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In 1820 Joseph Smith claimed that he saw God and Jesus Christ. The two were floating above him in the air and looked identical. Joseph alleges that Jesus Christ told him about buried golden plates wherein the history of Ancient Americans was contained. In due time Joseph retrieved the plates and translated them into the "Book Of Mormon". Mormons consider the Book Of Mormon to be the most correct book on earth.
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The Book Of Mormon
Saturday, Apr 8, 2006, at 08:16 AM
Original Author(s): Infymus
Topic: BOOK OF MORMON   -Link To MC Article-
The "Book Of Mormon" is a set of scriptures used by the Mormon Church. In 1820 Joseph Smith claimed that he saw God and Jesus Christ. The two were floating above him in the air and looked identical. Joseph alleges that Jesus Christ told him about buried golden plates wherein the history of Ancient Americans was contained.

At first he was not allowed to obtain the plates being blocked by Angels, however, later he allegedly attained them from the Hill Cumorah in Upstate New York. With help from his close associates, he allegedly began translating the language written on the plates into English. He did this by placing a "Seer Stone" in a hat, and placing his head in the hat. He claimed that words would appear and he would read them aloud, his scribe then writing it down.

Contained in the Book of Mormon are many chapters titled by the alleged author that wrote them. Each chapter is the story of Ancient Americans known as Nephites and Lamanites - of whom God himself allegedly brought to America from Jerusalem.

Published in 1830 as pure scripture declaring that it testified of Jesus Christ, it was considered a sacred book.
"Joseph Smith would put the seer stone into a hat, and put his face in the hat, drawing it closely around his face to exclude the light; and in the darkness the spiritual light would shine. A piece of something resembling parchment would appear, and on that appeared the writing. One character at a time would appear, and under it was the interpretation in English. Brother Joseph would read off the English to Oliver Cowdery, who was his principal scribe, and when it was written down and repeated to Brother Joseph to see if it was correct, then it would disappear, and another character with the interpretation would appear. Thus the Book of Mormon was translated by the gift and power of God, and not by any power of man."David Whitmer, An Address to All Believers in Christ, Richmond, Mo.: n.p., 1887, p. 12.
Today, there have been over 3,000 changes to the Book of Mormon, including changing of entire verses. Racial epitaphs such as "White and Delightsome" have been changed to "Pure and Delightsome."

In April of 2006 the Mormon Church declared "This book was not a record of myth or an ancient history test or anything other than the true word of God." (Ensign, Apr 2006, p68) showing the LDS Corporation no longer views the Book Of Mormon as ancient text or history.
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Double Speak From Mormon Scripture
Thursday, Feb 17, 2005, at 10:30 AM
Original Author(s): Argar Largar
Topic: BOOK OF MORMON   -Link To MC Article-
I believe Primary children and Seminary students memorize 1 Nephi 3:7 but perhaps I should have my kids memorize DC 124:49 as well if they want to start learning Mormon Double Talk.

1 Nephi 3:7

7 And it came to pass that I, Nephi, said unto my father: I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them.

DC 124:49



Is it just me or is the Book of Mormon full of prophecies that get fulfilled but the Doctrine and Covenants is full of prophecies that get excuses why they weren't fulfilled? I've said this before -- Joseph did a pretty good job of prophesying about things that supposedly happened in the past but not so good a job of prophesying about the future. c
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LDS Church: Book Of Mormon Can't Be A Fable
Sunday, Feb 20, 2005, at 08:14 AM
Original Author(s): Deconstructor
Topic: BOOK OF MORMON   -Link To MC Article-
In October 1993, LDS Church Apostle Dallin H. Oaks spoke at a FARMS annual dinner. He clearly layed out the church's stand on the historicity of the Book of Mormon, and criticized those within the church that do not accept it as an historical record.

Here are some excerpts:

"Some who term themselves believing Latter-day Saints are advocating that Latter-day Saints should abandon claims that the Book of Mormon is a historical record of the ancient peoples of the Americas. They are promoting the feasibility of reading and using the Book of Mormon as nothing more than a pious fiction with some valuable contents. These practitioners of so-called "higher criticism" raise the question of whether the Book of Mormon, which our prophets have put forward as the preeminent scripture of this dispensation, is fact or fable--history or just a story."

"Some Latter-day Saint critics who deny the historicity of the Book of Mormon seek to make their proposed approach persuasive to Latter-day Saints by praising or affirming the value of some of the contents of the book. Those who take this approach assume the significant burden of explaining how they can praise the contents of a book they have dismissed as a fable. I have never been able to understand the similar approach in reference to the divinity of the Savior. As we know, some scholars and some ministers proclaim him to be a great teacher and then have to explain how the one who gave such sublime teachings could proclaim himself (falsely they say) to be the Son of God who would be resurrected from the dead."

"The new style critics have the same problem with the Book of Mormon. For example, we might affirm the value of the teachings recorded in the name of a man named Moroni, but if these teachings have value, how do we explain these statements also attributed to this man?"

And if there be faults [in this record] they be the faults of a man. But behold, we know no fault; nevertheless God knoweth all things; therefore, he that condemneth, let him be aware lest he shall be in danger of hell fire. (Mormon 8:17.)

And I exhort you to remember these things; for the time speedily cometh that ye shall know that I lie not, for ye shall see me at the bar of God; and the Lord God will say unto you: Did I not declare my words unto you, which were written by this man, like as one crying from the dead, yea, even as one speaking out of the dust? (Moro. 10:27.)
"There is something strange about accepting the moral or religious content of a book while rejecting the truthfulness of its authors' declarations, predictions, and statements. This approach not only rejects the concepts of faith and revelation that the Book of Mormon explains and advocates. This approach is not even good scholarship."

"The Book of Mormon's major significance is its witness of Jesus Christ as the only begotten Son of God the Eternal Father who redeems and saves us from death and sin. If an account stands as a preeminent witness of Jesus Christ, how can it possibly make no difference whether the account is fact or fable--whether the persons really lived who prophesied of Christ and gave eye witnesses of his appearances to them?"

"As Jack Welch and I discussed the topic of my address this evening, he pointed out that this new wave of antihistoricism 'may be a new kid on the block in Salt Lake City, but he has been around in a lot of other Christian neighborhoods for several decades.'"

"Indeed! The argument that it makes no difference whether the Book of Mormon is fact or fable is surely a sibling to the argument that it makes no difference whether Jesus Christ ever lived. As we know, there are many so-called Christian teachers who espouse the teachings and deny the teacher. Beyond that, there are those who even deny the existence or the knowability of God. Their counterparts in Mormondom embrace some of the teachings of the Book of Mormon but deny its historicity."

"Brothers and Sister, how grateful we are--all of us who rely on scholarship, faith, and revelation--for what you are doing. God bless the founders and the supporters and the workers of the Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies. The work that you do is important, it is well-known, and it is appreciated."

"I testify of Jesus Christ, whom we serve, whose Church this is. I invoke his blessings upon you, in the name of Jesus Christ, amen."
- Apostle Dallin H. Oaks, The Historicity of the Book of Mormon, FARMS annual dinner on October 29th, 1993

Is LDS Radio Talk Show Host Van Hale's statements regarding the Book of Mormon in harmony with the church's position and authority?

How should True Believing Members reconcile the church's position and that of prominent LDS comentators like Van Hale?

See Van Hale's full Book of Mormon statement here:
http://www.think-link.org/think/van_hale.htm
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The Amazing Chiasmus In The Book Of Mormon?
Tuesday, Mar 1, 2005, at 07:50 AM
Original Author(s): Xtbm
Topic: BOOK OF MORMON   -Link To MC Article-
Has anyone else had to hear about the amazing “chiasmus” in the Book of Mormon?

When people first found out I no longer believed in Mormonism, I – like many people here – received several phone calls/letters from family concerned about my decision. Some of these communications would include statements like “Well, what about (fill in the supposed “evidence”)? How could this be the case if Mormonism is false?” One such “evidence” I was asked about is the existence of chiasmus in the Book of Mormon.

According to Mormon apologists, the existence of chiasmus is a strong indication that the book could not have been written by Joseph Smith. In fact, according to them, it is extremely compelling evidence of the book’s authenticity and Hebrew origin. (This is so compelling in their minds, that the subtitle to the link to the page on chiasmus on Jeff Lindsay’s web site says “Critics can’t explain this one away!”) The argument goes something like this (taken directly from Jeff Lindsay’s web site):

BACKGROUND:
Chiasmus was a common form of presenting ideas among those with literary skills in the ancient world and was used to create powerful poetry.” (Biblical examples are given to demonstrate how this form existed in the Bible.) “This form, however, was not widely appreciated as a hallmark of ancient writing in the middle east until this century.” (i.e. – if it was not well-known, no one would have intentionally written them into the Book of Mormon).

QUALIFICATION:
While chiasmus is now increasingly recognized as a hallmark of ancient Semitic writings, it does not prove anything per se, for chiasmus does occur in some modern texts by accident. In fact, one can force a weak, contrived chiasmic pattern to fit into many texts if one is willing to work hard enough.”

TRANSITION:
The Book of Mormon, which claims to have its literary roots in the ancient Middle East, shows many excellent examples of what appear to be deliberate, crafted chiasmus.”

CONCLUSIONS:
The examples are strong enough that they are difficult to explain if we assume that Joseph Smith (or any other person in the 1820s) wrote the book himself.”

“In my opinion, there is simply no way a poorly schooled farm boy in that era could have crafted sophisticated examples of an ancient writing form that was probably completely unknown to him.”

As a tbm, I found this to be extremely compelling and, based on conversations I’ve had with others tbms since then, I think others find it to be extremely compelling as well. Critics often take a couple of different approaches. First, chiasmus can be found in many different types of writings – often with no intent by the author to have written the text. Essentially, if you break down any book of sufficient length, you will find that they often occur naturally, regardless of whether or not the author intentionally wrote them. Second, other people have used the claim of chiasmus as a show of authenticity, including, for instance, the Mormon splinter group of the Strangites (http://www.strangite.org/Chiasmus.htm).

Now, of course, I find this claim to be completely bogus – thrown on the trash heap of other theories that crashed and burned under the scrutiny of closer evaluation. I think the best reason to discount this theory is one that I haven’t ever seen presented. First, let’s take a look at how the chiastic structure was written (taken from: http://www.inthebeginning.org/chiasmus/introduction/chiasmus_intro.htm) “Under no circumstances should it be assumed from this system of repeating alphabetical characters that the ancient manuscripts were written with indentations in order to exhibit chiastic structure. The graphic method of presentation [i.e. – the one that people use today to show how the chiasmus is set up] is merely a device adopted in order to eliminate unnecessary explanations and to render a complicated subject easy to grasp with a minimum of time and effort. Note that these were UNMARKED structures, so no one would inherently know of their existence by looking at the passages. Next, let’s look at the awareness of the writers (same web site): “I have reached the firm conclusion that many of these symmetries were altogether subconscious, and that it was felt rather than seen. This is merely another way of saying that the writers had learned their forms so thoroughly that they had forgotten them as forms. For the more extensive chiastic structures, however, I posit that some degree of conscious effort on the part of the writer.“ Note that these symmetries were often SUBCONSCIOUS! Complex ones may have been written intentionally, but the form itself was often probably constructed unintentionally.

SO – before we go any further, how many of you can answer the following question: can anyone name any writing styles that were used in the country of your primary ancestors 500 years ago? Come on now, we live in the age of information, this should be easy! How many of you are aware of ANY writing style used 500 years ago? I’m going to guess that very few people (maybe Ken Jenkins?) would be able to give any kind of reasonable answer and for good reason – 500 years is a long time and information like that is not naturally “passed on” from generation to generation.

Now, let’s take a closer look at what Mormon apologists are saying when they try to connect the chiasmus in the Book of Mormon with those found in the Bible. Invariably, Alma 36 is included as a shining example of chiasmus at work in the Book of Mormon, so let’s use that one for our example.

Alma 36 was supposedly written in 73 bc, or more than 500 years from the time Lehi and his family left Jerusalem. I am supposed to believe that these people that were 500 years separated from this culture still understood what in the hell a chiasmus was? I DON’T THINK SO! These passages were UNMARKED, so even if these structures supposedly existed on the brass plates, they still had to be AWARE of their existence. And we all are living proof of how impossible it is to maintain an awareness of literary styles such as this over a long period of time. Especially when one considers that “many of these symmetries were altogether subconscious.”

In this light, the effort to explain the “why” behind the existence of these structures becomes almost irrelevant. If apologists expect me to believe that it is ANY MORE LIKELY that people 500+ years removed from Jerusalem would use this style in their writing than someone who lived in the 1800s, well, I ain’t buying. These people would have been in the exact same situation as the people at the time of Joseph Smith – no one would have known what a chiasmus was and they would have been no more or less likely to include it in their writings than anyone living in Joseph Smith’s time…

Or, to use Jeff Lindsay's words: "In my opinion, there is simply no way a poorly schooled Nephite in that era could have crafted sophisticated examples of an ancient writing form that was probably completely unknown to him."
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The Sealed Portion Of The Book Of Mormon
Wednesday, Mar 9, 2005, at 07:56 AM
Original Author(s): Thesophist, Falstaff, Stray Mutt
Topic: BOOK OF MORMON   -Link To MC Article-
I remember hearing a little about this in seminary. The great "Deus Ex Machina" of Mormonism. People use this to speculate right out of all sorts of questions.

I remember when I first asked someone about the lack of Jewish ritual in the BoM (namely Passover), and the person's response was beautiful--"that's an interesting question, it's probably dealt with in the sealed portion *insert 5 more minutes of bullshitting here* ." I mean seriously folks, it like a scriptural wild-card, that can answer any unanswerable question. It's the fill-in-the-blank portion of LDS cannon.

So, when was the sealed portion supposed to be released on Amazon.com anyway? Before the second coming, after the second coming? And what is in it again? I don't really remember any of the details, I just know people use it as a convenient way to dodge questions.

- - Joseph Smith hadn't quite figured out yet. He probably planned on living a longer life, and at some point, if he could have kept things under control, he would have fired up the old seer stone and gone to work on it.

But, yeah, I agree. Anything we're not sure about is probably in the "sealed portion", which, as I recall, was said to be the greater part of the plates.

- -

A guy by the name of Chris Nemelka claims that he has received the sealed portion of the BOM and will, within the next few months, issue a world-wide press release of it. He also claims to have received the lost pages (was it 116 of them?). He claims he has the urim and thumum (sp?). You can go to http://www.thesealedportion.com/ to read further. His story reads just like the Joseph Smith story. I would say he is just as nutty. What will come of it (the press release)? Probably not much. People will probably blow him off as the quack that he is.

- -

The BoM developed out of the Smith family's pre-existing involvement with alchemy, kabala and other traditions of "hidden knowledge." That's one reason the BoM story involved a buried book (a recurring theme in mysticism) rather than straight revelation (like the Qur'an). Part of the big attraction to hidden knowledge is the fact it's hidden and that only the wise and chosen ones have access to it. Of course, the point of publishing the BoM was to spread previously hidden knowledge, which sort of kills the exclusivity of it. But keeping back a "sealed portion" restored that lost aura of mystery, power and hidden secrets. As any good performer knows, you don't give the audience everything, you save something for the encore. So it was with JS. claiming there was a sealed portion hinted there were even greter mysteries yet to be revealed. Stay tuned folks, there's more.
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Inconsistency In Alma 30
Tuesday, Mar 29, 2005, at 07:49 AM
Original Author(s): Baura
Topic: BOOK OF MORMON   -Link To MC Article-
It emphasizes that it is contrary to the laws of God for the government to interfere with anyone's belief or freedom of speech in proclaiming that belief. Then it has Korihor brought to Alma in chains for preaching his ideas. If we are to believe the Alma 30 we have to accept that Alma is breaking the laws of God by having Korihor arrested in the first place.

The whole discussion between Alma and Korihor (read Thomas Paine) is exactly the type of argument that was going around at the revivals in Joseph Smith's day. I'm sure Joseph heard just this type of argument during the big revival of 1824-25 (No, Virginia, there wasn't one in 1820).

Before Isaac Newton it was the angels that pushed the planets in their orbits. After Newton it was the mechanism that God had set up in the beginning and now runs like clockwork. In either case the "argument from design" that Alma gives to Korihor (along with "we have the scriptures and you can't prove a negative) were running around Joseph Smith's time and place in abundance.

So it's interesting, Alma uses just the arguments that were popular in Joseph Smith's day in a form that couldn't have been used before (the earth goes around the sun--post Galileo) but don't work nowdays except among the philosophically naieve.

Of course you could point out, as B. H. Roberts did that the whole Alma-Korihor episode is too pat, too neat and tidy to appear as real history as opposed to unsophisticated fiction. I mean, Alma bests Korihor in the argument then Korihor admits that an angel appeared to him and told him to say what he did(!!). Finally Korihor is struck dumb and dies under the feet of the masses. This is rather obviously a simple morality play and not real history.
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The Original Manuscript Of The Book Of Mormon
Tuesday, Apr 5, 2005, at 07:55 AM
Original Author(s): Luman Walters
Topic: BOOK OF MORMON   -Link To MC Article-
The ORIGINAL manuscript of the BOM was placed in the cornerstone of the Temple at Nauvoo and only reclaimed years later by the RLDS. Only a quarter of the manuscript remained in readable form due to the effect of moisture..

Another version - the Printers Manuscript - which was copied from the original to present to the printer is largely intact.

But BOTH are, in your words: " ... herky jerky scribbled and scratched version(s) that should be the makings of a complex novel such as the book of mormon complete with many name and location and concept errors, strikethroughs, and whatnot ... ".

Again Nelson could not have been referring to ANY extant manuscript. THERE WERE NO OTHERS. The ones that we have - or the portions thereof are all there is. Nelson was putting a gloss on the essential deficiencies of the manuscripts.

You can read them yourself. Transcripts of he manuscripts have been reprinted (with photographs of some of the pages) by Shousen. These three oversized books are pricey but well worth it for the serious student. Skousen shows the true nature of the manuscripts even though he is a TBM.

Basically there were three BOMs before it settled down into something resembling our Modern BOM.

1) The Original Manuscripts as 'dictated' by Smith. No punctuation. Bad spelling. Much correction.

2) The Printers Manuscript - copied from the Original Manuscript and presented to the Printer. Not substantially improved over the original.

3) The BOM - 1830 Edition (Joseph Smith - "Author")- this retained much of the ungrammatical sentence structure and anachronistic wording but had the extreme lack of punctuation and correct spelling (there were no periods for example) corrected by the Printer. This edition includes the rant against Mrs. Harris for making off with the 16 pages.

4) The next edition (JHoseph Smith - "Translator") which had the wording/sentence structure cleaned up and had various theological and logical errors (Mary the Mother of GOD - for example) corrected. It also has the paragraph and chapter structure improved. The rant is gone.

5) Subsequently it is revised more subtly over the years as the winds of doctrine and editorial perogative blow hither and you. For example "white and delightsome" beomes "Pure and delightsome" back and forth.

The original manuscript has all the earmarks of a document dictated from another manuscript. Why Smith would have had to do so is a mystery. One possibility is that he was putting the manuscript/notes/outline in his own words filtered through his storytelling ability in re the "previous inhabitants of the continent" (as testified by his Mother).

He WAS enough of an egomaniac to not be satisfied with what he was provided from Rigdon or whomever.

Now the channeling hypotheses can not be dismissed out of hand. He was trained by my namesake and others in the hermitic arts. His use of the seer stone is consistent with a long tradition stretching back to Europe.

See "The Course on Miracles" or the "Book of Urantia" if you doubt the possibility of complex writings from this source. Think Elizabeth Claire Prophet. Think Ramtha. Think, at a lower level, of a Ouija Board session.

This is not to give credence to any particular theory of cahnelling but just to state that those who "believe" (or who say that they do)are capable of complex amd lengthy documents.

A vivid imagination, a gift of gab, a near eidedic memory, stories told many times around the fireplace in the family cabin now recycled in light of notes provided by one far more literate and well versed in theology (ie - Rigdon), an association with those who dabbled in folk magic (Walters and the alumni of the Wood Scrape), a desire to escape grinding poverty and a life as a hired hand, may explain much.

But the manuscript, in my initial analysis of it, testifies to a near illiterate DICTATING to others of approximately the same level of education. Cowdery may well have been a school teacher but his pages in the original manuscript do not testify either to a great command of the English language or the ability to spell its words.

The Original Manuscript HAS NO PUNCTUATION OR CONSISTENT SPELLING. It is one long run on sentence. Occasionaly there is a break of some kind ('And it came to pass, 'and') which indicate a pause in Smiths dictation.

The Printers Manuscript - which is a copy of the Original Manuscript - shows no essential improvement in literacy.

Think about that! Smith and Cowdery thought that the Printers manuscript was suitable for printing! They let the printer punctuate and clean it up because they had no idea that such was even necessary for publication. They deferred to the printers expertise - which means they lacked their own. This for "... the most correct book ...".

As to the testimony of the witnesses ... if Cowdery was involved, as I believe he was, in what I call "The Enterprise" then his testimony many be discounted in its entirety. Then there remains the task of putting on a show for those not in the know - which would, I take it, include Harris and Emma. Not hard for a "hermetic" con-man and his companions in crime. If they could fool farmers that there was gold on their property from either Captain Kidd or the Spanish and have them pay to have it dug up with the assistance of a seer stone - then convincing a few stray witnesses that you are dictating an ancient manuscript via that same seer stone is easy work.
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One Of The Many Doctrinal Inconsistencies: Why Is Moroni A Mere Angel?
Friday, Apr 22, 2005, at 07:46 AM
Original Author(s): Anonymous
Topic: BOOK OF MORMON   -Link To MC Article-
Poor, poor Moroni. He thought he did everything he was supposed to do, but he must have skipped church once or twice while he was on the run from blood-thirsty Lamanites.

Was anybody else here bothered by the fact that Moroni was an angel despite the fact that he was so righteuos (during the days when you still believed?) I was, after I read the following passages found in the Doctrine and Covenants. I asked "Why is Moroni an angel? He wasn't such a bad guy" but the Sunday School teacher either ignored me or didn't know what to say.

"Therefore, when they are out of the world they neither marry nor are given in marriage; but are appointed angels in heaven, which angels are ministering servants, to minister for those who are worthy of a far more, and an exceeding, and an eternal weight of glory. For these angels did not abide my law; therefore, they cannot be enlarged, but remain separately and singly, without exaltation, in their saved condition, to all eternity; and from henceforth are not gods, but are angels of God forever and ever." (DandC 132:16-17)

Throughout the long, redundant chapter Joseph Smith--errgh, I mean, the Lord, makes it clear that angels are of a lower status than exalted individuals because they failed to "abide by my law" (i.e. polygamy, eternal marriage, etc.)
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The Jaredite Barge Challenge!
Monday, Jun 13, 2005, at 08:11 AM
Original Author(s): Anonymous
Topic: BOOK OF MORMON   -Link To MC Article-
Myth Busters and the Jaredite barges.

Things that sound good on paper often seem much more difficult when put into practice. I hereby issue a challenge to all BYU students, FARMS personnel, FAIR frequenters, members, and exmos.

Here is the challenge. I will even make this easier than Mahonri’s problem. You must take a sealed container large enough to hold three men, three women, two cows, and two sheep. These six people and four animals will be required to live in this vessel for 2 months. They will need to take all of their supplies with them including food and water for all aboard. You can only use materials and tools that were available in 2200 BC. The one exception is light. You are allowed to use any light source you choose, but the light source can only be used for light and nothing else.

Your vessel must be mounted in a rig that allows it to pitch 10 degrees and roll 360 degrees. While your team spends the two months in this vessel, I will stop by at random intervals to pitch and roll the vessel. Occasionally, the vessel will even roll 180 degrees and stay in that new position for days or weeks.

You must also accept legal responsibility for anything that goes wrong, including but not limited to:
  1. Asphyxiation
  2. Malnutrition
  3. Broken bones from falling or being crushed by a falling cow, sheep, or supplies
Your design must be approved by a 75% majority vote of approval from a committee composed of two FARMS employees of your choosing and two exmos of my choosing. Realism to the 2200 BC period and the record in Ether are paramount.
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Smithsonian Institution Statement Regarding The Book Of Mormon
Saturday, Jun 25, 2005, at 09:41 AM
Original Author(s): Anonymous
Topic: BOOK OF MORMON   -Link To MC Article-
Smithsonian Letter about Book of Mormon

Information from the
National Museum of Natural History
Smithsonian Institution Washington, D.C. 20560

Your recent inquiry concerning the Smithsonian Institution's alleged use of the Book of Mormon as a scientific guide has been received in the Smithsonians Department of Anthropology.

The Book of Mormon is a religious document and not a scientific guide. The Smithsonian Institution has never used it in archaeological research and any information that you have received to the contrary is incorrect. Accurate information about the Smithsonians position is contained in the enclosed Statement Regarding the Book of Mormon, which was prepared to respond to the numerous inquiries that the Smithsonian receives on this topic.

Because the Smithsonian regards the unauthorized use of its name to disseminate inaccurate information as unlawful, we would appreciate your assistance in providing us with the names of any individuals who are misusing the Smithsonians name. Please address any correspondence to:

Public Information Officer
Department of Anthropology
National Museum of Natural History
Smithsonian Institution, MRC 112
Washington, DC 20560

Prepared by
THE DEPARTMENT OF ANTHROPOLOGY
SMITHSONIAN INSTITUTION

1. The Smithsonian Institution has never used the Book of Mormon in any way as a scientific guide. Smithsonian archaeologists see no direct connection between the archaeology of the New World and the subject matter of the book.

2. The physical type of the American Indian is basically Mongoloid, being most closely related to that of the peoples of eastern, central, and northeastern Asia. Archaeological evidence indicates that the ancestors of the present Indians came into the New World--probably over a land bridge known to have existed in the Bering Strait region during the last Ice Age--in a continuing series of small migrations beginning from about 25,000 to 30,000 years ago.

3. Present evidence indicates that the first people to reach this continent from the East were the Norsemen, who briefly visited the northeastern part of North America around 1000 A.D. and then settled in Greenland. There is no evidence to show that they reached Mexico or Central America.

4. None of the principal Old World domesticated food plants or animals (except the dog) occurred in the New World in pre- Columbian times. This is one of the main lines of evidence supporting the scientific premise that contacts with Old World civilizations, if they occurred, were of very little significance for the development of American Indian civilizations. American Indians had no wheat, barley, oats, millet, rice, cattle, pigs, chickens, horses, donkeys, or camels before 1492. (Camels and horses were in the Americas, along with the bison, mammoth, and mastodon, bat all these animals became extinct around 10,000 B.C. at the time the early big game hunters traveled across the Americas.)

5. Iron, steel, glass, and silk were not used in the New World before 1492 (except for occasional use of unsmelted meteroic iron). Native copper was worked in various locations in pre- Columbian times, but true metallurgy was limited to southern Mexico and the Andean region, where its occurrence in late prehistoric times involved gold, silver, copper, and their alloys, but not iron.

6. There is a possibility that the spread of cultural traits across the Pacific to Mesoamerica and the northwestern coast of South America began several hundred years before the Christian era. However, any such inter-hemispheric contacts appear to have been the results of accidental voyages originating in eastern and southern Asia. It is by no means certain that even such contacts occurred with the ancient Egyptians, Hebrews, or other peoples of Western Asia and the Near East.

7. No reputable Egyptologist or other specialist on Old World archeology, and no expert on New World prehistory, has discovered or confirmed any relationship between archeological remains in Mexico and archeological remains in Egypt.

8. Reports of findings of ancient Egyptian, Hebrew, and other Old World writings in the New World in pre-Columbian contexts have frequently appeared in newspapers, magazines and sensational books. None of these claims has stood up to examination by reputable scholars. No inscriptions using Old World forms of writing have been shown to have occurred in any part of the Americas before 1492 except for a few Norse rune stones which have been found in Greenland.

9. There are copies of the Book of Mormon in the library of the National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution.
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Anyone Remember The Magic Submarines In The Book Of Mormon?
Tuesday, Dec 20, 2005, at 07:38 AM
Original Author(s): Darkslider
Topic: BOOK OF MORMON   -Link To MC Article-
I was recently chatting with a young, Catholic girl and she made mention of the fact that her "Mormon buddies" told her it was a lie that the first people in America came by submarine.

This was my reply to her and at the end I included several items that bother me to no end about the story.

I hate to be the one that busts your bubble, but the Mormons do believe that the first people in America came via submarine.

It is the story of the Brother of Jared, found in Ether in the Book of Mormon. As the story goes, Jared and his family were present at the Tower of Babel and Jared asked his brother to beg the Lord not to confound his family's language (and that of his friends) so that they could all stay together. (see Ether chapter 1 verses 33-37.)

Jared then asked his brother to ask God if they needed to leave. The Brother of Jared received revelation that they were to leave the area and take animals of all kinds "both male and female, of all kinds" and journey to a new land that God had prepared and set apart for them. (see Ether Chapter 1 verses 38-43.)

They gathered up all kinds of animals, birds, insects (Honey Bees are specifically mentioned, which is odd since the first bees in America were brought by Dutch immigrants in the late 1700s to the early 1800s.)

The story continues that they built barges and crossed some minor sea located in the wilderness (presumably the Red Sea) before they arrived at "The great waters that divided the lands." (see Ether Chapter 2 verses 1-7 and Ether chapter 2 verse 13.)

When they got to the coast, God revealed the ship design that the Jaredites were to use. It was in the shape of a football, had no windows, and it had a hole in both the top and the bottom that could be plugged with a wooden cork. According to the Lord (in the Book of Mormon) this was done because storms might arise and turn the ships upside down. And suffocating because your air-hole is underwater would kind of suck. (see Ether Chapter 2 verses 16-21.)

The lack of windows bothered the Brother of Jared (also known as Mahonri Moriancumer, according to Joseph Smith) so he went to pray to God about how to light the submersibles. God, being the fiendishly clever sort, asks the Brother of Jared what he wants God to do, because as God says, "You can't have any windows or fire, dammit!" God clarifies this by telling the Brother of Jared that they are going to spend a lot of time underwater. "You shall be as a whale, going to the depths of the sea." (see Ether Chapter 2 verses 22-25.)

According to the legend found in the Book of Mormon, he laid out sixteen rocks (2 for each football. . . err, submersible) and prayed to Jesus and asked him to merely touch the rocks that they might glow with divine light and thereby provide the necessary illumination for the journey. And, because of his faith, Christ appears to him and does so. ( see Ether Chapter 3 verses 1-6.)

So, the Jaredites now have a way to get air, a light source and their boats. They proceed to gather food for the journey and make all kinds of preparations. (see Ether Chapter 6 verse 4.)

Anyways, the boats had no means of propulsion. In the Book of Mormon, it says (paraphrased slighty) that, "they were driven before the winds for 344 days". According to the Book of Mormon, they spent a significant amount of time underwater, and they were attacked by whales and other "monsters of the sea" but no harm could befall them. (see Ether Chapter 6 verses 5-11.)

That, is the scriptural belief that the first inhabitants of North America came by way of submarine.

As you can see, it is only a slight exaggeration.

Now, here are some logistics problems that Joseph Smith didn't think of as he was writing the Book of Mormon.

A. A boat that is going to turn upside-down underwater, is going to piss a lot of people off. The injuries alone (both human and animal) from the radical change in orientation would have wiped out many of their numbers.

B. A small, lightweight boat. Emphasis on small. How much food do you think you would need for a journey of 344 days? Because the Jaredites had to bring enough food for them and their animals. Now, we are going to assume that they brought Goats with them (because a later "prophet" named Nephi said that there were goats in America when he arrived 600 years before Christ) and, having spent 14 years of my life raising goats, I can tell you, they eat a lot of food. For just three goats, you need 1 ton (or 2,000 lbs) of hay for a year. Don't forget that goats can't survive on hay alone, you need to bring them grains. 1,000 lbs total of several grains (for three goats) should last them about 4 months.

C. And what about water? How much water do you drink in a day? How much in a year? And, since they were surrounded by salt water (and often times under said salt water), they couldn't drink the sea water.

According to most medical sources, drinking 8 ounces of water 6-8 times per day is necessary to keep you healthy. 8 ounces of water weighs .5 lbs. So, on average, each person needs 4 pounds of water each day. 4 lbs x 344 days = 1373 pounds of water per person. And we know that there were a lot of people because they needed 8 boats. Not to mention water for the animals (and believe me, three goats can go through 60 gallons of water, which weighs 480 pounds, like it was nothing) and water for bathing.

D. The boats are sealed, except for a hole in the top and a hole in the bottom. Do you know how much shit your average goat produces in a month? A lot. Believe me, I have spent more time mucking out manure than I have spent asleep.

All in all, there are too many "logic" problems for me to buy the whole story. And the submarines just kind of take the cake, eh?
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Here Are Some Recent "Do-Or-Die" Book Of Mormon Proclamations From The Church
Monday, Jan 30, 2006, at 07:19 AM
Original Author(s): Deconstructor
Topic: BOOK OF MORMON   -Link To MC Article-
Can you not believe in the literal historical truthfullness of the Book of Mormon and still be a faithful Mormon?

Could the Mormon Church still be true if the Book of Mormon is not what it claims to be?

Here's what the church has recently declared:

"Let me quote a very powerful comment from President Ezra Taft Benson, who said, “The Book of Mormon is the keystone of [our] testimony. Just as the arch crumbles if the keystone is removed, so does all the Church stand or fall with the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon. The enemies of the Church understand this clearly. This is why they go to such great lengths to try to disprove the Book of Mormon, for if it can be discredited, the Prophet Joseph Smith goes with it. So does our claim to priesthood keys, and revelation, and the restored Church..."

"To hear someone so remarkable say something so tremendously bold, so overwhelming in its implications, that everything in the Church – everything – rises or falls on the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon and, by implication, the Prophet Joseph Smith’s account of how it came forth, can be a little breathtaking. It sounds like a “sudden death” proposition to me. Either the Book of Mormon is what the Prophet Joseph said it is or this Church and its founder are false, fraudulent, a deception from the first instance onward."

"Either Joseph Smith was the prophet he said he was, who:
[1] after seeing the Father and the Son,
[2] later beheld the angel Moroni,
[3] repeatedly heard counsel from his lips,
[4] eventually receiving at his hands a set of ancient gold plates which
[5] he then translated according to the gift and power of God

- or else he did not.
And if he did not, in the spirit of President Benson’s comment, he is not entitled to retain even the reputation of New England folk hero or well-meaning young man or writer of remarkable fiction. No, and he is not entitled to be considered a great teacher or a quintessential American prophet or the creator of great wisdom literature. If he lied about the coming forth of the Book of Mormon, he is certainly none of those."

"I am suggesting that we make exactly that same kind of do-or-die, bold assertion about the restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ and the divine origins of the Book of Mormon. We have to. Reason and rightness require it. Accept Joseph Smith as a prophet and the book as the miraculously revealed and revered word of the Lord it is or else consign both man and book to Hades for the devastating deception of it all, but let’s not have any bizarre middle ground about the wonderful contours of a young boy’s imagination or his remarkable facility for turning a literary phrase. That is an unacceptable position to take–morally, literarily, historically, or theologically."
- Apostle Jeffrey R. Holland, “True or False,” New Era, June 1995, Page 64 (Excerpted from a CES Symposium address given at Brigham Young University on August 9, 1994.)

Interesting how Apostle Holland doesn't list actual doctrinal teachings from the Book of Mormon that make it vital to Mormon theology. He's basically saying what many have said here, that I agree with - it's a matter of credibility. If the book is not what Smith and the church say it is, then Smith is a liar and the church is a hoax.

So it's not about what the book actually teaches, it's the credibility of the book that counts. If missionaries can get people to accept the book as what the church says it is, then they will accept the rest. They don't even have to read it, just accept it as what the church says it is to lock into Mormon Logic.

Couldn't the same thing be said for the DandC and the Book of Abraham? If those are not what they claim to be, doesn't Smith fall just as hard as a fraud?

Also, getting sucked into Holland's logic can be dangerous for the church too, because it really is "do-or-die" like he says. If dedicated, sincere members learn the Book of Mormon is a fraud, then they almost have to leave the church even if they still feel strong social ties. There's hardly any middle ground where you can accept the BoM as unecessary bullshit but still be a happy, active Mormon.

"Some who term themselves believing Latter-day Saints are advocating that Latter-day Saints should abandon claims that the Book of Mormon is a historical record of the ancient peoples of the Americas. They are promoting the feasibility of reading and using the Book of Mormon as nothing more than a pious fiction with some valuable contents. These practitioners of so-called "higher criticism" raise the question of whether the Book of Mormon, which our prophets have put forward as the preeminent scripture of this dispensation, is fact or fable--history or just a story."

"Some Latter-day Saint critics who deny the historicity of the Book of Mormon seek to make their proposed approach persuasive to Latter-day Saints by praising or affirming the value of some of the contents of the book. Those who take this approach assume the significant burden of explaining how they can praise the contents of a book they have dismissed as a fable. I have never been able to understand the similar approach in reference to the divinity of the Savior. As we know, some scholars and some ministers proclaim him to be a great teacher and then have to explain how the one who gave such sublime teachings could proclaim himself (falsely they say) to be the Son of God who would be resurrected from the dead."

"The new style critics have the same problem with the Book of Mormon. For example, we might affirm the value of the teachings recorded in the name of a man named Moroni, but if these teachings have value, how do we explain these statements also attributed to this man?"

And if there be faults [in this record] they be the faults of a man. But behold, we know no fault; nevertheless God knoweth all things; therefore, he that condemneth, let him be aware lest he shall be in danger of hell fire. (Mormon 8:17.)

And I exhort you to remember these things; for the time speedily cometh that ye shall know that I lie not, for ye shall see me at the bar of God; and the Lord God will say unto you: Did I not declare my words unto you, which were written by this man, like as one crying from the dead, yea, even as one speaking out of the dust? (Moro. 10:27.)

"There is something strange about accepting the moral or religious content of a book while rejecting the truthfulness of its authors' declarations, predictions, and statements. This approach not only rejects the concepts of faith and revelation that the Book of Mormon explains and advocates. This approach is not even good scholarship."

"The Book of Mormon's major significance is its witness of Jesus Christ as the only begotten Son of God the Eternal Father who redeems and saves us from death and sin. If an account stands as a preeminent witness of Jesus Christ, how can it possibly make no difference whether the account is fact or fable--whether the persons really lived who prophesied of Christ and gave eye witnesses of his appearances to them?"

"As Jack Welch and I discussed the topic of my address this evening, he pointed out that this new wave of antihistoricism 'may be a new kid on the block in Salt Lake City, but he has been around in a lot of other Christian neighborhoods for several decades.'"

"Indeed! The argument that it makes no difference whether the Book of Mormon is fact or fable is surely a sibling to the argument that it makes no difference whether Jesus Christ ever lived. As we know, there are many so-called Christian teachers who espouse the teachings and deny the teacher. Beyond that, there are those who even deny the existence or the knowability of God. Their counterparts in Mormondom embrace some of the teachings of the Book of Mormon but deny its historicity."

"Brothers and Sister, how grateful we are--all of us who rely on scholarship, faith, and revelation--for what you are doing. God bless the founders and the supporters and the workers of the Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies. The work that you do is important, it is well-known, and it is appreciated."

"I testify of Jesus Christ, whom we serve, whose Church this is. I invoke his blessings upon you, in the name of Jesus Christ, amen."
- Apostle Dallin H. Oaks, The Historicity of the Book of Mormon, FARMS annual dinner on October 29th, 1993

Despite these clear declarations by living apostles, some "faithful" church apologists have publicly thumbed their noses at the church, denying the historicity of the Book of Mormon:

http://www.i4m.com/think/van_hale.htm

What's a TBM to do when some of the greatest church defenders declare the Book of Mormon to be only fiction?
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Here Are Some Other Christ-Centered Principles Contained In The Book Of Mormon, That Apply Directly To The LA Times Article
Monday, Feb 20, 2006, at 07:13 AM
Original Author(s): Faraday
Topic: BOOK OF MORMON   -Link To MC Article-
Here are some other Christ-centered principles contained in the Book of Mormon, that apply directly to the LA Times Article:

Jacob 7: when Sherem accused the church, he gained an audience with the prophet himself. The prophet defeated Sherem in argument, Sherem fell to the ground as if dead for three days, and then publically recanted his false teachings. I challenge the prophet to live the Christ-centered principle contained in the Book of Mormon, and have an interview with the journalist in question.

If the Book of Mormon is any guide, a critic faced with the prophet will publically recant. This applies to Sherem, Nehor, Korihor - in every case, if you face him publically, the critic will recant. Come on, Mormons, why are you hiding behind a web site that won't link to the critics' words, and apologists who do not officially represent the church? Bring out the prophet! Do what the scriptures teach and face your critics! Don't you trust the Book of Mormon?

Alma 1: when Nehor publically preached against the church,
"they carried him upon the top of the hill Manti, and there he was caused, or rather did acknowledge, between the heavens and the earth, that what he had taught to the people was contrary to the word of God; and there he suffered an ignominious death."
I challenge the church to live the Christ-centered principle contained in the Book of Mormon that apply to critics. The church should deal with modern-day Nehors in the way the Book of Mormon teaches. Let us see these "Christ centered teachings" in action. I should add that Joseph Smith (Danites) and Brigham Young (blood atonement) understood this Christ-centered principle perfectly.

Alma 30: when Korihor tried to preach against the church, there ws no law against his preaching (verse 12). Nevertheless, the people were described as "more wise" and,
"they took him, and bound him, and carried him before Ammon, who was a high priest over that people." (verse 20)
I challenge the church to live this Christ-centered principle contained in the Book of Mormon. Take this so-called LA Times journalist, bind him, and carry him to the prophet, and if the Book of Mormon is any guide, he will repent of his lies. Mormons, follow the Christ centered principles contained in the Book of Mormon!

The Book of Mormon contains many examples of what should be done with people who promote "mistakes" as the LDS web site calls them. No wonder that church growth is slowing. The Mormon church is afraid to live by "the Christ-centered principles contained in the Book of Mormon."
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The Book Of Mormon Vs Mormonism
Wednesday, Feb 22, 2006, at 01:46 AM
Original Author(s): Richard Packham
Topic: BOOK OF MORMON   -Link To MC Article-
Most people - Mormons and non-Mormons alike - assume that the Mormon religion is based on its holy book, the Book of Mormon and that by reading that book one can learn what Mormonism is all about. Mormon missionaries usually try to get prospective converts ("investigators") to read it as soon as possible, implying that by doing so the investigator will get an accurate idea of Mormonism.

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; Although the publication of the Book of Mormon in 1830 was the impetus for the founding of the Mormon church (the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints), Mormonism is not rooted doctrinally in the Book of Mormon. It is used primarily for faith-inspiring stories, not for doctrine, even though God (through Joseph Smith) declared that it contains "the fulness of the Gospel." (DandC 20:9) Its doctrinal content is quite representative of wide-spread Christian beliefs in Joseph Smith's day. Many of its doctrines are now ignored or have been abandoned by the church, and many other doctrines have been adopted, as the following summary shows:

Abbreviations Used
DandC - Doctrine and Covenants
DoS - Doctrines of Salvation, by Joseph Fielding Smith (3 volumes)
JoD - Journal of Discourses (26 volumes)
MD - Mormon Doctrine, 2d edition, by Bruce R. McConkie
TJS - Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith

Citations under "Book of Mormon" are to its various books
Mormon DoctrineBook of Mormon
Heaven consists of three levels or "glories"; evil people go to the lowest, "hell" (DandC 76:81-90), the glory of which "surpasses all understanding. Only Mormon apostates do not go to heaven, but to "outer darkness" (DandC 76:31-39) Only two possible fates after death: heaven or hell. Levels or degrees of heaven not mentioned.
Jesus and God the Father are separate beings. (DandC 130:22) Jesus and God the Father are the same. (Mosiah 3:8, 15:1-5, Ether 4:7, 12)
God has a body of flesh and bones. (DandC 130:22) God is a spirit. (Alma 18:26-28)
God was once a man like us, and progressed to godhood. (TJS 342-345) God does not change and has never changed. (Mormon 9:9, Moroni 8:18)
There are many gods. (TJS 370-373) There is only one God. (Alma 11:28-30)
We can become gods ourselves. (DandC 76:58, TJS 342-345) No mention of this idea.
We lived with God in a spirit world (a "premortal existence") before being born into this life. (DandC 49:17, 93:23-29, 138:55-56) No mention of this idea.
God is the literal father of our spirits, conceived by him and our "Mother in Heaven" (MD 516) No mention of this idea.
Mary conceived Jesus by natural means, namely, God the Father impregnated her. (MD 546-47, JoD 1:50-51, 8:115, 11:268) Mary conceived Jesus "by the power of the Holy Ghost" (Alma 7:10), by being "carried away in the spirit" (1 Nephi 11:15-19)
Those who do not accept the gospel in this life will have the opportunity to do so after death, and can receive baptism by proxy (DandC 127, 128) Salvation must be attained in this life; after one dies it is too late (Alma 34:34, 2 Nephi 9:38, Mosiah 2:36-39). No mention of baptism for the dead.
David and Solomon did nothing wrong by having many wives. (DandC 132:38-39) The polygamy of David and Solomon was "abominable" to the Lord (Jacob 2:24)
Priesthood divided into an upper (" after the order of Melchizedek") and lower ("Aaronic") priesthood No distinction between "priests" and "high priests"; priesthood is "after the order of [the Son of] God" (Alma 4:20, 13:1-12). No mention of "Aaronic" priesthood.
Salvation in the highest heaven ("exaltation") requires undergoing the "endowment" initiation ceremony in a temple, the details of which are kept strictly secret. The participants are required to take numerous oaths, which are also secret. Details "Secret combinations" requiring secret oaths are condemned. (Mormon 8:27, 40, 2 Nephi 26:22, Helaman 6:22, and many others.) No mention of any such ritual as part of the gospel. No mention of "exaltation" or "endowment."
Exaltation requires marriage in a Mormon temple. (DandC 131:1-4) No mention of this doctrine.
"Celestial marriage" lasts for time and all eternity. (DoS 2:58 ff) No mention of this doctrine.
The "first resurrection" is only for the righteous. (DandC 76:64. 63:18) The "first resurrection" is for all who died before Christ's resurrection, righteous and unrighteous alike (Mosiah 15:24, Alma 40:16-17)
The "idea that the Father and the Son dwell in a man's heart" is false. (DandC 130:31; verse 22 says that it is the Holy Ghost that "dwell[s] in us") "The Lord" dwells in the hearts of the righteous. (Alma 34:36)
The Lord's Supper consists of bread and water. The Lord's Supper should consist of bread and wine. (3 Nephi 18:1-9, Moroni 5)
Church is governed by the three men of the "First Presidency," higher in authority than the Quorum of Twelve. Jesus placed twelve disciples over the church he founded in America. (3 Nephi 12, passim) No "first presidency" mentioned.
Except for Joseph Smith, all prophets are promoted to that office by those above them in rank, and by seniority. They work their way up to the top. Prophets are called directly by God.
The church is trying to befriend people of other religions with the message "All churches have some truth"; "The church has always extended a hand of friendship and fellowship to those of other faiths, and will continue to do so." There are two churches only: the true church and the "church of the devil," "the whore of Babylon" (1 Nephi 14:10-12). A church which seeks to become "popular in the eyes of the world" is of the devil. (1 Nephi 22:23)
Since 1978 the church claims that it is not racist, that all races are equal and that the color of a person's skin has no religious significance. A dark skin is a curse from God, a punishment for one's unrighteousness (or the unrighteousness of one's ancestors). A dark skin can become light through righteousness. (1 Nephi 12:23, 2 Nephi 5:21, Alma 3:6, Mormon 5:15, Jacob 3:8-9, 3 Nephi 2:15)

Conclusion

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; Many Mormons have never read the Book of Mormon from cover to cover, and are perhaps unaware at how the doctrines of their church differ so drastically from the teachings of their own basic scripture, which - according to their eighth "Article of Faith" - they believe to be the word of God.

