An Acid Test for Prophecy

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deacon blues
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An Acid Test for Prophecy

Post by deacon blues » Tue Feb 02, 2021 10:50 am

AN ACID TEST FOR PROPHECY What's the origin of the phrase 'Acid test'?
Gold prospectors and dealers needed to be able to distinguish gold from base metal. The original acid test was developed in the late 18th century and relied on nitric acid's ability to dissolve other metals more readily than gold. To confirm that a find was gold it was given 'the acid test'. A test sample was used to mark a touchstone and the degree to which it dissolved when the acid was added determined whether it was gold. Various other later tests also used acid and these are all called 'acid tests'.
I woke up last night with an inspired :shock: :?: idea:

A Prophecy Acid Test 10 points each category:
1-What- is the prophecy clearly defined?
2-When- is its fulfillment dated?
3-Where- would it happen?
4-Why- is this prophecy important?
5-How- would it be fulfilled?
6-Backdated- was it possibly dated later than originally proposed? Think BOM prophecies like 1 Nephi 11.
7-Conditional- does it contain phrase like "if they are obedient" or "if they repent?"
8-Likely- is it unusual?
9. Physical- easily verified, is it more metaphysical?
10-Prophecy/Opinion was the prophet "speaking as a prophet?
NOTE: THIS TEST DOES NOT DETERMINE IF A PROPHECY IS TRUE. IT DETERMINES THE RISK FACTOR- WHETHER A PROPHETIC STATEMENT IS EXTRAORDINARY (100 points) OR ORDINARY. (say 0 to 60 points)

For example: In 1838 Joseph Smith dictated a prophecy given him by Moroni (or possibly Nephi) that his name would be had for "good and evil among all nations" I gave a reasoned score for each category: 10+8+9+10+10+5+10+7+8+10= 87 is the rating I would give this prophecy, Which is pretty good. I think it is one of Joseph's more authentic prophecies. Significantly, it is arguably true.

I applied this test to other prophecies. Parley P. Pratt gave a prophecy in his 1838 pamphlet "Mormonism Unveiled, a reply to Leroy Sunderland" that got a 94. The problem for apologists is Pratt's authentic prophecy is demonstrably false.

Another Prophecy could be "The constitution will "hang by a brittle thread" and the elders would save it. Using the Acid Test I would rate this prophecy: 6+1+10+10+5+10+9+7+7+9= 74. It's a fairly authentic prophecy. Has it been fulfilled? That's still to be determined, unless somebody somewhere has said it would happen in 1861, 1890, or 1944, or 2021.


Of course the test is somewhat subjective, like grading an essay, figure skating performance, or a musical performance. Still I think it might have value. It could be tweaked a bit. It could be applied to compare Bible prophecies with Book of Mormon prophecies, or even astronomical predictions like eclipses, etc.

Anyway, its an interesting way to spend my time since I've been retired. :) ;) 8-)
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RubinHighlander
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Re: An Acid Test for Prophecy

Post by RubinHighlander » Tue Feb 02, 2021 3:07 pm

To go along with number 8 - the probability of the thing happening, based on trends or human behavior, tough to measure. It's like a stopped clock being right at least once per day, twice if you take off the 24hr measurement as well as AM/PM. That's one out of 12 or 24, not bad odds. Where history repeats itself, talking about wars, rumors of wars, when has this never applied to recorded history? The odds of any one person on the planet taking a guess at a future event and getting it right; things like the civil war or the sun coming up tomorrow. So specificity is quite important.

At what point can someone be considered a prophet? How many of their predictions need to come true or have come true (to a strong enough degree) to be no longer luck or guessing? Like a fortune teller for the masses, you'll find love in your future, but will you see Jebus?

As far as JS and the "good and evil among all nations." you could argue this was self fulfilled in that he pissed a lot of people off and was lucky enough to have his legacy become a multi-billion dollar corporation with thousands of volunteer young sales people spreading the word. Or, that it was not fulfilled because it was only those countries that mormons proselytized in or that heard the news of polygamy and all the weird stuff. Most people in India and China, how many of them really know anything about TSCC or JS? Is that "all nations"? What is a "nation" and what percentage of the population of that nation needs to be in the know?
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alas
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Re: An Acid Test for Prophecy

Post by alas » Tue Feb 02, 2021 7:05 pm

You can conduct your acid test your way. I’ll use my own acid test. I come across a man claiming prophecy. I drop him in acid. If he survives, then he is a true prophet and I have to obey him. He his body is dissolved by the acid, he was a false prophet and we are better off without him. If he simply refuses the test, well that is proof he knows he will dissolve, so he is a false prophet and we don’t have to obey or give him money.

