Rtc 2012-04-13 03:21:37
I’ve recently purchased, and have almost concluded reading the book “An
active in the Mormon History Association… In his local LDS ward, he
is the high priest group instructor.”
If you have read all or some of this book, I would be interested in your
thoughts of the book…
Sam kitterman 2012-04-13 03:21:53
Never heard of the book and thus, would like some more details, e.g.,
publisher, whether such was available in main stream stores or through
publisher, etc. Would be interesting to read.
Jamesb 2012-04-13 07:30:47
There has been discussion of this book at ZLMB (a message board for faithful
members/ apologists, anti’s, and everything in between).
Two pertinent quotes from the threads:
“I’ve been reading Grant H. Palmers book, “An Insiders View of Mormon
Origins” over the holidays. It is the clearest, most to the point, book I’ve
read on the early events in the church: BOM origins, First Vision,
Priesthood restoration, BOA, etc. I agree with the reviewer at amazon.com
that this book will be great to help member family or friends understand
these issues. Palmer obviously isn’t trying to drag people out of the
church, but is making a pretty strong call for the church (and members) to
shed the history that is no longer credible (an approach I agree with).
Palmers 34 year career (as a teacher and administrator) with the CES brings
credibilty. Although a big order, I hope Palmers book will help the church
deal openly with these issues, and help prevent many of the testimony
casualties that occur when people learn about them, as well as associated
family strains that too often accompany (myself included). It will be
interesting to see how the church reacts to Palmer and this book.”
And this one from a recent post, where Palmer’s book was being discussed by
someone who had already looked into alternate theories for the origin of the
Book of Mormon:
“In my case, all of what I had read before Palmer was like little “battles
of Midway” or Pacific skirmishes. Palmer’s book was Hiroshima for me. It has
effectively ended 29 years of struggle and doubt. I am sure that FARMS will
try, and in the eyes of many LDS succeed in “demolishing” Palmer. But for me
the sun still shines – and all of the many evidences I have read and
collated over the years were articulated by Palmer and coalesced to form a
very clear picture for me. What really made it effective is that he is not
an anti-Mormon. I could see through the Tanners and their forced conclusions
too easily. Palmer doesn’t have to force anything, the truth about the BoM
just flows naturally. ”
I have read the book, and recommend it very highly. I still go to Church,
and hold a calling as a teacher, and have my temple recommend, but after
finishing Palmer’s book I had to finally admit that I no longer believed in
an ancient origin of the Book of Mormon. I had doubts for a while, but it
wasn’t until I saw it all in one place that I realized how strong the
evidence was against the Book of Mormon, compared to the evidence for it.
If you absolutely want to maintain your testimony above all else, you could
probably live without reading this book. It won’t do anything for you. But
if you want to know the best evidences against many of the incidences in
Church history that we take for granted as having happened, this book is a
great place to start.
Rtc 2012-04-13 07:31:31
You can purchase it at Amazon:
Millerjamesc 2012-04-16 20:55:37
I highly recommend it. It’s really well written, very complete,
surprisingly concise and pithy, and the evidence and discussion are
rock-solid. He’s really done his homework. And the extremely
thoughtful, in-depth discussion of each topic struck me as evidence
that he has struggled with those issues for years and years and has
researched them exhaustively. As an atheist exmormon, I find myself
agreeing with many of his conclusions (though certainly not with his
decision to stay in the church).
It’s also interesting to see how a very thoughtful, knowledgeable
person deals with the threat of cognitive dissonance. Palmer’s
approach (assuming it’s not the result of a deliberate voice to make
the unpleasant, non faith promoting message more palatable to TBMs and
actually represents what he thinks) is refreshingly honest and the
actions he takes as a result of his knowledge and conclusions
demonstrate real strength of character and principle. I can only hope
that my actions can demonstrate as much character and thoughtfulness
My guess would be the strength of his powerfully presuasive
presentation and unimpeachable data will give this book real “legs”
and that it will be increasingly used by friend and foe alike.
One thing I will watch carefully is whether or not the Church allows
his pension to continue as the book grows in notoriety. Perhaps this
will be a test for the character of the Church leaders who deal with
James C. Miller
Rtc 2012-04-16 20:55:41
Has nobody here in soc.religion.mormon read this book? I’m amazed…
Michael 2012-04-16 20:56:05
Millions and millions of people use the internet, but there’s only a
couple dozen people here 🙂
Michael 2012-04-16 20:56:08
Thanks, James, I value your recommendation 😉 but I must challenge any
living person’s claim to have an Insider’s View of Mormon Origins.
The Origins are done, gone, long time ago and beaten to death again and
again for the past 170 or so years and the farther we get from it the
less likely we will uncover new truth.
