No Ma’am That’s Not History by Hugh Nibley – part 2

No Ma’am That’s Not History by Hugh Nibley – part 2

part 1

Part 2

EVOLUTION AT ANY PRICE [or distorting Brodie to save the faithful]

Of all Mrs. Brodie’s preconceived ideas the most fundamental is her certainty that Joseph Smith did not receive revelations. That sudden and dazzling enlightenment which is the essence of religious experience of the highest sort is unthinkable in his case. [Revelation is the essence of religious experience of the highest sort? What does this say about religious experience when there is a multitude of contradictory “revelation” that religions cling to? Would Nibley consider the revelations received by the leader of some group like Heaven’s Gate to be the ‘essence of religious experience of the highest sort’?] All his own statements on the subject are to be discarded out of hand. To Brodie “there are few men who have written so much and told so little about themselves.” Which is simply to say that though Joseph Smith tells a great deal about himself Brodie does not choose to believe it. [Nibley has missed the point. When Brodie says that he has written so much and told so little about himself, she is referring to his personal history–not his “revelations”. He didn’t leave much of a record of his life, the in-and-outs of how church doctrine was formulated, and his daily doings. He left his diaries but they consist more of his already formulated theology (rather than the process and sources that led to them) and mundane frequently repeated activities than descriptions of his unusual daily activities and the means by which his revelations and scriptures were received. For instance, when his brother Hyrum asked him to relate how the Book of Mormon came about, the “History of the Church” states, “it was not intended to tell the world all the particulars of the coming forth of the book of Mormon, & also said that it was not expedient for him to relate these things”. 1:219n]

Instead she will cling to the theory that all the prophet’s thought and action was the result of a slow and gradual evolution. This is an easy mechanical rule-of-thumb that may be employed to make any thesis sound very scientific. The first objection to it Brodie ignores entirely, namely, the well-known fact that great religious conviction is usually born of sudden insight. [What sudden insight does Nibley want Brodie to focus on? He was interested in religion from his earliest years. Perhaps he wants her to use the apologetic line of the First Vision being the ‘sudden insight’ even though Joseph didn’t tell that story to anyone for years. Even that story evolved over the years.] Other religious leaders may have their moments of inspiration, but in Joseph’s case everything is slow and gradual. [Does Nibley have evidence to the contrary? If so, why does he not include it here? Let’s see Joseph’s moments of inspiration that produce revelations that look nothing like his early 19th century environment.]

Barring this objection, how does Mrs. Brodie support her evolutionary theory?

To begin with, there was no “first vision.” True, such visions “were the common folklore of the area” (22) and Joseph was the most imaginative youth in the world, still he had no such vision-not even a false one! The proof is that the newspapers say nothing about it. [Brodie never says that the proof is that the newspapers say nothing about it. She compares the fact that Joseph Smith in his official version (published 18 years later) claims that he was persecuted for telling everyone about his first vision immediately after it happened when in fact the earliest account that anyone ever wrote down about it (even in passing) isn’t for over a decade after it supposedly occurred. This seems very strange given that Joseph Smith claims his telling of the story immediately afterward “excited a great deal of prejudice”. These same “prejudiced” people wrote much about his stories of finding gold plates and seeing an angel, but none of them ever mentioned the first vision.]

