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  BOOK OF MORMON EVIDENCES
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The Book Of Mormon states that there were horses, elephants, steel, tin, wheat, barley, bows, arrows, slings, chariots and more - during the time that the "Nephites" and "Lamaites" lived on the American continents. Modern day archeologists, geologists, paleontologists and scientists have found absolutely no evidence that any Book of Mormon animals or items ever existed. Mormon Apologists continue to place together every little fact they can to prove the Book of Mormon is true. This topic covers the attempts by Mormon Apologists who go to great lengths to obscure, convolute, invent and otherwise distort history to fit their agenda.
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Izapa Stela 5 And Popular Mormon Apologetics
Saturday, Jul 23, 2005, at 08:57 AM
Original Author(s): Anonymous
Topic: BOOK OF MORMON EVIDENCES   -Link To MC Article-
We have often noted a certain communication gap between popular Christian apologists and Christian scholars whose works may contradict them at certain points. Not surprisingly, scholarly results also apparently do not always filter down in Mormonism.

The Izapa Stela 5 (hereafter IS5) is regarded by some popular Mormon apologists as a convincing proof of the Book of Mormon's authenticity. Here are a few points back and forth from the Internet.

  • This site is a "pro" IS5 site that lays out some of the basics.

  • This is a picture of IS5.
  • Mormonism Research Ministry offers this contrary position.
  • Leading Mormon scholarly apologist William J. Hamblin has taken a "wait and see" position in Review of Books on the Book of Mormon:
This is perhaps the best known pre-Columbian monument that has been associated with the Book of Mormon by Latter-day Saints. In dealing with this stela it must be emphasized that the interpretation of iconography is extremely difficult and complex. The same symbols or combinations of symbols can have radically different meanings in different times, places, societies, or to different groups within a single society. We will never know for certain what Izapa Stela 5 meant to its creators. To me the connection with the Book of Mormon is possible, but tenuous. But even if Izapa Stela 5 has absolutely nothing to do with the Book of Mormon, the fact that some Latter-day Saint have misinterpreted it provides no evidence against the Book of Mormon."

Hamblin adds in a footnote:

The original analysis of Izapa Stela 5 is M. Wells Jakeman, "An Unusual Tree of Life Sculpture from Ancient Central America," Bulletin of the University Archaeological Society 4 (1953): 26-49; and M. Wells Jakeman, The Complex "Tree-of-Life" Carving on Izapa Stela 5: A Reanalysis and Partial Interpretation (Provo, UT: Brigham Young University, 1958). Some of the more important recent Latter-day Saint studies of Izapa Stela 5 since the Tanners' publication (which they have never dealt with) include: Michael T. Griffith, "The Lehi Tree-of-Life Story in the Book of Mormon Still Supported by Izapa Stela 5," Newsletter and Proceedings of the Society for Early Historic Archaeology 151 (December 1982); 1-13; Ross T. Christensen, "Stela 5, Izapa: A Review of Its Study as the 'Lehi Tree-of Life Stone,' " Newsletter and Proceedings of the Society for Early Historic Archaeology 156 (March 1984): 1-6; Alan K. Parrish, "Stela 5, Izapa: A Layman's Consideration of the Tree of Life Stone," in Monte S. Nyman and Charles D. Tate, eds., The Book of Mormon: First Nephi, the Doctrinal Foundation (Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 1988), 125-50; V. Garth Norman, Izapa Stela 5 and the Lehi Tree-of-Life Vision Hypothesis: A Reanalysis (American Fork, UT: Archaeological Research Consultants, 1985), V. Garth Norman, "What Is the Current Status of Research Concerning the "Tree of Life" Carving from Chiapas, Mexico," The Ensign 15 (June 1985): 54-55.
  • At this site the object of Hamblin's response, the Tanners, have this to say:

    For several years, many LDS have made great claims concerning "Stela 5, Izapa" which was found in Chiapas, Mexico, in 1939. In 1941, the Smithsonian Institution and National Geographic Society sent an expedition to study the stone. In a letter to the author of this book, dated May 1, 1963, George Crossette, Chief of Geographic Research at the National Geographic Society, said, "No one associated with our expedition connected this stela in any way with the Book of Mormon." In spite of this, several LDS publications have pictures and comments made by Smithsonian Institute and National Geographic Society which leave the impression that they support the LDS claims.
    Mormons like M. Wells Jakeman have published articles in newspapers and periodicals claiming this stone helps prove that the B. of M. is true. LDS usually refer to the stone as "The Lehi Tree of Life Stone," because it supposedly has many similarities to Lehi's vision of the tree of life in I Nephi 8 in the B. of M. Some newspaper articles even claim that the names Lehi, Sariah, and Nephi are on three name glyths on the stone. But, there are no "name glyths" on the stone at all! George Crossette also said in his letter that the stone is almost a duplicate, in every elaborate detail, of the so called "Chapultapec" stone, of unknown provenience, now in the National Museum of Mexico.

    Such are the basics. Now let's have a look at some more details. For this report we managed to get a copy of the 1958 monograph by Jakeman offering his view of the IS5.

    The central depiction of IS5 is that of what Jakeman called the "Tree of Life" of the Maya and Aztec religion [Jakeman, 1-10]. Around the Tree of Life are a number of figures. Some of these are personifications of Mesoamerican deities. However, six of the figures are clearly human. Jakeman offered these points about the six figures:

    • The first figure, an old, bearded man with a hunched back, sits facing the tree and the other five persons. Jakeman supposes this man to be "a man of special religious learning" who is speaking to the others about the Tree of Life, and also a man of priestly authority, for "he appears to be making while he speaks (or to have made just before speaking) a burnt offering upon an altar (the latter depicted as a small portable altar or incense-burner)..." [12]
    • The second figure, seated on a cushion or cushion-like stool behind the first, appears old but is beardless and has a horned headdress. Jakeman supposes that this may be an old woman. The figure is holding a large sign on a standard which depicts a "grotesque face in profile" which Jakeman interprets as that of a crocodile. Jakeman reads this face as a glyph giving the first figure's name.

      In the end Jakeman concludes that the old couple are a stereotyped representation often made of the "ancestral couple" (like Adam and Eve) of Mesoamerica, who represent (as they do in other places) another actual, and famous, elderly couple. Now of course a certain question arises at this point -- we have a Tree of Life; we have the Mesoamerican "Adam and Eve"; we also have two divine figures around the tree who might match with cherubim guarding the Tree (cf. Gen. 3:24) and the scene also features a two-headed serpent. Could IS5 be something with its origins in a memory of the actual Edenic scene? Jakeman admits this possibility, but discounts it. He argues [18] that there are too many differences from the Genesis account and its Babylonian parallel: the other four human figures; the Tree in Genesis and Babylon being the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, not the Tree of Life; and that the serpent in IS5 represents the earth, not temptation and evil.

      Without stepping too far afield, and without committing to any particular view on IS5, I would only note here that if Jakeman were a skeptic I would not regard this evidence as sufficient to negate an identification with a dim memory of the actual Genesis events. Comparison of the Genesis Flood account with its Babylonian parallel shows well enough that, within our paradigm, enough changes were made to suspect that IS5 could be a mixed and dimmed representation of the Genesis scene. But by no means does this lead to the necessity of a positive identification; it only means that Jakeman's reasoning is fallacious.

      Thus Jakeman opts for an alternative: the couple are the ancient ancestors of people after the Flood -- roughly equal to Noah and his wife -- in Mesoamerica.

    • In light of this identification, Jakeman identifies the next four figures, seated on the ground with their backs to the tree. Two he identifies as the two warriors sons of the ancestral couple. A third, who has a "small scraggly beard" and is larger than the others, holds "a long pointed object" and a rectangular object which Jakeman identifies as a stylus (writing implement) and a tablet. The identification of this person Jakeman says is "difficult" but he supposes it may have been a third son. A final figure, whose face has been obliterated, holds "an umbrella or parasol" over the previous figure, and Jakeman supposes it may be a fourth son. Jakeman further notes that the umbrella was a Mesoamerican symbol of rulership, and thus figure #5 is indicated to be a ruler. Other symbols attached to this figure, Jakeman goes on, identify him as a priest or representative of the Mesoamerican Grain God [23].

    Thus the human figures; Jakeman then outlines some other points of interest [24ff]:

    • A small, humanlike figure between the first two which is "possibly an idol."
    • A humanlike figure standing in the air, facing the tree with arms outstretched and wearing a hooded robe, identified as "an anonymous supernatural being."
    • A wavy double line between figure #6 above and the edge of the stela, which runs down the right edge of the stela and then turns left at the bottom, passing "close by the roots of the tree." This is taken to be a river of water, watering the tree -- or perhaps something more symbolic.
    • A broad line in the right-hand part of the ground panel of the stela.
    • A complex of narrow lines, some of which Jakeman identifies as a path.
    • A final figure, standing above the hooded one, with a full beard and holding a "small roundish object" interpreted as fruit from the tree.

    By now the reader may be asking, "So when does he get to saying this proves the Book of Mormon?" The answer is, in this book at least, Jakeman never does get around to this at all. His own conclusion is simply stated: The carving is a "portrayal of some ancient event (actual or mythological) concerning....[the] Tree of Life symbol of ancient Mesoamerican religion" in which the older folks were explaining some things to the younger. Then Jakeman goes on to list a number of elements in the IS5 carving that he argues match "Old World" features (i.e., in spite of what he says previously, similarities to the Genesis and Babylon stories, all of which are also, as noted, interpretable within a paradigm of reminisces of the original account; Old World-like clothing and headdresses; the use of the umbrella over a ruler; the use of a small altar -- he goes on to admit, though, that most of the elements he cites [but not all] are simple enough to be explained as being hit upon independently [46]). The only hint we get that Jakeman is even making a BoM connection is a claim that the name of the Egyptian Grain God was "Nepi" noted in a footnote to be a match for Nephi. Were it not for this and the Provo imprint you might not even know that this book had any relevance to Mormonism. (But according to Brewer, in the article noted below, Jakeman held this view five years before the publishing date of the monograph, and did not make a treatment of the topic -- presumably meaning, a connection to the BoM -- until seven years after the monograph. A later scholar, V. Garth Norman, did further work on IS5 in the 1970s; more on that soon.)

    Subsequent work on IS5 has made a more definitive connection. Popular Mormon apologetic works of late now connect the IS5 depiction with an account in the BoM in 1 Nephi 8, 11 and 12, in which the character Lehi had a vision of the Tree of Life. Here are the relevant portions of those chapters:

    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. And as I cast my eyes round about, that perhaps I might discover my family also, I beheld a river of water; and it ran along, and it was near the tree of which I was partaking the fruit. And I looked to behold from whence it came; and I saw the head thereof a little way off; and at the head thereof I beheld your mother Sariah, and Sam, and Nephi; and they stood as if they knew not whither they should go. And it came to pass that I beckoned unto them; and I also did say unto them with a loud voice that they should come unto me, and partake of the fruit, which was desirable above all other fruit. And it came to pass that they did come unto me and partake of the fruit also. And it came to pass that I was desirous that Laman and Lemuel should come and partake of the fruit also; wherefore, I cast mine eyes towards the head of the river, that perhaps I might see them. And it came to pass that I saw them, but they would not come unto me and partake of the fruit. And I beheld a rod of iron, and it extended along the bank of the river, and led to the tree by which I stood. And I also beheld a strait and narrow path, which came along by the rod of iron, even to the tree by which I stood; and it also led by the head of the fountain, unto a large and spacious field, as if it had been a world. And I saw numberless concourses of people, many of whom were pressing forward, that they might obtain the path which led unto the tree by which I stood. And it came to pass that they did come forth, and commence in the path which led to the tree.
    And it came to pass that there arose a mist of darkness; yea, even an exceedingly great mist of darkness, insomuch that they who had commenced in the path did lose their way, that they wandered off and were lost. And it came to pass that I beheld others pressing forward, and they came forth and caught hold of the end of the rod of iron; and they did press forward through the mist of darkness, clinging to the rod of iron, even until they did come forth and partake of the fruit of the tree. And after they had partaken of the fruit of the tree they did cast their eyes about as if they were ashamed. And I also cast my eyes round about, and beheld, on the other side of the river of water, a great and spacious building; and it stood as it were in the air, high above the earth. And it was filled with people, both old and young, both male and female; and their manner of dress was exceedingly fine; and they were in the attitude of mocking and pointing their fingers towards those who had come at and were partaking of the fruit. And after they had tasted of the fruit they were ashamed, because of those that were scoffing at them; and they fell away into forbidden paths and were lost. And now I, Nephi, do not speak all the words of my father. But, to be short in writing, behold, he saw other multitudes pressing forward; and they came and caught hold of the end of the rod of iron; and they did press their way forward, continually holding fast to the rod of iron, until they came forth and fell down and partook of the fruit of the tree. And he also saw other multitudes feeling their way towards that great and spacious building. And it came to pass that many were drowned in the depths of the fountain; and many were lost from his view, wandering in strange roads. And great was the multitude that did enter into that strange building. And after they did enter into that building they did point the finger of scorn at me and those that were partaking of the fruit also; but we heeded them not.
    These are the words of my father: For as many as heeded them, had fallen away. And Laman and Lemuel partook not of the fruit, said my father. And it came to pass after my father had spoken all the words of his dream or vision, which were many, he said unto us, because of these things which he saw in a vision, he exceedingly feared for Laman and Lemuel; yea, he feared lest they should be cast off from the presence of the Lord. And he did exhort them then with all the feeling of a tender parent, that they would hearken to his words, that perhaps the Lord would be merciful to them, and not cast them off; yea, my father did preach unto them. And after he had preached unto them, and also prophesied unto them of many things, he bade them to keep the commandments of the Lord; and he did cease speaking unto them.
    ...And it came to pass that I beheld that the rod of iron, which my father had seen, was the word of God, which led to the fountain of living waters, or to the tree of life; which waters are a representation of the love of God; and I also beheld that the tree of life was a representation of the love of God. And the angel said unto me again: Look and behold the condescension of God! And I looked and beheld the Redeemer of the world, of whom my father had spoken; and I also beheld the prophet who should prepare the way before him. And the Lamb of God went forth and was baptized of him; and after he was baptized, I beheld the heavens open, and the Holy Ghost come down out of heaven and abide upon him in the form of a dove. And I beheld that he went forth ministering unto the people, in power and great glory; and the multitudes were gathered together to hear him; and I beheld that they cast him out from among them.

    The elements highlighted above should be kept in mind. It is these points which popular apologists compare to IS5: the Tree of Life is identified with Lehi's tree, the figures in the IS5 with Lehi and his family; the writing figure with Nephi recording the vision; the river with the river; the hooded figure with a blind person who has lost his way (contrary to Jakeman!), and the rod of iron with a heavy line along the bottom of IS5.

