave robbers for medical research and Melonakos says they were involved in counterfeiting. I thought Trebas' presentation was much better and more persuasive.

One of her weakest points in the interview was that Martin Harris was a co-conspirator, it totally fell apart when John Dehlin started asking questions. Especially since she had set up that the classic money digging scam was to find a gullible rich farmer and get them to finance the venture. Martin Harris seems to be the classic mark. Melonakos clung too much to the quote to Lucy about leaving him alone so he could make some money.

I think Oliver Cowdery works well as a co-conspirator except that his falling out in Kirtland was so drastic that it seems like he would have threatened or spilled the beans about how it actually happened. Why didn't this happen? Melonakos would probably say that he was still bound by a blood oath. But it seems like someone would have talked, especially at the end of their lives. I think some kind of monetary or property settlement could have worked, but I haven't seen any evidence of this when Cowdery left Kirtland.

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felixfabulous
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Re: Melonakos Interview with John Dehlin

Post by felixfabulous » Tue Oct 16, 2018 7:24 am

I think Evangelical Christians like Melonakos run into the same problems with literal truth claims. I think we misinterpret what the Bible actually is, which I would say is an ancient tribe trying to explain the divine. The Bible incorporates creation myths, exaggerated conquest stories and an invented lineage to show their unique place in the world. After a certain point in the narrative, the political biblical history matches up pretty well with what is documented in other historical records. But trying to use scholarship to prove a global floor or to verify the nativity story is no different than looking for Zarahemla.

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Hagoth
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Re: Melonakos Interview with John Dehlin

Post by Hagoth » Tue Oct 16, 2018 8:45 am

felixfabulous wrote:
Tue Oct 16, 2018 7:18 am
I thought the material was fascinating. But, I thought it was a hard interview to follow. I feel like I know a fair amount about early Mormon history and was lost during parts. Melonakos seems brilliant but very scatterbrained and kept trying to blurt out facts or left thoughts hanging in mid-air.
I was even more frustrated with John Dehlin at times. He would cut her off mid-sentence and try to steer her to say what he wanted to hear. For the first hour or so she didn't say much because Dehlin was talking most of the time, giving his version of what he wanted her to say. The extreme example of this was when he interviewed Alex Beam about American Crucifixion and Beam had to ask Dehlin to stop putting words in his mouth.
“The easy confidence with which I know another man's religion is folly teaches me to suspect that my own is also.” -Mark Twain

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Re: Melonakos Interview with John Dehlin

Post by Palerider » Tue Oct 16, 2018 8:53 am

felixfabulous wrote:
Tue Oct 16, 2018 7:18 am

I think Oliver Cowdery works well as a co-conspirator except that his falling out in Kirtland was so drastic that it seems like he would have threatened or spilled the beans about how it actually happened. Why didn't this happen? Melonakos would probably say that he was still bound by a blood oath. But it seems like someone would have talked, especially at the end of their lives. I think some kind of monetary or property settlement could have worked, but I haven't seen any evidence of this when Cowdery left Kirtland.
Just finished a short biography on Oliver. I think the guy was really between the proverbial rock and a hard spot.

After he left the church he went and studied law, doing fairly well. But it doesn't benefit someone in that profession to out themselves as being a part of a fraudulent religious scheme.

Later in his life he was popular and well thought of and made three or four attempts at political or civic office. Each time, someone would do some digging and find his connection to Mormonism. Remember news didn't travel then as it does now.

So each time he failed in his ambitions and was not elected because of his ties to Mormonism. He then would move to another area and attempt to start over.

But Mormonism was like a dead chicken around the guy's neck. He couldn't rid himself of it. Couldn't deny it because he would be seen as a liar and a participant in a fraud. It was a no-win situation.

Finally broke, destitute and in failing health, I think he felt at least one option would be to go back to the church where he might regain some standing and be taken care of in his final years.

In the end he left Salt Lake City and went back to die at the home of David Whitmer in Missouri at 44 years of age.

My opinion? I think Oliver couldn't bring himself to deny his "testimony" because he was damned if he did and damned if he didn't.

Really a horrible position to be in.

Sad deal....
"There is but one straight course, and that is to seek truth and pursue it steadily."