I thought about doing it the other way around, sort of like they did witch trials. The kind when they put them under water and if the drown then they were innocent and too bad they died, but if they do not drown, then they are a witch and you burn them at the stake. So, If he dissolves in the acid then he is a true prophet and too bad we just killed him, but if he doesn’t, then he is a blasphemous heretic and needs to be burned at the stake.

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Hagoth
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Re: An Acid Test for Prophecy

Post by Hagoth » Tue Feb 02, 2021 9:13 pm

RubinHighlander wrote:
Tue Feb 02, 2021 3:07 pm
As far as JS and the "good and evil among all nations...."
It also applies pretty generally to the founders of all flavors of religious movements. Muhammed, Martin Luther, L. Ron Hubbard, Sun Myung Moon, Helena Blavatsky, Mary Baker Eddy, Ellen G. White, Alistair Crowley, Emanuel Swedenborg, Edgar Cayce, Paul Twitchell, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, Rajneesh are some names that come to mind.
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moksha
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Re: An Acid Test for Prophecy

Post by moksha » Wed Feb 03, 2021 5:15 am

deacon blues wrote:
Tue Feb 02, 2021 10:50 am
Another Prophecy could be "The constitution will "hang by a brittle thread" and the elders would save it. Using the Acid Test I would rate this prophecy: 6+1+10+10+5+10+9+7+7+9= 74. It's a fairly authentic prophecy. Has it been fulfilled? That's still to be determined, unless somebody somewhere has said it would happen in 1861, 1890, or 1944, or 2021.
Mitt Romney stood against Trump, but most LDS stood with Trump. That would put Romney on the side of the Constitution, but most LDS against the Constitution. However, Romney owned a white dressage pony, while most LDS aspire to be BMW owners. Prophecies get complicated.
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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Just This Guy
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Re: An Acid Test for Prophecy

Post by Just This Guy » Wed Feb 03, 2021 6:49 am

To me this seams to be over complicating things. This acid test is to determine if something is a prophecy. Okay, so what? As Hagoth said, prophecies are very common in religion. Even outside of religion, prophecies are a dime a dozen. Just pick any topic and you can find all sorts of prophecies on it.

Politics alone is constantly filled with all sorts of prophecies.
* Trump will win the election.
* Trump will loose the election.
* Raising the minimum wage will force businesses to close.
* Raising the minimum wage will not impact businesses.
Just watch the news and you can see all sorts of prophecies out there that would rank highly on the scale. I'm trying to avoid a political discussion, just make the point that everyone makes them. Their bearing on reality is not something that is factored into this test.

Another take is this. In 1997, my high school physics teacher was also a computer guy. He made the prediction to the class that within 10 years, LCD and other flat screens would replace 75% of computer monitor and TV CRT screens for sales. So based on this test, he would get a score of 10+10+10+10+10+10+2+3+10+0=75. So by this scale, that would be a clear prophecy. To his credit, he was only off by a few years, but it was defiantly fulfilled.

Since it is not used to determine if said prophecy is accurate or fulfilled, what good does this give you?
"The story so far: In the beginning the Universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry and been widely regarded as a bad move." -- Douglas Adams

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Hagoth
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Re: An Acid Test for Prophecy

Post by Hagoth » Wed Feb 03, 2021 8:06 am

There's also a lot of room for interpretation and perspective when it comes to prophecy. That's why tarot cards, astrology, and palm reading can appear much more accurate to some people than others.

Mormons think Joseph Smith prophesied the Civil War with uncanny accuracy, but if you put on your reading glasses and take a closer look you'll see that he didn't do a very good job. I'm not going to put numbers to it, but a critic would likely come up with a very different acid test score for the Civil War prophecy than a FAIR apologist would. The critic will focus on what the prophesy actually says and the apologist would look for ways to apply any parallel or tangent they can think of.

