Is there a better example to show that all of this is made up than the transfiguration of Brigham Young?

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jfro18
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Is there a better example to show that all of this is made up than the transfiguration of Brigham Young?

Post by jfro18 » Tue Feb 11, 2020 10:49 am

Lately DW has been telling our little one Bible stories, and as she tells them it just is so clear to me how made up the stories are whether it's the great flood, tower of babel, parting of the sea, jesus turning water into wine or the fish/bread, etc.

And it really got me thinking about how myths evolve over time, and the thing I keep going back to is the transfiguration of Brigham Young.

I was told that the reason the church knew BY was the rightful successor to Joseph is that he literally transformed into Joseph while speaking, even having the same manner of speaking and lisp.

When I studied that I realized that it took about a decade for that story to really begin, and from there we had all sorts of leaders claiming to witness it even though one was not even there at the time.

In a lot of ways I'm really grateful for this, because it shows just how easy it is for supernatural myths to take hold. In just ten years we have a meeting that was documented at the time as a regular debate over church leadership evolving to one of the most miraculous events in Mormon history.

Now take that and apply it to the New Testament that wasn't even written down until ~40 years after the events cited, or the Old Testament that wasn't written down for *hundreds* of years, and you can see how the stories evolved from ordinary events into miracles. Or look at how Joseph Smith did the same thing with the First Vision or priesthood restoration which were both retrofitted years later into miraculous events that were not documented or spoken of at the time.

Am I crazy for thinking that? It just seems like such a massive example to point to in showing how these things evolve... I really want to sit down and do a more in depth write-up about it because it's pretty fascinating.

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Re: Is there a better example to show that all of this is made up than the transfiguration of Brigham Young?

Post by wtfluff » Tue Feb 11, 2020 11:28 am

jfro18 wrote:
Tue Feb 11, 2020 10:49 am
Am I crazy for thinking that?
Nope. Not crazy at all.

The best explanation I've ever heard for the way things such as the gospels (and likely all "scripture") came to be was John Hamer: The gospels were not written as simple historical events being recorded, the gospel writers wrote the events of the gospels the way they "thought" those events "should have" happened. (And as you mentioned, most of the writing happens decades, even centuries after the events actually happened.)

One of the best examples is simply comparing the "Christmas Story" between the gospels. While there are many events in the gospels where we have historical evidence that they happened, there are also many, many more things where the writer retro-fit the "history" to try and make it fulfill old testament scriptural prophecy related to to the "savior" showing up.

There are a couple of old podcasts out there by RFM and Infants On Thrones that go through the "Christmas Story" and pick apart examples like I mentioned above in much better detail than I can relate through my fingers.
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Re: Is there a better example to show that all of this is made up than the transfiguration of Brigham Young?

Post by jfro18 » Tue Feb 11, 2020 11:38 am

wtfluff wrote:
Tue Feb 11, 2020 11:28 am
One of the best examples is simply comparing the "Christmas Story" between the gospels. While there are many events in the gospels where we have historical evidence that they happened, there are also many, many more things where the writer retro-fit the "history" to try and make it fulfill old testament scriptural prophecy related to to the "savior" showing up.

There are a couple of old podcasts out there by RFM and Infants On Thrones that go through the "Christmas Story" and pick apart examples like I mentioned above in much better detail than I can relate through my fingers.
The Infants on Thrones episode w/ John Hamer on the Christmas story was a real shocker when I heard it maybe a year ago... definitely a must listen.

http://infantsonthrones.com/the-christm ... -of-sorts/

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Re: Is there a better example to show that all of this is made up than the transfiguration of Brigham Young?

Post by Hagoth » Tue Feb 11, 2020 11:56 am

Yesterday in my Religious Studies class at the UofU we had a guest lecturer named Trevan Hatch who talked about how the stories in the New Testament are highly biased, and in some cases entirely fictional, because of political influences both within and in the surrounding environment of the early Christian church. That's right, I said he's from BYU. It was fascinating and his research would be well worth looking into. We read a chapter from his book A Stranger in Jerusalem: Seeing Jesus as a Jew about how the character if Judas was either invented or reinvented to demonize Jews in a Roman-controlled environment.

