Thoughts on Mozart and Joseph Smith

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deacon blues
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Thoughts on Mozart and Joseph Smith

Post by deacon blues » Fri Nov 15, 2019 8:23 am

Over the years I've thought about the "BOM Challenge": The question, likely originating from Hugh Nibley, that asked "Could you write a BOM like Joseph Smith did? I still enjoy writing, but over the years I am continually reminded that I don't have the ability to write/dictate such a book. When I write music I am also reminded that I don't have the ability to write amazing symphonies with the seeming ease of Mozart. After 40 years of study I still can't improvise jazz like Charlie Parker or Louie Armstrong did when they were in their twenties. These gifted people all seemed blessed with unique abilities, which were affected by their environments, but also transcended those environments. It's interesting that Mozart was believed by some of his contemporaries to be 'bewitched' due to his baffling talents. I recall an LDS music professor who said Mozart obviously developed his musical talent in the Pre-existence. ;) "Supernatural influence" and "genius" are almost synonymous explanations/descriptions of remarkable ability.
I'll add that, though many would disagree, to me the BOM does not match the quality of Mozart's works.
Last edited by deacon blues on Sun Dec 01, 2019 7:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Hagoth
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Re: Thoughts on Mozart and Joseph Smith

Post by Hagoth » Fri Nov 15, 2019 8:45 am

That's a great comparison, Deacon.

Either Joseph Smith was a prophet of God received a gold book from an angel or he was a gifted storyteller with a really good memory. If he was a prophet the falsifyable claims of the book should align with the verifiable facts. They do not.

Generally, people who are raised in the church and constantly told how miraculous the book is, accept it as miraculous. Others who very much about the ancient Americas, the history of the Bible, etc. don't seem so impressed.

You don't have to be Austrian or a member of the Mozart family to appreciate Mozart's genius.
“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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Palerider
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Re: Thoughts on Mozart and Joseph Smith

Post by Palerider » Fri Nov 15, 2019 9:22 am

Yep, I'm with you and Hagoth on this one. It isn't hard to impress the naive and those who haven't had a lot of exposure to the outstanding and truly gifted people of the world.

As Mark Twain (an indisputably talented writer) said, "The Book of Mormon is chloroform in print." He also said if Joseph "translated it as he claimed, the miracle was that he was able to remain awake while doing it."

And yet Twain acknowledged that the Mormon church flourished in spite of its foundation on the BoM. Regarding that phenomenon he stated:

"Evidently one of the least difficult things in the world, to-day, is to humbug the human race."

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

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wtfluff
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Re: Thoughts on Mozart and Joseph Smith

Post by wtfluff » Fri Nov 15, 2019 11:03 am

deacon blues wrote:
Fri Nov 15, 2019 8:23 am
Over the years I've thought about the "BOM Challenge"; The question, likely originating from Hugh Nibley, that asked "Could you write a BOM like Joseph Smith did?
The list of things that I "can't" do, that other folks on this planet "can" do is... ENDLESS.

Such a justification to "prove" the Book of MORmON "true" is completely meaningless.

I'm sure the premise is the epitome of some logical fallacy, I'm just not sure which one...
Faith does not give you the answers, it just stops you asking the questions. -Frater Ravus

Keep the company of those who seek the truth - run from those who have found it -Václav Havel

Brilliant.

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Rob4Hope
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Re: Thoughts on Mozart and Joseph Smith

Post by Rob4Hope » Fri Nov 15, 2019 11:52 am

From the little I know about Mozart, he was probably a Savant.

I've seen YouTube videos of a blind savant boy who can play the piano from memory and just hearing it. He remembers ALL the songs he's heard, and you can ask him to improvise in the style of one or another composer and mix up the music. Does the fact he has this ability make him a prophet of God?

If you ask some of these folks--these 'gifted' people--if they would rather just be normal and able to fit in with others, what do you think they would say? I'm sure some of them would say they just wish they could fit in!

Does being different like this, having unique abilities, make someone immediately "blessed"? I wonder. I really do.

If memory serves, I recall some very uncomfortable things I read in Rough Stone Rolling about JS and his narcissistic tendencies. He was full of himself, and he seemed to cover it with ultra religiosity, especially how he interacted with Emma. As I read that material, I actually felt my stomach knot up! If you ask me, JS may have had a "gift" for dictating and story telling, but when it comes down to it, he may have just been different,...nothing more. He certainly had a dysfunctional family. JS Senior was an alchoholic...and this man was the patriarch of the church? HUNH?

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Hagoth
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Re: Thoughts on Mozart and Joseph Smith

Post by Hagoth » Fri Nov 15, 2019 5:18 pm

The Book of Mormon makes so many falsifiable claims that we can approach it as a scientific theory. Apologists HATE to have people think about it in this way, even while they try to create the illusion that they are doing so.

An Explanatory Realists would consider these explanatory virtues:

1- Internal coherence (how internally consistent is it?): This is the BoM's strongest feature. It holds together pretty well within its own walls.