The argument of silence is always a suspicious one, yet how much more suspicious when we are told (14) that there are no detailed descriptions of the revivals in Palmyra and Manchester when they were at their wildest? [Much research has been done on this issue since Brodie and Nibley wrote what they did. The evidence has lined itself up into Brodie’s corner. Perhaps the best source for all of the original documentation on the subject can be found in Early Mormon Documents. The church has even published apologetics on the issue in the “Ensign” basically claiming that even if there wasn’t a revival in 1820, Joseph Smith still wasn’t lying since there were revivals a few years before and after 1820.] If the press ignores the revivals at their wildest why should it not ignore a mere episode of the movement? Joseph Smith specifically says it was the ministers who united to persecute him–it was persecution from the pulpit (not as Brodie insinuates, a sort of militant mob movement). [Brodie doesn’t insinuate this on p. 14 or any of the pages around it. I’m not sure what Nibley is referring to, however, Joseph Smith’s history and his mother’s both indicate that the persecution went further than the pulpit. His mother tells a fantastic story about him running through the woods, with injuries, and while carrying the gold plates, in order to escape a militant mob.] But, says Brodie, these same newspapers ‘”in later years gave him plenty of unpleasant publicity.” In later years he was an important public figure with a large following–their silence at this time merely proves his own statement that he was “an obscure boy” and anything but news. [Nibley needs to refresh his memory of what the official first vision account really says. Joseph Smith says he was “an obscure boy” before the first vision and that afterwards “men of high standing would take notice sufficient to excite the public mind against me, and create a bitter persecution; and this was common among all the sects–all united to persecute me” and that they thought he was then “a character of sufficient importance to attract the attention of the great ones of the most popular sects of the day, and in a manner to create in them a spirit of the most bitter persecution and reviling”. So whose interpretations of Joseph Smith’s own words is more accurate–Nibley or Brodie?]

If Joseph Smith claimed to have had a vision in 1820 “the newspapers took no notice of such a claim either at the time it was supposed to have occurred or at any other time.” (23). Therefore we can only conclude that no such claim was made, either in 1820 “or at any other time.” The last clause nullifies the whole argument, for if the silence of the newspapers is proof of anything, then Joseph Smith never at any time claimed to have had the vision, which Brodie knows is false. [The inaccurate statement which Nibley has pointed out was changed in the second edition by dropping the erroneous “or at any other time”.]

However, she hastened to corroborate the silence of the press with the testimony of Master Dogberry: “It is well known that Joe Smith never pretended to have any communion with angels until a long period after the pretended finding of his book.” Even if Dogberry were a reliable witness (which he definitely is not) we can only ask, “well known” to whom? Why, indeed, to the thousands of people to whom the prophet never mentioned his visions. [If Nibley has evidence that Joseph Smith talked of the first vision or Moroni visitations before claiming to have the gold plates, then he should present it here. Since there is no such evidence, and there are many statements by his family and other close associates to support Brodie and Dogberry, Nibley shouldn’t bother with his ridiculous argument hereafter of people not associated with the time or place for the events.] A million people in London and Paris could have sworn affidavits that Joseph Smith never told them a thing about the angel; the entire city of Peking and large areas of the Central Sudan could honestly report that they had never been informed of Moroni’s visit. That Joseph Smith should not noisily divulge the great and sacred things he had been ordered to keep secret does not seem possible to Brodie. [Where does it say that he was ordered to keep them secret? If such unwritten orders were made then why did Joseph Smith in his own story say that he immediately started telling people? Nibley’s subterfuge continues to mount in his review.] If the first vision was so “soul shattering” how, she asks triumphantly, could it have “passed totally unnoticed in Joseph’s home town.” It never occurs to her that there are things, especially if they are of a transcendent and “soul-shattering” nature, which one does not run off to report to the press and the neighbors. Joseph reported his vision only to his family and to a minister he thought he could trust. It was the minister who caused the trouble. [His family and the minister never mentioned it either though. In their later histories, they got the events wrong. He may have only claimed to have related the account to a minister in v. 21, but in v. 22 he goes plural by saying, “the story had excited a great deal of prejudice against me among professors of religion, and was the cause of great persecution, which continued to increase”. Does their silence at the time really sound like he told them the events when he said he did? They reported later events. Why would they omit the early claims?]

What was the first vision, then? A remembered dream, says Brodie, “created sometime after 1834,” for “dream images came easy to this youth”–in 1834, that is, but not in 1820! [These dates were changed to 1832 in the second edition based on the 1832 account which was discovered in the 1960s. See “The New Mormon History” for BYU History Professor James B. Allen’s essay on the subject.]

