Need help with quotes abut BoM historicity

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Hagoth
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Need help with quotes abut BoM historicity

Post by Hagoth » Mon Apr 11, 2022 4:07 pm

Recently some GAs have given tiny hints that the church may be creeping away from strict BoM historicity. Can someone help me with quotes? I recall one GA saying that we shouldn't look to the BoM as a history book. There was another similar comment but I can't remember any specifics.
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jfro18
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Re: Need help with quotes abut BoM historicity

Post by jfro18 » Mon Apr 11, 2022 7:22 pm

This was Nelson last year: "President Nelson clarified that the Book of Mormon is not a historical textbook. Instead, it further defines many Bible teachings — while revealing new concepts and refuting many falsehoods, including the notion that revelation ended with the Bible and that one can be saved by grace alone."

https://www.thechurchnews.com/leaders-a ... sowfWpltjI

I think there are some others too - need to remember who said them.

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blazerb
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Re: Need help with quotes abut BoM historicity

Post by blazerb » Tue Apr 12, 2022 6:46 am

This change is very subtle. Here is another quote from Ulisses Soares in April 2020 https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/stu ... s?lang=eng:
The translation process of the Book of Mormon was also a miracle. This sacred ancient record was not “translated” in the traditional way that scholars would translate ancient texts by learning an ancient language. We ought to look at the process more like a “revelation” with the aid of physical instruments provided by the Lord, as opposed to a “translation” by one with knowledge of languages.
Of course, this contradicts what those around JS thought about "translation," but that's a whole different issue.

At the same time, Soares teaches that the words of the BoM were first written by ancient prophets among the Nephite people, so he is not discarding the historicity in any obvious way.

One thing I notice is that recent talks about the BoM tend to emphasize its teachings rather than its ancientness, but this is hard to tell since I'm trying to see what is not said rather than what they say. The talks that discuss ancient prophet may be coming mostly from the Q70 rather than the Q15. Look at Giuffra's talk in the October 2021 conference. But again that's hard to say for sure without putting in some serious research time. Even then, I'm not sure we'll have statistical relevance.

I don't think we'll see any obvious changes anytime soon. If they are changing what they teach about the historicity they are doing it in a very deniable way.

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nibbler
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Re: Need help with quotes abut BoM historicity

Post by nibbler » Tue Apr 12, 2022 10:50 am

I'm not seeing/feeling a change as much as others.

I interpret what Soares is saying as Joseph still translating but not doing it through study.

Like if I were to translate something from Spanish to English it would be because of my knowledge of the two languages, knowledge resulting from study and practice. On the other hand, translation via revelation is translating from one language to another where you don't know one of the languages at all.

I think Soares might clarify by saying that translation via revelation should produce something that's relatively similar to translation via study. Or if there are differences the scholars are the ones that are wrong. I don't think Soares would say that translation via revelation really means producing inspired text that has no relationship whatsoever with the original text.

I still don't buy into Nelson's remarks about the BoM not being a history textbook as him giving people space to say the BoM is non-historical.

Here's a story Cook told Jan 9, 2022. Recent.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ww1RKRjrmQk&t=1640s
When President Nelson handed the book to him, he explained that the Book of Mormon is a thousand year history of some of the ancient inhabitants of the Americas.
That doesn't sound like Nelson believes the book doesn't relate things that actually happened in the past.

I see the whole "textbook of history" thing as their way of being dismissive of people that are concerned with the lack of historical evidence for the BoM, not as their way of being more welcoming of alternate views.

To translate what they're saying through revelation, "Why are you concerned with BoM historicity? That's not the point of the book." Which is not the same as saying, "Yeah, it's okay to look at it as inspired fiction."
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Hagoth
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Re: Need help with quotes abut BoM historicity

Post by Hagoth » Tue Apr 12, 2022 12:48 pm

nibbler wrote:
Tue Apr 12, 2022 10:50 am
I see the whole "textbook of history" thing as their way of being dismissive of people that are concerned with the lack of historical evidence for the BoM, not as their way of being more welcoming of alternate views.