One thing that Hatch stressed is that the gospels are highly Paul-influenced and were created after the Jerusalem Council where there was serious strife between Paul (and the geniles) and Peter et. al. (and the Pharisees). Hatch claims that the early apostles were actually tightly aligned with the Pharisees, which is why the gospel writers had Jesus condemning the Pharisees at every opportunity. The original apostles refused to eat with Paul's uncircumcised companions, which is why there are so many stories about Jesus eating with undesirables. There were also lots of good reasons to try to appease the Romans and condemn the Jews, considering how many would-be Jewish messiahs and their followers were being slaughtered by Pilate and his gang at the time.

The NT is also very harsh on Peter. He is quick to show enthusiasm for Jesus but ultimately always fails him. He's excited to walk on water but loses faith and sinks. He swears undying devotion to Jesus but then denies him three times. Jesus only uses the word that is translated as 'stumbling block" but actually means something like "damned soul," to refer to Peter, and many other examples. Hatch says the parable of the sower is about Peter (aka the Rock). The seeds fall on rocky ground and spring up only to wither.

I know this is not a direct answer to your question but I think it's fascinating that a BYU guy (two PhDs from other universities) is doing major work on unreliability of scripture an. willing to stick his neck out and say that it is undeniably made up to some degree.

p.s. I think it's hard to find a more perfect example that it's all made up than the Book of Abraham. Even that doesn't sway most members, so it may be pointless to even try to point out cracks in the foundation.
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Re: Is there a better example to show that all of this is made up than the transfiguration of Brigham Young?

Post by Yobispo » Tue Feb 11, 2020 12:38 pm

I recently discovered Joseph Campbell and the Power of Myth on Prime video. I think I had to rent or buy it, but it was worth every penny and I will definitely rewatch. It's an old PBS interview from the 80s and at first glance looks boring and has terrible production quality. But if you haven't seen it, give the first part a watch - it goes right to the heart of your post. I can almost guarantee you'll be hooked! He is a brilliant and gentle man, and wonderful storyteller.

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Re: Is there a better example to show that all of this is made up than the transfiguration of Brigham Young?

Post by oliblish » Tue Feb 11, 2020 1:34 pm

Yobispo wrote:
Tue Feb 11, 2020 12:38 pm
I recently discovered Joseph Campbell and the Power of Myth on Prime video. I think I had to rent or buy it, but it was worth every penny and I will definitely rewatch. It's an old PBS interview from the 80s and at first glance looks boring and has terrible production quality. But if you haven't seen it, give the first part a watch - it goes right to the heart of your post. I can almost guarantee you'll be hooked! He is a brilliant and gentle man, and wonderful storyteller.
It looks like this series is free online here:

https://billmoyers.com/series/joseph-ca ... myth-1988/

I plan on watching.
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Re: Is there a better example to show that all of this is made up than the transfiguration of Brigham Young?

Post by alas » Tue Feb 11, 2020 1:39 pm

Hagoth wrote:
Tue Feb 11, 2020 11:56 am
Yesterday in my Religious Studies class at the UofU we had a guest lecturer named Trevan Hatch who talked about how the stories in the New Testament are highly biased, and in some cases entirely fictional, because of political influences both within and in the surrounding environment of the early Christian church. That's right, I said he's from BYU. It was fascinating and his research would be well worth looking into. We read a chapter from his book A Stranger in Jerusalem: Seeing Jesus as a Jew about how the character if Judas was either invented or reinvented to demonize Jews in a Roman-controlled environment.

One thing that Hatch stressed is that the gospels are highly Paul-influenced and were created after the Jerusalem Council where there was serious strife between Paul (and the geniles) and Peter et. al. (and the Pharisees). Hatch claims that the early apostles were actually tightly aligned with the Pharisees, which is why the gospel writers had Jesus condemning the Pharisees at every opportunity. The original apostles refused to eat with Paul's uncircumcised companions, which is why there are so many stories about Jesus eating with undesirables. There were also lots of good reasons to try to appease the Romans and condemn the Jews, considering how many would-be Jewish messiahs and their followers were being slaughtered by Pilate and his gang at the time.

The NT is also very harsh on Peter. He is quick to show enthusiasm for Jesus but ultimately always fails him. He's excited to walk on water but loses faith and sinks. He swears undying devotion to Jesus but then denies him three times. Jesus only uses the word that is translated as 'stumbling block" but actually means something like "damned soul," to refer to Peter, and many other examples. Hatch says the parable of the sower is about Peter (aka the Rock). The seeds fall on rocky ground and spring up only to wither.