Some considerations:

Joseph received the revelation while a rebellion was happening in South Carolina and shortly after his local newspaper published an article about a potential secession of the southern states that would start there. So you have to scratch that out of the prophecy.

There was also a major slave rebellion happening in Cuba at the time, which is how Joseph predicted his prophesied war to begin in the States.

Joseph prophesied that the war would spread to all nations. Didn't happen.

He identifies the uprising of slaves joined by Native Americans as major components. Didn't happen.

He adds famine, plague, earthquakes, thunder and lightning over the entire planet. Didn't happen.

He predicts the end of all nations as a result, and that the dire tribulations will continue unrelentingly until the imminent 2nd Coming. Didn't happen.

Apologists will say those things appear inaccurate to critics because some of them happened long after the actual civil war, or in ways that are not obvious, and that many of still haven't happened yet.

Critics will just say "Didn't happen."
“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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Re: An Acid Test for Prophecy

Post by RubinHighlander » Wed Feb 03, 2021 8:30 am

alas wrote:
Tue Feb 02, 2021 7:05 pm
You can conduct your acid test your way. I’ll use my own acid test. I come across a man claiming prophecy. I drop him in acid. If he survives, then he is a true prophet and I have to obey him. He his body is dissolved by the acid, he was a false prophet and we are better off without him. If he simply refuses the test, well that is proof he knows he will dissolve, so he is a false prophet and we don’t have to obey or give him money.
Have the prophet of a fundamentalists billion dollar jebus boys club drop acid, if his ego survives, try a bigger dose. Have his millions of adult followers do the same and see where that church evolves or devolves over a few months. That would be an interesting test.
“Sir,' I said to the universe, 'I exist.' 'That,' said the universe, 'creates no sense of obligation in me whatsoever.”
--Douglas Adams

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YzmYP3PbfXE

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deacon blues
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Re: An Acid Test for Prophecy

Post by deacon blues » Wed Feb 03, 2021 9:41 am

I remember watching Olympic figure skating back in the day and the Soviet skaters would get extra high votes from Soviet bloc judges, like Czechoslovakia- And the the T.V. announcers would say, "Oh they're obviously biased." So as a kid I learned about bias.
As a Band teacher, I would take my groups to a festival where the judge would sometimes be related to or a friend of one of the other teachers and they would get an extra high rating, so I would think, "There's the bias thing again."
Judging musical groups and prophecies is going to be subjective, unless you get somebody smarter than me that can apply a Barnes theorem and break it down that way.
I've studied the Civil War prophecy, and thought to myself, this is about 25% accurate, and that 25% was very likely inspired by the Tariff Crisis of 1832 in South Carolina. I'm also reminded of some talk in Church where a dude gets up and says something like, "a missionary went to outer Mongolia and found somebody that had heard of Joseph Smith, so that fulfills Moroni's prophecy. :o
I may be overthinking the whole thing. I'm reminded of Pres. Nelson's gospel hobby, focusing on the name of the Church. :roll: That's what old retired farts like me and Pres. Nelson do. :lol:
Last edited by deacon blues on Wed Feb 03, 2021 11:05 am, edited 1 time in total.
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deacon blues
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Re: An Acid Test for Prophecy

Post by deacon blues » Wed Feb 03, 2021 11:03 am

A little more about my background. :geek: After certain music festivals certain Band teachers complained :( about certain judges :evil: rating the various bands. A committee of teachers was called (but not ordained) :D to develop a more systematic- uh- system ;) for rating or grading bands. It's what teachers do. Teachers, including music teachers are constantly trying to improve the grading process, especially after confrontations with students and parents about grades. Some subjects lend themselves to grading- Math and Spelling fer instance. Other subjects like writing, music and other arts are more interpretive, but principals, students, and parents still expect GRADES like A, B, C, and not too many F's. As a teacher, it was an occupational hazard- not quite as scary as delivering warrants for arrest or brain surgery, but still stressful. :oops:

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Re: An Acid Test for Prophecy

Post by Hagoth » Wed Feb 03, 2021 12:19 pm

RubinHighlander wrote:
Wed Feb 03, 2021 8:30 am
Have the prophet of a fundamentalists billion dollar jebus boys club drop acid, if his ego survives, try a bigger dose. Have his millions of adult followers do the same and see where that church evolves or devolves over a few months. That would be an interesting test.
Image
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Re: An Acid Test for Prophecy

Post by SaidNobody » Wed Feb 03, 2021 3:00 pm

The idea of prophecy fascinates me.

