long ago ideas

“When we are tired, we are attacked by ideas we conquered long ago." - Friedrich Nietzsche. Long ago, Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery conquered false claims that the Book of Mormon was fiction or that it came through a stone in a hat. But these old claims have resurfaced in recent years. To conquer them again, we have to return to what Joseph and Oliver taught.

Friday, August 24, 2018

M2C web part 3 - Late War influence

The majority of the billions of people on this planet have never heard of the Book of Mormon. (I suggested this is a great blessing and opportunity here.) As members of the Church assigned to help gather Israel and bring people to Christ, we should be thinking about our message from the perspective of these billions of people.

Most of those who have heard about the Church or the Book of Mormon still know virtually nothing about it--again, a tremendous blessing and opportunity. But about half of those who do know something have negative impressions.

One of the reasons for these negative impressions, IMO, is that so many of the responses to the arguments made by our critics have consisted of confirmation bias designed to satisfy believers. To some degree, I suppose, those responses have been effective for that purpose. They confirm the biases of those who already want to believe.

In my view, though, these responses are unpersuasive to impartial observers, to say nothing of the critics.

I propose that we could do a much better job sharing the Book of Mormon and bringing people to Christ if we took a more realistic approach to the way we frame our positions. A key element is believing the words of the prophets.

A fine example of this is the response to The Late War and other pseudo-biblical books. The principal responders have been members of the M2C citation cartel, such as FairMormon* and the Interpreter.

They are writing from within the M2C bubble to others within that bubble, which is fine for people living in that bubble. But the billions of people I mentioned above are well outside the M2C bubble and are highly unlikely to ever enter it.

It's for those billions (and anyone else who is outside the M2C bubble) that I have worked through The Late War issue.

As these billions of people begin to learn about the Book of Mormon, they will search the Internet for more information. In no time, they will come across the critics who cite The Late War as a reason to disbelieve the Book of Mormon. If the only responses from Church members that they can find are those published so far by the M2C citation cartel, I think unbiased investigators will find the critics more persuasive for the reasons I explain below.

When the critics are more persuasive, people are unlikely to give the Book of Mormon serious consideration. That's an outcome we must work to avoid to give the billions of people in the world a fair chance to accept the Gospel.

The basic response from the M2C citation cartel has been to deny that Joseph read The Late War, to question the methodology of the critics, to find alternate sources for the similarities, and to claim that Joseph didn't even translate the Book of Mormon into English. I'll discuss the problems with each of these in more detail below, but first I'll review part 2 of this series and explain my biases and assumptions.

In part 2 I discussed the historical context of The Late War, including its formatting similarities to the Book of Mormon and its endorsement by Professor Mitchill, to whom Martin Harris took the copy of the characters transcribed from the plates by Joseph Smith. I think this context makes it highly unlikely that Joseph was unaware of The Late War.

Today in part 3 we will look at what I consider textual influences of The Late War and other pseudo-biblical texts.

To reiterate, here are my biases:

1. I think Joseph Smith actually translated the engravings on the plates by using the Nephite interpreters and studying it out in his mind. (e.g., D&C 8:1; 9:8; 10:41, 45)

2. I think he used the Urim and Thummim to articulate his understanding of the engravings, dictating in his own language and dialect, which was a product of his life experience and education. (e.g., D&C 1:24)

3. I think he was familiar with The Late War and other similar books, but he did not copy their language, syntax or themes. Instead, these books became part of his mental language bank, including his vocabulary and manner of speech.

Of course, I think my biases are confirmed by the evidence, as I'll explain below.

My biases drive my methodology, so I'll explain how I approach this issue.

When there are multiple ways to interpret the evidence (as there always are), I lean toward interpretations that are consistent with and that corroborate what the prophets have said. 

In legal terms, I give greater weight to what the prophets have said than to what others have said, which means that in case of a conflict or discrepancy, I defer to the prophets. 

By prophets, I mean Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery, who were the founding prophets of this dispensation. It was these two, together, who received all the Priesthood keys. The line of authority of every holder of the Priesthood today goes directly from President Cowdery to Peter, James and John, for example.**    

I give greater weight to canonized works than to uncanonized works, but I haven't found any conflicts between these with respect to the words of the prophets.

Here are two examples of my methodology.

1. The only part of the Book of Mormon that Joseph said was "a literal translation" is the Title Page. 

(He also said the Title Page was a "genuine and literal translation" as I've discussed elsewhere.)

I infer from this that the rest of the translation was not "literal" in the same sense, even though it was true, correct, accurate, etc.

There can be a significant difference between a "literal" translation and an "idiomatic" translation. Here is a simple example of the difference:

"I have coldness" is a literal translation from French j'ai froid, but "I'm cold" is the idiomatic translation. The idiomatic translation is accurate, but the translator uses his/her own natural speech patterns in the second language instead of a word-for-word literal translation.