"Truth will ultimately prevail where there is pains to bring it to light."

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Arcturus
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Re: Melonakos Interview with John Dehlin

Post by Arcturus » Tue Oct 16, 2018 12:02 pm

Hagoth wrote:
Mon Oct 15, 2018 9:29 pm
I had to put down Melonakos' book because of my other studies, (I will finish it when I can), but I must admit to some eye rolling at some of the leaps of logic she took to build her forgery case. Not to say there isn't some evidence, but she does make some assumptions. Other than that it's very eye opening.
Agreed. She has some very strong assumptions, yet the possibilities are fascinating. If the Smith family was involved in counterfeiting to the extent that Kathleen says they were, then that makes everything suspect, right? Can you even trust primary sources given the possibility that they retroactively changed things to fit better into an expanding and evolving religious narrative?

Another interesting point to me was the discussion of Joseph trying to sell the copyright to the BofM in Canada? Is this historically accurate or another assumption? If Joseph actually had gold plates and the "translation" was God-sanctioned, then why would he try and sell the copyright to it?
“How valuable is a faith that is dependent on the maintenance of ignorance? If faith can only thrive in the absence of the knowledge of its origins, history, and competing theological concepts, then what is it we really have to hold on to?”
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Re: Melonakos Interview with John Dehlin

Post by Rob4Hope » Tue Oct 16, 2018 12:25 pm

I'm about half way through the second interview. I'm enjoying this.

When all is said an done, if this is accurate or not, it certainly is fascinating.

D. Michael Quinn said there were reports of JS Jr. sacrificing a goat at one of his digs. That is magick ... and this "prophet" did this because he was inspired by the stone in the hat?

LOL....ROAR WITH LAUGHTER!!!!!

The LDS church is slowly unraveling...it is fascinating to see.

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Re: Melonakos Interview with John Dehlin

Post by blazerb » Tue Oct 16, 2018 12:55 pm

I thought the interview was very interesting, but I did not hear a lot of evidence for counterfeiting. It seemed more of a guilt-by-association thing. Or maybe, "counterfeiters did this; JS did the same thing; therefore JS was a counterfeiter." But I never heard where he actually printed fake money. I was doing some other stuff while listening, so maybe I just did not pay attention closely enough.

The last part of the interview left me conflicted. I definitely agree more with Dehlin, but I though he was a little rough on her. He spent too much time on his beliefs rather than letting her explain her own, in my opinion.

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Re: Melonakos Interview with John Dehlin

Post by FiveFingerMnemonic » Tue Oct 16, 2018 12:59 pm

One thing I do find interesting is that during the Kirtland Safety Society, Oliver Cowdery was the one tasked to go make the printing plates for the anti-bank notes. It seems plausible that his Dad may have been experienced in such things because of his Wood Scrape involvement and Oliver also knew the subject.

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Re: Melonakos Interview with John Dehlin

Post by Palerider » Tue Oct 16, 2018 1:11 pm

FiveFingerMnemonic wrote:
Tue Oct 16, 2018 12:59 pm
One thing I do find interesting is that during the Kirtland Safety Society, Oliver Cowdery was the one tasked to go make the printing plates for the anti-bank notes. It seems plausible that his Dad may have been experienced in such things because of his Wood Scrape involvement and Oliver also knew the subject.
Wasn't one of the excommunication charges against Oliver that he was dealing in "bogus" (counterfeiting) ?

I think there were a number of people in Joseph's circle who worked at counterfeiting.
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Re: Melonakos Interview with John Dehlin

Post by græy » Tue Oct 16, 2018 1:33 pm

felixfabulous wrote:
Tue Oct 16, 2018 7:18 am
I thought the material was fascinating. But, I thought it was a hard interview to follow. I feel like I know a fair amount about early Mormon history and was lost during parts. Melonakos seems brilliant but very scatterbrained and kept trying to blurt out facts or left thoughts hanging in mid-air.
Still making my way through these episodes and I endorse this assessment. I was considering her book hoping it might be a little more coherent but I'm not sure I put enough stock in the whole premise yet to justify the purchase.
I'm better than dirt... well most dirt. Not that fancy store bought stuff, I can't compete with that... full of nutrients and everything. -Moe Sizlack

