The Spalding Theory again.

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Nevo
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Re: The Spalding Theory again.

Post by Nevo »

Kishkumen wrote:
Sun Nov 05, 2023 1:31 pm
If Bell and this Behrens person are correct, John Smith taught so many doctrines that later appear in Mormonism that it cannot possibly be a coincidence. The Dartmouth connection is one of the most important discoveries about early Mormonism in recent memory. Mark my words: further work in this area will transform how we think about Mormonism's beginnings.
If there was anything to the "Dartmouth connection," don't you think Dan Vogel or Don Bradley would have found it by now? Serious question.

The "research" that Randall Bell, PhD, presented on the Mormonism LIVE! podcast was laughably bad. (In fairness, he did at one point tell viewers, "Don't believe what I say.") Apart from supplying a photo for an individual who died in 1809, and claiming that the Church denied Joseph Smith's polygamy until 2014, he also tried to argue that Hyrum had an "Ivy League background" and was one of the "intellectual elite... a big deal" — based on his brief attendance at Moor's Indian Charity School. (Evidently, Bell hasn't read Hyrum's missionary diary.)

Supposedly Hyrum brought 7-year-old Joseph up to speed on the unpublished 18th-century theological lectures of Dr. John Smith during Joseph's convalescence from leg surgery. And that is how we got the Book of Abraham and the temple endowment, or something like that.

Weirdly, Bell shows images of Dr. John Smith's theological writings and says he has read through a transcript of them twice, but he never actually quotes any of them. If these lectures are the smoking gun, as Behrens's article suggests and Bell affirms, why don't we ever see anything from them? Behrens doesn't quote them either. This evidence is about as compelling as the secret contents of L. Tom Perry's briefcase.

You may be right that further work on the Dartmouth connection will transform how we think about Mormon origins, but based on what I've seen so far, I'm not optimistic.
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Kishkumen
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Re: The Spalding Theory again.

Post by Kishkumen »

Nevo wrote:
Mon Nov 06, 2023 12:21 am
If there was anything to the "Dartmouth connection," don't you think Dan Vogel or Don Bradley would have found it by now? Serious question.
In Don’s case, I would say that he has been busy teasing out an entirely different line of research. He is, however, interested in Dartmouth, and I imagine he will get to it.
The "research" that Randall Bell, PhD, presented on the Mormonism LIVE! podcast was laughably bad. (In fairness, he did at one point tell viewers, "Don't believe what I say.") Apart from supplying a photo for an individual who died in 1809, and claiming that the Church denied Joseph Smith's polygamy until 2014, he also tried to argue that Hyrum had an "Ivy League background" and was one of the "intellectual elite... a big deal" — based on his brief attendance at Moor's Indian Charity School. (Evidently, Bell hasn't read Hyrum's missionary diary.)
Yes, he sounded and acted like an enthusiastic amateur. It is not uncommon in Mormon history. There are lots of people who grew up in the LDS Church who write amateur history that has obvious holes in it. The virtue of it is that they sometimes check out angles that the pros have not even looked into yet.
Supposedly Hyrum brought 7-year-old Joseph up to speed on the unpublished 18th-century theological lectures of Dr. John Smith during Joseph's convalescence from leg surgery. And that is how we got the Book of Abraham and the temple endowment, or something like that.
Yes, these quirks are driven, I would argue, by the apologetic tendency to demand “an affidavit signed by Joseph Smith in which he states that he made it all up.” It distorts the entire argument. Being part of a social network where certain ideas are repeatedly discussed would not be enough. The uncanny theological similarity is not enough. Really, a video tape showing Joseph reading John’s writings would be rejected too.

When one expects that literal angels issuing stentorian commands in a nimbus of glory, vel sim., were the primary vehicle of “revealing truth” to Joseph, then anything as mundane as Hyrum sharing ideas about religion he learned at school must be twisted into something that sounds farcical. Even after testimonies evaporate, whatever they are, the reflex to demand silly levels of proof remains on both sides of the argument.
Weirdly, Bell shows images of Dr. John Smith's theological writings and says he has read through a transcript of them twice, but he never actually quotes any of them. If these lectures are the smoking gun, as Behrens's article suggests and Bell affirms, why don't we ever see anything from them? Behrens doesn't quote them either. This evidence is about as compelling as the secret contents of L. Tom Perry's briefcase.

You may be right that further work on the Dartmouth connection will transform how we think about Mormon origins, but based on what I've seen so far, I'm not optimistic.
Maybe they are lying? Is that what you are insinuating here? Or maybe they are enthusiastic amateurs, which is what I would assume. I see lots of people of Mormon background who start data dumping what they are excited to have discovered without realizing how these things need to be meticulously demonstrated in detail. They do not realize how many hours a Don Bradley carefully labors over individual points and papers.