Because Joseph said only that the Title Page was a literal translation, I infer that he made an idiomatic translation of the rest of the text, rendering it into his own speech patterns by drawing from his mental language bank.***

2. D&C 1:24 tells us that the Lord worked with Joseph's own idioms.

Behold, I am God and have spoken it; these commandments are of me, and were given unto my servants in their weakness, after the manner of their language, that they might come to understanding.

Some have told me this passage applies only to the Doctrine and Covenants and not the Book of Mormon, but Joseph received some of the sections in the D&C before he translated one word of the Book of Mormon. Based on D&C 1:24, I infer that Joseph translated the text "after the manner of his language."

This means we have two reasons to conclude that Joseph performed an idiomatic translation.****

People are free to disagree with my inferences, of course. I set them forth here precisely so people can decide whether or not to agree. I'm always interested in considering others' perspectives. For this analysis, though, you have my biases and methodology.

You may wonder, if Joseph translated the text "after the manner of his language," why did he need the Urim and Thummim (the Nephite interpreters)? I think the interpreters themselves operate by drawing on the prophet's own mental language base.

Joseph was taught by Moroni for four years before he obtained the plates. He explained he was familiar with the people, their modes of travel, etc. He studied the engravings for months before he began dictating to Martin Harris. The Lord explained to Oliver that he had to do more than ask; he had to work out the translation in his mind. Certainly that instruction applied to Joseph as well.

Anyone who has translated from one language to another knows how many variations come to mind during the process. I think the interpreters solidified his thoughts so he could read the text coherently, but they did not give him new syntax or terminology; they drew on Joseph's mental language base.

This is different from the gift of tongues, for example, that allows people to speak and understand other languages. (People experience the gift of tongues without any need for a device, but that's a topic for another time.)

Critics have pointed to parallels between The Late War and the Book of Mormon such as these:

     The Late WarBook of Mormon

27-28... near Moravian Town ... And it came to pass ... the army ... were under ... a chief warrior, whom they called Tecumseh [...] smote their chief warrior [Tecumseh], and slew him... he fell to the earth.... people of Morianton ... And it came to pass ... the army ... was led by a man whose name was Teancum [...] they did pursue Teancumand slew him ... he was dead, and had gone the way of all the earth.Alma 50:33,35, Alma 62:36-37

6-7sent forth a Proclamation, ... abroad ... And it came to pass, that a great multitude flocked to the ... standard of Columbia...they came in battle array against the ...sent a proclamation throughout ... the land; ... And it came to pass that thousands did flock unto his standard [of liberty] ... they ... went down with their armies ... against the...Alma 61-62
51:3-10it came to pass that the husbandmen ... gathered together, and pitched their tents, [and] assembled together ... And the people shouted with a loud voice, ...it came to pass that ... the people gathered themselves together ... And ... pitched their tents... ye should assemble yourselves together ... And they all cried with one voice, ...Mosiah 2-4

The Late War is one of the four pseudo-biblical texts involved here. The others are The American Revolution, The First Book of Napoleon, and The First Book of the American Chronicles of the Times. I detailed these in part 2.

LDS defenders such as FairMormon have accurately pointed out how the critics extracted phrases from different passages and stitched them together to compose these similarities. They have also shown that some of these phrases are common with the Bible and/or other sources.

For the details, see their analysis here:

These exchanges provide enough evidence to confirm whichever bias you have. 

If you think the Book of Mormon is fiction, then the critics have given you some comparisons that will confirm your bias.

If you think the Book of Mormon is not fiction, then FairMormon has raised enough questions about the comparison to confirm your bias.

But what if you don't have a bias one way or the other?

Let's say you are an investigator, one of the billions of people who have never heard of the Book of Mormon. Someone tells you about it and you are interested. You do some quick research on the Internet and come across the CES Letter or another critic who claims the Book of Mormon is fiction, copied from The Late War. You read about the similarities such as the ones I posted above.

I think anyone who sees these similarities would find them persuasive on their face; i.e., they would conclude that Joseph copied from The Late War.

(BTW, these similarities are even more unsettling for long-time Church members who don't realize there were other books published before the Book of Mormon that also used the "Ancient Historical Style" that sought to emulate biblical language. Imagine how they feel when it is anti-Mormons who first tell them about it. Far better, IMO, to educate the Saints about these issues directly in Church, CES, BYU, etc.)

Back to the objective investigator.

You ask the missionaries or your friend about these similarities. They refer you to the FairMormon response I linked to above.

Do you find it persuasive?

Possibly. But not likely.

Here's why.

The critics did not know about The Late War before doing their analysis of 100,000+ books. The similarities to The Late War popped out of their statistical study.  Then they did their qualitative analysis and came up with their lists of similarities in theme and language. That's a persuasive framing.

Now, let's look at how FairMormon responded, again from the perspective of an objective investigator.