    So is there any substance to this analysis, or is it, after the manner of The Homeric Epics and the Gospel of Mark, merely a stretch of imagination? On this account, the leading Mormon apologists are not agreeing with Jakeman. Two items in the first 1999 edition of the Journal of Book of Mormon Studies ("The History of an Idea" by Stewart Brewer; "A New Artistic Rendering of Izapa Stela 5" by John Clark) make these points, first from Brewer:

    • Even at the earliest, Jakeman relied on a little creativity to fit IS5 with the vision. "For example, the large field he believed was represented by a small uncarned segment of the background. He argued that it stood conceptually for a large field but could not be shown larger because the scene was so crowded."
    • Norman's later work, which involved extensive photography and examination of IS5, referred to "errors in detecting details" which "plagued" Jakeman's interpretation, and decided that much of his work was thereby "rendered invalid." However, he went on to suggest a "road of life" theme for the IS5 that he felt did not invalidate Jakeman's hypothesis, but rather "deepened its meaning."
    • A non-Mormon researcher, Suzanne Miles, provided the first significant non-Mormon look at IS5 and described it as a "fantastic visual myth." Her interpretation did not in any way lend support to Jakeman's. Somewhat before Miles another researcher, Clyde Keeler, offered an interpretation which also disagreed wirth Jakeman's. In 1982, a BYU graduate, Gareth Lowe, interpreted IS5 as a creation myth.
    • Hugh Nibley, the premier LDS apologist, dismissed Jakeman's interpretation as wishful thinking, offering criticism for his failure to check for parallels in Far Eastern art and in other Mesoamerican art; ignoring or explaining away contrary evidence; "gross errors in elementary matters of linguistic and iconographic evidence", and offering unlikely interpretations over simple ones.
    • More recently, however, popular Mormon apologist Michael Griffith and BYU professor of ancient scripture Alan Parrish have come out in support of Jakeman's interpretation.

    None of the problems are perhaps surprising, since Jakeman, Brewer notes, had only limited experience in excavation and analysis of materials. This is ironic, for Jakeman responded to Nibley (and to another Mormon critic of his work, John Sorenson) by stating that neither of them were qualified to make such assessments.

    Now the highlights of Clark's item, which notes the advances of interpretation of Mesoamerican monuments since Jakeman and Norman:

    • IS5, among the stela at Izapa, is "the most complex scene" in the collection, and perhaps in all of North America from before Christ. Clark notes Norman's report that the scene contains "at least 12 human figures, a dozen animals, over 25 botanical and inanimate objects, and 9 stylized deity masks."
    • The 12 "roots" of the tree, which one popular Mormon apologist identifies as perhaps representing the 12 tribes of Israel, is actually "the elongated teeth of a crocodile or earth monster," and the tree trunk "doubles as the crocodile's body..." This is the crocodile upon whose back the earth rested, and who in turn floated on the primordial sea.
    • Two of the six human figures, including the woman, hold pointed objects. The woman is using her object to "jab a hole in her tongue to extract blood for an offering to the gods..."
    • The study of Irene Briggs in the 1950s is cited, in which comparisons were made for thematic and other parallels to Near Eastern themes and art. She found only five general thematic parallels and showed no connection in terms of artistic style.
    • For what it is worth, Clark notes that a connection of IS5 does not correlate with BoM history and geography as it is presently understood, and adds that there is no indication in 1 Nephi that Lehi or the others shared the dream of Lehi with anyone else. He adds that the scene in Nephi tells nothing of who was present and whether incense was burned. "...only two elements mentioned in the text, a fruit tree and water, can be recognized on the stone without resorting to guesswork."
    • Jakeman and later writers identified the old man character as Lehi based on a glyph next to the character supposed to be a jawbone (matching with the jawbone hefted by Samson when he called his place "Lehi"). However, what is next to the old man is a skull, and it is "noticeably jawless."
    • Fish and hummingbirds in the scene, which one popular apologist states are symbols of resurrection and eternal life, are not: the fish at least Clark says "do not make sense" and we need to check other monuments to clarify their meaning.

    Clark ultimately concludes that the Jakeman's work is "too speculative and is based on too many weak points of logic to be accepted" and that the IS5 scene probably has something to do with the king as intercessor for his people, offering no specific BoM connection, though he suggests IS5's art may have a link to the Jaredite peoples of the BoM.

    In conclusion: Popular Mormon apologists who use IS5 are at best putting the cart before the horse, and at worst contradicting their best scholarship. Not that this is a uniquely Mormon trait: Skeptics have Nebraska Man, for example, and evangelicals had their share of things like Whisenant's 88 Reasons book. But it is clear that IS5 is not an effective weapon in the Mormon apologetic arsenal and needs to be shelved, at least for the time being.


    http://www.tektonics.org/qt/stela5.html
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    FARMS Trying To Pull A Fast One - Mammouths And Elephants
    Tuesday, Sep 27, 2005, at 09:01 AM
    Original Author(s): Anonymous
    Topic: BOOK OF MORMON EVIDENCES   -Link To MC Article-
    Notice in the first paragraph below FARMS hedges in own defense by the use of cleaver question mark after Joseph Smith. I feel they are deliberately being deceptive here and add the the question mark "as an out."

    "Some critics object that the Book of Mormon uses the term "elephant,"not "mammoth" or "mastodon." Since these terms were invented after Joseph Smith?s time, the only term with which the prophet was familiar would have been "elephant.""--FARMS, Other Questions of the Week.

    In the paragraph below we learn that at least since about 1739 it was known that Elephant like creatures had existed in America, and since at least 1821 the term mammouth had been used.

    "The discovery in 1739 that led to Daubenton's paper is hailed in the annals of scientific history as the birth of American paleontology. In 1821, the great French naturalist Georges Cuvier credited the Indian hunters in Longueuil's army with discovering the first specimens of the "mammouth d'Amιrique" to be studied in Europe. (Fossil Legends of the First Americans--Adrienne Mayor

    So Joseph Smith putting Elephants in the Book of Mormon was not that far fetched. He probably had heard stories about elephant bones being found--and probably did not know that that the scientists of his day had already correctly identified them as Mammouth remains.

    Since the term Mammouth apparently did exist in Joseph Smith's time why did he not use it in the Book of Mormon. If the Book of Mormon is really refering Mammouths why was Joseph Smith not inspired to use the correct term. Once again the Book of Mormon in it's misuse of the term Elephant for Mammouths reflects the current events of Joseph Smith's times. Yes the Book of Mormon does reference Mammouths, the ones dug up in Colonial America and at later dates preceding the publishing of theBook of Mormon--the only problem is Joseph Smith thought they were elephants.

    http://www.exmormon.org/boards/w-agor...
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    NHM - A Place Name From The Book Of Mormon?
    Thursday, Feb 23, 2006, at 07:41 AM
    Original Author(s): Bill Mckeever
    Topic: BOOK OF MORMON EVIDENCES   -Link To MC Article-

    At the Worlds of Joseph Smith Conference held in Washington, D.C. in May 2005, BYU professor John Welch spoke about circumstantial pieces of evidence that he believes substantiates Joseph Smith’s claim as a prophet. Among the list of "evidence" Welch supplied was an inscription on a stone from the country of Yemen, which is located on the Saudi Arabian peninsula. Welch is not the first Mormon apologist to use this stone to legitimize the authenticity of both Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon. The question is, does this stone really have any great significance?

    Mormon Church-owned Ensign magazine covered the discovery of the stone in its February 2001 edition. If this is, in fact, a momentous discovery, then many Mormons must have been disappointed in the mere three-paragraph article that barely filled a quarter of a page.

    Found tucked away on page 79, the article (titled "Book of Mormon Linked to Site in Yemen") boasted that "a group of Latter-day Saint researchers recently found evidence linking a site in Yemen, on the southwest corner of the Arabian peninsula, to a name associated with Lehi’s journey as recorded in the Book of Mormon." The passage from the Book of Mormon to which this stone is linked comes from 1 Nephi 16:34. It reads, "And it came to pass that Ishmael died, and was buried in the place which was called Nahom."

    The Ensign article went on to say that "Warren Aston, Lynn Hilton, and Gregory Witt located a stone altar that professional archaeologists dated to at least 700 B.C. This altar contains an inscription confirming ‘Nahom’ as an actual place that existed in the peninsula before the time of Lehi. The Book of Mormon mentions that ‘Ishmael died, and was buried in the place which was called Nahom.’" Included in the article was a picture of the stone with a caption that reads, "On this altar is written the word Nahom."

    First of all, it needs to be pointed out that the inscription does not confirm that Nahom was an actual place or that this particular stone validates 1 Nephi 16:34. The inscription on the stone merely provides three consonants – NHM. This undisputable fact also exposes the misleading caption in the article that the word Nahom was written on the stone altar, which is not true.

    In an article found at www.lehistrail.com, Warren Aston notes, "The recent discovery by a German archaeological team of a stone altar in Yemen referring to the tribal name NIHM was announced in the Journal of Book of Mormon Studies in 1999.(1) Perfectly preserved under centuries of sand, the altar had been dated by its excavators to about 600-700 BC, thus placing it squarely in the time frame of the Book of Mormon ‘Nahom’ (1 Nephi 16:34) where Ishmael was buried. Unlike most places mentioned in the account of the journey from Jerusalem, Nephi's wording makes it clear that Nahom was already called such by the local population."

    Can we assume that Mr. Aston is not letting his presuppositions get the best of him? After all, to say that "Nephi's wording makes it clear that Nahom was already called such by the local population" would carry no weight to someone not yet convinced that a person named Nephi ever existed. Let us not forget that the LDS Church has provided no historical or archaeological evidence that Nephi or any of the unique characters mentioned in the Book of Mormon actually lived.

    It is also important to note that NIHM is believed to be a tribal name, not a place name, and that the three consonants can have a variety of spellings when vowels are inserted. Aston notes in the web site article that references to NHM are "usually given as NiHM, NeHeM, NaHaM etc." The Journal of Book of Mormon Studies reports that this can also be spelled "NaHM" (7:1, 1998, p. 7).

    In an article titled "The Place That was Called Nahom: New Light from Ancient Yemen," BYU professor S. Kent Brown notes, "Although we cannot determine that at the time there was a place called Nihm or Nehem, it is reasonable to surmise that the tribe gave its name to the region where it dwelt…Was it this name that Nephi rendered Nahom in his record? Very probably." (Journal of Book of Mormon Studies, 8:1, 1999, p.68). Very probably?

    Even more interesting is how the article in the Ensign closes. It reads, "This is the first archaeological find that supports a Book of Mormon place-name other than Jerusalem or the Red Sea…." On what little we know of this inscription can a Mormon be all that hopeful? If there is significant examination by unbiased sources showing that this inscription has no relationship to the Book of Mormon Nahom, then it would mean that there are no archaeological finds supporting a Book of Mormon place-name other than Jerusalem or the Red Sea. After 175+ years the LDS Church would still be batting zero.

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    The "NAHOM" Argument Is A Very Strong Argument Against The Book Of Mormon
    Tuesday, Mar 14, 2006, at 07:32 AM
    Original Author(s): Baura
    Topic: BOOK OF MORMON EVIDENCES   -Link To MC Article-
    OK how do you test a theory? Say, the theory: "the Book of Mormon is a translation of an actual, historical ancient text."

    Well you could try linguistic tests but those fail terribly since it's written in a poor imitation of King James English and even quotes sentences from the New Testament that wouldn't have been available to the decendents of Lehi who left the old world in 590 B.C. We could try to test the actual document to see if it is ancient or a modern forgery but, unfortunately, the plates are unavailable. There is the "Anthon Transcript" which copies some "charactors" from the plates but no one has been able to actually translate this. It looks as much like something made up as it does an actual ancient writing.

    So you read what it says and see if it really, truly corresponds to any actual ancient civilization.

    Now the Book of Mormon gives a lot of information on what the civilization it describes was like. They were decendents of Hebrews, they used horses and chariots, they wrote in an altered form of Egyptian but had a Hebrew-based language. They had Oxen and donkeys, planted wheat and barley, smelted iron and steel. They practiced a form of Christianity.

    Now to test this you can do things two ways. The scientific way or the crackpot way. The scientific way (which was tried in the 50s and 60s by the New World Archaeological Foundation which was started by Thomas Stuart Ferguson with funds authorized the First Presidency) is to say "If it were true what should we find? If it were false what should we find?" Then you go and look and see which "theory" is supported by the evidence.

    Half a century of meso-American archaeology and anthropology have shown that the native Americans in antiquity had no horses, didn't plant wheat or barley, didn't use the wheel, didn't smelt metals didn't have oxen or donkeys etc. Their religion was nothing like Christianity and their language and writing system had no relation at all to either Egyptian or Hebrew.

    If you take things seriously (as Ferguson did--he ended up concluding that the church was bogus) you say "the theory has been proven false."

    However if you are a crackpot then it's not the evidence that drives the theory but it's the theory that drives the evidence. If you are a crackpot and have an overwhelming emotional attachment to your theory you look for anything, anywhere that fits in with the theory you prefer. You trumpet any find anywhere that can remotely be made to fit your theory and you ignore anything that doesn't fit.

    Now given that the Book of Mormon is 521 pages long and takes place anywhere over the entire North and South-American continent (unless you are using the Limited Geography Theory to avoid other disconfirming evidence) as well as over a few thousand square miles in the old world you have all kinds of room to find parallels.

    Anything anywhere in the American or in ancient Israel, Arabia, Mesopotamia, Egypt etc. that can be made to fit with ANYTHING in the Book of Mormon is considered confirming evidence. Such "parallels" are usually a function of the time and effort spent trying to create/find them rather than a function of any actual connection between the theory and reality. This is the same thing that Velikovsky's followerss do or adherents of Astrology or Biorhythms or UFO contacts or Facilitated Communication or any of a gazillion other discredited pseudo-sciences.

    The fact that three consonants on a stone somewhere in Yemen is the same as the consonants in a name in the Book of Mormon is at best, mildly amusing. The fact that Mormon apologists proudly point to this as "the best evidence yet" for the historicity of the Book of Mormon shows how poor their position really is.

    If the best thing (by their own admission) that they can find is the kind of coincidental "parallel" that crackpots always point to then their position is a crackpot position.

    The question they ask (as do all crackpots when they proudly present their "parallels") is "what is the probability that Joseph Smith could have gotten THIS right?" Or as you state in your post "I can't believe Joseph Smith could be that lucky."

    This is the wrong question to ask. Joseph wasn't that lucky. If no stone would have been found with NHM on it would the apologists throw up their hands and say "gee this means the Book of Mormon must be fiction." They dont' do that with horses, or DNA, or wheat, or cultivated barley or oxen or asses or smelted iron and steel or language or religion. Why would they do that with NHM? But no one said "NHM must exist on a rock somewhere" ahead of time. it was after someone found it that someone else noticed that it could be made to fit with a Book of Mormon passage. This is a totally sporadic parallel, the kind that crackpots search for like needles in haystacks.

    The real question to ask is this: "Does the evidence as a whole support or disconfirm the theory?" Given the gazillions of things in the Book of Mormon and the gazillions of things in either North or South America or the ancient world wouldn't you expect hoards of apologists-scholars to be able to find something this striking? That this little factoid is presented as "the best evidence yet" shows the poverty of their position.

