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April 27, 2021 9:37 pm
Mormonism 101 is a research ministries Bill McKeever and Eric Johnson for so many more to understand what separates Mormonism from the Christian faith. Mormonism 101 is what your favorite Christian bookstore email@example.com .1 examines the teachings of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints from a biblical perspective view .1 Mormonism sponsored by Mormonism research ministry since 1979 Mormonism research ministry has been dedicated to equipping the body of Christ with answers regarding the Christian faith in a manner that expresses gentleness and respect. And now, your host for today's viewpoint on Mormonism welcomed this additional viewpoint on Mormonism on your host, Bill McKeever, founder and director Mormonism research ministry and with me today is Eric Johnson. My colleague at MRM we continue looking at chapter 4 in the book the LDS gospel topics series a scholarly engagement.
The chapter is titled the book of Mormon translation essay in historical context written by John Charles Duffy. We been going through this book examining the chapters within it that critique the gospel topics essays that were produced by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and posted incrementally between 2013 and 2015 one of them had to do with how the book of Mormon was translated and that's the chapter that we been looking at this week were going to get into a paragraph now Eric on page 99 where I think John Charles Duffy really shows his genius because he notices something in this essay that I don't think a lot of other people would have noticed unless they knew of the controversy among LDS scholars as to how the book of Mormon really came forth. He's going to describe what he thinks. This essay is supporting as supposed to what a lot of the scholars he feels now support and in doing so is going to show a huge controversy and like I said I don't think most members of the LDS church even know about the struggles that their scholars have when it comes to various aspects of their own history so much of this probably wouldn't of been of any concern to them. But the fact that Duffy brings this out.
I would hope that would get a Mormon who ventures to read this chapter to sit back and go.
Never thought of that before, but what is he say on page 99 for forthrightly addressing problematic historical information that might instead have been swept under the rug. The gospel topics essay may seem progressive in a larger picture.
However, the essay is significant not because it is progressive, but because it is markedly conservative, even by LDS standards. Although it is certainly unsurprising that the gospel topics essay reaffirms the LDS church's long-standing position that the book of Mormon was miraculously translated from golden plates. It was not inevitable that the gospel topics essay would assert the particular scenario. It did for how the book of Mormon was translated, namely that Smith bread the English translation from the interpretive instruments. Let me stop either because in yesterday show. We cited Russell M.
Nelson, the 17th president of the LDS church in an article titled a treasured Testament. This was published in & July 1993 where he quotes David Witmer's account that Witmer included in his booklet and addressed to all believers in Christ that was published in 1887 by Nelson citing Witmer and Nelson. At that time. Being an apostle in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints certainly gives credence to what Witmer said you can't just blow it off if you have an apostle. Citing this in the unsigned magazine that becomes pretty important to most members of the LDS church and what it shows is that if Witmer's account of reading characters off of the seer stone to ascribe and then the scribe reading what was said to him, back to Joseph Smith in the set of characters on the stone not going to the next set of characters unless it was read back correctly tends to show that Smith was in fact reading the English translation as Duffy says from the interpretive instruments that I think is why David Witmer felt that this was translated by the gift and power of God and not by any power of man by Smith merely reading the translation off the stone.
He's not involved in it. He's merely reading what he sees. Duffy notices this.
But not only did Duffy notice that, but another LDS Gen. Authority BH Roberts noticed that and this is where we start to see that controversy among the scholars in the church when it comes to how the book of Mormon was translated but let's go on in that paragraph on page 99. By the time the gospel topics essay was written LDS intellectuals who still believe that the book of Mormon was an ancient record had developed at least three different scenarios for how the English text might have been produced.
Many members of the LDS church you think knows that a very few. I doubt if very many at all know that the scholars had come to three different conclusions as to how the book of Mormon was translated and I have to be honest go.