1. FairMormon criticized the critics' methodology, but is that a plausible defense? I don't think so because the critics' methodology did, after all, lead them to The Late War which contains all these similarities. Plus, it was objective; they assessed over 100,000 books.

I rate this defense as unpersuasive.

2. FairMormon also points out that there is no proof Joseph ever read The Late War. This is technically true, but if there was such evidence, it would not have taken a statistical study of 100,000+ books to find the book. The problem here is that we have no proof that Joseph ever read anything prior to translating the Book of Mormon, except for the Bible.

It seems highly implausible that he never read anything else. During the long winter nights in upstate New York, what were people doing other than reading and discussing issues? Joseph himself wrote that, between the ages of 12 and 15, he was concerned with the situation of the world of mankind. Although he was not skilled as a writer, he definitely was not illiterate, despite his lack of formal education.

As I showed in part 2, the historical and cultural context makes it unlikely that Joseph never read The Late War. Plus, the formatting similarities and the connection with Professor Mitchill at least suggest a direct connection.

I rate this defense as unpersuasive.

3. Next, FairMormon goes through a few of the similarities, showing how they were cut and pasted together to create phony similarities such as those I showed above. This is a persuasive defense, to an extent. Many of the phrases also appear in the Bible; i.e., they are common to both the Book of Mormon and The Late War. Everyone agrees that Joseph read the Bible and was influenced by it. The Book of Mormon contains many direct quotations from the Bible, so it is not problematic to have Biblical phrases show up in the text, even if they also appear in The Late War

I rate this defense as persuasive as far as it goes, but inadequate and ultimately unpersuasive.

Why inadequate? Because there are many passages common between The Late War and the Book of Mormon that are not found in the Bible.

I'll discuss specific examples below, but let's say that FairMormon or others show that these passages are also found in books other than the pseudo-biblical texts. As we already saw, there is no evidence that Joseph read any books other than the Bible. Thus we are left assessing the relative probabilities of his having read The Late War and other pseudo-biblical texts vs. the other books.

Given the historical context, The Late War is surely one of the books Joseph was most likely to have read. Plus, any alternative books are cited as sources would have to include all of the passages that are common between The Late War and the Book of Mormon, which also means they were written in the "Ancient Historical Style." And there are only a few of those--the very ones we are discussing here. 

4. FairMormon links to Stanford Carmack's Interpreter article about Early Modern English (EME). Brother Carmack has done an extensive statistical analysis that shows clearly different and unique syntax in the Book of Mormon that is not found in the Bible, The Late War, or the other pseudo-biblical books. This syntax cannot be explained by the theory that Joseph copied from the other books.

I rate this defense as persuasive as far as it goes, but inadequate.

The reason? Brother Carmack's argument effectively proves there are distinctive elements in the Book of Mormon that could not have been copied, but there remain distinctive elements that are common between the Book of Mormon and the pseudo-biblical books that are not found in the Bible. This leaves us with the same problem that argument 3 left; i.e., how to explain the indisputably common elements?

In part 4 of this M2C web series I'll discuss Brother Carmack's argument in more detail. Here, I want to evaluate the elements that are common between the Book of Mormon and the pseudo-biblical texts. In my view, these corroborate the teachings of Joseph Smith and the D&C that I mentioned at the outset.

That is, they show that the pseudo-biblical texts added to Joseph's mental language bank, the resource he drew upon to dictate his translation of the Book of Mormon and the other revelations that comprise our standard works.

The critics' lists of similarities between The Late War and the Book of Mormon are rightly criticized for being concocted. True, some of the phrases are identical; that's what makes these lists persuasive to people who want to believe the Book of Mormon is fiction. But that is mere confirmation bias because many of these phrases are also found in the Bible, which is an acknowledged source for both books.

In other words, these terms and phrases were in Joseph's mental language bank, but because he could have acquired them from the Bible, they are not really persuasive evidence that he acquired them from the pseudo-biblical books. Any impartial investigator would be able to understand this.

What is more problematic are the unusual Book of Mormon terms and phrases that are not found in the Bible but are found in The Late War and other pseudo-biblical texts. These appear seemingly at random throughout the Book of Mormon. In many cases they also appear in Joseph's other revelatory work, including the Doctrine and Covenants and the Pearl of Great Price.

Proponents of the EME theory suggest that Joseph was not the original translator into English. This means the English text was not his; i.e., he was learning as he read from the stone. I disagree for he reasons I'll explain in part 4, but EME proponents could argue that Joseph acquired these terms and phrases when he dictated the Book of Mormon, independent of the pseudo-biblical books.

I doubt an impartial investigator would find that explanation persuasive. I'm skeptical that many believers would find it persuasive, but I'll defer my discussion of that to Part 4 when I focus on EME.

Here, I offer an explanation that I think is persuasive to impartial investigators, believers, and maybe even critics.

The accumulation of these examples makes a strong case for the pseudo-biblical books as the source of Joseph's mental language bank, while also refuting claims of intentional copying or plagiarism.