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; When confronted with these fundamental differences (and even contradictions) their first line of defense is to claim that the Mormon church is a church of "continuing revelation" (ninth Article of Faith), that being the purpose of a living prophet. This overlooks the fact that the Book of Mormon was said by God to contain the "fulness" of the Gospel. Some Mormon apologists claim that "fulness" does not mean "complete," but rather "fundamentals," or "basics," and that the Book of Mormon does contain the "first principles" of faith, repentance, baptism and the gift of the Holy Ghost. This argument fails when seeing the meaning of "fulness" as used in other Mormon scriptures, where it does, indeed, mean "complete," "nothing lacking," "nothing left out."

andcopy;andnbsp; 2005 Richard Packham andnbsp;andnbsp; Permission granted to reproduce for non-commercial purposes, provided text is not changed and this copyright notice is included

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The Book Of Mormon Is A Hoax, And By Extension, The Mormon Church Is A Fraud
Thursday, Mar 16, 2006, at 07:17 AM
Original Author(s): John Andersen
Topic: BOOK OF MORMON   -Link To MC Article-
Anyone who has been a member for more than 25 years, and is courageously honest must necessarily conclude the Book of Mormon is a hoax, and by extension, the Mormon Church is a fraud.

Numerous verbatim King James Version passages in the Book of Mormon; a book purportedly written by 421 AD whereas the King James Version is a 17th century document. Also, the biblical quotes in the Book of Mormon do not incorporate the changes made in the Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible. Add to this recent DNA evidence that destroys the claims of historicity of the entire Book of Mormon. Finally, where, besides church paid apologists or Mormon hobbyists, are the archaeologists who study Book of Mormon history? That’s right, they don’t exist. To objective scientists outside of Mormonism, the Book of Mormon has as much historic validity as The Hobbit, and is certainly a far less interesting read.

Also, where are the bones, swords and armor from the epic battles that took place at the Hill Cumorah in the Book of Mormon? The Jaredite nation supposedly ended there with 2 million men slain, and then the Nephites and Lamanites had a battle there in 421 AD where 230,000 warriors who had steel weapons were killed. Where are the anthropologists of the world who are excavating what would promise to be one of the greatest ancient battle sites? Why has not a trace of evidence ever been found at Cumorah to establish these claims?

I contrast this lack of evidence for the Book of Mormon with the 1973 discovery of the Terra Cotta Warriors near Xian, China. This amazing "army" of some 8,000 thousand terra cotta figures was buried some 600 years (210 BC) before the purported final battle in the Book of Mormon. Surely, if there was battle at Cumorah in 421 AD that involved 230,000 men, there would be something to be found, wouldn't there? In terms of archaeology, 421 AD is simply not that long ago.

When I was growing up in Southern California, I had direct contact with the Mormon Church's Lamanite Placement Program. The Lamanites in this program were Native American youth from Arizona, and New Mexico who, during the school year, moved off the reservation to live with white suburban Euro-American Mormon families. Since this program was run by the church under the direction of prophets, I understood Lamanites lived in Arizona and New Mexico.

Also, from reading the Doctrine and Covenants (one of the canonized Mormon scriptures), I understood from passages about teaching the Lamanites the Gospel, that Lamanites also lived in Missouri.

And I recall the photos in the introductory pages of the 1950s-1970s editions of the Book of Mormon of ancient ruins in Central America, and the Hill Cumorah in Upstate New York (where the Golden Plates were buried). From those, I inferred that, as the Book of Mormon claimed, the Native Americans' "principal ancestors" were the people of the Book of Mormon. Indeed, the people of the Book of Mormon must have been all over the North and Central American Continent like Joseph Smith wrote about the Jaredites (only one of the peoples described in the Book of Mormon):

"Jared and his brother came on to this continent from the confusion and the scattering at the Tower [Tower of Babel], and lived here more than a thousand years, and covered the whole continent from SEA TO SEA, WITH TOWNS AND CITIES..." (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 267.)

I grew up understanding that temple dedicatory prayers were prophetic. Indeed, the prayer at the dedication of the Kirtland Temple was canonized in the Doctrine and Covenants. It's interesting that almost without exception in the past 75 years or so, every Mormon temple that has been dedicated in Central and South America, and the Islands of the Pacific, has, in its dedicatory prayer, been mentioned as a place that will bring the blessings of the Gospel to the Lamanites who presumably make of the principal population of that country.

Finally, as a missionary in Germany from 1981-83, I regularly showed the official Mormon Church produced filmstrip Ancient America Speaks. It presented what the rest of the world identifies as Inca and Mayan ruins, as ruins of the Book of Mormon peoples. The photos of the ruins in the filmstrip covered a wide geographical area.

So from all of those evidences I personally knew about or experienced, I believed the Book of Mormon people were spread all over the Western Hemisphere.

Imagine my surprise when DNA studies in recent decades conclusively revealed virtually no Hebrew DNA among Native Americans. On the contrary, the DNA findings revealed that the ancestors of the Native Americans came from Asia. How could that be if the Book of Mormon was about Jewish ancestors, and was about a civilization that "covered the whole continent" and indeed, according to prophetic utterances, the entire Western Hemisphere?

We always clearly understood the Book of Mormon to be the "keystone of our religion." As missionaries, we emphatically taught the principle that if the Book of Mormon is true, then the Mormon Church is true. Now that the Book of Mormon has been completely discredited, any member with a shred of intellectual honesty, who cares to remember their own past and life experiences, must conclude the entire religion is a hoax.

There is no other option.

http://www.unconventionalideas.com/reasons.html
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Remember "Ancient America Speaks"?
Thursday, Mar 16, 2006, at 07:28 AM
Original Author(s): Bamboozled
Topic: BOOK OF MORMON   -Link To MC Article-
All of the current backpedaling and revisionism going on in the church right now in regards to Lamanite DNA and archeology has made me, well, quite speechless.

Remember when the church and its members and its apologists would proudly exclaim that native Americans, were, indeed, the literal descendants of the Book of Mormon people? Remember in 1976 how many members of the church had bumper stickers on their cars that said "Discover America in 76: Read the Book of Mormon" ? Remember the church film/film strip titled 'Ancient America Speaks'?

For the younglings among us and those who will undoubtedly claim that such a film never existed, let me briefly try to bring this movie back into the light. The film was hosted by an LDS archaeologist (possibly BYU faculty?) that visited many of the then known Inca/Aztec/Mayan ruins, complete with ancient South American sounding soundtrack. I distinctly remember a scene where the film host standing in what he strongly suggested was an old baptismal font.

I admit that its been a long time since i've seen this and its probably hard to find now. But the indisputable fact is that the church WAS claiming that the ruins of South and Central America WERE tied to the Book of Mormon and that native Americans WERE tied to the Book of Mormon. As a missionary we would show this film strip to our investigators as part of the "proof" that the church was true.

My how times change. This is why I am so angry at so called church apologist-defenders-of-the-faith who blatantly lie and spin and revise and misrepresent and lose any semblance of honor. The church once stood for something; its claims of the historocity of the Book of Mormon. Now it doesn't. In the overwhelming evidence against the historicity of the Book of Mormon the church has turned into a weasel and now claims to have never claimed what it once claimed.

Anyone else remember 'Ancient America Speaks'? I'd be interested in your memories of this film as well.

Thank you.
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If The Book Of Mormon Isn't A Historical Text, What Is The Meaning Of The So Called Church?
Friday, Mar 31, 2006, at 07:44 AM
Original Author(s): Breeze
Topic: BOOK OF MORMON   -Link To MC Article-
So, I'm reading more and more about members--highly-placed members, no less--who don't believe in the historicity of the Book of Mormon. This brings up two Big Red Flag questions for me:

Big Red Flag Question #1:
If the Book of Mormon (Subtitle: Another Testment of Jesus Christ) isn't historical, is it then also not a testament of Jesus Christ?

To say it's fiction says that Christ's visit to the Americas and the American people following his crucifiction didn't ever happen. Nephi 3 is outta there, is that what they're saying? The Sermon on the Mount was never taught to our Native peoples? All of that reiteration of Isaiah never occurred? The Lamanites weren't the "Other sheep have I"? It never really happened, but somehow, the BoM remains the Word of God.

How's that again?

To say the Book of Mormon isn't history is to say it's fiction. To say the BoM is fiction is to say that Jesus never visited the Lamanites, because they're fiction, too.

Big Red Flag Question #2:
If the BoM is fiction, does that mean there was never a Moroni. To say there was never a moroni, is to say there were never gold plates (like Joseph and his cronies witnessed about), nor a Sword of Laban (which is in there, too). If there were no gold plates, then what was all this business about them in the first place?

TSCC CANNOT back down on the truth and historicity of the Book of Mormon. It HAS to be true or the whole church is a hoax...oh, wait...my point is made.
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My Favorite Passages From The Book Of Mormon
Wednesday, Apr 5, 2006, at 08:36 AM
Original Author(s): Deconstructor
Topic: BOOK OF MORMON   -Link To MC Article-
These are a few of my favorite parts in the Book of Mormon...

I particularly like the part in the Book of Ether about the airtight barges filled with animals and bees that the people lived in for almost a year while traveling across the ocean:

Ether Chapter 2:

2 And they did also lay snares and catch fowls of the air; and they did also prepare a vessel, in which they did carry with them the fish of the waters.
3 And they did also carry with them deseret, which, by interpretation, is a honey bee; and thus they did carry with them swarms of bees, and all manner of that which was upon the face of the land, seed of every kind.
6 And it came to pass that they did travel in the wilderness, and did build barges, in which they did cross many waters, being directed continually by the hand of the Lord.

Ether Chapter 6:

4 And it came to pass that when they had prepared all manner of food, that thereby they might subsist upon the water, and also food for their flocks and herds, and whatsoever beast or animal or fowl that they should carry with them–and it came to pass that when they had done all these things they got aboard of their vessels or barges, and set forth into the sea, commending themselves unto the Lord their God.
5 And it came to pass that the Lord God caused that there should be a furious wind blow upon the face of the waters, towards the promised land; and thus they were tossed upon the waves of the sea before the wind.
6 And it came to pass that they were many times buried in the depths of the sea, because of the mountain waves which broke upon them, and also the great and terrible tempests which were caused by the fierceness of the wind.
7 And it came to pass that when they were buried in the deep there was no water that could hurt them, their vessels being tight like unto a dish, and also they were tight like unto the ark of Noah; therefore when they were encompassed about by many waters they did cry unto the Lord, and he did bring them forth again upon the top of the waters.
10 And thus they were driven forth; and no monster of the sea could break them, neither whale that could mar them; and they did have light continually, whether it was above the water or under the water.
11 And thus they were driven forth, three hundred and forty and four days upon the water.

In summary, they were in sealed underwater barges with birds, fresh-water fish in tanks, bees, flocks and herds for almost a year!

Then there's the great story of how Shiz died:

Ether 15:29-31

29 Wherefore, he did pursue them, and on the morrow he did overtake them; and they fought again with the sword. And it came to pass that when they had all fallen by the sword, save it were Coriantumr and Shiz, behold Shiz had fainted with the loss of blood. And it came to pass that when Coriantumr had leaned upon his sword, that he rested a little, he smote off the head of Shiz. And it came to pass that after he had smitten off the head of Shiz, that Shiz raised up on his hands and fell; and after that he had struggled for breath, he died.

How Shiz was able to raise up and take a breath after being decapitated is one of the great wonders of Mormonism.

Then there's this gem from Jesus Christ himself, where he basically limits his doctrine, thus putting the modern Mormon Church with its required temple ordinances under God's condemnation:

3 Nephi 11:

31 Behold, verily, verily, I say unto you, I will declare unto you my doctrine.
32 And this is my doctrine, and it is the doctrine which the Father hath given unto me; and I bear record of the Father, and the Father beareth record of me, and the Holy Ghost beareth record of the Father and me; and I bear record that the Father commandeth all men, everywhere, to repent and believe in me.
33 And whoso believeth in me, and is baptized, the same shall be saved; and they are they who shall inherit the kingdom of God.
39 Verily, verily, I say unto you, that this is my doctrine, and whoso buildeth upon this buildeth upon my rock, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against them.
40 And whoso shall declare more or less than this, and establish it for my doctrine, the same cometh of evil, and is not built upon my rock; but he buildeth upon a sandy foundation, and the gates of hell stand open to receive such when the floods come and the winds beat upon them.

And again...

3 Nephi 18:
13 But whoso among you shall do more or less than these are not built upon my rock, but are built upon a sandy foundation; and when the rain descends, and the floods come, and the winds blow, and beat upon them, they shall fall, and the gates of hell are ready open to receive them.

Then there's a whole slew of passages that promote religious violence and terrorism:

http://www.i4m.com/think/lists/bom_violence.htm

http://www.i4m.com/think/lists/mormon_terrorism.htm

Pay particular attention to the resurrected Jesus in the Book of Mormon and how he shows a completely different character than portrayed in the New Testament.

Then there's the constant examples of divine racism:

1 Nephi 12:23
23 And it came to pass that I beheld, after they had dwindled in unbelief they became a dark, and loathsome, and a filthy people, full of idleness and all manner of abominations.

1 Nephi 13:15
15 And I beheld the Spirit of the Lord, that it was upon the Gentiles, and they did prosper and obtain the land for their inheritance; and I beheld that they were white, and exceedingly fair and beautiful, like unto my people before they were slain.

2 Nephi 5:21
21 And he had caused the cursing to come upon them, yea, even a sore cursing, because of their iniquity. For behold, they had hardened their hearts against him that they had become like unto a flint; wherefore, as they were white, and exceedingly fair and delightsome, that they might not be enticing unto my people the Lord God did cause a skin of blackness to come upon them.

Jacob 3:8
8 O my brethren, I fear that unless ye shall repent of your sins that their skins will be whiter than yours, when ye shall be brought with them before the throne of God.

Alma 3:6
6 And the skins of the Lamanites were dark, according to the mark which was set upon their fathers, which was a curse upon them because of their transgression and their rebellion against their brethren, who consisted of Nephi, Jacob, and Joseph, and Sam, who were just and holy men.

3 Nephi 2:15
15 And their curse was taken from them, and their skin became white like unto the Nephites;

Mormon 5:15
15 And also that the seed of this people may more fully believe his gospel, which shall go forth unto them from the Gentiles; for this people shall be scattered, and shall become a dark, a filthy, and a loathsome people, beyond the description of that which ever hath been amongst us, yea, even that which hath been among the Lamanites, and this because of their unbelief and idolatry.

Then there's the stinking king:

Alma 19
"Therefore, if this is the case, I would that ye should go in and see my husband, for he has been laid upon his bed for the space of two days and two nights; and some say that he is not dead, but others say that he is dead and that he stinketh, and that he ought to be placed in the sepulchre; but as for myself, to me he doth not stink."

One of the most memorable parts comes right after. Ammon and the Queen faint away and all the king's servants faint away and some lady named Abish (who had been converted in a dream and secretly became a Christian) goes from house to house to call people in to see all these people fainted. And then someone tries to kill Ammon, but God strikes that someone dead. And then Abish raises 'em all back up and they all testify of Jesus.

Alma 13:1 (Alma speaking in 82 B.C. about what Jesus taught...in the future)

1. AND again, my brethren, I would cite your minds forward to the time when the Lord God gave these commandments unto his children; and I would that ye should remember that the Lord God ordained priests, after his holy order, which was after the order of his Son, to teach these things unto the people.

Let no one forget that God has declared the Book of Mormon to be the "most perfect" book ever written. True Believing Mormons can't take it for anything other than literall history:

http://www.i4m.com/think/intro/book_of_mormon.htm
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Sinking The Ship - Witnesses To "Golden Plates" And Their Claims
Monday, May 1, 2006, at 07:26 AM
Original Author(s): Susieq#1
Topic: BOOK OF MORMON   -Link To MC Article-
Nothing compares with being informed!

References from:
"Who's Who in the Book of Mormon"
compiled by Robert J. Matthews
1976 Deseret Book ISBN 0-87747-613-6

A Comparison of Various Description of the Gold Plates

NAME Width/ Length/ Thickness/ Weight/Sealed Part
Joseph Smith 6" 8" 6" n/c part
David Whitmer 6" 9" n/c n/c n/c
Martin Harris 7" 8" 4" n/c n/c
Orson Pratt 7" 8" 6" n/c 2/3 (not eye witness)

ref: Orson Pratt, "Interesting Account of Several Remarkable Visions" Edinburgh: Balantyne and Hughes, 1840 p. 13
Geo.Q Cannon 8" n/c 6" n/c 1/3

Three Witnesses: Oliver Cowdery, David Whitmer, MartiHarris
Official testimony n/c n/c n/c n/c n/c

Eight Witnesses: Christian Whitmer, Jacob Whitmer, Peter Whitmer, Jun.
John Whitmer, Hiram Page, Joseph Smith, Sen. Hyrum Smith, Samuel H. Smith
(all related except Hyram Page)
Official testimony n/c n/c n/c "hefted" n/c
*n/c = no comment

"Inasmuch as we are not sufficiently informed as to the number of leaves, their exact size, or their composition, (whether gold or alloy), it is impossible to correctly ascertain the exact weight of the plates.

Estimates have been places from about 125 lbs to less than 50 pounds." J.M. Sjodahl, "An Introduction to the Book of Mormon" SLC Deseret News Press 1927, pg 38


Very odd, don't you think that nobody weighed and measured these illusive golden plates and nobody is "sufficiently informed" to make a calculation? And how does a non eye witness know anything about these claims?This is the most fantastic discovery since the Rosetta Stone and this is the best they can come up with?
I wonder if they are bogus? :-)Hmm. Let me think!


To be absolutely clear:
No one saw, or claimed to have seen any "golden plates" with their physical eyes

One of the things that really hit me was the record of what the so-called "witnesses" actually said.

In fact, this was key to my "getting it" that Joseph Smith Jr was indeed, perpetrating a huge hoax, and fraud and, frankly at first, (from his own writings) seemed to be a little surprised at how many people believed him!

My "testimony" of the truthfulness of the claims of Joseph Smith Jr. "fell in ruins" when I read these statements. And, quite interestingly, it tickled my funny bone and I have been laughing and snickering ever since!

Note the documented sources are all from the LDS Church!

"Golden Plates Shown by a "Supernatural Power".

The best evidence of their experience is their own words recorded in the official Mormon Church history records and letters in their own LDS Archives!

Another significant historical point regarding the eight witnesses comes from a letter dated April 15, 1838. It was written by a former Mormon leader named Stephen Burnett. In that letter, Burnett states,

"I have reflected long and deliberately upon the history of this church and weighed the evidence for and against it loth (sic) to give it up -
but when I came to hear Martin Harris state in public that he never saw the plates with his natural eyes only in vision or imagination, neither Oliver [Cowdery] nor David [Whitmer] and that the eight witnesses never saw them and hesitated to sign that instrument for that reason, but were persuaded to do it, the last pedestal gave way, in my view our foundation was sapped and the entire superstructure fell in heap of ruins. "
(Stephen Burnett letter to Lyman E. Johnson dated April 15, 1838. Typed transcript from Joseph Smith Papers, Letter book, April 20, 1837 - February 9, 1843, microfilm reel 2, pp. 64-66, LDS archives.)

John Whitmer's statements were the most detailed – both the 1878 statement mentioned earlier and his 1839 statement to Theodore Turley where he said, "I now say, I handled those plates; there were fine engravings on both sides. ... they were shown to me by a supernatural power" (History of the Church, Vol. 3, p. 307). (Note: Hist of the church was written or dictated by JS and others) Those volumes can be found in the Reference Section of most LDS Libraries!

Thanks to BrianB for contributing this section in the earlier post:

Subject: Thanks! If most Mormons had any integrity... Date: Feb 25 11:41 Author:Brian B. Mail Address:Bunnyhurt@hotmail.com

They would see the problem in the Morg holding up Martin Harris, Oliver Cowdery, and David Whitmer and others after the fact that they left the Morg and Joseph Smith denounced the character of all of them, which disproves everything they ever said. For they both can't be honorable and dishonorable at the same time if you believe Smith was a prophet, and vice versa.

This is why integrity of character is banned from Mormonism, by the way (replaced with obedience).http://www.lds-mormon.com/emd2.shtml

[Note that a poem published in an early Mormon newspaper contained a line about JS: "Or Book of Mormon not his word because denied, by Oliver!" Times and Seasons, Vol II, pg 482].

Excerpts:

>The three witnesses were finally excommunicated from the church. Martin Harris accused Joseph Smith of "lying and licentiousness." The Mormon leaders in turn published an attack on the character of Martin Harris. The Elders' Journal--Mormon publication edited by Joseph Smith--said that Harris and others were guilty of "swearing, lying, cheating, swindling, drinking, with every species of debauchery . . ." (Elders' Journal, August, 1838, p.59).



Here is the most compelling TESTIMONY against Harris, by two witnesses that knew him best.http://www.xmission.com/~country/chngwrld/chap5a.htm

Mrs. Abigail Harris:
>". . . . Martin Harris and Lucy Harris, his wife, were at my house [early part of winter, 1828]. In conversation with the Mormonites, she [Lucy Harris] observed that she wished her husband would quit them, as she believed it all false and a delusion. To which I heard Mr. Harris reply: ‘What if it is a lie; if you will let me alone I will make money out of it!' I was both an eye- and ear-witness of what has been above stated, which is now fresh in my memory, and I speak the truth and lie not, God being my witness."[11]




Lucy Harris:
>"Whether the Mormon religion be true or false, I leave the world to judge; for its effects on Martin Harris have been to make him more cross, turbulent and abusive to me. His whole object was to make money out of it. I will give a proof of this. One day at Peter Harris' house (Abigail Harris' husband) I told him he had better leave the company of the Smiths, as their religion was false. To this he replied, "If you would let me alone, I could make money out of it.' It is in vain for the Mormons to deny these facts, as they are well known to most of his former neighbors."[12]



[11] Cake, Lu B., Peepstone Joe and the Peck Manuscript, p. 34. [12] Ibid. p. 35. (Affidavit Palmyra, N.Y., November 29, 1833)

So let the Mormon Apologist spin along with the GA's and keep the corporation running with the money flowing in!

What really frosts me is that the LDS Church PURPOSELY leaves out "shown by a supernatural power" regarding the viewing of "golden plates" but.....I have to admit, those TBM' can't be persuaded to change their testimony.

My own TBM hubby thinks that a vision or spiritual eye experience is real and literal! Go figure!

And thanks to Steven Benson for these comments and references:

Subject: More on Harris and other "witness" testimony . . . Date: Oct 24 03:26 Author:steve benson Mail Address:lobetrotter@yahoo.com
from: http://www.mormonismi.net/kirjoitukset/todistajat_hill_dialogue1972.shtml

"The Witnesses to The Book of Mormon

What of the prophet's story about gold plates, and what about his witnesses? ... The evidence is extremely contradictory in this area, but there is a possibility that the three witnesses saw the plates in vision only, for Stephen Burnett in a letter written in 1838, a few weeks after the event, described Martin Harris' testimony to this effect:

'When I came to hear Martin Harris state in public that he never saw the plates with his natural eyes only in vision or imagination, neither Oliver nor David ... the last pedestal gave way, in my view our foundations.'

Burnett reported Harris saying that he had 'hefted the plates repeatedly in a box with only a tablecloth or handkerchief over them, but he never saw them only as he saw a city through a mountain.' Nonetheless, Harris said he believed the Book of Mormon to be true. In the revelation given the three witnesses before they viewed the plates they were told, 'it is by your faith that you shall view them' and 'ye shall testify that you have seen them, even as my servant Joseph Smith Jr. has seen them, for it is by my power that he has seen them.' There is testimony from several independent interviewers, all non-Mormon, that Martin Harris and David Whitmer said they saw the plates with their 'spiritual eyes' only. Among others, A. Metcalf and John Gilbert, as well as Reuben P. Harmon and Jesse Townsend, gave testimonies to this effect. This is contradicted, however, by statements like that of David Whitmer in the Saints Herald in 1882, 'these hands handled the plates, these eyes saw the angel.' But Z. H. Gurley elicited from Whitmer a not so positive response to the question, 'did you touch them?' His answer was, 'We did not touch nor handle the plates.' Asked about the table on which the plates rested, Whitmer replied, 'the table had the appearance of literal wood as shown in the visions of the glory of God.' It does not seem likely from all of this that Joseph Smith had to put undue pressure on the three witnesses. More likely their vision grew out of their own emotional and psychological needs. Men like Cowdery and David Whitmer were too tough minded to be easily pressured by Smith.

So far as the eight witnesses go, William Smith said his father never saw the plates except under a frock. And Stephen Burnett quotes Martin Harris that 'the eight witnesses never saw them and hesitated to sign that instrument [their testimony published in the Book of Mormon] for that reason, but were persuaded to do it.' Yet John Whitmer told Wilhelm Poulson of Ovid, Idaho, in 1878 that he saw the plates when they were not covered, and he turned the leaves. Hiram Page, another of the eight witnesses, left his peculiar testimony in a letter in the Ensign of Liberty in 1848:

'As to the Book of Mormon, it would be doing injustice to myself and to the work of God of the last days, to say that I could know a thing to be true in 1830, and know the same thing to be false in 1847. To say my mind was so treacherous that I have forgotten what I saw, to say that a man of Joseph's ability, who at that time did not know how to pronounce the word Nephi, could write a book of six hundred pages, as correct as the Book of Mormon without supernatural power. And to say that those holy Angels who came and showed themselves to me as I was walking through the field, to confirm me in the work of the Lord of the last days--three of whom came to me afterwards and sang an hymn in their own pure language; yes, it would be treating the God of heaven with contempt, to deny these testimonies.'

With only a veiled reference to 'what I saw,' Page does not say he saw the plates but that angels confirmed him in his faith. Neither does he say that any coercion was placed upon him to secure his testimony.

Despite Page's inconsistencies, it is difficult to know what to make of Harris' affirmation that the eight saw no plates in the face of John Whitmer's testimony. The original testimony of these eight men in the Book of Mormon reads somewhat ambiguously, not making clear whether they handled the plates or the 'leaves' of the translated manuscript.

Thus there are some puzzling aspects to the testimonies of the witnesses. If Burnett's statement is given credence it would appear that Joseph Smith extorted a deceptive testimony from the eight witnesses.

But why should John Whitmer and Hiram Page adhere to Mormonism and the Book of Mormon so long if they only gave their testimony reluctantly?

It may be that like the three witnesses they expressed a genuine religious conviction. The particulars may not have seemed as important as the ultimate truth of the work. ..."


And another excellent poster: Perry Noid:

You shall have a "view" (as promised in the Doctrine and Covenants).... Date: Oct 24 02:44 Author:Perry Noid Mail Address:
The Doctrine and Covenants has several references to "views" of thing that apparently weren't physically there, because the idea was that they could only be seen by supernatural powers, not by physical eyesight.

I think that the "views" that Joe Smith gave to his "witnesses" were of course very contrived.

They probably went down something like this, with Joe conjuring up an imaginary scene for his "witnesses": "Can't you see it in your mind right now? To your left is a beautiful woman in a pearl-white, loosely draped gown of equisite satin. She is seated on a toadstool and strumming a harp of gold. A beautiful stream flows gently along a grassy bank at her feet. Now. you have seen a portion of the gardens of the Telestial Kingdom. Go forth and bear witness of what you have now seen." Or "Can't you see the golden plates right now in your mind? Look at how thin the gold is and how fine the workmanship is..."

Actually, look at the way Prophet Joe uses the word "view" in his DandC revelations. If you read it carefully, it seems pretty clear that they are not referring to seeing physical objects with physical eyes. The revelations sound a bit fishy to me. (Underlining added by me)

DandC 5:

24 Behold, I say unto him, he exalts himself and does not humble himself sufficiently before me; but if he will bow down before me, and humble himself in mighty prayer and faith, in the sincerity of his heart, then will I grant unto him a view of the things which he desires to see.

25 And then he shall say unto the people of this generation: Behold, I have seen the things which the Lord hath shown unto Joseph Smith, Jun., and I know of a surety that they are true, for I have seen them, for they have been shown unto me by the power of God and not of man.

26 And I the Lord command him, my servant Martin Harris, that he shall say no more unto them concerning these things, except he shall say: I have seen them, and they have been shown unto me by the power of God; and these are the words which he shall say.

DandC 17:

1 BEHOLD, I say unto you, that you must rely upon my word, which if you do with full purpose of heart, you shall have a view of the plates, and also of the breastplate, the sword of Laban, the Urim and Thummim, which were given to the brother of Jared upon the mount, when he talked with the Lord face to face, and the miraculous directors which were given to Lehi while in the wilderness, on the borders of the Red Sea.
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Jaredite Ship-Building Technology
Friday, May 19, 2006, at 07:30 AM
Original Author(s): Kent Ponder, Ph.d.
Topic: BOOK OF MORMON   -Link To MC Article-
JAREDITE SHIP-BUILDING TECHNOLOGY
by Kent Ponder, Ph.D.
Copyright © 2006 Kent Ponder

Many say that religious faith and reason are essentially incompatible -- that theological faith and sensible reason function as largely separate modes of mental and emotional behavior. LDS people, though, very often say that the Mormon faith is unusually reasonable and sensible.

Is it? As a test, let's consider the Jaredites and their ocean-going barges, described in Ether of the Book of Mormon. If you've read it, did you do it with the "eye of faith," or with the "eye of reason" (and common sense)? The LDS eye of faith normally reads this account unfazed. But what if we read it with the eye of reason and common sense? What if we read it as if we were jury members evaluating a witness's testimony? Shall we give it a try?

First, calmly think about what your own planning would entail if you were told that you and some friends would have to hand-build small, submersible boats in which you and your family would be taking a year-long ocean voyage, accompanied by flocks and herds of animals. Would you want to be confined to the inside of a small submersible boat for a year without planning how to care for and live with flocks and herds of animals on board, and related supplies -- for over eleven months?

I don't know how acquainted you are with construction engineering, especially forms of shipbuilding. While I lived in Annapolis, Maryland (teaching at the US Naval Academy), I visited shipbuilding companies and studied the history of various historical shipbuilding techniques. I've also looked into Thor Heyerdahl's Kon Tiki and Ra construction as well as whaling ships at Mystic Seaport, the ex-whaling town in Connecticut, and so on. Ocean-going craft must be carefully designed and strongly built.

As we pay close attention to Ether 2 and 6 in the Book of Mormon, we need to keep in mind that the Jaredite ships are described as built following the direct personal instructions of God himself. The LDS church has always taught that the Lord of the Jaredites' Old Testament times was Jehovah, the same deity described as having created the earth and all of the plants and animals, employing all the intelligent planning and management that that necessarily implies.

In Ether 2, note the order of procedure: FIRST, for a water voyage prior to the ocean crossing itself, the Lord had instructed Jared and his brother to build boats in which, according to the account, their families and friends "did cross many waters," (2:6) carrying with them "seeds of every kind," flocks ("male and female, of every kind"), "fowls of the air", "swarms of bees," and "fish of the waters." (2:1-3) According to the account, this boat trip was accomplished successfully.

NEXT, four years later, the Lord again ordered the men to build similar boats "after the manner of barges which ye have hitherto built" (2:16), this time for an ocean crossing of nearly one year's duration. These boats, similar to the ones built four years earlier, are described as "small, and they were light upon the water, even like unto the lightness of a fowl upon the water" (2:16), with structural integrity such that they were "exceeding tight," top and bottom, entirely leakproof and air-tight ("tight like unto a dish") (2:17) because they were going to be "many times buried in the depths of the sea" (6:6) by "mountain waves" (2:24) during many violent storms. To be both (a) light ("like a fowl upon the water"), and (b) able to carry flocks and herds with food supplies for a year, the construction would obviously have to be carefully planned and organized because of the known challenges of combining lightness with strength (which still applies: boats, airplanes, bicycles and helmets, race cars, even suitcases, etc.).

Following the Lord's specifications, the workmen built each boat with just one tight-fitting door, and no window or other opening. Construction of all eight boats was completed, per the Lord's personal instructions ("I have made the barges according as thou [the Lord] hast directed me." 2:18).

NEXT, the Brother of Jared looked at the finished boats and wondered for the first time, Whoa! How will we breathe in these things? Specifically, quoting him: ". . . I have made the barges as thou hast directed me. And behold, O Lord, we shall perish, for in them we cannot breathe, save it is the air which is in them; therefore we shall perish." (2:19) It was only then, that is, that he noticed that the boats were air-tight. (He also noticed they were totally dark inside: "O Lord, in them there is no light; whither shall we steer?" (2:19)

Now let's pause to consider: How do the eyes of faith and reason interpret this account? The LDS eye of faith typically accepts the story unfazed. But consider the following "Eye of Reason and Common Sense" questions:

1. Is it reasonable that men smart enough to build such watertight and airtight boats, following divine instructions, would do all the planning, material gathering and construction, and finish all eight before the question of breathing and seeing occurred to any of them? At that time (Tower of Babel period), working with hand tools, such a large project would have required at least months of labor. How could they not have noticed this problem for months? Remember that these shipbuilders were experienced. They had already built very similar people/animal/cargo-carrying boats just four years earlier.

2. Stated most succinctly, how could shipbuilders build eight air-tight boats without noticing that they were air-tight? Visualize men walking around inside boats "tight like unto a dish," with only one door that was to be kept closed at sea. Can you imagine them finishing all of the inside walls on all eight boats before noticing that it's suffocating in there?

3. And what about seeing? Is it sensible that the workmen could have finished all eight interiors without noticing that there was insufficient light to see -- no windows? How could they have worked inside without seeing? When asked about the light problem, note that the Lord answered with a question: "What will ye that I should do that ye may have light in your vessels? For behold, ye cannot have windows, for they will be dashed in pieces." (2:23)

4. "Dashed in pieces?" Dashable (shatterable) windows were not invented until thousands of years later, by a different civilization. How would Jared's brother have been able to understand the Lord's reply? Why would a deity have said something that would have had no meaning for Jared's brother?

5. How many boats would you have to finish before noticing no air and no light? Could you finish all eight boats before that dawned on you? Especially if you had built several similar boats and traveled in one of them four years earlier?

6. Is it sensible to finish even one before noticing? Do you know any carpenter who would do that?

7. Would the Lord himself not think of the need to breathe and to see, and then wait until the end to be asked about these life-or-death issues?

8. Would a person of common sense build even a mountain cabin, finishing all walls inside and out, before thinking to make a window hole, without thinking about breathing and seeing inside?

9. Is it sensible that all of these shipbuilders, described as previously experienced in carrying flocks and herds of animals inside of boats, waited until the end to realize, Oh, wait! We forgot that our animals will need to breathe in here. And we need to see in order to feed them and clean up.

Despite the common-sense requirements of structural integrity of ships that will be on the ocean carrying flocks and herds of animals and their feed for a year, all boats are finished, and then, as an afterthought, holes are hacked into that finished structure, one in the top and one in the bottom (because when it flops upside down in stormy seas, the bottom becomes the top).(2:20)

10. Wouldn't the Lord think that the sensible time to plan and build windows for air and light was during construction, not waiting to hack holes after finishing all boats, as a "whoops!" reaction? Would a sensible deity or human do that?

11. Is this not similar to teaching a work crew how to build automobiles for an extremely long trip without mentioning steering? Then, AFTER all the cars are built, the chief builder asks, "We have built all of the cars exactly as you have directed, but how shall we steer, for the wheels and axles are built so that they do not turn?" And the master planner replies, "Well, you can just make a hole in the dashboard and stick in a steering wheel. Then, when you need to steer, just turn the wheel."

12. Is it fair to ask how this differs from the following? Mormon elders, after following the Lord's exact instructions on building and painting the Celestial Room in the Salt Lake Temple, discovering that they've painted themselves into a remote corner, pray, "We have done as thou hast instructed us, oh Lord, but thy instructions have resulted in our painting ourselves into a corner." What would you think if the answer were, "Behold, ye shall make a hole in the granite temple wall, and after ye have escaped, ye shall stop the hole." Does the following improve the faith/reason problem, or worsen it? "When thou shalt suffer for air thou shalt unstop the hole and receive air." (2:20)

13.If you were taking your family on a car trip, would you tell them, "Wait until you notice you're suffering for lack of air, THEN open the window." Isn't it the case that people who need air often don't notice it until too late, because oxygen shortage has caused them to pass out? Don't we read that people who suffocate often don't know it's happening? Pilots at altitude undergoing oxygen deprivation experience the same hazard. Their awareness drops below the level needed to know they lack "air."

14. How is the Jaredite level of planning and knowledge different from that of men described in current news articles, who carelessly suffocate illegal aliens by transporting them in unventilated trucks? (And that problem occurs in just a few days, not a year.) If we ask ourselves whether the following is sensibly reasonable, what is the answer?. "They did lay snares and catch fowls of the air." (Also see 6:4: "fowl that they should carry with them") Birds are the first animals to die from inadequate oxygen, canaries in coal mines being a famous example.

15.How were the birds to notify Jared that they "suffered for air?" For the reasoning person, it gets worse. People and animals obviously keep breathing at night, while sleeping.

16. What if they "suffer for air" while everyone is asleep? Is that a good time to need to "unstop the hole?"

17. Did the Jaredites have "Hole Unstoppers" on guard while everyone else slept? Did the unstopper continually check to be sure that sleeping people and animals, especially birds, were still breathing? How well does the eye of reason and common sense fare with the following problem? " . . . unstop the hole . . . " Also, "thou shalt make a hole in the top and also in the bottom." (2:20) Note that it says the hole, that is, a hole, as in one hole. (The hole at the bottom clearly doesn't count except when the ship flops upside down in high seas.) Now picture in your mind traveling with flocks of flatulent sheep and herds of flatulent goats and cattle) in a boat with ONE functioning air hole.

18. What about air movement for ventilation?

19. How would air enter and exit the same single hole supplying the entire barge/boat? There's a related problem: Air doesn't readily enter a closed space. Why not? Because the space is already full of air -- In the Jaredites' case, warmer, body-heated air that exerts greater-than-outside pressure thus resisting incoming air. People taking car-trips with kids partially open at least two windows for air movement.

20.In these Jaredite boats, reported as designed by the highest divine intelligence, why is there no cross ventilation for three hundred and forty-four days? The eye of reason tries to visualize people and animals struggling to vent their body gases and heat through just one hole. Now let's apply the eye of reason to general animal care:

21. How much does even one goat, sheep or cow eat in a year? These are grazing animal, but they can't graze on the ocean; and they don't eat fish. Their grasses and grains have to be stored on board. A goat eats 2 - 3 pounds/day. Even a pony eats about 8 pounds/day. Let's sensibly use 3 pounds X 344 days. That's 1,032 pounds of feed per animal. That's a lot of bulky weight to lash down to prevent it crashing around when the ships roll, and even flip upside down.

22. How do you fit 1,000 pounds of feed per animal in the small boats, along with people, flocks and herds of animals, and birds?

23. And how about carrying a year's supply of drinking water for each person and animal? They couldn't drink ocean water, and in boats of the type described they couldn't gather significant rain water. How could they load and carry sufficient fresh water? Even the most illiterate people have learned how important ventilation is for food items, especially without refrigeration. People and animals exhale moisture with every breath. The numerous animals couldn't be taken outside to urinate and defecate. Such a year-long, high-moisture, low-ventilation environment breeds bacteria, yeast, fungus and molds, and rots food.

24. So, what about food spoilage? Could it get worse? The voyagers are reported to have sung praises to the Lord day and night. (6:9)

25. How likely does day-and-night singing and praising seem after months of close confinement in small boats with urinating, defecating, flatulent flocks, herds and fowls, with only one air hole per drum-tight boat? Could it get worse? Ether describes heavy seas (" . . . they were many times buried in the depths of the sea, because of the mountain waves which broke upon them" 6:6). So these boats were crashing around under water, occasionally flipping upside down (thus the need for a hole in the bottom which could be opened as an air hole when the boat flopped over).

26. Can you visualize adults, children, flocks and herds, rocking, tossing and flipping over, traveling that way for a year? Could you ride for 344 days and nights with your children on a boat, repeatedly buried in the depths of the sea with flocks and herds crashing over each other, with urine-soaked "litter box" material spilling into their food as the ship flopped upside down?

27. How would you pour all the urine and feces out of one hole -- for a year? Could reason and common sense be additionally battered? " . . . fierceness of the wind . . . the wind did never cease to blow towards the promised land while they were upon the waters; and thus they were driven forth before the wind." (6:6 - 8) This testifies to three major factors: (a) wind force, (b) wind constancy, (c) wind direction. "And thus they were driven forth, three hundred and forty and four days upon the water."

28. If the wind was (a) constant, (b) strong, (c) always toward the promised land, how could this force require 344 days? But wait! Could the shape of the boats, the front and back "ends thereof were peaked" (2:17), have presented insufficient flat surface at the back for the wind to blow against, causing the trip to last longer?

29.But then why would an intelligent divine designer choose such an inefficient shape? Could it get worse for the sensible eye of reason?. " . . . terrible tempests which were caused by the fierceness of the wind." (6:6)

30. Beyond the fact that a tempest is not caused by a fierce wind, but rather IS a fierce wind, why would an intelligent deity think that so much wrenchingly violent motion, even overturning stored goods, animals, their bedding and feed, be an intelligent thing to do?

31. Wouldn't an exhorbitant amount of water in the flocks' and herds' drinking containers be lost as the boats pitched, rolled and flipped over?

32.How did the Jaredites mop and dry this constant sloshing spillage for a year?

33. How could they have carried enough fresh water to offset the constant sloshing spillage?

34. Could you keep your family food and belongings together with that kind of flailing around? Were the people and animals secured by ropes (analogous to seatbelts)? Today, even seatbelted people in slow-speed vehicle rollovers are often seriously injured. But at least their vehicles then stop. Ocean storms, though, last for hours or days. The Jaredites and their animals would have been thrown around (a) many times longer and (b) in a vastly larger interior than in a car rollover. The sliding and falling collisions of people, animals, food and water supplies would often have gone on for hours or days at a time. And if tied down, in a rollover they'd have been left hanging from the ceiling. The food supplies, and especially the water supplies, would have had to be lashed down to prevent lethally crushing slides into people and animals.

35. But then, when the boat turned upside down, how did the people access the food and water, which would now be secured to the ceiling?

36. How would the Jaredites have been able to prevent or deal with orthopedic injuries and concussions as animals and people crashed into each other?

37. When the boats were upside down, did the people and animals just walk around on what had been the ceiling, outside of pens? "And thus they were driven forth, three hundred and forty and four days upon the water. And they did land upon the shore of the promised land." (6:11,12) That is, the account directly implies that all the boats landed at approximately the same time.

38. Is it sensible that after 344 days of such violent tossing and sloshing, the boats would have arrived on essentially the same day? How could eight ocean-going vessels tossed by violent storms maintain near-identical speeds, remaining near each other over such an extremely long time period?

39. Would the "eye of reason" perceive the ocean trip in Ether to be a fitting example of famed LDS general authority and historian Elder B.H. Roberts' notable assessment of the Book of Mormon "as if it were a tale told by a child, with utter disregard for consistency " ? (Studies of the Book of Mormon, p. 251) The eye of faith apparently does not perceive the Jaredite ocean voyage to be a nutty fictitious story.

