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Re: Pious fraud, sincere charlatan (new bio of Joseph Smith)

Sep 13, 2004 09:33 AM
by kpauljohnson

--- In, "stevestubbs" <stevestubbs@y...> wrote:

> Interesting theory. I assume you are saying CWL is a Category 1 
> hurricane, i.e.:
> > 1. The charlatan who may or may not believe in magic but
> > uses its vocabulary and props while employing trickery
> > for profit, power, and prestige.

> And HPB a Category 2:
> > 2. The sincere charlatan who believes in magic but occasionally
> > practices trickery both to enhance his presentation and more
> > easily convince others of his powers.
> Is this correct?
Yes, by her own admission.
> And where do you place Joseph Smith (I would assume he is no better 
> than CWL.)

Vogel considers him a well-intentioned fraud who believed in his own
divine mission; that sounds right to me. That would put him a step
above CWL, who like Paul Twitchell seems to have practiced deception
without any "good" reasons. 2, but barely.

And does Vogel have any theory why anyone would want to 
> believe in Smith's stuff?
At the time it was published, the BOM was not as ridiculous as it is
now. I don't think he addresses why contemporary believers believe,
focusing on Joseph's lifetime. Damdifino how anyone can find the BOM
credible today.

BTW Cayce, like Mary Baker Eddy, falls into the sincere but deluded
category. Yet I'd consider him a 4 rather than a 3 for a couple of
reasons. He was plagued by self-doubt and by no means a true believer
in his own readings, whereas Mrs. Eddy does not seem to have
considered herself fallible. And taking his advice seems to have been
a lot better for people's health than taking Mrs. Eddy's. (My mind is
open about whether or not he really demonstrated clairvoyance.)

> affiliation, including people who are excluded for whatever reason 
> from the mainstream of society. It is possible that this intense 
> need for affiliation is what binds people to absurd systems like 
> Smith's.
Is Larry Kolts still here? Perhaps he can comment.


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