In the interest of time and space I'll provide only a few examples out of many more I have found.

1. Methought and go and declare. The term methought doesn't appear in the Bible, but it appears in the Book of Mormon and the First Book of Napoleon. The term also appears in Shakespeare and other writings, so its mere appearance in the Book of Mormon could be coincidental and unconnected to the pseudo-biblical books.

But consider the context and the related word combination go and declare.

1 Nephi 8:4-5 - But behold, Laman and Lemuel, I fear exceedingly because of you; for behold, methought [me thought in the 1830 edition] I saw in my dream, [in my dream is not in the 1830 edition] a dark and dreary wilderness. And it came to pass that I saw a man, and he was dressed in a white robe; and he came and stood before me.

Alma 36:22 - Yea, methought I saw, even as our father Lehi saw, God sitting upon his throne, surrounded with numberless concourses of angels, in the attitude of singing and praising their God; yea, and my soul did long to be there.

Napoleon, p. 116 – Methought I heard the murmuring of her water brooks… And lo! I asked the angel whence arose the great fury of the bull? And he spake, and said unto me…. Now the angel said, to the intent that I might shew thee all these things art thou brought hither, go, therefore, and declare all that thou hast seen to the people of Albion.

Note 1: In all 3 references, methought is used in connection with a vision and interaction with an angel. Alma even hearkens back to Lehi's original vision (which was presumably included in the Book of Lehi that Martin Harris lost, which is interesting as well because Joseph had not translated 1 Nephi when he translated Alma).

Note 2: Napoleon has the angel instructing the narrator to "go and declare" what he has seen. In the Book of Mormon, Nephi explains that this is what his father Lehi did after his first vision:

1 Nephi 1:18 Therefore, I would that ye should know, that after the Lord had shown so many marvelous things unto my father, Lehi, yea, concerning the destruction of Jerusalem, behold he went forth among the people, and began to prophesy and to declare unto them concerning the things which he had both seen and heard.

The way Nephi summarized his father's record, it appears Lehi took his own initiative, but that's not the normal pattern. This raises an intriguing possibility that in the Book of Lehi, the Lord told Lehi to go and declare these things, which would be another link to the following verses.

Note 3: The word combination in Napoleon (go and declare) is not found in the Bible, but it is found throughout the Book of Mormon, as well as in the D&C and the books of Moses and Abraham. Here are some examples.

Alma 37:47 Go unto this people and declare the word, and be sober.

Alma 43:1 And now it came to pass that the sons of Alma did go forth among the people, to declare the word unto them.

3 Nephi 11:41 Therefore, go forth unto this people, and declare the words which I have spoken, unto the ends of the earth.

D&C 31:6 Behold, verily I say unto you, go from them only for a little time, and declare my word,

Moses 8:19 And the Lord ordained Noah after his own order, and commanded him that he should go forth and declare his Gospel unto the children of men, 

Abraham 3:15 And the Lord said unto me: Abraham, I show these things unto thee before ye go into Egypt, that ye may declare all these words.

The only comparable passages I found in the Bible are two from Isaiah, but neither takes the same form as Napoleon and Joseph Smith's work.

Isaiah 48:20 (Also 1 Nephi 20:20) Go ye forth of Babylon, flee ye from the Chaldeans, with a voice of singing declare ye, tell this, utter it even to the end of the earth; 

Isaiah 21:6 For thus hath the Lord said unto me, Go, set a watchman, let him declare what he seeth. 

Conclusion: Looking solely at the Book of Mormon and Napoleon, we see the identical non-biblical term methought, but this is a term used in Shakespeare and many other sources--a similarity so weak that I haven't seen anyone focus on this term as a connection. The common context of a vision or dream and an angelic guide makes it a stronger connection, but not close enough for plagiarism.

But when we look at methought together with the equally non-biblical "go and declare" word combination, we see connections not only with the Book of Mormon, but also the D&C, Moses and Abraham. This tells me both methought and go and declare were within Joseph Smith's mental language bank, and they didn't get there from reading the Bible. 

I score this as good evidence that Joseph read Napoleon and stored some of its language in his mental language bank, which he drew upon to articulate his translation and revelations.

2. Troubled in. This phrase occurs only four times in the scriptures:
Ezekiel 27:35 – they shall be troubled in their countenance
Alma 22:3 – I have been somewhat troubled in mind
Mosiah 26:10 – Alma was troubled in his spirit
John 13:21 – When Jesus had thus said, he was troubled in spirit

It's fair to say John 13:21 was in Joseph's mental language bank so he could draw on it to render Mosiah 26:10. 

Ezekiel is unique.

So is Alma 22:3. 

Or is it?

The Alma phrase appears in the pseudo-biblical texts.