2- Simplicity/parsimony: Let's see. Either an angel delivered a gold book and magic spectacles that revealed the story of a vast civilization that has vanished without a trace, OR a guy made it up. Parsimony rules heavily against the BoM.

3- Depth/Explanatory Power (how well does it account for what we observe in the real world?): No concrete evidence whatsoever. Also, it does a very poor job of accounting for the organization and doctrine of the current church, which bears very little resemblance to the BoM. The book almost entirely omits all basic doctrines and doesn't get the Plan of Salvation right. It doesn't even condemn homosexuality, for cryin' out loud.

4- Unification - (ties multiple pieces together in one explanation): It does a pretty good job at bringing over stuff from the Bible, including a literal garden of Eden, a global flood, and the Tower of Babel. So, unifies well with biblical liberalism but not scientific realism. It also unifies itself with Joseph Smith's own religious and cultural environment, which is a major strike against it.

5- External coherence: (how well does it fit into the big picture alongside other fields of study?): The BoM fails utterly and miserably when compared against archaeology, anthropology, population genetics, botany, zoology, linguistics, etc. etc. etc.
“The easy confidence with which I know another man's religion is folly teaches me to suspect that my own is also.” -Mark Twain

Jesus: "The Kingdom of God is within you." The Buddha: "Be your own light."

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moksha
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Re: Thoughts on Mozart and Joseph Smith

Post by moksha » Fri Nov 15, 2019 8:00 pm

deacon blues wrote:
Fri Nov 15, 2019 8:23 am
... the BOM does not match the quality of Mozart's works.
Classical music would demand many variations on the It came to pass theme. The closest piece would be Mussorgsky's Night On Bald Mountain.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?reload=9&v=iCEDfZgDPS8
Good faith does not require evidence, but it also does not turn a blind eye to that evidence. Otherwise, it becomes misplaced faith.
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2bizE
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Re: Thoughts on Mozart and Joseph Smith

Post by 2bizE » Sat Nov 16, 2019 7:45 pm

I think both Mozart and JS were savants. Mozart with music, and JS with convincing/ deceiving people.
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Re: Thoughts on Mozart and Joseph Smith

Post by Thoughtful » Sun Nov 17, 2019 6:19 pm

I don't even think JS was gifted. Maybe a good memory but certainly a plagiarist. Plenty of people saw through his trope from day 1. Its embarrassing to me that my ancestors believed his rot and dragged me along into it.

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moksha
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Re: Thoughts on Mozart and Joseph Smith

Post by moksha » Sun Nov 17, 2019 11:54 pm

moksha wrote:
Fri Nov 15, 2019 8:00 pm
The closest piece would be Mussorgsky's Night On Bald Mountain.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?reload=9&v=iCEDfZgDPS8
Ha! You only say that because you are seeking to shield Grieg's In the Hall of the Mountain King from such an association!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?reload=9&v=kLp_Hh6DKWc
Good faith does not require evidence, but it also does not turn a blind eye to that evidence. Otherwise, it becomes misplaced faith.
-- Moksha

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Hagoth
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Re: Thoughts on Mozart and Joseph Smith

Post by Hagoth » Mon Nov 18, 2019 10:57 am

Considering Joseph Smith's "burn this" letter to Sarah Ann Whitney, I think Joseph and Wolfgang have one more thing in common: too many notes.
“The easy confidence with which I know another man's religion is folly teaches me to suspect that my own is also.” -Mark Twain

Jesus: "The Kingdom of God is within you." The Buddha: "Be your own light."

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alas
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Re: Thoughts on Mozart and Joseph Smith

Post by alas » Mon Nov 18, 2019 12:40 pm

I think you can get a better understanding of Joseph Smith by comparing him to cult leaders like Jim Jones that to savants like Mozart. Joseph was smart, but not genius and gifted, but not a savant. He was charismatic, and possibly had a gift of being able to easily memorize, or possibly “photographic” memory where he could look at a page of the Bible and then recite it back. This shows up where he could quote long Bible passages with his head in a hat. Unless he was using some kind of trick like a small hole in the hat that he would read something, then he was just a clever trickster.

But that is it on “wonderful abilities”. He really was not that exceptional.

But compare him to other cult leaders like David Koresh and Jim Jones, and even warren Jeffs, and you find a good comparison. Charismatic, charming, manipulative, narcissistic, sociopath. Yup, sociopath. Did he care that his behavior harmed his wife? Did he care when he bedded his close friend’s wife? Did he care when he manipulated Martin Harris out of his money and his farm? Nope, he just used people for his own purposes.

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Newme
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Re: Thoughts on Mozart and Joseph Smith

Post by Newme » Fri Nov 22, 2019 11:14 am

You guys thankfully already are aware of much that JS borrowed from other sources.
I just came across another:
Immanuel Kant wrote, “Better the whole people perish than that injustice be done.”

Still, JS was an effective cult leader. He had a gift of charisma, and I think he did inspire good, as well as bad. A mixed bag.

Mozart was impressive how he composed so many excellent pieces in his relatively short life. Yet, my go-to is Bach.

