Skip to comments.Defending the Faith: Top Book of Mormon expert Royal Skousen to lecture
Posted on 02/24/2013 3:13:06 PM PST by Colofornian
Readers along Utahs Wasatch Front will have a rare opportunity to hear from the foremost expert on the history of the text of the Book of Mormon between late February and the middle of March.
In a series titled 25 Years of Research: What We Have Learned about the Book of Mormon Text, professor Royal Skousen will discuss The Original and Printers Manuscripts (Tuesday, Feb. 26), The Printed Editions (Tuesday, March 5) and The Nature of the Original Text (Tuesday, March 12).
A professor of linguistics and English language at BYU, Skousen is the founder of the analogical modeling approach to linguistics and the author of several technical books on that subject...
Among Latter-day Saints, though, hes best known for having devoted a quarter of a century to meticulous study of the creation of the English text of the Book of Mormon and its transmission thereafter.
There is, quite simply, no person on the planet who knows more about this subject than Royal Skousen, and there never has been. Hes published the results of his research in numerous articles and several large volumes, as well as in his Yale University Press edition of The Book of Mormon: The Earliest Text, which appeared in 2009.
And his findings are fascinating.
Glitches that have crept into the text...
Intriguingly, too, Skousen (a specialist, be it remembered, in linguistics and the English language) contends that the language of the Book of Mormon isnt Joseph Smiths early 19th-century dialect, but English of the 1500s and 1600s. Indeed, certain elements of Book of Mormon vocabulary may derive from a period prior to the King James Bible which is certainly something to ponder.
(Excerpt) Read more at deseretnews.com ...
...supposed "gold plates" from B.C. and early A.D. times...
..."translated" for people in the 19th century who don't speak KJV English other than in churches when reading the KJV Bible...
...winds up repeatedly citing KJV English of the early 17th century...
...even oft' screwing up King James grammar as it was oft' used in the 17th century!
Ya don't imagine that Joseph Smith was trying to convince readers that the book he was trying to hawk (he attempted to sell it in Canada) was somehow the equivalent of the King James Bible, do you???
* On the 1830 version of the BoM, on the title page, Smith answers this plainly: Joseph Smith, Jr. AUTHOR and PROPRIETOR
* Lds "scripture" -- Doctrine & Covenants 24:1 -- says Joseph Smith wrote the Book of Mormon (it doesn't say he "translated" them).
We know that the King James Version Bible became the plagiaristic source for Joseph Smith as he copied approximately 27,000 overall words airlifted, thee-for-thee and thou-for-thou, from the Bible into the Book of Mormon (even though 1830 America didn't use "thee" and "thou" in everyday language). Thats why Lds need to look at the 1830version of the BoM. Because with the 4,000+ clean-up changes that smoothes things over, you have much less of a mountaintop-to-valley experience in reading the current BoM than the 1830 version.
Outright plagiarism from the KJV at times got Smith into trouble by revealing his true source -- that it wasn't "gold plates," after all, that he was "translating."
Example #1: 2 Nephi 23 of the Book of Mormon is a word-for-word theft of Isaiah 13 [and please note...that the italicized words of Isaiah 13, KJ Version during Joseph Smith's day, were not in the original Hebrew from which the KJV was translated...So if they weren't in the Hebrew, how did Nephi get them? Did he reach into the future of 1611 in the UK, and superimpose them into golden plates between 559 and 545 BC?]
Example #2 Per http://www.undergroundnotes.com/Smithbook.pdf -- In the "Mosiah" chapter fourteen in the Book of Mormon, Isaiah chapter fifty-three is copied word for word, including the italicized words that the King James translators added for clarity! There are sixteen italicized words from the King James Bible in "Mosiah" fourteen. The list of italicized words
and (three times),
a portion (once).
How did these italicized words from a 1611 translation get into a document that was supposedly written before the time of Christ? The answer is obvious: Smith copied them when plagiarizing the King James translation of the prophet Isaiah.
Example #3: Finally, compare 1 Nephi 22:20 in the Book of Mormon with Acts 3:22:
Acts 3:22, as cited by the Kings James Translators in 1611 using common 17th-century language of the era to translate something from over 1500 years prior:
For Moses truly said unto the fathers, A Prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever he shall say unto you (Acts 3:22)
Now compare that to 1 Nephi 22:20, as cited by Joseph Smith in 1830 using common 1611 language to "translate" something supposedly originally said 2400 years earlier and 600+ years PRIOR to Peter's quotation.
The issue is not the paraphrases of the first 7 words of Acts 3:22 or the first 19 words of 1 Nephi 22:20...It's what follows: Acts 3:22: "A Prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you...like unto me; him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever he shall say unto you"
...Compared & Contrasted to...