Being a high priest group instructor doesn’t mean a lot, I’m one of those
and I can tell you what you already know; it is the opinionated trying to
teach the opinionated. A Low Priest may feel occasionally humbled by his
lack of knowledge, but seldom is a High Priest afflicted by either 🙂
Which is no doubt one reason why HP’s have their own quorum and room;
keep us and our conspiracy theories and war stories (WW2, Korea, Vietnam)
away from impressionable Low Priests.
Still, if there’s money to be made, maybe I should write a book, spend
some time imagining if I were God and there existed a world-wide apostacy
using my name, what (if anything) would I do about it? Might I recognise
in a newly colonized continent an opportunity to start a seedling of a
religion, out from under the canopy of that opressive religion? Would
that seedling be exactly what I want, or would it be something capable of
growing in the soil that is available, with seeds that are available?
Would every person attracted by the fruit of that tree instantly become
perfect, or would they continue to be attracted to the fruit without
themselves perhaps contributing much to it?
So, I have insider views too ’cause I’m still “inside.”
Jwtaber 2012-04-16 20:57:01
I may have, I’m not sure. I read a lot of things and remember what
was in them, but not necessarily what I read.
Wayne doust 2012-04-18 22:31:12
Au contrare! All of us here read every single book that has ever been
published about our faith.
After all, none of us have a life and find it deeply moving to read
the opinions of other people about what we believe and then
immortalise ouselves on the net with our new found knowledge.
NB: Smiley’s implied
This is a test of the emergency signature system.
If this were a real test, you would be reading an amusing anecdote,
personal philosophy, or corporate disclaimer. This is just a test.
Slsdn 2012-04-18 22:31:43
I read about half of the book last week.
I have to restate my feelings about the church: namely, I am not sure
what to think. I like many things in the church, but I am not sure.
My first feeling after reading ‘Insider’s View’ was that this is
indeed a powerful testimony against Joseph Smith and the Restoration.
Palmer states that he is merely recasting light on Mormon Origins and
that the church simply needs to re-evaluate (i.e. change) its Joseph
Smith story. The author seems to still be LDS, but if most of the
claims in “Insider’s View” are true, I I personally could not be a
Let me try and break it down:
1-Translations: Palmer points out the Book of Abraham translation
problem. He seems to indicate that we *do* have all the BoA papyri
(including the ones with red ink) and the translation is ‘incorrect’.
Palmer brings up the Kinderhook plates and feels they were a hoax (in
spite of the 2 hoax exposures coming 10 and 30 years after the fact,
the plates have been found, dated and shown to be recent in
origin–ALTHOUGH there is an interesting article I will have to post
about that). Palmer also points out how the Golden Plates were not in
the same room during most of the translation–thus we need to rethink
the way we think of Joseph Smith as a ‘translator’.
Palmer also lists many similarities between the Bible and the BoM, and
between the writings of Paul and Alma. He also finds many references
to documents that Joseph Smith *might* have had access to and *might*
have used in writing his revelations.
This approach has 2 problems for me: Anti’s make fun of Hugh Nibley
for seeing patterns and making connections between things they see as
unrelated. But Palmer does a similar thing with his Joseph Smith
analysis. I am not saying finding similarities, patterns and
possibilities is bad for historical analysis. But I think it’s
important to keep in mind that these things are not hard evidence, and
simply affirmations of a pre-held belief (whether you’re pro-Mormon or
Anti). Anyway, the second problem is that the people of Joseph
Smith’s time would most likely be more fit judges to see if he
plagiarized contemporary works, and AFAIK none of them accused him of
using sources outside the KJV, Spaulding, and maybe View of the
An example of this is Joseph Smith’s father seeing the Tree of Life
vision before the writing of the Book of Mormon. Mormons think it
means that God let Joseph Sr. have a witness, and Anti-Mormons think
it means that Joseph stole the dream for his book. Neither conclusion
is an evidence in itself, yet both are evidence to people with
Anyway, the point of all of these evidences is that Joseph Smith
and did not translate them the way we think of translation.
2-The Book of Mormon and Influences from Local Revivals: This was a
very interesting chapter. Well… especially considering some Anti’s
doubted the historicity of revivals in the Palmyra region. Now these
same revivals are documented and Palmer makes a case for some of these
revivals being source material for the BoM. I will definitely have to
re-read this chapter.
3-The Evolution of Joseph’s Doctrine: I have been reading a lot
lately so I might be jumbling my thoughts… I believe Palmer argues
for the evolution of Joseph’s notions of 1) Distinctness of The
Father and the Son and 2) The Father’s body of flesh. I must agree
that the BoM seems to support Trinitarianism at times (or at least not
be obviously ‘Mormon’ in language). But on the other hand, if D&C 76
(“For we saw Him, even on the right hand of God”) was really written
in February of 1832, then I find it hard to believe that Joseph did
not at least entertain the notion of 2 Gods during the 1832 account of
the First Vision (that some people say indicates Joseph believed in
the sameness of the Father and the Son).