But as always, I don't look at it quite like others. While most people judge a prophecy by its accuracy, I judge prophecy by the interest that people have in it. For example, the Navajo/Hopi Earth change prophecy. Every time something happens I think about it and the things that said. Basically using the Mississippi River to divide the United States to two separate continents. Was that political or was that physical?

While there isn't much scientific data to support something like that, there is quite a bit of the theoretical stuff including a great fault line underneath the Mississippi that could trigger any day now. Thousands if not millions of people have consulted this prophecy.

There was the White Horse prophecy by Joseph Smith. Whether accurate or not isn't what makes it interesting, it is the interest that other people have in it.

The aboriginals of Australia have many interesting prophecies that many people, along with myself, find extremely interesting. Some include aliens and visions of the true world. And to the meaning and destiny of modern man.

Whether they are true or not doesn't seem to impact their effect on the world.

Even during this last election, every phrase of Book of Revelations has been brought out to be applied to the situation.

There are ancient writings on the walls of temples That show what can only be interpreted as people in spaceships or space suits. While this triggers many conversations about aliens, it could have also been about prophecy.

I think some stories just want to be there. Humanity wants to contemplate them. Whether they tell us of the next moon cycle or not is less important than what they suggest to our mind.

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Re: An Acid Test for Prophecy

Post by blazerb » Wed Feb 03, 2021 3:53 pm

Is the acid test for prophecy or for prophets? If the most successful of JS's prophecies score no higher than the most successful from the corner psychic, then he's a fraud like the corner psychic (or the millionaire psychic for that matter). When I see our current prophets display all the trappings of worldly power like the nice clothes, carefully scripted public events, VIP treatment, and the like, I feel confident that they are compensating for the lack of heavenly power that they wish they had. When they demand that people stand when they walk in the room, sit after they sit, and remain seated until they get up, I feel confident that they have no heavenly help to offer the people. They just have to keep the people busy watching the "messenger" so that they don't notice that the "message" is nonsense.

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Hagoth
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Re: An Acid Test for Prophecy

Post by Hagoth » Thu Feb 04, 2021 7:06 am

blazerb wrote:
Wed Feb 03, 2021 3:53 pm
I feel confident that they are compensating for the lack of heavenly power that they wish they had.
And the members are falling all over themselves to accommodate them. A home lesson manual inspires tearful testimonies of an implied prophesy of a pandemic, even though the prophet failed to actually mention anything about a pandemic. "Prophesy" has suffered even more from redefinition than "translation."
“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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deacon blues
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Re: An Acid Test for Prophecy

Post by deacon blues » Thu Feb 04, 2021 9:28 am

Hagoth wrote:
Thu Feb 04, 2021 7:06 am
blazerb wrote:
Wed Feb 03, 2021 3:53 pm
I feel confident that they are compensating for the lack of heavenly power that they wish they had.
And the members are falling all over themselves to accommodate them. A home lesson manual inspires tearful testimonies of an implied prophesy of a pandemic, even though the prophet failed to actually mention anything about a pandemic. "Prophesy" has suffered even more from redefinition than "translation."
Excellent point. Prophets don't prophesy any more. For example, Pres. Nelson's recent (Oct. 2018) promise/prophecy: "My dear brothers and sisters, I promise you that if we will do our best to restore the correct name of the Lord’s Church, He whose Church this is will pour down His power and blessings upon the heads of the Latter-day Saints, the likes of which we have never seen. We will have the knowledge and power of God to help us take the blessings of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ to every nation, kindred, tongue, and people and to prepare the world for the Second Coming of the Lord."