40. How does the eye of sensible reason see it?

It seems to me that all 40 of the above questions are honestly, fairly and sensibly stated.
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Joseph Smith And The Book Of Mormon Chiasmus
Thursday, Jun 8, 2006, at 07:24 AM
Original Author(s): Dr. Shades
Topic: BOOK OF MORMON   -Link To MC Article-
Mormons place a lot of stock into the chiasmus in the Book of Mormon issue. Unfortunately, the notion that chiasmus was unknown in Smith's day and millieu before the publication of the Book of Mormon turned out to be misinformation perpetuated by John W. Welch, founder of FARMS. The lid finally came off in Quinn, D. Michael. Early Mormonism and the Magic World View: Revised and Expanded Edition (Salt Lake City: Signature Books, 1998), pp. 499-504, n.108.

I'd rather not type the whole thing out, so here are some highlights in the order in which they appear:

-----[BEGIN]-----

"As Welch noted in his early writings about chiasmus (see below), Anglican bishop Robert Lowth discovered (and first published in Latin) that textual parallelism was an essential characteristic of the Hebrew Bible."

"Advertised for sale in Joseph Smith's neighborhood, Horne's 1825 Introduction to the Critical Study and Knowledge of the Holy Scriptures emphasized (2:449): 'The grand, and indeed, the sole characteristic of Hebrew Poetry, is what Bishop Lowth entitles Parallelism, that is, a certain equality, resemblance, or relationship, between the members of each period; so that in two lines, or members of the same period, things shall answer to things, and words to words, as if fitted to each other by a kind of rule or measure'."

"Aside from Palmyra's advertising of Horne's 1825 American edition, the 1818 London edition was on sale in 1820 by the Canandaigua Bookstore, only nine miles from Joseph Smith's home (see text discussion)."

"Horne's 1825 American edition said that such parallelism would be found in any ancient text written by Hebrews. . . In the 1825 American edition, Horne also gave (2:456-57) several diagrams of 'Parallel Lines Introverted'. . ."

"All of this information was available in the Palmyra area as of 1825 through its own bookstore and through nearby Canandaigua's bookstore, which operated its own lending library for those who could not afford to buy books they wanted to read (see my text discussion)."

"Despite all evidence to the contrary, in 1969 John W. Welch claimed that none of this information was available to Joseph Smith or even to other Americans during Smith's lifetime."

"In support of his claim that this information about biblical parallelism was not available to Joseph Smith's generation, Welch's 1969 citation to Lowth was deceptive in two ways: (1) by not acknowledging that English-language editions were available since 1787, and (2) by citing Lowth's 1829 Latin edition as if this were the first time the Anglican bishop published about the matter. Welch knew differently because his master's thesis (submitted early enough in 1970 to be read and approved by his graduate committee in April) cited Lowth's 1815 American edition in the English language."

"Welch's thesis is now missing from BYU's computer-catalog BYLINE, but a copy is available in the LDS Church Library, Salt Lake City."

"In 1969 Welch further claimed (73): 'in 1860 a section on chiasmus was finally added to T. H. Horne's famous encyclopedia Introduction to the Critical Study and Knowledge of the Holy Scriptures. This marks the recognition of the form as genuine and significant.' Welch (73n5) cited this as Horne's '11th edition,' concluding (75) 'there exists no chance that Joseph Smith could have learned of this style through academic channels. No one in America, let alone in western New York, fully understood chiasmus in 1829.' To the contrary, after 1787 any American could read British editions of Lowth's study in English, as well as American editions after 1815. Moreover, Welch's 1969 claim of a watershed in 'recognition' for chiasmus in Horne's book actually occurred in the 1825 American edition, which the Palmyra area's newspapers show was available to Joseph Smith from its first publication onward."

"If he [Welch--ed.] had not examined these earlier editions, how could Welch comment on what was 'finally' added in the 1860 edition? If he did examine these earlier editions, how could Welch claim that prior to 1860 Horne's study contained no section on 'inverted parallelism'? His 1969 article acknowledged this was the earlier term for chiasmus. Nevertheless, after 1969 Welch intensified his original assertions that pre-1830 America was allegedly uninformed about biblical parallelism."

"Despite revising his article for its 1982 reprint by BYU's Religious Studies Center, Welch retained the deceptive footnote which listed Lowth's 1829 Latin edition as his only publication on parallelism. Welch's bibliographies in 1970 and 1981 both listed Lowth's 1815 American edition in the English language."

"The fact that the 1982 Provo reprint deleted all reference to Horne shows that Welch was aware of Horne's first American edition in 1825."

"Nonetheless, Welch continued to leave his Mormon readers misinformed about how early the studies of biblical parallelism were published in America. In his introduction to Chiasmus Bibliography: Study Aid (Provo, UT: Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies, 1987), Welch wrote: 'This bibliography lists most of the books and articles I am aware of dealing with or utilizing chiasmus,' yet it made no reference whatever to Robert Lowth's pioneering works about parallelism (which Welch's 1970 master's thesis acknowledged had been published in a U.S. edition of 1815)."

"There was also the problem that Lowth's study of parallelism was published in English in the United States in 1815 and 1829. Welch knew this while preparing his 1970 thesis, which listed Lowth's 1815 American edition. Acknowledging Lowth's publications also undermined Welch's claims for America's pre-1830 ignorance of biblical parallelism. Thus, Welch's 1987 FARMS bibliography made no reference to Lowth."

"To support the myth he created in 1969 that Joseph Smith and all other Americans were ignorant of biblical parallelism, Welch by the 1980s simply withheld from his Mormon listeners and readers his knowledge that there were American printings of such studies in 1815 and 1825. Instead, Welch's 1988 FARMS publication cited only an 1820 publication by John Jebb and an 1825 publication by Thomas Boys, both published in London and neither reprinted in the United States."

"In a 1993 video-cassette sold by FARMS, Welch repeated his 1988 statements and concluded: 'So I think that there was really very little chance--what should we say, a statistically insignificant chance--that Joseph Smith had any awareness of this through regular scholarly channels.'"

"As stated in my text discussion, Hugh Nibley's misstatements in 1975 occurred because of his lack of access to information that was not yet published or not easily available to him. That was not the case with John W. Welch, whose publications for the LDS audience since 1969, in my opinion, have manifested an escalating, intentional concealment of pre-1830 American publications about chiasmus."

-----[END]-----

Hopefully we can now disabuse ourselves of two mistaken notions: That (a) chiasmus was unknown in Joseph Smith's day, and that (b) Joseph Smith couldn't possibly have known anything about chiasmus.
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Welcome To The "Black Hole" Theory
Tuesday, Jul 18, 2006, at 07:41 AM
Original Author(s): Baura
Topic: BOOK OF MORMON   -Link To MC Article-
JS and Martin Harris translate 116 pages from the "golden plates." Martin Harris has a wife who thinks the whole business is bunk. Martin Harris asks JS over and over if he could just take the 116 pages to his wife and let her read it she would be converted--she'd believe. JS asks God if it's OK and God says, "yeah go ahead if you really want to."

Martin Harris takes the pages to his wife to read. However they turn up missing. It is suspected that his wife might have burned them.

JS is panic-stricken. "all is lost, all is lost!" he wails. JS asks God what to do. God says don't retranslate that part of the plates or else evil men will show up with the original 116 pages with changes that the evil men would have made and show that the re-translation is different from the original translation.

But, lo and behold it just turns out that among the plates there are the "Plates of Nephi" which cover the same basic material. So JS, toward the end of the project, translates the "Plates of Nephi" into 1st and 2nd Nephi and some others.

The "Black Hole" theory says that since JS was retelling a story he had told once before he had to be careful not to contradict any of the specifics that were on the original 116 pages (which might come forward at any time as far as he knew) Therefore a lot of the details that might be mis-remembered is left out of the re-translation. For instance what were the names of Ishmael's daughters that Nephi and the boys married? There are very few proper names in the replacement stuff and a lot of space is filled by "Nephi" copying Isaiah into the plates.

The "theory" says much of the original detail of the 116 pages has been eliminated to avoid remembering it wrong and has vanished into a "black hole."

You can read about the Tanner's "Black Hole" theory in their Salt Lake City Messenger #72 at:

http://www.utlm.org/newsletters/no72....
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The Book Of Mormon - "Keystone Of Our Religion"
Tuesday, Aug 15, 2006, at 08:16 AM
Original Author(s): Blottosunday
Topic: BOOK OF MORMON   -Link To MC Article-
You've heard it said many times by the LDS church. "The Book of Mormon is the keystone of our religion." This phrase is the basis for a very dangerous form of pseudo-logic employed by true-believing Mormons.

Here's what every Mormon missionary tries to get every investigator to do and believe:

1. Read the Book of Mormon.

2. Pray to Heavenly Father for a witness that the Book of Mormon is true.

3. If you have any warm or pleasant feelings as you pray, that is the spirit testifying to you that the Book of Mormon is true.

4. If the Book of Mormon is true, then Joseph Smith MUST be a true prophet of God.

5. If Joseph Smith is a true prophet of God, then the LDS church MUST be God's only true church on the face of the Earth and you need to be baptized so that you can receive Heavenly Father's blessings, especially Eternal Life, which is living forever in the glorious presence of our Heavenly Father.

Most true-believing Mormons really believe this. And missionaries know that if they can get an investigator to just READ the Book of Mormon, that the rest will follow and they will be baptized. They never stop for a moment to think about the flaws or gaps in the logic of those five steps, because to them, a testimony isn't about logic. It's about faith. And for the true-believing Mormon, faith will always trump logic and other pesky details, like evidence. It doesn't matter that DNA evidence shows that indigenous Americans originated from Asia and not Jerusalem. It doesn't matter that the evidence shows that Joseph Smith was a local con-man who crafted the Book of Mormon with his buddies using ideas and writings of others at the time. It doesn't matter that Egyptian language experts have shown that Joseph Smith's "translation" of the Book of Abraham wasn't even close. What matters is that warm or tingly feeling you get when you pray to know that the Book of Mormon is true. Because that means that Joseph Smithwas a prophet and the church is true. That's why Mormonism will always have followers, no matter how obvious the evidence that it is based on fraud becomes.

Whether these Mormon pseudo-logic steps were carefully crafted by someone, or the church arrived at them by accident, the fact remains that the approach is both brilliant and insidious.

If it seems odd to you that a lifetime of religious belief and worship, often extending for generations, would be based on a tingly or warm feeling--a psychosomatic response to the suggestion that The Book of Mormon is true--then congratulations. You are most likely immune to this twisted Mormon version of logic.

But don't underestimate the stubborn determination of those who have received their testimony this way. Not only will many of them never be swayed, but many of them will also reject anyone else who stops drinking the Kool-Aid, including those with whom they have formed relationships or even marriages. Broken friendships and families are just some of the sad byproducts of this Mormon pseudo-logic.
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"Yea, Their Runty Legs Did Buckle."
Monday, Sep 11, 2006, at 06:43 AM
Original Author(s): Swedeboy
Topic: BOOK OF MORMON   -Link To MC Article-
“Yea, their runty legs did buckle.” 1 Lehi 29:13-56

Over the years, the stories told of the Golden Plates and the Hill Cumorah were always intriguing. The hill was supposedly filled with Nephite records (enough to fill several wagon loads) and of course the sword of Laban was there as well. The following is from Brigham Young as he recounts the experience of Cowdery and Smith:
"Oliver says that when Joseph and Oliver went there, the hill opened, and they walked into a cave, in which there was a large and spacious room. He says he did not think, at the time, whether they had the light of the sun or artificial light, but that it was just as light as day. They laid the plates on a table; it was a large table that stood in the room. Under this table there was a pile of plates as much as two feet high, and there were altogether in this room more plates than probably many wagon loads; they were piled up in corners and along the walls.

"The first time they went there the SWORD OF LABAN hung upon the wall; but when they went again it had been taken down and laid upon the table across the gold plates; it was unsheathed, and on it was written these words: 'This sword will never be sheathed again until the kingdoms of this world become the kingdom of our God and his Christ." I tell you this is coming not only from Oliver Cowdery, but others who were familiar with it, and who understood it... I take the liberty of referring to those things so they will not be forgotten and lost."
(19 Journal of Discourses 38)
Now, if Moroni was the last surviving person of his race, and he was given the charge to finish the Book of Mormon and deposit the plates in a spot which the Lard commanded him, which just happened to be in upstate New York. And if the limited geography theory is correct, then not only did Moroni have to carry the very heavy Golden Plates to upstate New York, but he also had to carry the Liahona, the Sword of Laban and those wagon loads of Nephite records, all without the benefit of wagons or horses or oxen to pull this wagon train of Nephite treasures.

The first book of Lehi tells us of his struggles. Please cross reference with Zelph 3:29-85.
"Yea, I did use my mighty tapir and herd of llama to carry the sacred works of my people. I Moroni, being a man of large stature, not unlike Nephi of old, I nevertheless am unable to fulfill these mighty commands alone. And it came to pass, that many tapir perished under the exceedingly great weight of the sacred works of my people. Yea, their runty legs did buckle under the weight of so mighty a task. Yea verily despite the buckling of runty tapir legs, I know that God shall prepare a way for his commands to be fulfilled. And it came to pass, that I did use the skins of the buckled tapir as sleds to tow the sacred works of my people by the power of the mighty llama of which I possessed great abundance. And it came to pass, that as I endeavored to coax my mighty llama herd to pull the sacred works of my people on the sled skins of the buckled tapir, I did beseech the Lord in prayer. "Oh Lord, maker of the mighty tapir which so valiantly carried my brethren into many battles, yea even unto theirdestruction! Oh great one who sawest fit to buckle the legs of my formerly mighty tapir whose skins are now used as sleds to be towed behind my herd of mighty llama, hear my prayer. Yea, my llama herd will not yield unto the enticing of my words and whip. Bless them from the chaffing of the cords, which bind them to the tapir skin sleds, which carry the sacred works of my people. Yea Lord, I know not what to do. How shall I fulfill the command of taking many heavy sacred works of my people, and deposit them in the enchanted hill which the gentiles will one day confuse as the place of the final battle of my people with the Lamanites?”
Unfortunately this is where the record ends. We may never know just how he did it. Regardless, Moroni was a man unlike any other. Yea verily and amen.
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Bizzare But True: September Origins Of The Book Of Mormon
Monday, Sep 25, 2006, at 08:09 AM
Original Author(s): Deconstructor
Topic: BOOK OF MORMON   -Link To MC Article-
More bizarre but true Mormon History - starting 183 years ago yesterday...

September 22, 1823 - "The Angel" Moroni tells Smith to return to the Hill Cumorah in a Year with his oldest brother, Alvin
"Both early Mormon and non-Mormon sources agree that on 22 September 1823 Moroni required Smith to bring his oldest brother Alvin to the hill the following year in order to obtain the gold plates."
One of Smith's devout followers, Joseph Knight, recorded Smith's relating that the following dialog occurred on the hill in 1823:
"Joseph says, 'when can I have it?' The answer was the 22nt Day of September next if you Bring the right person with you. Joseph says, 'who is the right Person?' The answer was 'your oldest Brother.' But before September [1824] Came his oldest Brother Died. Then he was Disapointed and did not [k]now what to do." (Jessee 1976a, 31; also Hartley 1986, 20)
The Smiths' Palmyra neighbor Willard Chase reported:
"He then enquired when he could have them, and was answered thus: come one year from this day, and bring with you your oldest brother, and you shall have them. This spirit, he said was the spirit of the prophet who wrote this book, and who was sent to Joseph Smith, to make known these things to him. Before the expiration of the year, [Smith's] oldest brother died." (1833, 241-42, emphasis in original)
Smith family neigbor Fayette Lapham remembered that Joseph Smith's father told him in 1830 that "Joseph asked when he could have them; and the answer was, 'Come in one year from this time, and bring your oldest brother with you; then you may have them.' During that year, it so happened that his oldest brother died."

November 19, 1823 - Alvin dies suddenly
"The intensity of the Smith family's despair over Alvin's death less than two months after Joseph's visit the the Hill Cumorah is understandable. Alvin's last words to his brother Joseph were to "do everything that lies in your power to obtain the Record. Be faithful in receiving instruction, and in keeping every commandment that is given to you. Your brother Alvin must leave you." (L. M. Smith 1853, 88)
"Alvin's final charge underscored the dilemma Joseph now faced: he had been commanded to meet the angelic treasure-guardian at the hill the following 22 September 1824 and to bring Alvin with him."

"By some accounts, Smith had been violently jolted three times and severely chastised for disobeying instructions during his first visit, and Mormon convert Joseph Knight wrote that now Smith "did not [k]now what to do" (Jessee 1976a, 31). One can only imagine the turmoil Smith would have experienced during the ten months between the death of his eldest brother on 19 November 1823 and his next solitary visit to the hill."
- Early Mormonism and the Magic World View, p.135-136
September 22, 1824 - "God's Messenger" Moroni asks Joseph where his brother Alvin is
"Joseph hoped to obtain the plates on 22 September 1824 even though he did not bring Alvin. The day was a stinging disappointment. According to Smith's 1832 autobiography, the messenger told him "to come again in one year from that time [1823]. I did so [in 1824], but did not obtain them."

"His friend Joseph Knight wrote, "But when the 22nt Day of September Came he went to the place and the personage appeard [sic] and told him he Could not have it now" (Jessee 1976a, 31). Lorenzo Saunders remembered that Smith told him, "At the end of the time he went to the place to get the plates the angel asked where his Brother was. I told him he was dead." Fayette Lapham recalled the story as "Joseph repaired to the place again, and was told by the man who still guarded the treasure, that, inasmuch as he could not bring his oldest brother, he could not have the treasure yet"
(L. Saunders 1884a, 10; Lapham 1870, 2:386).
"As Smith left the hill in disappointment on 22 September 1824, apparently the message he had received was: without your dead brother Alvin, you cannot have the gold lates."

"When Smith returned a year later, the spirit asked about his brother. Learning he was dead, the spirit "commanded him to come again, in just one year, and bring a man with him."
- Early Mormonism and the Magic World View, p.136
September 29, 1824 - Joseph Smith Sr. denies in local newspaper to dissecting Alvin's body

Wayne Sentinel 2 (29 Sept. 1824): Page 3, prints an advertisement placed by Joseph Sr. dated "Sept. 25th, 1824," denying "reports [that] have been industriously put in circulation, that my son, Alvin, had been removed from the place of his internment and dissected."

Smith chastised town gossips for disturbing the peace of mind of a still-grieving parent, and then made two comments that allude to his son Joseph as target of such gossip:
"[these rumors] deeply wound the feelings of relations [and] have been stimulated more by desire to injure the reputation of certain persons than a philanthropy for the peace and welfare of myself and friends." - Wayne Sentinel, 29 Sept.-3 Nov. 1824; Kirkham 1951, 1:147; Rich 1970, 256
Not exactly faith-promoting. No wonder you don't hear this part of the story in Sunday School. This is not a testimony killer, but it sure is a bizarre story to explain away.

Why did the angel Moroni require Alvin to get the gold plates?

Why didn't the Angel Moroni know Alvin was dead?
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Why Did Joseph Smith Try Selling The Copyright To The Book Of Mormon?
Wednesday, Jan 24, 2007, at 08:16 AM
Original Author(s): Deconstructor
Topic: BOOK OF MORMON   -Link To MC Article-
Immediately after publishing the Book of Mormon in 1830, Joseph claimed to receive a revelation that Hiram Page and Oliver Cowdery were to go to Toronto, Canada to sell the copyright of the Book of Mormon. They failed to do so, (partly because the revelation sent them to the wrong town) and upon their return, accused Joseph Smith of falsely prophesying.

“Joseph looked into the hat in which he placed the stone, and received a revelation that some of the brethren should go to Toronto, Canada, and that they would sell the copyright of the Book of Mormon. Hiram Page and Oliver Cowdery went to Toronto on this mission, but they failed entirely to sell the copyright, returning without any money.

"Joseph was at my father's house when they returned. I was there also, and am an eye witness to these facts. Jacob Whitmer and John Whitmer were also present when Hiram Page and Oliver Cowdery returned from Canada. Well, we were all in great trouble; and we asked Joseph how it was that he had received a revelation from the Lord for some brethren to go to Toronto and sell the copyright, and the brethren had utterly failed in their undertaking. Joseph did not know how it was, so he inquired of the Lord about it, and behold the following revelation came through the stone: "Some revelations are of God: some revelations are of men: and some revelations are of the devil." So we see that the revelation to go to Toronto and sell the copyright was not of God, but was of the devil or of the heart of man.” - David Witmer, AN ADDRESS TO ALL BELIEVERS IN CHRIST, 1887, http://www.irr.org/mit/address4.html

Oliver Cowdery related his own account of Joseph Smith's "revelation" to sell the Book of Mormon copyright:

"that some among you will remember which sent Bro. Page and me, so unwisely, to Toronto, with a prediction from the Lord by "Urim and Thummim," that we would there find a man anxious to buy the "First Elder's copyright." I well remember we did not find him, and had to return surprised and disappointed. But so great was my faith, that in going to Toronto, nothing but calmness pervaded my soul, every doubt was banished, and I as much expected that Bro. Page and I would fulfill the revelation as that we should live. And you may believe, without asking me to relate the particulars that it would be no easy task to describe our desolation and grief. Bro. Page and I did not think that god would have deceived us through "Urim and Thummin [sic], " exactly as came the Book of Mormon. - Oliver Cowdery, Defense, p. 229

So why did Joseph Smith try selling the Book of Mormon copyright?

"Joseph Capron wrote that Smith hoped his volume would "relieve the family from all pecuniary embarrassment." There is evidence from Mormon sources to confirm Capron's recollections. Smith himself admitted in his unpublished history that "he sought the plates to obtain riches."

"Hyrum Smith wrote to his grandfather, Asael, that he believed that service to the Lord would bring the family their long-awaited prosperity."

"In October 1829, Joseph wrote excitedly to Oliver Cowdery that Josiah Stowell had a chance to obtain five or six hundred dollars and that he was going to buy copies of the Book of Mormon. Lucy Mack Smith said that when it was finally published in March 1830 the family had to sell copies of the book to buy food."

"The economic situation of the Smith families was so desperate at this time that Joseph tried to sell the copyright of the Book of Mormon. Hiram Page wrote with bitterness years later that the prophet heard he could sell the copyright of any useful book in Canada and that he then received a revelation that "this would be a good opportunity to get a handsome sum.""

"Page explained that once expenses were met the profits were to be "for the exclusive benefit of the Smith family and was to be at the disposal of Joseph." Page indicated that they hoped to get $8,000 for the copyright and that they traveled to Canada covertly to prevent Martin Harris from sharing in the dividend. Smith evidently believed that Harris was well enough off while his own family was destitute. When Page, Cowdery, and Knight arrived at Kingston, Ontario, they found no buyer."

"Martin Harris apparently learned of what was done, and Joseph guaranteed him in writing that he would share in any profits made from the subsequent sales of the book. In the spring of 1830 Harris walked the streets of Palmyra, trying to sell as many copies of the new scripture as he could. Shortly after Joseph Smith and Jesse Knight saw him in the road with books in his hand, he told them "the books will not sell for nobody wants them." - Marvin S. Hill, Quest for Refuge, p.20-21

So when selling the Book of Mormon didn't make them money as they had hoped, Smith and company organized a church.
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Historical Book Of Mormon Parallel
Monday, Jan 29, 2007, at 08:51 AM
Original Author(s): Markj
Topic: BOOK OF MORMON   -Link To MC Article-
In ancient days, a people came from across the sea and settled in a distant, uncivilized land. In this wilderness, the people struggled to establish themselves; there was much plotting, intrigue, and no little bloodshed. In time, though, the people gained dominion over the land and its savage inhabitants. The people prospered, building great cities, roads, and public works. Learning and trade flourished under their leadership. After several centuries, however, the land and the people faltered as internal political and military turmoil strained and eventually weakened the people and their institutions. The savage peoples around them seized the opportunity and attacked relentlessly. The civilized people were driven back, and bit by bit, they lost their lands and their freedoms.

Much of this history has been lost, but it is said that in the darkest hour, a mighty leader came forth to marshal his people and protect them. In a battle at a famous hill, he and his people stood alone against the combined forces of his foes. Sadly, this great leader could not prevent the inevitable, and the barbaric tide swept the once mighty people away. This last great leader is rumored to have taken the greatest treasure of his people, a testament to the living Christ, and secreted it away so that it might come forth in the latter days. Some people even say that this great leader himself will rise again to call the people to their duties.

The savage tribes that replaced the civilized people upon the face of the land did not care for or understand the great works that they had left behind. After a century or two, there was little evidence to suggest that the civilized nation had ever existed. The buildings and monuments tumbled down; the language was lost, as too were the learning and the trade. Some religious teachers claimed that this fall was the act of God on a people who had turned from him. It is true, that after missionaries returned to the barbarous land and converted its heathen folk, that they changed. They became a united people, and although often still prone to savage civil wars, they eventually filled the world with their beliefs and government.

The history I describe here is not the BOM, of course. It is a very abridged history of the Roman Empire in Britain. There are numerous parallels between the story of the BOM and the history of Rome in England. I find it instructive to look at these similarities, but even more so to look at the divergences. Rome and the Roman culture were in England for nearly 500 years. It was well entrenched and successful, but it was not the native culture, having been imposed from outside. And less than 100 years or so after it collapsed, a very different culture had taken its place. Successive invasions from Europe over the later centuries nearly erased every evidence that the Romans had ever been in England. But the evidence is still there.

Archeology continues to find the most amazing Roman ruins buried about the English countryside and under English cities. DNA tests show the genetic contribution that the Romans and their legions brought to Britain. In short, despite the interval of millennia, and the complete disappearance of Roman life in Britain, a comprehensive picture of Roman England has emerged. While proof for King Arthur and the Holy Grail may never be found, there is no questioning that the Roman culture and way of life flourished in Britain.

The Book of Mormon makes similar historical claims. A great civilization founded far from its homeland that eventually collapses and is lost in the dust of history. But where we find substantial corroborating evidence for the history of Rome in England, there is nothing to support the story of a Middle Eastern culture being established anywhere in the Americas. So when a TBM says to you that the BOM days were a long time ago and that finding evidence from so long ago is hard, tell the TBM about real history and the evidence that is available in support of it.
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Book Of Mormon Theme Of Cycle Of Wickedness And Righteousness Nothing New
Monday, Apr 23, 2007, at 09:12 AM
Original Author(s): Tom Donofrio
Topic: BOOK OF MORMON   -Link To MC Article-
About the time our original thirteen states adopted their new constitution in 1787, Alexander Tyler, a Scottish history professor at the University of Edinburgh, had this to say about the fall of the Athenian Republic some 2,000 years earlier:

"A democracy is always temporary in nature; it simply cannot exist as a permanent form of government."

"A democracy will continue to exist up until the time that voters discover they can vote themselves generous gifts from the public treasury."

"From that moment on, the majority always vote for the candidates who promise the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that every democracy will finally collapse due to loose fiscal policy, which is always followed by a dictatorship."

"The average age of the world's greatest civilizations from the beginning of history, has been about 200 years."

"During those 200 years, those nations always progressed through the following sequence:
  1. from bondage to spiritual faith;
  2. from spiritual faith to great courage;
  3. from courage to liberty;
  4. from liberty to abundance;
  5. from abundance to complacency;
  6. from complacency to apathy;
  7. from apathy to dependence;
  8. From dependence back into bondage"
In her 1805 History of the Rise, Progress and Termination of the American Revolution, Mercy Otis Warren sounded the same alarm. Her fear was that the rising generation, quickly growing rich, would forget God and the struggle for freedom. Her history was more a sermon than an objective analysis.

It is no surprise to see the same warning to the fictional Nephites in 1830. They are simply a vehicle in a moral melodrama designed to illustrate principles already illuminated by colonial writers.

http://www.postmormon.org/tories.htm
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God Sanctioned Beheading In The Book Of Mormon
Monday, May 7, 2007, at 07:06 AM
Original Author(s): Infymus
Topic: BOOK OF MORMON   -Link To MC Article-
From the Book of Mormon:
4:13 Behold the Lord slayeth the wicked to bring forth his righteous purposes. It is better that one man should perish than that a nation should dwindle and perish in unbelief. 4:14 And now, when I, Nephi, had heard these words, I remembered the words of the Lord which he spake unto me in the wilderness, saying that: Inasmuch as thy seed shall keep my commandments, they shall prosper in the land of promise. 4:15 Yea, and I also thought that they could not keep the commandments of the Lord according to the law of Moses, save they should have the law. 4:16 And I also knew that the law was engraven upon the plates of brass. 4:17 And again, I knew that the Lord had delivered Laban into my hands for this cause--that I might obtain the records according to his commandments. 4:18 Therefore I did obey the voice of the Spirit, and took Laban by the hair of the head, and I smote off his head with his own sword. 4:19 And after I had smitten off his head with his own sword, I took the garments of Laban andput them upon mine own body; yea, even every whit; and I did gird on his armor about my loins.
1 Nephi 4:13 through 4:19. http://scriptures.lds.org/en/1_ne/4
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The Complexity Of The Book Of Mormon Is A Clue
Friday, May 25, 2007, at 07:53 AM
Original Author(s): Craigc
Topic: BOOK OF MORMON   -Link To MC Article-
The LDS Church seeks to establish the following premises:

(1) The Book of Mormon is complex.

(2) The complexity in The Book of Mormon could not have been created by an uneducated and barely literate farm boy.

From the above premises, the Church concludes that Smith must have received supernatural help to create The Book of Mormon.

As a Mormon missionary, I was taught to use this line of argument and did so successfully.

Those who believe the Book of Mormon is not the result of a supernatural process may argue against premise (1) or (2), the conclusion, or some combination of the three.

I believe it is a mistake to argue against premise 1. The Book of Mormon is complex. It contains the following features, which, to me, illustrate its complexity:
  1. Recursive, nested stories within stories
  2. Use of characters who are editors and abridgers of accounts purportedly written by other characters
  3. Dozens of interwoven stories
  4. A fairly elaborate dream sequence and interpretation
  5. Several 19th century-style sermons (King Benjamin’s address)
  6. Interweaving of 19thy century religious and sociopolitical views
  7. Massive plagiarism, with phrases and text and storylines adopted from many sources, including especially the literature of the American revolutionary war, the Old Testament, the New Testament, the Apocrypha, and more.
  8. Some structural features, such as chiasmus, indicating familiarity with 18th century poetry patterns.
  9. A storyline that weaves into the storyline of the Bible.
  10. An internally consistent geography that seems to map to Palestine, but uses New England place names
LDS Church leaders and apologists are well aware of this complexity, and they use it to defend the Book of Mormon. Said LDS apostle Dalin Oaks:

"Those who rely exclusively on scholarship reject revelation and fulfill Nephi's prophecy that in the last days men "shall teach with their learning, and deny the Holy Ghost, which giveth utterance" (2 Ne. 28:4). The practitioners of that approach typically focus on a limited number of issues, like geography or 'horses' or angelic delivery or nineteenth century language patterns. They ignore or gloss over the incredible complexity of the Book of Mormon record.

Our side will settle for a draw, but those who deny the historicity of the Book of Mormon cannot settle for a draw. They must try to disprove its historicity--or they seem to feel a necessity to do this--and in this they are unsuccessful because even the secular evidence, viewed in its entirety, is too complex for that."

Provo, Utah, 29 October 1993 , "The Historicity of the Book of Mormon." Talk for FARMS.

People who claim that the Book of Mormon is simple – perhaps to justify their belief that Smith made it up – play into the hands of Oaks. Oaks can win this argument, and he knows that he can. Moreover, as he himself said, all he really needs is a draw.

The Book of Mormon defense team is also confident in their ability to defend premise 2 - that an uneducated farm boy could not have created the complexity of The Book of Mormon. Again, they have good reason to be confident. Prior to 1830, Smith was not well read. Nor was he studious. He was a busy boy, busy chasing buried treasures and skirts. Yes, he was intelligent, creative, charismatic, and capable of spinning a yarn. But where is the evidence that he had the educational background or scholarly temperament to write the Book of Mormon?

The most difficult challenge for the BoM defense team is when their opponent accepts premises 1 and 2, but rejects their conclusion: YES, The Book of Mormon is complex. YES, it is improbable Smith produced it. But NO, Smith did not receive supernatural help to make it. He certainly received help, but his “angels” were no more supernatural than David Copperfield’s assistants.

The Book of Mormon defense team constructs a straw man: they argue that the only plausible alternative to Smith receiving supernatural help is that he wrote the book on his own - an alternative they feel comfortable with because they can attack it on the strengths of premises 1 and 2. So when premises 1 and 2 are accepted but the conclusion is rejected, the Book of Mormon defense team is left without its favorite straw man. They are obliged to confront a vast body of evidence indicating that Smith had help.

Especially difficult is the evidence for the defense team is the Spalding-Rigdon Theory. It is difficult because it is a purely naturalistic explanation of the origins of the Book of Mormon that:
  1. acounts for the complexity of the Book of Mormon as the work of multiple authors requiring a merger of texts and a final editing job performed under time pressure; and
  2. makes Smith's education level irrelevant because he was not responsible for the content of the book.
The complexity of the Book of Mormon is a clue to its convoluted origins, just as the complexity of our bodies is a clue to our own convoluted evolution.
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How Did Joseph Smith Sr. Get Into 1 Nephi 8?
Saturday, Jun 2, 2007, at 09:51 AM
Original Author(s): Nancy
Topic: BOOK OF MORMON   -Link To MC Article-
In 1 Nephi 8 we read:
And it came to pass that while my father tarried in the wilderness he spake unto us, saying: Behold, I have dreamed a dream; And it came to pass after I had prayed unto the Lord I beheld a large and spacious field. And it came to pass that I beheld a tree, whose fruit was desirable to make one happy. And it came to pass that I did go forth and partake of the fruit thereof; and I beheld that it was most sweet, above all that I ever before tasted. Yea, and I beheld that the fruit thereof was white, to exceed all the whiteness that I had ever seen. And as I partook of the fruit thereof it filled my soul with exceedingly great joy; wherefore, I began to be desirous that my family should partake of it also; for I knew that it was desirable above all other fruit.
Here is where Joseph Smith's father comes in with his dream, described by his wife Lucy Mack Smith, a couple of years before the BoM was announced. It's found in Lucy's memoir/book

"Joseph Smith the Prophet and his Progenitors," Chapter 14

http://www.centerplace.org/history/mi...

Boy, after I connected the dots I thought she should titled it "Joseph Smith, the False Prophet, and his Tall Tales"

Here is Joseph Smith Senior's dream or vision: (Reread the verses above again before proceeding to read Smith Senior's dream)
....I saw a very pleasant valley, in which stood a tree such as I had never seen before. It was exceedingly handsome, insomuch that I looked upon it with wonder and admiration. Its beautiful branches spread themselves somewhat like an umbrella, and it bore a kind of fruit, in shape much like a chestnut bur, and as white as snow, or, if possible whiter. I gazed upon the same with considerable interest, and as I was doing so the burs or shells commenced opening and shedding their particles, or the fruit which they contained, which was of dazzling whiteness. I drew near and began to eat of it, and I found it delicious beyond description. As I was eating, I said in my heart, 'I can not eat this alone, I must bring my wife and children, that they may partake with me.' Accordingly, I went and brought my family, which consisted of a wife and seven children, and we all commenced eating, and praising God for this blessing. We were exceedingly happy, insomuch that our joy could not easily be expressed.
If you read more of Smith's visions (He had 3) you'll also see more of Nephi 8

Also read about his First Vision where he finds a "Treasure Box" and Lucy's description of her son's other great talent:
"During our evening conversations, Joseph would occasionally give us some of the most amusing recitals that could be imagined. He would describe the ancient inhabitants of this continent, their dress, mode of traveling, and the animals upon which they rode, their cities, their buildings, with every particular; their mode of warfare; and also their religious worship. This he would do with as much ease, seemingly, as if he had spent his whole life with them".
LDS GA B. H. Roberts, mentioned this and other accounts in his last book where he admitted that the BoM could very well have been produced by the Smith's vs divine origions.

http://www.signaturebooks.com/studies...

He also refers to Ethan Smith's book "View of the Hebrews" (about Indians really being Israelites ---read excerpts in Robert's book)

It is noteworthy that Oliver Cowdery's father was a member of Ethan Smith's concregation prior to the BoM being published. Both, Oliver's father and Smith Senior were friends.

All I can say is: "Flee Babylon!"

Mercy!!!!
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Book Of Mormon Introduction Changed
Saturday, Nov 3, 2007, at 06:32 AM
Original Author(s): Infymus
Topic: BOOK OF MORMON   -Link To MC Article-
As noted elsewhere (Credits to John Larsen), the Introduction to the Book of Mormon the second paragraph reads:
“The book was written by many ancient prophets by the spirit of prophecy and revelation. Their words, written on gold plates, were quoted and abridged by a prophet-historian named Mormon. The record gives an account of the two great civilizations. One came from Jerusalem in 600 B.C., and afterward separated into two nations, known as the Nephites and the Lamanites. The other came much earlier when the Lord confounded the tongues at the Tower of Babel. This group is known as the Jaredites. After thousands of years, all were destroyed except the Lamanites, and they are the principal ancestors of the American Indians.”
This was included in the first printing runs of the Doubleday Edition.

In the latest printing of the Doubleday Edition of the Book of Mormon, the last sentence was changed to read:
“After thousands of years, all were destroyed except the Lamanites, and they are among the ancestors of the American Indians.”
The interesting thing is this change is not published anywhere. Additionally, the new Doubleday Edition still lists itself as a first edition. I am no publisher, but my understanding was when you made changes, you listed it as a second, third, etc. edition. The second edition also indicates that it is still first printing, which would be impossible since the change was made.

I wonder if this has anything to do with the mounting DNA evidence (of which they vehemently reject)?

Interesting links:

3,913 changes to the BOM from UTLM: http://www.utlm.org/onlinebooks/3913intro.htm

IRR.ORG: Changes to LDS scriptures: http://www.irr.org/mit/changingscrips.html

Another - Book of Mormon Editions (1830-1981): http://www.lightplanet.com/mormons/bo...

One of the best quotes I have seen from IRR is this:
"Today the Mormon Church gives potential converts a copy of a corrected and grammatically sanitized Book of Mormon but still points to Joseph Smith’s lack of education as evidence for its divine origin. What is implied is that Joseph could not have produced such a book without divine aid. What they do not say is that Joseph’s poor grammar, so evident in the first edition, is now masked by thousands of changes and corrections made by later LDS leaders. As a result, today we do not have the Book of Mormon as it came from the hand of Joseph Smith, but rather a heavily edited version as it has come through the hands of LDS church leaders."
That says it completely. If you go back and look at the original BOM, and you have read the current BOM as much as I have, you will find the original BOM completely foreign.
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Another Church Publication Stating That The Book Of Mormon Is About "God's Dealings With Some Of The Ancient Inhabitants Of The Americas"
Saturday, Nov 10, 2007, at 01:34 AM
Original Author(s): Cdnxmo
Topic: BOOK OF MORMON   -Link To MC Article-
I've pulled together scraps of useful info. from various posts during the past few days. Note: emphasis in bold in the following quotes is mine.

Referring to the gold plates that Joseph Smith claimed to have received from the angel Moroni, on p. 38 of the LDS Church’s latest edition of its publication, “Preach My Gospel”, it states:
"These gold plates contained the writings of prophets giving an account of God's dealings with some of the ancient inhabitants of the Americas."
The 1981 edition of The Book of Mormon (which is still online) contains the ‘truth’ as you, I, and millions of other people with experience in the LDS Church were taught:
“The Book of Mormon is a volume of holy scripture comparable to the Bible. It is a record of God’s dealings with the ancient inhabitants of the Americas and contains, as does the Bible, the fulness of the everlasting gospel.” (ref. http://scriptures.lds.org/en/bm/intro...).
Odd that in all those years of Sunday School, Primary, Priesthood, Seminary, and Institute, and all those classes in the Missionary Training Centre and mission district and zone meetings, we were never told that The Book of Mormon was only about “some of the ancient inhabitants of the Americas”, wouldn’t you say?

Verse 34 of the official history of Joseph Smith in The Pearl of Great Price says:
“He [the angel Moroni] said there was a book deposited, written upon gold plates, giving an account of the former inhabitants of this continent, and the source from whence they sprang.” (ref. http://scriptures.lds.org/en/js_h/1/3...).
The source repeatedly mentioned in The Book of Mormon is ancient Israel, not northeast Asia, which is where scientists have determined through genetic testing that the ancestors of American Indians originated (predominantly) 12,000+ years ago (ref. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indigeno...).

Some of you may remember that in a Feb. 16/06 press release, the LDS Church stated:
“Nothing in the Book of Mormon precludes migration into the Americas by peoples of Asiatic origin.” (use the Search function on http://www.lds.org to get the link to the release).
However, Joseph Smith would not have agreed. In the Wentworth Letter, written by Smith in 1842 to John Wentworth, editor of the Chicago Democrat, Smith indicated:
“In this important and interesting book the history of ancient America is unfolded, from its first settlement by a colony that came from the Tower of Babel, at the confusion of languages to the beginning of the fifth century of the Christian Era. We are informed by these records that America in ancient times has been inhabited by two distinct races of people. The first were called Jaredites, and came directly from the Tower of Babel. The second race came directly from the city of Jerusalem, about six hundred years before Christ. They were principally Israelites, of the descendants of Joseph. The Jaredites were destroyed about the time that the Israelites came from Jerusalem, who succeeded them in the inheritance of the country. The principal nation of the second race fell in battle towards the close of the fourth century. The remnant are the Indians that now inhabit this country.” (ref. http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/The_Wen...).
Odd that Joseph Smith did not mention that the gold plates were a record of God’s dealings with “some of the ancient inhabitants of the Americas”, or that Lamanite-like (i.e., dark-skinned) people already existed in the Americas when Lehi and his family arrived “about six hundred years before Christ.”

In the Oct./97 General Conference, Pres. Gordon Hinckley told Latter-day Saints:
“We were recently with the Navajo Nation at Window Rock in Arizona. It was the first time that a President of the Church had met with and spoken to them in their capital. It was difficult to hold back the tears as we mingled with these sons and daughters of Father Lehi.” (see the Nov./97 Ensign, which is online).
Despite Hinckley’s belief that the Navajo people (currently about 300,000) descended from a small group of fair-skinned people who came from ancient Jerusalem about 2,600 years ago, genetically, culturally, linguistically, and in terms of their mythology Navajo Indians are linked to Athabascan Indians, whose ancestors came from Mongolia and Tibet (ref. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Southern...).

The process of changing a foundational aspect of the LDS religion is underway, as people familiar with Mormonism and Native American DNA research 'prophesied' years ago. Future materials produced by the LDS Church regarding The Book of Mormon will undoubtedly reflect the new ‘truth’.

To conclude, here’s what President Ezra T. Benson said in General Conference in October 1986 (published in the Nov./86 Ensign) regarding The Book of Mormon:
“…the Book of Mormon is the keystone of our religion. This was the Prophet Joseph Smith’s statement. He testified that “the Book of Mormon was the most correct of any book on earth, and the keystone of our religion” (Introduction to the Book of Mormon). A keystone is the central stone in an arch. It holds all the other stones in place, and if removed, the arch crumbles.”
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It Isn't About The Change, It's About The Dynamics
Saturday, Nov 10, 2007, at 11:29 AM
Original Author(s): Stephen Scott
Topic: BOOK OF MORMON   -Link To MC Article-
The most significant part of this story to me isn't so much about the change itself--It's about the dynamics that got the church to admit that the change had even occurred. In case you missed it, here's the sequence of events-- at least as I saw it unfold:
  1. John Larsen posts the news of the change on PostMormon.org
  2. The post draws a lot of attention and discussion on this BB and spreads to others
  3. John Larsen contacts Peggy Fletcher Stack of the Salt Lake Tribune
  4. The Salt Lake Tribune runs an article on the change as suggested by John Larsen
  5. Church owned KSL Television immediately runs a story about the change as though this whole story was the church's idea and that they were making this public announcement through their media arm KSL. In reality, it was a fast-acting response to douse the fire started by John Larsen!
  6. The story is now being discussed on internet chat sites around the globe!
Remember--the change to the BoM did not just happen this week. Why then did the church suddenly decide to "announce" it through KSL yesterday?

This is the real story to me. That the spark created by one person on this board turned so quickly into a wildfire and forced the church to respond with their water cannons to put out the flames.

This has been one of the most fascinating sequences of events that I have witnessed since becoming disaffected and visiting this board. It's a case study in the power of the internet and the ability of one person to use it to affect change in the world.
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Something Interesting About The 1962 Book Of Mormon
Saturday, Nov 10, 2007, at 02:28 AM
Original Author(s): Secular Priest
Topic: BOOK OF MORMON   -Link To MC Article-
In 1980 when Church came out with new set of scriptures all the Church members were told to buy them and stop using their old ones. THIS IS TRUE. I was there. My dad put his old ones away. I went through the library last night and got it out. Lets see what's different.

Copyrighted by Pres. David O. Mackay 1962. Copyright should still be in effect right?

Whole page called "Brief Analysis of BoM." Gives a brief description of 3 types of plates. Talks about Plates of Laban. Talks about 15 divisions of plates. Talks about how parts of plates were put together by Moroni. Concludes with brief description of history of Nephi and how record was sealed by Lord and hide by Moroni. Very scholarly and impressive.

Next 3 pages called "Origin of BoM." It is a copy "word for word" from Church records. Explains Moroni visit to JS. "He said there was a book deposited , written upon gold plates, giving an account of the former inhabitants of this continent and from whence they sprang." He goes on and uses the words "ancient inhabitants." At the end of the three pages it says complete record in PoGP page 50-54 and Church History Vol 1 chapters 1 to 6.

Next page is Testimony of 3 witnesses

Followed by BoM as we knew it then.

So LDS tells the truth? How many want to bet these old versions of BoM do not make it into new Church library in SLC?

