I am interested to know some thoughts on the possible origins of the Mormon "scriptures".

While a member, I recall a list of characteristics of the BoM that LDS scholars had put togther that showed that J.S. could not have written them without "divine revelation". Things like the Chiastic structure of the Book of Mosiah, and all of the unique, yet "linguisitcally consistent" names in the BoM.

I know that some 30 years back, the original "Book of Abraham" papyrus showed up in Chicago and was donated to the church. Since then, all respectable Egyptologists have failed to find any connection between it and the content of the Book of Abraham in the PoGP.

It is also increasingly apparent that there is no archealogical evidence for the BoM story anywhere on the American continent. This includes no evidence for Middle Eastern DNA in any of the three indigenous American populations.

So what are some of the rational and scientifically-informed explanations for the production of such "convincing", biblical-style writings?

One term I read about recently is called "auditory hallucination". This, I think, is the auditory equivalent of a visual hallucination. In this case, Smith's daily life, his family, social milieu, and mind were "full of content" from the revivalism of the Second Great Awakening (1800-1830) that regurgitating an American-centric christianity is feasible for a mind that is susceptible to mild hallucination.

Anyone care to comment on the how it might have happened (in reality)?

Tags: Joseph, Smith, atheist, brain, ex-Mormon, hallucination, science

Views: 145

Replies to This Discussion

Going further with this idea, I wonder how J. Smith's "experiences" compare with claims and works of channelling mediums such as Jane Roberts (Seth Speaks).
This is a great question, and is one that keeps many skeptical, intelligent Mormons (such as my wife) from completely rejecting the whole cockamamie story. As the leadership has repeated ad nauseum, the Book of Mormon exists, and anyone looking to expose TSCC for the fraud that it may be (or is) must deal with the text.

I had not heard of Jane Roberts previously, and it was very interesting to read some of her writings as "Seth." Another great example of an uneducated person writing a prodigious amount of material is Pearl Curran writing as Patience Worth. These examples strike me as far more outrageous than the thought of JS composing the BoM with all of its "'convincing', biblical-style writings." Yet Mormons are perfectly content to be skeptical about the other cases, while holding up the JS case as bullet-proof (or at least extremely convincing).

The most convincing explanation for the BoM, in my opinion, is a combination of many factors. Influences from View of the Hebrews, Oliver Cowdery, Solomon Spaulding, and Sidney Rigdon, with JS acting as the "editor," seems the most plausible explanation to me. The Rigdon article by Craig Criddle is fascinating reading and approaches the question from a skeptical, naturalist perspective.
I have a possible explanation. Temporal Lobe Epilepsy. I have the condition myself and have had numerous visions of religious types. TLE can cause hyper-religosity, hypergraphia, and peadophilia (in men..not all of them but it tends to be more prevailaent in men with TLE ) Those 3 symptoms alone could be responsible for the book of Mormon and it's churches bizarre ways. Add to it that Joseph Smith's character was highly questionable to begin with. He perpetrated so many financial scams a whole lot of people wanted him hung.
Other symptoms are hallucinations of all the senses, out of body experiences, waking dreams/night terrors, sleep paralysis. Trust me, a TLE can produce volumes and volumes of writing within their lifetime and if they are intelligent and hyper-religious as well..The book of Mormon is a piece of cake.
Thank you, Krystal. It is always helpful to hear from someone with first-hand experience with a special condition that can help us understand what it is like on the inside. The "hallucinations of all the senses" is what I was wondering about. We typically think of hallucinations as being primarily visual but I assume it can be auditory as well. Is a TLE episode something the can be triggered by certain mental activities or dietary habits, etc.?

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