Am Rev, 7:13 - And when the Sanhedrim of the provinces were told that Guy the king's governor was minded to go against the hold that Ethan and Benedict had taken, they were troubled in their minds.
Am Rev, 55:14 - yet he was not easy, but was troubled in his mind.
Late War, p. 44 – Carden opened his mouth, for he was troubled in his mind
Late War,p. 211 – when the lords… and the wise men of Britain, heard all the tribulations that befell them in the land of Columbia, they were troubled in their minds.

Conclusion: Because only the BofM and the pseudo-biblical texts use troubled and minds together, I think the phrase entered Joseph's mind when he read the pseudo-biblical texts. Of course, the context of these passage is too different to constitute plagiarism.

Note: Napoleon uses the phrase "grieved and troubled in spirit," which is common with both the Bible and the Book of Mormon. 

3. Go not out. This is an example of the type of distinct phrases that occur in the BofM and the pseudo-biblical texts but not in the Bible. These phrases stand out.  

Of course it's possible they originated independently from another source, even if not the Bible. Considered individually, they might be considered coincidences. I don't know how many such distinct phrases it would take to move them out of the coincidence category; I suppose that's up to each individual. 

I think there are enough of them to conclude that Joseph added these phrases to his mental language bank when he read the pseudo-biblical texts.

Moroni 8:27 – I will write unto you again if I go not out soon against the Lamanites
Late war, p. 13 2:9 – if, peradventure, the people of Columbia go not out to battle against the king.
Late war, 3:24 – Therefore, I command that ye go not out to battle, but every man remain in his own house.

The context of all three passages is going to battle. Am.Rev. uses a similar phrase in this context: "so the host of the people of the provinces remained in the camp, and went not out."

Note: The Bible does use the phrase "goeth not out" but not in the context of battle. (Psalms 17:1 - prayer; Prov. 31:18 - candle; Matt. 17:21 - evil spirit). It also uses the phrase "went not out" 3 times in the Old Testament (Num. 11:26, Josh. 8:17, and Job 31:34), which I infer is the source for the Am.Rev passage. Neither the Book of Mormon nor The Late War use either phrase.

4. Inasmuch. This term appears in the Bible 7 times, but it much more common in the Book of Mormon, the D&C, The Late War, and The American Revolution. Here are the stats:
OT (2x), NT (7x),  BofM (25x), D&C (112x), PofGP (3x), Am Rev (62x), Late War (26x).

The relative frequency suggests an influence; i.e., Joseph's mental language bank frequently produced the term in a manner similar to the way it is used in the pseudo-biblical books.

From a qualitative perspective, Inasmuch is used with slain in Late War, AmRev and BofM, but never in the Bible.

Alma 43:46 And they were doing that which they felt was the duty which they owed to their God; for the Lord had said unto them, and also unto their fathers, that: Inasmuch as ye are not guilty of the first offense, neither the second, ye shall not suffer yourselves to be slain by the hands of your enemies.
Ether 11:8-9 And the people began to repent of their iniquity; and inasmuch as they did the Lord did have mercy on them. 9 And it came to pass that Shiblom was slain, and Seth was brought into captivity, and did dwell in captivity all his days.

Late War 30:11 – Inasmuch as there were slain and maimed of the king three score souls...
Late War 48:20 - Inasmuch as the slain and wounded of the king that day, were about four hundred...

AmRev 31:1 the servants of the king were slain and taken captive at Bennington, he was sore troubled; inasmuch as the fame thereof would damp the ardour [sic] of the warriors of Britain.
AmRev 41:7 And the people were discomfited, inasmuch as the men of Britain environed them round about; and there were slain of the people of the Provinces, about one hundred men.
AmRev 47:36 not many of them were slain, inasmuch as they were in a place of defence
AmRev 54:24 they were soon slain by the horsemen... and the tories were sore amazed, inasmuch as they regarded not their words...

One of the two usages of "inasmuch" in the Old Testament uses slay:
Deut. 19:6 Let the avenger of the blood pursue the slayer, while his heart is hot, and overtake him, because the way is long, and slay him; whereas he was not worth of death, inasmuch as he hated him not in time past.

I don't think this verse is a plausible origin of the previous examples because it's a different word in a different context. 

The seven instances of inasmuch in the New Testament are isolated, don't refer to slain, and differ substantially in the usage.

Look at Joseph's repetitive use of inasmuch in these passages:

1 Nephi 2
20 And inasmuch as ye shall keep my commandments, ye shall prosper, and shall be led to a land of promise; yea, even a land which I have prepared for you; yea, a land which is choice above all other lands.
21 And inasmuch as thy brethren shall rebel against thee, they shall be cut off from the presence of the Lord.
22 And inasmuch as thou shalt keep my commandments, thou shalt be made a ruler and a teacher over thy brethren.

Alma 9
13 Behold, do ye not remember the words which he spake unto Lehi, saying that: 
Inasmuch as ye shall keep my commandments, ye shall prosper in the land? And again it is said that: Inasmuch as ye will not keep my commandments ye shall be cut off from the presence of the Lord.
14 Now I would that ye should remember, that 
inasmuch as the Lamanites have not kept the commandments of God, they have been cut off from the presence of the Lord.