1 Nephi 22:20: "A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you, like unto me; him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever he shall say unto you"
Except for "unto your brethren" midway between the above two phrases in Acts 3:22, 'tis the exact SAME King James language "paraphrase," even though the NT was in Greek and the Book of Mormon supposedly wasn't -- and even though 19th century Americans were closer to 1950s American culture than 1611 speech wise!
Please note that when you "paraphrase" someone you do exactly that -- you paraphrase. You don't quote someone word for word for 27 exact King James English words within two phrases -- putting the exact same semi-colon at the exact same spot...and you certainly don't quote exactly somebody supposedly speaking over 600 years in the future of your statement in a historical colloquialism from 200 years behind you in its exact translation. (Please also check Deut. 18:15, 18 and you'll see that indeed BOTH Acts 3:22 and 1 Nephi 22:20 are EACH paraphrases of those verses).
Bottom line: The apostle Peter paraphrased Moses in his original language; and the Book of Mormon writer -- IF it was a historical doc -- could also paraphrase Moses in his own language within a separate venue. (No concern in and of itself). It's only when you compare the additional generations of paraphrasing and translating that it becomes quite obvious where Smith got his source for 1 Nephi 22:20.
Illustration: If a person's FR posts were to be published in the year 3800 in a publication -- and they used an exact version of that quotation as it appeared in a British cockney-slang or Scottish colloquial vocab-adapted publication as published in the year 3575 -- I don't think future FReepers would tell us with a straight face that the author of the year 3800 publication "translated" the original Freeper source from gold-plated Freeper documents written in the year 2013...with his face stuck in a hat.
One of my mormon uncles (who has been a bishop), has a PhD in geology.
He told me that there is zero physical evidence to support anything in the BoM, which is why they call it faith.
This article is very interesting (from a mormon publication).
Per UNDERSTANDING MORMON DISBELIEF: Why do some Mormons lose their testimony, and what happens to them when they do? -- it's the # 4 reason (almost 2/3rds)...(see page 8 of that study).
Per page 14 of that study, things like anachronisms in the Book of Mormon effect more Lds males than females.
Is this the same Skousen that wrote “Strategic Location?” It is a guide about the best places to go in event of a nuclear attack. The book say the inter-mountain west is. Utah, etc.
“may derive” ... what kind of expert is this gentleman?
And if I as an author was to...
...heavily borrow from the Bible even narratives -- and just "change out" the character involved -- do you think that would cause on "encore" call from the audience?
Note: An estimated 17,000+ words (26+ pages) of [KJV] ...material...either verbatim quotations of the KJV Bible, or advance revelations of what would be written later, all in 1611 King James wording found its way into the Book of Mormon.
Well, I guess that shows Joseph Smith knew how to "cut & paste" back in his day, too...
And one more thing: When I open up my Book of Mormon to 2 Nephi 24, yes, it says, for example "Compare Isaiah 14" -- but it doesn't say, "lifted word for word" from the King James version of Isaiah 14 e'en tho 2 Nephi supposedly comes from B.C. gold plates!
ALSO mostly in King James English (the actual words dictated by God himself!) and they are full of grammatical errors!
The English of 1611 had its grammatical rules, many of which were quite different from the grammatical rules of modern English. Although they were not always as strictly observed by the English of that time, there was not a lot of latitude. Many usages we now consider "correct English" were barely coming into use then, and were thus "incorrect." For example, "thou" "thee," "thy," and "thine" were used to refer only to the single (singular) person being addressed; "ye," "you," "your" and "yours" were used only when addressing more than one person, or a person to whom great respect was due. ("Ye" was the subject form, "you" the object form.) They were not interchangeable, any more than "I" and "we" are interchangeable in modern English. Nor were "ye" and "you" interchangeable, any more than "they" and "them."
"He has" is modern English. No Elizabethan would say that, but rather "he hath." ("Has" does not occur at all in the King James Bible, but 134 times in the Doctrine and Covenants, along with 100 occurrences of "hath.") The correct possessive for "it" in King James' time was not "its," as in modern English, but "his." (See the first chapter of Genesis for numerous examples.)
Surely if God were speaking modern English, he would not say things like "you is" or "we am," "Are Joseph here? Yes, they art." Nor would he arbitrarily switch from archaic English to modern English, often within the same sentence. And yet that is precisely the kind of ungrammatical imitation of King James English in Mormon scriptures. Here are some examples:
In D&C 3:10 God is speaking to Joseph only: "...repent of what thou hast done, which is contrary to the commandment which I gave you, and thou art still chosen..." (unnecessary switching from singular to plural and back again)
In D&C 6 God speaks to Oliver Cowdery, especially from v. 16 on. From verses 16 to 20, God addresses Oliver correctly with the singular forms "thou," "thee," etc. But from verse 21 to the end, he addressed Oliver incorrectly with the "you" (plural) forms. Similar switching back and forth are in sections 8 and 9.
