Thursday, August 9, 2012

Understanding What the Book of Mormon Actually Is

Journal Writing or Making Crap Up - Hawkgrrrl (Wheat & Tares)

My comment is #3, which I am copying here:

First, Hardy’s approach to the Book of Mormon is what I’ve tried to preach for decades. It is a great book in that it tries to look at what the BofM actually says (and, importantly, doesn’t say) – not what we assume and have assumed it says. I HIGHLY recommend the book.
To the main point of the post, I have never been able to keep a journal as a record of what happens in my life. That sort of journal bores me to tears, and it was my own private Hell when I tried to “keep a journal”.
Now, I write my personal blog, mainly to record what actually is important to me – my thoughts. That’s probably more than a little narcissistic, but I like the pensieve analogy in Jacob’s comment. I want those things recorded so I don’t forget them – and so I can see the evolution of my beliefs over time as I go back and review them – and so my children and their children will know what was important to me (and how my views hopefully evolved over time).
Do I censor myself when I blog? Sure, to some degree – but less on my personal blog than when I comment in a forum like this. Here, I try to be very careful that I am not misunderstood (which often doesn’t work), while I often add more detail and nuance on my own blog. I write with a purpose and a “mission” – so, of course, I self-censor. I’m fine with that, however, since I’m not writing a “history” – and I think that’s one of Hardy’s main points about the Book of Mormon abridgers.
The “writers” of the base texts wrote histories, but the “authors” of the Book of Mormon didn’t. Two different purposes – two different approaches – two different results. Until we accept those differences and stop treating the Book of Mormon as something it’s not (a history of objective facts), we will struggle with understanding and appreciating it for what it actually is (a journal of subjective thoughts and beliefs). 


Matthew said...

It is exciting what recent and current scholarship has done for the BofM. We, as a people, really have ignored it since it was translated, not even bothering to look seriously at its message for the most part. I feel like we are just now starting to scratch the surface of its message, which is substantially different in many ways from what I had always been taught.

I think we do all our scriptures a huge disservice by not reading them closely, by prooftexting, and by assuming they mean what our traditions tell us, instead of letting them speak for themselves.

Loved Hardy's book - absolutely loved it.

Unknown said...

There is no such thing as a history of objective facts.