What: power and blessings- vague 5 pts.
When: in the future-vague 5
Where: every nation- 5
Why: spread the gospel 6
How: through missionary work? 5
Backdated: nope, it's future :) 10
Conditional: yes- IF :shock: 1
Likely: too vague to be unlikely :roll:1
Physical: ditto :roll: 1
Prophecy or Opinion 9
Total pts. 48
He's not really going out on a limb, unlike Samuel the Lamanite. :o
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RubinHighlander
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Re: An Acid Test for Prophecy

Post by RubinHighlander » Fri Feb 05, 2021 9:39 am

deacon blues wrote:
Thu Feb 04, 2021 9:28 am
And the members are falling all over themselves to accommodate them. A home lesson manual inspires tearful testimonies of an implied prophesy of a pandemic, even though the prophet failed to actually mention anything about a pandemic. "Prophesy" has suffered even more from redefinition than "translation."
[/quote]

And I bet the TSCC lawyers still pucker up every time the CEO opens his mouth, even though they probably edited his talk.
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Re: An Acid Test for Prophecy

Post by jfro18 » Fri Feb 05, 2021 10:07 am

Hagoth wrote:
Thu Feb 04, 2021 7:06 am
blazerb wrote:
Wed Feb 03, 2021 3:53 pm
I feel confident that they are compensating for the lack of heavenly power that they wish they had.
And the members are falling all over themselves to accommodate them. A home lesson manual inspires tearful testimonies of an implied prophesy of a pandemic, even though the prophet failed to actually mention anything about a pandemic. "Prophesy" has suffered even more from redefinition than "translation."
This pretty much sums it all up. As long as they can get members to fill in the gaps for them, they can continue to imply they are receiving revelations and fulfilling prophecy.

This week's "Mormonism Live" with Bill Reel and RFM covered two talks that imply there are miracles and revelation today, but when you actually listen (or read) to them it is so clear how absolutely ordinary they all are.

But if you can get members to inflate them into miracles, you're going to continue to present the stories that way every time.

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Re: An Acid Test for Prophecy

Post by SaidNobody » Fri Feb 05, 2021 10:51 am

+------+++
Last edited by SaidNobody on Sat Feb 06, 2021 6:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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deacon blues
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Re: An Acid Test for Prophecy

Post by deacon blues » Fri Feb 05, 2021 3:40 pm

As I read about William Miller, the guy who gave a specific date that Jesus would return, well, actually several dates between 1843 and 1844, I think I can see a little method :idea: to Joseph Smith's prophecies. In Jan. 1833 Joseph said "this generation" would see the 2nd Coming. In Feb. 1835, Joseph said "56 years should wrap up the scene." But William Miller said 1843-44, and as it got close to that date, Joseph could see that dated prophesies could have serious repercussions. :( :o So he came up with this about the time of Miller's first fail, in April, 1843: "I was once praying very earnestly to know the time of the coming of the Son of Man, when I heard a voice repeat the following: Joseph, my son, if thou livest until thou art eighty-five years old, thou shalt see the face of the Son of Man; therefore let this suffice, and trouble me no more on this matter. I was left thus, without being able to decide whether this coming referred to the beginning of the millennium or to some previous appearing, or whether I should die and thus see his face. I believe the coming of the Son of Man will not be any sooner than that time."
This got Joseph out of the prophetic manure that William Miller stepped in. :o Like Bill Murray stepping over the slush hole in "Ground Hog Day" Joseph was able to adjust his previously dated prophecies, to unfalsifiable statements. ;)
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Re: An Acid Test for Prophecy

Post by Just This Guy » Fri Feb 05, 2021 5:21 pm

deacon blues wrote:
Fri Feb 05, 2021 3:40 pm
"I was once praying very earnestly to know the time of the coming of the Son of Man, when I heard a voice repeat the following: Joseph, my son, if thou livest until thou art eighty-five years old, thou shalt see the face of the Son of Man; therefore let this suffice, and trouble me no more on this matter. I was left thus, without being able to decide whether this coming referred to the beginning of the millennium or to some previous appearing, or whether I should die and thus see his face. I believe the coming of the Son of Man will not be any sooner than that time."

So is JSjr admitting in a round about way that he had not seen the face of the Son of Man before that date? I would think that it would be worded differently if JS had already seen him. Something like: "... if thou livest until thou art eightly-five, all men shall see my face as thou hast."
"The story so far: In the beginning the Universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry and been widely regarded as a bad move." -- Douglas Adams

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