To translate what they're saying through revelation, "Why are you concerned with BoM historicity? That's not the point of the book." Which is not the same as saying, "Yeah, it's okay to look at it as inspired fiction."
I agree. It's disappointment-managing. They seem to be saying "even though it is literally true, don't expect historical verification." BUT that tells me they are slowly surrendering their hopes for any kind of empirical evidence. These kinds of quotes will come in very handy when the need comes to soften the church's position, the way it has done with things like "translation," men becoming gods, etc. Apologists are already backing away from the Book of Abraham pretty quickly. A decade ago David Bokovoy was punished for even suggesting a catalyst theory, but now it's the go-to answer in the official essay, even while Givens is already taking the next step and calling it "inspired imagination" with no pushback from above. There is a glacial creeping of Mormon doctrine away from literal historicity, but it's like trying to watch grass grow, and it must move VERY slowly for the text that is the religion's keystone.
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Red Ryder
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Re: Need help with quotes abut BoM historicity

Post by Red Ryder » Tue Apr 12, 2022 1:17 pm

My problem with the “Inspired translation” or “inspired imagination” label is that it discounts the actual gold plates!

If I’m Moroni, I would be pissed I had to haul the plates around and find a place to bury them.

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Re: Need help with quotes abut BoM historicity

Post by wtfluff » Tue Apr 12, 2022 1:40 pm

Red Ryder wrote:
Tue Apr 12, 2022 1:17 pm
My problem with the “Inspired translation” or “inspired imagination” label is that it discounts the actual gold plates!
It discounts the "Witnesses" also.

Believer: "But what about the witnesses?!?!?!"

Fluffy Apostate: "Witnesses? They were witnesses of source material that was never used to produce the BoM. Their 'testimony' is irrelevant."
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nibbler
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Re: Need help with quotes abut BoM historicity

Post by nibbler » Tue Apr 12, 2022 1:43 pm

It's interesting that the Community of Christ has been much more open about this subject. A few quotes I found:

2001:
President W. Grant McMurray wrote:The proper use of the Book of Mormon as sacred scripture has been under wide discussion in the 1970s and beyond, in part because of long-standing questions about its historicity and in part because of perceived theological inadequacies, including matters of race and ethnicity.
2007:
President Stephen M. Veazey wrote:While the Church affirms the Book of Mormon as scripture, and makes it available for study and use in various languages, we do not attempt to mandate the degree of belief or use.
Much more direct language. At least I couldn't imagine the president of the Brighamite church saying something similar any time soon. The Brighamite church is probably much more concerned with maintaining their appearance of authority and right now a good percentage of that perception is tied up in literal interpretations.
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blazerb
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Re: Need help with quotes abut BoM historicity

Post by blazerb » Tue Apr 12, 2022 3:36 pm

wtfluff wrote:
Tue Apr 12, 2022 1:40 pm
Red Ryder wrote:
Tue Apr 12, 2022 1:17 pm
My problem with the “Inspired translation” or “inspired imagination” label is that it discounts the actual gold plates!
It discounts the "Witnesses" also.

Believer: "But what about the witnesses?!?!?!"

Fluffy Apostate: "Witnesses? They were witnesses of source material that was never used to produce the BoM. Their 'testimony' is irrelevant."
The church doesn't care about witnesses or plates or anything. Look at how BoA apologists happily discard everything JS said about translating the papyri. I believe that we will see the church retreat from its claims at the rate that the leadership believes will maximize tithe payments. If they go too fast, the stalwarts will be shaken. If they go too slow, you lose too many of the young believers. They want to change in a way that maximizes the important outcome.

I believe that the Givens and other "pastoral" apologists mostly help the church by giving some test runs for various positions as the traditional narrative falls apart. I am not saying that is a conscious strategy, but it appears to me to be the way things are working out.