As a final clincher to her argument of silence against the first vision, our author points out that in 1820 Joseph was not religious at all: “he reflected the irreligion and cynicism of his father,” he was merely a “likable ne’er do well,” (16) “immune to religious influence of any sort.’ (24). Later on, after the first vision has been thus debunked and forgotten, in order to prove something else, Brodie flatly refutes all these judgments as worthless: “It is clear that he was keenly alert to the theological differences dividing the sects and was genuinely interested in the controversies.” (26). Now it is his version she is accepting, and that in the teeth of all testimony to the contrary. If that much of his story turns out to be true against positive testimony, what about the rest of the story? There is no contemporary mention of Joseph’s religious propensities, and yet those propensities are real, Brodie decides; the same sources fail to mention his most intimate and hidden religious experience-therefore such an experience never occurred, Brodie decides! [This is yet another case of Nibley combining unrelated quotes, out of context, in order to put words into Brodie’s mouth. What he is trying to explain (or prove?) here is very unclear from the muddled dialogue.]

The next major issue is the Book of Mormon. “For a long time,” we are told (38), “Joseph was extremely reluctant to talk about the plates.” Extremely reluctant indeed; why didn’t he simply let the matter drop? Be’ cause “once the masquerade had begun, there was no point at which he could call halt.” (41) [The full quote reads, “Perhaps in the beginning Joseph never intended his stories of the golden plates to be taken so seriously, but once…” This is after Brodie discusses how his family completely believed his stories even after the plates weren’t discovered under the floor of the house where they were supposed to be hidden in a nailed shut chest. Joseph then told them that he had taken them out the night before and hid them elsewhere–nailing the chest shut. In context, the quote Nibley distorts makes far more sense.] Why not? Everyone would have been glad to forget the business. If his own family believed implicitly in the plates they never saw, they certainly would believe in any explanation he might give for their disappearance: they willingly accepted his story later that the angel had taken the plates back. And was Joseph of the super-resourceful imagination, devious, cunning, agile and “utterly opportunistic” in the matter of the Book of Mormon, the one to be at a loss for explanations? Why did he hang on to the plates that no one could see, that only made trouble, that he hated to talk about? Surely he of all persons could think of a better game than that. And at the time, remember, he had absolutely no conception of the Book of Mormon-to-be, according to Brodie. [Brodie supposedly says that he had no conception at the time, according to Nibley, but that is not what she really says. In the same paragraph Nibley is referring to she discusses how Martin Harris is spreading the story and is going to finance the publication of the translation. She also states that Joseph Smith is “fully determined” to write a successful book at the time. How can Nibley think that Brodie says he has “absolutely no conception of the Book of Mormon” when she clearly states in the same paragraph that he is fully determined to translate it? If Nibley is referring to Book of Mormon content then shouldn’t it also be Nibley’s view that Joseph Smith had no conception of the contents? After all–he hadn’t begun ‘translating’.]

other apologists frequently flaunt as ‘proof’ of the Book of Mormon’s authenticity. I heard Nibley claim on another occasion that it took only 60 days to write the entire Book of Mormon. The methodology used in computing the time is seriously flawed. The lost 116 pages according to the text of the Book of Mormon itself is essentially duplicated in the subsequent version which we now have as first and second Nephi. That takes up a significant amount of the 275,000 words. The first 116 pages took months to create alone. During the interim period, after the manuscript was lost, of about a year (which Nibley and others don’t include in the calculation) Joseph wasn’t doing much of anything. He didn’t have a job. He could have easily been coming up with text for the book. Joseph Smith’s mother stated that Joseph was telling stories about the Indians from the time he was young. The plot and narrative could have been worked on for two or three years or more. Nibley’s assertion that it was done in only two or three months is pure speculation at best. Considering that the content of the Book of Mormon is largely borrowed and adapted from the KJV of the Bible, the time involved to ‘translate’ need not be significant anyway.] This feat simply proves to Brodie that Joseph Smith’s stupidity has been deliberately exaggerated: he was really rather smart. [Here we find Nibley putting words in Brodie’s mouth to ‘poison the well’ for those who come into the reading of Nibley’s words as near-worshippers of Joseph Smith. Brodie doesn’t call Joseph Smith ‘stupid’. It is apparent that Nibley’s intended audience are those who haven’t bothered to read Brodie to begin with.] Only she resolutely refuses to face the problem she has raised:

Here was a man of twenty-two giving free rein to a “completely undisciplined imagination,” an imagination that “ran over like a spring freshet” in a riot of “intense color and luxuriant detail,” a wild, unbridled fancy that was “not to be canalized by any discipline”; [Without references, it’s impossible to see where Nibley is pulling all of these descriptions from. How distorted he makes them and how out of context he has pulled them is also not possible to tell. Based on the other out-of-context and distorted quotes we have seen him use, how much trust can be placed in Nibley’s methodology in this instance?] the man sits behind a curtain and dictates to a semi-literate peasant [Note that Brodie doesn’t call Cowdery a “semi-literate peasant”–Nibley does. Brodie refers to Oliver as a gentle schoolteacher.] on the other side (“none of Joseph’s secretaries knew the rudiments of punctuation”). [What is Nibley’s point in quoting the secretaries’ punctuation problems? It is no secret that thousands of changes had to be made to subsequent editions to correct poor punctuation, grammar, and spelling.] He simply dictates: he takes no notes and holds no conferences, for he must impress his secretaries and not appeal to them for aid–once a sentence is spoken “revision was therefore unthinkable” says Brodie. What a hilarious document this will turn out to be! What an impossible tangle of oriental vagaries, what threads and tatters of half-baked narrative losing themselves in contradictory masses what an exuberance of undisciplined fancies flying off at wild tangents! What a wealth of irrelevant sermonizing at unexpected moments (as in the Koran), what a collection of bizarre conceits and whopping contradictions it must be! Surely all one needs to do is to cite a page of the stuff–any page–to expose the whole business; a few obviously faked passages will do the trick far more simply and effectively than the laborious chapters Mrs. Brodie devotes to it. Why the laborious chapters? Because the inevitable flaws of a book produced in the manner Brodie describes strangely fail to appear! [Who is Mr. Nibley kidding? The Book of Mormon is packed with flaws and false history.] Instead of an opium dream, we find an exceedingly sober document, that never flies off at tangents, never loses the thread of the narrative (which is often quite complicated), is totally lacking in oriental color, in which the sermons are confined to special sections, and which, strangest of all, never runs into contradictions. Joseph might get away with his “outrageous lying” (27) [In context, Brodie doesn’t say that Joseph Smith was “outrageously lying” as Nibley implies. She states, “What was really an extraordinary capacity. . . was looked upon by the more pious townspeople as outrageous lying”. Is anyone else beginning to think that Nibley is a firm believer in the ‘lying for the Lord‘ doctrine?] in little matters, but what outrageous liar can carry the game to the length of the Old Testament without giving himself away hundreds of times? Brodie doesn’t say. [Actually, she does–Nibley just fails to list them here. She spends a great deal of the book showing where Joseph gave himself away beginning on page 58. Subsequent to her writing this book, entire books have been written discussing the text which gives himself away. Nibley also forgets when he says that “Brodie doesn’t say” that he previously said that the Book of Mormon problems had “laborious chapters Mrs. Brodie devote[d] to it”.]