    The "Nahom" evidence and the way it is used along with all the other sporadic parallels that float in a sea of systematic but contradictory evidence is not impressive. Not impressive at all.
    topic image
    Fig Leaves In The Book Of Mormon
    Thursday, Jun 22, 2006, at 07:36 AM
    Original Author(s): Randy Jordan
    Topic: BOOK OF MORMON EVIDENCES   -Link To MC Article-
    It took me about 15 seconds to look up "fig" in the Book of Mormon index. The *only* mention of it is 3 Nephi 14:16, which is within the resurrected Jesus's "sermon on the mount" to the Nephites. The BOM index citation even cross-references Matthew 7:16, which is the authentic Biblical source for the allegory in the Sermon on the Mount. So the only reference to them in the BOM is plagiarized from the Bible. Smith didn't have to know about fig trees to write that passage; all he needed was a KJV Bible to copy from, which he obviously did.

    Also, a 30-second google search turned up

    http://www.nafex.org/figs.htm

    Which states that:
    "The Spanish were the first to bring the fig to the United States (Florida by 1575). The Spanish Franciscan missionaries brought figs into California when they established a mission at San Diego in 1769."
    As for this assertion:
    "The church claims the so-called book of abraham papyrus they have now has nothing to do with what joseph smith "translated." The 11 pieces now in their custody are completely different from what smith used."
    Completely wrong as well. The fact that Smith claimed that the existant papyrus are the source for the BOA text is shown by the facts that:
    • Smith himself ordered the three "facsimiles" from the papyrus to be published as illustrations for his BOA, and those facsimiles continue to be published as such by the church to this day.
    • In his journal entries, Smith repeatedly cited the facsimiles from the papyrus as being part of the BOA story. Read the quotes at http://groups.google.com/group/alt.re...
    • The text of Abraham 1:12 actually refers to Facsimile No. 1 (the lion-couch scene): "that you may have a knowledge of this altar, I will refer you to the representation at the beginning of this record." Since Facsimile No. 1 was originally part of the same scroll as the "Sen-sen text" (hieratic writings containing funerary prayers), the words "this record" in the BOA text have to refer to the Sen-sen text. The logical conclusion being that Smith purported that the Sen-sen text was the specific source for his BOA text.
    As for the "colored" papyrus, many researchers have debunked that, including Charles Larson:

    http://www.irr.org/mit/Books/BHOH/bho...
    topic image
    Why "Book Of Mormon Evidences" Are Not Evidences At All
    Monday, Jul 17, 2006, at 07:18 AM
    Original Author(s): Baura
    Topic: BOOK OF MORMON EVIDENCES   -Link To MC Article-
    Why "Book of Mormon evidences" are not evidences at all.

    From time to time the "Ensign" publishes an article showing a similarity or "parallel" between something in the Book of Mormon and something in ancient Hebrew, ancient Egyptian, or pre-Columbian American (north and south) cultures. Some that have stirred a lot of interest are so-called "chiasmus" passages in the Book of Mormon and the finding of the consonants NHR on a stone in Yemen. The "NHR" inscription has been called the strongest evidence yet for the historicity of the Book of Mormon.

    Jeff Lindsay has a website with scores of "Book of Mormon Evidences."

    It therefore is important to look at what really is evidence for a given proposition and what is not. We can get our bearings by first looking at the nature of coincidence.

    On November 22, 1963 President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas Texas. Not too long afterwards people began compiling amazing "coincidences" between the Kennedy assassination and the Lincoln assassination. This spread to include "parallels" between Kennedy and Lincoln themselves.

    The list of coincidences/parallels include:

    Lincoln was elected to congress in 1846.
    Kennedy was elected to congress in 1946.

    Lincoln was elected president in 1860
    Kennedy was elected president in 1960

    Kennedy's assassin fired while in a warehouse and then fled to a theater.
    Lincoln's assassin fired while in a theater and then fled to a warehouse.

    Lincoln's assassin used three names: John Wilkes Booth.
    Kennedy's assassin used three names: Lee Harvey Oswald.

    John Wilkes Booth was born in 1839.
    Lee Harvey Oswald was born in 1939.

    Both assassins were from the South.

    Both assassins had exactly 15 letters in their name.

    Both assassins were shot to death before they could be put on trial.

    Both Kennedy and Lincoln were shot in the back of the head while seated with their wives.

    Both Kennedy and Lincoln were shot on a Friday.

    Lincoln was shot while at FORD'S theater
    Kennedy was shot while riding in a FORD automobile.

    Lincoln was shot while in Box 7 of the theater.
    Kennedy was shot while riding in car 7 of the motorcade.

    Both Kennedy and Lincoln were in the company of another married couple when shot and in each case the husband of the couple was injured during the assassination but not fatally.

    Both Kennedy and Lincoln had vice-presidents who were Southern Democrats, and former U.S. Senators named "Johnson" and both Johnsons chose not to run for re-election in '68. Each Johnson was also the father of two daughters.

    Andrew Johnson, who succeeded Lincoln, was born in 1808.
    Lyndon Johnson, who succeeded Kennedy, was born in 1908.

    Kennedy had a secretary named "Lincoln."
    Lincoln had a secretary named "Kennedy."

    Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation.
    Kennedy proposed sweeping civil-rights legislation.

    The name "Lincoln" has seven letters.
    The name "Kennedy" has seven letters.

    Both Kennedy and Lincoln studied law.

    Both Kennedy and Lincoln had been ship's captains.

    Both Kennedy and Lincoln were named after their grandfather.

    Both Kennedy and Lincoln lost a son while in the White House.

    Both Kennedy and Lincoln were the second-born in their families.

    Etc. Many other parallels that have been put forward.

    Another example of "parallels" or "coincidences" which is contrary to our intuition is the famous "birthday coincidence:" Consider the following: If 50 people are chosen at random what is the probability that two of them will have the same birthday (day and month)? One way to think of this is as follows: Well, if there are 366 people then there MUST be two with the same birthday (ignoring leap years). Therefore for 366 the probability is 1. For half of that, or 183, people the probability should be about half of what it is for 366 people or 50%. For 91 people it should be about half again or about 25% and for 50 people it should be about 12 or 13%. This line of reasoning, although seemingly plausible, is completely wrong. Without going into the details of probability theory I will simply point out that for 50 randomly chosen people the probability that at least two of them have the same birthday is slightly over 97%.

    Why should the actual probability be so high? A similar question is "Why should there be so many parallels between Kennedy and Lincoln?" The birthday problem is just simple mathematics at work but the Kennedy-Lincoln list of parallels is not susceptable to exact mathematical analysis. It often makes us think that something spooky is going on--that there must be some supernatural connection at work.

    The birthday problem works the way it does because as the number of people increases the number of possible coincidences increases at an even faster rate. With two people there is only one way to get a match. With three people, however, there are three ways to get a match. If I label the three people A, B and C then there can be A and B with the same birthday, B and C with the same birthday, and A and C with the same birthday.
    With 4 people there are 6 possible matches: AB, AC, AD, BC, BD, CD.
    With 5 people there are 10 possible matches. AB, AC, AD, AE, BC, BD, BE, CD, CE, DE.
    With 6 people there are 15 possible matches. (I'll stop listing them.)
    With 7 people there are 21 possible matches.
    With 8 people there are 28 possible matches.
    With 9 people there are 36 possible matches.
    . . .
    And with 50 people there are 1225 possible matches.

    It is because of the great number of possible coincidences that exist that the chance of hitting at least one is so great.

    With the Lincoln-Kennedy list of "coincidences" the number of "possible matches" becomes astronomical. With any two presidents there are an unbelievable number of "possible matches" in some aspect of their lives. Consider how many cabinet members there are or the number of White House staff members or the names of their children or their past positions, political or otherwise. Consider names of doctors they may have been treated by in their lives or the names and ages and occupations of various relatives. Consider all the possible incidents that may have happened in their pasts--what was the name of the minister that married them, that married their parents, etc. The possibilities are astronomical.

    The list of parallels that I have given above was discovered by many different people scouring both Kennedy's and Lincoln's lives for any similarities that could be found. The number of "parallels" reflects the amount of searching that has been done to dig them out rather than any specific connection between the two presidents.

    If the list were filled with the failed connections such as "Lincoln was from Illinois and Kennedy was from Massachusetts" then a list of tens of thousands of items could be made. The "hits" would appear very rare indeed. However the failed connections--the misses--are ignored when presenting the list. Which aspects of the two presidents's lives are even considered are only decided upon AFTER a coincidence is found. Then the question "what is the probability that two presidents would have secretaries with each other's last names" is asked. Of course that probability when considered by itself is very small. But out of tens of thousands of possible hits it is to be expected that there will be a few dozen that actually are hits. And each of those hits will have a very small probability when considered by itself. But the probability of any one of these hits when considered by itself is not significant. It is the whole picture INCLUDING the misses that is significant. If a million "thousand to one" shots are consi
    dered it is to be expected that many of them will actually occur.

    This is an example of "a posteriori" research. The significance of a bit of evidence is judges only after it is found to be a "hit." "A priori" research, on the other hand, would be to decide what items will be compared before the hits or misses are known.

    This is the way real research to test a theory needs to be done to have any validity. One looks first at the theory and then, before looking at the evidence, decides what one would expect to find if the theory were true. If further research shows that what was expected, ahead of time, to be found actually was found then that is evidence that confirms the theory.

    This is the way real science is done. A theory (or hypothesis) is proposed. Then an experiment is proposed which will test the theory. The "experiment" can be done in a laboratory or it can be a set of observations in the field. The outcome of the experiment that would confirm the theory must be decided ahead of time.

    Crackpot science, on the other hand, works in the other direction. A pet theory of the "crackpot" is proposed. Since the formulator of the theory is more interested in supporting his theory than in finding the actual truth, the evidences that will or will not support the theory are not decided upon ahead of time. The "theorist" looks through all kinds of possible evidences that would be consistent with his pet theory and only records those that he feels are favorable.

    This is exactly what was done with the "Lincoln-Kennedy" list of parallels. It is also what is done with Book of Mormon "evidences."

    If the Book of Mormon were actual history there are quite a few things that would be expected to be found. It would be expected that there would be the remains of a vast civilization on the American continents which, between 600 BC and 400 AD, planted wheat and barley, had a Judeo-Christian religion, used a hybrid form of Egyptian and Hebrew language and script, used horses, had the wheel, used smelted iron and steel, etc.

    No trace of such a civilization has ever been found. This is the "a priori" approach. This is the approach that real science uses in testing theories. First decide what would result if your theory were true then see if that is the way things really are.

    The Book of Mormon evidences that are presented are all "a posteriori" pieces of evidence. They are only considered "evidence" because they happen to be able to be viewed as supporting the Book of Mormon claim of historicity. Thousands of "misses" (which are every bit as significant as the "hits") are ignored in compiling the lists of "evidence."

    This is the crackpot way of supporting a pet theory. The sheer number of the "parallels" that are found by such a method is a reflection of the amount of time spent trying to dig them out rather than because of any real validity of the "theory" that is being considered. And there is no question that millions of man-hours have been spent by Mormons trying to find "evidences" for the historicity of the Book of Mormon.

    When viewed from this standpoint the list of sporadic parallels that are presented by Lindsay and others is really strong evidence that the proposition they are trying to prove is, in reality, false. These kinds of lists of sporadic, "a posteriori" parallels are exactly what is to be expected when a crackpot theory is presented by its adherents. It is not the kind of evidence that real scientists collect to objectively test a theory.

    Oh, when viewed in isolation it can be, psychologically, quite striking. Just as the list of parallels between Lincoln and Kennedy is quite striking. Both are made to be psychologically persuasive to the reader. Neither list is designed to get at the truth of any underlying proposition.

    When one considers the sheer number of things mentioned in the Book of Mormon and the even greater number of things that can be known about ancient Israel, Egypt, or the Americas--millions of square miles during a thousand or more years (things found dating to a thousand years after Book-of-Mormon dates are still considered hits--just assumed to be remnants handed down from the previous civilization of a thousand years ago) then the number of possible hits is truly astronomical. That a hundred or ever a few thousand can be forced into a list is to be expected even if the Book of Mormon is not historical. However, what is not to be expected, if the Book of Mormon is historical, is that this is the best that they can do.

    The lists of "Book of Mormon evidences" that Mormons proudly publish are more a proof that their position is a pipe dream than evidence that it has any merit.
    topic image
    What Is John E. Clark, Ph.D. Smoking?
    Monday, Jan 15, 2007, at 11:17 AM
    Original Author(s): Lulu
    Topic: BOOK OF MORMON EVIDENCES   -Link To MC Article-
    “This book (John Lloyd Stephens, Incidents of Travel in Central America, Chiapas, and Yucatαn) amazed the English-speaking world with evidence of an advanced civilization that no one imagined existed–no one, that is, except Latter-day Saints.”

    Well no, Americans in general, and people in upstate NY in specific, did imagine an advanced civilization in the Western Hemisphere. It was called the Mound Builders. Some of those mounds were in JS’s neighborhood. The mounds and their supposed builders, a race more advanced than the “savage” Indians, were a hot topic in JS’s time. Odd Clark doesn’t mention them.

    “The book's description of ancient peoples differs greatly from the notions of rude savages held by 19th-century Americans.”

    But it fits very nicely with 19th-century American notions of Mound Builders. A Ph.D. in anthropology like Clark would know this, wouldn’t he?

    “The book's claim of city societies was laughable at the time, but no one is laughing now.”

    Wrong again Clark, 19th-century Americans saw the Mounds and attributed them to an advanced culture that the “savage” Indians destroyed.

    “Their pyramids (towers), temples, and palaces are all items mentioned in the Book of Mormon but foreign to the gossip along the Erie Canal in Joseph Smith's day.”

    Actually, the conical and square Mounds were a hot topic in JS’s day.

    “All Book of Mormon peoples had kings who ruled cities and territories. American prejudices against native tribes in Joseph's day had no room for kings or their tyrannies.”

    But Americans of JS’s day thought there was a race of people in American in addition to the “native tribes.” They called them Mound Builders and thought they were an advanced civilization because of the size of some of the Mounds and the artifacts being found in and near them.

    Anyone with a Ph.D. in anthropology from a major American university would know about the Mound Builders, 19th-century beliefs regarding them and how well those beliefs line up with what JS put in the BofM.

    Have you no shame John E. Clark?
    topic image
    A Response To FARMS: Nephites Or Mound Builders?
    Thursday, Feb 22, 2007, at 07:11 AM
    Original Author(s): Substrate
    Topic: BOOK OF MORMON EVIDENCES   -Link To MC Article-
    Recently, I read John Clark's "Archaeology, Relics, and Book of Mormon Belief" (Provo, Utah: Maxwell Institute, 2005. P. 38–49) at the suggestion of Daniel Peterson. Clark presents what he sees as 12 points of convergence between Mesoamerican archaeology and Book of Mormon descriptions. As I went through the list, it struck me that many of the parallels were present also in mound builder mythology, and I thought maybe I'd see if there were such alternative parallels for all the points he raises.