At D&C 6:16 God says, "...there is none else save God that knowest thy thoughts..." It should be "knoweth," of course: "knowest" can only be used if "thou" is the subject: "thou knowest."
At D&C 105:1 God says, "Verily I say unto you who have assembled yourselves here that you may learn my will.... (incorrect use of "you" as subject.)
In D&C 10 God is speaking to Joseph Smith. In the first fourteen verses he addresses Smith using the plural forms of "you" a total of 28 times. Then in verse 15 he correctly reverts to the singular: ..[Satan] has put it into their hearts to get thee to tempt the Lord thy God, ..
The same kinds of error are also frequent in the Book of Mormon:
2 Nephi 1:30-32, Lehi speaks to Zoram (as divinely translated by God's inspired translator): "And now, Zoram, I speak unto you: Behold, thou art the servant of Laban...if ye shall keep the commandments of the Lord, the Lord hath consecrated this land for the security of thy seed with the seed of my son." (incorrect switching between singular and plural)
2 Nephi 3:1, Lehi says: "And now I speak unto you, Joseph, my last-born. Thou wast born in the wilderness of mine afflictions; yea, in the days of my greatest sorrow did thy mother bear thee. (incorrect switching between singular and plural)
Mosiah 2:19-20, King Benjamin says: "O how you ought to thank your heavenly King! ... if you should render all the thanks and praise..." (object form used as subject; should be "ye"; also verses 21, 34, 40, also 4:10, 21, 5:15. More examples of "you" incorrectly used as a subject: Mosiah 12:25, 30; 13:10; 18:10, 13; 24:14; 29:13; Alma 5:6, 16, 19, 20, 22, 55; 7:6, 17, 27; 9:18; 32:28, 30, 34; 37:16; 38:2; many others)
Alma 36 through 42 contain Alma's advice to his sons, each chapter addressed individually to the named son.. He repeatedly uses "ye" and "you" (plural) rather than the singular "thou" and "thee", although occasionally also using the singular (as in 36:3)
These are only a sampling of hundreds of other examples that could be cited, where God (or God's divinely inspired translator) is ungrammatical. Over the years, the Mormon church has corrected over 3,000 errors in grammar, spelling, punctuation and awkward wording in the Book of Mormon since its first publication in 1830, such things as "they was," "he seen," which would have been obviously incorrect to an educated speaker of modern English. One would think they would correct the many violations of King James era grammar as well. Especially if that style of English is God's preferred language when communicating with modern English speakers.
Btw, Dr. W. Cleon Skousen once declared that God could "cease to be God" if ever He lost the support of other gods...
Here, I'll let Dr. Cleon Skousen speak for himself: Through modern revelation we learn that the universe is filled with vast numbers of intelligence's, and we further learn that Elohim is God simply because all of these intelligence's honor and sustain Him as such...since God 'acquired' the honor and sustaining influence of 'all things' it follows as a corollary that if He should ever do anything to violate the confidence or 'sense of justice' of these intelligences, they would promptly withdraw their support, and the 'power' of God would disintegrate...'He would cease to be God' (The First 2,000 Years, pp. 355-356).
Hmm...and yet Glenn Beck first cited Dr. Cleon Skousen in his 2003 book The Real America: Messages from the Heart and the Heartland and then later started pitching Skousens 1981 book The 5,000 Year Leap on air in December, 2008. Beck then wrote a preface for a new edition of the book issued a few months later and in his March 2009 kick-off of the 9/12 movement declared Skousens book to be divinely inspired.
Well, what do you expect? Both Beck & Skousen, part of the same Mormon "brethren," espouse the Mormon belief that God was once a man and "acquired" godhood; and that, you can do that, too. And that the Mormon god is part of a broader "council of gods" (Skousen's "intelligences" who "honor and sustain" that god as a "fellow god")
I still wonder if Beck believes Skousen's "pro-family" view on parenthood? (That parenthood = godhood???)
Dr. Cleon Skousen: Mortality made it possible for us to be endowed with the powers of procreation for the first time The divine power of procreation is described by the Lord as being a fundamental quality of Godhood. In fact, eternal parenthood is Godhood (The First 2000 Years, pp. 39-40).
To unpack Skousen, what's he saying here?
Perhaps you've seen the Lds bumper sticker, "Families are forever." Lds get that from Joseph Smith's Doctrine & Covenants D&C 132 re: "eternal (celestial) marriage."
Well Skousen used the same section --vv. 19-20 to teach eternal parenthood. (The thing is those verses also teach polygamy)
What did Skousen mean by his reference to "mortality" and "procreation for the first time"?