Early in her hook the lady prepares us for the Book of Mormon by making much of Joseph’s gaudy imagination, and especially of his skill in holding everybody spellbound for hours by his exotic and colorful tales. Why then is the Book of Mormon, his best effort, simply “chloroform in print,” lacking all the qualities for which the author was remarkable? [Perhaps ‘the man’ failed to read page 69, which completely contradicts Nibley’s assessment of Brodie’s analysis, in which Brodie says, “[the Book of Mormon] reveals in him what both orthodox Mormon histories and unfriendly testimony deny him: a measure of learning and a fecund imagination. The Mormon Church has exaggerated the ignorance of its prophet, since the more meager his learning, the more divine must be his book. Non-Mormons…have been content to pin a label upon the youth and have ignored his greatest creative achievement because they found it dull. It’s structure shows elaborate design, its narrative is spun coherently, and it demonstrates throughout a unity of purpose. Its matter is drawn directly from the American frontier, from the impassioned revivalist sermons, the popular fallacies about Indian origin, and the current political crusades.” Brodie doesn’t call the book “chloroform in print” as Nibley deceptively alludes. She correctly states that some Non-Mormons, like Mark Twain, did.] Why does the language, with its strained and remarkably Semitic structure in no way resemble his own vigorous and extravagant prose? [The Semitic structure can be attributed to nothing more than his familiarity to the KJV of the Bible. Portions of the Book of Mormon do reflect his extravagant prose as Brodie, and later Roberts, point out.]

To prove that the Book of Mormon was the product of gradual evolution Mrs. Brodie maintains with great insistence that until the first one hundred and sixteen pages were finished it was not a religious book at all but “merely an ingenious speculation,” (55) [In context, this reads, “what might have been merely…”. Given the fact that the subsequent version of the Book of Mormon has Nephi saying that the lost pages were a history and he is writing a religious book allows Brodie’s speculation that it might have originally been intended as something other than a religious history to be justified.] a mere “moneymaking history of the Indians” (83); as to the plates themselves “no divine interpretation was dreamed of” (38). [This isn’t a quote of Brodie as Nibley suggests. This is a quote from the Palmyra newspaper.] Yet all along these plates had been too holy to be seen, nay, according to Brodie, Joseph maintained that the very sight of them would strike one dead! And it never occurred to him for a moment that such a singularly holy document might have even the slightest religious significance! [Again, we find Nibley grabbing quotes from random places in the book, out of context, and then interpreting for us Brodie’s conclusions in a way that say something different from what she really says.]

To demonstrate how the book evolved, Brodie observes that it improves in style and story as it goes along. That is her version: to others the first part of the book is by far the most interesting. [How many Mormons does Nibley think would vote for the seemingly endless repetition of the KJV of Isaiah which is found in the first part of the book as “by far the most interesting”?] Anyway, as he was finishing it up, the prophet, being worried about the scientific aspects of what he had produced, decided, according to Mrs. Brodie, to add another book to it. In this book, designed specifically to correct the unscientific tone of the rest, he was far more careless than ever before, mentioning all sorts of domestic beasts “when it was known even in his own day (and very well to a man of his sly researches) that Columbus had found the land devoid of these species.” [Here is more of Mr. Nibley putting words into her mouth. She doesn’t say that he adds a book to correct the unscientific tone of the rest. She claims just the opposite when she states that “he was careless in his choice of domestic beasts” and he had “the Nephites produce wheat and barley rather than the indigenous maize and potatoes“. She never postulates, as Nibley does in the portion he added in parenthesis to her quote, to him knowing “very well” that there were scientific errors in the book or being “a man of…sly researches”.]

In criticizing the Book of Mormon or any of the other writings of Joseph Smith it is necessary first of all to find out what these writings say. The theories and doctrines which Mrs. Brodie exposes are not found in these books, but are picked up from various people’s ideas about them. The Book of Mormon has suffered particularly from a glib jumping at conclusions by its attackers. The book describes the doings of “a lonesome and solemn people” who do not claim for a moment to be the sole inhabitants of the hemisphere. When Brodie talks of Mound-builders and Mongolians she is not talking about the Book of Mormon at all; she is setting up a straw-man for her “science” to “disembowel.” [Again, just the opposite is true. Nibley sets Brodie up as the straw-man by not referencing or elaborating on his claims that he thinks Brodie is making. I don’t see how someone can honestly read Brodie and come away with the opinion that she exposes things that are not found in the Joseph Smith’s writings. She is very specific with regard to which portions of the Book of Mormon she examines. For instance, on page 65, as she discusses the how the Gadiantons appear to be pre-Columbian freemasons she states, “Before burying the golden plates, Moroni engraved a solemn warning to the gentiles of 1830: ‘…whatsoever nation shall uphold such secret combinations…'”. I don’t understand how Nibley can honestly say that she exposes things not found in these books, when she is quoting directly from them.]