    1. Metal Records in Stone Boxes

    Here's Clark:

    "The first archaeological claims related to the Book of Mormon concern the purported facts of 22 September 1827: the actuality of metal plates preserved in a stone box. This used to be considered a monstrous tale, but concealing metal records in stone boxes is now a documented Old World practice. Stone offering boxes have also been discovered in Mesoamerica, but so far the golden plates are still at large–as we would expect them to be."

    According to Dan Vogel, the existence of such items was a common belief among the proponents of mound builder mythology:

    "Joseph Smith was certainly not the first to claim the discovery of a stone box, metal plates, or an Indian book. It was known that the Indians sometimes buried their dead in stone boxes similar to the one described by Joseph Smith. In 1820, for example, the Archaeologia Americana reported that human bones had been discovered in some mounds "enclosed in rude stone coffins." A similar stone box, described by John Haywood of Tennessee, was made by placing "four stones standing upright, and so placed in relation to each other, as to form a square or box, which enclosed a skeleton." Stone boxes of various sizes and shapes had reportedly been found in Tennessee, Kentucky, Missouri, Ohio, New York, and other places.

    "According to various accounts, some of the North American mounds also contained metal plates. Plates constructed by the Indians were usually made of hammered copper or silver and were sometimes etched. Plates made of other metals were most likely of European manufacture. In 1775 Indian trader James Adair described two brass plates and five copper plates found with the Tuccabatches Indians of North America. According to Adair, an Indian informant said "he was told by his forefathers that those plates were given to them by the man we call God; that there had been many more of other shapes, . . . some had writing upon them which were buried with particular men." The Reverend Thaddeus Mason Harris stated in 1805 that "plates of copper have been found in some of the mounds, but they appear to be parts of armour." Orsamus Turner reported that in 1809 a New York farmer ploughed up an "Ancient Record, or Tablet." This plate, according to Turner, was made of copper and "had engraved upon one side of it . . . what would appear to have been some record, or as we may well imagine some brief code of laws."45 The Philadelphia Port Folio reported in 1816 that "thin plates of copper rolled up" were discovered in one mound. In 1823 John Haywood described "human bones of large size" and "two or three plates of brass, with characters inscribed resembling letters" found in one West Virginia mound. In 1883 John Rogan of the Smithsonian Institution's Bureau of Ethnology excavated a mound near Peoria, Illinois, and discovered ten stone boxes, several containing a single skeleton and "a thin copper plate ornamented with stamped figures." Thus the connection of metal plates with stone boxes may have been a natural one."

    2. Ancient Writing

    Clark tells us that people in Joseph's day did not believe that ancient Americans could write:

    "Another fact obvious that September morning was that ancient peoples of the Americas knew how to write, a ludicrous claim for anyone to make in 1827."

    From the Geneva, New York, Gazette, Feb. 17, 1819, we read

    "Several ancient pieces of aboriginal writing have lately reached New-York from Mexico. They are such as have been described and figured by many of the authors that have treated of the men who were the rulers of that important region of North America at the time of its invasion by the Spaniards -- being partly imitative, by pictures, and partly significant, by hieroglyphics."

    Again, here's Vogel:

    "Perhaps such discoveries of metal plates encouraged the persistent legend of a lost Indian book. The legend, as related by Congregational minister Ethan Smith of Poultney, Vermont, held that the Indians once had "a book which they had for a long time preserved. But having lost the knowledge of reading it, they concluded it would be of no further use to them; and they buried it with an Indian chief." The legend further stated that the Indians "once, away in another country, had the old divine speech, the book of God; they shall at some time have it again, and shall then be happy."

    "Solomon Spalding (sometimes spelled Spaulding) of Ohio, at one time a Congregational minister, took advantage of the lore of his generation to spin a fanciful romance of ancient America. The romance, written sometime before Spalding's death in 1816 but not published until the late 1800s, pretended to be a translation of an ancient record. In his introduction, Spalding wrote that he found the ancient record in "a small mound of Earth" near the west bank of the Conneaut River in Ohio. On top of the mound was "a flat Stone," which he raised up with a lever. This stone turned out to be a cover to "an artificial cave," about eight feet deep and lined with stones. After descending into the pit, he discovered "an earthan [sic] Box with a cover." Removing its lid, he found that the box contained "twenty eight sheets of parchment . . . written in an eligant [sic] hand with Roman Letters and in the Latin Language . . . [containing] a history of the authors [sic] life and that part of America which extends along the greatLakes and the waters of the Missisippy." Spalding told the story of Roman sailors driven off course by a storm to North America about the time of Constantine. They found the land inhabited by two groups of natives.

    "Given the currency of such stories, Joseph Smith's own claim that he found a stone box, metal plates, and an Indian record in the hill near his father's farm certainly would have seemed credible to his money-digging friends as well as to others of his contemporaries."

    3. The Arts of War

    Clark tells us that Book of Mormon ideas of ancient American warfare show that he got details right that he could not have known by himself:

    "The information on warfare in the Book of Mormon is particularly rich and provides ample opportunity to check Joseph Smith's luck in getting the details right. The warfare described in the book differs from what Joseph could have known or imagined. In the book, one reads of fortified cities with trenches, walls, and palisades. Mesoamerican cities dating to Nephite times have been found with all these features."

    Again, the mound builder myths mention these very characteristics. Here's a description from 1803 by Rev. Dr. Thaddeus Harris of Massachusetts of such fortifications:

    "The situation of these works is on an elevated plain, above the present bank of the Muskingum, on the east side, and about half a mile from its junction with the Ohio. They consist of walls and mounds of earth, in direct lines, and in square and circular forms.

    "The largest square fort, by some called the town, contains forty acres, encompassed by a wall of earth, from six to ten feet high, and from twenty-five to thirty-six in breadth at the base. On each side are three openings, at equal distances, resembling twelve gateways. The entrances at the middle, are the largest particularly on the side next to the Muskingum. From this outlet is a covert way, formed of two parallel walls of earth, two hundred and thirty-one feet distant from each other, measuring from center to center. The walls at the most elevated part, on the inside, are twenty-one feet in height, and forty-two in breadth at the base, but on the outside average only five feet in height. This forms a passage of about three hundred and sixty feet in the length, leading by a gradual descent to the low grounds, where at the time of its construction, it probably reached the river. Its walls commence at sixty feet from the ramparts of the fort, and increase in elevation as the way descends towards the river;and the bottom is crowned in the center, in the manner of a well founded turnpike road.

    "Within the walls of the fort, at the northwest corner, is an oblong elevated square, one hundred and eighty-eight feet long, one hundred and thirty-two broad, and nine feet high; level on the summit, and nearly perpendicular at the sides. At the center of each the sides, the earth is projected, forming gradual ascents to the top, equally regular, and about six feet in width. Near the south wall is another elevated square, one hundred and fifty feet by one hundred and twenty, and eight feet high, similar to the other, excepting that instead of an ascent to go up on the side next to the wall, there is a hollow way ten feet wide, leading twenty feet towards the center, and then rising with a gradual slope to the top. At the southeast corner, is a third elevated square, one hundred and eight, by fifty-four feet, with ascents at the ends, but not so high nor perfect as the two others. A little to the southwest of the center of the fort is a circular mound, about thirty feet in diameter and five feet high, near which are four small excavations at equal distances, and opposite each other. At the southwest corner of the fort is a semicircular parapet, crowned with a mound, which guards the opening in the wall. Towards the southeast is a smaller fort, containing twenty acres, with a gateway in the center of each side and at each corner. These gateways are defended by circular mounds.

    "On the outside of the smaller fort is a mound, in form of a sugar loaf, of a magnitude and height which strikes the beholder with astonishment. Its base is a regular circle, one hundred and fifteen feet in diameter; its perpendicular altitude is thirty feet. It is surrounded by a ditch four feet deep and fifteen feet wide, and defended by a parapet four feet high, though which is a gateway towards the fort, twenty feet in width. There are other walls, mounds, and excavations, less conspicuous and entire.""

    Clark states that Joseph's description of weaponry is also unusual:

    "The Book of Mormon mentions bows and arrows, swords, slings, scimitars, clubs, spears, shields, breastplates, helmets, and cotton armor–all items documented for Mesoamerica."

    Once more, we find similar descriptions in the mound builder myths. From Vogel again:

    "Occasionally claims surfaced that intact metal objects had been found in the North American mounds, and mound builders were sometimes credited with objects of obvious European manufacture. The Port Folio reported in 1819 that one Tennessee mound contained "an iron sword, resembling the sabre of the Persians or Seythians." John Haywood claimed that in addition to clay objects "iron and steel utensils and ornaments have also been found." The Ohio mound builders, he wrote, "had swords of iron and steel, and steel bows, . . . tools also of iron and steel, and chisels with which they neatly sculptured stone, and made engravings upon it." In 1820 Atwater reported in the Archaeologia Americana that the mound builders "had some very well manufactured swords and knives of iron, possibly of steel." He also claimed that in Virginia "there was found about half a steel bow, which, when entire, would measure five or six feet." Thaddeus Harris indicated that "plates of copper have been found in some mounds, but they appearto be parts of armour." And Ethan Smith recorded that silver, copper, and iron had been found in the North American mounds."

    Clark ignores the mention of steel swords and instead posits the Nephite use of the macahuitl:

    "Aztec swords were of wood, sometimes edged with stone knives. There are indications of wooden swords in the Book of Mormon–how else could swords become stained with blood? Wooden swords edged with sharp stones could sever heads and limbs and were lethal."

    The presence of wooden swords here is speculative, based, it seems, on the description of blood-stained Nephite swords. Yet such a description appears elsewhere in 19th-century literature, including Dickens' Great Expectations ("blood-stain'd sword in thunder down"), which itself is a quotation from William Collins' 1746 poem, "Ode on the Passions." The same image also appears in 1867's "The Sword of Robert Lee," by Father A.J. Ryan. In essence, Clark seems to infer the presence of wooden swords from the use of a literary device.

    "The practice of taking detached arms as battle trophies, as in the story of Ammon, is also documented for Mesoamerica."

    This one is interesting, although it's an inexact match. Ammon, it must be observed, did not sever the arms in hopes of using them as battle trophies; rather, the text tells us that he severed the arms as the Lamanite sheep rustlers lifted their arms to smite him. The arms were gathered up by his astonished co-shepherds as evidence that this was some sort of superhuman individual. So, yes, there's a parallel, but it's decidedly weaker than Clark's assertion.

    "Another precise correspondence is the practice of fleeing to the summits of pyramids as places of last defense and, consequently, of eventual surrender. Conquered cities were depicted in Mesoamerica by symbols for broken towers or burning pyramids. Mormon records this practice."

    This statement puzzles me, as the first two citations for "towers as the last refuge in battle" (Alma 50:4; 51:20) have nothing to do with towers being the last refuge in battle but simply mention that towers were constructed on the fortifications and that after their surrender the dissenters were compelled to raise the title of liberty "upon their towers." The third citation (Moroni 9:7) says that "the Lamanites have many prisoners, which they took from the tower of Sherrizah; and there were men, women, and children." This is closer, but still makes no mention of the tower as a stronghold of last resort.

    "Other practices of his day were human sacrifice and cannibalism, vile behaviors well attested for Mesoamerica (see Mormon 4:14; Moroni 9:8, 10)."

    Human sacrifice and cannibalism were widely attributed to Native Americans in the 18th and 19th centuries; In James Adair's The History of the American Indians from 1775, we read, "The Spanish writers acknowledge that the Mexicans brought their human sacrifices from the opposite sea; and did not offer up any of their own people: so that this was but the same as our North American Indians still practice, when they devote their captives to death."

    "The final battle at Cumorah involved staggering numbers of troops, including Nephite battle units of 10,000. Aztec documents describe armies of over 200,000 warriors divided into major divisions of 8,000 warriors plus 4,000 retainers each. One battle involved 700,000 warriors on one side. The Aztec ciphers appear to be propagandistic exaggeration; I do not know whether this applies to Book of Mormon numbers or not."

    I'm not really sure of Clark's point here, but given the numbers of burial mounds discovered, it would not have surprised anyone to suggest that so many people had died in battle.

    "In summary, the practices and instruments of war described in the Book of Mormon display multiple and precise correspondences with Mesoamerican practices, and in ways unimaginable to 19th-century Yankees."

    As I've shown, the practices and instruments of war described are not only not "unimaginable" but they correspond rather well to what 19th-century Americans would expect.

    4. Cities, Temples, Towers, and Palaces

    "Mesoamerica is a land of decomposing cities. Their pyramids (towers), temples, and palaces are all items mentioned in the Book of Mormon but foreign to the gossip along the Erie Canal in Joseph Smith's day. Cities show up in all the right places and date to time periods compatible with Book of Mormon chronology."

    Yet Ethan Smith's "View of the Hebrews" cites Alexander von Humboldt in discussing the existence of these items that Clark calls "foreign" to Joseph Smith's day:

    "So great a number of indigenous inhabitants (he [von Humboldt] adds) undoubtedly proves the antiquity of the cultivation of this country. ... From the 7th to the 13th century, population seems in general to have continually flowed towards the south. From the regions situated south of the Rio Gila, issued forth those warlike nations, who successively inundated the country of Anahuac.--The hieroglyphical tables of the Aztees have transmitted to us the memory of the principal epochs of the great migrations among the Americans." This traveller [von Humboldt] goes on to speak of those Indian migrations from the north, as bearing a resemblance to the inundations of the barbarous hordes of Goths and Vandals from the north of Europe, and overwhelming the Roman empire, in the fifth century. He adds; "The people, however, who traversed Mexico, left behind them traces of cultivation and civilization. The Taultees appeared first in the year 648; the Chichimecks in 1170; the Nahualtees in 1178; the Acolhues and Aztees, in 1196. The Taultees introduced the cultivation of maize and cotton; they built cities, made roads, and constructed those great pyramids, which are yet admired, and of which the faces are very accurately laid out. They knew the use of hieroglyphical paintings; they could found metals, and cut the hardest stones. And they had a solar year more perfect than that of the Greeks and Romans. The form of their government indicated that they were descendants of a people who had experienced great vicissitudes in their social state. But where (he adds) is the source of that cultivation? Where is the country from which the Taultees and Mexicans issued?"

    "No wonder these questions should arise in the highly philosophical mind of this arch investigator. Had he known the present theory of their having descended from ancient Israel; it seems as though his difficulties might at once have obtained relief. These accounts appear most strikingly to favour our hypothesis. Here we account for all the degrees of civilization and improvements existing in past ages among the natives of those regions. How perfectly consentaneous are these facts stated, with the scheme presented in the preceding pages, that Israel brought into this new continent a considerable degree of civilization; and the better part of them long laboured to maintain it. But others fell into the hunting and consequent savage state; whose barbarous hordes invaded their more civilized brethren, and eventually annihilated most of them, and all in these northern regions! Their hieroglyphical records, paintings and knowledge of the solar year, (let it be repeated and remembered) agree to nothing that could have descended from the barbarous hordes of the north-east of Europe, and north of Asia; but they well agree with the ancient improvements and state of Israel."