D&C 1
25 And inasmuch as they erred it might be made known;
26 And inasmuch as they sought wisdom they might be instructed;
27 And inasmuch as they sinned they might be chastened, that they might repent;
28 And inasmuch as they were humble they might be made strong, and blessed from on high, and receive knowledge from time to time.

D&C 48
2 And inasmuch as ye have lands, ye shall impart to the eastern brethren;
3 And inasmuch as ye have not lands, let them buy for the present time in those regions round about

D&C 52
4 And inasmuch as they are faithful unto me, it shall be made known unto them what they shall do;
5 And it shall also, inasmuch as they are faithful, be made known unto them the land of your inheritance.
6 And inasmuch as they are not faithful, they shall be cut off, even as I will, as seemeth me good.

D&C 104 has too many to show here.

The Late War includes such passages as this.
Chapter 1
9 Inasmuch as they hearkened not unto the voice of moderation, when the cry of the people of Columbia was, Peace! peace!
10 Inasmuch as they permitted not the tall ships of Columbia to sail in peace on the waters of the mighty deep; saying in their hearts, Of these will we make spoil, and they shall be given unto the king.
11 Inasmuch as they robbed the ships of Columbia of the strong men that wrought therein, and took them for their own use, even as a man taketh his ox or his ass.
12 Inasmuch as they kept the men stolen from the ships of Columbia in bondage many years, and caused them to fight the battles of the king, even against their own brethren!

We see similar repetition in Am Rev. Several times, inasmuch is used multiple times in one verse, or in sequential verses, or in two out of three short verses, such as this:

52:19 Now when George, the chief captain, had received the letters, he was astonished; inasmuch, as he had surely believed that Benedict was a true man, and immoveable as the rock on the seashore! For had not the princes of the Provinces dignified him with great honor? inasmuch as he had shewn himself a valiant man in battle.

23:3 Howbeit, they soon returned to the place from whence they came, inasmuch as they were informed that the people of the province of Jersey were united with George, the chief captain, and were come out against them, even a very great multitude.
23:4 For the husbandmen had left the care of their flocks to the lads of their household; and they thirsted after revenge, inasmuch as the men of the host of Britain had deceived them.

I think Joseph's usage cannot be explained by referring to the Bible, but it can be explained by inferring that he read the pseudo-biblical books and absorbed their language patterns into his own mental language bank. The context of the various passages is far too diverse to constitute plagiarism.

5. Exceedingly rejoiced. This unusual phrase appears only in the Book of Mormon and The Late War. There is one close phrase in the Bible but has different syntax and meaning.

Psalms 68:3 But let the righteous be glad; let them rejoice before God; yea, let them exceedingly rejoice.

This is an injunction to do something in the future. Now, compare that to the passages from the Book of Mormon and The Late War.

1 Nephi 17:6 notwithstanding we had suffered many afflictions and much difficulty, yea, even so much that we cannot write them all, we were exceedingly rejoiced when we came to the seashore
Mosiah 29:39 they were exceedingly rejoiced because of the liberty which had been granted unto them.
Alma 45:1 Behold, now it came to pass that the people of Nephi were exceedingly rejoiced, because the Lord had again delivered them out of the hands of their enemies; therefore they gave thanks unto the Lord their God; yea, and they did fast much and pray much, and they did worship God with exceedingly great joy.
Alma 59:1 after Moroni had received and had read Helaman’s epistle, he was exceedingly rejoiced because of the welfare, yea, the exceeding success which Helaman had had...

You can see how different the phrase is from the passage in Psalms. Now look how the identical phrase is used in The Late War.

Late War, p. 64 – And all the people were exceedingly rejoiced at the valiant acts of Lawrence.
Late War, p. 175 – Then were the children of Columbia exceedingly rejoiced; yea, their hearts were made glad
Late War, p. 184 – Now when the men of Columbia heard that Ross, the chief captain of the king, was slain, and the host of Britain was compelled to flee from before the city, they were exceedingly rejoiced

Not only are the terms identical, but the context is similar; i.e. freedom and deliverance.

This is a good example of the type of distinctive term one's memory would file away into one's mental language bank for later retrieval. That's what I think happened with Joseph Smith.

I have accumulated many more examples, too many to list here. I think the examples I've provided support my interpretation of the facts as I've set them out.

If anyone is still reading and wants more examples, feel free to email me at lostzarahemla@gmail, with Late War in the subject.

I can't resist sharing three more items, though. 

6. Exquisite. One fascinating one is the term exquisite, which is not found in the Bible but is found in the Book of Mormon, the D&C, and JS-History 1:31. Where would Joseph have learned such a term?