It's clear to me this change this week was more than a "small change." They must think TBM are stupid, and that makes me mad as hell. My dad's old BoM was clearly a book put together for study and clearly put together with references so people could find out for themselves what the the truth was. Now the Church is saying to me, "Your dad clearly did not know what he was studying or telling you as a kid." This is a slap in the face to me and my mum and dad. The Church should have the balls to say upfront "all those people who learned over the last 180 years or so were taught incorrect things.Their beliefs were faulty. Their scriptures they used were flawed and we are sorry."

Anyone else out there think the same way I do?

Now I know why Church told my dad to get rid of his scriptures.This has been in the works for years. They have know for years the BoM was flawed.

I guess angels lie too! God plates = some new metal I never heard of. Ancient inhabitants = small group of people. Former inhabitants = only part of the people here. Clearly Moroni was not the brightest angel of the group.
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Linguistics Problems In Mormonism
Monday, Jan 14, 2008, at 07:04 AM
Original Author(s): Richard Packham
Topic: BOOK OF MORMON   -Link To MC Article-

Introduction - How This Article Came About

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; My interest in language in general and foreign languages in particular began when I was a child. andnbsp; When I was in high school I took every foreign language the school offered (Latin and Spanish), and when I began college I continued that study, with the intention of becoming a language teacher. andnbsp; I continued with Spanish, and also learned French and German, graduating with a major in German and minors in Spanish and English. andnbsp; My master of arts degree was in German, after which I began to teach (Latin, German and English). andnbsp; During that time I also studied Russian. andnbsp; I then had the opportunity to work toward a doctorate in historical and comparative linguistics, and spent four years in graduate school, learning Anglo-Saxon, Old Icelandic, Gothic, Sanskrit, classical Greek, Old and Middle High German, as well as extensively studying comparative and historical linguistic methodology. andnbsp; In the years since I have also studied Mandarin Chinese, Esperanto and Hebrew, and acquired a reading knowledge of Dutch and Italian. andnbsp; During my teaching career of thirty-five years I used comparative linguistic techniques in the classroom. andnbsp; I have found that my knowledge and experience with the phenomena of language give me a somewhat unusual perspective on Mormonism.

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; This article gathers together my own observations as well as comments of others. andnbsp; Some of these problems are well-known, but some of them I have never seen discussed before. andnbsp; So far as I am aware, nowhere else has Mormonism been critiqued solely from a linguistic point of view, gathering together all of the linguistic problems in one place.

The Importance Of Language in Mormonism

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; Joseph Smith, Jr., the founder of Mormonism, was also fascinated with language from the very beginning of his career. andnbsp; He was raised in a culture which believed in folk magic and the powers of language and mystical words. andnbsp; (See D. Michael Quinn's Early Mormonism and the Magic World View (2d ed.) and John L. Brooke'sThe Refiner's Fire). andnbsp; His very first major venture into religious matters was a purported translation of golden plates delivered to him (he said) by an angel and written in a hitherto unknown language ("reformed Egyptian"), which he claimed to be able to translate through the power of God. andnbsp; When he later organized a church, he included among the titles and powers of the head of his church that of "translator":
"[The president of the church is]...to be a seer, a revelator, a translator, and a prophet, having all the gifts of God which he bestows upon the head of the church." [emphasis added]. (Doctrine and Covenants [Dandamp;C] 107:92, see also Dandamp;C 21:1)

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; As Joseph Smith gained confidence during his career as the head of a growing church, he continued to be fascinated with languages, and he continued to translate. andnbsp; Even though he claimed that he possessed (as head of the church) the divine power to translate other languages (implicitly without actually studying them ), he spent considerable effort to study other languages in the ordinary, non-divine way. andnbsp; He hired tutors in Hebrew, and studied modern languages such as German. andnbsp; He occasionally showed off his supposed knowledge of foreign languages, as in his "Appeal to the Freemen of the State of Vermont," where he demonstrated his linguistic ability by writing in seventeen different languages (quoted in Fawn Brodie, No Man Knows My History: The Life of Joseph Smith, p. 292).

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; In addition to the Book of Mormon, he made several other "translations":

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; Although every president of the Mormon church supposedly holds all the authority and powers granted by God to Joseph Smith (Doctrine and Covenants 107:92), none of them has ventured to exercise the divine power to translate.

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; Even ordinary members of the church were promised linguistic gifts, the ancient "gift of tongues," by which the faithful could speak in languages they did not know, and interpret the sayings of others who spoke in strange languages (Dandamp;C 46:25-26, 109:36). andnbsp; Many instances of "speaking in tongues" are recorded from the early days of Mormonism. andnbsp; In modern times, however, Mormons seem to be content with seeing that "gift" in the fact that their missionaries successfully study foreign languages to be able to preach in other countries.

Some Further Preliminary Considerations

"Translated by the power of God"

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; If God is in fact involved in providing translations through his chosen servants, and if God has specifically called such servants to be "translators", one can assume that God has a purpose in doing so, and that the purpose must obviously be to furnish mankind with important messages. andnbsp; It cannot serve God's purposes if those translators are in fact unable to provide accurate translations of the sacred material. andnbsp; Surely, if God is at work here, the translations will be accurate and reliable. andnbsp; Man's frailty or inabilities cannot be a frustration to the work of an omnipotent God, one would think. andnbsp; And Dandamp;C 3:3 reiterates that idea:
"Remember, remember that it is not the work of God that is frustrated, but the work of men;..."
andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; One should be able to assume, then, that God is a master of all the world's languages, and that if we find mistranslations or ignorance of the meanings of words, or inability to express an idea accurately, we are not dealing with a message from God, but a message from someone who merely claims to be speaking for God.

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; Mormons will probably cite as an excuse for such errors the passage in the Book of Mormon (BoM), which says (Mormon 8:17) "And if there be faults [in this record] they be the faults of a man....". andnbsp; They do not seem to realize that such an admission implies that any faults mean that - at least at that point - the man was not inspired by God.

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; Mormon apologists who try to deal with the many translation problems often try to excuse and explain the problems by showing how translating is an inaccurate art, how difficult it is, how translators are hampered by the inexact correspondence of one language with another. andnbsp; All of which is very true, if one is looking at a translation done by a translator who was working with no divine assistance. andnbsp; But none of those excuses can apply to Joseph Smith, who, although he was called the "translator," was merely supposed to be acting as God' secretary. andnbsp; Accounts of the "translation" process which produced the Book of Mormon describe how the divine power would not let him proceed past a phrase until God considered it correct. andnbsp;

Anachronisms - A Sure Proof of Fraud

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; Probably ever since mankind began to write, there have been those who have tried to take advantage of the power of the written word by passing off their own writings, which would not have much credence if their true authorship were known, as the writings of someone with more authority, especially some long-dead authority. andnbsp; There are hundreds, if not thousands, of such examples in the documentary history of mankind: the Donation of Constantine, or the Songs of Ossian, to name just two non-religious works. andnbsp; In ancient times it was very common, and perhaps not even considered dishonest, to publish such a pseudepigraph: most of the biblical Apocryphal books are pseudepigrapha, and even some of the canonical books of the Bible are considered by many Bible scholars to have been written by someone other than the author whose name is associated with it (the Epistles of Peter, the Book of Daniel, the last part of Isaiah, some of the "Pauline" epistles, and others). andnbsp;

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; However, it is often important, in deciding whether to trust what a document says, to know whether its purported author really wrote it, or whether it was written later (especially much later) by someone else. andnbsp; Thus, techniques were developed by scholars to test such texts, and these tests have proved to be remarkably helpful and accurate.

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; One of the most important tests for uncovering an allegedly ancient text that is really a product of later times is the presence of anachronisms, that is, things that are inappropriate to the time in which the work supposedly was written. andnbsp; It is a very straightforward and relatively common-sense test.

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; For example: Suppose I show you a small book that says on its cover: "Journal of Gen'l George Washington." You look through the book and at first reading it does, indeed, appear to be the journal of a period in the life of George Washington. andnbsp; What a treasure! It sounds authentic. andnbsp; Its language is typical of the late 18th century, when Washington lived. andnbsp; It contains material hitherto unknown to historians, and yet not contradictory to what is known. andnbsp; I explain to you that it is a faithful typewritten copy of a handwritten book that was found among my grandfather's belongings.

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; As you read it, however, you come across this sentence: "This aft'noon rec'd an urgent wire, took the rr train to Philadelphia, arr'd toward evening, met by M. Adams at the sta." andnbsp; andnbsp;

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; What is your reaction? andnbsp; Are you suspicious? andnbsp; You know that the railroad did not exist in Washington's day, nor did the term "rr train" or "sta[tion]" as a place where one would meet a "rr train." andnbsp; andnbsp; Nor was a message called a "wire", since that term came into use only with the invention of the telegraph in the next century. andnbsp; These are anachronisms, and immediately mark the text as not from the times of Washington.

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; What explanation could I give you that would persuade you to accept this text as genuine? andnbsp; I could probably try to defend the authenticity of my text. andnbsp; I could suggest that "rr train" was probably a special shorthand Washington was using for "stagecoach" (even though there is no evidence of such a use in any genuine Washington writings, or in any other writings from the time). andnbsp; A similar argument might be made for "wire" for a message. andnbsp; But to any scholar, and to any ordinary person using common sense and a rudimentary knowledge of history, this text is a clumsy fraud.

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; Would you change your mind if I listed all the things that are authentic in the text, or that sound believable or possible? andnbsp; No, I would hope not.

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; Would you change your mind if I argued that, after all, it was only two little anachronisms? andnbsp; No, I would hope not. andnbsp; Even only one anachronism - unless it can be conclusively shown to be a later insertion by someone else (a corruption of the original text) - is enough to condemn a text as not authentic.

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; Would you change your mind if I confided to you that the journal had been given to my grandfather by an angel of God, and that the angel had told him that it was authentic? andnbsp; I suppose to some people that would make a difference, but only the very, very gullible.

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; The examples given above are of anachronistic objects. andnbsp; A linguistic anachronism is the use of a word which actually did not come into use until much later than the alleged date of the document. andnbsp; For example, if we found in the purported journal of Washington the expression "fifth column" (meaning undercover sabotage agents), we would know that the journal is not authentic, since that expression was coined and first used during the Spanish Civil War in the twentieth century. andnbsp; Many of the anachronisms in Mormon scriptures are of this type, as will be illustrated below.

"King James" Style

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; An observant reader of the Book of Mormon quickly notices that the style of English used there is similar to that of the King James Authorized translation of the Bible, with "thee" and "thou" and verb phrases like "hath seen" or frequent use of "behold." andnbsp; andnbsp; Modern Bible translations generally avoid archaic language and use contemporary language instead. andnbsp; And, of course, when the King James translators were writing their translation, they were writing in contemporary language, the language of England in 1611.

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; Why would the Book of Mormon - also purportedly a translation of an ancient record, like the Bible - not be translated into the modern language of the translator (i.e., the American language of 1829)? andnbsp; Why use a form of English that had disappeared (except for the King James Bible) from daily use? andnbsp; True, in the 19th century it was not uncommon for translations of ancient secular works (such a Greek drama, Latin poetry, Norse epics) to use an antiquated form of English, for the purpose of emphasizing the antiquity of the original.

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; Ant that may be the reason for Joseph Smith's use of archaic English in his translation. andnbsp; However, that does not explain why the revelations in the Doctrine and Covenants appear in the same archaic English. andnbsp; They do not purport to be ancient documents, but modern. andnbsp; One gets the impression that Smith's familiarity with the King James Bible led him to believe that when God speaks English, it's got to be the English of 1611. andnbsp; But why? andnbsp; Why would God speak in that particular style of English? andnbsp; But that seems to be the rather pervasive belief among Mormons, who consider it improper to use anything but King James English when praying. andnbsp; Mormon leaders sometimes suggest that such a style of speaking is more "sacred."

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; Some Mormon leaders have even insisted that prayers should address God with "thee" and "thou" rather than "you" because, they say, "thee" and "thou" are more "respectful" than "you." andnbsp; andnbsp; This shows an ignorance of the history of the differing forms, as well as of the use of the equivalent forms in other modern languages which still use them (German, French, Spanish, etc.). andnbsp; The "you" form (as well as "ye") is originally the plural form for "thee" and "thou," and the use of the plural when speaking to only one person began as a sign of respect, whereas "thee" and "thou" (often called the "familiar" forms) did not indicate respect. andnbsp; As it became customary to show more and more respect to more and more people, "you" gradually supplanted the singular forms entirely in daily use. andnbsp; Thus the Mormons have it backwards.

Specific Language Problems in Mormonism

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; I will now discuss some of the many linguistic problems in Mormonism which show that its linguistic claims do not withstand close examination.

The word "Mormon"

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; The word 'mormo' or 'mormon' can be found in any dictionary of classical Greek. It means "scarecrow, bugbear, ghost, demon."

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; Apparently someone who knew some Greek tried to make something of this, and Joseph Smith responded with a "letter to the editor":

Editor of the Times and Seasons:

SIR:–Through the medium of your paper I wish to correct an error among men that profess to be learned, liberal and wise; and I do it the more cheerfully because I hope sober-thinking and sound-reasoning people will sooner listen to the voice of truth than be led astray by the vain pretensions of the self-wise.

The error I speak of is the definition of the word "Mormon." It has been stated that this word was derived from the Greek word mormo. This is not the case. There was no Greek or Latin upon the plates from which I, through the grace of the Lord, translated the Book of Mormon. Let the language of the book speak for itself. ...

Before I give a definition, however, to the word, let me say that the Bible in its widest sense, means good; for the Savior says according to the gospel of John, "I am the good shepherd" and it will not be beyond the common use of terms, to say that good is among the most important in use, and though known by various names in different languages, still its meaning is the same, and is ever in opposition to bad. We say from the Saxon, good; the Dane, god; the Latin, bonus; the Greek, kalos; the Hebrew, tob; and the Egyptian, mon. Hence, with the addition of more, or the contraction, mor, we have the word MORMON; which means, literally, more good.

Yours,
JOSEPH SMITH.

[emphasis added] Times and Seasons, Vol.4, No.13, May 15, 1843, p.194,
also History of the Church Vol. 5, p.399, in a slightly altered version

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; Several questions arise:

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; If Joseph Smith was simply translating by the power of God, without actually having to know the foreign language(s) from which he was translating, how did he know that there was no Latin or Greek? andnbsp; Since Smith did not know any Latin or Greek at the time he was "translating" the plates, it must have been God who told him that there was no Latin or Greek in the plates. andnbsp; (Remember this statement for later!)

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; How does a modern English word ("more") come to be part of an ancient Nephite (or Egyptian?) name?

"Isaiah" and "Esaias"

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; The name of the Old Testament prophet Isaiah appears in its Hebrew form (Anglicized as 'Isaiah') only in the Old Testament (in fact, Isaiah is mentioned in the Old Testament only in the historical books of Kings and Chronicles, and in the book bearing his name). andnbsp; Because the New Testament writers wrote in Greek, not Hebrew, whenever New Testament writers referred to this prophet, they used the Greek form of the name: 'Esaias.' The King James Version, which is the only version of the Bible Joseph Smith knew, also uses the Greek version of the name, anglicized as 'Esaias' rather than the Hebrew form 'Isaiah.' Most modern translations of the New Testament use the form 'Isaiah' rather than 'Esaias' so as to make clear to the reader that it is the Old Testament prophet Isaiah that is being referred to. andnbsp; The name 'Esaias' thus occurs 21 times in the King James New Testament (but never in the Old Testament), and in each instance the writer is referring back to a prophecy of Isaiah. andnbsp; Examine some of those occurrences of 'Esaias' in the KJV New Testament, and then check the Old Testament passages of Isaiah to which they refer:

NT Quote of "Esaias" Source in OT: "Isaiah"
Matt 3:3, Luke 3:4, John 1:23Isa 40:3
Matt 4:14Isa 9:1-2
Matt 8:17, John 12:38, Rom 10:16Isa 53:1-4
Matt 12:17Isa 42:1
Matt 13:14, John 12:39-41, Acts 28:25Isa 6:9
Matt 15:7, Mark 7:6Isa 29:13
Luke 4:17Isa 61:1
Acts 8:27-32Isa 53:7-8
Rom 9:27Isa 10:22
Rom 9:29Isa 1:9
Rom 10:20Isa 65:1

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; Each of these King James New Testament passages refers to the words of "Esaias" and then quotes the book of Isaiah. andnbsp; It would seem obvious that in the minds of the New Testament writers Isaiah and Esaias are one and the same.

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; But Dandamp;C 84:11-13 says that Esaias was a prophet who lived in the days of Abraham, many centuries before Isaiah. andnbsp; And Dandamp;C 76:100 distinguishes Esaias from Isaiah:

"...these are they who say they are some of one and some of another; some of Christ; and some of John; and some of Moses; and some of Elias; and some of Esaias; and some of Isaiah; ..." [emphasis added]
andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; "Ezias" also occurs in the Book of Mormon (Hel 8:20) in a list of prophets who have testified to the coming of a savior, also as a different prophet from Isaiah: "Zenos... also Zenock, and also Ezias, and also Isaiah,..."

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; Thus, according to Mormon revelation through Joseph Smith, there was a prophet in the days of Abraham who had a Greek name, the same name as used by speakers of Greek two thousand years later for the great prophet Isaiah, and who appears to be unknown to any bible writer, but upon whom God personally conferred the priesthood. andnbsp; And his prophecies of the coming savior are lost.

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; Perhaps God should have explained to Joseph Smith that the same person's name can appear in different versions in different languages, but it is still the same person: the king who is called Charlemagne by the French and the English is the same person that the Germans call Karl der Grosse; the emperor called Don Carlos by the Spaniards is the same person we call Charles V.

"Elijah" and "Elias"

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; Joseph Smith's problem with 'Elijah' (Hebrew) and 'Elias' (Greek) is similar, but more complicated.

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; The name 'Elijah' occurs in this Hebrew form in the Bible (King James Translation) only in the Old Testament, over sixty times. andnbsp; Almost all occurrences are in I and II Kings, but a very important occurrence is in the prophecy in Malachi 4:5-6:

"Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord: And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse."
andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; In the Christian Bible, the Old Testament books are arranged so that this verse is the last verse in the Old Testament, emphasizing the Christian interpretation of this passage as a prophecy which is fulfilled in the gospels immediately following. andnbsp; In the Jewish arrangement of the scriptures, Malachi is the last of the minor prophets, and is followed by the books called "Writings"; thus it is nowhere near the end of the Hebrew scriptures. andnbsp; (For more problems with this passage, see below.)

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; The fame of Elijah rested not only on his great life and the Malachi prophecy, but on the fact that he did not die; he was carried into heaven without tasting death (II Kings 2:11). andnbsp; It was perhaps this fact that allowed the Jews to accept the possibility that Elijah would, in fact, return as Malachi prophesied, since ordinarily the dead do not come back. andnbsp; Elijah, however, never having actually died, could return.

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; The name in the form 'Elijah' does not occur in the Greek New Testament, nor does 'Elias' occur in the Old Testament. andnbsp; But 'Elias' occurs thirty times in the King James New Testament , and almost always in reference to the Malachi prophecy. andnbsp; John the Baptist was considered by many to be the returning Elijah. andnbsp; Notice however that it is always 'Elias' that is spoken of (Matt 11:14, 16:14, 17:11, Mark 9:11-13, John 1:21, 25 and parallels - KJV). andnbsp; At Romans 11:2-3, Paul quotes 'Elias' with the words of Elijah from I Kings 19:14.

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; At the Transfiguration, Moses and 'Elias' appear (Matt 17:3, Mark 9:4, Luke 9:30, KJV), and the disciples are informed that "Elias has come" (Matt 17:12, Mark 9:12). andnbsp;

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; Most modern translations of the New Testament use the Hebrew version of the name ('Elijah') instead of the Greek 'Elias' in order to avoid confusion and to emphasize that these two names refer to the same Old Testament prophet.

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; But Joseph Smith obviously did not know this, and apparently God didn't tell him: In Dandamp;C 27:6-9, 'Elias' and 'Elijah' are treated as distinctly different prophets:

"And also with Elias, to whom I have committed the keys of bringing to pass the restoration of all things spoken by the mouth of all the holy prophets since the world began, concerning the last days;
7 And also John the son of Zacharias, which Zacharias he (Elias) visited and gave promise that he should have a son, and his name should be John, and he should be filled with the spirit of Elias;
8 Which John I have sent unto you, my servants, Joseph Smith, Jun., and Oliver Cowdery, to ordain you unto the first priesthood which you have received, that you might be called and ordained even as Aaron;
9 And also Elijah, unto whom I have committed the keys of the power of turning the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to the fathers, that the whole earth may not be smitten with a curse;..."
[emphasis added] (see also Dandamp;C 138:45-46)
andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; Both Elias and Elijah also are reported to have appeared as two separate beings in the Kirtland temple (Dandamp;C 110:12, 13):
"12 After this, Elias appeared, and committed the dispensation of the gospel of Abraham, saying that in us and our seed all generations after us should be blessed.
13 After this vision had closed, another great and glorious vision burst upon us; for Elijah the prophet, who was taken to heaven without tasting death, stood before us, and said:
14 Behold, the time has fully come, which was spoken of by the mouth of Malachi--..."
[emphasis added]
andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; Thus, for Joseph Smith, the Greek name referred to one prophet and the Hebrew name referred to another.

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; This has caused no end of trouble for Mormon theologians. andnbsp; Mormon apostle and theologian Bruce R. McConkie, in Mormon Doctrine, takes more than three pages to try to unravel the contradictions. andnbsp; He distinguishes five (!) meanings for "Elias":

1. A prophet of Abraham's time (Dandamp;C 110:12) and the "spirit" or "doctrine" of this prophet; McConkie admits that "We have no information, at this time, as to the mortal life or ministry of Elias. andnbsp; It is apparent that he lived in the days of Abraham, but whether he was Abraham [!], or Melchizedek, or some other prophet, we do not know."

2. The Greek form of 'Elijah'; McConkie says, "This leads to some confusion..." andnbsp; andnbsp; (Yes, especially in the mind of Joseph Smith!)

3. The Spirit and Doctrine of Elias, which is to prepare for a greater work to come (this must therefore pertain only to the Aaronic priesthood, says McConkie).

4. The Elias of the Restoration. andnbsp; According to Joseph Smith, says McConkie, Christ is the Elias (JST "Inspired Version" John 1:21-28). andnbsp; McConkie clarifies: "By revelation we are also informed that the Elias who was to restore all things is the angel Gabriel who was know in mortality as Noah. (Dandamp;C 27:6-7) ... From the same authentic source we also learn that the promised Elias is John the Revelator. (Dandamp;C 77:9, 14)." andnbsp; andnbsp; McConkie then concludes that 'Elias' is a "composite personage." andnbsp; andnbsp; It is a "name and a title."

5. John the Baptist is a good example of an 'Elias,' says McConkie.
andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; Now, which explanation makes more sense and is more likely the case? andnbsp; McConkie's (Elias is a hitherto unknown prophet of Abraham's time, with a Greek name, or maybe Abraham himself, or Melchizedek, and Christ, and Elijah, and John the Baptist, and John the Revelator, and a "spirit or doctrine")? andnbsp; Or the more obvious conclusion that Joseph Smith was simply ignorant of the fact that the King James New Testament uses the Greek version of Old Testament names?

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; Moral: all it takes is one stupid mistake to form the basis for an entire complicated theology.

"Jehovah" and "Elohim"

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; In a doctrinal statement by the Mormon First Presidency "The Father and the Son" (cited by Mormon theologian James Talmage in his The Articles of Faith, pp. 465ff) the prophets state that "Elohim" refers to God the Father, and "Jehovah" refers to God the Son. This distinction is also portrayed in the Mormon temple ritual drama, the "endowment," where "Elohim" gives instructions to "Jehovah and Michael" and sends them off to carry them out, which they do.

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; This is a fundamental mistranslation of the Hebrew scriptures.

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; Exodus 6:2-3 says, translated literally from Hebrew:

2 And Elohim spoke to Moses, and said to him, I am YHWH [Jehovah].
3 And I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob as "El Shaddai" [God Almighty], but by my name YHWH I was not known to them.

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; The Hebrew word "Elohim" means "God" and is translated in most English Bibles by "God," whereas "YHWH" - as this passage indicates, is the sacred name of God, and is translated in most English Bibles as "the LORD". In the Old Testament the terms are almost interchangeable, and frequently one version of an Old Testament story refers to the deity as "Elohim" (translated as "God") and another version of the same story uses the term "YHWH" (translated as "the LORD"). There are hundreds of such examples. andnbsp; In fact, it was the use of these different terms in Hebrew for the deity that first led scholars to surmise that the first five books of the Old Testament are from differing sources and traditions: one that called God "Elohim", and another that called him "YHWH". Here are just a few examples:

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; In the Flood story, God is referred to as "Elohim" in Gen 6:9-22; 7:9, 16; 8:1, 15. But God - apparently the same God - is called "YHWH (Jehovah)" in 6:5-7; 7:1-5, 16; 8:20. In God's dealings with Abraham, God is called "Elohim" in Genesis 17, but "YHWH" in Genesis 18. It is clear that these are not two different personages, but just one God, referred to by two different terms. andnbsp; Hundreds of other examples could be cited. (See any analytical concordance under "God" and "Lord" for a complete listing.)

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; The Hebrew word 'elohim' is grammatically the plural of the noun 'el' or 'eloi', which was the Semitic word meaning "god." andnbsp; andnbsp; It is the same root as in the Arabic word "Allah." andnbsp; andnbsp; Scholars believe that the Hebrews adopted the word from their neighbors the Canaanites, since "El" was the name of one of their chief gods.

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; Joseph Smith, after he began to study Hebrew with a Hebrew teacher and later began to delve into the Jewish occultism in the Kabbalah, made much of the fact that the word "Elohim" is grammatically plural, and used that to justify his doctrine of the plurality of gods. andnbsp; This is reflected in his Book of Abraham, where "the gods" are reported to have created the world (Abraham 3), whereas the corresponding passages of his (equally inspired?) Book of Moses (Moses 2), the creator reports that "I, God, said, Let there be light [etc.]"

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; For an extensive discussion about Smith's sources for this interpretation of "Elohim," see "Joseph Smith and Kabbalah: The Occult Connection" by Lance S. Owens, in Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, Vol. 27, No. 3, Fall 1994, pp. 117-194, also online here.

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; Thus, Joseph Smith again assumes that two different names must signify two different personages.

"Christ the Messiah"

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; Not many people are aware of the fact that the word "Messiah" is used in the King James Translation of the Old Testament only twice: in chapter 9 of the book of Daniel (written in the second century B.C.). andnbsp; The Greek transliteration ("Messias") of this Hebrew word is used only twice in the New Testament, in the Gospel of John (1:41 and 4:25).

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; The Hebrew word which gives us the term "messiah" is 'mashiach,' meaning literally "[the] anointed [one]" and is used 47 times in the Hebrew Old Testament, in reference to all anointed persons: priests, kings, etc. andnbsp; It is only relatively late in Hebrew literature that it came to have the additional special meaning of the yet-to-come anointed king of the house of David who was expected to appear and free the Jews from foreign domination and establish God's kingdom forever on earth, and thus also end the world as we know it.

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; Usually in the New Testament, which was written in Greek, the Hebrew word 'mashiach' is translated into Greek with the Greek word which means "anointed": 'christos', and that Greek word is usually not translated into English, but only transliterated (anglicized), as "Christ," with a capital letter.

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; One of the fundamental teachings of Christianity, of course (and I am including Mormonism here, since Mormons share this view), is that Jesus was that promised Messiah (or "anointed [king]"). andnbsp;

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; In the Greek of the New Testament, of course, he was referred to as "Jesus the Anointed One" ('Iesous ho christos'), which in Hebrew or Aramaic would be something like "Ieshua ha mashiach."

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; Now, when we look at the Book of Mormon (supposedly translated from Hebrew written in "Reformed Egyptian"), we find that the term "Messiah" occurs about 25 times. andnbsp; The term "Christ" occurs about 317 times.

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; Several questions arise:

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; What is the difference, for the Book of Mormon author(s), between the Hebrew word "messiah" and the Greek word "christ"? andnbsp; (Especially when Joseph Smith insisted that there were no Greek words in the Book of Mormon.) Why is the Hebrew word used sometimes, but the Greek word at other times? Remember, these authors are supposedly Jews who knew no Greek! Were there two different Nephite (i.e. "Reformed Egyptian") words in the original text, one to be translated as "Messiah" and the other as "Christ"? andnbsp; If so, what was the difference in their meaning, and what was their origin?

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; The confusion is compounded in 2 Nephi 25:19, where Nephi writes:

For according to the words of the prophets, the Messiah cometh in six hundred years from the time that my father left Jerusalem; and according to the words of the prophets, and also the word of the angel of God, his name shall be Jesus Christ, the Son of God. [emphasis added]

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; Putting aside for the moment the question "What Old Testament prophets said that the messiah would be named Jesus Christ?" we would like to ask what this passage must have looked like in "Reformed Egyptian," since it is translating two occurrences of the same word ("the anointed one") in different ways, one with the Greek word "Christ" and one with the Hebrew word "Messiah." Why?

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; Another question is why Nephi would think that the word "Christ" is a "name"! It is not a name, even though many Sunday School children think of it as a name ("Jesus Christ was the son of Joseph Christ and Mary Christ"). It is a title. andnbsp; This passage is like saying "The name of the Father of our country was President Washington."

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; Whoever wrote the Book of Mormon seemed to have Greek and Hebrew words at his disposal, but he did not understand their meaning. andnbsp; Does that sound like God? andnbsp; Or Nephi? andnbsp; Or Joseph Smith?

More Greek in the Book of Mormon

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; Remember that Joseph Smith said that there was "no Greek or Latin" in the Book of Mormon. andnbsp; And it should not contain any Greek or Latin, since neither of those languages were familiar to the inhabitants of Palestine before Lehi supposedly left Jerusalem about 600 B.C. andnbsp; However, as we shall see, there are many Greek words in the Book of Mormon, and that fact must cast doubt on the claim that it was written by Jews who broke off all contact with their homeland in about 590 B.C. andnbsp; Historically, the Greek language was not used in Palestine until after the conquest of the Middle East by Alexander the Great, in 325 B.C., long after Lehi had left. andnbsp; Latin did not come into use until the first century B.C. andnbsp; Thus, any Greek or Latin words in the Book of Mormon are linguistic anachronisms.

"Church" and "synagogue"

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; In the BoM at 1 Nephi 4:24-26 is this passage, where Nephi has just beheaded Laban, and has disguised himself in Laban's (miraculously non-bloody) clothing. He is speaking to Laban's servant:
24 And I also spake unto him that I should carry the engravings, which were upon the plates of brass, to my elder brethren, who were without the walls.
25 And I also bade him that he should follow me.
26 And he, supposing that I spake of the brethren of the church, and that I was truly that Laban whom I had slain, wherefore he did follow me.
[emphasis added]
Does that sound odd? (Remember, this is a Jew in Jerusalem, 600 BC. Remember, too, that this "translation" is supposed to be divinely inspired.)

What word could Nephi have been using in "Reformed Egyptian" that God would inspire Joseph Smith to translate as "church"? The word "church" is never used in the Old Testament, not even in the King James Version. In fact, there was no such thing as a "church" among the Jews in 600 B.C. When the Jews referred to the religious community of Jews (which was really just the community of Jews - there was no notion of "religion" or religious organization separate from the idea of the community), they used Hebrew terms which are translated in the KJV Old Testament as "congregation" (over 300 occurrences): usually translating the Hebrew words 'moed' ("meeting place, meeting"), 'edah' ("appointed meeting, assembly, people"), or 'qahal' ("gathering, assembly").

Why would God not inspire Joseph Smith to use a word that would fit in with the King James style that Smith was using already? Like "congregation"? The word "church" occurs in the Bible (KJV) only in the New Testament, and, except for two passages in Matthew (which many scholars consider to be later interpolations), only after the death of Jesus and the rise of the organization referred to since then as the "church." andnbsp; andnbsp; In the English New Testament the word "church" is usually used to translate the Greek word 'ekklesia,' which literally means "assembly" from the root meaning "call forth." The term meant specifically the organization to which the followers of Jesus belonged, to distinguish them from the Jewish "congregation."

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; In 600 B.C. the organization of the religious life of the Jews was simply the organization of the hereditary priesthood, and either one was born a priest, or one was not. There was no organization to "join." There was no "church."

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; This becomes even stranger when Nephi begins to talk about the "two churches" of God and of the devil, in 1 Nephi 14, in the sense of distinctive religious groups with differing beliefs.

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; And then, in Mosiah 25:19-21, the word "churches" is used as though for the first time. andnbsp; Notice that the author feels he must explain what "churches" means. andnbsp; But didn't Nephi already use the "Reformed Egyptian" term, and didn't the writer of Mosiah have Nephi's writing available?

19 And it came to pass that king Mosiah granted unto Alma that he might establish churches throughout all the land of Zarahemla; and gave him power to ordain priests and teachers over every church.
20 Now this was done because there were so many people that they could not all be governed by one teacher; neither could they all hear the word of God in one assembly;
21 Therefore they did assemble themselves together in different bodies, being called churches; every church having their priests and their teachers, and every priest preaching the word according as it was delivered to him by the mouth of Alma.
[emphasis added]
andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; Thus, throughout Mosiah and Alma, the word "church" is used (one or two centuries before Jesus), even though it is really a New Testament word and a New Testament concept. andnbsp; And it seems to be a new concept for that time, although Nephi had written about "the church" in his records several centuries earlier.

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; The Jews, meanwhile, in Palestine, were meeting in "synagogues" for worship, prayer and teaching. And "synagogues" are mentioned frequently in the Book of Mormon (25 occurrences). However, the word as used there is not used as a variant of "church," but rather appears to mean something different - usually the place of worship of a sincere but false religion. One of the first occurrences of "synagogue" in the Book of Mormon is Alma 16:13:

"And Alma and Amulek went forth preaching repentance to the people in their temples, and in their sanctuaries, and also in their synagogues, which were built after the manner of the Jews."
Now, this passage is extremely interesting, because the Book of Mormon does not indicate that there was any contact between the descendants of Lehi and the Jews in Israel after about 590 B.C. And yet scholars of Jewish religious history are almost unanimous in the view that the synagogue, which we think of as so typical of Jewish religious life, did not exist before the destruction of the temple and the Babylonian Captivity (after 589 B.C.)! So how could any Nephite know about "synagogues ... after the manner of the Jews"?

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; Even the word "synagogue" is Greek (from 'syn-' "together" and 'ag-' "bring, lead"), and, as mentioned earlier, Greek influence was practically non-existent in Palestine until the fourth century B.C., long after Lehi supposedly had left. The word "synagogue" is used only once in the KJV Old Testament (Psalm 74:8) as a translation for 'moed.' So what is it doing in the Book of Mormon?

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; Is it possible that Joseph Smith (and his "divine" inspiration) couldn't translate these terms properly, thus casting doubt on the divinity of the work? Or is it more likely that this is just another indication that Joseph Smith was trying to produce another "bible" on his own, without sufficient linguistic knowledge to get away with it?

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; Of course, Mormons will say that these passages prove that there were synagogues and churches in Jerusalem in 600 B.C.

"Bible"

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; In 2 Nephi 29:3-10, Nephi (writing supposedly about 550 B.C.) prophesies that when the book he is writing (the Book of Mormon) comes forth, "many of the Gentiles shall say: A Bible! A Bible! We have got a Bible..."

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; The word "Bible" is being used here in the sense that it had in Joseph Smith's day: a collection of sacred writings in a closed canon. andnbsp;

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; The word "Bible," of course, is not found in the Bible itself. andnbsp; When the original Bible writers wanted to refer to the sacred writings, the Hebrew writers in the Old Testament used the Hebrew word 'k-th-b' "writing(s)." which included all kinds of writings, both secular and sacred. andnbsp; The New Testament writers, writing in Greek, used the word 'graphe,' which also means simply "[something] written" or even "drawn, painted."

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; Our English word "Bible" is an anglicization of the Greek word 'biblia', which means "books," and is simply the plural of the Greek word 'biblion' meaning "book." andnbsp; andnbsp; This word (in its singular form only) appears about twenty times in the New Testament, referring to a particular sacred book. andnbsp; But it never appears in the plural (except once, and then it refers to pagan writings). andnbsp; The idea of a Christian canon (list of approved books, a "Bible" in the traditional sense) began only in the second century A.D., and the first such "canon" was put together by Marcion about 150 A.D. (who is now considered by Christians to be a heretic).

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; The King James Version of the Bible uses the word "scriptures" only in the New Testament, where it is very common. andnbsp; ("Scripture" in the singular, appears in the KJV Old Testament, and only once, in Daniel 10:21.)

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; At the time Lehi supposedly left Jerusalem (600 B.C.) the idea of a closed canon of scripture (a "Bible") had not developed. andnbsp; There was no such thing. andnbsp; If you study the history of the development of the Jewish and Christian canon, you will find that the idea of canonizing certain books (that is, stamping them with the seal of divine authority) did not arise until the Alexandrian Jews, who no longer were fluent in Hebrew, wanted to translate the Hebrew sacred writings into Greek (about 250 B.C.), and thus a decision had to be made as to what books to translate. andnbsp; The result, completed only after several generations, was the Greek Septuagint (Old Testament), the first attempt to create a canon, a "bible." andnbsp; andnbsp; The Jewish canon was not determined completely until the first century A.D.

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; So the question arises with the word "Bible" in 2 Nephi: what Hebrew (or "Reformed Egyptian") word appeared on the golden plates, to be translated as "Bible"? andnbsp; The Book of Mormon uses the word "scriptures" about 38 times. andnbsp; It is used in the way the New Testament writers use it. andnbsp; "Bible" is a word, and - more important - a concept which did not even exist until several centuries after it was supposedly written by Nephi.

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; If the Book of Mormon were authentic and historically accurate, one would expect that when God told Nephi that the Gentiles would cry, "A Bible! We have a Bible!" Nephi would have asked, "Excuse me, God, what does 'Bible' mean? andnbsp; It's an idea I'm not familiar with." andnbsp; andnbsp; And God would have given Nephi an explanation, so that Nephite readers of his record would know what was meant: something that would develop only many centuries later.

More Greek Names

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; If you look through the list of names in the pronunciation guide which the church includes in every Book of Mormon, you will find other names in the Book of Mormon that are Greek, and therefore anachronistic:

More on Book of Mormon Names

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; Mormons scholars have tried to analyze names in the Book of Mormon to show that they show Egyptian characteristics, or that they are actually Hebrew names which do not occur in the Bible, but only in authentic texts discovered since Joseph Smith's day. andnbsp; Such evidence is not convincing, since the similarities are often somewhat far-fetched, and can be attributed to pure coincidence. andnbsp; In the case of Hebrew names, especially, since Hebrew did not use vowels, and most Hebrew names consist of no more than three or four consonants, it is not suprising that actual Hebrew names would be similar to unusual names in the Book of Mormon. andnbsp; The similarities are pure coincidence.

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; Mormons object to the critics' calling such similarities "pure coincidence." andnbsp; andnbsp; And yet that is precisely the argument Mormons use when presented with remarkable similarities of Book of Mormon names to names which existed in the world of the 19th century.

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; The names "Cumorah" (spelled in the original 1830 edition of the Book of Mormon as "Camorah") and "Moroni" appeared on maps available in Joseph Smith's time, showing the Camoros Islands with their capital city Moroni. andnbsp; A remarkable coincidence!

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; Vernal Holley, in his study Book of Mormon Authorship: A Closer Look, third edition, 1992, (online here) lists over a dozen names of geographical locations within a few hundred miles of where Joseph Smith lived, in New York, Pennsylvania and nearby areas, which closely resemble Book of Mormon names, the most obvious one, of course, being the Lehigh Valley of eastern Pennsylvania, which is practically identical to the name of the patriarch Lehi of the Book of Mormon. andnbsp; There are quite a few such similar names:

BOOK OF MORMON MODERN NAME
Lehi (Nephi 1, passim) Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania
Onidah (Alma 47:5) Oneida, New York
Angola (Mormon 2:4) Angola, New York
Morianton (Alma 50:25) Morgantown, Pennsylvania
Jacobugath (3 Nephi 9:9) Jacobsburg, Ohio
Alma (Alma, passim) Alma, West Virginia or Alma, Quebec
Shilom (Mosiah 7, 9 passim) Shiloh, Ohio
Kishkumen (Helaman 1, 2) Kiskiminitas River, Ohio
Moron (Ether 7) Morin, Quebec
Shurr (Ether 14:28) Sherbrooke, Quebec
Teancum (Mormon 4) Tecumseh, Ontario
Ripliancum (Ether 15:8) Ripley, Maine or Ripley, New York

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; I am not suggesting that the real author of the Book of Mormon actually used these modern place names, or that he was even consciously aware of them. andnbsp; I list them primarily to show that any similarities between Book of Mormon names and Egyptian or Hebrew names unknown to Joseph Smith which may be cited as "evidence of the Book of Mormon" are rather meaningless. andnbsp; It is interesting to note, however, that the city of "Teancum" is described as "by the seashore" (Mormon 4:3), and the town of Tecumseh, a suburb of Detroit, Michigan, is close to Lake Erie. andnbsp; Also, "Ripliancum" is supposedly the name of a large body of water or "waters", and Ripley, Maine, is within 40 miles of the cluster of large lakes in north-central Maine, whereas Ripley, New York, is on the shore of Lake Erie.

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; It is odd that the text of the Book of Mormon contains a number of words or names which the author "translates" for us:

Irreantum (1 Ne 17:5) "many waters"
Rabbanah (Alma 18:13) "powerful or great king"
Rameumpton (Alma 31:21) "the holy stand [pulpit]"
Liahona (Alma 37:38) "compass" (see below)
Deseret (Ether 2:3) "honey bee"
Ripliancum (Ether 15:8) "large, to exceed all"

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; But if these were real "Reformed Egyptian/Nephite" words with those meanings, why would Nephi be translating them for us? andnbsp; It would be like my writing something like "And they came unto Salt Lake, which, being interpreted, means 'Salt Lake'."

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; "Irreantum" is especially problematical, because Nephi says that this is the name given by the Lehites to the Indian Ocean. andnbsp; We must assume that the Lehite band were still speaking relatively pure Hebrew, since they had left Jerusalem only a few years before. andnbsp; But "irreantum" is not a Hebrew word, nor does it even resemble a Hebrew word.

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; There are at least three words (other than proper names), however, which the author sees no need to translate: "neas" (Mosiah 9:9, apparently a kind of edible plant), and "cureloms and cumoms" (Ether 9:19, both "more useful" domestic animals than horses and asses). andnbsp; One must wonder why these words were not "interpreted" when they were mentioned. andnbsp; Incidentally, these items pose real problems for Mormon apologists, since they are supposed to represent real plants and real animals that were relatively abundant in ancient America. andnbsp; And yet the fact that God's translator was unable to identify them with any known species, either ancient or modern, necessarily raises the question as to whether they actually existed except in the imagination of the author.

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; The opposite question occurs with the names Bountiful and Desolation, each the name both of a "land" and of a city. andnbsp; Surely these common English words are not the actual names by which the Nephites referred to these cities and countries. andnbsp; But what were their Nephite names? And why doesn't the author follow the same pattern that was used before, with "Irreantum," for example? andnbsp; To put it another way, if Joseph Smith was really translating, and the Nephite word for "bountiful" occurred in the text, and he was inspired to translate it into English, why didn't the same thing occur with all the other geographical place names, which undoubtedly also had meanings?

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; It would be analogous to my writing about events occurring in places in modern America for German-speaking readers, and sometimes I would mention "Salt Lake City, which interpreted [in German] means 'Salz-See-Stadt'", but then I would refer to "Ludwigstadt", meaning St. Louis, and the Germans would wonder that there is a large city in America with a German name, since I did not use its real name.

Isabel the Harlot

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; The Book of Mormon mentions a harlot named Isabel (Alma 39:3). andnbsp; "Isabel" is a name that only came into use in France and Italy during the late Middle Ages. andnbsp; How could it occur in the Book of Mormon during Alma's life?

More King James Mistranslations in the Book of Mormon

"virgin" - 2 Nephi 17:14 = Isaiah 7:14
andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; The Book of Mormon preserves some demonstrable mistranslations of the King James Version of the Bible. andnbsp; One notable example is Isaiah 7:14, which in the KJV is translated "a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel." andnbsp; andnbsp; This is copied word for word into the Book of Mormon at 2 Nephi 17:14. andnbsp; The problem is that the Hebrew text has the word 'almah,' which does not mean "virgin," but "young woman": the Hebrew word for "virgin" is 'bethulah,' and most modern Bible translations do not use "virgin" to translate Isaiah 7:14. andnbsp; (Some Christians, including the author of Matthew 1:22-23, view this passage as a prophecy of the birth of Jesus from the virgin Mary, but that ignores the entire context of that chapter: the purpose of the prophecy was to answer King Ahaz' question about the outcome of his upcoming war with Syria and Israel.)

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; The error can be traced back to the fact that the King James translators relied heavily on the Latin (Vulgate) translation of the Bible by Jerome, from the 4th century A.D. andnbsp; Jerome, in turn, relied on the Greek (Septuagint) translation of the Old Testament. andnbsp; In Greek there is only one word for both meanings ("virgin" and "young woman"), making the Greek translation from Hebrew ambiguous. andnbsp; But why would Nephi be confused? andnbsp; He was (supposedly) in possession of the original Hebrew text, which would have had the word 'almah,' not 'bethulah.' But he mistranslates the passage just as Jerome and the King James translators mistranslated it many centuries later.

"Lucifer" - 2 Nephi 24:12 = Isaiah 14:12
andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; Another remarkable example is at 2 Nephi 24:12, copied from Isaiah 14:12, as translated in the KJV: "How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning!" Here again the problem is a reliance on Jerome's Latin version (remember, from the 4th century A.D.!).