Having finished the Book of Mormon Joseph Smith was “rapidly acquiring the language and even the accent of sincere faith”. He had no sincere faith, you understand; what he had been through in the past had been merely drill to improve his “accent.” (80). [Here is Brodie in context: “The miracles and visions among his followers apparently served only to heighten his growing consciousness of supernatural power…he was rapidly…” This does not say that “he had no sincere faith” as Nibley claims. He already had faith in the supernatural. Brodie merely asserts that it was continuing to grow. Why must Nibley distort the text?]

Next “he slipped into” the role of prophet “with ease, without the inner turmoil that preceded the spiritual fervor of so many great religious figures of the past.” (84) [Brodie isn’t referring merely to his “role of prophet”. She is referring to the numerous titles that he gives himself. Here is the full text: “A fortnight after the publication of the Book of Mormon Joseph Smith announced to his following his official title as ‘Seer, a Translator, a Prophet, an Apostle of Jesus Christ, and Elder of the Church through the will of God the Father, and the grace of your Lord Jesus Christ.’ It is not easy to trace the steps by which Joseph assumed this role. Apparently he slipped…”.] The fact that Joseph is the only prophet, true or false, who never once gave evidence of doubting his calling, closely engaged the attention of the great Eduard Meyer, to whom the explanation is obvious: the prophet had a vision–a real vision–right at the outset of his career. [Nibley here ignores the fact that no one had yet heard about the First Vision–nor would they for several years. Hence Brodie said, “It is not easy to trace the steps by which Joseph assumed this role” and “since the history of this period is based on documents written many years later”.] If we do not accept that interpretation, we must follow Mrs. Brodie’s psychological gymnastics. [Actually, it is the historical record she was dealing with–not psychological gymnastics.] Joseph Smith was a deceiver, she decides, and “the casual reader will be shocked by his deceptions . . . in the field of religion, where honesty and integrity presumably count for something.” (84) [Brodie is referring to the rewritten history. Does Nibley not think that changing a certain ‘revelation’ later in time to give the church a divine origin deceptive? What about rewriting history to bolster the faithful?] He had no honesty or integrity; instead he had a “highly compensated” but “very real” sincerity, however he had no real faith. [Brodie never says that he had ‘no honesty or integrity’–nor does she ever say that he never had any ‘real faith’. Nibley’s strawman continues to grow.] And so now you know. “What Joseph created,” our authority tells us (100) “was essentially an evangelical socialism which made up in moral strength what it lacked in grandeur.” So, you see, the completely undisciplined imagination, devoid of honesty and integrity and lacking, moreover “the diligence and the constancy to master reality” produces an organization noted for its lasting stability and characterized by great moral strength! What kind of reasoning is that? If there is anything which should mark a brainchild of Brodie’s “Joseph,” that would be a tendency to grandeur and a lack of moral strength: just the opposite is found to be the case. [Perhaps Nibley just forgot on this one occasion to use the quote in context that he then extrapolates? Who knows? All I know is that a definite pattern is being formed here. When Brodie says that “it lacked in grandeur” she is comparing it to the “elaborate clerical dress and ritual, and ostentatious display” of worship of the day which she had just described in the previous sentence. When she says “moral strength” she is not referring to morality as Nibley asserts. She is referring to numbers and the Mormon clergy she describes in the previous paragraph which is “entirely composed of laymen…practically all the laymen in his church”.