    Oddly enough, Jeff Lindsay asserts that the Book of Mormon's not mentioning pyramids argues against any borrowing from Humboldt/Ethan Smith.

    5. Cement Houses and Cities

    "One of the more unusual and specific claims in the Book of Mormon is that houses and cities of cement were built by 49 BC in the Land Northward, a claim considered ridiculous in 1830. As it turns out, this claim receives remarkable confirmation at Teotihuacan, the largest pre-Columbian city ever built in the Americas. Teotihuacan is still covered with ancient cement that has lasted over 1,500 years."

    Again, we see in "View of the Hebrews" another citation to Humboldt noting the similarity of construction of the temples at Teotihuacan to ancient Egyptian methods: "This construction recalls to mind that of one of the Egyptian pyramids of Sackhara, which has six stories, is a mass of pebbles and yellow mortar, covered on the outside with rough stones."

    6. Kings and Their Monuments

    "All Book of Mormon peoples had kings who ruled cities and territories. American prejudices against native tribes in Joseph's day had no room for kings or their tyrannies."

    Again from View of the Hebrews:

    "They had an established religion among them in many particulars rational and consistent; as likewise regular orders of priesthood. They had a temple dedicated to the Great Spirit, in which they preserved the eternal fire. Their civil polity partook of the refinement of a people apparently in some degree learned and scientific. They had kings, or chiefs,--a kind of subordinate nobility,--and the usual distinctions created by rank were well understood and preserved among them."

    Thus we see that the Lamanite regional kings and sub-kings (think Lamoni and his father) fit right in with the notions of Joseph Smith's day about mound builder political structure.

    "The last Jaredite king, Coriantumr, carved his history on a stone about 400 BC, an event in line with Mesoamerican practices at that time. A particular gem in the book is that King Benjamin "labored" with his "own hands" (Mosiah 2:14), an outrageous thing for Joseph Smith to have claimed for a king. It was not until the 1960s that anthropology caught up to the idea of working kings and validated it among world cultures."

    The idea of a working king is a novel one, though it doesn't entirely contradict what people knew about Indian chiefs in the early 19th century. The sachem, or regional chiefs, were well-known to people of Joseph Smith's day, and we are told in early literature that they were chosen by their tribes for their wisdom and good sense: One author wrote in 1727, "Each nation is an absolute Republick by its self, govern'd in all Publick Affairs of War and Peace by the Sachems (Chiefs) ... whose Authority and power is gain'd by and consists wholly in the Opinion the rest of the Nation have of their Wisdom and Integrity."

    "More specifically, we consider Riplakish, the 10th Jaredite king, an oppressive tyrant who forced slaves to construct buildings and produce fancy goods. Among the items he commissioned about 1200 BC was "an exceedingly beautiful throne" (Ether 10:6). The earliest civilization in Mesoamerica is known for its elaborate stone thrones. How did Joseph Smith get this detail right?"

    I'm still trying to figure out how to answer this obvious question: how did Joseph guess that kings sit on thrones?

    7. Metaphors and the Mesoamerican World

    "Not all evidence for the authenticity of the Book of Mormon concerns material goods. A striking correspondence is a drawing from the Dresden Codex, one of four surviving pre-Columbian Maya books. It shows a sacrificial victim with a tree growing from his heart, a literal portrayal of the metaphor preached in Alma, chapter 32. Other Mesoamerican images depict the tree of life. The Book of Mormon's metaphors make sense in the Mesoamerican world. We are just beginning to study these metaphors, so check the Journal of Book of Mormon Studies for future developments."

    I think if anyone wants to see it, the image Clark refers to is found at http://www.famsi.org/research/graz/dr.... At any rate, Joseph Campbell describes the image as follows: "While rising from the victim's opened belly is the Tree of the Middle Place, which in the Beginning sprang from the body of the sacrificed cosmic goddess... Hers was the primal sacrifice, of which every other is a likeness, and was of world creation; this is of world renewal at the end of the age." Maybe it's just me, but saying that a depiction showing renewal from human sacrifice is a "literal portrayal of the metaphor preached in Alma" is a bit of a stretch.

    8. Timekeeping and Prophesying

    "A correspondence that has always impressed me involves prophecies in 400-year blocks. The Maya were obsessed with time, and they carved precise dates on their stone monuments that began with the count of 400 years, an interval called a baktun. Each baktun was made up of 20 katuns, an extremely important 20-year interval.[35] If you permit me some liberties with the text, Samuel the Lamanite warned the Nephites that one baktun "shall not pass away before . . . they [would] be smitten" (Helaman 13:9). Nephi and Alma uttered the same baktun prophecy, and Moroni recorded its fulfillment. Moroni bids us farewell just after the first katun of this final baktun, or 420 years since the "sign was given of the coming of Christ" (Moroni 10:1).[36] What are the chances of Joseph Smith guessing correctly the vigesimal system of timekeeping and prophesying among the Maya and their neighbors over 50 years before scholars stumbled onto it?"

    This one is quite thin. Using this logic, the Nephites kept time in blocks of 600 years, since that is the time predicted for the arrival of the Savior. Or maybe that's just a baktun and a half. Yes, I'd say Clark is taking some liberties here.

    9. Old World Geography

    "As is clear from the Cluff expedition, if the geography is not right, one can waste years searching for Zarahemla and never reach it. Book of Mormon geography presents a serious challenge because the only city location known with certitude is Old World Jerusalem, and this does not help us with locations in the promised land. However, geographical correspondences are marvelous for the Old World portion of the narrative. As S. Kent Brown and others have shown, the geography of the Arabian Peninsula described in 1 Nephi is precise down to its place-names. The remarkable geographic fit includes numerous details unknown in Joseph Smith's day."

    As I've said, the NHM hit is interesting and the closest thing we have to any external evidence for the Book of Mormon. But it is not of itself evidence of anything.

    10. New World Geography

    "For the New World, dealing with geography is a two-step exercise. First an internal geography must be deduced from clues in the book, and this deduction must then become the standard for engaging the second step, matching the internal geography with a real-world setting. John Sorenson has done the best work on this matter.[39] The Book of Mormon account is remarkably consistent throughout. Nephite lands included a narrow neck between two seas and lands northward and southward of this neck. The Land Southward could be traversed on foot, with children and animals in tow, in about 30 days, so it could not have been much longer than 300 miles. The 3,000 miles required for the two-hemisphere geography is off by one order of magnitude. Nephite lands were small and did not include all of the Americas or all of their peoples. The principal corollary of a limited geography is that Book of Mormon peoples were not alone on the continent. Therefore, to check for correspondences, one must find the right place and peoples. It is worth noticing that anti-Mormons lament the demise of the traditional continental correlation because it was so easy to ridicule. The limited, scriptural geography is giving them fits."

    So he dismisses the hemispheric model, which I would expect. It doesn't make sense, no matter how much the prophets have taught it.

    "Sorenson argues that Book of Mormon lands and peoples were in Central America and southern Mexico, an area known as Mesoamerica. We notice that the configuration of lands, seas, mountains, and other natural features in Mesoamerica are a tight fit with the internal requirements of the text. It is important to stress that finding any sector in the Americas that fits Book of Mormon specifications requires dealing with hundreds of mutually dependent variables. So rather than counting a credible geography as one correspondence, it actually counts for several hundred. The probability of guessing reams of details all correctly is zero. Joseph Smith did not know about Central America before reading Stephens's Incidents of Travel in Central America, Chiapas, and Yucatan, and he apparently did not know where Book of Mormon lands were, so a Book of Mormon geography correlation becomes compelling evidence that he did not write the book."

    I'm sorry, but I don't see this. It's as if he's arguing that since Sorenson found a location that more or less fits geographically, it's evidence for the Book of Mormon. As far as I've seen over the last 20 years or so, the "reams of details" guessed correctly are no more impressive than the claims Clark makes above.

    11. Cycles of Civilization in Mesoamerica

    "I mentioned that the Book of Mormon's claim of civilized peoples was verified in Joseph's lifetime. This claim is actually twofold because the book describes an earlier Jaredite civilization that overlapped a few centuries with Lehite civilization. The dates for the Nephite half of Lehite civilization are clearly bracketed in the account to 587 years before Christ to 386 years after. But those for the earlier civilization remain cloudy, beginning sometime after the Tower of Babel and ending before King Mosiah fled to Zarahemla. Jaredites were probably tilling American soil in the Land Northward at least by 2200 BC, and they may have endured their own wickedness until 400 BC".

    Fair enough.

    "The two-civilizations requirement used to be a problem for the Book of Mormon, but it no longer is now that modern archaeology is catching up. I emphasize that I am interpreting "civilization" in the strict sense as meaning "city life." In checking correlations between the Book of Mormon and Mesoamerican archaeology, I focus on the rise and decline of cities. The earliest known Olmec city was up and running by 1300 BC, and it was preceded by a large community dating back to 1700 BC. Most Olmec cities were abandoned about 400 BC, probably under duress. In eastern Mesoamerica, Olmec civilization was replaced by the lowland Maya, who began building cities in the jungles of Guatemala about 500 to 400 BC. As with Olmec civilization, Maya civilization experienced peaks and troughs of development, with a mini-collapse about AD 200. In short, the correspondences between the Book of Mormon and cycles of Mesoamerican civilization are striking."

    However, the "two-civilizations requirement" is not a problem in mound builder lore, as most proponents believed that the mound builders predated the Indian. Even in 1919 such myths continued:

    "Before the white man, the Indian; before the Indian who the archaeology of any County forms one of its most interesting chapters. Who the ancient dwellers were, what they did, what lives they led, are all questions of conjecture now. Their history appears only in their silent monuments, as silent at the race, the fact of whose existence they perpetuate. The relics they left are the only key that we possess of their lives, and these give a history whose antiquity seems almost Adamic. The principal remains left consist of earthworks, mounds and parapets, filled with the rude implements of the people who built them, and with the bones of these lost portions of humanity. From their proclivities to build these earthworks, these people are known as "Mound Builders," the only name that now fits their peculiar style of life."

    But let's look at the strength of Clark's timeline: The Olmec timeline roughly works, but the Maya does not, as the "mini-collapse" in 200 occurs just before the Mayan classic period (250-900), which does not at all match the Nephite decline and destruction in roughly AD 420.

    12. Mesoamerican Demographic History

    "Reconstructing ancient demography requires detailed information on site sizes, locations, dates, and frequencies. It will take another 50 years of active research to compile enough information to reconstruct Mesoamerica's complete demographic history. The Nephite and Lamanite stories are too complicated to review here; I will just consider the Jaredite period. To begin, the earliest developments of Jaredites and Olmecs are hazy, but from about 1500 BC onward their histories are remarkably parallel. The alternations between city building and population declines, described for the Jaredites, correspond quite well with lowland Olmec developments. Olmec cities were abandoned by 400 BC, and the culture disappeared–just as the Book of Mormon describes for the Jaredites (see Ether 13–15). This is a phenomenal correlation. Much more research in southern Mexico is needed to check the lands that Sorenson identifies as Nephite. The little I know of the region looks promising for future confirmations."

    Without examples of what he's talking about, it's hard to say whether the Jaredite rise and fall cycle matches the Olmec.

    "Before leaving this issue, it is important to make one observation on a global question that troubles some Latter-day Saints. Could millions of people have lived in the area proposed as Book of Mormon lands? Yes, and they did. Mesoamerica is the only area in the Americas that sustained the high population densities mentioned in the Book of Mormon, and for the times specified."

    He's right here, and this I believe is the reason the apologists favor Mesoamerica: it's the only place in the Americas that is even remotely plausible as a Book of Mormon setting. And ultimately, providing plausibility seems to be Clark's purpose here. But, as I have shown, it's at least as plausible that Joseph Smith incorporated local mythology into the Book of Mormon. Given two plausible explanations, I leave it to the reader to decide which one makes the most sense.
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    Bees And Honey In Central America
    Wednesday, Mar 28, 2007, at 07:55 AM
    Original Author(s): Grape Nephi
    Topic: BOOK OF MORMON EVIDENCES   -Link To MC Article-
    The apologists may claim that the Book of Mormon accounts of bees being in the New World before the Europeans is true, but does this prove the Book of Mormon or cause a problem?

    The bees of the Old World that were used for honey belong to the family Apis mellifera. This is the type of honey bee that was raised in Egypt and would have been the type of bee found throughout the Middle East.

    But are these the honey bees of the New World?

    No they are not. From wikipedia:

    "Mayan stingless bees of Central America

    The stingless bees Melipona beecheii and M. yucatanica are the only native bees cultured to any degree in the Americas. They were extensively cultured by the Mayan tribes for honey, and regarded as sacred. These bees are endangered due to massive deforestation, altered agricultural practices (especially insecticides), and changing beekeeping practices with the arrival of the Africanized honey bee, which produces much greater honey crops.

    History

    Native stingless bees (Melipona beecheii being the favorite) have been kept by the lowland Maya for thousands of years. The traditional Mayan name for this bee is Xunan kab, literally meaning "royal lady". The bees were once the subject of religious ceremonies and were a symbol of the bee-god Ah Muzen Cab, who is known from the Madrid Codex.

    The bees were, and still are, treated as pets. Families would have one or many log-hives hanging in and around their house. Although they are stingless, the bees do bite and can leave welts similar to a mosquito bite. The traditional way to gather bees, still favored amongst the locals, is to find a wild hive; then the branch is cut around the hive to create a portable log, enclosing the colony. This log is then capped on both ends with another piece of wood or pottery and sealed with mud. This clever method keeps the melipine bees from mixing their brood, pollen, and honey in the same comb as the European bees. The brood is kept in the middle of the hive, and the honey is stored in vertical "pots" on the outer edges of the hive. A temporary, replaceable cap at the end of the log allows for easy access to the honey while doing minimal damage to the hive. However, inexperienced handlers can still do irreversible damage to a hive, causing the hive to swarm and abscond from the log. On the other hand, with proper maintenance, hives have been recorded as lasting over 80 years, being passed down through generations. In the archaeological record of Mesoamerica, stone discs have been found which are generally considered to be the caps of long-disintegrated logs which once housed the beehives.

    Tulum

    Tulum, the site of an ancient Mayan city on the Caribbean coast 130 km south of Cancun, has a god depicted repeatedly all over the site. Upside down, he appears as a small figure over many doorways and entrances. One of the temples, the "Templo del Dios Descendente" or the Temple of the Descending God, stands just left of the central plaza. Speculation is that he may be the "Bee God", Ah Muzen Cab, as seen in the Madrid Codex. It is possible that this was a religious/trade center with emphasis on Xunan kab, the "royal lady"."