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; The only place the word "Lucifer" occurs in the entire Bible is in the King James Version at this passage. andnbsp; Other translations do not have "Lucifer" there (or anywhere at all), but translate the word correctly as "day-star," "star of the morning" or "morning star."

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; This passage, when read in context, is addressed to the king of Babylon, who was very proud and haughty and surrounded in worldly glory, but who was to be destroyed. andnbsp; "Lucifer" is used in Jerome's Latin (and, following Jerome, in the King James Version) to translate the Hebrew word 'helel', which means "morning star" (i.e., the planet Venus). andnbsp; The Hebrew root 'h-l-l' means "shine" or "boast," so it is probably a taunting pun in the Hebrew Isaiah. andnbsp; There were two Greek names for the planet, both similar: either 'heos-phoros' meaning "dawn-bringer," or 'phos-phoros' meaning "light-bringer." andnbsp; andnbsp; In the Septuagint (Greek) translation of this passage, probably made in the first or second century B.C., they translated 'helel' with the Greek word 'heos-phoros.' When Jerome translated the Bible into Latin, he used the Septuagint as his source and simply translated the Greek word for Venus into the Latin name of that planet, which is an exact translation of the Greek 'phos-phoros': luci-fer, from the Latin roots 'luc-' "light" and 'fer-' "bring, bear, carry."

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; It was not until well into the Christian era that the idea arose that "Lucifer" was a name, and that the verse applied to Satan and not to the king of Babylon. andnbsp; It is probably influenced by the (erroneous) assumption that Luke 10:18 (saying that Satan fell as lightning from heaven) is a reference to the Isaiah passage.

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; Oddly, the only other place in the Bible where the term "morning star" ('phosphoros') is used is at 2 Peter 1:19, where it refers to Jesus!

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; Revelations 2:28 and 22:16 also refer to the "morning star," meaning Jesus, but use a different Greek phrase made up of the Greek words for "morning" and "star." andnbsp; andnbsp; One verse promises the "morning star" as a reward to the faithful; the latter verse is Jesus' saying "I Jesus ... am the root and offspring of David, and the bright and morning star."

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; This error is compounded in modern Mormon theology, with Lucifer as the name of a character in the endowment ceremony. andnbsp; See also Dandamp;C 76:25-27:

"And this we saw also, and bear record, that an angel of God who was in authority in the presence of God, who rebelled against the Only Begotten Son whom the Father loved and who was in the bosom of the Father, was thrust down from the presence of God and the Son, 26 And was called Perdition, for the heavens wept over him--he was Lucifer, a son of the morning. 27 And we beheld, and lo, he is fallen! is fallen, even a son of the morning!"
andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; Error upon error! A Latin word in the (Hebrew-"reformed Egyptian") Book of Mormon! andnbsp; Now, if a Mormon should object that "Lucifer" is just a translation, then we must ask: What is the Hebrew (or "reformed Egyptian") word which it is translating? andnbsp; And how did it come to be the name of the devil?

"Familiar spirit"
andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; Mormons believe that Isaiah prophesied the coming forth of the Book of Mormon (Isaiah 29:4):
And thou shalt be brought down, [and] shalt speak out of the ground, and thy speech shall be low out of the dust, and thy voice shall be, as of one that hath a familiar spirit, out of the ground, and thy speech shall whisper out of the dust.
andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; The Book of Mormon itself echos this prophecy, but more specifically (2 Nephi 26:14-17):
14 But behold, I prophesy unto you concerning the last days; concerning the days when the Lord God shall bring these things forth unto the children of men.
15 After my seed and the seed of my brethren shall have dwindled in unbelief, and shall have been smitten by the Gentiles; yea, after the Lord God shall have camped against them round about, and shall have laid siege against them with a mount, and raised forts against them; and after they shall have been brought down low in the dust, even that they are not, yet the words of the righteous shall be written, and the prayers of the faithful shall be heard, and all those who have dwindled in unbelief shall not be forgotten.
16 For those who shall be destroyed shall speak unto them out of the ground, and their speech shall be low out of the dust, and their voice shall be as one that hath a familiar spirit; for the Lord God will give unto him power, that he may whisper concerning them, even as it were out of the ground; and their speech shall whisper out of the dust.
17 For thus saith the Lord God: They shall write the things which shall be done among them, and they shall be written and sealed up in a book, and those who have dwindled in unbelief shall not have them, for they seek to destroy the things of God.
[emphasis added]
andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; Mormons seem unaware that the word used in Isaiah for "familiar spirit" is Hebrew 'ob,' occuring about fifteen times in the Bible. It does not mean "a spirit which sounds familiar to you (because it is written in the style of the King James Bible)," as most Mormons think, but it means the spirit of a dead person, that is, a ghost, summoned by necromancy, which is everywhere condemned in the Bible as abominable (e.g. Leviticus 20:17, Deuteronomy 18:10-12, 1 Chronicles 10:13, 2 Chronicles 33:6, Isaiah 19:3).

"Steel"
andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; Another error influenced by mistranslations in the King James Version is the mention of "steel" and "iron." andnbsp; andnbsp; Others have pointed out that no evidence of iron-working or steel has been found in pre-Columbian America. andnbsp; But "steel" did not exist even in the Old World at the time Lehi supposedly left Jerusalem. andnbsp; Where the KJV mentions "steel" (three passages: one in a Psalm of David, one in Job, and one in Jeremiah) the original Hebrew text has either 'nechushah' or 'nechosheth,' both of which mean simply "copper" or "brass." andnbsp; andnbsp; Thus it appears that the author of the Book of Mormon believed that "steel" such as was common in the 19th century, was also known in Nephi's day.

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; The problem becomes more serious for the Book of Mormon, however, since it also uses the term in attributing the knowledge of steel-making to the Jaredites (Ether 7:9), just a few generations after they are supposed to have left the Old World at the time of the Tower of Babel (ca. 2200 B.C.?). andnbsp; Notice that the mention of steel does not imply that it is anything newly invented or previously unknown, but rather quite familiar.

"Compass"

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; I think the most telling anachronism in the Book of Mormon involves the Liahona, the miraculous "ball" or "director" which God gave Lehi to guide him in his travels (1 Nephi 16:10). andnbsp; Even if one grants, for the sake of argument, that God's power includes the ability to give someone a magic ball like the Liahona, there is still an anachronistic problem. andnbsp; In fact, it is what one might call a double anachronism. Notice that in Alma 37:38, Alma is quoted as saying (supposedly speaking about 73 B.C.):
"And now, my son, I have somewhat to say concerning the thing which our fathers call a ball, or director--or our fathers called it Liahona, which is, being interpreted, a compass; and the Lord prepared it." [emphasis added]
andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; Alma also uses the word "compass" in verses 43 and 44. andnbsp; Nephi also referred to the Liahona as a "compass" at 1 Ne 18:12, 18:21 (supposedly around 590 B.C.), and 2 Ne 5:12 (a few years later).

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; The passage in Alma is clearly an attempt to explain one (unfamiliar) thing by saying it is like something else, something familiar. andnbsp; Since the Book of Mormon claims to be a translation from Reformed Egyptian (or Nephite?), the English word "compass" must be a translation - divinely inspired, therefore correct! - for some Reformed Egyptian (or Nephite?) word that means what "compass" meant in 1830 American English in such a context, namely, a magnetic instrument used to determine geographical direction.

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; Now, go to your encyclopedia and read the article on the history of the compass. andnbsp; You will find that there was no such thing, not even the idea of any such thing, until about 1100 AD in China, about 1187 AD in Europe, about 1220 AD in Arabia, and about 1330 AD in Scandinavia.

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; How could a word exist (the Nephite word translated as "compass") when no such device existed (other than the Liahona, of course), or would exist for another 1800 years? andnbsp; (The word "compass" is frequently used in the English Bible translations, of course, but never in the meaning of a direction device, only in the quite unrelated meaning of "limit, circle, boundary, etc.")

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; It would be analagous to the passage in Washington's fraudulent journal, where he looks into the future in America, and says: "There will come a time when every man will possess a wonderful device somewhat like a typewriter, yet it will have a picture before it, and the words typed by the typewriter will appear in the picture, and can be sent around the world..." andnbsp; andnbsp; How could Washington explain what a computer is by comparing it to a typewriter, when there was no such thing as a typewriter in his day, and therefore the word "typewriter" did not exist?

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; And of course the Mormon will argue the Nephites also had compasses, but they all rotted or rusted away, like the chariots and the steel swords.

"Windows"

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; Another anachronistic word in the Jaredite story, easily overlooked, is at Ether 2:22-23, where the brother of Jared is talking with God and reporting to him that he has constructed the vessels for the trans-oceanic voyage to America. andnbsp; The brother of Jared is truly smarter than God himself, since he has noticed something that God had overlooked, and God must ask for advice:
22 And he cried again unto the Lord saying: O Lord, behold I have done even as thou hast commanded me; and I have prepared the vessels for my people, and behold there is no light in them. Behold, O Lord, wilt thou suffer that we shall cross this great water in darkness?
23 And the Lord said unto the brother of Jared: What will ye that I should do that ye may have light in your vessels? For behold, ye cannot have windows, for they will be dashed in pieces....
[emphasis added]
andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; What kind of windows would be "dashed in pieces" by ocean waves? andnbsp; A porthole, opened for light, cannot be dashed in pieces. andnbsp; Only a window covered with some translucent material such as glass would run this danger. andnbsp; Nowadays we think it only natural that windows for admitting light are provided with glass. andnbsp; And in Joseph Smith's day, window glass was very common. andnbsp; But at the time Jared's people were supposed to have lived, translucent windows were still several thousand years in the future. andnbsp; Windows were simply holes cut into the walls. andnbsp; There was no type of window in ancient times that could be "dashed in pieces" by ocean waves! The Book of Mormon is obviously talking about 19th century windows.

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; Of course, windows are mentioned frequently in the Bible. andnbsp; But they are not windows that could be "dashed in pieces." andnbsp; andnbsp; They are mere openings. andnbsp; The only Bible passage which might be thought to indicate that ancient windows had some translucent material is Isaiah 54:12, God's promise to Israel captive in Babylon, which in the KJV is translated: "I will make thy windows of agates." andnbsp; andnbsp; No other modern translation has "windows" here. andnbsp; The Revised Standard Version translates it "pinnacles," the Jerusalem Bible has "battlements," Today's English Version has "towers," and the Contemporary English Version has "fortresses," with a footnote that the Hebrew text is "difficult" here. andnbsp; In other words, modern scholars do not agree with the translators of the King James Version. andnbsp; Difficult or not, the Book of Mormon reproduces the KJV translation, at 3 Nephi 22:12.

"Reformed Egyptian"

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; Many writers have commented on the claim that the gold plates were engraved in "reformed Egyptian." andnbsp; andnbsp; The objection usually is that no such form of Egyptian is known. andnbsp; I do not see that as a valid objection, since it is certainly conceivable that an isolated people, over many generations, would develop their own versions of the languages they brought with them to their new home. andnbsp; That is a very well-known phenomenon in the history of the world's languages.

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; Another, more valid objection, is that it is incredible that good Jews such as Lehi and his family would have kept sacred records in a language such as Egyptian. andnbsp; That seems to be inconceivable in light of the reverence in which Jews held the Hebrew language.

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; A much more serious problem for Mormons, however, is the justification which is given for writing in Egyptian characters rather than in Hebrew. andnbsp; Moroni, supposedly writing the abridgement on the gold plates which later became the Book of Mormon, explains (Mormon 9:32-33):

32 And now, behold, we have written this record according to our knowledge, in the characters which are called among us the reformed Egyptian, being handed down and altered by us, according to our manner of speech.
33 And if our plates had been sufficiently large we should have written in Hebrew; but the Hebrew hath been altered by us also; and if we could have written in Hebrew, behold, ye would have had no imperfection in our record.
andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; It appears that Moroni is saying that writing in Hebrew characters would have taken up too much space, and that Egyptian characters were therefore more space-efficient. andnbsp; That is not a credible assertion. andnbsp; Anyone who is familiar even slightly with ancient Hebrew and ancient Egyptian writing must reject that explanation as unbelievable. andnbsp; Hebrew consisted of an alphabet of twenty-two characters, mostly consonants. andnbsp; Most vowels were not written at all, and thus most words could be written with three or four characters, the consonants. andnbsp; "Jehovah" was written YHWH, "Israel" was YSR'L, "Moses" was MSH. andnbsp; In other words, Hebrew is a very concise written language. andnbsp; The only form of Egyptian that a person such as Lehi would have known in 600 B.C. was Hieratic, which was certainly not more space-saving than Hebrew, and would not have been suitable for engraving on metal.

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; Why then, did the Nephites choose to write in a form of Egyptian? andnbsp; The obvious answer seems to be that Joseph Smith felt he was less likely to be exposed if he showed plates with engravings in a still-undeciphered language (Egyptian) than in a relatively better-known language (Hebrew). andnbsp; To add an additional degree of safety, he claimed that the Egyptian had been "altered." andnbsp; andnbsp; His Egyptian ploy finally caught up with him in the Book of Abraham.

The "Tower of Babel"

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; According to the Bible (Gen 11:1-9), at one time the "whole earth was of one language, and of one speech." andnbsp; But because of men's pride, they began to build a tower to reach to heaven, which made God angry, and he therefore "confound[ed] the language of all the earth..." (v. 9)

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; These nine verses are a typical "etiological" myth, i.e., a story invented to explain why something is so, much like children's stories called "How the leopard got his spots," "Why the sea is salty," "Why the sky is blue," etc. andnbsp; There are a number of other etiological tales in the Bible, such as the tales to explain why a snake has no legs (Gen. 3), or why we see a rainbow after a storm (Gen.9:13-16).

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; The point is: the Tower of Babel story is just a story, a myth, an etiological fable. andnbsp; It no more explains the origin of the many languages of the world than does the punishment of Satan explain why snakes have no legs. andnbsp;

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; Just as scientists can explain the beautiful phenomenon of the rainbow by using the laws of optics (which undoubtedly existed long before Noah's time), so linguistic scientists can show that the many languages of mankind existed long before the period to which the Tower of Babel can be assigned (Mormons believe the Jaredites made their journey to America about 2200 B.C.). andnbsp; No reputable linguistic scholar today accepts the Tower of Babel story as an explanation for the multiplicity of languages, for their origins, or for the date of their origins. The simple fact is that there are writings in many parts of the ancient world (China, Mesopotamia, Egypt), in widely different languages, dating from a thousand years before the supposed time of the Tower. andnbsp; This uncontroverted fact shows that the Babel story is only a myth. andnbsp; (See, for example, the article "Hamito-Semitic Languages" in The Encyclopedia Britannica, 15th ed., Macr 8:592ff, which gives the dates of the first appearance of those languages: Akkadian, 3200 BC; Canaanite, Ugaritic, Amorite, 3000 BC.)

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; But it is not only the languages of the all the world that supposedly originated at the Tower of Babel, but also all the peoples of the world (Gen 11:8-9)! In other words, in order to accept the story of the Tower as literal and historical, one must believe that there were no other peoples on earth at the time. andnbsp; Such a belief is contrary to everything that we know about the early periods of human history.

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; If Mormons should suggest that the Tower of Babel must have been therefore much earlier than 2200 B.C., they have the problem that Ether 1:6-33 lists the generations from Jared (who left the Tower) to the last Jaredite, and there are only 28 generations. andnbsp; The last surviving Jaredite (see Omni 1:21) was still alive some time after the Mulekites' arrival in America about 600 B.C. andnbsp; To account for 28 generations between 2200 B.C. and ca. 600 B.C., the average generation would already have to be 60 years apart. andnbsp; To make the "confusion of tongues" a thousand years (or more!) earlier (to account for the Chinese, Egyptians and Sumerians of ca. 4000 B.C.), every Jaredite father listed in the genealogy would have had to be over 120 years old before fathering his oldest child.

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; Notice also that among the "Jaredite" generations listed in Ether 1 are two Hebrew names, "Aaron" (1:15-16) and "Levi" (1:20-21). andnbsp; And the name "Ephraim" occurs at Ether 7:9. andnbsp; One must ask how such Hebrew names appeared in America, when the Jaredites did not speak Hebrew, but rather a language which had not been confounded.

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; Most Christians (except for the fundamentalist / evangelical inerrantists) can accept the mythical nature of the Tower of Babel story. andnbsp; They can read it as allegory, an object lesson about human pride. andnbsp; But Mormons must (and do) accept it as literal and historical.

For a more extensive discussion of the problems with belief in the Tower of Babel, see the pertinent section in the article "[Mormonism's] Conflicts with Science" here.

More Mormon Mistranslations

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; Joseph Smith was fond of translating individual words, especially Biblical words, and giving them new meanings. andnbsp; He also gave new meanings to many English words he found in the Bible. andnbsp; Few of those new definitions have any linguistic validity.

"Sabaoth" andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; This Hebrew term occurs twice in the KJV New Testament (Rom 9:29 and James 5:4) in the phrase "Lord of Sabaoth," where the authors did not translate the Hebrew word, but merely wrote it in Greek letters. This is probably why the KJV translaters also left it in its original Hebrew form. andnbsp; The word occurs several hundred times in the Hebrew Old Testament, where it is translated (correctly) as "hosts", in the phrase "Lord of Hosts." andnbsp; The word is Hebrew 'saba' (sade - beth - aleph) and means "host [military], warfare, service." andnbsp; The plural is made by adding the ordinary Hebrew plural ending '-oth': 'saba-oth'.

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; But, according to Joseph Smith, Dandamp;C 95:7,

...the Lord of Sabaoth, which is by interpretation, the creator of the first day, the beginning and the end.
"Golgotha" andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; This word occurs three times in the Gospels (Matt 27:33, Mark 13:22, John 19:17), as the Aramaic name of the place where Jesus was crucified. andnbsp; Each gospel correctly give
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My Cockatrice Problem
Friday, Feb 29, 2008, at 08:01 AM
Original Author(s): Anonymous
Topic: BOOK OF MORMON   -Link To MC Article-
I have been in a long-running discussion with my TBM mother over the BOM. Lately, in response to 'when did you last read it', I have been reading it again. And it is a laugh a minute to the exmo for real. But for many of my comments about anachronisms I get standard apologetic stuff about JS translating old words into modern words familiar to his readers.

But then, about a week into my marathon re-read (OK, I am not normally a slow reader, but it kept putting me to sleep) I came across 2Nephi and the 're-write' of Isaiah which uses the term 'Cockatrice'

http://scriptures.lds.org/2_ne/21

I am sure, from my 'dungeons and dragons' days that it is a mythical beast, and should not be mentioned in the bible. So, after a bit of googling, I find that not only was the word 'Cockatrice' coined in England in the middle ages, the whole concept of the Cockatrice dates back to the same era and is due to a mistranslation of a French mistranslation of Pliny for cripes sake.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cockatri...

http://links.jstor.org/sici?sici=0021...

So Isaiah, whom Nephi was supposedly quoting would never have intended Cockatrice or any mythical beast related to the concept of Cockatrice. He meant 'poisonous serpent' and it would be impossible for JS to choose the archaic word Cockatrice to best represent the concept of poisonous serpent to his 19th century readers.

In 16th century England, somewhat lacking in poisonous snakes, but in the middle of a fad for wierd mythical beasts, Cockatrice was the word chosen by the KJV translators.

There is no way that JS, coming across the Hebrew, Arcadian, reformed Egyptian or whatever version of 'poisonous serpent' would choose Cockatrice (half rooster, half serpent beast with poisonous breath) to best represent the concept for his audience. The fad had long gone, and other than archaic references in the KJV to the heraldic mythical medieval creature, the word would not be in common usage. A cockatrice, using its breath, or in some variants 'gaze', to kill would not even pose a risk to child who put its hand in the Cockatrice's den. Unlike a poisonous serpent which is what originally appeared in Isaiah.

Modern translators use 'asp', 'viper' or 'serpent' or some-such, the only logical translation of Isaiah's original concept.

Cockatrce cannot be explained away as are 'church', 'synagogue', and other anachronisms. The word and concept did not exist before the 12th century and was archaic by the 17th century. A time-limited concept that should not occur in any version of the BOM.

Does anyone have any further info on the Cockatrice problem? I have done a search for apologist explanations to no avail (they are very inflential with the maternal unit).
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Official Changes To Book Of Mormon Chapter Headings
Wednesday, Mar 5, 2008, at 06:46 AM
Original Author(s): Boaz And Lidia
Topic: BOOK OF MORMON   -Link To MC Article-
Tommy Tuo-tone Monnyson has been bizzy at the printers!

The Doubleday edition of the Book of Mormon is the most up-to-date edition of the Book of Mormon, and in addition to the changes to the introduction, I count in the neighborhood of 75 changes to chapter headings, both major and minor. The following are some noteworthy ones:

Old Heading - W. of M. 1
Mormon abridges their history onto the plates of Mormon–He inserts the plates of Nephi into the abridgement
New Heading - W. of M. 1
Mormon abridges the large plates of Nephi–He puts the small plates with the other plates

Old Heading - Alma 11
Nephite coinage set forth
New Heading - Alma 11
The Nephite monetary system is set forth

Old Heading - Alma 45
Alma is taken up by the Spirit, even as Moses
New Heading - Alma 45
Alma may have been taken up by the Spirit, even as Moses

Alma 52 - Old Heading
Jacob the Lamanite is slain
Alma 52 - New Heading
Jacob the Zoromite is slain

Mormon 5 - Old Heading
The Lamanites shall be a dark, filthy, and loathsome people
Mormon 5 - New Heading
Because of their unbelief, the Lamanites will be scattered, and the Spirit will cease to strive with them

Next up? CHANGES TO THE TEXT!
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Interesting Perspectives On The Changes To The Book Of Mormon
Tuesday, Apr 1, 2008, at 07:49 AM
Original Author(s): Agnostic1
Topic: BOOK OF MORMON   -Link To MC Article-
Perspective 1:

There have been calculated to be almost 4000 documentable changes to the BoM in the last 178 years.

That comes out to be an average of approximately around 1 change every other week through out it's history (of course, I am taking into account vacations for the editors).

Assumptions for perspective 1:
  1. 3913 actual changes as noted by the Tanners. Rounded to 4000 to account for any of the newest uncounted "revelations".
  2. 178 years - BoM first edition published in 1830.
  3. Work year used is 48 weeks - Editors would be in Senior positions and it is obviously a taxing and stressful job so they would merit at least 4 weeks vacation per work year.
  4. Equation used.
(4000[number of changes] Divided by 178 [years]) Quantity Divided by 48 [weeks per year]

Perspective 2:

There are 4000 changes in the BoM - Divide that by the 522 pages in the copy I have (4000/522) and you get an average of 7.66 changes per page. Or, you can look at it this way; (522/4000) you would only have to travel an average of .13 pages to encounter a change.

Assumptions for perspective 2.
  1. The copy I have: BoM Copyright 1920 - renewed 1948. 522 pages.
  2. 3913 actual changes as noted by Tanners. Rounded to 4000 to account for any uncounted newest "revelations".
Perspective 3.

Compare the results of Perspective 1 and Perspective 2 to the number of changes needed to the book "The Origin of Species" (1859) by C. Darwin (which BTW, Charles never claimed to be a perfect book).

Assumptions for perspective 3.
  1. "On the origin of species by means of natural selection". Published 1859. The copy I have is the 1st edition (which is STILL available and is the same book as the one published by J. Murray, London in 1859). Some subsequent publishers have added additional Drawings from Darwin himself (I am sure he would not object).
  2. Equation used to calculate the changes - NONE required.
Perspective 4.

Compare the influence, effect and reliability of the BoM with "The Origin of Species" - Two books from about the same time period.
  1. Darwin's work is still used in it's original form (the 1st edition) - The 1830 BoM cannot be used (even by the church).
  2. Darwin's work has been validated by every branch of science for the last 150 years - The BoM has not been validated by any science in the last 178 years.
  3. Darwin's work has been dissected and examined by all of the scientific and religious communities in the world and has yet to have been refuted by anyone - The BoM can be pretty easily refuted by high school kids with only an elementary passing knowledge of science and history.
  4. Darwin's work has provided the basis for a large portion of almost all of the modern medicine in the world - the BoM has provided nothing that mankind can use (with the possible exception of a good giggle).
  5. Darwin's work has provided the basis to accurately predict countless useful things in biology and medicine and many other fields of endeavor - the BoM has no predictive capacity in any identifiable area.
  6. Darwin's work has opened up and contributed a vast understanding of history - the BoM has no reliable historical information.
  7. Darwin's work really has needed no changes to maintain it's current value as a viable reference for everyone - The BoM has required constant attention and revision in order to contain any value as a current reference for anyone.
  8. This list could go on nearly ad-infinitum ...
Wow, The BoM, being the so-called "most correct book", must be an evolving process and a never ending project of improving perfection through natural selection.
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The Lost 116 Pages Show That Joseph Lied About The Book Of Mormon
Wednesday, May 7, 2008, at 08:33 AM
Original Author(s): Spongebob Squaregarments
Topic: BOOK OF MORMON   -Link To MC Article-
In 1828, Martin Harris, acting as scribe for Joseph Smith, recorded the first 116 pages of The Book of Mormon. He asked permission of Joseph Smith to let him borrow these pages to take home with him so he could show them to his wife. Martin’s wife was very skeptical and feared that her wealthy husband was being conned out of his money in order to get the Book of Mormon published for Joseph. Joseph inquired of the Lord to know if he might do as Martin Harris had requested, but was refused. Joseph inquired again, but received a second refusal. Still, Martin Harris persisted as before, and Joseph applied again, but the last answer was not like the two former ones. In this the Lord permitted Martin Harris to take the manuscript home with him. Three weeks later Mr. Harris returned to Joseph and told him that he had lost the 116 pages.

Joseph was very distraught over this, exclaiming "Oh, my God! All is lost! All is lost! What shall I do? I have sinned." It is widely believed that Martin Harris’ wife had taken the pages. The reasoning was that if Joseph was indeed a prophet he could retranslate those same pages exactly as before and that would prove he was actually translating instead of just making up the Book of Mormon story as he dictated to Martin. Finally, Joseph inquired of the Lord as to what he should do; in response, he received a revelation, which is recorded in section 10 of the Doctrine and Covenants. He was told that he should not retranslate those lost pages because Satan’s cunning plan was to have evil men alter the words in the original translation and wait until Joseph retranslated those pages. The evil men would then produce the original lost 116 pages with the alterations to prove that Joseph was a fraud.

God, of course, knew of Satan’s eventual plan and had Nephi make two sets of plates that cover essentially the same material but written a little differently. Joseph was instructed to now translate from the large plates of Nephi, instead of the smaller, abridged plates of Nephi that he had translated from earlier. This way the same basic information that should be included in the Book of Mormon was there, but it would not be expected to match exactly the original lost 116 pages that were first translated by Joseph.

The official story taught and recorded by the church is non-sensical for the following reasons:

1) The evil men that were conspiring to alter the original documents could not have done so without it being very obvious that the original document was altered. When Martin Harris was scribing for Joseph, he didn’t use a pencil and paper. Martin wrote with ink on foolscap. Any alteration would be very noticeable and not convincing to anyone.

In addition to the rubbing out of old words and rewriting of new words, the handwriting would have been different. Any rudimentary handwriting inspection would have determined that it had been altered, especially easy to determine given that the new handwriting would have occurred in the same spot as the rubbed out and re-written words.

2) If the evil men that were planning on changing the stolen 116 pages thought their plan of changing some words from these pages would work to discredit Joseph they would not have been completely foiled by Joseph translating from different plates to tell the first part of the Book of Mormon story. If they thought their alterations would have gone unnoticed then they would have still tried to alter the 116 pages to discredit his work.

For example, they could have changed some names of people or places or altered events that are central to the beginning of the Book of Mormon and thereby prove that Joseph’s new translation was in error. If they really thought their alterations would have gone unnoticed they could have changed the names of Nephi’s brothers or the cities they came from or many other items that would have been included in both sets of plates. But they never did this – why? If opponents of the Church really had the lost 116 pages as Joseph claimed they would have resurfaced in some form to at least attempt to discredit Joseph, even if they would not have been successful.

3) The general belief at the time was that Martin Harris’s wife burned the 116 pages. If she destroyed them, then this entire story is simply made up by Joseph Smith. But the prophet Joseph evidently was afraid she had not, but had secretly hidden them, for the purpose of entrapping him, should he ever attempt to reproduce the pages. If the work was really of God, the manuscript could be reproduced word for word without a mistake. If, however, Joseph created it himself, his memory would hardly be adequate to such a task, without numberless changes or verbal differences–and thus "give himself away," since he loudly professed to be all the time aided "by the gift and power of God." Since the lost pages never surfaced in any form, it is likely that they were destroyed immediately by Martin Harris’s wife. Therefore, the entire story about someone altering pages is impossible and just made up by Joseph because he knew he could not reproduce those same pages as he was not really translating the Book of Mormon story.

4) It is convenient that the prophets of old just happened to make an extra set of plates 1500 years ago to cover this contingency, isn’t it? For further details: http://www.utlm.org/onlineresources/b...

It’s hard to believe that Satan and some evil men were really behind the plot to steal the 116 pages. The stolen pages would have eventually come forth in probably a failed attempt to discredit Joseph. If nothing else they would have been worth a lot of money so we can’t imagine why the evil men, if they existed, would not have used the pages to either try to discredit Smith, ransom them to Martin and Joseph or hold on to them to eventually sell them. The stolen pages wouldn’t have simply been destroyed by men who went to such trouble to obtain them.

Instead it seems much more plausible that Martin Harris’ wife had immediately destroyed the pages to defy her husband. If that’s the case, is there any other reason why Joseph would make up the story about Satan’s plan to discredit him? I haven’t found any members that can explain Joseph’s actions with a reasonable explanation.

To learn more about the Lost 116 Pages: http://www.mormonthink.com/lost116web...
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Most Damning Verse Contest: Questioning The Validity Of The Book Of Mor[m]on!
Tuesday, Jun 10, 2008, at 08:44 AM
Original Author(s): Flattopsf
Topic: BOOK OF MORMON   -Link To MC Article-
The "What is the worst story in the BoM?" thread got me going! I probably gave up on the validity of those stories before I even began to question the validity of the book itself. But I've done a little reading in the meanwhile...and I think it would be fun to come up with a list of what we might call Sneaky Joe's Freudian Slips.

Rule for The Most Damning Verse Contest: assuming that modern scientific, anthropological, archaeological, linguistic, metallurgical, etc. knowledge is correct, which verse[s] in the BoM most damn the validity of the BoM for you and why?

Here's mine: 1 Nephi 1:2...for me the whole book falls completely apart right there: I have to award it the Worst Historical and Linguistic Verse!

Even 175 years ago any real Biblical scholar who was paying attention knew that in 600BC the people living in Palestine didn't refer to themselves as "Jews" (Yehudim) unless they were members of the Southern Kingdom Tribe of Judah (Yehudah ?????). The first usage of the term to designate Hebrews or Israelites in general is believed to have been in the Book of Esther, which takes place more than two hundred years AFTER Lehi's Promised Land Import and Export Co., Inc. uprooted themselves and departed Jerusalem.

The word "Jew" as we use it today (being applied to a group of Hebrews or Israelites, etc.) didn't exist until the end of the first millennium CE (per Wikipedia):

>>The most common view is that the Middle English word Jew is from the Old French giu, earlier juieu, from the Latin Iudaeus from the Greek ????????. The Latin simply means Judaean, from the land of Judaea. In the Old English the word is attested as early as 1000 [Current Era] in various forms, such as Iudeas, Gyu, Giu, Iuu, Iuw, Iew (the letter "J" did not commonly appear in use until the Late Middle Ages).

So was Smith "translating" "Reformed Egyptian" into Greek into Latin into English?!? It seems ludicrous! Of course Mor[m]on apologists will (and have) claimed that Smith was just making things easier to understand for all us modern-day illiterates...but why then "translate" into ye olde 16th-century Court English of King James I? Why not Early 19th-century English?

Then there's that whole "Reformed Egyptian" crap...Smith claimed that he translated the book from Reformed Egyptian to Ye Olde Englishe. By putting his face into a hat and breathing his own fetid breath. He would have done better by moving to Paris, France and putting his nose into some scholarly books!

There are three problems with Smith's claim:

First, WHY would the ancient Hebrews, who had their own written language well before 1000 BCE, resort to using or developing some variation of Egyptian hieroglyphics? The Egyptians had already been considered the hereditary enemies of the Hebrews for over 1,000 years at the supposed time that the fictional Nephi begins his writing. Why would any educated person living in Jerusalem in 600BCE resort to inventing an all-new completely unique writing system based on the language and hieroglyphs of an hereditary enemy? This just doesn't make sense!

Second, even if we override the unlikelihood of the first, Smith was in both the wrong place and the wrong time to be in any position to DECIPHER Egyptian of any sort, whether it was the three documented forms of REAL Egyptian hieroglyphs OR his "Jewish"-style "Reformed Egyptian".

Jean François Champollion (1790-1832) published three groundbreaking works on the decipherment of Egyptian hieroglyphs: "Lettre à M. Dacier" (1822), "Précis du système hiéroglyphique des anciens Égyptiens" (1824), and "Précis du système hiéroglyphique des anciens Égyptiens ou Recherches sur les éléments premiers de cette écriture sacrée, sur leurs diverses combinaisons, et sur les rapports de ce système avec les autres méthodes graphiques égyptiennes" (1828). Though these were published BEFORE Smith began "translating" his Book of Mor[m]on, there are two facts that are problematic: 1) they were written in French, a language Smith could neither speak or read; 2) no English-language copies of Champollion's publications were available to Smith before the 1830 publication of his Book of Mormon. Therefore, Smith could not possibly have legitimately translated "Reformed" OR ANY OTHER kind of Egyptian texts.

Third, again overriding the unlikelihood of the first and second problems, how could Smith have "MOST CORRECT"-ly "translated" "Reformed Egyptian" in 1830 but made such demonstrably bad mistakes on his second foray into translating REAL Egyptian in 1842? This demonstrates that even if texts on Egyptian hieroglyphs were available to Smith by 1842, he must have completely disregarded them. The profoundly and ridiculously inaccurate Book of Abraham proves from an etymological, linguistic, and anthropological point of view that the Book of Mor[m]on is merely a fraudulently presented fabrication of Joseph Smith, Junior, probably in partnership with as yet un-revealed (**smirk**) individuals.
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The Book Of Mormon Introduction At Scriptures.lds.org Has Been Changed To Incorporate The "One-Word" Change
Sunday, Dec 28, 2008, at 09:22 AM
Original Author(s): Freeatlast
Topic: BOOK OF MORMON   -Link To MC Article-
The ‘one-word’ change in the BoM Introduction that garnered media attention in January and caused a 'loss of faith' among believing Latter-day Saints has now been incorporated into the BoM Introduction on the LDS Church’s scriptures website. The new (current) version states:

“The book [BoM] was written by many ancient prophets by the spirit of prophecy and revelation. Their words, written on gold plates, were quoted and abridged by a prophet-historian named Mormon. The record gives an account of two great civilizations. One came from Jerusalem in 600 B.C., and afterward separated into two nations, known as the Nephites and the Lamanites. The other came much earlier when the Lord confounded the tongues at the Tower of Babel. This group is known as the Jaredites. After thousands of years, all were destroyed except the Lamanites, and they are among the ancestors of the American Indians.” (see the 2nd para. at http://scriptures.lds.org/en/bm/introduction).

To briefly review:

For more than a generation, as many Mormons and former Mormons remember, the BoM ‘truth’ was that the Lamanites were “the principal ancestors of the American Indians”, as the BoM Introduction in the 1981 edition, for example, said.

Joseph Smith, ‘translator’ of the BoM, declared the following in his 1842 letter to John Wentworth, Editor, and Proprietor of the Chicago Democrat:

“In this important and interesting book the history of ancient America is unfolded, from its first settlement by a colony that came from the Tower of Babel, at the confusion of languages to the beginning of the fifth century of the Christian era. We are informed by these records that America in ancient times has been inhabited by two distinct races of people. The first were called Jaredites and came directly from the Tower of Babel. The second race came directly from the city of Jerusalem, about six hundred years before Christ. They were principally Israelites, of the descendants of Joseph. The Jaredites were destroyed about the time that the Israelites came from Jerusalem, who succeeded them in the inheritance of the country. The principal nation of the second race fell in battle towards the close of the fourth century. The remnant are the Indians that now inhabit this country.” (ref. http://www.lds.org/ldsorg/v/index.jsp...)

Over the years, I have contacted the Anthropology Department of various universities to inquire if there is any genetic, archaeological, linguistic or other type of evidence supporting the LDS Church’s teaching that American Indians are descendants of a group of Jews that sailed from the Middle East and arrived in the Americas nearly 2,600 years ago. The answer has always been that there is none.

Interestingly, in his Wentworth Letter, Smith mentioned nothing about using a magical rock – a ‘seer’ stone – in his hat and covering his face with his hat to ‘translate the BoM (no gold plate in the hat, either). People can read about this bizarre form of ‘translation’ in LDS Apostle Russell Nelson’s article, “A Treasured Testament”, in the July 1993 issue of the Ensign, which is online at www.lds.org.
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The Book Of Mormon Vs Mormonism
Wednesday, Jan 21, 2009, at 07:49 AM
Original Author(s): Richard Packham
Topic: BOOK OF MORMON   -Link To MC Article-
Most people - Mormons and non-Mormons alike - assume that the Mormon religion is based on its holy book, the Book of Mormon and that by reading that book one can learn what Mormonism is all about. andnbsp; Mormon missionaries usually try to get prospective converts ("investigators") to read it as soon as possible, implying that by doing so the investigator will get an accurate idea of Mormonism.

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; Although the publication of the Book of Mormon in 1830 was the impetus for the founding of the Mormon church (the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints), Mormonism is not rooted doctrinally in the Book of Mormon. andnbsp; It is used primarily for faith-inspiring stories, not for doctrine, even though God (through Joseph Smith) declared that it contains "the fulness of the Gospel" (Dandamp;C 20:9). andnbsp; Its doctrinal content is quite representative of wide-spread Christian beliefs in Joseph Smith's day. andnbsp; Many of its doctrines are now ignored or have been abandoned by the church, and many other doctrines have been adopted, as the following summary shows:

Abbreviations Used
Dandamp;C - Doctrine and Covenants
DoS - Doctrines of Salvation, by Joseph Fielding Smith (3 volumes)
JoD - Journal of Discourses (26 volumes)
MD - Mormon Doctrine, 2d edition, by Bruce R. McConkie
TJS - Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith

Citations under "Book of Mormon" are to its various books
Mormon DoctrineBook of Mormon
Heaven consists of three levels or "glories"; evil people go to the lowest, "hell" (Dandamp;C 76:81-90), the glory of which "surpasses all understanding. Only Mormon apostates do not go to heaven, but to "outer darkness" (Dandamp;C 76:31-39) Only two possible fates after death: heaven or hell. Levels or degrees of heaven are not mentioned.
Jesus and God the Father are separate beings. (Dandamp;C 130:22) Jesus and God the Father are the same. (Mosiah 3:8, 15:1-5, Ether 4:7, 12)
God has a body of flesh and bones. (Dandamp;C 130:22) God is a spirit. (Alma 18:26-28)
God was once a man like us, and progressed to godhood. (TJS 342-345) God does not change and has never changed. (Mormon 9:9, Moroni 8:18)
There are many gods. (TJS 370-373) There is only one God. (Alma 11:28-30)
We can become gods ourselves. (Dandamp;C 76:58, TJS 342-345) No mention of this idea.
We lived with God in a spirit world (a "premortal existence") before being born into this life. (Dandamp;C 49:17, 93:23-29, 138:55-56) No mention of this idea.
God is the literal father of our spirits, conceived by him and our "Mother in Heaven" (MD 516) No mention of this idea.
Mary conceived Jesus by natural means, namely, God the Father impregnated her. (MD 546-47, JoD 1:50-51, 8:115, 11:268) Mary conceived Jesus "by the power of the Holy Ghost" (Alma 7:10), by being "carried away in the spirit" (1 Nephi 11:15-19)
Those who do not accept the gospel in this life will have the opportunity to do so after death, and can receive baptism by proxy (Dandamp;C 127, 128) Salvation must be attained in this life; after one dies it is too late (Alma 34:34, 2 Nephi 9:38, Mosiah 2:36-39). No mention of baptism for the dead.
David and Solomon did nothing wrong by having many wives. (Dandamp;C 132:38-39) The polygamy of David and Solomon was "abominable" to the Lord (Jacob 2:24)
Priesthood divided into an upper (" after the order of Melchizedek") and lower ("Aaronic") priesthood No distinction between "priests" and "high priests"; priesthood is "after the order of [the Son of] God" (Alma 4:20, 13:1-12). No mention of "Aaronic" priesthood.
Salvation in the highest heaven ("exaltation") requires undergoing the "endowment" initiation ceremony in a temple, the details of which are kept strictly secret. The participants are required to take numerous oaths, which are also secret. "Secret combinations" requiring secret oaths are condemned. (Mormon 8:27, 40, 2 Nephi 26:22, Helaman 6:22, and many others.) No mention of any such ritual as part of the gospel. No mention of "exaltation" or "endowment."
Exaltation requires marriage in a Mormon temple. (Dandamp;C 131:1-4) No mention of this doctrine.
"Celestial marriage" lasts for time and all eternity. (DoS 2:58 ff) No mention of this doctrine.
The "first resurrection" is only for the righteous. (Dandamp;C 76:64. 63:18) The "first resurrection" is for all who died before Christ's resurrection, righteous and unrighteous alike (Mosiah 15:24, Alma 40:16-17)
The "idea that the Father and the Son dwell in a man's heart" is false. (Dandamp;C 130:31; verse 22 says that it is the Holy Ghost that "dwell[s] in us") "The Lord" dwells in the hearts of the righteous. (Alma 34:36)
The Lord's Supper ("the sacrament") consists of bread and water. The Lord's Supper should consist of bread and wine. (3 Nephi 18:1-9, Moroni 5)
Only the priest blessing the sacrament kneels. The priest is to kneel with the church while blessing the sacrament. (Moroni 4:2; see also Dandamp;C 20:76)
Use of alcohol, coffee, tea ("hot drinks") is forbidden. (Dandamp;C 89) No such commandment.
Church is governed by the three men of the "First Presidency," higher in authority than the Quorum of Twelve. Jesus placed twelve disciples over the church he founded in America. (3 Nephi 12, passim) No "first presidency" mentioned.
Except for Joseph Smith, all prophets are promoted to that office by those above them in rank, and by seniority. They work their way up to the top. Prophets are called directly by God.
The church is trying to befriend people of other religions with the message "All churches have some truth"; "The church has always extended a hand of friendship and fellowship to those of other faiths, and will continue to do so." There are two churches only: the true church and the "church of the devil," "the whore of Babylon" (1 Nephi 14:10-12). A church which seeks to become "popular in the eyes of the world" is of the devil. (1 Nephi 22:23)
Since 1978 the church claims that it is not racist, that all races are equal and that the color of a person's skin has no religious significance. A dark skin is a curse from God, a punishment for one's unrighteousness (or the unrighteousness of one's ancestors). A dark skin can become light through righteousness. (1 Nephi 12:23, 2 Nephi 5:21, Alma 3:6, Mormon 5:15, Jacob 3:8-9, 3 Nephi 2:15)
The church teaches that faith, repentance, baptism are the "first principles" of the gospel, but that in order to obtain the highest degree of heaven, much more is required (obedience, tithes, endowment, etc.) Christ says that the gospel is faith, repentance, baptism ONLY. Any teaching beyond that will lead to hell 3 Nephi 11:31-40

Conclusion

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; Many Mormons have never read the Book of Mormon from cover to cover, and are perhaps unaware at how the doctrines of their church differ so drastically from the teachings of their own basic scripture, which - according to their eighth "Article of Faith" - they believe to be the word of God.

andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; andnbsp; When confronted with these fundamental differences (and even contradictions) their first line of defense is to claim that the Mormon church is a church of "continuing revelation" (ninth Article of Faith), that being the purpose of a living prophet. andnbsp; This overlooks the fact that the Book of Mormon was said by God to contain the "fulness" of the Gospel. andnbsp; Some Mormon apologists claim that "fulness" does not mean "complete," but rather "fundamentals," or "basics," and that the Book of Mormon does contain the "first principles" of faith, repentance, baptism and the gift of the Holy Ghost. andnbsp; This argument fails when seeing the meaning of "fulness" as used in other Mormon scriptures, where it does, indeed, mean "complete," "nothing lacking," "nothing left out."

© 2005 Richard Packham
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The Criddle Study-A Critical Review
Monday, Feb 9, 2009, at 08:10 AM
Original Author(s): Reed Smith
Topic: BOOK OF MORMON   -Link To MC Article-
There has been a lot of interest in the recent article by Craig Criddle, Matthew L. Jockers, and Daniela M. Witten, entitled “Reassessing Authorship Of The Book Of Mormon Using Delta And Nearest Shrunken Centroid Classification.” This title is a mouthful, however the article essentially attempts to offer support for the Spaulding-Rigdon theory for authorship of the Book of Mormon through the use of “wordprint” analysis, or “linguistic signals.” This conclusion, of course, undermines the Mormon claim that the Book of Mormon was written by Joseph Smith, let alone ancient authors. It is therefore natural for ex-Mormons to rally around this article as further evidence in support of the general conclusion that Mormonism is a fraud. However, least we succumb to the tactics of Mormon apologists, such articles should be both carefully presented, and carefully considered, before jumping on the bandwagon of thoughtless acceptance and exuberant glee.