I mean, I I'm in this ministry and I did not really know all that Duffy has put in here so it is a very good essay. It's a little hard to read. If you can't follow it. But what were you doing here I think is helping us to understand that not everybody agrees within the scholarship or even within as we just pointed out the general authorities themselves in your pointing to what we read yesterday regarding Joseph Fielding Smith president. He didn't feel that the seer stone was used at all in the translation will Russell M. Nelson didn't have a problem with that because he actually vindicated what David Witmer said in his booklet and addressed all believers in Christ and these are things that maybe some on the outside may not know for instance that the book of Mormon Lance are they here and in the North American region are they down to Central America. There's a huge controversy over that as well but it doesn't get talked about, especially at Gen. conference are not going to bring up these kinds of issues, but Duffy goes on and says the gospel topics essay adopts the most conservative of these scenarios quote unquote conservative both in the sense that the scenario corresponds to how Smith's earliest followers understood the book of Mormon's production and in terms of the authority that the scenario attributes to the English text produced by Smith through the gospel topics essay Psalm, especially conservative and anonymous LDS intellectuals have marshaled the authority of an official church publication to promote a very strong conception of the book of Mormon's authority akin to the way Protestant evangelicals view the Bible as inerrant in promoting this view, the gospel topics essay sidelines more liberal alternatives that had been championed earlier in the 20th century, and at times and other official church publications. Let's recap that because again I don't know if a lot of people realize what this essay did and I think Duffy is absolutely correct when you read the essay, it does seem to support the idea that Joseph Smith read the translation and so he's not really a part of it. What Duffy is bringing out folks is that scholars are starting to have other opinions about this so they had to come up with some other theories they had to come up with ways of protecting the integrity of the book of Mormon, while at the same time addressing what they saw were problems in the book of Mormon now would most latter-day St. members even think that there's problems in the book of Mormon, because they been told it was translated by the gift and power of God and they take that statement and they run with it because it's been repeated so many times, but Duffy calls this a theological coup. What is he say about that. This theological coup may be more easily recognized as such when the gospel topics essay is placed in a longer intellectual history. The story begins in the first decade of the 20th century when LDS church Authority BH Roberts introduced what I call a composed translation scenario as rival to a traditional red translation scenario over the course of the 20th century, the composed translation scenario was advocated in church publications and enjoyed widespread support among LDS intellectuals, even intellectuals who could be classed as theologically conservative given their belief in the book of Mormon's antiquity the intellectual landscape shifted dramatically. However, in the 1980s and 90s, when a wave of challenges to book of Mormon historicity within the LDS intellectual community prompted both the conservative backlash and the appearance of a new more liberal translation theory. The expansion scenario as an attempt at a mediating position on the conservative side some LDS scholars associated with farms revised a red translation scenario which they maintained was superior not only to the new fiercely contested expansion scenario but also to the by then time honored composed translation scenario their position one out in the gospel topics essay, Duffy realizes and I think is correct. From where he's coming from.
He you he is correct that this really was a theological coup for those who held more to this understanding that Smith merely read the translation off of the seer stone or read it through the spectacles. The urine problem whatever instrument you want to use in this case that had to upset a lot of their scholars because as I mentioned, a lot of their scholars. BH Roberts being one of them saw problems in the book of Mormon serious enough that he couldn't go along with this kind of a theory, and so he comes up with some other alternative. So we have what's called composed translation scenario and the expansion scenario, but we also have one more scenario that were going to be talking about more in tomorrow's show, but I think it needs to be said again on the conservative side some LDS scholars associated with farms. That's the foundation for ancient research and Mormon studies now known as the Neil Maxwell Institute revived this red translation scenario which they maintained was interior not only to the few fiercely contested expansion scenario but also to the by then time honored composed translation scenario and this statement is telling their position. One out in the gospel topics essay the what is that mean for us.
It means that with the book of Mormon says is supposed to be what it actually said on plates. If Smith was reading it off the stone or through the urine foam on the spectacles buried with the plates then I would say David Witmer was absolutely correct.
It's all the power of God and not by any power of man bill you had mentioned yesterday about how the names of those who wrote the essays were not used. I think that was probably pretty smart of the LDS church because once you put somebody's name to it and you know their position you're going to have a lot of angry people maybe aiming their ire at that person, but also at the church and I'm sure there are enough scholars who are ready upset with the way that they laid out the way that the book of Mormon was translated it would cause probably more of a controversy by naming these people. In other words you're saying that by naming the people behind these essays, they start to cause a division in the camp. It's kinda like when it comes to where were the book of Mormon lands that you mentioned earlier is that in North America the heartland model residence Central America limited geography theory, but whoever the people were the LDS church has said this is the way were going to go and I think that's what becomes important when were challenging our LDS friends on the subject. Thank you for listening. If you would like more information we guarding this research ministry.
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