The ever entertaining Rob Bowman has recently updated an article rife with special pleading regarding the visit of Moroni to Joseph Smith. In the article Bowman discusses how it is quite implausible that Joseph could have a visit from an angel, and yet none of the brothers whom he shared a room with noticed or were awoken by it. He does so while ignoring such Biblical instances of Elisha’s servants and the heavenly army that basically utilize the same principles.
Firstly let’s recognize that even the appearance of an angel to a human feels like an implausible scenario, so that the implausible did happen, let’s not limit ourselves to having the implausible happen but only being able to happen in a way that agrees with our 21st century sensibilities.
Never mind that as previously mentioned in the OT and NT there are cases presented where one party is aware of angelic visitors and other parties have no idea they are there. This flaw was pointed out to Bowman previous to his update, and it seems he hasn’t done anything to change that issue or address it. Rather his update spends considerable effort reinforcing the reality of his special pleading.
He has also incorrectly stated our views on angels or perhaps inadequately stated
3. In LDS theology, angels are not incorporeal beings that appear to people in temporary visible manifestations. They are understood to be resurrected human beings possessing immortal, glorified physical bodies. Moroni, specifically, is said to have been a resurrected Nephite prophet and the son of the Nephite prophet Mormon; Moroni is identified as the man who finished his father’s book and eventually deposited the gold plates in the hill near Joseph Smith’s home. Thus, a visitation by such a physical being (as distinguished from a vision of such a being) would be presumed to be visible and audible to anyone in a physical location to see and hear unless the account stated otherwise.
Actually Rob in LDS theology not all angels are resurrected beings, there are plenty that are simply spirits, though one should remember here that the physical laws of earth don’t exactly apply to them, resurrected or not, the same way they apply to us. So standing in the air and being visible to only some are well within their abilities.
One is left to wonder why an angel that is a physical being suddenly operates via different rules than one that isn’t.
Does Rob have a copy of the employee manual for angelic beings? Would he kindly share why he presumed automatic visibility and audibility?
Was it simply to help his narrative, something put together on the fly as it were to adjust for data or is there something else that lends support for differing rules for Moroni?
Rob would have us believe that Moroni can find away to stand in the air but doesn’t have the ability to only appear to Joseph. An odd assumption, notice also Bowman admits his conclusion that Moroni would have been naturally visible to the other brothers is an assumption, and the only supporting data for that is basically that he thinks it must be that way.(Again he must have a copy of the angels employee manual or maybe the union agreement) And yet in the same breathe he accuses Mormon apologists of forwarding ad hoc responses.
(Phone rings) “Hello”
(Voice on the other end) “Yes Hi, is this Kettle?”
“Yes this is the kettle what can I do for you?”
“Yeah this is the pot and I was just calling to let you know you are black m’kay!” (Hangs up)
Now this type of hypocrisy and double standards is a hallmark of Bowman’s work, but let’s not dwell on it let’s move back to his article.
Bowman spends the next portion of his article trying to act like his special pleading regarding Joseph’s brothers isn’t special pleading because in the example used against him where Elisha sees the chariots of the Lord standing with them and his servant doesn’t (see 2 Kings 6) the servant is mentioned and in Joseph’s claim his brothers aren’t.
So see guys it isn’t special pleading still because…. oh wait you mean Rob is still making an allowance for the miraculous on a tale he feels is true while not making room for that same miracle with Joseph and therefore it is special pleading whether one story explicitly mentions the there or not?
Again remember it is Bowman accusing LDS apologists of ad hoc responses, and yet Bowman only asserts the invalidity of comparison between Joseph and Elisha AFTER his special pleading has been pointed out to him.
Of course you’ll have to forgive Joseph for not mentioning his brothers considering how they played no role in the experience and Joseph is detailing what transpired between him and Moroni.
Apparently it seems angels only have the power to conceal themselves when everyone who is there later gets mentioned. That’s important information to know I’m glad Rob filled us in on that tidbit.
But let’s break down how Rob arrives at this supposedly none special pleading non ad hoc solution.
The narrative makes it quite clear why he did not at first see the supernatural forces: they were not naturally visible beings.
Yes, and in Joseph’s case glorified resurrected beings from heaven are just always walking around town naturally visible to anyone… Oops my bad again they aren’t. So right off the bat we have two scenarios with the same premise going on let’s continue
Elijah’s servant had to be granted the ability to see those supernatural beings. Notice that the servant is not rebuked for lack of faith or anything along those lines; his not seeing the supernatural beings was not his fault, because they were not natural entities that would be normally visible to human eyes.
See it was Joseph’s brothers fault because Resurrected glorified beings from heaven are floating around town visible to everyone like we previously established so the brothers of Joseph not seeing Moroni is totally on them and their failure to just use their natural eyes.
God had to “open his eyes” to see them. The fact that the account reports that the servant at first did not see the supernatural army and then did see it is explained in the account itself as involving the miraculous. The reader is not forced to this explanation ad hoc to resolve some external difficulty; it is what the text actually says.
Yes God had to open their eyes to see it. But God didn’t have to open Joseph’s eyes to the vision cuz Resurrected glorified beings from heaven are just floating around town for everyone to naturally see all the time.
I would like to take this moment to thank Rob for outlining his special pleading in perfect detail and showing the say reader just guilty of hypocrisy and double standards he is. It was actually quite humorous as I read though I was like
Anyways Bowman instead of solving the problem of special pleading in his update merely served to outline exactly how he is guilty of it all while arguing that he wasn’t doing it, that’s good stuff
If you want to check Rob’s actual article to see his assumptions presumptions and double standards in action do so here.
Sometimes I feel like Bowman’s articles need a waring sign like this
Or as another associate of mine said
“What he’s doing is very clever. Since Joseph Smith didn’t mention how his brothers were kept from seeing the vision, ANY theory put forward to explain how that could be possible can, and will, be dismissed as “ad hoc.” In his reasoning, the very act of trying to explain it defeats the explanation. Ergo, no explanation can exist; ergo, he needs do nothing else to win the debate other than state his starting assumption.
What a hack.”