Let me be clear at the outset that I am a “hardcore” ex-Mormon with no sympathy for the claim that the Book of Mormon is divine, or an ancient record. Moreover, for historical reasons, I do have some sympathy for the Spaulding-Ridgon authorship theory, however I have not made up my mind as to whether Joseph Smith could have written it himself. For me, the jury is still out on this issue.

Notwithstanding the above, and for reasons discussed below, I believe that the Criddle study is deeply flawed, and does NOT support the conclusion stated above. (Note: I refer to it as the Criddle study because notwithstanding the obvious contributions of the other authors, he is clearly the driving force behind the study and its conclusions.) My conclusion in this regard is based solely upon my own careful reading of the article. I have not read any commentaries, pro or con, beyond the article itself.

The conclusion reached by the Criddle article is stated in one place as follows:

“The prominence of the Ridgon and Spaulding signals are significant and provide strong support for the Spaulding-Rigdon authorship theory: that Ridgon acquired one or more manuscripts written by Spaulding and then modified them, by incorporating his own theology, to create the 1830 version of the Book of Mormon.” (Page12)

Put simply, the Criddle study is based upon a computer analysis that compares the word uses of seven proposed authors to the text of the Book of Mormon. (For purposes of this post I will focus on the NSC procedure) The study is said to identify the “relative probability” that any one of the proposed authors is the author of a particular chapter in the Book of Mormon. We can (and must) note at the outset that here the word “relative” refers to the limitations imposed by the narrowness of the choices. Thus, the probability that any one of the proposed authors is the actual author is weighed only against that probably of any of the other proposed authors being the author. It is therefore highly misleading to suggest from this study the conclusion that there is any established statistical probability that any of the proposed authors is the actual author of the chapter in question, independent of the sample. That would require a much broader sampling (if it could be done at all), and would certainly have to include Joseph Smith, the claimed author. In the several statements in the article as to conclusions reached by the study, the word “relative” is irresponsibly omitted, leaving the false impression that the probability estimates have a universal application rather than a relative application as indicated above.

The Criddle study excludes Joseph Smith as a possible author by claiming for various reasons that there is no reliable sample of his writings. In my judgment this is feeble, and unjustified excuse to exclude the most important potential author of the Book of Mormon. First, however difficult and questionable, there are reasonable criteria that could be established to select appropriate writings by Joseph Smith, starting with his handwritten letters and journal entries. The importance of including JS in the study far outweigh the excuses to exclude him. The difficulties in selecting appropriate writing samples could have and should have been addressed with a footnote, not with exclusion. By excluding JS, the study simply cannot rule him out as the author of the BofM, simply because had he been included, the study might well have found that the probably of his authorship, as compared to the other seven, was statistically higher. Let me suggest an example:

Suppose one wanted to use the NSC model to determine who wrote the book View of the Hebrews. We might set this up by selecting the same authors used in the Criddle study, leaving out Ethan Smith (the actual author). Just like the Criddle study, we then mathematically select our test words to a manageable number. With a potentially new word list, we would have to once again “train” the program to establish the lowest recognition error rate for each author. Then, we could submit each chapter of View of the Hebrews to determine the relative probability that each such author wrote this book. Whatever the results, we could probably conclude that one proposed author, say Spaulding, had a higher probability of being the author of View of the Hebrews than any of the other authors. We could then announce that this supports the view that Spaulding was the author of the book. But, of course, any such conclusion, regardless of the results, would have no logical force against Ethan Smith as being the author of the book, since he was excluded from the study. Arguably, had he been included, his probability rating would have been extremely high, well above the other authors, since he in fact wrote the book. If not, it would only point to a major flaw in the research program, and not to a question about his authorship.

We can apply this same logic to the original purpose of the NSC, as stated in the Criddle article. Here the classifications are cancer subtypes, and the data is gene expression measurements for cancer tumors. The idea, presumably, is to be able to appropriately classify the characteristics of a cancer tumor into a cancer subtype for purposes of diagnosis and treatment. Consider, however, the result if a major cancer classification, say melanoma, was left out. Obviously, what would happen would be that no vector centroids would point to the missing classification. Instead, the probability assignments would be spread out over those subtypes that were included, with various probability scores. There would be no way of knowing whether the data would have pointed to the missing subclassification had it been included. Moreover, no universal probability conclusions could be drawn beyond the limited classification samples themselves. This shows that with the NSC methodology it is essential that the classifications accurately reflect legitimate and meaningful classifications. Leaving out a relevant classification undermines the study completely.

In response to the above, someone might argue that the linguistic “signals” established by NSC provide independent evidence of authorship beyond the “relative” probabilities discussed above. In other words, it might be argued that we can assign some meaningful probability for a Spaudling-Rigdon authorship, either mathematically or intuitively, even though JS was left out. This is incorrect because the assumption that one of the seven potential authors is the actual author of the B of M is built into the NSC methodology. This is because the basis of the whole system, i.e. the word selection list, is directly tied to the word frequencies of these individual authors. If JS were included, or someone else, the word list might be significantly different, which would eschew the results. Thus, of necessity, the final probability assignments assume that there are no other legitimate, potential authors, an assumption which is patently false in the present case.

There is much more to criticize here, but I will end with one final point. The Criddle article states that the NSC and delta methods agree on the first place probability assignment only 62% of the time. (Page 8) I am not impressed by this statistic. If both methods have validity, I would expect there to be broader agreement. The 93 % agreement for the combined first and second place assignments seems, in my view, weak, especially considering that there were really only four plausible alternatives.

As stated above, the authors conclude that the study provides “strong support” for the Spaulding-Rigdon authorship theory. This statement is simply false. Until the classifications are set up properly–to include JS and perhaps others–no conclusion can be drawn in this regard. At best, the study supports the conclusion: “If in fact one of the seven authors identified in the study did indeed write the Book of Mormon, it is probable that it was either Sidney Rigdon, Solomon Spaulding, or perhaps a combination of the two.” But even this conclusion, as weak as it is, is open to challenge.

I am not a statistician, or a computer programmer. The above seems to me to be rather simple logic flowing from the Criddle article itself. If I am wrong in the above analysis, I am certainly open to rethinking my opinion; if someone would care to point out my error.
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Message In A Bottle: The Maritime Myth Of The Book Of Ether
Tuesday, Feb 17, 2009, at 09:49 AM
Original Author(s): Drwilson
Topic: BOOK OF MORMON   -Link To MC Article-
I am an avid sailor. Recently I was looking at possible routing for a passage in the South Pacific. While I had the charts out showing prevailing winds and ocean currents, I decided to see if I could plot a reasonable route (or even a possible route) for the Jaredites from the Middle East to the Western Hemisphere.

Jaredite Vessels: In considering possible routes, it is important to keep in mind that the seagoing vessels of the Jaredites were not described as having sails. In fact according to the Book of Ether, they were constructed as semi-submersibles. They were described as capable of being capsized by large waves and remaining intact as “holes were made in the top and in the bottom”, which holes could be plugged to prevent water from entering the vessel. (It should be noted that no wooden semi-submersible has ever been successfully demonstrated in the modern era. From a marine architecture standpoint, such a vessel would be very difficult if not impossible to build and maintain leak-free at sea for almost one year. But I digress.)

The vessels were “the length of a tree” and were sealed tightly top and bottom “like unto a dish”. The occupants or crew stayed inside these closed vessels and, when necessary, opened one or more air holes for ventilation. These ships had no means of propulsion. They depended on ocean currents to carry them from the Middle East to the New World. The book of Ether says that they could be “steered”.

“O Lord, in them there is no light; whether shall we steer? And also we shall perish, for in them we cannot breathe, save it is the air which is in them; therefore we shall perish" (Ether 2:19).

No Power Means No Steering: I had never thought about this before with regard to the Book of Ether, but here is a nautical fact: in order for any vessel to be steered, it must have some means of moving relative to the water around it. A vessel without some kind of power (sails, oars, or an engine and screw) cannot be steered. It can move in no other way than as carried by the wind and currents. Since there was relatively little freeboard (vertical hull above the waterline), the effects of the wind would not have been significant for this vessel design. When it comes to marine navigation, these vessels (had they existed at all) would have been little more than large pieces of driftwood.

Given Ocean Currents Direction and Speed, the Jaredite Journey, as Described in the BoE, is not Possible: Review of the ocean surface currents along any possible route from the Middle East to the Western Hemisphere shows that such a voyage as described in Ether is impossible based on ocean surface current characteristics alone. You can get some idea of what the navigational charts look like with regard to ocean surface currents at:

http://www.physicalgeography.net/fundamentals/images/oceancurrents.gif

Considering a Westerly Transit: As is postulated for the voyage of Nephi, the Jaredite departure would have had to have been from the south end of the Arabian Peninsula. The Med is a “bathtub”, void of currents necessary for a direct Middle East to Western hemisphere crossing of the Atlantic. Even if they had made it out of the Med, as they approached the eastern seaboard of North America, the strong Gulf Stream would have picked them up and kept them at least 4 miles offshore until they were well into the North Atlantic, where the North Atlantic Drift would have brought them back to Europe.

Launching from somewhere in eastern part of present day Oman would have put them in the Agulhas current, which would have carried them down to the tip of Africa. Had they been able to transit to the Benguella current (highly unlikely) , they would have had to next transit to the Northern branch of the Equatorial current (again highly unlikely) which would have eventually sent them into the Caribbean South of Haiti. This is a journey on the order of some 12,000 to 14,000 miles.

Not Enough Time to Make the Trip: If the journey took 344 days as described, this means that that they would have had to travel at an average speed of approximately 2 miles per hour, or 48 miles per day. Except for the Gulf Stream, all other currents they could have possibly encountered on this routing move at a rate of less than 5-6 miles per day. At these average speeds, the journey would have required about 8 years, wind or no wind.

It is of interest that when the winds blow along the East Coast of Africa, the Aguhla current gives rise to sea conditions so severe that any number of large commercial vessels have been lost along this route. In fact this stretch of water accounts for more ships lost than any other commercial sea lane, and is slowly being abandoned because of this problem. The chances of wooden vessels surviving this part of the passage in strong wind would be slim indeed (yet we read the winds "did never cease to blow towards the promised land") . The chances of the group of vessels staying together in such a storm would be zero. (And as for winds 'always blowing toward the promised land', just have a look at the prevailing surface winds chart for the global oceans sometime.)

Easterly Transit Highly Unlikely: Launching from anywhere on the southern Arabian Peninsula it would be very unlikely that they could have headed in an easterly direction. They would have had catch the southern portion of the Equatorial countercurrent flowing east. Even if they had they done so, the chances of them “drifting” through complex narrow passages and channels between Australia and Southeast Asia into the Pacific Ocean are essentially zero. (Just look at the map and currents). And had they, by some miracle, made it to the Pacific Basin, they would have been carried north with first landfall in the Western Hemisphere somewhere in Alaska or the Pacific Northwest.

Directly Relevant Data on Drifting Objects: “In 1929 a crew of German scientists set out to track the journey of one particular bottle. It was set to sea in the South Indian Ocean with a note inside asking the finder to record the location where it washed up and to throw it back into the sea. By 1935 it had rounded the world and traveled approximately sixteen thousand miles, the longest distance officially recorded.” (Note: This bottle was released near or directly into the relatively fast moving Antarctic Circumpolar current to give it the best chance of circling the globe, which it eventually did. Currents that would have taken an object from Oman to the Caribbean are much slower.)

A Thought Experiment: The chances of keeping a flotilla of vessels together, without power, for 344 days, are vanishingly small. Try this thought experiment. Imagine that you went to southern Oman and launched between three and seven large pieces of driftwood into the water. Would you expect to find that all of your pieces of driftwood had washed ashore, at about the same place, and at about the same time, anywhere in the western hemisphere within one year (or ever)? Right.

Mahonri Moriancumr Better than Magellan?: These difficulties with the story are in addition to those of the animals we are told were on board (including elephants) and the problem of provisioning (food and water), etc. If you want to get some idea of the dangers of extended sea voyages before the advent of modern sailing vessels and navigation, consider the voyages of Magellan. He was an experienced seaman with a well trained navigator and the best equipment available in his day. Of the 237 men who started his voyage to circumnavigate (with sail powered vessels), only 37 survived. Magellan was not among them.

The Book of Ether is Bad Fiction: Within about one half hour, I demonstrated to myself how ridiculous portions of the Book of Mormon really are. I convinced myself, beyond any reasonable doubt, based on hard science (oceanography, geography, and meteorology), that the Book of Ether is pure fiction, and bad fiction at that.
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"Standing For Something More", By Lyndon Lamborn
Monday, Apr 20, 2009, at 08:02 AM
Original Author(s): Bob Mccue
Topic: BOOK OF MORMON   -Link To MC Article-
“Standing for Something More”, by Lyndon Lamborn

I am current reading Lyndon’s book. Well worth the effort. It is the best, and simplest, summary I have seen of the social-psychological explanation as to why smart, good people are routinely unable to see the problems with their belief system, and then the difficulty of the terrain one experiences as one attempts to leave a close-knit social group.

I particularly like the way in which Lyndon wove his own story into a summary of academic material related to social psychology, epistemology, etc. That makes the whole package easier to digest.

There are of course lots of things in the book that those who want to criticize can. But overall, well worth the effort to read, and particularly so for people who are just starting this journey into new head space.
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Book Of Mormon Stories Your Mama Didn't Teach You!
Friday, May 1, 2009, at 08:23 AM
Original Author(s): Susieq#1
Topic: BOOK OF MORMON   -Link To MC Article-
Information is power!

REFERENCE:

"A Comprehensive History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints." by B.H. Roberts Church Historian (1857-1933), Deseret Book Co., 1930.

http://mormonlit.lib.byu.edu/lit_author.php?a_id=1723

Most of these early accounts are in Vol 1. I own the whole set in paperback which I purchased in the late 70s before they were discontinued --another interesting story of how I found them many years later in the Institute library just sitting on the shelf and not cataloged, with my name in them.

"A Comprehensive History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints." by B.H. Roberts VOL 1 "How the Book of Mormon was Obtained" (These books are in the LDS Data base on CD, also in their libraries (Ward/Stake/Institute of Religion) in the REFERENCE section.)

A few notes: B H Roberts says that they were dressed "for riding" by taking the horse and spring wagon of Mr. Knight (some would call this stealing, as they did not ask permission of Mr. Knight who was a guest in his home) and went to the "hill Cumorah, and in he presence of Moroni obtained the Nephite record, the breast-plate and Urim and Thummim.

pg. 87, "Early the next morning, Mr. Knight discovered both his horse and wagon were gone, suspected some "rogue had stolen them. Lucy Smith volunteered no information as to Joseph having made use of the horse and wagon, but tried to pacify Mr. Knight with the idea that they were but temporarily out of the way."

When Joseph returned home, he took his mother aside and showed her the Urim and Thummim which he had evidently detached from the breast plate and concealed on his own person when depositing the plates...he seemed to have kept the instrument constantly about him after that time as by means of it he could at will be made aware of approaching danger to the record."

The next chapter is entitled: pg. 88 Other Psychics Than the Prophet

"The fact was that Joseph Smith was not the only psychic in the vicinity of Palmyra."

He had previously asked Lucy (his mother) very early in the morning if she had a chest with a lock and key but she could not locate one.

This is the reason Joseph pg. 86 "concealed them temporarily, in the woods some two or three miles distant. He found a fallen birch log that was much decayed .....carefully cutting the bark and removing sufficient of the decayed wood to admit ...the plates, ...they were deposited in the cavity, the bark drawn together again and as far as possible all signs of the log having been disturbed obliterated."

Pg 93 - "The Breastplate of Urim and Thummim

"It has been several times remarked that with the plates on which a brief history of the ancient American peoples was engrave, there was an ancient breast-plate to which, when the Prophet took possession of it, the Urim and Thummim were attached.

This breast-plate it appears the Prophet did not bring home with him when he brought the record. But a few days later, according to a statement by Lucy Smith, he came into the house from the field one afternoon and after remaining a a short time put on his "great coat" and left the house.

On his returning the mother was engaged in an upper room of the house preparing oilcloth for painting - it will be remembered that this was an art she has followed for some years. Joseph called to her and asked her to come down stairs.

To this she answered she could not then leave her work, but Joseph insisted and she came downstairs and entered the room where he was whereupon he placed in her hands the Nephite breast plate herein alluded to.

'It was wrapped in a a thin muslin handkerchief,' she explains, 'so thin that I could feel it's proportions without any difficulty'.

It was concave on one side, convex on the other and extended from the neck downwards as far as the center of the stomach of a man of extraordinary size. It had four straps of the same material, for the purpose of fastening it to the breast, two of which ran back to go over the shoulders and the other two were designed to fasten to the hips.

They were just the width of two of my fingers (for I measured them). and they had holes in the end of them, to be convenient in fastening. After I had examined it, Joseph placed it in the chest with the Urim and Thummin." [paragraphs added for ease in reading]"

Troubles keeping the Nephite Record out of nefarious hands of other psychics.)

Vol 1 Pg 90 Was the Nephrite Record in Danger He goes on.....

These reflections indulged, we may now return to the statement with which they began-viz,Joseph Smith was not the only psychic in the vicinity of Palmyra. A Miss Chase, sister of Willard Chase, the Methodist class elder, already mentioned, had for some time been accredited with psychic powers of the mind, and practiced "crystal-gazing;" and besides this , remarkable as it may seem, parties in the neighborhood of the smith home, numbering some ten or twelve men sent a distance of sixty or seventy miles for a psychic-"conjuror" they called him --to come to Palmyra and to discover the whereabouts of "Joe Smith's gold bible."

The elder Smith learned of the arrival of this person at the home of Willard Chase, and heard him boast in the presence of his employers that he would "have them plates in spite of Joe Smith or all the devils in hell."

The day after taking possession of the Nephite record, the young Prophet was offered the job of digging a well for Mrs. Wells, of Macedon, a village some three miles west of Palmyra, and the family standing much in need of the money promised for the work, Joseph immediately accepted the employment...However, he never finished because of the threat of the other "conjurer" on his trail.

This is the beginning of the tale of how Joseph came back and assured his father and family that the record was saFe, was hidden near the home and Hyrum gave him a chest, with a lock and key and Joseph wrapped them in a farmer's "smock. and then he went through the woods .."his enemies were evidently on the watch for him, for three times he was assaulted by as many different persons; but being strong and athletic by dint of blows and flight he threw them off and finally reached home utterly exhausted from the excitement and the fatigue."

This is when he got his father and Mr Knight and Mr Stoal to search for the assailants (which was fruitless) and Hyrum came with the cheST with the lock and key.

"It seems that in knocking down his third assailant, Joseph had dislocated his thumb ....and he requested his father to put it in place. Joseph then remained at home with his family to secure the sacred record entrusted to him where he worked on the farm with his brothers."

Commentary:

Yup. That's plausible! Sure it is! But the people close to Joseph believed him wholeheartedly!

In my experience, it would be hard to find two Mormons who knew any of this history or the different statements from early history. As a member I would have not been one of those two members! Even though I was more informed than many, I learned most of this info on my way out of the church.

From the faith induced spiritual witness testimony bearing members, none of this is important. It is, in their probably answer, not necessary for their salvation. While it is interesting, and as we "were not there" as they often say, it just shows that "God Works in Mysterious Ways His Wonders to Perform"!

The details of how it was done doesn't matter to a testimony bearing Mormon, only that Joseph Smith Jr was the prophet chosen by Jesus Christ to Restore the only True Church of Jesus Christ in the Latter Days to usher in the Last Dispensation with the keys to the saving ordinances.

That's it in a nut shell. The actual history and different accounts have no bearing on that "spiritual witness" of "I know" it's true.

If it isn't "faith promoting" it's not good for anything!

Also, that stone trick is not believable. Martin Harris could not find a stone to fool Joseph Smith Jr. No two stones are alike anyhow.

Two Reference LINKS (Dozens more on the Internet) Witnesses - visionary http://www.mormonthink.com/witnessesw...

Running with the plates: http://www.mormonthink.com/runningweb...

Feel free to add other stories and references the average Mormon today does not know about the Book of Mormon.
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New Method For The Analysis Of Text And DNA Sequences - Applied To Book Of Mormon
Friday, May 29, 2009, at 08:09 AM
Original Author(s): Craigc
Topic: BOOK OF MORMON   -Link To MC Article-
A group at UC Berkeley led by chemist Sung-Hou Kim has developed a new method for analysis of “feature frequency profiles” (FFP) that enables comparison and classification of linear information. They have used it for authorship analysis in the case of a work often attributed to Shakespeare (Pericles), classification of major literary works (including The Book of Mormon), and classification of life forms based on DNA nucleotide sequences.

http://newscenter.lbl.gov/feature-sto...

This new method is based on sequence frequency - how often different information sequences occur within the data. The data can take virtually any form - words or letters in a manuscript, nucleotide sequences in DNA, or notes in a piece of music. The nature of the information is not important.

In applying their method to the Book of Mormon, they analysed the entire text of Book of Mormon and compared it to other books. As you would expect, the Book of Mormon clustered close to the King James Bible. They did not attempt a detailed analysis, like the one we (Jockers et al., 2008) carried out. We analyzed word frequency patterns for each chapter of the Book of Mormon and compared them to known texts from a set of candidate authors.

You can expect more of this kind of analysis in the future.

This kind of software could be used to analyze the DNA of Native Americans and to compare it to DNA from the Middle East. It could also be used to analyze word or letter sequences in different chapters of the Book of Mormon and to compare them to the word or letter sequences in known works of candidate authors of the Book of Mormon.
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This Explains Why People Of The Times Would And Could Believe Joseph Smith Jr's Claims
Friday, Jun 5, 2009, at 07:55 AM
Original Author(s): Susieq#1
Topic: BOOK OF MORMON   -Link To MC Article-
Why were Joseph Smith's claim that American Indians were Hebrews was believable in 19th Century New York?

How and why 19th Century people of New York believed Joseph Smith and his claims that the American Indians were Hebrews from Israel is reviewed in a book I found several years ago.

I love to buy books at garage/yard sales and a few years ago, I bought a book published by Readers Digest for $2.00 about ancient America with lots of great pictures and historical information that I laid flat on the bottom shelf of a huge bookcase because it was so large.

I had not paid particular attention to it until my TBM hubby, a few years later found it in our bookcase and plopped it down in front of me, with great glee as proof that Joseph Smith was correct, opening it to the section: "Lost Tribes in the New World."

The book is called: "Mysteries of the Ancient Americas" The New World Before Columbus Published by Readers Digest 1986

The information related in this book explains many of the reasons why people in Joseph Smith's time, with Biblical underpinnings in their religions would believe wholeheartedly that the American Indians were Hebrews from Israel.

Here are a few short quotes from one chapter:

"Lost Tribes in the New World" pg. 32-38 The thrust of this chapter is the lost tribes from the Biblical accounts.

There is also a section on: Descendants of "White" Indians -These blue eyed Indians were sometimes called "Welsh Indians," as there were claims that they were conversant in the Welsh tongue.

An author in the late 18th century, James Adair, a trader in Indian territories for at least 40 years said that he heard chants among he Choctaw and Chickasaw and their neighbors that he said was the name Jehovah which he said was the Indian phrase for dead or lost.

Another phrase he said meant "gone to Canaan" and he claimed that the word "kora" was borrowed unchanged from the Hebrew.

This is a fascination book and shows two drawings and the research of Lord Kingsborough (Edward King, Viscount Kingsborough) who, in the 19th century was a young member of Parliament.

He "was convinced that the Indians of Mexico were directly descended from Israel's Ten Lost Tribes. As proof he spent his fortune on reproducing volumes of Aztec codices that, he claimed illustrated biblical events. " He relied heavily on Adair. He died in 1837 pg. 37

In 1650 one answer to the "Jewish Ancestors" question was published "The Hope of Israel" by Manasseh ben Israel, a rabbi in Amsterdam.

He told of a Spanish Jewish traveler, Antonio de Montezinos whose Indian Guide on one South American trip greeted him with "Shema Israel (Hear, O Israel)" pg 36

This author saw Old Testament customs in practice: ritual calendars, purification rites, circumcision, flood myths, sacrifices to gods, the veneration of a tribal ark.

I turned to page 40 and imagine my surprise to see a large picture of a painting of Joseph Smith and the angel Moroni delivering the golden plates on a hillside in New York.

Here are a few quotes from the several paragraphs relating to Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon:

"According to Mormon history, these plates told how their ancestors came to America from the "land of Jerusalem."

"No other document, inscription, or legend now known shows a lose correspondence with this account of the peopling of America, but there are tempting inferences that can be drawn from the evidence that does exist."

"It is wishful thinking, then, or the legacy of Spanish political propaganda that keeps alive the belief that the native Americans were eagerly awaiting the coming of he white man in the 16th century - (referring to Quetzalcoatl).

So far as is known, today, the existence of such a thing had never been imagined by the Aztec or Inca."

"We now know that Viking kings preceded Columbus to North America by 500 years."

This is a huge book with over 300 pages and hundreds of beautifully done pictures.



This book, shows that the combination of the Spaniards and the subsequent peopling of America from Europe with their acceptance of Biblical history as their religious reference point,(and a great reliance on it being historically correct) led many to interpret the languages and drawings of the Indians as having Hebrew - Old Testament correlations.

Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon fell right in line with the thinking of the day. He went along with what he read that was accepted as the prevailing notions of the history of the American Indians.

What he claimed in his stories in the Book of Mormon was plausible to the religious public. Even the procurement of the claimed original documents by angels, and visions, was religiously acceptable as a representative manifestation of God working in their lives.

Understanding this background shows that it was not hard for Joseph Smith to gain so many followers.

It might explain why even Jewish people would go along with Joseph Smith's claims.

Believing Mormons, nearly 170 years later will take anything even remotely resembling an acceptance of a tiny scrap of fact or possible evidence or opinion, and use it to prove Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon is a true, factual book.

I was astounded to find a book published in 1986 with references to the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith. After reading the whole chapter, I understood why it was included.

Correlations between the American Indians and the Bible seems to be more a matter of heavily invested religious beliefs and wishful thinking of the times.

I suppose one could say that The Mormon Church is still stuck in the 19th Century New York as it has not followed the most current scientific evidence of the last 20 years of the real history of the Americas.

One does wonder if they will ever get up to date!

I share this info because, in my efforts to understand how Mormonism was still alive and well today, I had to gain a greater knowledge of how it got started in the first place. Once I knew more about the times, and the religious thinking of the day, it all fell into place.

D. Michael Quinn has an excellent book on the subject also: "Early Mormonism and the Magic World View."

My surprise was finding that Readers Digest book from 1986 that elucidated further how Mormonism got it's foot hold in the 19th Century.
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Yet More Inconsistencies From Book Of Mormon, Mopologists And Reasonable People
Wednesday, Aug 12, 2009, at 08:18 AM
Original Author(s): Beeblequix
Topic: BOOK OF MORMON   -Link To MC Article-
1. The Book of Mormon makes use of deliberate word planting in an attempt to flesh out the uniqueness of the Book of Mormon people.

Matthew 5 (5-7 Sermon on the Mount) 26 Verily I say unto thee, Thou shalt by no means come out thence, till thou hast paid the uttermost farthing.

http://scriptures.lds.org/en/matt/5/26#26

3 Nephi 12 (12-14, Sermon on the Mount, again)

26 Verily, verily, I say unto thee, thou shalt by no means come out thence until thou hast paid the uttermost senine. And while ye are in prison can ye pay even one senine? Verily, verily, I say unto you, Nay.

http://scriptures.lds.org/en/3_ne/12/26#26

The Jesus of the English KJV New Testament refers to 'farthing', a translation of the Roman coin "quadrans" meaning "quarter".

The Jesus of 3 Nephi replaces quadrans/farthing with SENINE. If you read the next sentence you'll notice how "Jesus" really doesn't say anything else, only manages to slip in another reference to the Nephite monetary unit introduced in Alma 11, the SENINE. It's almost as if that second sentence is placed there to make sure that we, the readers, know "Jesus" is talking to Nephites in America, that he's fully aware of the things they're familiar with.

2. 3 Nephi 21:14 -- Does Jesus break form and use unfamiliar terms?

4 Yea, wo be unto the Gentiles except they repent; for it shall come to pass in that day, saith the Father, that I will cut off thy horses out of the midst of thee, and I will destroy thy chariots;

http://scriptures.lds.org/en/3_ne/21/14#14

Jesus mentions "horses" and "chariots", not "tapirs" and something-that-doesn't-explicitly-say-it's-used-for-transportation-so-it's-therefore-not-transportation. One of the most entertaining mind-jobs Mormon apologists pursue is trying to convince you that HORSE is not a horse, of course. They argue that Joe Jr. was limited in his ability to translate the "ancient scripture" to the words in his own mind.

They conveniently leave out a number of things --

* that GOD HIMSELF did the work for Joseph as prophesied in the Book of Mormon

* that Joe Jr. "told the brethren that the Book of Mormon was the most correct book on Earth" and that he should be the ultimate human authority to make that statement assuming he was telling the truth

* that despite their attempts of placing arbitrary limits on Joe Jr.'s vocabulary there are a number of words that SOMEHOW managed to come through: curelom, cumom, neas, senum, amnor, ezrom, onti, senine, seon, shum, limnah, deseret, ziff, plus a !@#$^# load of new and quirky names like "irreantum", and some ending in "-ihah" and some even getting really foreign-sounding by starting with "Z", or even having a pakisaudirusiovaltineistan cadence like "Mohonri Moriancumer" (just call him "brother of Jared for short because for some reason nobody can spell it, even men inspired of God). SOMEHOW Joe Jr. was able to tell us about "Gadianton" robbers all through the BOM but couldn't find an appropriate Nephite, Lamanite or Jaredite word for domesticated-four-legged-beast-of-burden-almost-always-found-in-association-with-a-common-manmade-means-of-transportation. It's ridiculous to believe that on the one hand GOD HIMSELF gave Joe Jr. the exact translation for dozens of unique Book of Mormon nouns and proper nouns, but try to fudge, obfuscate, blur, detract, equivocate, ignore, and lie, as in liar-liar-pants-on-fire, to avoid taking the most correct book on the planet with its restored plain and precious parts at face value, and morph it into something as concrete as a rubber crutch where anything can mean anything just as long as your dogma isn't disturbed. Perhaps "down" really means up? Perhaps God's "kindled wrath and anger" really refers to a 12" hoagie using only "endangered meat" products?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8YBqTihPcsU

http://www.fairlds.org/Book_of_Mormon/AshHorse/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tapir

http://www.metacafe.com/watch/51831/endangered_meat/

I'd argue that the Book of Mormon author meant "horse", "chariot", "steel swords", etc. when he put pen to paper. He even has a flying, undead Jesus Christ using "horse" and "chariot". Why did Jesus GO OUT OF HIS WAY a few chapters earlier by refering and rereferring to "senine"? It's most likely because the people wouldn't understand him by referring to "farthing", "quadran", "quarter", "pound", "ruble", "dollar", "rupih", etc., and having people understand his message would be paramount -- hence the rising from the dead and flying about in the clouds without jetpack, antigravity unit or bright red cape. Assuming the Book of Mormon Jesus is a consistent, reliable god, why would he use the words "horse" and "chariot" unless the people could understand him? If they didn't know what a horse or chariot was it would be like Jesus referring to "strained-silicon-on-insulator" or "semaphore". Yeah, *that* feeling of not knowing what any of that means -- that would be how Nephites would react if they didn't know horse from deer, barley from squash, compass from global positioning system and shiite from shinola.

Just my .000002 cents.
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Book Of Mormon Coinage
Monday, Aug 24, 2009, at 07:51 AM
Original Author(s): Holy The Ghost
Topic: BOOK OF MORMON   -Link To MC Article-
Apologists have relatively recently started claiming that the Nephite coinage set forth in Alma chapter 11 does not refer to coins at all, but a system of weights and measures.

http://en.fairmormon.org/Book_of_Mormon/Anachronisms/Coins

...even though the passages appear to refer to coins, the chapter heading claims they refer to coins, and everybody who has ever read it thinks they refer to coins.

(I suppose that the apologists POV is that we should never take the BoM at face value, but wait to interpret it based on real knowledge from real sources of information like archeology...?)

But I digress...my point...

Jesus: Matthew 5:26 (from the Sermon on the Mount): Verily I say unto thee, Thou shalt by no means come out thence, till thou hast paid the uttermost *farthing*.

Jesus: 3 Nephi 12:26 (BoM version of the Sermon on the Mount): Verily, verily, I say unto thee, thou shalt by no means come out thence until thou hast paid the uttermost *senine*.

A "Senine" is part of that system mentioned in Alma 11 (3, 5, and 7)

So when Jesus repeats his sermon on the Mount for the BoM people, he replaces the Roman coin (translated as farthing) with what? A Senine.

Even Jesus thinks that Alma 11 is about Nephite coinage. I say Kerry Shirts is on shaky ground here.
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Book Of Mormon "Translation" In 85 Days Required A "Translation" And Writing Rate Of 4.25 Seconds Per Character
Wednesday, Aug 26, 2009, at 07:45 AM
Original Author(s): Cdnxmo
Topic: BOOK OF MORMON   -Link To MC Article-
The 'seer'-stone-and-hat BoM 'translation' process used by JS, according to the quote in Mormon Apostle Russell Nelson's article in the July 1993 Ensign, "A Treasured Testament", would have needed to have happened in a manner such as the following:

1. With Joseph Smith's 'seer' stone in his hat, the "something resembling parchment" (from the quote in Nelson's article) 'magically' appears, displaying the 'ancient' character and the corresponding letter in English. Did JS' 'peep' stone display 'ancient' punctuation and its English equivalent? The quote in Nelson's article doesn't say.

2. With his hat pulled tightly around his face so no ambient light enters, JS sees the 'magical' character and letter and calls out the latter to his scribe.

3. The scribe hears JS' muffled voice and repeats what he (or she) hears to ensure that the letter about to be written down is in fact the letter JS sees. For example, "b", "d", "p" and other '-ee' letters called out from inside JS' hat would have sounded similiar.

4. JS says "Yes", gives a thumbs-up, or indicates in some other way that what the scribe has said is in fact the letter he sees on the "something resembling parchment."

5. Once the English character has been written down, the next character and letter 'magically' appears. Presumably, 'God' is monitoring the progress of 'translation' and makes the next character and letter appear.

There are 1,150,219 characters in the BoM. At a 'translation' rate of 5 seconds per character, and factoring in breaks for JS to remove his hat from his face to let trapped air escape and for his scribe to have a little rest, it would have taken JS nearly 10 months (at eight hours per day) to 'translate' the BoM.

However, Nelson told Latter-day Saints in Gen. Conf. in October 1999: "Joseph Smith translated the Book of Mormon at the rate of about 10 pages per day, completing the task in about 85 days!" (see "A Testimony of the Book of Mormon" in the Nov./99 Ensign; the talk/article is online at www.lds.org).

Even if JS kept his face in his hat for 16 hours per day (no breaks and no Sundays off!), he would not have been able to 'translate' the BoM using the 'seer' stone in 85 days at the rate of 5 seconds per character. To complete the BoM 'translation' in less than three months, the 'translation' rate would have needed to be 4.25 seconds per character/letter (again, no breaks and no Sundays off!).

Breathing in one's exhaled carbon dioxide for 16 hours per day for 85 days would have resulted in hypercapnia, "a condition where there is too much carbon dioxide (CO2) in the blood."

Symptoms of early hypercapnia "include flushed skin, full pulse, extrasystoles, muscle twitches, hand flaps, reduced neural activity, and possibly a raised blood pressure."

"[M]ild hypercapnia might include headache, confusion and lethargy."

"Hypercapnia can induce increased cardiac output, an elevation in arterial blood pressure, and a propensity toward arrhythmias."

"In severe hypercapnia...symptomatology progresses to disorientation, panic, hyperventilation, convulsions, unconsciousness, and eventually death."

(ref. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hypercapnia).

Nelson indicated in "A Treasured Testament" (and other articles and talks) that JS 'translated' the gold plates using the Urim and Thummin. He quoted the church's official version of JS' history, as follows:

"Also, that there were two stones in silver bows–and these stones, fastened to a breastplate, constituted what is called the Urim and Thummim–deposited with the plates; and the possession and use of these stones were what constituted ‘seers’ in ancient or former times; and that God had prepared them for the purpose of translating the book." (JS–H 1:34–35.)

One of the many aspects of Mormonism that makes no sense is why the gold plates and Urim and Thummin were even needed since Joseph's 'peep' stone and hat did the trick as far as 'translating' the BoM was concerned.

Another BIG problem:

Joseph Smith taught that the BoM was "the most correct of any book on Earth," a Mormon 'truth' that has been repeated over and over by LDS leaders since his day.

Nelson called the 'seer'-stone-in-JS'-hat 'translation' technique a "miraculous method of translation." He included this oft-repeated (in the LDS Church) quote in his July 1993 Ensign article: "Thus the Book of Mormon was translated by the gift and power of God, and not by any power of man."

Given these 'truths', why has the "most correct" BoM, the volume of scripture that was 'miraculously' "translated by the gift and power of God", been so extensively altered by the LDS Church? There have been approximately 4,000 spelling, grammatical and other literary changes to the BoM (ref. http://www.utlm.org/onlinebooks/3913intro.htm).

Clearly, Joseph Smith's 'seer' stone that emitted "something resembling parchment" and the Urim and Thummin displayed erroneous characters/letters. The 'translation' instruments prepared by 'God', that perfect, all-knowing and omnipotent being, according to LDS doctrine, were in fact faulty.

Or maybe it was simply a case of Joseph Smith writing a work of fiction and identifying himself as its author, which is exactly what was shown on the title page of the 1830 edition of the BoM (ref. http://www.inephi.com/1.htm).
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Questions About The Brass Plates Of Laban
Wednesday, Aug 26, 2009, at 08:15 AM
Original Author(s): Richard Packham
Topic: BOOK OF MORMON   -Link To MC Article-
The Brass Plates are not spoken of much by Mormons, but they cause considerable problems.

Here is a summary of what we know about them:

Laban had the "record of the Jews" and a genealogy of Lehi's (and Laban's) forefathers 1 Ne 5:16, 1 Ne 3:3

The record was on plates made of brass 1 Ne 3:3

Laban kept the plates at his house 1 Ne 3:4

Laban was keeper of the records because he was a descendant of Joseph 1 Ne 5:16

Plates contain "the language of our fathers" 1 Ne 3:19

Written in Egyptian Mosiah 1:4

Plates contain all the words of the prophets down to Lehi's time 1 Ne 3:20, 1 Ne 5:13

And the law 1 Ne 4:16, the "five books of Moses" down to reign of Zedekiah, and prophecies of Jeremiah 1 Ne 5:11-13

Plus otherwise unknown prophets (Zenos, Zenock, Neum, Ezias, Joseph) 1 Ne 19:10, 2 Ne 4:2

People cannot know the Law without having it written 1 Ne 4:15

Plates should "go forth unto all nations, kindreds, tongues and people who were of his [Lehi's?] seed" 1 Ne 5:18, Alma 37:3-5

Plates should "never perish" or be "dimmed any more by time." 1 Ne 5:18-19

Plates are like the Bible, but more than the Bible 1 Ne 13:20-23

Summary of prophecies on plates 1 Ne 19:10-22

Questions:

Why would such important records be kept in a private home?

Was there only one copy, and only on brass? If the brass plates were the only copy, then by taking them Lehi would deprive the Jews of the record. If there were other copies, why didn't Lehi try to obtain one of those, instead of killing a man?

Why would Laman expect Laban to simply hand over these records? 1 Ne 3:11-13

Why would Nephi think Laban could be bribed? 1 Ne 3:21-26

Why would a wealthy man like Laban go out at night drinking without escort? 1 Ne 4:7-10

Why would Laban be armed, with sword and armor, to go drinking with the "elders"? 1 Ne 4:19, 22

Why would Laban's clothing not be bloody after being beheaded? 1 Ne 4:19

Why would not the discovery of the naked body of an important man such as Laban stir up a search for his killer? And for the missing plates and servant?

Why did Nephi only summarize Zenos and Zenock, but chose to copy long passages of Isaiah word for word? Didn't he know that Isaiah's words would be well-preserved in the Bible, but Zenos and Zenock would not? 1 Ne 19:23-24

Why would those records be written in Egyptian, if they were official records of the Jews, and not in Hebrew?

Was Egyptian the "language of our fathers"? 1 Ne 3:19

Where are the plates now?

How have the sacred teachings of the plates gone forth "unto all nations"? 1 Ne 5:18, Alma 37:3-5
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Dogger Dog's Thoughts On Reformed Egyptian
Thursday, Sep 3, 2009, at 11:38 AM
Original Author(s): Dogger Dog
Topic: BOOK OF MORMON   -Link To MC Article-
Last week, I made some comments on some of the threads here regarding RE that were appreciated. However, those comments were interspersed throughout several threads, viz. “Isaiah Anachronisms,” and a thread on RE proper. Some of the things I said were appreciated and some of you expressed some interest in having it all in one spot (thanks mechwerks for pointing it out to me). So I decided to write down some of my thoughts on RE and hope they help.

For starters, a diachronic examination of the evolution of written languages yields the notion that many, if not all, languages began as a derivative of art. The art forms which intended to tell stories and relay messages developed into more mainstream pictures through time. From a form of art, written language generally tended to condense itself and become ‘pictographic,’ which means that the “artist” or scribe condensed his stream of thought into separate words (logograms) or phrases, represented in small pictures. From there, still more condensing of ideas and logograms occurred by the dismissal of ornate elements of a picture (e.g., just draw the outline of a bird if the logogram you’re writing is “bird” – no need to draw its feet, feathers, etc.) until you have conformity, or something which a number of people could learn and recognize. This means that once a standard was reached with which pictograms or logograms could be recognized, this became the written language. The list of pros and cons for a pictographic language lean quite heavily on the “cons” side. The largest obstacle was taking the time to learn the vocabulary, and secondly how that vocabulary is arranged to convey the message correctly (this is called syntax). Most people require knowing thousands of words in order to be fluent in a language, so you can imagine the amount of effort required to learn a pictographic language. Generally speaking, most of what was written in pictographic languages was not concerned with mundane communication, but rather focused on cultic, economic, historical, or political concerns.

From there, people still recognized that more streamlining needed to be done. Enter syllabic languages. The foremost example is the Akkadian language, which is Semitic, but written in cuneiform. Google cuneiform, and you’ll see that it doesn’t do much to solve the problem of complexity. It is messy to look at. However, instead of memorizing thousands of pictograms to tell a tale, one now has to learn maybe a several hundred syllabic signs in order to write. I know some Assyriologists personally, and with intense study, it generally requires about a decade of concerted effort to pass their exams; and these people are very, very intelligent. So with greater ease of writing things down, we enter an age of the writing of epics. The Babylonians were among the first to start doing this. They wrote down a lot of stuff because writing was easier. Still, it wasn’t as simple as the next phase. Enter alphabets.

Nobody is sure where alphabets were born, but whoever thought of them is a genius. The idea here is to reduce a word to its smallest parts of speech, or phoneme, and represent it with a simple stroke. Now you just teach people the two dozen or so signs to represent phonemes, and perhaps some combinations of signs to attain diphthongs and the like, and voila, you can teach someone to read and write in just a few short weeks. Instead of memorizing thousands of words, one need only memorize about 50 signs or elements. This is when literacy boomed in the ancient world. Numerous Hebrew abecedaries have been found in ancient Syria-Palestine, showing that people were practicing alphabetic writing. The oldest Hebrew abecedary comes from Tel Zeitah/Zayit and shows a couple of mistakes that would have been common to someone who was learning the alphabet.

Bottom line: written languages started as art, then went pictographic, then syllabic, then alphabetic. It’s a natural evolution in thought.

RE was supposedly derived from the paleo-Hebrew script and some form of Egyptian, probably Middle Egyptian or Hieratic, but probably not Demotic, as Demotic was in its embryotic stage of development in Nephi’s time. Hebrew, as you may know, is an alphabetic language, and JS describes the Egyptian that he supposedly knew as pictographic. He says that they created an Egypto-Semitic hybrid language in order to “save space” on the golden plates (Mormon 9:32-33). The idea that an Egypto-Semitic hybrid saves space is bewildering in its own right, as the paleo-Hebrew script is probably the more truncated of the two; it contains no vowels, is limited in its number of sibilants, and is based on the tripartite root system (or “binyanim"), which means that most verbs in their present “tense” (or “case”) mostly occur as only three letters in length. But for the sake of argument, let’s let that slide.

First off, Nephi had to be well-versed in the two languages in order to create the hybrid. I will let him slide on Hebrew, as I believe by 700 BC that it is perfectly fine for him to have learned it with some level of expertise. Egyptian, however, presents problems. For one, finding an expert in Egyptian script in his area would have been difficult, not only for geographic limitations, but also because pictographic script in Egypt was on the decline. Languages were one (among many) reasons that countries drew their borders where they did, and the Hebrews had a national pride in their language. I would venture to say that he would have needed to go to great lengths to secure a mentor (or three) for teaching him the pictograms necessary to be able to comfortably weave the two languages together, otherwise he would have leaned more heavily on the alphabetic Hebrew when creating the plates. (The “Caractors” document does not show a strong affinity toward either). He would have either had to take a long vacation on the Nile Delta (and made friends with or paid people in high places who were busy writing what the priests wanted), or have found a detractor in Jerusalem who was willing to teach him. Is it possible? Yes, but grossly improbable. But for the sake of argument, we’ll let that slide too.