    So, once again doing a little research will show that the honey bee raised by the Mayans was not of the same variety as that raised by the semitic inhabitants of the old world.
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    Book Of Mormon Evidences
    Wednesday, Nov 14, 2007, at 09:11 AM
    Original Author(s): Baura
    Topic: BOOK OF MORMON EVIDENCES   -Link To MC Article-
    Why "Book of Mormon evidences" are not evidences at all.

    From time to time the Ensign publishes an article showing a similarity or "parallel" between something in the Book of Mormon and something in ancient Hebrew, ancient Egyptian, or pre-Columbian American (north and south) cultures. Some that have stirred a lot of interest are so-called "chiasmus" passages in the Book of Mormon and the finding of the consonants "NHM" on a stone in Yemen. The "NHM" inscription has been called "the strongest evidence yet" for the historicity of the Book of Mormon.

    Jeff Lindsay has a website with scores of "Book of Mormon Evidences."

    It therefore is important to look at what really is evidence for a given proposition and what is not. We can get our bearings by first looking at the nature of coincidence.

    On November 22, 1963 President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas Texas. Not too long afterwards people began compiling amazing "coincidences" between the Kennedy assassination and the Lincoln assassination. This spread to include "parallels" between Kennedy and Lincoln themselves.

    The list of coincidences/parallels include:

    Lincoln was elected to congress in 1846.
    Kennedy was elected to congress in 1946.

    Lincoln was elected president in 1860
    Kennedy was elected president in 1960

    Kennedy's assassin fired while in a warehouse and then fled to a theater.
    Lincoln's assassin fired while in a theater and then fled to a warehouse.

    Lincoln's assassin used three names: John Wilkes Booth.
    Kennedy's assassin used three names: Lee Harvey Oswald.

    John Wilkes Booth was born in 1839.
    Lee Harvey Oswald was born in 1939.

    Both assassins were from the South.

    Both assassins had exactly 15 letters in their name.

    Both assassins were shot to death before they could be put on trial.

    Both Kennedy and Lincoln were shot in the back of the head while seated with their wives.

    Both Kennedy and Lincoln were shot on a Friday.

    Lincoln was shot while at FORD'S theater
    Kennedy was shot while riding in a FORD automobile.

    Lincoln was shot while in Box 7 of the theater.
    Kennedy was shot while riding in car 7 of the motorcade.

    Both Kennedy and Lincoln were in the company of another married couple when shot and in each case the husband of the couple was injured during the assassination but not fatally.

    Both Kennedy and Lincoln had vice-presidents who were Southern Democrats, and former U.S. Senators named "Johnson" and both Johnsons chose not to run for re-election in '68. Each Johnson was also the father of two daughters.

    Andrew Johnson, who succeeded Lincoln, was born in 1808.
    Lyndon Johnson, who succeeded Kennedy, was born in 1908.

    Kennedy had a secretary named "Lincoln."
    Lincoln had a secretary named "Kennedy."

    Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation.
    Kennedy proposed sweeping civil-rights legislation.

    The name "Lincoln" has seven letters.
    The name "Kennedy" has seven letters.

    Both Kennedy and Lincoln studied law.

    Both Kennedy and Lincoln had been ship's captains.

    Both Kennedy and Lincoln were named after their grandfather.

    Both Kennedy and Lincoln lost a son while in the White House.

    Both Kennedy and Lincoln were the second-born in their families.

    Etc.

    Many other striking parallels have been put forward.

    Another example of a "parallel" or "coincidence" which is contrary to our intuition is the famous "birthday coincidence:" Consider the following: If 50 people are chosen at random what is the probability that two of them will have the same birthday (day and month)? One way to think of this is as follows: Well, if there are 366 people then there MUST be two with the same birthday (ignoring leap years). Therefore for 366 the probability is 1. For half of that, or 183, people the probability should be about half of what it is for 366 people or 50%. For 91 people it should be about half again or about 25% and for 50 people it should be about 13 or 14%. This line of reasoning, although seemingly plausible, is completely wrong. Without going into the details of probability theory I will simply point out that for 50 randomly chosen people the probability that at least two of them have the same birthday is slightly over 97%.

    Why should the actual probability be so high? A similar question is "Why should there be so many parallels between Kennedy and Lincoln?" The birthday problem is just simple mathematics at work but the Kennedy-Lincoln list of parallels is not susceptible to exact mathematical analysis. It often makes us think that something spooky is going on--that there must be some supernatural connection at work.

    The birthday problem works the way it does because as the number of people increases the number of possible coincidences increases at an even faster rate. With two people there is only one way to get a match. With three people, however, there are three ways to get a match. If I label the three people A, B and C then there can be A and B with the same birthday, B and C with the same birthday, or A and C with the same birthday. By adding one person we've tripled the number of ways to get a birthday match.

    With 4 people there are 6 possible matches: AB, AC, AD, BC, BD, CD.
    With 5 people there are 10 possible matches. AB, AC, AD, AE, BC, BD, BE, CD, CE, DE.
    With 6 people there are 15 possible matches. (I'll stop listing them.)
    With 7 people there are 21 possible matches.
    With 8 people there are 28 possible matches.
    With 9 people there are 36 possible matches.
    . . .
    And with 50 people there are 1225 possible matches.

    It is because of the great number of possible coincidences that the chance of hitting at least one is so great.

    With the Lincoln-Kennedy list of "coincidences" the number of "possible matches" becomes astronomical. With any two presidents there are an unbelievable number of "possible matches" in some aspect of their lives. Consider how many cabinet members there are or the number of White House staff members or the names of their children or their past positions, political or otherwise. Consider names of doctors they may have been treated by in their lives or the names and ages and occupations of various relatives. Consider all the possible incidents that may have happened in their pasts--what was the name of the minister that married them, that married their parents, etc. The number of possibilities is huge.

    The parallels that I have given above concerning Kennedy and Lincoln were discovered by many different people scouring both Kennedy's and Lincoln's lives for any similarities that could be found. The number of parallels reflects the amount of searching that has been done to dig them out rather than any specific connection between the two presidents.

    If the list were filled with the failed connections such as "Lincoln was from Illinois and Kennedy was from Massachusetts" then a list of tens of thousands of items could easily be made. On such a list the "hits" would appear very rare indeed. However in the lists that are actually presented the failed connections--the misses--are ignored. No aspect of the two presidents' lives is even considered until AFTER a coincidence is found. Then questions such as "what is the probability that two presidents would have secretaries with each other's last names" is asked. Of course that probability when considered by itself is extremely small. But out of tens of thousands of possiblities it is to be expected that there will be a few dozen that actually are hits. And each of those hits will have a very small probability when considered by itself. But the probability of any one of these hits when considered by itself is not significant. It is the whole picture INCLUDING the misses that is significant. If a million "thousand to one shots" are considered it is to be expected that many of them will actually occur.

    This is an example of "a posteriori" research--"research" after the fact. The significance of a bit of evidence is judged only after it is found to be a hit. "A priori" research, on the other hand, would be to decide what items will be compared BEFORE the hits or misses are known.

    This is the way real research to test a theory needs to be done to have any validity. One looks first at the theory and then, before looking at the evidence, one decides what would be expected if the theory were true. If further research shows that what was expected to be found ahead of time actually is found then that is evidence that confirms the theory.

    Crackpot science, on the other hand, works in the other direction. A pet theory of the "crackpot" is proposed. Since the formulator of the theory is more interested in supporting his theory than in finding the actual truth, the evidences that will or will not support the theory are not decided upon ahead of time. The "theorist" looks through all kinds of possible evidences that may or may not be consistent with his pet theory and only records those that he feels are favorable.

    This is exactly what was done with the "Lincoln-Kennedy" list of parallels. It is also what is done with Book of Mormon "evidences."

    If the Book of Mormon were actual history there are quite a few things that would be expected to be found. It would be expected that there would be the remains of a vast civilization on the American continents which, between 600 BC and 400 AD, planted wheat and barley, had a Judeo-Christian religion, used a hybrid form of Egyptian and Hebrew language and script, used horses, had the wheel, used smelted iron and steel, etc.

    No trace of such a civilization has ever been found. This is the "a priori" approach. This is the approach that real science uses in testing theories. First decide what would result if your theory were true then see if that is the way things really are.

    The Book of Mormon evidences that are presented are all "a posteriori" pieces of evidence. They are only considered "evidence" because someone found a way to view them as supporting the Book of Mormon claim of historicity. Thousands of "misses" (which are every bit as significant as the "hits") are ignored in compiling the lists of "evidence."

    In such an approach the sheer number of the "parallels" that are found is a reflection of the amount of time spent trying to dig them out rather than because of any real validity of the "theory" being considered. And there is no question that millions of man-hours have been spent by Mormons trying to find "evidences" for the historicity of the Book of Mormon.

    When viewed from this standpoint the list of sporadic parallels that are presented by Lindsay and others is strong evidence that the proposition they are trying to prove is, in reality, false. These kinds of lists of sporadic, "a posteriori" parallels are exactly what is to be expected when a crackpot theory is presented by its adherents. It is not the kind of evidence that real scientists collect to objectively test a theory.

    Oh, when viewed in isolation it can be, psychologically, quite striking. Just as the list of parallels between Lincoln and Kennedy is quite striking. Both are made to be psychologically persuasive to the reader. But neither list is designed to get at the truth of any underlying proposition--the proposition was already decided as true before the evidence was gathered.

    When one considers the sheer number of things mentioned in the Book of Mormon and the even greater number of things that can be known about ancient Israel, Egypt, or the Americas--millions of square miles during a thousand or more years (things found dating to a thousand years after Book-of-Mormon dates can still be considered hits--but just assumed to be remnants handed down from the previous civilization of a thousand years ago) then the number of possibilities is truly astounding. That a hundred or ever a few thousand can be forced into a list is to be expected even if the Book of Mormon is not historical. However, what is not to be expected, if the Book of Mormon is historical, is that this is the best that they can do.

    The lists of "Book of Mormon evidences" that Mormons proudly publish are more a proof that their position is a pipe dream than evidence that it has any merit.
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    Elephants In Book Of Mormon Present No Problem?
    Wednesday, Dec 26, 2007, at 06:57 AM
    Original Author(s): Sillymo, Flattopsf
    Topic: BOOK OF MORMON EVIDENCES   -Link To MC Article-
    FAIR claims elephants in BOM presents no problem at all:

    http://en.fairmormon.org/Book_of_Morm...
    "The only place that elephants are mentioned in the Book of Mormon is in Ether 9:19 in approximately 2500 B.C. Thus any elephants existing upon the American continents need not have survived past about 2400 B.C...Besides the traditions, five elephant effigies have been found in ancient Mexico. Dr. Verrill, a well-known (non-Mormon) archaeologist describes one of these figures as “‘so strikingly and obviously elephantine that it cannot be explained away by any of the ordinary theories of being a conventionalized or exaggerated tapir, ant-eater or macaw. Not only does this figure show a trunk, but in addition it has the big leaf-like ears and the forward-bending knees peculiar to the elephants. Moreover, it shows a load or burden strapped upon its back. It is inconceivable that any man could have imagined a creature with the flapping ears and peculiar hind knees of an elephant, or that any human being could have conventionalized a tapir to this extent’”... The oral traditions, written records, and artwork depicting elephants lends strong support for the claim that the elephant existed in ancient America. Even more substantial support-- actual remains-- have also been discovered. Today all scholars agree that mastodons and mammoths (which are unquestionably elephants to zoologists) once lived in the Americas. The dispute today is how late they lived. According to the Book of Mormon they need not have lived later than 2400 B.C. Within recent years archaeological evidence has demonstrated that the elephant could very well have survived to such a late date. Butchered mastodon bones were recently discovered at one archaeological site which dates to shortly after the time of Christ. Another site, dating to approximately 100 B.C. has yielded the remains of a mammoth, a mastodon, as well as a horse.[10]"

    "Some scholars have suggested that the elephant (mammoth or mastodon) lived later than hitherto believed. Ludwell Johnson, in an article entitled “Men and Elephants in America” published in Scientific Monthly, wrote that “Discoveries of associations of human and proboscidean remains [Elephantine mammals, including, elephants, mammoths, and mastodons] are by no means uncommon. As of 1950, MacCowan listed no less than twenty-seven” including, as noted by Hugo Gross, a “partly burned mastodon skeleton and numerous potsherds at Alangasi, Ecuador...There can no longer be any doubt that man and elephant coexisted in America.... Probably it is safe to say that American Proboscidea have been extinct for a minimum of 3000 years." If the elephants had died off at least 3000 years ago, they would still have been well within range of the Jaredite era. And as noted above, some evidence indicates that the elephant may have survived in limited numbers for centuries later.[11]"

    "In short, the elephant presents no problem for the Book of Mormon."
    [10] John L. Sorenson, An Ancient American Setting for the Book of Mormon (Salt Lake City, Utah : Deseret Book Co. ; Provo, Utah : Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies, 1996 [1985]), 297–298.
    They quote John L. Sorenson, saying "another site, dating to approximately 100 B.C. has yielded the remains of a mammoth, a mastodon, as well as a horse."

    If the quote is true, I wonder where Sorenson got the information.
    Alpheus Hyatt Verrill, 1871-1954 (Nov.), US naturalist, malacologist, photographer and author (wrote 105 books on history and travel). Bearing in mind that his first names is that of an US naturalist (see Hyatt), who a few years before A.H. Verrill's birth studied for L. Agassiz at Harvard together with i.a. A.E. Verrill (see Bush), he was the son of the latter.
    http://www.tmbl.gu.se/libdb/taxon/per...

    Note the dates of Mr. Verrill's life. Note that Mr. Verrill was NOT an archaeologist. Note that Mr. Verrill's work was published in the late 1930s. Understand that during his lifetime, there was VERY LITTLE real archaeology going on in Central and South America that actually sought to understand the cultures they were investigating, as opposed to vainly attempting to somehow relate them to already-known Old-World cultures.

    Mr. Verrill was the author of 105 books on history and travel. Great. He was also a naturalist. Like so many others during the 1930s, Mr. Verrill seems to have been enthralled with Mayanology and visited Central America. Great again. There he saw some stuff he couldn't understand and started drawing conclusions based on his understanding of his OWN culture. "Hmmm! Drawings of things with fat bodies and long noses! Must be elephants! Hmm! Drawings of birds with teeth! Must be pterodactyls!" NOT Great.

    In the 1930s, nobody could read Mayan, and nobody understood very much at all about them or any earlier Central American cultures, not even specialized experts. Those cultures that still existed were annihilated as soon as they were conquered, with no thought for preserving anything that might have been already known. This is why it has taken so long to begin to debunk the Book of Mormon's wild claims about the history of the Americas. Only in the late 20th century were archaeologists able to begin deciphering parts of Pre-Columbian history. Mormons, though enthusiastic, were not involved. Serious scientists resist drawing conclusions based on the cultural traits of the investigator, and resist making conjectural statements without basing them in incontrovertible facts.

    There is where Mr. Verrill went seriously wrong as a scientist. And that is precisely the point where Mr. Sorensen takes up the thread and warps it into Mo-Speak.

