HOWARD HUGHES, Jesus Christ, and the problem of genuine (original) documents

by Terry 7 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • Terry

    BIBLE SCHOLARS acknowledge the absence of original writings of the Bible or even of the early generations of copies, recopied copies, up through the next several hundred years.
    Since the details of the history, words and activities of Jesus and his followers entirely depend on the accuracy and historicity of the Bible, I started thinking about a modern day parallel.


    When Billionaire eccentric Howard Hughes died in 1976, the search was on for who might inherit his vast fortune and business holdings..A gas station attendant named Melvin Dummar stepped forward and told an amazing tale. Dummar claimed that while driving through rural Nevada one night in December of 1968, he pulled onto a dirt road to answer the call of nature.

    He says he found a scraggly, bearded man lying injured in the desert. Dummar drove the stranger to Las Vegas and did not believe it when the man claimed to be Howard Hughes.

    In 1976, when the real Howard Hughes died, he was the most famous billionaire in the world. The question of who would get his money became an international guessing game. When a handwritten will was discovered in Salt Lake City, it created a worldwide sensation.
    The document became known as the “Mormon Will” because someone had mysteriously dropped it on a desk in the headquarters of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The purported will divided the Hughes estate into 16 equal shares, with one share designated for the LDS Church itself and another sixteenth for “Melvin DuMar.”

    When the world press corps beat a path to Dummar’s gas station in Willard, Box Elder County, he professed surprise at the existence of the will. He told reporters his story of the old man in the desert, but Dummar said he never knew if the stranger really was Howard Hughes.

    “I thought he was a bum,” Dummar told reporters in 1976. “I lent him some money.”

    I’ll pause in this account of Dummar’s precarious situation and draw an awkward parallel.
    The apostles and disciples who encountered a scraggly prophet in the desert (John the Baptist) and subsequently his successor, (Jesus) were made heirs to a vast Kingdom on the words of (perhaps a madman) a disputable account, which some believed and others scoffed at.
    In the court of public opinion in that day, we know the outcome. Words crafted and written in the years to come are the sole evidence (if it be accepted as such) of this promise and heirship. How can the truth of it all be determined?

    Dummar acknowledged he was the one who delivered the Will to LDS Church headquarters. But he claimed he got the document from a mysterious stranger who brought it to his gas station. Dummar said he read the will and didn’t know if it was real or a hoax. Not knowing what to do, he drove to the Church Office Building and dropped it on a desk.
    After a Las Vegas trial that lasted several months, a jury declared the will a hoax and branded Dummar a liar.

    “I wouldn’t have had a chance even if God himself had delivered the will,” Dummar said last week. “So many people thought I was a con artist or a scammer. And they treated me like a criminal.”


    I thought the parallel demonstrates how little it takes to create a dispute about people’s claims to heirship and greatness when dealing with opposing opinions and the reputation of men who are “nobody” special in their community.


  • iconoclastic
    Enjoyed it
  • fukitol
    This is a fizzle thread Terry, a bit of a stretch. So little attention for so much effort. Try again buddy. We know you will, as always.
  • prologos
    now I know why they call it the new Testament. duM
  • Saintbertholdt

    Hi Terry,

    Your comparison is interesting. The problem is that Howard Hughes was pretty nuts to do what he did and to leave his affairs in the state that he did.

    And that would be the same problem with the testimony provided within the gospels. When given the opportunity at his trial, if Jesus had showed the Pharisees or Pilate a divine act, the matter would have been settled. Or even if Jesus had shown some exceptional insight to Pilate when he asked: "What is truth?", things would have turned out differently. But Jesus kept silent. What better place to demonstrate truth or divine authority than a court of law (Sanhedrin and the Roman trial)? But he chose not to demonstrate any authoritative power and so he was crucified. He got what he wanted but then still expected everyone to put faith in him. That's not a satisfactory way to prove who you say you are.

    I would also like to draw your comparison further to the modern day. If God was prescient, then allowed almost 2000 years to lapse after his son's death, knew that technology would develop to its current state but then neglected to provide ample proof of what occurred back then, and to top it off insisted that people should absolutely believe in its authenticity, it actually points to a pretty unbalanced nutty super being.

  • OnTheWayOut

    The fake will included the LDS church so that they would feel the need to do something with this document on their desk. If it were just a nuisance, they might have tossed it in the fire, but it gave them a piece of the pie.

    To complete this analogy, the Roman Catholic Church had several "Gospels" on their desk and they tossed any that they felt did not give them the biggest pieces of the pie. You see, all of them were fakes, so they didn't want to have competing fakes all over the place. They selected 4 gospels to survive and attempted to toss all remnants of any others.

    The analogy is not perfect because these fake gospels were not only on their desk but were out there in the community. Their selection would have been tighter were that not the case.

    The biggest difference here is that, although Hughes never wrote the Dummar will anymore than Jesus wrote a gospel, Hughes was real and could have met Dummar and the fortune mentioned in the fake will was real.

  • Finkelstein

    Ancient mythological storytelling are full of embellished stories with a specific intent, particularly concerning envisioned deities. The character of Jesus Christ in his involving actions toward humanity parallels previously existed deities before his appearance in human history.

    In other words those embellished stories were plagiarized and brought into another select group of story tellers.

    Mankind has always envisioned the gods they wanted or particularly needed to understand the world they lived in and the entailing plight of the living experience..

  • Terry

    I have read probably close to 20 books on Howard Hughes.

    He was in so much pain from the plane crash he suffered, the medications finally overwhelmed him to the point he was bed-ridden.

    He only trusted Mormons in his employ. He was a deeply suspicious fellow and probably his own worst enemy. His business decisions were downright ridiculous. He was forced to sell off TWA for trying to gain a monopoly in airline carriers. The stock was at its peak. So, he made a fortune against his own will to do so.

    His most trusted aide, Noah Dietrich, wrote an interesting biography well worth reading. But, my favorite book of all time is I CAUGHT FLIES FOR HOWARD HUGHES. What a delightful book!

    His main fortune was made from a drill bit purchased in a bar and the Howard Hughes Medical facility started out as a tax dodge.

    The idea that Hughes would investigate mines in the desert is preposterous and he certainly wouldn't be riding a motorcycle by himself.

    Melvin Dummar was a con man and not a very good one. I was alive at the time of the controversy over Hughes will.

    I just thought it was a fun story and the parallel I'm offering with the scriptures is done to make the point there is no proof at all of any of the Bible writings in the form of autograph documents, originals, or earliest copies.

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