The next problem arises from mental retention of all the signs he was taught. He would have to have made a lexicon of some kind, a veritable “Rosetta Stone” if you will, which enables him to look up a Hebrew word in the right hand column (they read right to left), with its associating Egyptian translation next to it so that he could refer to it when he forgot something, and so he could pass down what he learned to the next guy. Moreover, he would probably want to be able to use the lexicon going the other direction – Egyptian to Hebrew – so he would have had to make another lexicon doing just that (notice how modern printed versions of “language dictionaries” contain translations from language A to B, then B to A). So in essence, he would have needed TWO additional books at his side in order to even begin the process of creating RE. But for the sake of argument, we’ll let that slide.

Next is the problem of the hybrid language itself. Giving Nephi the benefit of the doubt, let’s say he finds a way to successfully blend the two languages into an Egypto-Semitic hybrid. This language supposedly shortens the length of the written Hebrew (the BofM states in Mormon 9:32-33 that they didn’t write in pure Hebrew to save space, which is odd because as an alphabetic script, paleo-Hebrew is quite concise). But because of the evolution of languages, he’s stuck because now he’s got essentially a THIRD language to master – Reformed Egyptian. It’s pictographic in its nature, as JS describes it, despite incorporating enough Hebrew into it to render it “untranslatable” to anyone but him. To fix this problem, Nephi would have to make yet two more lexicons for RE – with Hebrew or Egyptian (probably Hebrew, being his spoken language) down the right column and RE down the left. So now we’re up to FOUR additional books – a Hebrew to Egyptian lexicon, an Egyptian to Hebrew lexicon (these two exist in order to teach/learn regular Egyptian), a Hebrew to RE lexicon, and a RE to Hebrew lexicon. Throw in the golden plates themselves, and now Nephi has FIVE books to worry about. Granted, the next person to whom he gave the plates would probably not need the Hebrew-Egyptian/Egyptian-Hebrew lexicons and go straight to the Hebrew-RE/RE-Hebrew lexicons, but I would suspect that Nephi would probably have needed all four, being the first one to create this so-called hybrid. Next, I would submit that learning a pictogram for a word would be difficult without seeing it in context. So he would have to make a concordance which allows the subsequent plate-engravers to look up all instances of a RE word to see how it is used in context. But I’ll let the concordance thing slide for now, as we have enough lexicons for us to be able to learn the languages and look up words. So there’s potentially SIX additional books outside of the plates themselves.

So Nephi has now solved the word problem. But what to do about grammar and syntax? How are the pictograms of RE arranged so that it makes sense? This is important because in some languages, the subject of a sentence precedes the verb (like English), but sometimes it does not (Imperial Aramaic). Moreover, the placement of pronouns can be crucial (like English, which is pronoun-dependent), or not (like modern Spanish or ancient Greek, in which the conjugation of the verb is distinct enough to render the pronoun optional). Also, modifiers like adverbs and adjectives need their rules too (some come before the noun they modify [e.g., “golden plates”], some after like in the genitive case [e.g., “plates of gold”]). Enter Nephi’s need of a guide or grammar book to accompany the plates, showing all the rules, shortcuts, truncations, etc. that one would expect in a typical grammar. So now that’s SIX supplementary volumes Nephi has to create in order to pass down RE, not including the golden plates themselves (SEVEN ifhe had to make a concordance).

Are we saving space yet?

In review, learning RE is no easy task. It requires making a slough of reference books, as noted above, as well as encountering the right personnel to teach Nephi the Egyptian language in order to get the ball rolling, as well as ensuring his offspring understood it too. Moreover, I question whether moving backward up the literary ladder from a simple alphabetic script to a complex pictographic hybrid saves anybody any time, effort, and space.

Of course, the simplest solution to all this is to grab a couple of stones, bless them in god’s name, and appear 1400 years later to the new guy and tell him to view those rocks inside of a hat...
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Jaredite Barges
Friday, Sep 18, 2009, at 07:58 AM
Original Author(s): Parberry
Topic: BOOK OF MORMON   -Link To MC Article-
The following is a challenge extended to any true believer in the Book of Mormon. This is based on the account in the Book of Ether concerning the Jaredite voyage in the barges to the “Promised Land”. The following is intended to recreate the experience as closely as possible.

1. You will be required to build a barge that roughly the length of a tree. For our purposes we will limit this vessel to 60 feet. Wood is the only material allowed.

2. No windows or other openings are allowed in the barge other than one hole in the top and one in the bottom that must be completely air and watertight. Additionally it must be assured that no light can enter the barge from outside with the two access holes blocked.

3. You must build the barge on a gantry that will allow the barge to be rolled through a full 360 degrees to simulate the barges’ ability to roll over in the water. Thus the direction in the Book of Mormon for a hole in the top and the bottom.

4. You must take enough food and water for 344 days in the barge.

5. You must include live animals and collections of seeds in the barge.

6. Your team must include a minimum of three men and three women in your crew.

7. No reading materials are allowed other than one copy of the Old Testament.

8. At any time during your 344 days of being sealed inside the barge an assistant may come along and roll your barge through 180 or 360 degrees.

Ether 2

16 And the Lord said: Go to work and build, after the manner of barges which ye have hitherto built. And it came to pass that the brother of Jared did go to work, and also his brethren, and built barges after the manner which they had built, according to the instructions of the Lord. And they were small, and they were light upon the water, even like unto the lightness of a fowl upon the water.

17 And they were built after a manner that they were exceedingly tight, even that they would hold water like unto a dish; and the bottom thereof was tight like unto a dish; and the sides thereof were tight like unto a dish; and the ends thereof were peaked; and the top thereof was tight like unto a dish; and the length thereof was the length of a tree; and the door thereof, when it was shut, was tight like unto a dish.

18 And it came to pass that the brother of Jared cried unto the Lord, saying: O Lord, I have performed the work which thou hast commanded me, and I have made the barges according as thou hast directed me.

19 And behold, O Lord, in them there is no light; whither shall we steer? And also we shall perish, for in them we cannot breathe, save it is the air which is in them; therefore we shall perish.

20 And the Lord said unto the brother of Jared: Behold, thou shalt make a hole in the top, and also in the bottom; and when thou shalt suffer for air thou shalt unstop the hole and receive air. And if it be so that the water come in upon thee, behold, ye shall stop the hole, that ye may not perish in the flood.

22 And he cried again unto the Lord saying: O Lord, behold I have done even as thou hast commanded me; and I have prepared the vessels for my people, and behold there is no light in them. Behold, O Lord, wilt thou suffer that we shall cross this great water in darkness?

23 And the Lord said unto the brother of Jared: What will ye that I should do that ye may have light in your vessels? For behold, ye cannot have windows, for they will be dashed in pieces; neither shall ye take fire with you, for ye shall not go by the light of fire.

Ether 3

1 And it came to pass that the brother of Jared, (now the number of the vessels which had been prepared was eight) went forth unto the mount, which they called the mount Shelem, because of its exceeding height, and did molten out of a rock sixteen small stones; and they were white and clear, even as transparent glass; and he did carry them in his hands upon the top of the mount, and cried again unto the Lord, saying:

Ether 6

4 And it came to pass that when they had prepared all manner of food, that thereby they might subsist upon the water, and also food for their flocks and herds, and whatsoever beast or animal or fowl that they should carry with them–and it came to pass that when they had done all these things they got aboard of their vessels or barges, and set forth into the sea, commending themselves unto the Lord their God.

5 And it came to pass that the Lord God caused that there should be a furious wind blow upon the face of the waters, towards the promised land; and thus they were tossed upon the waves of the sea before the wind.

6 And it came to pass that they were many times buried in the depths of the sea, because of the mountain waves which broke upon them, and also the great and terrible tempests which were caused by the fierceness of the wind.

7 And it came to pass that when they were buried in the deep there was no water that could hurt them, their vessels being tight like unto a dish, and also they were tight like unto the bark of Noah; therefore when they were encompassed about by many waters they did cry unto the Lord, and he did bring them forth again upon the top of the waters.

8 And it came to pass that the wind did never cease to blow towards the promised land while they were upon the waters; and thus they were driven forth before the wind.

9 And they did sing praises unto the Lord; yea, the brother of Jared did sing praises unto the Lord, and he did thank and praise the Lord all the day long; and when the night came, they did not cease to praise the Lord.

10 And thus they were driven forth; and no monster of the sea could break them, neither whale that could mar them; and they did have light continually, whether it was above the water or under the water.

11 And thus they were driven forth, three hundred and forty and four days upon the water.

See this thorough analysis of the problems with these vessels at http://packham.n4m.org/ships.htm "Jaredite Ship-building Technology" by Dr. Kent Ponder
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A Little Bit Of Mormon Math
Tuesday, Jul 13, 2010, at 07:57 AM
Original Author(s): Raymartin
Topic: BOOK OF MORMON   -Link To MC Article-
According to information I have received on the matter, Joseph Smith said the gold plates were about six by eight inches in width and length, about six inches in height and about the thickness of ordinary tin. While there is no way that I can be certain as to the thickness of the tin, I believe the tin that Smith referred to was about twenty three thousandths of an inch thick. Therefore, assuming two thousandths of an inch air space between the plates the stack would contain 240 plates, two thirds of which were “sealed,” leaving 80 plates of reformed Egyptian available for viewing and translation.

The current Book of Mormon contains about 521.25 pages of written text at about average 575 (eyeball count) words per page or nearly 299,719 words, taken, supposedly, from the 80 gold plates or about 3,746 words from each. For me, one thing that makes this especially difficult is the fact that, according to record, there were no gold plates on the table in front of Joseph as he looked into his hat at a rock and quoted a mixture of words, in the vernacular of the King James Bible and his own imagination, to his writers. He was said to have the ability to leave off “translating” for a while and pick up exactly where he left off. This he might have been able to do. But the fact that he could not keep his transition of records from one record keeper to the next, in mathematical harmony with his story, is there for anyone who is willing to run the calculations to see. My 1987 research paper, Chronology of the Book of Mormon Records: An In-depth Look, (published in 2008) wherein I charted the life spans of the record keepers, exposed this to me in a way that I could not ignore and broke my faith in the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith completely. For I reasoned that if he had been following a story written in reformed Egyptian, or any other language, he would have had the translatable figures before him and these “mistakes of man” would not be there.

There is no question, in my mind, that Joseph Smith was a remarkable man. It is obvious that he had committed the entire King James Version of the bible to memory and was able to incorporate this information (mostly in the KJV vernacular) into his stories at will. This, in and of itself, set him apart from his peers and gave him the appearance of someone receiving information spiritually. And even he might have thought this also. For, as I read his Book of Ether (which I believe was his first effort at writing) it is apparent that he was building upon stories from his memory, but without interjection of education or adult common sense. The fact that this book wound up in the completed Book of Mormon I attribute to the probability that he felt so good about its story that it just had to be included in order to further prove his ability to write “scripture.” How this book has withstood the process of human reasoning for almost two centuries is a mystery to me. For nothing in the book withstands even the least elementary examination for fact. This is especially true when the story about the eight barges is unfolded. “Fools mock but they shall mourn” was the response I received from my bishop when I pointed out that this voyage of three hundred and forty-four days, about 230 degrees of the earth’s circumference, and near 15,000 miles, could not have been a straight line trip from beginning to end because of the land masses lying between the starting and ending points, as well as many other difficulties. And when I pointed this out and asked how the eight barges arrived at their destination together, he referred me to the miracles that are listed in the Bible and noted that the answer to that question is probably in the “sealed portion” of the Book of Mormon (where most of the unanswerable or grossly unreasonable questions seem to be.) In any event, the Book of Ether, which is less than thirty two full pages long and mentions Deity of some sort about 198 times (including Satan twice) is the least convincing “history”about any religious people I have ever seen. Nothing about the book rings true. In one place we have a man (Shiz) whose head is missing (chopped off in battle, Ether 15:30-31) rising up on his hands to get a breath before dying. This story (Ether) is so ludicrous that as I tried to research it I found that I could not pick up a thread of reality to tie my research to. So I just gave up trying to make sense of it. Along with the Book of Moses and the Book of Abraham I believe the church would do well to “deep six” the Book of Ether. But, then, my advice would be to deep six the whole Joseph Smith story and start over. But I’m afraid it’s just too profitable, as is, to ever do this.

1.Outskirts Press, Inc. Now available at online book stores worldwide.

2.See Ether, especially chapter six verses 1-12
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The First Edition Of The Book Of Mormon
Monday, Oct 4, 2010, at 08:34 AM
Original Author(s): Eddie
Topic: BOOK OF MORMON   -Link To MC Article-
I find the current version of the Book of Mormon to be mind numbing garbage. There is nothing of substance, it is poorly written, repetitive, and banal. However, the Book of Mormon sinks to new lows when read in the original. I thought the Book of Mormon could not be any worse. It turns out I was wrong.

http://www.utlm.org/onlinebooks/3913i...

One of the most frequent mistakes in the first edition of the Book of Mormon is the use of the word was instead of the word were.

There are also many places where the word were has been changed to was.

"... but it all were vain ..." (page 142) [Jacob 7:24]

"... an army of the Lamanites were in the borders ..." (page 204) [Mosiah 23:25]

"... inasmuch as it were possible." (page 224) [Alma 1:32]

"Now the object of these Lawyers were to get gain ..." (page 251) [Alma 10:32]

"... every living soul of the Ammonihahites were destroyed ..." (page 267) [Alma 16:9]

Another common mistake in the first edition of the Book of Mormon is the use of the word is when it should read are. The following are extracts from the first edition in which the word is has been changed to are in later editions:

"... the tender mercies of the Lord is over all ..." (page 7) [1 Nephi 1:20]

"... the mixture of thy seed, which is among thy brethren ..." (page 30) [1 Nephi 13:30]

"... shall establish the truth of the first, which is of the twelve apostles ..." (page 32) [1 Nephi 13:40]

"... there is, save it be, two churches ..." (page 33) [1 Nephi 14:10]



In the following extracts from the first edition of the Book of Mormon the word had has been deleted and the words not ought have been rearranged to ought not in later editions:

"... lest he should look for that he had not ought and he should perish." (page 173) [Mosiah 8:13]

"And he told them that these things had not ought to be ..." (page 220) [Mosiah 29:34]

"... and that they had not ought to murder ..." (page 289) [Alma 23:3]

"I had not ought to harrow up in my desires ..." (page 303) [Alma 29:4]

Another common mistake in the first edition of the Book of Mormon is the use of the word a where it does not belong. In the following extracts from the first edition the word a has been deleted in later editions:

"As I was a journeying to see a very near kindred ..." (page 249) [Alma 10:7]

"And as I was a going thither ..." (page 249) [Alma 10:8]

"... the foundation of the destruction of this people is a beginning to be laid ..." (page 251) [Alma 10:27]

"... he met with the sons of Mosiah, a journeying towards the land ..." (page 269) [Alma 17:1]
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Romans And Nephites - A Comparison
Wednesday, Dec 8, 2010, at 08:58 AM
Original Author(s): Rpackham
Topic: BOOK OF MORMON   -Link To MC Article-
Not many people notice that there are quite a few similarities between the history of the ancient Romans and the story of the Nephites in the Book of Mormon.

Their stories cover a similar stretch of ancient history: The Romans from the founding of the city in 753 BC until its conquest by barbarian invaders in 476 AD; Nephite history beginning ca 600 BC and ending with the annihilation of the Nephites by the barbarian Lamanites about 400 AD.

* Both peoples are descended from a small party of emigrants escaping the destruction of a royal city: Aeneas from Troy's destruction by the Greeks; Lehi from Jerusalem's destruction by the Babylonians.

* Both people's founding ancestors were led by deity to a new land: Aeneas by Venus and Apollo; Lehi by Jehovah.

* Both people's founding ancestors came to their new homeland by ship.

* Both peoples took their name from one of a pair of brothers from whom they descended: The Romans from Romulus, brother of Remus; the Nephites from Nephi, brother of Sam. And the Lamanites took their name from Laman, brother of Lemuel (the less righteous brothers of Nephi and Sam).

* Both peoples spread out eventually to occupy very large territories: The Romans all the lands bordering the Mediterranean, as well as Britain, southern Europe and the Balkans, from Spain to Mesopotamia; the Nephites covered "the face of the land" (Jarom 1:8, Helaman 11:20) both "northward and southward" and from sea to sea.

* At about the same time in their history, a two-century period of peace reigned among them: For the Romans the Pax Romana, ca 27 BC to ca 180 AD; for the Nephites, the period described in 4 Nephi, from ca 33 AD to ca 245 AD.

* Both periods of peace began about the time of the appearance of Jesus Christ in their land.

* Both cultures knew metal coins, shipbuilding, agriculture based on wheat, barley, cattle, goats, sheep and "flocks." Both waged war with similar weapons and armor (steel swords, bow and arrow, spears, body armor, chariots and horses).

Of course there are also many differences in these two stories, but the similarities are striking. And I am not claiming that these similarities "prove" anything at all, or that they are anything more than interesting coincidences.

If there is anything that this comparison proves, it is the one tremendous difference between the two stories, a difference which casts huge doubt upon the accuracy of the Nephite story. And that difference can be seen in museums and archaeological sites all over Europe: The Romans left behind millions of artifacts, from everyday coins, kitchen utensils and pots to glorious art and architecture. Their historical record is also confirmed by hundreds of independent contemporary written records.

But the Nephites? Nothing even vaguely similar. Nothing. No museum has any Nephite artifact. No art. No architecture. No records other than the Book of Mormon, which is accepted as history by not a single non-Mormon historian.

Why not? One would think that the archaeological and historical record of two great ancient peoples, contemporaries, spanning a thousand years, would leave similar signs of their existence behind. No one doubts the existence of the Romans for that thousand years, or the essential accuracy of their history. Everyone but the Mormons themselves disbelieves the story of the Nephites.
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About Moroni's Promise
Monday, Jan 10, 2011, at 09:37 AM
Original Author(s): Michaelm
Topic: BOOK OF MORMON   -Link To MC Article-
"...if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost."

Can you really trust an angel who appeared and told a teenage boy that "the Indians were the literal descendants of Abraham"?

You can see it here:

http://beta.josephsmithpapers.org/the...

It is in the Journal for 1835-1836 on page 25. (Detail view is easier to use)

Spend a little time and look close. Moroni's words are at the bottom of the page. Go to page 24 too. This is a primary source document that the church uses for both the first vision and for the angel Moroni's visit to Joseph. You can see the digitized images of an original manuscript that has been used since 1835 to describe the miraculous beginnings of Mormonism.

When DNA research clashed with Moroni's words to Joseph Smith, the Church changed the BofM introduction. Bruce R. McConkie had written that intro that came out in 1981. He passed away about five years before the Human Genome Project began so it's no big deal, right?

The church found a great way to divert attention from Joseph Smith's personal visit with Moroni. Just blame the problem on McConkie and ignore the very specific words of an angel.

Here is a challenge to Moroni's promise: If I can't believe that the church has been sincere and truthful with Moroni's words, if I can't believe what the resurrected Moroni told Joseph Smith, why should I believe the promise allegedly written before the mortal Moroni died?
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Getting The Plates And The Legend Of Enoch
Tuesday, Apr 26, 2011, at 07:52 AM
Original Author(s): Jod3:360
Topic: BOOK OF MORMON   -Link To MC Article-
The following summarizes the comparisons between the Masonic Legend of Enoch and Joseph Smith's story:

1. Enoch is shown the hill Moriah in a vision. .
2. Joseph Smith shown the hill Cumorah in a vision

1. Enoch is shown a hidden treasure.
2. Joseph Smith is shown the gold plates.

1. Enoch's treasure includes a gold plate with engravings.
2. Smith's gold plates are engraved.

1. Enoch's marble pillar is carved with Egyptian hieroglyphics.
2. Smith's plates are engraved in reformed Egyptian

1. Enoch's marble pillar tells the story of the treasure.
2. Smith's Book of Mormon tells story of the gold plates.

1. Enoch erects a brass pillar which tells the history of creation.
2. The Book of Mormon includes brass plates containing the five books of Moses.(58)

1. Enoch writes the history of the Tower of Babel on the marble pillar.
2. The Book of Mormon contains the Book of Ether, a history of a migration from the Tower of Babel.

1. Enoch's brass pillar has a metal ball on top which has the power to direct.
2. The Book of Mormon tells of a brass ball, the Liahona, which acts as a compass.

1. Enoch foresees a world-destroying flood.
2. Joseph Smith receives a revelation of the Book of Moses, giving an account of Enoch foreseeing a world-destroying flood.(59)

1. Enoch predicts that after the flood, an Israelitish descendant will find the treasure.
2. The Book of Mormon foretells an Israelitish descendant having the same name as Joseph of Egypt, who will find the treasure. Joseph claims to be the predicted descendant, even going so far as to give himself the code name of "Enoch" in his revelations. (60)

1. Three masons obtain the treasure after three attempts.
2. Smith tries to take the plates and is only successful after three attempts.

1. Three masons are witnesses to the treasure.
2. Smith arranges for three witnesses to the plates: Martin Harris, Oliver Cowdery and David Whitmer.

1. Solomon's treasure contained the gold plate, a brass pillar and record, the High Priest's breastplate, the Urim and Thummin and a metal ball. It also contained the Tetragrammaton, the name of God.
2. Smith's treasure consisted of the brass plates, gold plates, the Urim and Thummin, the High Priest's breastplate, and a metal ball called the "Liahona". The plates claimed to be from God.

1. The three masons note that the gold plate gives off enough light to illuminate the cavern.
2. Smith claims the Book of Mormon plates light up the cavern in the hill Cumorah.

1. Enoch's treasure is first hidden in his own cavern, and then later transferred to the hill Moriah. .
2. The Book of Mormon story states that the plates were first kept in a hill called Shim, then transferred to the hill Cumorah.

1. King Solomon allows only a few to see the treasure.
2. Smith allows only a few to see the plates.

1. Enoch's cavern is covered by a large stone with an iron ring.
2. Smith earlier claimed the plates were in an iron box, but later said it was stone.

1. Enoch is called by God to preserve the knowledge of the treasure.
2. Smith is called by God to preserve the knowledge of the plates.

1. King Solomon changes the status of his underground cavern from secret to sacred.
2. The Mormon temple ceremony is declared not to be secret, but sacred.
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An Incredible Story Part I - The Book Of Mormon
Monday, Sep 12, 2011, at 07:16 AM
Original Author(s): Rich Kelsey
Topic: BOOK OF MORMON   -Link To MC Article-
What comes to mind when people think of Mormons? Many of us envision clean-cut young adults riding bicycles or knocking on doors. That’s because Mormons between the ages of 19 to 25 are encouraged to go on a fulltime, two year mission.[1] During this mission these young adults follow a rigid schedule, sharing

“…the most important message that can go out to the world today…”[2]

this message includes accounts of Joseph Smith’s visions and heavenly visitations leading up to the discovery of the Book of Mormon;[3] which Mormons claim is,

“the keystone of our religion.”[4]

Book of Mormon Story:

Joseph Smith, the founder of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, claimed that in 1823 he experienced a heavenly visitation in which he was directed to a hill in Western New York to uncover a stone box containing “a sacred record which was written on plates of gold.”[5] Four years later, in 1827, an angel allegedly allowed Smith to take possession of the plates, along with a special set of glasses[6] to translate the mysterious ancient language[7] into English. Smith claimed that what he unearthed from the hill Cumorah was a record written by the former inhabitants of America entitled[8] the Book of Mormon.

In the Book of Mormon, a story is told of a Hebrew family that flees the city of Jerusalem about 600 B.C. Their father's name is Lehi, an alleged descendant of the Bible’s Joseph. Lehi's son Nephi was his most righteous son. Nephi became the leader over his rebellious brothers.

God instructed Lehi and his family to sail across the ocean to the American continent about 589 B.C. After arriving, Nephi and his oldest brother Laman had a conflict and separated. This conflict created two nations; the Nephites and the Lamanites.

The Nephites had God's favor, they are described as being:

“white and exceedingly fair and delightsome” (2 Nephi 5:21).

The Lamanites supposedly were cursed to have black skin and were primitive compared to the Nephites. These two nations fought against each other, on and off, for centuries.

Eventually, the prophet Mormon became the leader of the Nephites. Mormon desired that the entire Nephite nation should gather near the hill Cumorah in Western New York to battle the Lamanites:

"… I, Mormon, wrote an epistle unto the king of the Lamanites, and desired of him that he would grant unto us that we might gather together our people unto the land of Cumorah, by a hill which was called Cumorah, and there we could give them battle. And it came to pass that the king of the Lamanites did grant unto me the thing which I desired." (Mormon, 6:2-3)

In this battle, the Nephite nation was destroyed.[9] Yet, Mormon’s son Moroni lived. Moroni then engraved an account of the battle on gold plates and buried those plates, along with other plates,[10] which his father had previously buried in the hill.

Several things seem wrong with this story:

? Mormon desired to have every single one of his subjects (men, women, and children) fight in a final battle. His request brought about the annihilation of the entire Nephite nation. If this story is true, Mormon's call to battle is one of the biggest military blunders of all time. Let's try to imagine the Bible's King Solomon requesting a battle which ends up wiping out the nation of Israel; if Solomon had done so, how many people would consider him a wise man?

? Also, it’s hard to imagine how the Nephites, who had migrated throughout America, could be summoned to battle. For example: How would all the Nephites get the message?

? Logistically, it would seem impossible for every Nephite family in America to battle the Lamanites, on, and around, that small hill in New York. If these peoples were as numerous as the Book of Mormon claims they were, they could not have fit in that small section of New York.

? There is the story itself: of the Nephite nation being destroyed in a final battle. It provides readers with an answer as to why the primitive dark-skinned Lamanites (American Indians) were found in America when Columbus set foot on the Continent. Yet, this Book of Mormon story raises more questions than it answers; like, why would Mormon have the Nephites bring their “wives and their children”[11] to battle?

According to the Book of Mormon, this was not the first time an entire nation fought in a single battle. About 515 years earlier there was another battle on that same hill.[12] In this battle, the Jaredite nation consisting of the people of Coriantumr and the people of Shiz, is utterly destroyed:

Millions of the Jaredites are slain in battle–Shiz and Coriantumr assemble all the people to mortal combat–The Spirit of the Lord ceases to strive with them–The Jaredite nation is utterly destroyed–Only Coriantumr remains (Introduction to Ether 15).

Once again, gathering millions[13] of Americans from every corner of the continent would have been nearly impossible. Obviously 2,600 years ago people couldn’t turn on the nightly news and learn about the call to go to war. There were no televisions; phones, or any other type of device that could have provided long distance communication.

Because horses weren't present[14] in America until Cortes brought them over in 1519 A.D., messengers would have needed to traverse the American continent on foot in order to

“get all who were upon the face of the land.”[15]

Then, everyone would have needed to walk to get to the battleground. Why would every family in America decide to go on such a laborious journey? The supposed influence which Coriantumr and Shiz had upon people seems far fetched. Why would families living hundreds, if not thousands of miles away from these two monarchs have such strong political ties to them?

Furthermore, there’s the food and supplies people would have needed for the trip. Can you imagine every family in America walking to New York, carrying with them extra clothes, cooking implements, food, and possibly weapons, for the great battle they were summoned to:

“And it came to pass that when they were all gathered together, every one to the army which he would, with their wives and their children–both men, women and children being armed with weapons of war, having shields, and breastplates, and head-plates, and being clothed after the manner of war–they did march forth one against another to battle; and they fought all that day, and conquered not.” (Ether 15:15)

Wives and children were also involved in this battle. This would answer why the entire Jaredite nation was destroyed. Yet, it doesn’t make much sense: can you imagine five-year-old boys and girls wearing body armor and being armed with weapons of war?

During the four years it supposedly took to gather everyone to combat, what if Coriantumr and Shiz had accidently started the battle a week or two too soon; leaving thousands of families still on the way. As far as the story goes, the timing of the battle was crucial. A four year build up to war would create some obvious problems: Why would families that showed up a few years, or even months early, wait around? Didn’t they have anything better to do? Also, what about the food and provisions needed to support all the people during the time this gathering was taking place?

Then, there is the battle itself, which would have been a bloodbath, seeing that millions were supposedly slaughtered on and around a hill. Walking to that scene would have meant that families waded through blood and stepped over countless dead bodies. It seems hard to believe, that no one, seeing that huge bloody mess didn’t make a decision to turn around and go home. Instead, every one of them decided to fight for the cause.

If the gathering over a span of four years of every family in America, and also the slaughter of every person gathered was not too hard to believe, what also seems strange is that out of the millions of people dying on the battlefield, the two monarchs who summoned the people to battle in the first place ended up being the only two left standing.

Then there is the account of how the monarch Shiz died:

“And it came to pass that after he [Coriantumr] had smitten off the head of Shiz, that Shiz raised up on his hands and fell; and after that he struggled for breath, he died.” (Ether 15:31)

Brigham Henry Roberts, who was an LDS General Authority and Assistant Church Historian, examined the literary style within the Book of Mormon and concluded:

“The narrative proceeds in characteristic disregard of conditions necessary to its reasonableness, as if it were a tale told by a child, with utter disregard for consistency."[16]

The Record Gets Worse:

Smith claimed the angel Moroni told him that the American Indians living in his day “were the literal descendants of Abraham.”[17]

On this subject, a noted Mormon[18] Anthropologist maintains:

"I have serious problems with the Book of Mormon's representations of American Indians. Not only does it claim that Lamanites are the principle ancestors of American Indians, but throughout the text it repeatedly refers to them as Israelites, as descendants of Joseph; of descendants of the Biblical Patriarchs of Abraham. Those repeated references to an ancient Israelite connection have been clearly invalidated by scientific research…” (Thomas Murphy).

Joseph Smith claimed the Book of Mormon solved the mystery of who the American Indians are, and where they came from. It also reinforced the popular 19 Century belief that the American Indians had wiped out America's former inhabitants. (Please see the 4th part in this series: Those Mysterious Golden Plates for more information on this subject)

God, supposedly speaking through Smith, said in a revelation; or, as it was originally called, a “commandment:”

“…for this very purpose are these plates preserved which contain these records, that the promises of the Lord might be fulfilled, which he made to his people; and that the Lamanites (American Indians) might come to the knowledge of their fathers, and that they might know the promises of the Lord, and that they may believe the gospel and rely upon the merits of Jesus Christ…” (1833 Book of Commandments, 2:6)

The title page of the 1830 Book of Mormon reads:

“Wherefore it is an abridgement of the Record of the People of Nephi; and also of the Lamanites; written to the Lamanites, which are a remnant of the House of Israel…”

In 1834, after some of Smith’s followers unearthed a skeleton from an Indian burial mound in Illinois, Smith said that God showed him the Indian bones were from,

“an officer who fell in battle, in the last destruction among the Lamanites, and his name was Zelph.”[19]

Because the buried man’s skeleton was almost intact,[20] Smith was saying that descendants of Book of Mormon peoples were living, battling, and dying in Illinois in recent history.

However, DNA evidence clearly demonstrates that Native American peoples – the Indians – did not originate from the House of Israel; therefore, they cannot be the Lamanites from the Book of Mormon. Is this the reason Mormon leaders decided to change the introduction to the Book of Mormon?

Mark Tuttle, LDS Church spokesperson in the Salt Lake Tribune said,

"A one-word change was made to the introduction in the latest edition of the Book of Mormon… That change takes into account details of Book of Mormon demography, which are not known." (Church Announces Change in Book of Mormon Intro By Valerie Fry - 13 Nov 2007, BYU Newsletter, Universe - BYU Education)

The introduction previously said that the Lamanites "are the principal ancestors of the American Indians." The new (2008) edition claims that the Lamanites "are among the principal ancestors of the American Indians."

The passage in question is not part of the Book of Mormon itself; it is in the introduction which Bruce R. McConkie wrote in 1981. Yet, it clearly shows a change from what the Church had claimed since it was founded in 1830.

Why?

Missing Archeological Evidence:

The Book of Mormon has America’s ancient peoples shooting arrows, brandishing axes, and scalping each other. It has a soldier talking about an Indian Chief. It has Indians riding horses. Some of these details are to be expected from America's past. Yet, there is absolutely no evidence to support horses and chariots existing[21] in America during supposed Book of Mormon times.

The National Geographic Society,

“does not know of anything found so far that has substantiated the Book of Mormon."[22]

The Smithsonian Institution reports,

“Smithsonian archeologists see no direct connection between the archeology of the New World and the subject matter of the book.”[23]

Why is it that archeologists have found "absolutely nothing"[24] to point to the existence of civilizations mentioned in the Book of Mormon? Archeologists looking into the people and lands of the Bible, as well as other ancient civilizations, including those in North, Central, and South America,[25] have found plenty of evidence that those civilizations existed, including pre-Columbian, Mesoamerican civilizations dating back to the same period[26] mentioned in the Book of Mormon.

The Book of Mormon states:

“The whole face of the land had become covered with buildings, and the people were as numerous almost, as it were the sand of the sea” (Mormon 1:7).

If the Book of Mormon were true, we should expect to find remnants of these buildings across the American Continent. Yet, there is no archeological evidence to show that about 1,700 years ago, buildings covered America. Also, strictly from a logistical point of view, it would be impossible to cover “the whole face of the land” due to America’s diverse mountain terrains; desert regions, and forests.

Mormon leaders maintain,

“The Church emphasizes the doctrinal and historical value of the Book of Mormon, not its geography.”[27]

They go on to say,

“…there are no conclusive connections between the Book of Mormon text and any specific site.”[28]

Dee F. Green, editor of the University Archaeological Society Newsletter said,

"The first myth we need to eliminate is that Book of Mormon archaeology exists… no Book of Mormon location is known with reference to modern topography. Biblical archaeology can be studied because we do know where Jerusalem and Jericho were and are, but we do not know where Zarahemla and Bountiful were or are. It would seem then that a concentration on geography should be the first order of business, but we have already seen that twenty years of such an approach has left us empty-handed." (BYU Publication, Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, Summer 1969, pp. 77-78)

Missing archeological evidence[29] is a real problem[30] for Mormons; perhaps, that is why the LDS Church downplays its relevance:

“…the geography question has not been answered by church authorities, nor have the opinions worked out by geography hobbyists yet led to agreement. In 1947 it was still possible to hope that ‘out of the studies of faithful Latter-day Saints may yet come a unity of opinion concerning Book of Mormon geography’ as Elder Widtsoe put it. But in the half century since, confusion has grown.” (Does Geography in the Book of Mormon Matter?, Provo, Utah: BYU, Maxwell Institute)

Mormons are left with the daunting task of trying to convince investigators that 'the geography question' really doesn't matter.

Does This Sound Logical?

“There is a very fundamental reason why Book of Mormon archeology has not yet been discovered… If the Book of Mormon is accepted to be true as an act of the faith of the inquirer it will invite the witness of the Holy Spirit to reveal to the inquirer the KNOWLEDGE that the book is indeed true. That knowledge, inspired by faith, brings with it a commitment to obey the gospel principals that are announced and developed in the book. On the other hand, were it to be demonstrated to be true by scientific investigation it would merely join the ranks of all the other scientific literature, and carry with it no moral commitment of compliance with the principles reveal therein.” (askgramps.org, 2011)

The idea that God’s purpose for mankind is best fulfilled through a lack of Book of Mormon archeological evidence, gives comfort to many.[31] Yet, this concept has drawbacks. For example: there are literally tons of artifacts to verify that people, places, and lands, mentioned in the Bible existed; because archeologists have found many ancient biblical cities. For example, we know where ancient Jerusalem was located, and the Temple spoken of in the gospels has been found; yet, it still requires faith to believe that Jesus lived, performed miracles, died on a cross, and then ascended up into heaven! Therefore, it stands to reason that what the Mormon apologist offered up for the reason why Book of Mormon artifacts have not been found is doubletalk.

Scholar, Seeker of Truth, and Regrettably, Finder of Truth:

Thomas Stuart Ferguson,[32] a distinguished and devout Mormon archeologist, set out to prove to the world that the Book of Mormon was true. Ferguson thought it would be possible to find artifacts from archaeological digs that would confirm its truthfulness. All he had to do was use the Book of Mormon as a guide because it spells out a time when a people called the Nephites lived in the New World, and it mentions several Nephite cities by name,[33] along with Nephite lands and villages. The Book of Mormon records that the Nephites constructed houses of cement,[34] as well as temples, synagogues and sanctuaries[35] throughout their territories.

Yet, with all of the digs and research Ferguson and his team undertook, they failed to find one artifact to prove that Book of Mormon Nephite cities, villages, or territories ever existed.

After twenty-five years of research, Ferguson concluded:

"…you can’t set Book of Mormon geography down anywhere, because it is fictional...”[36]

Ferguson, whose original goal was to prove to the world that the Book of Mormon was true,[37] eventually lost faith in the Book of Mormon.

Yet Ferguson had reasons why he never left the LDS Church. Here is a letter he wrote to an associate about his decision to stay with Mormonism:

"Perhaps you and I have been spoofed by Joseph Smith. Now that we have the inside dope–why not spoof a little back and stay aboard? Please consider this letter confidential–for obvious reasons. I want to stay aboard the good ship, Mormonism–for various reasons that I think valid. First, several of my dearly loved family members want desperately to believe and do believe it and they each need it. It does them far more good than harm. Belonging, with my eyes wide open is actually fun… I never get up and bear testimony... You might give my suggestions a trial run.[38]

Ferguson felt that revealing the truth about the Book of Mormon to his dearly beloved family would be bad for them. This type of reasoning reminds me of a quote from Herbert Spencer, who was a 19th Century philosopher:

“The greatest of all infidelities is the fear that the truth will be bad.”

The word infidelities means: “absence of religious belief.” What greater “absence of religious belief” could one possibly have, than to fear that “the truth will be bad?” True religion is all about truth. If the truth might, or will be bad for people, then something is seriously wrong with their faith!

Fast and Testimony Meetings:

Possibly the reason Mormons have testimonies is because from the first moment they encounter the LDS Church, they are taught, and also encouraged, to give testimonies. Children are trained to bear testimony from a very young age.

Usually once a month, on the first Sunday of each month, a Fast and Testimony Meeting is held. During these meetings, faithful members of the Church are invited to bear a verbal witness of their feelings.[39] New converts are often encouraged to give a pure testimony, such as:

"’I know the church is true.’ ‘I know Joseph Smith is a prophet of God.’ And, or, ‘I know the Book of Mormon is true.’"

Mormons teach,

“A personal testimony is fundamental to our faith. Consequently, the things we must do to acquire, strengthen, and retain a testimony are vital to our spiritual life.” (Dallin H. Oaks, “Testimony,” Ensign, May 2008, 26–29)

The most common testimony Mormon missionaries share is called the “burning in the bosom.” Mormons are taught that if people ask if something is true, with a sincere heart, with real intent, and having faith in Christ, God will cause their bosom to burn[40] as a confirming sign.

Mormons often encourage potential converts to ask[41] God about the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon, and to look for this sign confirming it. The implication is, if the seeker does not get the burning bosom experience, then he or she was not sincere, lacked faith, or possibly did not show real intent.

In Mormon ideology, if one doesn’t have a testimony yet, one can get a testimony by bearing one.[42] Mormons often find that their testimony gets stronger each time they bear it; but, is confessing faith in something over and over again, until people firmly believe in it, really the way to determine truth?

This Mormon principle has encouraged untold numbers of new converts and other faithful Mormons to testify that they are strong in the Mormon faith, when in reality, they still have doubts.

The very fact that Mormons get together, bearing and listening to testimonies, such as,

“I know the Book of Mormon is true,”

points to the possibility that they need more convincing themselves.

Other parts in the series:

? Joseph Smith's First Vision

? Joseph Smith on Trial

? Those Mysterious Golden Plates

Endnotes:

[1] Young women who choose to enter the mission field serve 18 months.

[2] “If heavenly messengers (prophets who have lived upon this earth) have visited this earth in this dispensation, bringing messages from God, as claimed by the Prophet Joseph Smith, then we have the most important message that can go out to the world today…” (A Marvelous Work and a Wonder, Deseret Book, 1979, LeGrand Richard p.5)

[3]

THE BOOK OF MORMON: AN ACCOUNT WRITTEN BY THE HAND OF MORMON UPON PLATES TAKEN FROM THE PLATES OF NEPHI.

Wherefore it is an abridgment of the Record of the People of Nephi; and also of the Lamanites; written to the Lamanites, which are a remnant of the House of Israel; and also to Jew and Gentile; written by way of commandment, and also by the spirit of Prophesy and Revelation. Written, and sealed up, and hid up unto the Lord, that they might not be destroyed; to come forth by the gift and power of God, unto the interpretation thereof; sealed by the hand of Moroni, and hid up unto the Lord, to come forth in due time by the way of Gentile; the interpretation thereof by the gift of God; an abridgement taken from the Book of Ether… (1830 Book of Mormon, title page)

[4] “There are three great reasons why Latter-day Saints should make the study of the Book of Mormon a lifetime pursuit.

The first is that the Book of Mormon is the keystone of our religion. This was the Prophet Joseph Smith’s statement. He testified that “the Book of Mormon was the most correct of any book on earth, and the keystone of our religion” (Introduction to the Book of Mormon). A keystone is the central stone in an arch. It holds all the other stones in place, and if removed, the arch crumbles.

There are three ways in which the Book of Mormon is the keystone of our religion. It is the keystone in our witness of Christ. It is the keystone of our doctrine. It is the keystone of testimony.

The Book of Mormon is the keystone in our witness of Jesus Christ, who is Himself the cornerstone of everything we do. It bears witness of His reality with power and clarity. Unlike the Bible, which passed through generations of copyists, translators, and corrupt religionists who tampered with the text, the Book of Mormon came from writer to reader in just one inspired step of translation.” (Ezra Taft Benson, “The Book of Mormon–Keystone of Our Religion,” Ensign, Nov 1986, 4)

[5] “He [Moroni] told me of a sacred record which was written on plates of gold, I saw in the vision the place where they were deposited, he said the indians were the literal descendants of Abraham…” (Joseph Smith Journal, November 9, 1835; cited in Dean C. Jesse, Mark Ashurst-McGee, Richard L. Jensen, eds., The Joseph Smith Papers: Journals Volume 1:1832-1839 (Salt Lake City: Church Historian’s Press, 2008), 88-89)

[6] When Joseph returned with the horse and carriage, he exclaimed, “It is ten times better than expected… Then he went on to tell the length and width and thickness of the plates’ and said, ‘they appear to be Gold…' But he seemed to think more of the glasses… [Joseph Smith said] ‘I can see anything; they are Marvelus (sic).’” (Joseph Knight’s Recollection of Early Mormon History, LDS publication, BYU Studies, 1976, by Dean Jessee)

[7] (Verse 32) “And now, behold, we have written this record according to our knowledge, in the characters which are called among us the reformed Egyptian, being handed down and altered by us, according to our manner of speech.

(Verse 33) And if our plates had been sufficiently large we should have written in Hebrew; but the Hebrew hath been altered by us also; and if we could have written in Hebrew, behold, ye would have had no imperfection in our record.

(Verse 34) But the Lord knoweth the things which we have written, and also that none other people knoweth our language; and because that none other people knoweth our language, therefore he hath prepared means for the interpretation thereof.” (Mormon, p:32-34)

[8] “…the title page of the Book of Mormon ‘is a literal translation, taken from the very last leaf’ [of the golden plates].” (Joseph Smith, History of Joseph Smith,” Times and Seasons 3, Oct. 15, 1842).

[9] "The Nephites gather to the land of Cumorah for the final battles–Mormon hides the sacred records in the hill Cumorah–The Lamanites are victorious, and the Nephite nation is destroyed–Hundreds of thousands are slain with the sword. [A.D. 385]" (Introduction to Words of Mormon, Chapter 6)

[10] “And behold, ye shall take the plates of Nephi unto yourself, and the remainder shall ye leave in the place where they are; and ye shall engrave on the plates of Nephi all the things that ye have observed concerning this people.” (Words of Mormon 1:4).

[11] “And it came to pass that my people, with their wives and their children, did now behold the armies of the Lamanites marching towards them; and with that awful fear of death which fills the breasts of all the wicked, did they await to receive them.” (Mormon, 6:7)

[12] “And it came to pass that the army of Coriantumr did pitch their tents by the hill Ramah; and it was that same hill where my father Mormon did hide up the records unto the Lord, which were sacred.” (Ether 15:11) On this subject LDS Apostle Bruce R. McConkie said "both the Nephite and Jaredite civilizations fought their final great wars of extinction at and near the Hill Cumorah (or Ramah as the Jaredites termed it), which hill is located between Palmyra and Manchester in the western part of the state of New York. It was here that Moroni hid up the gold plates from which the Book of Mormon was translated." (Mormon Doctrine, 1966, p. 175)

[13] "He saw that there had been slain by the sword already nearly two millions of his people, and he began to sorrow in his heart; yea, there had been slain two millions of mighty men, and also their wives and their children." (Ether 15:2)

[14] Some Mormon apologists speculate that horses mentioned in the Book of Mormon may have actually been the Central American Tapir, or possibly deer: Alma 18: 9, Alma 18: 12, Alma 20: 6, 3 Ne. 3: 22

[15] “Wherefore, they were for the space of four years gathering together the people, that they might get all who were upon the face of the land, and that they might receive all the strength which it was possible that they could receive.” (Ether 15:14)

[16] (Roberts 1985, p. 251: From Robert’s own writings in his landmark work: Studies of the Book of Mormon; which remained unpublished until decades after his death).

[17] “…he [Moroni] said the Indians were the literal descendants of Abraham.”(J.S. Diary 1835-1836, pg. 76)

[18] In an interview on Jan. 14, 2003, Murphy acknowledged that he's not an active member of the church anymore. "I'm a cultural Mormon," he explained. "I prefer to be called a latter-day skeptic."