That was a wordy paragraph and I apologize that I’m too tired to
revise. My point is, that I think early scripture hints at our
current view the separateness of the Father and the Son and that I
don’t care when Joseph learned the Father has a body of flesh and
I have not yet read the chapters dealing with the Witnesses, what
constituted a “Vision” in the minds of the early church leaders, and
the poor documentation of the restoration of the Priesthood.
I am predicting a rehash of someone’s (Brodie’s?) suggestion that a
‘vision’ was something that happened in the spirit or in the ‘eyes of
our understanding’. H***, maybe faster than light travel *IS*
impossible except for intelligences… if only they weren’t matter…
Speaking of sci-fi… Palmer says that Abraham’s planetary scheme
indicates outdated Newtonian mechanics or something… I thought that
time dilation between planets in different revolutions was from
Einstein and a pro-Mormon evidence? Am I wrong on that one? Have to
re-read that part.
Anyway, I hope to finish the book, but I don’t think the ambiguously
dated Priesthood restorations or suggestions that Joseph was an
epileptic who hypnotized others to see visons will be problematic for
In the end, I might agree with a few of Palmer’s suggestions–e.g.
Joseph might not have been so much a ‘translator’ but a ‘seer’…
This is actually suggested in an Ensign article about the production
of the Books of Abraham and Mormon
Palmer’s desire seemed to be for the church to focus less on the
Restoration and more on joining up with our fellow Christians (like
the RLDS/Community of Christ)… I disagree with this conclusion.
First, if the message of the restoration is false, then Mormonism
means nothing to me. And secondly, Mormonism is probably the only
vehicle for me to believe in God (problem of evil, purpose of life,
If you’ve read this far… I’m sorry. Mark
Might be me 2012-04-18 22:32:40
That is a good starting point. Recall Joseph did not know what to think
about the clutter of “chruches” that existed where he lived, so he asked of
God. That is a good thing to do. I hope you have done so, since I am
positive that questions of this nature are not solved by human reason.
In other words, Palmer is simply repeating things that were said 170-180
years ago? The Church merely needs to deny its claims to be the Church and
Gospel of Jesus Christ restored with Priesthood authority? I see.
You could not be a Mormon if most of the claims are true? Well, I doubt that
most of the things are true, but I am not a “Mormon” and do not know what
one is. I am a follower of Jesus Christ to the best of the ability that He
gives me. I have evaluated the claims of The Church of Jesus Christ of
Latter-day Saints and find them in my opinion to be more true to the
teachings of Jesus Christ than I find the teachings of any other “church” on earth to be.
This is indeed a problem to some. You say he seems to indicate, but I am
sure he cannot tell you where to find these papyri. I am convinced for
myself that we do not have them. Maybe they no longer exist, maybe they do,
but we in the Church do not have them. You say he “feels” the Kinderhook
plates were a hoax. I think that is a belief held by the Church as well. I
fail to understand your point. You say he “feels they were a hoax” and then
you mention two hoax exposures along with the fact that the plates have been
examined and shown to be of recent origin. So what is the big deal about his “feeling”?
Why would these similarities be surprising? What Joseph _MIGHT_ have had
access to makes no impression on me. He _MIGHT_ have had access to some
original writings by Adam, for all I know. He did not make such a claim.
Getting better all the time!!
AFAIK that is correct. Of course they also had little access to some of the
stuff that he _MAY_ have had access to.
Actually, I believe neither of the things that you posit above.
It has always been said that he translated by the gift and power of God.
There is no reason to assume he translated by ordinary means.
Have at it.
I prefer to believe what Joseph has said. There is nothing wrong with a
notion of trinity, so long as we don’t get too far afield in what that may mean.
I think it makes little or no difference either way.
More power to you. I think I would rather read a Harry Potter book.
OK. But if he translated something, even if it was by the gift and power of
God and not the normal academic way, does that make him less a translator?
Words indeed mean things, but frequently they mean different things in
different contexts or to different people.
If the Church were to capitulate and become merely a “me to” organization
with regard to those who are astray, we would lose our reason for existence.
Yeah, well …
John s.colton 2012-04-20 10:13:34
I don’t know what Palmer’s evidence is, but Jeff Lindsay makes a
pretty good argument that we do *not* have all of the BoA papyri. http://www.jefflindsay.com/LDSFAQ/FQ_Abraham.shtml#joseph [snip] [snip]
Speaking as a physicist, I seriously doubt that any of the
descriptions in Abraham’s writings can be used to justify either
Newtonian or Einsteinian mechanics. If you want to be more specific, I
can give you more specific opinions.
John’s new usenet motto:
“A soft answer turneth away wrath:
but grievous words stir up anger.” –Prov. 15:1