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Author Topic: Insights from Bradley's '116 Lost Pages' book.  (Read 428 times)


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Insights from Bradley's '116 Lost Pages' book.
« on: December 02, 2019, 02:39:30 pm »
Andrew R asked for another thread to discuss some of the insights I got from Bradley's book that I recommended here.

(here's an Amazon link to the book)

For clarity, this is a book of scholarship using interviews with those who would have had access to or encountered the pages prior to their loss, picking up on 'call back' references made in Mormon's later text where the story being called back doesn't exist anymore, picking up of thematic patterns in the existing text and pushing backwards, etc. Each proposition includes a full discussion of what led to that thought, as well as addressing potential arguments for it. I'm not going to be able to repeat it all, and would really suggest getting the book for the details.

He makes very clear he is not claiming this to be a work of revelation or inspiration but of scholarship. In many cases, it comes from asking a great question, finding nobody has answered it before or made a strong attempt to, and digging deeper after it.

Here I'll discuss some general points I thought were fascinating from the general narrative, and as a launching off point.

One of the themes made most clear was a recurring theme of Reformation/Restoration following a loss of the divine mandate, and posession of Sacred Keys associated with the Temple as being what established one's authority from God. The setting in Mormon's remaining pages is pretty settled in Zarahemla, which also begins detailing the rise of the Church. The lost portion of the manuscript (which Bradley affirms was more like 300 manuscript pages, the 116 number being an estimate because in the Printer's manuscript, the 'small plates' portion takes up exactly 116 pages) focused far more on the Israelite/Temple aspect.

the Opening events of the story (the same basic ones in 1 Nephi) took place during Passover, Laban taking role of Pharoah. It is discussed how the setting was just following the period where the Temple of Jerusalem had been ransacked and its sacred relics, such as the Gold Ark holding Stone Plates, the pot of manna, etc were plundered. Keep in mind these sacred relics were kept in the Holy of Holies, and only the High Priest, who possessed Urim and Thummim, was authorized to enter in and view the relics once a year.

This is important because the idea of the possession of authorized Sacred Temple Relics as the Keys of Divine Authority becomes a major theme.

+ The Sword of Laban was understood to be viewed as the Sword of Joshua, an Ephraimite relic used in the conquering of Canaan, viewed also to have been made by Joshua's descendant Joseph of Egypt. (Equivalent to sword of Goliath that David used to cut off Goliath's head that was wrapped in a shroud and left in a temple)
+ Plates of Brass a Josephite record of the Covenant, parallel to the Josianic copy of the Book of the Law.
+ Liahona (described using words calling similarity to Manna, curious thing found on the ground, which was placed in a pot and stored in the Temple) had markings indicating 'things', like food, water, travel. One spindle would point to the direction of 'where' to go, the other spindle would point to the 'what'.

A Tabernacle was erected for the first Nephite journey, and this is where the Liahona was regularly consulted.

The New World was like New Canaan, but instead of being charged with conquering it like Joshua (whos sword they had) the Canaanites had already wiped themselves out (and lost right to their own sacred relics) because they had violated covenant similar to the Nephite Covenant. (foreshadowing!) - Nephi builds temple as home for their relics.

The Lehites are divided into 7 tribes. (4 "good" +3 "bad")

The Nephites (coalition of 4) have an exodus from the Lamanites (the coalition of 3).

After a few generations, the Nephites begin to fall away from their covenant. Aminadi was given a Temple vision warning of the Nephite failure to live up to the Covenant.

Mosiah 1 was called as a prophet to reform and restore the Nephite nation. He took the Brass Plates, the Sword of Laban, and the Liahona led him to the Interpreters. The Interpreters were brought to the Tabernacle erected to move the relics away from Land of Nephi, and during an event where Mosiah was asked 'what is that in your hand?', the power of the interpreters was explained and authorized for Mosiah's use. The Liahona then went dormant, as it had become replaced. He was the new heir to the keys, a prophet, priest and King. He led the Nephites on a New Exodus.

On finding those in Zarahemla, Mosiah showed his superiority to those who claimed Judahite kingly lineage by possession of the Sacred Keys (Relics).

Drawing some of these connections forward, descriptions of Joseph Smith's interpreters (the key) and front part of the plates as the holder of the keys made some Interesting Connections.

And then keeping in mind that after annual visits to the Stone Ark holding the Gold Plates, and his retrieval of the relics, which were wrapped up and not permitted for others to view, Joseph would often set up a sheet /veil as he used the keys to see what were described as the words of God, as the rest of the sacred relics were shrouded from view.

The story as it originally unfolded, and as acted out by Joseph, would have strongly enforced the pattern of rejection of God's covenant, and inevitable reformation/restoration, and would have shown Joseph that he was a) entrusted with the Keys, and b) how important it was to safeguard them, and c) if he and his people were not worthy, they would destroy themselves, and they would be given to another.

It would inform his temple building, his desire for others to share in the safeguarding of the Keys, and the spreading of the knowledge and responsibility to as many as God would permit.

It informs why Joseph would have reacted as he did to the Masonic ceremony and symbols, and how it made sense to adapt them into material he had already been familiar with, along with his new insights.

As Bradley writes in his afterward, "The Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ in its full bloom - what has been called "Nauvoo Mormonism" - is original and literal "Mormonism"; it is the very faith promoted by Mormon in his book, beginning in its lost pages with the first words of written revelation given to Joseph Smith."
« Last Edit: December 02, 2019, 02:42:48 pm by Taalcon »
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Re: Insights from Bradley's '116 Lost Pages' book.
« Reply #1 on: December 02, 2019, 07:27:48 pm »
Fascinating. Unfortunately I will have to wait to get a copy. Hopefully I will get some Amazon vouchers for Christmas.
Don't ask me, I only live here.
Nauvoodle since March 2005 #1412
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Re: Insights from Bradley's '116 Lost Pages' book.
« Reply #2 on: December 03, 2019, 11:44:07 pm »
Just bought it. Hope it comes by Christmas, a great Christmas present for my husband.
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