[19] "It was made known to Joseph that he had been an officer who fell in battle, in the last destruction among the Lamanites, and his name was Zelph. This caused us to rejoice much, to think that God was so mindful of us as to show these things to his servant. Brother Joseph had enquired of the Lord and it was made known in a vision." (Kimball 1841)

[20] "At about one foot deep we discovered the skeleton of a man, almost entire; and between two of his ribs we found an Indian arrow, which had evidently been the cause of his death. We took the leg and thigh bones and carried them along with us to Clay county. All four appeared sound."(Kimbal 1841)

[21] “...their land is also full of horses, neither is there any end of their chariots.” (2 Nephi 12:7)

[22] "Thank you for contacting the National Geographic Society. Our position on the Book of Mormon has not changed, nor have we retracted any statements made previously. The National Geographic Society has not examined the historical claims of the Book of Mormon. We know of no archaeological evidence that corroborates the ancient history of the Western Hemisphere as presented in the Book of Mormon, nor are we aware of empirical verification of the places named in the Book of Mormon. The Book of Mormon is clearly a work of great spiritual power; millions have read and revered its words, first published by Joseph Smith in 1830. Yet Smith's narration is not generally taken as a scientific source for the history of the Americas. Archaeologists and other scholars have long probed the hemisphere's past, and the Society does not know of anything found so far that has substantiated the Book of Mormon. In fact, students of prehistoric America by and large conclude that the New World's earliest inhabitants arrived fromAsia via the Bering land bridge. (Lower sea levels during ice ages exposed the continental shelf beneath Bering Strait, allowing generations of ancient Siberians to migrate east.) National Geographic carried "The First Americans" in its September 1979 issue, perhaps on your library's shelf… Sincerely, Lisa Walker" (Research Correspondence (The National Geographic's Statement Regarding the Book of Mormon Received via Email 1/21/2001)

[23] (The Smithsonian Institution statement on The Book of Mormon)

[24] In 1973, Michael Coe, one of the best known authorities on archaeology of the New World, wrote an article for Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, Summer 1973. After telling of the Mormon belief in Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon, he frankly stated: "Let me now state uncategorically that as far as I know there is not one professionally trained archaeologist, who is not a Mormon, who sees any scientific justification for believing the foregoing to be true,... nothing, absolutely nothing, has ever shown up in any New World excavation which would suggest to a dispassionate observer that the Book of Mormon... is a historical document relating to the history of early migrants to our hemisphere." (pp.42, 46)

[25] The Olmec civilization – 1,200 – 400 BC – flourished on the gulf coast of Mexico, and constructed the first pyramids in the North American continent as well as the big stone 'baby-faced' head monuments. The ancient Maya Civilization occupied much of the central North American continent based on the gulf coast of what is now Mexico between 2500 BC and AD 1500, and are known for their amazing complex artwork, particularly murals, and graceful pyramids. The capital city of the Zapotec Civilization – 500 BC – 750 AD is Monte Alban in the valley of Oaxaca in central Mexico. Monte Alban is one of the most intensively studied archaeological sites in the Americas, The Inca civilization was the largest civilization in the Americas when the Spanish conquistadors arrived in the early 16th century. The Mississippian culture is a term used by archaeologists to refer to cultures inhabiting the length of the Mississippi River, The Aztec civilization was at the height of their power and influence when the Spanish arrived. Warlike, intractable, and aggressive, the Aztecs conquered much of Central America.

[26] Pre-Classic–Maya, Olmec and Zapotec civilizations flourished during the approximate period that events spoken of in the Book of Mormon are said to have occurred.

[27] (Office of the First Presidency, April 12, 1993)

[28] (Office of the First Presidency, April 12, 1993)

[29] “No reputable Egyptologist or other specialist on Old World archeology, and no expert on New World prehistory, has discovered or confirmed any relationship between archeological remains in Mexico and archeological remains in Egypt. Reports of findings of ancient Egyptian Hebrew, and other Old World writings in the New World in pre-Columbian contexts have frequently appeared in newspapers, magazines, and sensational books. None of these claims has stood up to examination by reputable scholars. No inscriptions using Old World forms of writing have been shown to have occurred in any part of the Americas before 1492 …” (The Smithsonian Institution statement on The Book of Mormon)

[30] “While there is no archaeological evidence to support the Book of Mormon's claim that there were Nephites in the New World, the existence of the Israelites in the Holy Land is verified by a great deal of evidence. The "earliest archaeological reference to the people of Israel" is a stele of the Egyptian ruler Merneptah, dated about 1220 B.C. Many ancient inscriptions mentioning the Israelites have been found, and some inscriptions even give the names of kings or other people mentioned in the Bible. The New Testament mentions a number of rulers that are known to have lived around the time of Christ. The fact that the Jews were in Palestine at the time the Bible indicates is proven by hundreds of ancient Hebrew inscriptions. Portions of every book of the Old Testament, except for the book Esther, have also been found in the manuscripts known as the Dead Sea Scrolls. When we turn to the Book of Mormon, however, we are unable to find any evidence at all that the Nephites ever existed.” (Testing the Book ofMormon, Utah Lighthouse tract)

[31] "I cheerfully admit, and routinely say, that Mormonism has not proven its claims. I don't think it's supposed to do so, either..." (BYU Professor, Daniel C. Peterson)

[32] In a paper entitled, "Thomas Stuart Ferguson, 1915-83," Fred W. Nelson wrote the following: "Thomas Ferguson has either directly or indirectly influenced thousands of people's thinking on archaeology.... He has had a great influence on professional archaeology through the Department of Archaeology at Brigham Young University, the Gates Collection, and the New World Archaeological Foundation.... Ferguson's legacy in the founding of the Archaeology Department at Brigham Young University, the obtaining of the Gates Collection, and as founder of the New World Archaeology Foundation stands as a shining example to us all." (As cited in The Messiah in Ancient America, pp. 282-83)

[33]

City of Ammonihah, Wicked Nephite City, 'Desolation of Nehors'

City of Bountiful, Major Nephite city in the northeastern quadrant

City by the Sea, Nephite city on the west coast

City of Cumeni, Nephite city fought for by Helaman

City of Desolation, Northern Nephite City

City of Jordan, Nephite retreat maintained by Mormon

City of Judea, Nephite city

City of and Land of Moroni, In southeast of Nephite lands

City of Moronihah, Iniquitous Nephite city

City of Mulek, Nephite city south of Bountiful

City of Nephihah, Nephite refuge captured and lost by the Lamanites

City of Omner, Nephite city by seashore on east borders

City of and Land of Shem2, Nephite land north of Antum and Jashon

City of Zarahemla, Major capital of Nephites from about 200 B.C. to A.D. 200

City of Zeezrom, Nephite city on southwest frontier

[34] “Many Nephites migrate to the land northward–They build houses of cement and keep many records–Tens of thousands are converted and baptized–The word of God leads men to salvation–Nephi the son of Helaman fills the judgment seat. Between 49 and 39 B.C.” (Introduction to the Book of Helaman 3).

[35] “But behold, a hundredth part of the proceedings of this people, yea, the account of the Lamanites and of the Nephites, and their wars, and contentions, and dissensions, and their preaching, and their prophecies, and their shipping and their building of ships, and their building of temples, and of synagogues and their sanctuaries, and their righteousness, and their wickedness, and their murders, and their robbings, and their plundering, and all manner of abominations and whoredoms, cannot be contained in this work.” (Helaman 3:14)

[36] Thomas Stuart Ferguson was, at one time, one of the most noted defenders of Book of Mormon archaeology. Mr. Ferguson planned the New World Archaeological Foundation which he hoped would prove the Book of Mormon through archaeological research. The Mormon Church granted hundreds of thousands of dollars to this organization, but in the end, Thomas Stuart Ferguson admitted that although the Foundation made some important contributions to New World archaeology, all his work with regard to the Book of Mormon was in vain. He admitted, in fact, that he had wasted twenty-five years of his life trying to prove the Book of Mormon. In 1975 Ferguson prepared a 29-page paper in which he wrote: "I'm afraid that up to this point, I must agree with Dee Green, who has told us that to date there is no Book-of-Mormon geography." In a letter to Mr. and Mrs. H.W. Lawrence, dated Feb. 20, 1976, Thomas Stuart Ferguson plainly stated: "…you can’t set Book of Mormon geography down anywhere - because it is fictional and will nevermeet the requirements of the dirt-archeology."

[37] In a letter to Mormon President David O. McKay, dated Dec. 14, 1951, Ferguson wrote: "If the anticipated evidences confirming the Book of Mormon are found, worldwide notice will be given to the restored gospel through the Book of Mormon. The artifacts will speak eloquently from the dust." (The Messiah in Ancient America, p. 257)

[38] (Letter from Thomas Stuart Ferguson to Mr. and Mrs. H. W. Lawrence, dated Feb. 20, 1976)

[39] “Our individual, personal testimonies are based on the witness of the Spirit, not on any combination or accumulation of historical facts.” (Dallin H. Oaks, Doctrine and Covenants Conference, Brigham Young University, Aug. 16, 1985)

[40] “But, behold, I say unto you, that you must study it out in your mind; then you must ask me if it be right, and if it is right I will cause that your bosom shall burn within you; therefore, you shall feel that it is right” (Doctrine and Covenants, 9:8).

[41] “And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost” (Book of Mormon, Moroni, 10:4).

[42] “We gain or strengthen a testimony by bearing it. …some testimonies are better gained on the feet bearing them than on the knees praying for them." (Dallin H. Oaks, “Testimony,” Ensign, May 2008, 26–29)
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The Mormon Fantasy Of America's Indigenous People
Thursday, Sep 29, 2011, at 07:29 AM
Original Author(s): Anonymous
Topic: BOOK OF MORMON   -Link To MC Article-
Where the BofM imaginary stories allegedly occurred is becoming divisive among some LDS members. It used to be commonly claimed that the BofM encompassed the entire western hemisphere of both North and South America, with Cumorah in New York being the location of the final battle.

Today there are two major geographical ideas. The first is that all of the BofM events played out in a very limited region of Meso-America. This requires two hill Cumorahs, one in Meso-America where the events happened and the second one in New York where the plates were buried.

The other idea is known as the Heartland theory. It proposes that the BofM events played out in the region of the United States, with only one hill Cumorah for the final battle at the same location where Joseph Smith claimed to have found the gold plates.

Instead of examining which of these geographical theories might or might not fit the BofM and early LDS writings, lets consider how neither can possibly agree with reality, based on what is now known about the development of agriculture, metallurgy and civilization in both North and South America.

Mormon ideas and manure

The BofM describes the peopling of America beginning about 2200 BC with the Tower of Babel and the Jaradites. It says they used watertight barges made of wood. The story includes magic glowing stones for light inside these windowless submarines.

Agricultural seeds, honey bees and flocks of animals from the Near East were transported to America. They also brought plants used for livestock feed. It does not say what these plants and animals were but the BofM claims that after their arrival in America, the Jaradites lived with elephants, horses, swine, sheep, cattle and asses.

The fictional people from Lehi began around 600 BC in Israel and they too made a transoceanic crossing. This group mentions seeds and grains including barley and wheat in America as well as horses and chariots, iron, copper, brass, steel, gold and silver.

A third group also came from Jerusalem to America approximately 580 BC. They are commonly called the Mulekites. These were the people who encountered the last surviving Jaradite. The Mulekites became assimilated with the people of Lehi.

Great civilizations were from these people, based on agriculture, livestock and metallurgy. Full scale warfare also happened, bringing the destruction of these civilizations.

The BofM "prophesied" that after the Europeans were to arrive beginning with Columbus, America's indigenous people would be driven, scattered and destroyed, but not all of them. They would eventually "blossom as the rose" and be restored from their devolved and degenerate condition to their former Christian state of advanced civilization. They would be nurtured and carried by the "gentiles" until then, meaning the European colonizers of the Americas would be "nursing fathers and mothers".

The BofM is supposedly written for the descendants of these fallen and depraved people, so that they will know their real ancestors, will become LDS and be restored to their place in "the Lord's true church".

Mormonism teaches that the second coming of Jesus will not happen until after America's indigenous people have become righteous and respected.

The LDS had commonly thought that all of America's indigenous people came from the Near East, as written in the BofM. Many mormon scholars made allowance for "others" like the Mulekites, that came from Israel but whose records have not been revealed yet.

Since 2007 the meaning of "others" has been expanded. Mormon apologists now include descendants of ice-age people who crossed Beringia more than 10,000 years ago. They use these people who originated before Adam and Eve to explain the failure to find DNA signatures from the Near East.

The popular consensus among apologists is that DNA haplotypes from the fertile crescent have been diluted into a mass population of people whose ancestors anciently migrated into America out of Asia long before the Biblical timeline, even before Adam and Eve.

At the end of the day, all of these mormon ideas will turn a person's thoughts into manure. Even worse, an entire group of living people are degraded by this fictional pseudo-history.

The unique accomplishments and contributions to the world from America's first inhabitants are often ignored by LDS people if things are not in the BofM. If any accomplishments are acknowledged, they are falsely credited to people from the fertile crescent. This is a very harmful aspect of the BofM. The highjacking of culture and history in the name of a fraudulent religion that began in the 19th century needs to end.

Let's examine some of the most significant accomplishments made by America's indigenous people. These are things that get ignored because the facts do not fit the BofM religious myths.

Agriculture

To believe the BofM, one would conclude that Old World seeds, crops and animals were brought to America but disappeared before Columbus. Many LDS have reasoned that because the people turned against the God of the Bible and killed each other, they destroyed their own civilizations and caused their animals and crops to die off and disappear.

The reality is that agriculture developed independently in different parts of the world. For example, there is no book translated from magic golden plates describing people from Jerusalem taking seeds and knowledge into ancient China, teaching people there how to plant and grow crops. Plant domestications happened without the need for outsiders to bring an "advanced" method.

Independent plant domestication happened in South America, Meso-America and in Eastern North America, without cultural diffusion between these regions. It does not support the BofM fictional claim of Near Eastern domesticated plants brought to America and grown. Because indigenous American plants were domesticated in numerous locations without influence from other regions, none of the BofM geography models agree with agricultural reality.

The truth is that more than half of all the world's crops now in cultivation were first domesticated in the Americas long before the time periods alleged in the BofM stories. America's indigenous people have contributed more than 300 food crops to the world.

Until Columbus arrived, these plants were unknown to the rest of the world: avocados, lima beans, kidney beans, shell beans, string beans etc., chocolate, cassava, chicle, chilies, corn, hickory nuts, jicama, maple syrup, manioc, papayas, peanuts, pecans, peppers, persimmons, pineapples, potatoes, pumpkins, squashes, sunflower seeds, sweet potatoes, tapioca, tomatoes, vanilla and long-fiber cotton.

America's indigenous people were not only sophisticated botanists, they developed new types of corn through hybridization. They learned to plant corn, beans and squash together to reduce plant loss to insects. This ancient technique known as the three sisters is still used today, minimizing soil depletion and overuse of pesticides.

They developed irrigation and water conservation. They also domesticated alpaca, dogs, ducks, guineas pigs, honey bees, llama, turkeys and vicuna.

Some of the most important crops in the world today are corn, potatoes, manioc (a staple in parts of Africa) and the American sweet potato.

In the 21st century, a new food crop is being studied by NASA for long term space travel. It is none other than an ancient domesticated American plant called Chenopodium quinoa. It had been a staple of the Inca Empire for many centuries.

None of these plants or animals are mentioned in the BofM, and no BofM prophet predicted the agricultural contributions to the world that America's people would make. Instead, the mormon scriptures tell of a fallen and immoral people who needed the true church of the mormons to raise them back up before the second coming of christ.

The reality is that the world owes a debt of gratitude to America's indigenous people for their agricultural achievements.

Now let's examine some accomplishments that are acknowledged but wrongly attributed to people from the Near East.

Metallurgy

One of the oldest European ideas is that human progress is marked by when stone and metals were used. Christians tied it to the Bible, beginning with Adam about 6,000 years ago.

The stone, bronze and iron ages became theories in archaeology. It was thought that superior people first left the stone age and used metals. These same ones also invented agriculture, domesticated animals and used iron and wheels. Christians claimed that it all began in the Bible lands of the Fertile Crescent and then spread to the rest of the world. Scientists are now discovering how wrong these ideas have been.

People have been mining and cold working copper in the Great Lakes basin of North America for 7,000 years. They were doing this in Minnesota, Michigan and Wisconsin before God made Adam and Eve according to the Bible. They used the copper for ornaments and trade items before they developed agriculture and domesticated crops. Archaeologists used to think that metal work only happened after civilizations began in the Near East.

Great Lakes copper is very pure. They did not melt it for casting in molds because it was easily shaped cold or by heating without needing to melt it.

South America worked with copper too. Because it is not as pure as in the Great Lakes region, Andean people discovered the process of smelting 4,000 years ago to separate the copper from the rock, as well as working with gold and silver. Archaeologists now know that many people throughout the world independently learned how to smelt. America did it without needing anyone from anywhere else in the world coming to them to teach them how.

By 400 AD the people in South America were making bronze. Andean mariners traded their metal work up and down the western coast and about 800 AD they taught the people of western Mexico how to smelt.

Mormon apologists and writers are quick to point out that metal was worked in the Americas, but this is often used to argue that the making of the gold plates was not impossible. Some writers suggest that the use of metal in America might be evidence that people from the Near East brought that art and knowledge to America.

Take a serious look at the timelines of the BofM compared to reality. Copper work in North America was being done even before the time of Adam and Eve. Copper smelting in South America happened before Lehi, but bronze was not made until nearly the end of the BofM stories and was not in the popular geography of Meso-America until long after the fictional stories had ended.

Consider the apologist's geography theories. No smelting was done in the region of the United States. So much for the heartland theory. Likewise, smelting and bronze making was not done in the region of Meso-America until nearly 400 years after the gold plates were allegedly buried and the civilization of Nephites destroyed. The Limited Geography Theory is not supported with metallurgy.

Ancient American metal work does not fit in with the BofM stories of fantasy, while reality does not get talked about when it does not support the BofM.

Writing

Writing is found in Meso-America. Pictographs expressed meaning and many were adapted to denote sound values. Apologists have grabbed onto this as evidence to support the BofM. But this is how writing independently began in all other places in the world that developed it.

Cuneiform record keeping began in Mesopotamia around 5000 years ago. It was later adapted for writing, then was replaced by the Phoenician alphabet beginning about 2,900 years ago.

There is something very unique in America that apologists rarely mention. Quipu were knotted cords of different colors that were used for record keeping in America, beginning at almost the same time that marks on clay tablets began in Mesopotamia.

A 4,600 year old quipu was found in South America which may be one of the earliest forms of communication in the world, roughly as old as the cuneiform of Mesopotamia.

America's people were doing the same thing as in Mesopotamia, but keeping records with knotted cords instead of marks on clay tablets. And they were doing this before the fictional Jaradites came. The quipu were also used for performing addition, subraction, multiplication and division, and as mnemonic devices, to help recall long passages of memorized material.

An elite class of people were taught to read and use the quipu. Ceremonies and gatherings were crucial because the record keepers shared information and history at these times. The Spanish considered the quipu to be idolatrous and destroyed many of them. They forbid ceremonies where information was shared. This was the same as destroying books.

Apologists promote the Mayan glyphs (which have no correspondence to BofM stories) while ignoring the quipu, a highly effective system for the Andean people and the Inca civilization. The earliest stages of record keeping in America happened before the BofM stories began, and in a geographical region outside of Meso-America. Imagine that!

Finally, let's examine accomplishments that happened after the final battle of fantasy in the BofM, after the people were supposedly reduced to barbarianism and wickedness and cursed for destroying god's people.

The BofM ends with descriptions of depraved and degenerate people who tortured and murdered each other, raped women and practiced cannabilism, even feeding women and children to their own husbands and fathers. It leaves the reader with the thought that America's indigenous people remained in that condition, waiting for the arrival of Columbus to bring the influence of Christianity. It leaves the reader thinking that the BofM and Joseph Smith were great things from God in order to improve America's indignous people.

LDS members might think they know the history of ancient America better because of the BofM, but how many mormons take an interest in real history and events between 421 AD and 1492? If America's people were truthfully described at the end of the BofM, it would seem that nothing of significance should have happened after Moroni buried the plates.

Some mormons might think that whatever happened during those centuries, it is not as important as what happened after God led Christian people to America beginning with Columbus. This is another harmful influence of mormonism. A writing of fiction causes otherwise reasonable people to think of human beings as degraded and with little accomplishment. It plants the idea that mormons hold the truth and can "save" these "depraved" ones.

Brain Surgery

America's indigenous people, these depraved and degenerate savages, were far more advanced in medicine and surgery than most people in the U.S. even know.

Scientists were collecting skulls to study the primitive races in America, and in the 1860s a very precise and neatly perforated prehistoric skull was found.

Ever since then, people have argued about what the holes were for. One of the most popular ideas is that the holes were made to let out demons.

It is now beginning to be realized that these holes were emergency surgery to remove shattered bone and clean out pooling blood after a blow to the head.

More trepanned skulls have been found in the Andean region of Peru than the rest of the world together. The skulls span two thousand years, from around 400 BC to AD 1500, showing improvements in surgical techniques and a remarkable increase in the survival of patients to a level that rivals that under today's surgeons.

In Europe and America in the 19th century and early 20th century, surgeons operating on the skull were lucky to save 25 per cent of patients. The Incas had a success rate of around 80 per cent, using stone age tools.

This was not in Meso-America or in the region of the United States, it was not in the locations of currently popular BofM geography models. The period after the BofM tales ended brought the most significant improvements in emergency medical surgeries and survival rates. The Andean people developed the methods into a medical art. This completely disagrees with the LDS stereotype of America's savage indigenous people after the final battle in the BofM.

Cahokia

The Mississippi and Ohio river valleys were the locations of ancient agriculture and cities. The Hopewell culture and Cahokia are some of the best examples.

Until La Salle's travels in the 1670s, no European had ever ventured into these areas.

Between 600 and 1400 AD, an ancient indigenous city was located near St. Louis. Today it is known as Cahokia. By the time La Salle visited it, it's glory had already faded nearly 300 years earlier.

A Catholic mission site was established at Cahokia in 1699. This was the first permanent European settlement on the Mississippi River, but the ancient city was not recognized or understood by the first Europeans.

In 1811 an American named Henry Brackenridge heard about some French monks living near large mounds. He visited them to see the ruins.

From a letter to Thomas Jefferson by Henry Brackenridge, July 25, 1813 -

"When I examined it in 1811, I was astonished that this stupendous monument of antiquity should have been unnoticed by any traveler"

The writers at that time did not know how recent or how old the ancient ruins were. Much was open to the imagination, and fiction such as the BofM was quite popular.

Monks Mound at Cahokia is the largest man-made earthen mound in North America. It is an echo of the most sophisticated prehistoric civilization north of Mexico. In 1250 AD the city was larger than London.

The people and culture of Cahokia had declined because of climate changes, but further to the south, de Vaca, de Sota and La Salle had seen many others still living the cultural ways as they had been in Cahokia before the mini ice-age began.

In the 1960s archaeologists discovered that the people of Cahokia had set up posts in circular arcs. These were used as a calendar to mark the solstice and perhaps the rising or setting of bright stars or constellations.

Today it is known as Woodhenge and had been built in the period from 900 to 1100 AD. One of the circles was 410 feet in diameter and had 48 posts. Each post was 15 to 20 inches in diameter and stood about 20 feet high.

The truth is quite different from mormon delusions of cursed dark skin people, depraved and wicked, killing and eating each other.

Mormon apostle Boyd K. Packer once stated "Some things that are true are not very useful." As an outsider to his faith, I can only see the harm that mormonism causes to all indigenous people in the Americas through the denigration of their history and culture.

Now apologists have created the MDL to defend their right to promote fiction no matter how harmful it is to America's first inhabitants. It seems the time is ripe for America's indigenous people, archaeologists, anthropologists, etc. to turn up the pressure in challenging the pseudo claims of mormonism.
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Why I Will Not Pray To Know If The Book Of Mormon Is True
Friday, Nov 18, 2011, at 07:41 AM
Original Author(s): Michaelm
Topic: BOOK OF MORMON   -Link To MC Article-
The Book of Mormon is scripture to members of the LDS church. They believe it is a true account of God's dealings with people in ancient America. It also talks about Columbus and Europeans coming to America. It teaches that God was with the Europeans and against the American Indian.

1 Nephi 13:

10 And it came to pass that I looked and beheld many waters; and they divided the Gentiles from the seed of my brethren. 11 And it came to pass that the angel said unto me: Behold the wrath of God is upon the seed of thy brethren. 12 And I looked and beheld a man among the Gentiles, who was separated from the seed of my brethren by the many waters; and I beheld the Spirit of God, that it came down and wrought upon the man; and he went forth upon the many waters, even unto the seed of my brethren, who were in the promised land. 13 And it came to pass that I beheld the Spirit of God, that it wrought upon other Gentiles; and they went forth out of captivity, upon the many waters. 14 And it came to pass that I beheld many multitudes of the Gentiles upon the land of promise; and I beheld the wrath of God, that it was upon the seed of my brethren; and they were scattered before the Gentiles and were smitten. 15 And I beheld the Spirit of the Lord, that it was upon the Gentiles, and they did prosper and obtain the land for their inheritance; and I beheld that they were white, and exceedingly fair and beautiful, like unto my people before they were slain. 16 And it came to pass that I, Nephi, beheld that the Gentiles who had gone forth out of captivity did humble themselves before the Lord; and the power of the Lord was with them.

A disturbing teaching is that bad things happened to the American Indian because they supposedly became even more filthy, loathsome and idolatrous after Moroni buried the gold plates. The Lord blessed the Europeans instead.

Mormon 5:

15 And also that the seed of this people may more fully believe his gospel, which shall go forth unto them from the Gentiles; for this people shall be scattered, and shall become a dark, a filthy, and a loathsome people, beyond the description of that which ever hath been amongst us, yea, even that which hath been among the Lamanites, and this because of their unbelief and idolatry.

19 And behold, the Lord hath reserved their blessings, which they might have received in the land, for the Gentiles who shall possess the land. 20 But behold, it shall come to pass that they shall be driven and scattered by the Gentiles; and after they have been driven and scattered by the Gentiles, behold, then will the Lord remember the covenant which he made unto Abraham and unto all the house of Israel.

Here is a little piece of history, one example of Book of Mormon "prophecies". Real settlers used the name of the God of the Bible to justify their actions.

The Mystic massacre happened in 1637. European colonists set fire to a wooden palisade village of Pequot Indians. Those who tried to escape were shot or cut down with swords. The men were away and it was mainly women, children and elderly that were attacked. Nearly everyone in village was killed. Wikipedia has some information about it.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mystic_m...

Writings from people involved in the massacre can be read online:

http://www.archive.org/details/briefh...

John Mason praised the God of the Bible for the success in killing so many people.

Page 30 "Thus did the Lord judge among the Heathen, filling the place with dead bodies!"

Page 35 "It was the Lord's doings, and it is marvellous in our Eyes! It is He that hath made his work wonderful, and therefore ought to be remembred."

John Underhill justified the killing of women and children in the name of the God of the Bible.

Page 81 "Sometimes the scripture declareth women and children must perish with their parents. Sometimes the case alters; but we will not dispute it now. We had sufficient light from the word of god for our proceedings."

The Indians that assisted the settlers in the massacre were horrified that so many were killed.

Page 84 "Our Indians came to us, and much rejoiced at our victories, and greatly, admired the manner of Englishmen's fight, but cried Mach it, mach it; that is, It is naught, it is naught, because it is too furious, and slays too many men."

Mormons tell people to pray to know if the Book of Mormon is true. I cannot do this. I refuse to pray to a God who justifies the killing of women and children. Why would I wish to pray to know that these type of atrocities were the will of God? Why would I want to convince myself that God approves of murder? That I cannot do. Would anyone use the Book of Mormon and prayer to convince themselves that Jews deserved the Holocaust? The Book of Mormon has similar things about Jews. A disturbed mind could use it for that reason as well.

I cannot in good consience ask in prayer if the ancestors of the American Indian were degenerates that had turned wicked and fell from a civilized condition to become an idle, loathsome, dark, filthy and idolatrous people. To do so ignores all of the significant contributions to the world that a most remarkable people have made with agriculture, medicine, cultural beauty, music etc., things which are not even mentioned in the Book of Mormon.
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Why Isn't The First Edition Of The Book Of Mormon The Standard?
Monday, Jun 4, 2012, at 07:31 AM
Original Author(s): Chickenpotpie
Topic: BOOK OF MORMON   -Link To MC Article-
Why doesn't the LDS church use the JST over the KJV as their standard text for the Bible? Why should the most correct church on earth use a corrupted text as their standard text, when they have the corrected text at their disposal? (Also, it should be noted that the modern LDS Bible only incorporates about 1/3 of Joe's inspired version of the Bible.)

LDS scholar (no pun intended) Royal Skousen has spent over a decade working with the Original Manuscript and the Printers Manuscript of the Book of Mormon and has noted all of the variations that exist between them and the 1830 and all subsequent LDS and CofC editions of the BoM. One of his volumes of work is "Book of Mormon: the Earliest Text" which attempts to construct the earliest text of the Book of Mormon. However, his effort is not recommended as valid because his methodology was sloppy. He draws conclusions on many verses based upon his own conjecture without and manuscript support, as well as completely not even addressing misspelled words, misused words, and very poor grammar found consistently in the OM and PM and 1830. In fact, he simply corrects these latter problems without even the slightest manuscript support while at the same time not even acknowledging that he did such. Very sneaky and is far FAR from the original text.

If he were really trying to construct the earliest text he should have simply followed this approach: the 1830 edition is the standard text. Do any variations exist between the original text of the PM and the 1830? Then the PM is the earliest text. Do any variations exist between the OM and the PM or 1830? Then the OM is the earliest text. Done. Footnotes at the bottom.

And to answer the earlier question about the JST, the reason the LDS church never used that as the standard text is because the LDS church never had possession of the original text until a few decades ago. Therefore, they were always skeptical of the RLDS church's inspired version until they finally were allowed to see the text for themselves a few decades ago. Only Then did they start incorporating footnotes and addenda to their translation of the Bible. I guess all those profits, seers, and revelators missed that spiritually discerned memo.
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The Lost 116 Pages Show That Joseph Lied
Tuesday, Oct 30, 2012, at 08:00 AM
Original Author(s): Spongebob Squaregarments
Topic: BOOK OF MORMON   -Link To MC Article-
I don't know why the Lost 116 Pages don't get more voice on the Internet. It clearly shows Joseph lied.

In 1828, Martin Harris, acting as scribe for Joseph Smith, recorded the first 116 pages of The Book of Mormon. He asked permission of Joseph Smith to let him borrow these pages to take home with him so he could show them to his wife. Martin's wife was very skeptical and feared that her wealthy husband was being conned out of his money in order to get the Book of Mormon published for Joseph. Joseph inquired of the Lord to know if he might do as Martin Harris had requested, but was refused. Joseph inquired again, but received a second refusal. Still, Martin Harris persisted as before, and Joseph applied again, but the last answer was not like the two former ones. In this the Lord permitted Martin Harris to take the manuscript home with him. Three weeks later Mr. Harris returned to Joseph and told him that he had lost the 116 pages.

Joseph was very distraught over this, exclaiming "Oh, my God! All is lost! All is lost! What shall I do? I have sinned." It is widely believed that Martin Harris' wife had taken the pages. The reasoning was that if Joseph was indeed a prophet he could retranslate those same pages exactly as before and that would prove he was actually translating instead of just making up the Book of Mormon story as he dictated to Martin. Finally, Joseph inquired of the Lord as to what he should do; in response, he received a revelation, which is recorded in section 10 of the Doctrine and Covenants. He was told that he should not retranslate those lost pages because Satan's cunning plan was to have evil men alter the words in the original translation and wait until Joseph retranslated those pages. The evil men would then produce the original lost 116 pages with the alterations to prove that Joseph was a fraud.

God, of course, knew of Satan's eventual plan and had Nephi make two sets of plates that cover essentially the same material but written a little differently. Joseph was instructed to now translate from the large plates of Nephi, instead of the smaller, abridged plates of Nephi that he had translated from earlier. This way the same basic information that should be included in the Book of Mormon was there, but it would not be expected to match exactly the original lost 116 pages that were first translated by Joseph.

The official story taught and recorded by the church is nonsensical for the following reasons:

1. The evil men that were conspiring to alter the original documents could not have done so without it being very obvious that the original document was altered. When Martin Harris was scribing for Joseph, he didn't use a pencil and paper. Martin wrote with ink on foolscap. Any alteration would be very noticeable and not convincing to anyone.

In addition to the rubbing out of old words and rewriting of new words, the handwriting would have been different. Any rudimentary handwriting inspection would have determined that it had been altered, especially easy to determine given that the new handwriting would have occurred in the same spot as the rubbed-out and re-written words.

2. If the evil men, that were planning on changing the stolen 116 pages, thought their plan of changing some words from these pages would work to discredit Joseph, they would not have been completely foiled by Joseph translating from different plates to tell the first part of the Book of Mormon story. If they thought their alterations would have gone unnoticed then they would have still tried to alter the 116 pages to discredit his work.

For example, they could have changed some names of people or places or altered events that are central to the beginning of the Book of Mormon and thereby prove that Joseph's new translation was in error. If they really thought their alterations would have gone unnoticed they could have changed the names of Nephi's brothers or the cities they came from or many other items that would have been included in both sets of plates. But they never did this - why? If opponents of the Church really had the lost 116 pages as Joseph claimed, they would have resurfaced in some form to at least attempt to discredit Joseph, even if they would not have been successful.

3. The general belief at the time was that Martin Harris's wife burned the 116 pages. If she destroyed them, then this entire story is simply made up by Joseph Smith. But the prophet Joseph evidently was afraid she had not, but had secretly hidden them, for the purpose of entrapping him, should he ever attempt to reproduce the pages. If the work was really of God, the manuscript could be reproduced word for word without a mistake. If, however, Joseph created it himself, his memory would hardly be adequate to such a task, without numberless changes or verbal differences-and thus "give himself away," since he loudly professed to be all the time aided "by the gift and power of God." Since the lost pages never surfaced in any form, it is likely that they were destroyed immediately by Martin Harris's wife. Therefore, the entire story about someone altering pages is impossible and just made up by Joseph because he knew he could not reproduce those same pages as he was not really translating the Book of Mormon story.

4. It is convenient that the prophets of old just happened to make an extra set of plates 1500 years ago to cover this contingency, isn't it? Not only are the 116 pages lost, we have an explanation of how it was fixed right in the document itself written thousands of years before the event happened. For further details, see the following insightful essay: The Stolen Manuscript http://www.utlm.org/onlineresources/b...

It's hard to believe that Satan and some evil men were really behind the plot to steal the 116 pages. The stolen pages would have eventually come forth in probably a failed attempt to discredit Joseph. If nothing else they would have been worth a lot of money so we can't imagine why the evil men, if they existed, would not have used the pages to either try to discredit Smith, ransom them to Martin and Joseph or hold on to them to eventually sell them. The stolen pages wouldn't have simply been destroyed by men who went to such trouble to obtain them.

Instead it seems much more plausible that Martin Harris' wife had immediately destroyed the pages to defy her husband. If that's the case, is there any other reason why Joseph would make up the story about Satan's plan to discredit him? I haven't found any members that can explain Joseph's actions with a reasonable explanation.

To learn more about the Lost 116 Pages: http://www.mormonthink.com/lost116web...
topic image
Interpreter Review Of Significant Textual Changes In The Book Of Mormon
Monday, Feb 10, 2014, at 09:02 AM
Original Author(s): Tom
Topic: BOOK OF MORMON   -Link To MC Article-
Robert F. Smith's review of John S. Dinger, ed., Significant Textual Changes in the Book of Mormon: The First Printed Edition Compared to the Manuscripts and to the Subsequent Major LDS English Printed Editions (Salt Lake City: Smith-Pettit Foundation, 2013): with foreword by Stan Larson, is the latest piece to appear in Interpreter: A Journal of Mormon Scripture.

Smith opens his review, titled "If There Be Faults, They Be Faults of a Man," by briefly relating an experience of his, nearly 40 years ago, when he walked into Stan Larson's office at BYU and had a chance to look through Larson's newly printed master's thesis, "A Study of Some Textual Variations in the Book of Mormon Comparing the Original and the Printer's Manuscripts and the 1830, the 1837, and the 1840 Editions."

Side note: Smith does not mention that he apparently filed a complaint with BYU's accrediting agency in 1980 over the fact that BYU administrators had, by request of some General Authorities, placed restrictions on access to Larson's thesis (along with Rodney Turner's thesis on "The Position of Adam in Latter-day Saint Scripture and Theology" (1953) and Robert Woodford's dissertation, "The Historical Development of the Doctrine and Covenants" (1974)). The BYU Board of Trustees responded to the complaint by "remov[ing] all restrictions so as to not jeopardize the university's accreditation" (Gary James Bergera and Ronald Priddis, Brigham Young University: A House of Faith [Salt Lake City: Signature Books, 1985], 73-74).

Smith notes that when he obtained a copy of Significant Textual Changes in the Book of Mormon, he was pleased to find that it featured "an authoritative and dependable foreword by Stan Larson." However, Smith refers to the foreword as "the only useful and dependable part of this book," i.e., "the book is rife with error and was not designed to be usable or accessible."

Smith faults the book for not including the chapters and verses of the Book of Mormon "familiar to most readers" ("without which," he asserts, "it is nearly impossible to find any given word or phrase") and writes that "one might have expected [Dinger] to have studied and mastered the [Royal] Skousen transcripts of the printer's manuscript and original manuscript." He adds that Dinger "might also have consulted the easily understood footnotes in my Book of Mormon Critical Text, 2nd ed., 3 vols. (Provo: FARMS, 1986-1987)." Smith says that "those resources could easily have prevented the plethora of errors generated by Dinger." (Royal Skousen reviewed the FARMS Book of Mormon Critical Text here.)

After providing a five-page list of what he calls "some representative examples" of errors, Smith concludes:
It is a worthy objective to provide this important text-critical information in a single volume. So it is a mystery why John Dinger painstakingly prepared and edited an expensive 452-page book without bothering to make it accurate and easily usable. Buyers may rightly be disappointed--and author and publisher be embarrassed--about the lack of professionalism in this enterprise. They will, hopefully, try again--but this time with a heavy dose of peer review.
Royal Skousen's review of Dinger's critical text is available here.
 
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5,717 Articles In 332 Topics
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  · ADAM GOD DOCTRINE (4)
  · APOLOGISTS (53)
  · ARTICLES OF FAITH (1)
  · BAPTISM FOR THE DEAD (31)
  · BAPTISM FOR THE DEAD - PEOPLE (16)
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  · BOB MCCUE (144)
  · BONNEVILLE COMMUNICATIONS (2)
  · BOOK OF ABRAHAM (50)
  · BOOK OF MORMON (66)
  · BOOK OF MORMON EVIDENCES (18)
  · BOOK OF MORMON GEOGRAPHY (24)
  · BOOK OF MORMON WITNESSES (5)
  · BOOK REVIEW - ROUGH STONE ROLLING (28)
  · BOOKS - AUTHORS AND DESCRIPTIONS (12)
  · BOOKS - COMMENTS AND REVIEWS (44)
  · BOY SCOUTS (22)
  · BOYD K. PACKER (33)
  · BRIAN C. HALES (1)
  · BRIGHAM YOUNG (24)
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  · CHURCH PUBLISHED MAGAZINES (51)
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  · DNA (23)
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  · DON JESSE (2)
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  · ENSIGN PEAK (1)
  · ERICH W. KOPISCHKE (1)
  · EX-MORMON FOUNDATION (33)
  · EX-MORMON OPINION - SECTION 1 (35)
  · EX-MORMON OPINION - SECTION 10 (24)
  · EX-MORMON OPINION - SECTION 11 (25)
  · EX-MORMON OPINION - SECTION 12 (25)
  · EX-MORMON OPINION - SECTION 13 (25)
  · EX-MORMON OPINION - SECTION 14 (25)
  · EX-MORMON OPINION - SECTION 15 (25)
  · EX-MORMON OPINION - SECTION 16 (25)
  · EX-MORMON OPINION - SECTION 17 (25)
  · EX-MORMON OPINION - SECTION 18 (25)
  · EX-MORMON OPINION - SECTION 19 (26)
  · EX-MORMON OPINION - SECTION 2 (25)
  · EX-MORMON OPINION - SECTION 20 (24)
  · EX-MORMON OPINION - SECTION 21 (25)
  · EX-MORMON OPINION - SECTION 22 (24)
  · EX-MORMON OPINION - SECTION 23 (25)
  · EX-MORMON OPINION - SECTION 24 (28)
  · EX-MORMON OPINION - SECTION 3 (24)
  · EX-MORMON OPINION - SECTION 4 (24)
  · EX-MORMON OPINION - SECTION 5 (23)
  · EX-MORMON OPINION - SECTION 6 (24)
  · EX-MORMON OPINION - SECTION 7 (25)
  · EX-MORMON OPINION - SECTION 8 (24)
  · EX-MORMON OPINION - SECTION 9 (26)
  · EX-MORMONISM SECTION 1 (25)
  · EX-MORMONISM SECTION 10 (25)
  · EX-MORMONISM SECTION 11 (25)
  · EX-MORMONISM SECTION 12 (25)
  · EX-MORMONISM SECTION 13 (25)
  · EX-MORMONISM SECTION 14 (25)
  · EX-MORMONISM SECTION 15 (25)
  · EX-MORMONISM SECTION 16 (25)
  · EX-MORMONISM SECTION 17 (25)
  · EX-MORMONISM SECTION 18 (25)
  · EX-MORMONISM SECTION 19 (25)
  · EX-MORMONISM SECTION 2 (25)
  · EX-MORMONISM SECTION 20 (24)
  · EX-MORMONISM SECTION 21 (25)
  · EX-MORMONISM SECTION 22 (24)
  · EX-MORMONISM SECTION 23 (25)
  · EX-MORMONISM SECTION 24 (25)
  · EX-MORMONISM SECTION 25 (25)
  · EX-MORMONISM SECTION 26 (61)
  · EX-MORMONISM SECTION 3 (21)
  · EX-MORMONISM SECTION 4 (22)
  · EX-MORMONISM SECTION 5 (24)
  · EX-MORMONISM SECTION 6 (25)
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  · LGBT - AND MORMONISM (44)
  · LORENZO SNOW (1)
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  · LYNN G. ROBBINS (1)
  · M. RUSSELL BALLARD (13)
  · MARK E. PETERSON (7)
  · MARK HOFFMAN (12)
  · MARLIN K. JENSEN (3)
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  · MARTIN HARRIS (5)
  · MASONS (16)
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  · MICHAEL R. ASH (26)
  · MITT ROMNEY (71)
  · MORE GOOD FOUNDATION (4)
  · MORMON CELEBRITIES (14)
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  · MORMON CLASSES (1)
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  · MORMON TEMPLE CHANGES (15)
  · MORMON TEMPLES (116)
  · MORMON VISITOR CENTERS (10)
  · MORMON WARDS AND STAKE CENTERS (1)
  · MORMONTHINK (13)
  · MOUNTAIN MEADOWS MASSACRE (21)
  · MURPHY TRANSCRIPT (1)
  · NATALIE R. COLLINS (11)
  · NAUVOO (3)
  · NAUVOO EXPOSITOR (2)
  · NEAL A. MAXWELL (1)
  · NEAL A. MAXWELL INSTITUTE (1)
  · NEIL L. ANDERSEN - SECTION 1 (3)
  · NEW ORDER MORMON (8)
  · OBEDIENCE - PAY, PRAY, OBEY (15)
  · OBJECT LESSONS (15)
  · OLIVER COWDREY (6)
  · ORRIN HATCH (10)
  · PARLEY P. PRATT (11)
  · PATRIARCHAL BLESSING (5)
  · PAUL H. DUNN (5)
  · PBS DOCUMENTARY THE MORMONS (20)
  · PERSECUTION (9)
  · PIONEER DAY (3)
  · PLAN OF SALVATION (5)
  · POLYGAMY (60)
  · PRIESTHOOD BLESSINGS (1)
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  · PRIMARY (1)
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  · PROPOSITION 8 (21)
  · PROPOSITION 8 COMMENTS (11)
  · QUENTIN L. COOK (11)
  · RELIEF SOCIETY (14)
  · RESIGNATION PROCESS (31)
  · RICHARD E. TURLEY, JR. (6)
  · RICHARD G. HINCKLEY (2)
  · RICHARD G. SCOTT (7)
  · RICHARD LYMAN BUSHMAN (11)
  · ROBERT D. HALES (5)
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  · RODNEY L. MELDRUM (15)
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  · RUNTU'S RINCON (78)
  · RUSSELL M. NELSON (14)
  · SACRAMENT MEETING (11)
  · SALT LAKE TRIBUNE (1)
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  · SCOTT GORDON (5)
  · SEMINARY (5)
  · SERVICE AND CHARITY (24)
  · SHERI L. DEW (3)
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  · SPAULDING MANUSCRIPT (8)
  · SPENCER W. KIMBALL (12)
  · STEVE BENSON - SECTION 1 (18)
  · STEVE BENSON - SECTION 10 (17)
  · STEVE BENSON - SECTION 11 (15)
  · STEVE BENSON - SECTION 12 (19)
  · STEVE BENSON - SECTION 13 (21)
  · STEVE BENSON - SECTION 14 (17)
  · STEVE BENSON - SECTION 15 (12)
  · STEVE BENSON - SECTION 2 (21)
  · STEVE BENSON - SECTION 3 (18)
  · STEVE BENSON - SECTION 4 (25)
  · STEVE BENSON - SECTION 5 (22)
  · STEVE BENSON - SECTION 6 (19)
  · STEVE BENSON - SECTION 7 (15)
  · STEVE BENSON - SECTION 8 (13)
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  · STORIES (1)
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  · TAD R. CALLISTER (3)
  · TAL BACHMAN - SECTION 1 (25)
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