One thing is certain—Don doesn’t materialize out of the blue to mock these people either. He keeps a pretty open mind.
“If they can get you asking the wrong questions, they don’t have to worry about the answers.”~Thomas Pynchon, Gravity’s Rainbow
Nevo
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Re: The Spalding Theory again.

Post by Nevo »

Kishkumen wrote:
Mon Nov 06, 2023 11:19 am
He is, however, interested in Dartmouth, and I imagine he will get to it.
Glad to hear it. I enjoyed Don's presentation at this year's FAIR conference. (I also appreciated Lindsay Hansen Park's response.)
There are lots of people who grew up in the LDS Church who write amateur history that has obvious holes in it. The virtue of it is that they sometimes check out angles that the pros have not even looked into yet.
Fair point. Maybe one day a Michael Ventris will emerge from the post-Mormon podcast circuit. You never know.
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Re: The Spalding Theory again.

Post by Kishkumen »

Nevo wrote:
Mon Nov 06, 2023 2:26 pm
Glad to hear it. I enjoyed Don's presentation at this year's FAIR conference. (I also appreciated Lindsay Hansen Park's response.)
Yes. I pretty much had front row seats for Don's development of that argument. We discussed Joseph's sincerity for hours on the phone long before this presentation was put together. I very much enjoyed Lindsay's response, too. Personally, I have a problem with the word sincerity. I see it as a reaction to those people who focus on Joseph Smith being a con artist or a cynical fraud. Joseph is OK if he is at least sincere?

I take it for granted that most people are in earnest as they pursue their aims. I see Donald Trump as being relentlessly in earnest as he seeks his own interest. Joseph Smith is quite a different story from Donald Trump, one that I find almost immeasurably more sympathetic, at least up to a point, but for me the proof is in the pudding. The results of earnest efforts are open to critique and correction. If a polygamous cult of personality turns out to lead to disaster, then maybe it can be usefully critiqued and corrected.

Salivating over the prospect of it being crushed into dust is also not my jam, so to speak.

Fair point. Maybe one day a Michael Ventris will emerge from the post-Mormon podcast circuit. You never know.
Well, Don himself is not an academic, and he does not hold a PhD. So maybe your wish has already been granted. We might say the same of Dan Vogel, who has done a fine job of researching and making so much data available about Mormonism. Both men are not traditional academic scholars, and Mormon Studies is so enriched and illuminated by their work.
“If they can get you asking the wrong questions, they don’t have to worry about the answers.”~Thomas Pynchon, Gravity’s Rainbow
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Re: The Spalding Theory again

Post by High Spy »

Philo Sofee wrote:
Sun Nov 05, 2023 2:00 pm
Philo Sofee wrote:
Sun Nov 05, 2023 1:43 pm
The link doesn't work for me. Is there another I can pursue?
Never mind, I found it! Man that is a terrific resource page to help generate ideas! THANKS for pointing us in that direction!
https://slogbog.com/viewtopic.php?p=2590#p2590 wrote:Chapters
00:00 Welcome & Intro
06:00 Quick Synopsis
11:00 Lines of Evidence
13:40 1: Rigdon in Pittsburg
01:07:00 2: Rigdon in possession of Spalding’s Manuscript
01:19:00 3. Rigdon & Smith met before 1831
1:58:00 Callers

For next time:
4. Significant Overlap between manuscripts
5. Rigdon’s credibility issues explained
RFM, Bill Reel and Dan Vogel all weigh in this week and next.

Pittsburgh Post Office, but not timeline confirming. :mrgreen:
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Re: The Spalding Theory again.

Post by huckelberry »

I have a memory that some time back a bunch of information about a Dartmouth connection was posted here. I am not remembering the time or subject associations very well. It may have been connected to a proposal of grave robbing, bodies for research. Pretty speculative stuff.

At least a reminder that some education was not out of reach for the family.
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Re: The Spalding Theory again.

Post by Nevo »

huckelberry wrote:
Thu Feb 01, 2024 10:30 pm
At least a reminder that some education was not out of reach for the family.
Education was not out of reach as long as money was not a concern.

Hyrum attended Moor's Charity School as a charity scholar. In 1814, he was one of 17 charity scholars out of 61 students, supported by funds from the Society in Scotland for Propagating Christian Knowledge. Had he stayed on another year or two, he might have learned Latin and Greek. But it appears he only got as far as learning English grammar and arithmetic.
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