Well, Lds believe that by Adam & Eve sinning, it wasn't simply a "fall" -- it was a "fall upward" -- an event to be "celebrated." (see quote below)
Why? Because they believe that it was only by mankind sinning that they could die -- becoming "mortal." And that by becoming "mortal" they could rise to godhood. (They get this in part from the Book of Mormon -- a phrase that reads, "Adam fell that men might be..." [it doesn't say be what...Mormons fill in the blank on that]
Anyway, Skousen didn't believe that God made Eve able to reproduce until she fell; hence, obeying Satan the tempter was to Mormons a "good thing."
In this way, Mormons have the absolute wacky understanding that the world's evils were something the Mormon god wanted man to do:
The Lds church in one of its priesthood manuals calls the Fall a "Great Blessing" while one of its general authorities, "apostle" Dallin Oaks, wrote:
"Some Christians condemn Eve for her act, concluding that she and her daughters are somehow flawed by it. Not the Latter-day Saints! Informed by revelation, we celebrate Eve's act and honor her with wisdom and courage in the great episode called the Fall." ("The Choice that Began Mortality" Lds Church official publication Liahona, 2002)
I flew into Salt Lake City in 1997 and again in 1998. I was going fly fishing in southwestern Wyoming around Green River, and then up to the Wind River area/range and on to Cody,WY. All I can state is the SLC airport was full of the ruddest people I have ever seen/encountered and I thought nothing could top NYC.
Cleon’s nephew, how nice. Still trying to redeem the family’s religious heritage. Well, good luck there, Royal. All you can do is polish a turd ... but a turd it remains.
What I can’t understand is how this Skousen guy can be legitimately called a “specialist in linguistics and the English language” yet completely IGNORE the blatant and easily proven plagiarism in the BOM? Where do his credentials come from? Who says he is a specialist? The same ones that credentialed the “professor” that supposedly verified the characters Smith wrote down were genuine? I feel badly for all the people caught up in this fraud. It must be incredibly hard to leave a religion you were raised in and which all your friends and family hold to. But God was able to deliver me from a false religion, nothing is impossible for Him.
is this guy related to the 5,000 Year Leap fellow ???
Just posted another thread: Original Language of the Book of Mormon: Upstate New York Dialect, King James English, or Hebrew? written by Royal Skousen in 1994 and published by the BYU Maxwell Institute.
In that piece, Skousen says:
...the original text of the Book of Mormon contains expressions which seem inappropriate or improper in some of their uses. For example, in the original text a good many occurrences of the phrase "and it came to pass" are found in inappropriate contexts. In his editing for the 1837 edition, Joseph Smith removed at least 47 of these apparently extraneous uses of this well-worked phrase. In most cases, there were two or more examples of "it came to pass" in close proximity; in some cases, nothing new had "come to pass."
In that thread, I then ask (& suggest an answer) a series of questions:
Per this Mopologist cite (http://en.fairmormon.org/Book_of_Mormon/Evidences/And_it_came_to_pass), Joseph Smith uses the phrase "it came to pass" 1,404 times. I assume since Royal Skousen says Smith removed 47 of them in the 1837 edition, that the original 1830 edition then had 1,451 "it came to pass" references.
* Why so many?
* Why it came to pass when even Lds scholars concede that nothing new had come to pass?
* I mean per the Book of Mormon character, Jacob IF what he said was so that "I cannot write but a little of my words, because of the difficulty of engraving our words upon plates" (Jacob 4:1) then why would these Book of Mormon etchers take to time to etch it came to pass over 1,450 times?
* And why other seemingly meaningless endless repetition of words like exceeding and exceedingly and behold and even some phrases which (laughingly) combine several of these...like "Therefore, behold, it came to pass..." (Ether 9:1)
* If what the characters Jacob and Mormon wrote were true...that 'twas difficult to engrave letters on gold plates (see above Jacob 4:1)...and if our plates had been sufficiently large we should have written in Hebrew (Mormon 9:33)...thereby supposedly forcing them to write in a language of their enemies...a language, actually, nobody has heard of (Reformed Egyptian)... then how come we have verses like 4 Nephi 1:6, where the writer takes 57 words to simply say 59 years passed??? "And thus did the thirty and eighth year pass away, and also the thirty and ninth, and forty and first, and the forty and second, yea, even until forty and nine years had passed away, also the fifty and first, and the fifty and second; yea, and even until fifty and nine years had passed away." (4 Nephi 1:6)
My thoughts on the legitimacy of the Book of Mormon aside, I think it might be in the best interests of men to focus on the big picture portrayed in the book.
A big picture that is oft occluded.
Therein is an account of two divisions of people that reportedly destroyed each other, to the man, over and because of a woman.
A symbol of that church, “Deseret” is represented by the the Hive.
A hive is ruled by a queen where the men are subordinate and disposable.
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