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Palerider
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Re: Thoughts on Mozart and Joseph Smith

Post by Palerider » Fri Nov 22, 2019 11:43 am

Newme wrote:
Fri Nov 22, 2019 11:14 am
You guys thankfully already are aware of much that JS borrowed from other sources.
I just came across another:
Immanuel Kant wrote, “Better the whole people perish than that injustice be done.”
Oh, I think John 11:50 is much closer than Kant:

"Nor consider that it is expedient for us, that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation perish not."

Yeah, that Joseph was SO sneaky.... :roll:
"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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Re: Thoughts on Mozart and Joseph Smith

Post by Newme » Tue Nov 26, 2019 2:46 pm

Palerider wrote:
Fri Nov 22, 2019 11:43 am
Newme wrote:
Fri Nov 22, 2019 11:14 am
You guys thankfully already are aware of much that JS borrowed from other sources.
I just came across another:
Immanuel Kant wrote, “Better the whole people perish than that injustice be done.”
Oh, I think John 11:50 is much closer than Kant:

"Nor consider that it is expedient for us, that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation perish not."

Yeah, that Joseph was SO sneaky.... :roll:
Ok - maybe slightly more valid than Kant - in the eyes of the almighty Mormon church. ;) However, there’s a good chance - and some proof the Bible has to some degree “borrowed” from Hinduism and Greek mythology and philosophy. E.g., Krishna and Christ.

Here’s another one, Palerider (btw are you really pale or carry one as u ride? Never mind me...)
Does this sound familiar? Sir Issac Newton (1642-1727) wrote, “Henceforward the Christian Churches having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof...”

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moksha
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Re: Thoughts on Mozart and Joseph Smith

Post by moksha » Tue Nov 26, 2019 3:39 pm

Newme wrote:
Tue Nov 26, 2019 2:46 pm
Sir Issac Newton (1642-1727) wrote, “Henceforward the Christian Churches having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof...”
Pretty sure this Newton fellow wrote, “What goes up must come down, spinning wheel got to go round.”
Good faith does not require evidence, but it also does not turn a blind eye to that evidence. Otherwise, it becomes misplaced faith.
-- Moksha

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Palerider
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Re: Thoughts on Mozart and Joseph Smith

Post by Palerider » Tue Nov 26, 2019 8:19 pm

Newme wrote:
Tue Nov 26, 2019 2:46 pm

Here’s another one, Palerider (btw are you really pale or carry one as u ride? Never mind me...)
Does this sound familiar? Sir Issac Newton (1642-1727) wrote, “Henceforward the Christian Churches having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof...”
Sorry, I hadn't checked on this in a few days...

Hey that Newton find is great! I'll have to remember that.

I used to use the Clint Eastwood photo from the movie Pale Rider as my avatar. But then I thought an actual photo of my grey (pale) horse might be more appropriate. You do know that all this comes from the scripture in Revelation which speaks of a Pale horse and his rider that inflicts death or vengeance upon the people of the earth, right? (That's really not my intention)

Hey wait! You're just pushing my leg here aren't you... :idea:

We'll, I don't do as well in the sun as when I was a kid, so I do wear a hat most of the summer. But I'm not really pale. And I've never carried a pail while riding but I probably sat on one a time or two. Does that qualify as riding? :P

Edited: for spelling :roll:
Last edited by Palerider on Tue Nov 26, 2019 10:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.
"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."

George Washington

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moksha
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Re: Thoughts on Mozart and Joseph Smith

Post by moksha » Tue Nov 26, 2019 9:13 pm

The full Isaac Newton paragraph:
Henceforward the Christian Churches having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof, came into the hands of the Encratites: and the Heathens, who in the fourth century came over in great numbers to the Christians, embraced more readily this sort of Christianity, as having a greater affinity with their old superstitions, than that of the sincere Christians; who by the lamps of the seven Churches of Asia, and not by the lamps of the Monasteries, had illuminated the Church Catholic during the three first centuries.
Good faith does not require evidence, but it also does not turn a blind eye to that evidence. Otherwise, it becomes misplaced faith.
-- Moksha

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Palerider
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Re: Thoughts on Mozart and Joseph Smith

Post by Palerider » Tue Nov 26, 2019 10:31 pm

moksha wrote:
Tue Nov 26, 2019 9:13 pm
The full Isaac Newton paragraph:
Henceforward the Christian Churches having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof, came into the hands of the Encratites: and the Heathens, who in the fourth century came over in great numbers to the Christians, embraced more readily this sort of Christianity, as having a greater affinity with their old superstitions, than that of the sincere Christians; who by the lamps of the seven Churches of Asia, and not by the lamps of the Monasteries, had illuminated the Church Catholic during the three first centuries.
Interesting Moksha. I'm going to have to research Encratites now....
"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."

George Washington

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Palerider
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Re: Thoughts on Mozart and Joseph Smith

Post by Palerider » Tue Nov 26, 2019 10:31 pm

Double post
"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."

George Washington

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