In honor of RfM

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dastardly stem
Posts: 2259
Joined: Tue Nov 03, 2020 2:38 pm

In honor of RfM

Post by dastardly stem »

I really don't pay much attention to Facebook, but a few years back I wrote up a number of little essays, if you will, in hopes to inspire thoughts and conversation on Mormonism. And today I opened up Facebook and the memory of this post came up...original mistakes included for raw effect:

"I put aside my commentary on Mormon History, as my interest waned. Recently I went to Radio Free Mormon's podcast and happened upon a very interesting episode on one point of history. Interesting enough I wanted to relay what I learned and perhaps provide some of my own comments. Look in the comments for the link to the episode. The episode is called Magic and the Book of Mormon, Part 1. There is a Part 2. So feel free.
Most people interested in Mormon history are aware, nowadays, that Joseph put a stone in his hat and looked into the hat when he dictated the story of the Book of Mormon. First off, something not mentioned much, the hat was white, according to witnesses. It was a top hat which means it was one of those old hats that was tall, or deep if you will. There was space, potentially in the hat, as Joseph put his face in it, or at the brim of it. It is quite possible that even if Joseph buried his face in the hat, he could see--light could permeate through the white hat. As it were the hat, rather than the stone, could have been the key to Joseph's props in accomplishing the feat of the Book of Mormon. Radio Free Mormon (RFM) has hobbied, he suggests, as a magician for most of his life. It wasn't until recently he read the history of the translation with his magicians "hat" on, and thus he did not recognize the possible magicians' tricks involved. I think they are quite interesting.

Joseph obviously made a point of his seer stones being the keys to his translation to his contemporaries. RFM points out that this could very well be a diversionary tactic--a trick he could have gained while practicing his magical treasure seeking habits. Joseph did not bring attention to the hat, but to the rock. And as it were, the rocks may have been useless to what actually was going on. It went so far, for Joseph's story, to place a curse upon anyone who attempted to put Joseph's rock in Joseph's hat in an attempt to dictate scripture, as Joseph was doing. Anyone who did, would be killed by God, for tempting that grouchy gus, oops let me capitalize that, Grouchy Gus. Additionally, as most interested in Mormon history know, the plates were never used in the translation. They sat often covered or hidden away while Joseph dictated the words.

Interestingly too, in an attempt to set this up a little more, you will recall somewhere between 1/2 and 2/3rds of the plates were sealed, or inaccessible. The reason for them being sealed given by Joseph was, God didn't want someone reading them. Of course, the plates with their etchings, were already unreadable. They were etched in reformed egyptian, after all, meaning a language related, perhaps, to ancient egyptian, but adapted and changed. Seeing as Joseph looked in his hat to dictate the story of the Book of Mormon while the plates were hidden or covered, suggests, perhaps Joseph too could not read the plates. The sealing of most of the plates shows another interesting detail. The plates were said to be about 6 inches thick. If 2/3rs were sealed, that leaves but 2 inches of plates (and I guess that means 3 inches at most). The sealed portion could have been but a block, for all we know, rather than plates. Anyway, as perhaps a side note, there certainly wasn't much room for plates to tell a whole big story like the Book of Mormon.

These pieces set up a nice outline for a sneaky trick:
Joseph, likely, could see, though dimly, while putting his head in a hat.
He could have had notes in the hat that no one saw.
He could have switched out notes during breaks that he initiated.
He could have kept scribes' attention on props other than his white hat (the plates and peep stones, breastplate and spectacles), in order to distract from his notes that he used to dictate the Book of Mormon.

Where does this leave us? I don't know. I'm not sure the trick theory works all that well, but i'd love to hear other people give their ideas. Of course, my little summary doesn't do the two episodes by RFM justice. He took much more time laying it out and I'd encourage those with time and interest to listen. Or if you rather, give your impressions anyway. Thanks."

As per my goal: it bombed. I basically scared away all my friends long before this post anyway.

Thanks, RfM for all your work--even the old stuff (or in my case especially the old stuff ;) ).
“Every one of us is, in the cosmic perspective, precious. If a human disagrees with you, let him live. In a hundred billion galaxies, you will not find another.”
― Carl Sagan, Cosmos
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