Next in the process of Joseph’s evolution an amazing thing happens. He performs a miraculous healing. “Joseph must have been overwhelmed by this miracle,” says our shrewd informant, “for he had no idea how common were such occurrences.” (86). No idea! And that after Brodie has been at pains to tell us (14) how he had grown up in a world of “faith healers and circuit-rider evangelists” and camp-meeting miracles. Miracles of this sort had been his everyday fare from infancy and yet in 1830 he has no idea that faith cures are common occurrences. His performance is not half as overwhelming as Brodie’s discovery. [Nibley may have a point here. It is however difficult to tell from a careful reading of the entire text, in context, whether Brodie is saying that he had “no idea” how common faith healings were or if he had “no idea” how common exorcisms were (since it was an exorcism rather than a faith healing as Nibley suggests). Given the fact that Brodie didn’t drop the “no idea” phrase from the second edition, she probably meant the latter.]

Shortly after this Joseph founds the church and “with an insight rare among the prophets of his own generation, he did not make a complete break with the past. He continued the story, he did not present a new cosmology.” (91). [Nibley leaves out (presumably so he can manipulate the quote to fit the rest of his theory in this paragraph) that she is referring to New Testament titles such as “apostle, elder, priest, deacon, teacher, and patriarch”.] In her summing up, however, our author takes the prophet severely to task for this “insight” and speaks bitter words: “Within the dogma of the Church there is no new Sermon on the Mount (why should there be? The old one is good enough.) no new saga of redemption . . .” [Nibley didn’t leave a reference here so it is hard to check up on him, but I imagine Brodie is probably referring to the Book of Mormon and how Joseph Smith borrowed liberally from the New Testament in the Book of Mormon’s creation–even though it should have no New Testament influence given the time and place it was supposed to have been written.] Joseph Smith, according to her, should have brought a new saga of redemption; she is actually disgusted with the man because he makes no attempt, absolutely none, to displace Jesus Christ! [I’m going to have to agree with Brodie here. This, to me, is the biggest problem of Mormonism. The redemption of Jesus makes absolutely no logical sense. Why stick with it when you are creating a new religious tradition?] She is equally disgusted when at this time he speaks through revelation, depending on God rather than “standing squarely on his own feet.” (92). This to her can only mean that he is “still troubled by a sense of inadequacy.” [Neither of these quotes are on page 92. It’s impossible to comment on them without checking the context. “Standing squarely on his own feet” may have been a reference to the fact that he originally could only get revelations through the stone (or in Oliver’s case–the rod).]

This sort of forced and predetermined reasoning makes one wonder, [just as we are all wondering about your forced and predetermined reasoning Hugh 😉 ] but no more so than her observations on the coined word “telestial” and the idea of a third degree of glory which is as that of the stars. It is almost unbelievable that anyone presuming to write on religion should not be perfectly familiar with this very well-established and ancient doctrine–it is regular old stock-in-trade in ancient times, though the sources were not accessible to Joseph Smith. [It’s a shame that Nibley didn’t bother to show us the stock-in-trade usage of ‘telestial’. Brodie says nothing about it not being a ‘very well-established and ancient doctrine’ so why is Nibley having a fit over it?] They are accessible to Brodie, if she is competent to judge of religious matters, and true or false, the doctrine is anything but the fantastic aberration she makes it out to be. (118). [You’d think after reading Nibley that Brodie gives a lengthy discourse on the topic containing much “fantastic aberration”. Brodie’s entire commentary on the subject is just one sentence as follows: “Then he coined the word ‘telestial’ for a third kingdom, whose glory was that of the stars, to be peopled with those who had refused the law of God.” Who is guilty of a ‘fantastic aberration’–Brodie and her one sentence on the subject or Nibley’s exagerated paragraph on the same?]

part 3 (not done due to loss of interest and potential copyright problems)

Book of Abraham
Book of Mormon
Church History
Joseph Smith
Following Mormons
Thinking Mormons
In The Media
What’s New
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