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oliblish
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Re: Melonakos Interview with John Dehlin

Post by oliblish » Tue Oct 16, 2018 1:37 pm

They actually tried to get away with printing three dollar bills:

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Re: Melonakos Interview with John Dehlin

Post by GoodBoy » Tue Oct 16, 2018 2:56 pm

Hagoth wrote:
Mon Oct 15, 2018 9:29 pm
I think the most fascinating parts of Melonakos' research are the Dartmouth connection and the fact that the Smith, Cowdery, Hale, Mack and Young families have deep connections in treasure digging and many of the formative elements of Mormonism.
Yes.
felixfabulous wrote:
Tue Oct 16, 2018 7:18 am
One of her weakest points in the interview was that Martin Harris was a co-conspirator, it totally fell apart when John Dehlin started asking questions. Especially since she had set up that the classic money digging scam was to find a gullible rich farmer and get them to finance the venture. Martin Harris seems to be the classic mark. Melonakos clung too much to the quote to Lucy about leaving him alone so he could make some money.
It is obvious that Martin Harris was the mark, not one of the schemers until he was so invested and committed that he had to "try to make some money by it". It makes a ton of sense to me that his wife would be hounding him constantly and would be furious at him for wasting his time and money on something so stupid.

The whole thing gives so much more context to what was going on and makes things fall into place and explains everyone's behavior and statements pretty well.

It also shoots the "pius fraud" theory out of the water, because Joseph Smith knew exactly what he was doing, knew the BoM wasn't real, and knew he was just trying to make money by it. I believe that later in his life, after so many people told him how wonderful he was, and inspired, and awesome, that he began to believe his own lie... that he was super special and called of God. We see modern day examples of this in the Q15. They know they don't talk to God, but just get ideas and feelings about things just like the rest of us. But so many people have told them they were so awesome for so long that they believe that there is something real there. It is not difficult at all to convince someone that they are "chosen" and special.
Always been the good kid, but I wanted to know more, and to find and test truth.

Arcturus
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Re: Melonakos Interview with John Dehlin

Post by Arcturus » Tue Oct 16, 2018 4:23 pm

GoodBoy wrote:
Tue Oct 16, 2018 2:56 pm
[...he began to believe his own lie... that he was super special and called of God. We see modern day examples of this in the Q15. They know they don't talk to God, but just get ideas and feelings about things just like the rest of us. But so many people have told them they were so awesome for so long that they believe that there is something real there. It is not difficult at all to convince someone that they are "chosen" and special.
Yep. For example, Oaks Saturday morning talk. Has God actually talked to these guys and said “gender is eternal.” How can he speak with such certainty and marginalize so many people with it? Crazy how someone can be so certain of something that supposedly God says is so, when God has not actually ever spoken to them...
“How valuable is a faith that is dependent on the maintenance of ignorance? If faith can only thrive in the absence of the knowledge of its origins, history, and competing theological concepts, then what is it we really have to hold on to?”
D Brisbin

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græy
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Re: Melonakos Interview with John Dehlin

Post by græy » Tue Oct 16, 2018 6:17 pm

Arcturus wrote:
Tue Oct 16, 2018 4:23 pm
Has God actually talked to these guys and said “gender is eternal.”
It contradicts Joseph Fielding Smith's TK Smoothie revelations, so God may have spoken to one of them, but certainly not both of them. Hmm... :?
I'm better than dirt... well most dirt. Not that fancy store bought stuff, I can't compete with that... full of nutrients and everything. -Moe Sizlack

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Palerider
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Re: Melonakos Interview with John Dehlin

Post by Palerider » Tue Oct 16, 2018 8:40 pm

græy wrote:
Tue Oct 16, 2018 6:17 pm
Arcturus wrote:
Tue Oct 16, 2018 4:23 pm
Has God actually talked to these guys and said “gender is eternal.”
It contradicts Joseph Fielding Smith's TK Smoothie revelations, so God may have spoken to one of them, but certainly not both of them. Hmm... :?
Speaking of a terrestrial/telestial candidate:

"Oh, he was male in two previous lives (pre-existence and earth life) but now he's just a gelded male...." :shock:
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