RFM and Bill take a deeper look at the “Book of Mormon” and compare what we know about it with what we know about other books to see if it is as un unique as believers claim it to be and we even get Mormon Scholar, Brian Hales opinion on the matter.
https://gospeltangents.com/2021/10/automatic-writing-bill-davis/ – This is the the source for the three minute clip with Brian Hales talking about automatic writing. This segment is from an interview by Rick Bennett on his video podcast “Gospel Tangents” on the episode titled “Automatic Writing/Bill Davis’s Visions of Seer Stone”
This past week on Mormonism LIVE we covered “Automatic Writing” in the episode, Mormonism LIVE: 108: Is The Book of Mormon Unique?
A Great Article to read that delves into this in regards to its connection to Mormonism is here – https://sunstone.org/wp-content/uploads/sbi/articles/050-16-26.pdf
Here are the connections between Smith’s “Translation” of the Book of Mormon and the data behind automatic writing.
1.) Some of the Authors within “Automatic Writing” seemed to have a serious lack of education
2.) Their writings contained details that indicated antiquity that the author couldn’t of known ( [O]ne time while he [Joseph] was translating he stopped suddenly, pale as a sheet, and said, ‘Emma, did Jerusalem have walls around it?’ When I answered ‘Yes,’ he replied ‘Oh! I was afraid I had been deceived.’ He had such limited knowledge of history at that time that he did not even know that Jerusalem was surrounded by walls.”)
3.) Able to discern things about the foreign lands and times that had a degree of accuracy to them.
4.) many “Automatic Writing” examples contained significantly less anachronisms than the book of Mormon
5.) “Automatic Writing” authors used a peep stone or crystal
6.) “Automatic Writing” authors moved away from a peep stone which they needed at first to being able to translate without one.
7.) Many of the significant “Automatic Writing” productions were Christian themed
8.) Some contained the voice of Christ
9.) Many were done by dictation
10.) At Least one stated its purpose was to answer three big questions “Where did we come from”, “Why are we here”, and “Where are we going”?
11.) Many of these productions were significantly longer than the “Book of Mormon”.
12.) many proposed to claim they were being given by voices of ancient people from antiquity
13.) several “Automatic Writing” authors were able to stop and take breaks and pick up exactly where they left off without being reminded where they were. ( According to Emma, when she and Joseph were interrupted during his translating, Joseph would later resume on the very sentence from which he had left off )
14.) numerous others found the “”Automatic Writing” to be believable
15.) numerous people found the “automatic writing” productions to be of a high quality of writing. For example Jane Eyre is believed to have been written this way.
16.) numerous others found some of the “”Automatic Writing” productions to be inspiring and worth basing one’s lived spirituality on.
17.) some of the “”Automatic Writing” productions were written to a world audience with revealed knowledge important to Salvation
18.) some of the “”Automatic Writing” productions seemed to pass the tests of appearing to be from antiquity and contained little to no contemporary material. (compare to the amount of 19th Century material in the Book of Mormon).
19.) much of the “Automatic Writing” productions claim to be channeling a divine source. (Gift and Power of God)
20.) Many “Automatic Writing” productions seemed to be beyond the competency of the person performing the “Automatic Writing”.
21.) some “Automatic Writing” productions were not only done by dictation but also had many words spelled out specifically
22.) many “Automatic Writing” productions contained really deep gems that were thought provoking. Poems, and passages that seem inspiring generally.
23.) reading “Automatic Writing” productions caused awe and wonder in their readers. (they essentially felt the spirit reading them)
24.) many “Automatic Writing” productions get a ton of things onto paper quickly such as 5000 words in a single evening ( Starting on April 7th, 1829, Joseph Smith began translating the Book of Mormon. He completed his translation on July 1st of that year—just 90 days! That makes for an average of about 8 pages per day. )
Hence Joseph Smith as an “Automatic Writer” makes incredible sense and has significant overlap and suggests that the Translation of the Book of Mormon is both NOT Unique, and NOT even that good compared to other examples of “Automatic Writing” such as these * The Sorry Tale – https://archive.org/details/sorrytaleastory01currgoog/page/n6/mode/2up
* The Urantia Text – https://www.urantia.org/urantia-book/read-urantia-book-online
* The Course in Miracles – https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/4/41/A_Course_in_Miracles_Text.pdf
* Jane Eyre – https://www.gutenberg.org/files/1260/1260-h/1260-h.htm
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Ah, the Urantia Book. Takes me back to my mission. A little story.
When I was on my mission in the United States we tracted into a guy who was, I don’t remember, maybe 25-30 years old. I’m younger than RFM, but this was still, for me, quite a few years ago, so the details are my best recollection.
We were trying to bear our testimonies, etc. to get him to want to take the discussions. He was nice enough, but not interested in the discussions. Then he “bore his testimony” to us.
When he was in a high school science class he was writing out, or at least spelling out in his mind, the word Uranus. As he spelled it out he heard a distinct voice tell him, “Stop. Re-spell the word.” So he spelled out, “U-R-A-N …” at which point the voice butted in and continued, “T-I-A.”
He had no idea what U-R-A-N-T-I-A meant at the time.
So whatever years later, maybe 5-10 years, he happened to be in a bookstore and saw The Urantia Book on the bookshelf, and recognized that this was what this voice had spelled out years before. He bought the book and read it, and was “converted”.
I read two or three pages while at this guy’s house from a random location in the middle. As I remember it, it’s essentially like what you might get if a Mormon decided to write a book of scripture about Kolob-style deep doctrine. Lots of specifics about angels, roles, titles, heavens, IIRC.
But the interesting part for me, at the time and now, was how this guy, if he is to be believed, had been given revealed knowledge of something that he couldn’t possibly have known about beforehand (the existence of a book) and which he wouldn’t have evidence of until some years later.