An Oral translation of the Book of Mormon.

Discussions toward a better understanding of LDS doctrine, history, and culture. Discussion of Christianity, religion, and faith in general is welcome.
Post Reply
User avatar
deacon blues
Posts: 1455
Joined: Tue Oct 18, 2016 7:37 am

An Oral translation of the Book of Mormon.

Post by deacon blues » Thu Mar 25, 2021 10:02 am

I just finished Visions In A Seer Stone by William L. Davis. The main point of the book is that Smith's translation of the Book of Mormon was greatly influenced by the culture of oral sermons in the burned over district of New York where he grew up. The author points out that many preachers at the time spoke with few or no notes. Yet using a process called "laying down heads" they were able to speak extemporaneously for hours. This process of relying on few or no notes was encouraged by the scriptural injunction "Take no thought beforehand... it shall be given you in the very hour" what to say. (Mark 13:11) Speakers of the time felt moved to use a method where they would briefly present a scripture or topic, break it into a few 'heads' -key points- (written or memorized) and then speak extemporaneously.
It's interesting that the BOM starting with Ist Nephi has similar brief introductions to many sections, and these introductions were dictated by Joseph, who would then tell the story initially outlined.
The book is not an easy read, and I'd need to go through it more than once to fully understand Davis's ideas, but it is well documented. It seems to me that Davis, like some apologists, sometimes stretches the evidence to match his specific ideas, but the main point is very well supported. I recommend the book.
God is Love. God is Truth

User avatar
jfro18
Posts: 1710
Joined: Mon Apr 23, 2018 8:41 pm

Re: An Oral translation of the Book of Mormon.

Post by jfro18 » Thu Mar 25, 2021 10:19 am

I want to find the time to start reading some of these books that have been coming out - I am primarily confined to podcasts while I work since I can't read these in front of my wife.

There's a Mormon Stories interview on the book which I thought was really great as well: https://www.mormonstories.org/podcast/v ... m-l-davis/

Obviously won't have nearly the info as the book, but maybe it would give some extra layers to the book or, if this is the first exposure like me, gives an introduction to the deeper dive that would be the book.

User avatar
Hagoth
Posts: 5269
Joined: Fri Oct 14, 2016 1:13 pm

Re: An Oral translation of the Book of Mormon.

Post by Hagoth » Thu Mar 25, 2021 4:57 pm

deacon blues wrote:
Thu Mar 25, 2021 10:02 am
Yet using a process called "laying down heads" they were able to speak extemporaneously for hours.
The really fascinating thing about this is that Joseph SAYS in the Book of Mormon that's how he did it!
Jacob 1:4 And if there were preaching which was sacred, or revelation which was great, or prophesying, that I should engraven the heads of them upon these plates, and touch upon them as much as it were possible...
“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."

User avatar
Palerider
Posts: 1931
Joined: Fri Nov 25, 2016 8:44 am

Re: An Oral translation of the Book of Mormon.

Post by Palerider » Thu Mar 25, 2021 5:22 pm

Hagoth wrote:
Thu Mar 25, 2021 4:57 pm
deacon blues wrote:
Thu Mar 25, 2021 10:02 am
Yet using a process called "laying down heads" they were able to speak extemporaneously for hours.
The really fascinating thing about this is that Joseph SAYS in the Book of Mormon that's how he did it!
Jacob 1:4 And if there were preaching which was sacred, or revelation which was great, or prophesying, that I should engraven the heads of them upon these plates, and touch upon them as much as it were possible...
Nice catch Hagoth! You're the man.

I think Joseph had these Freudian slips much more than we realize.

No matter how much we try to hide it, we write what we know.
"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

User avatar
jfro18
Posts: 1710
Joined: Mon Apr 23, 2018 8:41 pm

Re: An Oral translation of the Book of Mormon.

Post by jfro18 » Thu Mar 25, 2021 8:19 pm

FAIR Mormon/FairLatterDaySaints already has an under construction reply to this book, which has the strongest reply from Brian Hales who argues that Davis is starting with unreasonable assumptions as Hales continues to make his own... unreasonable assumptions.

https://www.fairlatterdaysaints.org/ans ... Down_Heads

User avatar
Hagoth
Posts: 5269
Joined: Fri Oct 14, 2016 1:13 pm

Re: An Oral translation of the Book of Mormon.

Post by Hagoth » Fri Mar 26, 2021 9:44 am

Palerider wrote:
Thu Mar 25, 2021 5:22 pm
I think Joseph had these Freudian slips much more than we realize.
Slippery treasures!
“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."

User avatar
moksha
Posts: 3740
Joined: Tue Oct 18, 2016 4:22 am

Re: An Oral translation of the Book of Mormon.

Post by moksha » Sat Mar 27, 2021 1:44 am

Hagoth wrote:
Fri Mar 26, 2021 9:44 am
Slippery treasures!
The ways of the White Salamander are a mystery to us mortals. Elevating buried treasure one minute then causing it to slip further in the earth, even after those nice men paid Joseph to show them where to dig, the next minute. Very mysterious indeed.
Good faith does not require evidence, but it also does not turn a blind eye to that evidence. Otherwise, it becomes misplaced faith.
-- Moksha

User avatar
LSOF
Posts: 259
Joined: Mon Oct 17, 2016 2:16 pm
Location: Mare Tranquilitatis
Contact:

Re: An Oral translation of the Book of Mormon.

Post by LSOF » Fri Apr 02, 2021 12:39 am

Isn't it indeed weird that there is so much talk in the Book of Mormon of disappearing treasures.
"I appreciate your flesh needs to martyr me." Parture

"There is no contradiction between faith and science --- true science." Dr Zaius

Pastor, Lunar Society of Friends; CEO, Faithful Origins and Ontology League

User avatar
Palerider
Posts: 1931
Joined: Fri Nov 25, 2016 8:44 am

Re: An Oral translation of the Book of Mormon.

Post by Palerider » Fri Apr 02, 2021 8:12 am

LSOF wrote:
Fri Apr 02, 2021 12:39 am
Isn't it indeed weird that there is so much talk in the Book of Mormon of disappearing treasures.
And it serves no real purpose. It's like an attempt to add a bit of excitement or thrill to a cheap dime novel.
"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

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 12 guests