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Re: Need help with quotes abut BoM historicity

Post by Linked » Tue Apr 12, 2022 3:52 pm

At a FARMS dinner in 1993 Oaks gave this talk on the historicity of the BOM.

He starts by firmly stating that the historicity of the BOM is fundamental. Then takes a left turn and says that the BOM events were really quite small and unlikely to be proved by evidence, and impossible to disprove. I don't think the church has really moved from this position since.

"Definitely historical, but we don't have to provide evidence and you are stupid to claim that it's not historical just because there is no evidence."
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moksha
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Re: Need help with quotes abut BoM historicity

Post by moksha » Wed Apr 13, 2022 1:58 am

"Evidence Schmevidence! We've always said that the Book of Mormon was purely allegorical."
-- President Bednar, General Conference, 2044
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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Hagoth
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Re: Need help with quotes abut BoM historicity

Post by Hagoth » Wed Apr 13, 2022 6:55 pm

Linked wrote:
Tue Apr 12, 2022 3:52 pm
At a FARMS dinner in 1993 Oaks gave this talk on the historicity of the BOM.

He starts by firmly stating that the historicity of the BOM is fundamental. Then takes a left turn and says that the BOM events were really quite small and unlikely to be proved by evidence, and impossible to disprove. I don't think the church has really moved from this position since.

"Definitely historical, but we don't have to provide evidence and you are stupid to claim that it's not historical just because there is no evidence."
As with DNA, historical BoM events are the only things in the history of the world that the church seems absolutely confident will never yield any evidence. Hmm. Sounds like willful self-deception to me. The Nephites-of-the-gaps are being swallowed up into rapidly shrinking gaps. For Oaks to say the BoM events were "really quite small" is a massive denial of what the book itself says. If anything, the Book of Mormon tells a story of epic proportions.

The BoM is the keystone to our religion but members sit back passively and allow their their leaders and apologists to mess with it as much as they want when they don't like what it actually says. Oaks is a lawyer through and through.

The attitude to restoration scripture is becoming more and more like the warnings against expecting our leaders to be perfect. On the whole, they are 100% right, but point out any specific inconvenient detail and it is expendable. They don't know that we know that the whole is made up of the parts.
“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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2bizE
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Re: Need help with quotes abut BoM historicity

Post by 2bizE » Wed Apr 13, 2022 8:46 pm

Nelson also gave a talk to new MPs before he became president.

“There are some things the Book of Mormon is not,” President Nelson said. “It is not a textbook of history, although some history is found within its pages. It is not a definitive work on ancient American agriculture or politics. It is not a record of all former inhabitants of the Western Hemisphere, but only of particular groups of people.”


https://www.thechurchnews.com/archives/ ... ents-25524
Last edited by 2bizE on Thu Apr 14, 2022 3:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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blazerb
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Re: Need help with quotes abut BoM historicity

Post by blazerb » Thu Apr 14, 2022 9:15 am

Hagoth wrote:
Wed Apr 13, 2022 6:55 pm
They don't know that we know that the whole is made up of the parts.
To be fair to them, as a TBM I willfully ignored that the whole is made up of the parts. I was happy to ignore ignore the problems with a weird mental severance clause that allowed me to jettison whatever did not coincide with reality and hang on to the rest. I suspect that most active members will be happy to do the same and enforce social costs on those who do not.

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Hagoth
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Re: Need help with quotes abut BoM historicity

Post by Hagoth » Thu Apr 14, 2022 12:00 pm

2bizE wrote:
Wed Apr 13, 2022 8:46 pm
“There are some things the Book of Mormon is not,” President Nelson said. “It is not a textbook of history, although some history is found within its pages. It is not a definitive work on ancient American agriculture or politics. It is not a record of all former inhabitants of the Western Hemisphere, but only of particular groups of people.”
That's some fine smoke and mirrors there. The Book of Mormon is SO true it doesn't even need to stoop to reflecting reality.
“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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