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Guy's Blog

Just one Guy's personal blog of thoughts & sense--common, non, and otherwise--of the world in which we live.

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Location: Nipomo, Central Coast, California, United States

I also blog over at Nipomo News, Messenger and Advocate and Bloggernacle Times

Sunday, November 13, 2005

More Thoughts From Joseph Smith Rough Stone Rolling

I was reading in Rough Stone Rolling, still on the Translation chapter, and came across a thought by Bushman, I had never considered, or even knew for that matter. He has just covered the period where Joseph has let Martin Harris take the first 116 pages of transcript, and lost them. Bushman points out that 1828 was a pivotal year for the Prophet Joseph. It was the year he began, and at the same time lost the ability to translate, as well as 116 pages of translation itself. He also lost a new born Son, Alvin, named after his own late older brother. He was severely chastised for his role in allowing Martin Harris to take, and then lose the transcript.

Yet, in that time, the Prophet began to find his prophetic calling, as Bushman points out, when Joseph received his chastisement revelation. Bushman notes:
His true history began with his search for a church and his plea for forgiveness. These led to the revelation of the Father and the Son and the visit of Moroni, the cardinal events of his boyhood. After 1828, Joseph could no longer see that magic might have prepared him to believe in a revelation of gold plates and translation with a stone. It did not occur to him that without magic his family might have scoffed at his story of Moroni, as did the minister who rejected the First Vision. Magic had played its part and now could be cast aside.
See Bushman, Rough Stone Rolling, p. 69.

The irony lies, of course, in the anti-Mormon crowd usually beating the Prophet Joseph over the head with his prior dabbling in money digging and the occult. Bushman's thesis, arguably correct is that earlier activities by Joseph, while not the best uses of his Divine gift, were nonetheless preparatory for his eventual Prophetic calling. I like this analysis, and was again something I had never really before considered. It shows the human side of the Prophet, which clearly he was. Yet it also shows his growth and progress as he learned from his past mistakes.

UPDATE: Note that M* has a great inteview with Prof. Bushman the author of this book, which you can read here. It is a good interview, and I'm sure will generate some interesting comments. They note that Prof. Bushman may pop in and out of that discussion to answer further questions and comments.


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