Both The Late War and The American Revolution use the word exquisite

[Note: you won't find exquisite if you use BYU's wordfinder because the compilers inexplicably omitted a footnote in The Late War from their index and they completely omitted the last section of The American Revolution, a poem titled "The Columbiad" that contains some important elements (including the word exquisite). The footnote in the Late War is marked by an asterisk in 48:34 and it reads in part, "His poetry is so exquisite, and his descriptions so pathetic, that we cannot resist the pleasure of presenting his stanzas to our readers." The poetry printed in the footnote is The Star-Spangled Banner, which makes this footnote memorable for anyone who read the book. That is, I think Joseph would have naturally noticed this term when he read The Late War. I can imagine him asking his parents what it meant. Maybe the term solidified in his mind when he read it again in The American Revolution.]

7. Opposite. Surprisingly, this term does not appear anywhere in the Bible, but it does show up in three of the key verses in the Book of Mormon and the D&C.

Alma 41:12 And now behold, is the meaning of the word restoration to take a thing of a natural state and place it in an unnatural state, or to place it in a state opposite to its nature?

Alma 42:16 Now, repentance could not come unto men except there were a punishment, which also was eternal as the life of the soul should be, affixed opposite to the plan of happiness, which was as eternal also as the life of the soul.

Doctrine and Covenants 125:3 Let them build up a city unto my name upon the land opposite the city of Nauvoo, and let the name of Zarahemla be named upon it.

There are forms of the verb oppose in the Bible and other scriptures, but not this adjective. Now look how the term appears in the pseudo-biblical texts. None of these are used in a philosophical context the way Alma uses it, but they describe physical placement that supports the philosophical metaphor. Thus, it makes sense that Joseph drew the philosophical terminology from his mental language bank after acquiring it from the pseudo-biblical texts. 

AmRev, p. 94. this lord and the fifteen hundred men that were with him, gat upon the hill; and the men of Britain were encamped opposite to the hill. 

p. 227 11. Nevertheless, they were saved ; and it was a deliverance that should not be forgotten. And when the sun arose, the soldiers departed ; and came to the house of Samuel that stood by the side of the river, opposite to the city : and the boats came to the shore and took them all in. 

p. 271 14. Now the servants of the king of Britain were encamped on one side of the river Savannah, and the people of the Provinces under Lincoln, a chief captain, were on the other side thereof, even at the Black Swamp opposite to Augusta. 

p. 288.  9. Then they pitched their tents on the banks of the river, even Ashley river, opposite to the city. 

p. 80. The armies of king Albanus had multiplied like unto the sands of the sea, and covered the whole coast opposite to the land of Gaul, he was exceeding wroth.

The Late War doesn’t use “opposite to” but just “opposite” the way it is used in D&C 125.
14:28 which lieth upon the opposite side of the river, 
28:4 was encamped upon the opposite side of the lake, 
47:3 who were upon the opposite side of the water.
50:39 Joshua lived at a place called East Hampton, being at the east end of long Island, near Gardner's Island, opposite New London.

8. Now the number of. The phrase "the number of" is common in the Bible, but it is never preceded by "now." The entire phrase "now the number of" appears 6 times in the Book of Mormon. This indicates it was in Joseph's mental language bank, but how did it get there? 

The identical entire phrase appears 2 times in The Late War and 5 times in American Revolution, which I consider good evidence that these are the sources. 

This example raises the larger issue of the term now. "Now" is used in the Book of Mormon nearly as many times as it is used in the entire Bible, meaning its usage is disproportionately frequent. The phrase "And now" appears 648 times in the 1830 edition and 98 times in the D&C, but only 83 times in the Old Testament and 33 times in the New Testament.

In that sense, the addition of "now" to this phrase might not be unexpected. Joseph seemed to use "now" gratuitously throughout his revelatory writings. The word appears 10 times each in D&C 10 and 128 and Moses 1, for example, and nearly as frequently in other passages. He added the phrase "And now" to Matthew 24:28 in the revised version (JS-Matthew 1:27).

Apart from his frequent use of the term, distinctive usages and combinations of now were part of Joseph's mental language bank. Because they don't appear in the Bible, we wonder how they got there. Are these random combinations, or had he read them somewhere else?

Let's look at the phrase now the number of. Recall, it is not found in the Bible. Because it is distinctive and repeated 6 times in the Book of Mormon, I think its presence in the pseudo-biblical texts is significant as a probable source for Joseph's mental language bank. 

Note 1: As you read through these examples, you may notice the variation between the singular was and the plural were following the phrase. This mixed usage occurs in the Bible as well as in both the Book of Mormon and in Am Rev, so I don't consider it significant.

Note 2. Both the Book of Mormon and The Late War refer to the number of prisoners, but the Bible never does. Neither the Bible nor the Book of Mormon refer to the number of men, which is the most common usage in the pseudo-biblical texts. This detail contradicts claims of plagiarism or intentional copying. 