    You as a reader must remember to take EVERYTHING a Mormon "archaeologist" claims with a tablespoonful of salt. In fact, you would be a whole lot better off if you'd stop wasting your time reading anything anyone associated with the Mormon church writes at all. They spend all their time sifting through obsolete materials to find the proverbial needle in the haystack that they can then try to use to substantiate their false claims.

    I'm basing this one on a favorite rhetorical shenanigan of apologists, which is to reach for the dictionary when something in the BOM is questioned (right now they're harping about what the definition of "principal" is; no prizes for guessing why).

    In this case, though, I'll toss a scientist or two at Sorenson (he of tapir-drawn chariot fame as well).

    http://www.suite101.com/article.cfm/p...
    As a paleontologist, one of the questions that I am often asked is: "How are mammoths and mastodons different from modern elephants?" These animals often get mistaken for one another.

    In the last 55 million years, over 500 different species of Elephantids have roamed the earth at different times. Today, only two are still extant: the African elephant (Loxodonta africana) and the Asian (or Indian) elephant (Elephas maximus). Notice that they have different genus names. This is because scientists have determined that they are so different that not only are they members of different species, but they are different enough to be set apart into even larger groups.

    For many years it was believed that the mammoths were the ancestors of our modern elephants, but scientists believe today that they were actually cousins.

    Mammoths and mastodons are also placed into two different genera (the plural of genus). Mammoths are in the genus Mammuthus and mastodons are placed in the genus Mammut.
    We've also had stylized renditions of macaws (tropical American parrots) from Mayan ruins passed off as "proof the BOM is true." The key though, is "peer review," a concept unheard of in FAIR/FARMS/MAandD circles. Legitmate scholars welcome criticism and feedback from other academic sources, painful as it sometimes is; Mormon apologists are strictly intellectually incestuous types who gather in small groups of pseudo-scholarly bullies and holler loudly about the lighting when exposed to genuine reason . . .

    The timetable for the last mammoth and mastodon extinction in the Americas was around 10,000 B.C.E. which is seven thousand years before the myth of the Jaredites . . .

    http://www.sfu.ca/archaeology/museum/...
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    Spencer Lake Horse Skull
    Wednesday, Feb 20, 2008, at 06:37 AM
    Original Author(s): Californiakid, Beastie
    Topic: BOOK OF MORMON EVIDENCES   -Link To MC Article-
    CaliforniaKid:

    In 1936, a horse skull was excavated in Spencer Lake, Wisconsin. The skull was found in a burial mound that was later to be securely dated to the Late Woodland Period, about 1000 years before the European conquest of the New World. The researcher who excavated the skull, W. C. McKern, had found no stratigraphic evidence that the mound had been disturbed, and so concluded that it could not have been planted. A university student, however, came forward and claimed to have planted the skull. McKern interviewed the student and, based on discrepancies between the student's description of the planted skull and the one McKern had excavated, concluded that the excavated skull could not be the one the student planted. A heated debate ensued, which ended in something of a stalemate.

    In the late 1960's, after McKern had retired, the student came forward and gave more details, which help to explain the absence of stratigraphic disturbance. In the words of Alex Barker, "Sketches they [the purported prankster and his friends] provided of the pit they dug suggest that their short tunnel would have largely been within a single stratum, rather than crosscutting strata as did the usual, vertically oriented looting pits. As a result, the intrusive pit fill would have been relatively undifferentiated from the intact fill around it" (Barker, 30). Barker concluded in 2001 that the skull was a hoax, and that the discrepancies in the prankster's story were due merely to his faulty memory. The evidence was ambiguous enough, however, that it has continued from time to time to be used as possible evidence for the Book of Mormon. In fact, Daniel C. Peterson seems to be alluding to the Spencer Lake skull when he says in a recent FAIR video that horse bones "found in the upper Midwest" "have been radiocarbon dated to about the time of Christ." Presumably in his reference to radiocarbon dating he is thinking of the Late Woodland date of the mound, which was obtained by carbon dating some charcoal found therein. Peterson suggests that archaeologists' late dating of this and other horse finds are simply "assumed, on the basis of ideology and preconceived opinion."

    In 2002 all that changed when Dr. Stephen Jones (a physicist whose research interests, oddly enough, include cold fusion, 9/11 conspiracy theories, and Book of Mormon horses) of Brigham Young University contacted Barker and offered to fund AMS (Accelerator Mass Spectrometry) dating of the horse skull itself. Samples were sent to two separate radiocarbon labs, both of which returned post-conquest dates (averaging about 150 years ago). This study has finally settled the controversy surrounding the Spencer Lake horse skull. The skull is a hoax, and provides no evidentiary support for the Book of Mormon.

    Works Cited:

    Barker, Alex W. "Stewardship, Collections Integrity, and Long-Term Research Value," in Our Collective Responsibility: The Ethics and Practice of Archaeological Collections Stewardship, ed. S. Terry Childs (Washington, D. C.: Society for American Archaeology, 2004) 25-41.

    http://chriscarrollsmith.blogspot.com...

    The Bible Vs BoM was released in October 2005. The FAIR video was a rebuttal to that one. So obviously it was produced AFTER 2005.

    Beastie:

    http://www.lhvm.org/bible.htm

    I thought maybe after I slept on it I would recover from my slight shock last night - shock at either the utter, hopeless incompetence of apologists like DCP, or the deliberate deception of the same. But I'm still shocked. I thought I was beyond shocked after my years of debating apologists, after exposing Sorenson's flawed metallurgy references... but this is a new low.

    Believers have excitedly and hopefully looked forward to the release of this carbon dating for YEARS - and I'm betting that if Chris hadn't found this essay, the real information would NEVER have been shared. Obviously FARMS wasn't going to share it - look at Chris' ignored emails. Obviously the apologists - including DCP - were quite content to remain silent and allow believers to exercise a vain hope. Why did they think they could get away with it? Because they've gotten away with it so many times in the past. Using the example of Sorenson's faulty footnotes that I exposed - how many DECADES had those sources been parroted by apologists who could have easily checked the source themselves??? They get away with this stuff because they are not subject to any strict academic peer review, and their target audience wants to believe what they're saying so badly they are not inclined AT ALL to check these assertions. And anyone who DOES check their assertions is a dirty anti-mormon. The mods have made that clear intheir reaction to these threads. What idiots. What idiots.

    I used to wonder whether the cause of these events was simple incompetence or willing deception. The incompetence that this particular event would require was so stunning that it could only have been a CHOICE to remain ignorant due to the suspicion that the evidence wouldn't pan out. Perhaps this is the same reason apologists don't bother to check one another's references (for controversial assertions). They don't want to KNOW it's bogus. What's that phrase for choosing to remain ignorant so you won't be legally liable for something? Can't remember, but that describes what's going on here, except it's a moral liability, not legal. This has pushed me over the edge in regards to choosing between incompetence or willing deception - the incompetence is so extreme it is a FORM of willing deception.

    THIS is why I stay involved in responding to BoM apologetics. These apologists are willing deceiving people who are looking for information. If someone took the time to LOOK for this information, at least some part of them wants to KNOW the truth. Yes, they're eager and easy to be convinced - but if at least SOME small part of their minds wanted to know the TRUTH and not just reassurances, I don't think they would go out of their way to look in the first place. And they are being misled, time after time. I don't care if people are mormons or not, but I DO care when people are deliberately misled, time after time, by the same group of people.
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    Ancient American Mythologies And Book Of Mormon Animals: From The Outside In
    Tuesday, Oct 20, 2009, at 07:45 AM
    Original Author(s): Mason
    Topic: BOOK OF MORMON EVIDENCES   -Link To MC Article-
    I am currently studying World Mythology. The materials are divided into two parts: World Mythology I - Common Themes; Egypt; the Ancient Middle East; India; and China and the rest of Asia. World Mythology II - Greece; Rome; the Celts and the rest of Europe; the Americas; Africa; and Oceania.

    Obviously, some of us have a bit of extra interest in the Americas (which I have just completed). While studying the myths and legends, I kept a list of all the animals that appeared in the stories. My purpose in creating the list was to have an independent diagnostic to see how the Book of Mormon would fair. Animals species come and go, but if the Book of Mormon is what it says we would expect there to be a significant intersection in a Venn diagram of “Book of Mormon Animals” and “Animals in the Mythologies of the Americas”. To date, there has been considerable analysis from the perspective of the Book of Mormon. In other words, by looking “from the inside out”. This post uses the information from my studies to take the opposite approach toward “Book of Mormon Animals” (or the lack thereof). In other words, my aim is to consider things “from the outside in”. [Note: My method would still work for the subset of “Limited Geography Book of Mormon Animals”. :) Maybe FARMS can use it to narrow down potential Book
    of Mormon locales!]

    PART I: Looking “From the Outside In”

    In total thirty-five animals were referred to in the mythologies I studied. For each animal I have indicated the number of Book of Mormon references. In the three cases where there were relevant verses, I provide a brief comment on them.

    1. Raven – NONE

    2. Whale – TWO
    The two Book of Mormon “whale” references are to the Jaredites crossing the ocean.
    Ether 2:24 “Jaredite vessels shall be as whale in midst of sea.”
    Ether 6:10 “whale could not mar Jaredite vessels.”
    No claim is made that whales existed in the Americas.

    3. Eagle – NONE
    4. Buzzard – NONE
    5. Buffalo/Bison – NONE
    6. Salmon – NONE
    7. Turtle – NONE
    8. Muskrat – NONE
    9. Snakes – NONE
    10. Falcon – NONE
    11. Monkeys – NONE
    12. Skunk – NONE
    13. Butterflies – NONE
    14. Beetle – NONE
    15. Redbird – NONE
    16. Spider – NONE
    17. Trout – NONE
    18. Owl – NONE

    19. Bear – TWO
    The two Book of Mormon references to bears are direct quotes of Isaiah 11.
    2 Nephi 21:7 “cow and bear shall be fed.”
    2 Nephi 30:13 “And the cow and the bear shall feed”.
    No claim is made that bears existed in the Americas.

    20. Deer – NONE
    21. Beaver – NONE
    22. Elk/Caribou – NONE
    23. Rabbit – NONE
    24. Seal – NONE
    25. Bats – NONE
    26. Moose – NONE
    27. Jaguars – NONE

    28. Dog – TWO
    The two Book of Mormon references to dogs are direct quotes from the Bible: 3 Nephi 7:8 directly quotes Proverbs 26 and 2 Peter 2:22, and 3 Nephi 14:6 directly quotes Matthew 7:6 and Luke 11:11.
    No claim is made that dogs existed in the Americas.

    29. Fox – NONE
    30. Puma/Cougar – NONE
    31. Turkey – NONE
    32. Gopher – NONE
    33. Coyote – NONE
    34. Frog – NONE
    35. Loon – NONE

    Part I Book of Mormon Score: Zero out of thirty-five.

    PART II: More Looking “From the Outside In”

    In the aim of fairness, I took my analysis a step further and checked five generic terms that would include some of the thirty-five specific animals in Part I.

    36. Birds – NONE

    37. Fowl – SIX
    Three Book of Mormon references relate to the Jaredites:
    Ether 2:2 “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.
    Ether 2:16 “and they were light upon the water, even like unto the lightness of a fowl upon the water.”
    Ether 6:4 “whatsoever beast or animal or fowl that they should carry with them”
    An additional three Book of Mormon references (2 Nephi 2:15, Alma 34:10; 3 Nephi 13:26) relate to the Creation, the practice of ancient sacrifice, and an analogy.
    No claim is made that fowl existed in the Americas.

    38. Fish – THREE
    One Book of Mormon reference is to the Jaredites carrying fish prior to leaving the old world:
    Ether 2:2 “and they did also prepare a vessel, in which they did carry with them the fish of the waters.”
    Two additional Book of Mormon references are simply direct quotes from the Bible: 2 Nephi 7:2, which directly quotes Isaiah 50, and 3 Nephi 14:10, which directly quotes Matthew 7:10 and Luke 11:11.
    No claim is made that fish existed in the Americas.

    39. Game – TWO
    Game is defined as animals that are hunted for food. Eight of the animals from my list of thirty-five (bison, deer, turtles, elk, moose, rabbits, snakes, and turkeys) would qualify as game. There are two Book of Mormon references to game:
    3 Nephi 4:2, 20 “there were no wild beasts nor game in those lands” and “wild game became scarce in the wilderness”.
    Ether 10:21 “And they did preserve the land southward for a wilderness, to get game.”
    The two Book of Mormon references to “game” could be seen as referring to animals also found in ancient American mythology.

    40. Serpents – ELEVEN
    Two Book of Mormon references relate to the Jaredites:
    Ether 9:31 “And there came forth poisonous serpents also upon the face of the land”.
    Ether 10:19 “And in the days of Lib the poisonous serpents were destroyed.”
    Nine Book of Mormon references relate to Moses, Lucifer, and various analogies. None of those nine verses (2 Nephi 24:29; 2 Nephi 25:20; Helaman 8:14-15; 1 Nephi 17:41; 2 Nephi 2:18; Mosiah 16:3; 3 Nephi 14:10; Mormon 8:24; Mormon 9:24) claim that serpents existed in the Americas.
    Two of the Book of Mormon’s eleven references to “serpents” could be seen as referring to animals also found in ancient American mythology.

    Part II Book of Mormon Score: Two out of five.

    PART III: Revisiting “From the Inside Out”

    I wanted to briefly summarize the animals that the Book of Mormon claims did exist in the Americas during the relevant time periods. These include the following fifteen animals (three of which have already been dealt with in Part II):

    41. Asses
    42. Cattle
    43. Cows
    44. Cummoms
    45. Cureloms
    46. Elephants
    X. Fish (Already referenced in Part II).
    X. Game (Already referenced in Part II).
    47. Goat
    48. Horses
    49. Oxen
    X. Serpents (Already referenced in Part II).
    50. Sheep
    51. Swine
    52. Vultures

    Discussion on most of the above animals is well worn and there is plenty of general information available on the Internet, so I do not intend to dwell on them or conduct my own further research. These are my brief outlines based on the current scientific and historical information available for each of the twelve animals the Book of Mormon claims existed during its timeframe.

    Category 1: Based on the best current research, eight of the twelve animals (asses, cattle, cows, goats, horses, oxen, sheep, and swine) did not arrive in the Americas until they were brought there by the explorers and conquistadors during the period between 1500 and 1622 CE, which is well after the time claimed by the Book of Mormon. [Note: Some of these animals had existed in the Americas prior to the end of the last ice age in 10,000 BCE, but were extinct well before the Jaredites allegedly arrived. There is some scientific and historical information indicating that forms of horses and pigs may have existed in the wild in the Americas during the Book of Mormon timeframe, but that is far from clear at this point.]

    Category 2: Elephants: The current consensus is that elephants disappeared from the Americas 10,000 or so years ago, which is well before the Book of Mormon’s timeframe. [Note: There is some scientific and historical information, as well as art, that supports the contention that mastodons, mammoths, and elephants may have lasted in the Americas until as late as 1500 BCE, which would overlap with the Book of Mormon’s Jaredite timeframe of 2500 BCE, but that is far from clear at this point.]