I know this is not a direct answer to your question but I think it's fascinating that a BYU guy (two PhDs from other universities) is doing major work on unreliability of scripture an. willing to stick his neck out and say that it is undeniably made up to some degree.

p.s. I think it's hard to find a more perfect example that it's all made up than the Book of Abraham. Even that doesn't sway most members, so it may be pointless to even try to point out cracks in the foundation.
Just a minor tangent for the fun of it.


Speaking of all the would-be Jewish messiahs and their followers that were being slaughtered, a while back I read a book called Between the Testaments that went through the history between the time the Old Testament left off and then really went into the culture at the time of Jesus. The book talked about how common the itinerant preachers were and how as they traveled from place to place, they helped themselves to whatever was growing in the local fields. We see that Jesus did this too, but needless to say, a group of preacher and his 50 followers walking through your olive orchard and helping themselves to whatever they wanted kind of pissed off the local farmers. The preachers came to be known as “bandits” because of their habit of stealing from the farmers.

So, keep in mind the preachers were commonly called bandits, or thieves. Now consider the two men who were crucified along with Jesus. Common thieves did not merit crucifixion, only the rebel preachers who went around the countryside stirring up the people. A thief would have their hand chopped off, but the preachers were seen by the Romans as a threat because many of them advocated rebellion or not being subject to the Romans. So, who were the two thieves/bandits crucified along with Jesus? And why did he say he would see them in paradise? If they were actually robbers, would he have told them their sin were forgiven before such a comment, but if they were preachers like Jesus, he would have assumed they were sin free and therefore would be in paradise.

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Re: Is there a better example to show that all of this is made up than the transfiguration of Brigham Young?

Post by Hagoth » Tue Feb 11, 2020 6:23 pm

Thank you for that, Alas. Sometimes something comes along and you say, wow, that makes so much more sense than any other explanations!
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Re: Is there a better example to show that all of this is made up than the transfiguration of Brigham Young?

Post by moksha » Tue Feb 11, 2020 8:49 pm

When the Lights Came on: Joseph Smith and the Return of Heavenly Manifestations
Book by Trevan G. Hatch

https://books.google.com/books/about/Wh ... escription

--------------
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Re: Is there a better example to show that all of this is made up than the transfiguration of Brigham Young?

Post by Reuben » Wed Feb 12, 2020 2:36 am

Hagoth wrote:
Tue Feb 11, 2020 11:56 am
I know this is not a direct answer to your question but I think it's fascinating that a BYU guy (two PhDs from other universities) is doing major work on unreliability of scripture an. willing to stick his neck out and say that it is undeniably made up to some degree.
There's Another Testament of Jesus Christ, and the restoration was meant to set things straight, so as long as he's talking about the New Testament, everything's cool. I'll bet if he were to do the same with the Book of Mormon, he would find himself under a lot of pressure to change topics.
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Re: Is there a better example to show that all of this is made up than the transfiguration of Brigham Young?

Post by Hagoth » Thu Feb 13, 2020 12:03 pm

Reuben wrote:
Wed Feb 12, 2020 2:36 am
I'll bet if he were to do the same with the Book of Mormon, he would find himself under a lot of pressure to change topics.
Judging from the book that Moksha linked, I believe he may be going out of his way to gush appropriately about the things that really count. After all, it is one of our foundational tenets that the Bible was NOT translated correctly.
“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: Is there a better example to show that all of this is made up than the transfiguration of Brigham Young?

Post by Corsair » Fri Feb 14, 2020 9:18 am

I highly recommend "Authoring the Old Testament" by David Bokovoy. This runs parallel with everything in this thread so far. The politics and agendas of the various Old Testament writers is at least as complicated as the New Testament and the 19th century LDS church.

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Re: Is there a better example to show that all of this is made up than the transfiguration of Brigham Young?

Post by Hagoth » Fri Feb 14, 2020 2:21 pm

Corsair wrote:
Fri Feb 14, 2020 9:18 am
I highly recommend "Authoring the Old Testament" by David Bokovoy. This runs parallel with everything in this thread so far. The politics and agendas of the various Old Testament writers is at least as complicated as the New Testament and the 19th century LDS church.
There's also a good Mormon Stories interview with Bokovoy. I would love to take classes from him. Unfortunately, I'd have to commit a crime. He is teaching at the Utah State Penitentiary.
“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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