Note 3. All the usages of "now" in these passages are gratuitous, meaning they are not necessary to the meaning. This is the same pattern we see in the D&C and PofGP, indicating it was part of Joseph's speech pattern. Because this usage is not in the Bible, I think the most plausible source for its presence in Joseph's mental language bank is these pseudo-biblical texts. 

Late War, p. 49 – Now the number of the men of Columbia that fell into their hands that day, were about five hundred; and the slain and wounded about an hundred two score and ten.

p. 120. Now the number of prisoners captured by the army of Harrison that day were about six hundred.

Am Rev p. 73 - Now the number of the men was thirteen thousand.

p. 92 - 9. Now the number of the soldiers of the king of Britain, who were warring with the people of the provinces, were fifty and five thousand fighting men- prepared with all the instruments for war.

p. 285 - Now the number of the men in the garrison, was about three thousand, who were mighty men of valor

p. 320 - 20. Now the number of men who followed after Nathaniel were about two thousand,

p. 329 - Now the number of the men who went forth to fight with the men of Britain, were about four thousand four hundred


Alma 52:40 And now the number of prisoners who were taken exceeded more than the number of those who had been slain, yea, more than those who had been slain on both sides.

Alma 3:1 And it came to pass that the Nephites who were not slain by the weapons of war, after having buried those who had been slain—now the number of the slain were not numbered, because of the greatness of their number—after they had finished burying their dead they all returned to their lands, and to their houses, and their wives, and their children.

Alma 44:21 Now the number of their dead was not numbered because of the greatness of the number; yea, the number of their dead was exceedingly great, both on the Nephites and on the Lamanites.

Ether 6:20 And accordingly the people were gathered together. Now the number of the sons and the daughters of the brother of Jared were twenty and two souls; and the number of sons and daughters of Jared were twelve, he having four sons.

Ether 3:1 And it came to pass that the brother of Jared, (now the number of the vessels which had been prepared was eight) went forth unto the amount, which they called the mount Shelem, because of its exceeding height, and did molten out of a rock sixteen small stones; and they were white and clear, even as transparent glass; and he did carry them in his hands upon the top of the mount, and cried again unto the Lord, saying:

3 Nephi 12:1 And it came to pass that when Jesus had spoken these words unto Nephi, and to those who had been called, (now the number of them who had been called, and received power and authority to baptize, was twelve) and behold, he stretched forth his hand unto the multitude, and cried unto them, saying: 

The term "now" deserves more study, but the examples I've shown here support the thesis that Joseph's use of the phrase "now the number of" could not have come from the Bible, that it likely entered his mental language bank from these pseudo-biblical texts, and that his propensity for using the word "now" shows that all of his revelatory works drew from his mental language bank.

Several of these quotations include the phrase "and it came to pass." I won't take the time to expand on this phrase here, other than to note that other variations of "it came to pass" show links to the pseudo-biblical texts.

The phrase "behold it came to pass" does not appear in the Bible, but it appears in the Book of Mormon 28 times. It is also in the first verse of the First Book of Napoleon:

"And behold it came to pass, in these latter days, that an evil spirit arose on the face of the earth, and greatly troubled the sons of men."

Again it came to pass: Bible (0 times) BofM (1 time) Napoleon (1)

But it came to pass: Bible (8 times) BofM (24 times) Napoleon (1) AmRev (1)

Note: The following "now" phrases are found in the Bible, all of Joseph's revelatory writings, and the pseudo-biblical books, but they are disproportionately common in Joseph's works. The Book of Mormon contains only about 24% of the words in the scriptures, but about 74% of the instances of these phrases. 

and now (860 total uses)

Old Testament (83)
New Testament (33)
Book of Mormon (648) (73%)
Doctrine and Covenants (98)
Pearl of Great Price (12)

now behold (199 uses)
Old Testament (14)
New Testament (3)
Book of Mormon (148) (74%)
Doctrine and Covenants (31)
Pearl of Great Price (3)

That's all for now!

*The official name of the organization is FairMormon, but I refer to them as FairlyMormon because, IMO, their adherence and fidelity to M2C leads them to mislead members of the Church and investigators. See https://fairlymormon.blogspot.com/

**We usually show the line of authority going through the Three Witnesses who ordained the original Quorum of the Twelve, but Oliver was the only one of the Three Witnesses who received his Priesthood directly from Peter, James and John, and the historical record shows Oliver ordaining many, if not most, of the original Quorum himself. 

***The nature of the translation has been much studied and debated. Here I'm merely pointing out that what Joseph said is corroborated by what we see when we analyze the influence of The Late War and other pseudo-biblical texts.

****Ironically, an idiomatic translation lends credence to the M2C position that the original text was a Mayan codex, but that Joseph didn't translate it literally so we have "horses" instead of "tapirs" and no mention of jaguars, jade and jungles. There are other reasons to reject that approach, starting with the Hill Cumorah in New York, that I don't discuss in this analysis of The Late War.

No comments:

Post a Comment