The Anthon Transcript: Fulfillment of Prophecy, Reformed Egyptian, and the Evolution of a Story, Part III

The Evolution of a Story  (See Part I and Part II) In Part I I discussed Joseph Smith's reinterpretation of Isaiah 29 and the insertion of this reinterpretation into the prophetic narrative of 2 Nephi 27 and in Part II I identified Smith as the ultimate author and creator of the various transcripts of Book of Mormon Reformed Egyptian. A final element that has powerfully shaped the traditional understanding of the Anthon story is Smith’s official 1838 account itself. According to th … [Read more...]

Does the word “apology” appear in the scriptures?

Recently it has been suggested that the word apology does not appear in the scriptures as a reason for why Church leaders do not apologize. Of course, there are lots of things that church leaders do that are not in the scriptures, but is it really the case that the idea of offering an apology is a non-scriptural principle?If one searches the King James Version, the English word "apology" does not appear. The English word apology derives from the Greek word apologia, which does not mean to be … [Read more...]

Son of God

I was having a chat with the homies about Christological titles and since my response is longer than the original format allows, I will put it here. The crux of the matter concerns how the Synoptics deal with Jesus’ quotation of Ps 110:1. This quotation, which distinguishes the messiah from the son of David, appears in all three Gospels. From Mark 12:35-37 (NRSV): 35 While Jesus was teaching in the temple, he said, "How can the scribes say that the Messiah is the son of David? 36 David himself, … [Read more...]

The Anthon Transcript: Fulfillment of Prophecy, Reformed Egyptian, and the Evolution of a Story, Part II

 Reformed Egyptian  (See Part I here) More problematic in terms of the credibility of Joseph Smith is the evidence of what is commonly known as the “Anthon Transcript,” an alleged transcription of characters taken from the plates of the Book of Mormon housed in the Community of Christ archives. The importance of this document for evaluating Joseph Smith’s claim to have translated an ancient Reformed Egyptian text can hardly be exaggerated. All indications are that the curiou … [Read more...]

The Anthon Transcript: Fulfillment of Prophecy, Reformed Egyptian, and the Evolution of a Story, Part I

Like other Mormons, I grew up learning about Martin Harris’s famous visit with Professor Charles Anthon as a pivotal moment in the coming forth of the Book of Mormon. According to the traditional narrative (which is really a conflation of several distinct narratives, including Joseph Smith’s 1838 history read in the context of 2 Nephi chapter 27), Harris went to visit several scholars in the cities of the East for the purpose of authenticating Joseph Smith’s transcription and translation of chara … [Read more...]

The Part I Left Out…

I was blogging a bit over with Benjamin the Scribe, but didn’t get all of this first lesson quite done. So, I thought I’d just finish it up here, by reading the selection from the Johannine tradition. It consists of two of the three sections of the Fourth Gospel’s prologue:In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into … [Read more...]

How to Start a Culture War

Hold strong opinions about a few issues. The more people that care about the issues, the better. These opinions need not be informed opinions; conviction is the key. (Note, one issue is usually insufficient to start a culture war, but don’t choose too many because then you’ll dilute the message and make it difficult to recruit soldiers.) Use the frame of war to interpret all disagreements over these issues. This includes using some, but preferably all, of the following language: enemy, fight, b … [Read more...]

The Future of Mormonism

As has frequently been noted by a variety of commentators, modern Mormonism seems to be entering what will be a very difficult cultural transition during the 21 century, where one of the defining issues will be whether the church will allow for greater cultural, social, and intellectual diversity among its ranks and still be able to maintain a sense of traditional communal identity or whether conservative forces will enact further retrenchment, thus leading to greater social fragmentation and … [Read more...]


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