    Category 3: Vultures: New World vultures (those in the Americas) are not closely related from a genetic standpoint to Old World vultures. My conclusion is that these birds would have existed in the Americas during the Book of Mormon timeframe.

    Category 4: The Book of Mormon includes a reference to “Cummoms” and “Cureloms”, but they are referred to as “unidentified animals”. Accordingly, it is impossible to give any credence to the existence of either creature. Further, as the text provides absolutely no information about the nature of the alleged animals, there would never be any way to verify their existence without an extraordinary set of discoveries, which would likely have to include at least: (i) a reference point such as the discovery of a Near Eastern language using terminology similar to “Cummoms” and “Cureloms” prior to the time of the confusion of languages at Babel; and (ii) verification that such creatures existed in the Americas shortly after the time of the confusion of languages at Babel.

    Part III Book of Mormon Score: One out of twelve.

    SUMMARY

    PART I: Of the thirty-five animals that figure prominently in the mythologies of the ancient peoples of the Americas, the Book of Mormon makes zero references to any of them as having existed in the Americas.

    PART II: Of the five generic terms that could correspond to animals that figure prominently in the mythologies of the ancient peoples of the Americas, the Book of Mormon makes reference to two of the five.

    PART III: Of the twelve remaining animals referenced in the Book of Mormon, there is clear proof for only one (the vulture) of them existing in the Americas at the relevant time.

    How did the Book of Mormon perform?

    Total Score: Three out of Fifty-two.

    In terms of the animals that should likely have shown up in the Book of Mormon and those that should not have, the Book scores three out of fifty-two (and two of the three scoring answers were broad generic terms). Miserable results. From my standpoint, yet again, things look very bleak for the credibility and factuality of the Book of Mormon.

    [Final Note: I admit that my ignorance of the existence of undomesticated versions of the eight animals in Part III, Category 1 may improve the Book of Mormon’s position slightly. As well, apologists like Jeff Lindsay and even FAIR make some reasonable arguments regarding potential terminology issues. However, even if a few of the above animals flip to the other side of the balance sheet, the Book of Mormon moves very little in terms of credibility.]
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    Absence Of Evidence Argument
    Monday, Aug 16, 2010, at 08:42 AM
    Original Author(s): Michael
    Topic: BOOK OF MORMON EVIDENCES   -Link To MC Article-
    Some very good research and published work from LDS scientists are providing evidence and proof in answer to the question of the early migrations into the Americas and the origins of its indigenous people. It disappoints me when the LDS continue to hold to the Book of Mormon and argue that absence of evidence is not proof.

    Should Joseph Smith's words be considered "evidence" of the truth? Here is something that the DNA science of LDS researchers proves wrong:
    The Indian chiefs remained at Nauvoo until the Prophet returned and had his trial. During their stay they had a talk with Hyrum Smith in the basement of the Nauvoo House. Wilford Woodruff and some others were present. They were not free to talk, and did not wish to communicate their feelings until they could see the great Prophet.

    At length, on the 2nd day of July, 1843, President Joseph Smith and several of the Twelve met those chiefs in the court-room, with about twenty of the elders. The following is a synopsis of the conversation which took place as given by the interpreter: -

    The Indian orator arose and asked the Prophet if the men who were present were all his friends. Answer – “Yes.”

    He then said – “We as a people have long been distressed and oppressed. We have been driven from our lands many times. We have been wasted away by wars, until there are but few of us left. The white man has hated us and shed our blood, until it has appeared as though there would soon be no Indians left. We have talked with the Great Spirit, and the Great Spirit has talked with us. We have asked the Great Spirit to save us and let us live; and the Great Spirit has told us that he had raised up a great Prophet, chief, and friend, who would do us great good and tell us what to do; and the Great Spirit has told us that you are the man (pointing to the Prophet Joseph). We have now come a great way to see you, and hear your words, and to have you to tell us what to do. Our horses have become poor traveling, and we are hungry. We will now wait and hear your word.”

    The Spirit of God rested upon the Lamanites, especially the orator. Joseph was much affected and shed tears. He arose and said unto them: “I have heard your words. They are true. The Great Spirit has told you the truth. I am your friend and brother, and I wish to do you good. Your fathers were once a great people. They worshiped the Great Spirit. The Great Spirit did them good. He was their friend; but they left the Great Spirit, and would not hear his words or keep them. The Great Spirit left them, and they began to kill one another, and they have been poor and afflicted until now.

    The Great Spirit has given me a book, and told me that you will soon be blessed again. The Great Spirit will soon begin to talk with you and your children. This is the book which your fathers made. I wrote upon it (showing them the Book of Mormon). This tells what you will have to do. I now want you to begin to pray to the Great Spirit. I want you to make peace with one another, and do not kill any more Indians; it is not good. Do not kill white men; it is not good; but ask the Great Spirit for what you want, and it will not be long before the Great Spirit will bless you, and you will cultivate the earth and build good houses like white men. We will give you something to eat and to take home with you.”

    When the Prophet’s words were interpreted to the chiefs, they all said it was good. The chief asked, “How many moons would it be before the Great Spirit would bless them?” He [Joseph] told them, Not a great many.

    At the close of the interview, Joseph had an ox killed for them, and they were furnished with some more horses, and they went home satisfied and contented.
    (DHC Vol V, page 479) The American Indian such as those in the above account were not hypothetical ideas. They were real individuals, whose people are still living. A supposed prophet of God told them that he had a book about their history. But today these same tribes show no DNA evidence of having Hebrew ancestry.

    The evidence is overwhelming that the Book of Mormon is fiction and that Joseph Smith was a fraud.
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    Book Of Mormon Monetary System
    Wednesday, Aug 18, 2010, at 08:40 AM
    Original Author(s): Raymartin
    Topic: BOOK OF MORMON EVIDENCES   -Link To MC Article-
    BOOK OF MORMON MONETARY SYSTEM - Copyrights reserved. (Martin) 2004

    An Examination of Nephite Coinage

    While studying the Book of Mormon, one is often led across a very complicated passage of text in a manner that doesn't allow time to really digest what is being read. And after the reading, the reader is no better informed than before the reading. Such is the case relating to Nephite coinage. In Alma 11:22, I read, "And Zeezrom said unto him: Behold, here are six onties of silver, and all these will I give thee if thou wilt deny the existence of a Supreme Being," implying that six onties of silver were very valuable. This sparked my curiosity. So, I decided to find out if it is possible to ascertain, through logic and the given information, what the value of an onti was. The results, to the best of my ability but with no guaranty of accuracy, are found below.

    According to my geology instructor at a University Of Nevada class for amateur prospectors, the natural ratio of silver to gold in the earth's crust is said to be about 15:1. This ratio varies widely from mine to mine, and mining district to mining district. For instance, in the great Comstock lode of Nevada, the ratio was only 1.3:1 silver/gold, while in the Tonopah, Nevada district the ratio was almost 100:1. In the Silver City district of Idaho, the ratio was about 30:1 and on the island of Sumatra the ratio was on the order of 10:1, for a ratio in the four mining districts of about 35.325:1. (See note 1, p. 3). However, with no information being found in Alma to offset the assumption that the average ratio there was 15:1, I have used this ratio in my formula. (See also, note 2, p. 3 for additional support).

    Alma 11:5-11:19
    11:5 Now the reckoning is thus--a senine of gold, a seon of gold, a shum of gold, and a limnah of gold.
    11:6 A senum of silver, an amnor of silver, an ezrom of silver, and an onti of silver.
    11:7 A senum of silver was equal to a senine of gold, and either for a measure of barley, and also for a measure of every kind of grain.
    11:8 Now the amount of a seon of gold was twice the value of a senine.
    11:9 And a shum of gold was twice the value of a seon. 11:10 And a limnah of gold was the value of them all.
    11:11 And an amnor of silver was as great as two senums. 11:12 And an ezrom of silver was as great as four senums. 11:13 And an onti was as great as them all.
    11:14 Now this is the value of the lesser numbers of their reckoning--

    11:15 A shiblon is half of a senum; therefore, a shiblon for half a measure of barley.
    11:16 A shiblum is a half of a shiblon.
    11:17 And a leah is the half of a shiblum.
    11:18 Now this is their number, according to their reckoning.
    11:19 Now an antion of gold is equal to three [silver] shiblons.

    THE VALUE OF THEM ALL

    For clarification, I have converted the gold and silver pieces (Alma 11:4) into U.S. dollars reflecting a value placed upon each coin in the text.

    It is estimated that a two gram gold coin, such as the "Small Liberty Head," minted by the U.S. in 1863, measuring approximately 3/8 inch in diameter and about 0.025 of an inch in thickness would be the smallest coin that could be used in ordinary commerce. A two gram silver coin called "The Dawn of Liberty" by its creator, Metric Monetary Mint, in 1974, measurers 1/2 inch in diameter by 1/16 of an inch in thickness. Both coins are in this writer’s posses¬sion. One gram = 0.0311034768 of a troy ounce. (But, see note 3). Therefore:

    A senine = 2 grams of gold = $1.00 = 1 measure of barley
    A seon = 4 grams of gold = $2.00 = 2 meas. of barley
    A shum = 8 grams of gold = $4.00 = 4 meas. of barley
    A limnah = 14 grams of gold = $7.00 = 7 meas. of barley
    An antion = 3 grams of gold = $1.50 = 1 and a half meas. of barley.

    Total 31 grams of Gold = $15.50 = approximately one troy ounce = approx. 15.5 measures of barley

    A senum = 30 grams of silver = $1.00 = 1 meas. of barley
    An amnor = 60 grams of silver = $2.00 = 2 meas. of barley
    An ezrom = 120 grams of silver = $4.00 = 4 meas. of barley
    An onti = 210 grams of silver = $7.00 = 7 meas. of barley
    A shiblon = 15 grams of silver = $0.50 = 1/2 meas. of barley
    A shiblum = 7.5 grams of silver = $0.25 and
    A leah = 3.75 grams of silver = $0.125 = 1/8th meas. of barley

    Total Total = 446.25 grams = 14.347 troy oz of silver = approx. 1.2 lbs. troy.
    = $14.875 = 14.875 measures of barley.

    Could a monetary system based upon sevenths of the largest coin in use be used in ordinary commerce? Or, using this rate of exchange, would the six onti coins ($42.00) offered by Zeezorm (Al. 11:22) really be of sufficient value to tempt Amulek to renounce God? (Al. 11:23). Would a judge work for a coin the size in diameter of a lead pencil, per day? a coin which would afford him only one measure of grain (see, Al. 11:3, Rev. 6:6). I have real difficulty with the coinage system described in the Book of Mormon. How would one make change in transactions involving anything other than grain? The value of the least coin, a leah, would be $0.125 (one fifty-sixth of an onti or a limnah) making transactions of less than one eighth of a measure of grain impossible.

    Or, would anyone, (e.g., Zeezrom), be likely to carry six onti coins, weighing about 3.376 troy pounds of silver, around on his person, so as to be able to say to Amulek: "Behold, here are six onties of silver ..." (Al 11:22)?

    An onti of silver would buy about seven measures of barley. If a judge worked seven days a week, his take home pay would be an onti. What did the ordinary worker make? If he earns a shiblum per day he could buy only about one and three quarters measures of grain with his seven days pay. The system just doesn't make sense when you are given enough time to think about it. See, note 4.

    REFERENCES

    Note 1. von Bernewitz, M. W, revised by Chellson, Harry C. Handbook for Prospectors and Operators of Small Mines, New York, McGraw-Hill, 1943, pp. 253, 255.

    Note 2. According to Edward Gibbon's, The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Volume I, ch. II, note 108, the ratio of Roman silver/gold coinage was fixed at about 14.4:1 during the reign of Constantine. See, Great Books of the Western World, Volume 40, Chicago, University of Chicago, 1952, p. 23.

    Note 3. By International Agreement, the weight of one Kilogram of .995 gold is established at exactly 32.15 ounces troy.

    Note 4. Judging from the best information I’ve been able to obtain, an essay on the subject by E. Leslie Carlson, Th.D., Professor of Biblical Backgrounds And Archaeology, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, appended to one of my Bibles, it appears that the Hebrews did not use a coinage system until their return from Babylonian Captivity in about 538 BC.
    topic image
    Bat Creek Stones And Bats In The Belfry
    Monday, Aug 23, 2010, at 08:04 AM
    Original Author(s): Michaelm
    Topic: BOOK OF MORMON EVIDENCES   -Link To MC Article-
    Glenn Beck is Glenn Beck, but at one time the LDS church did investigate artifacts for fraud, with a concern for the truth. This involved Michigan relics and an official church commission to determine if they were real. The apostle James Talmage suspected fraud right from the start. It can be read about here:

    http://www.hal.state.mi.us/mhc/michre... LDS archaeologist Dr. Stamps even "produced new evidence of the relics' modern manufacture." When artifacts were being promoted as evidence that might have supported the BofM claims, the Church was suspicious and cared about the truth. Well, it aint your grandma's church anymore.

    Look a little deeper at the Michigan case:

    http://www.hal.state.mi.us/mhc/michre...
    "A request that the University of Michigan evaluate the relics and publish its findings led to further scholarly investigation. Professor Francis Kelsey of the university’s Latin Department made his own assessment of the objects. He enlisted Dr. Morris Jastrow, a respected expert on Middle Eastern languages at the University of Pennsylvania. Not content to reach merely a local audience, the two sent their denunciations of the Michigan Relics to a national magazine."
    Dr. Jastrow was "a respected expert on Middle Eastern languages". Who at this time at BYU might be an LDS counterpart? And why hasn't a Middle Eastern Studies professor from BYU denounced the Bat Creek Stones?

    A BYU faculty member involved in Middle Eastern studies mentioned the Bat Creek Stones to argue for evidence of the Book of Mormon in this 1993 writing:

    http://maxwellinstitute.byu.edu/publi...
    "...the fascinating essay of J. H. McCulloch on the so-called Bat Creek Inscription."
    Mention of McCulloch was in reference to "The Bat Creek Inscription: Cherokee or Hebrew?", published in the Tennessee Anthropologist. A rebuttle to McCulloch was also published in the same and can be read here:

    http://www.ramtops.co.uk/bat2.html

    Newark Ohio had phones ringing all day after Glenn Beck used the Bat Creek Stone to argue for Hebrews in ancient America. There is still no BYU professor publicly declaring those artifacts to be known frauds. Even worse, the LDS men in the belfry of COB have remained silent. This silence shows that the church is being ruled by men and not god.
    topic image
    FAIR Concedes Nephites Had No Coins, Dig A Hole And Jump In
    Tuesday, Oct 26, 2010, at 09:16 AM
    Original Author(s): Jim Whitefield
    Topic: BOOK OF MORMON EVIDENCES   -Link To MC Article-
    I just came across this video clip from FAIR so it is new to me, but it may well have been posted here previously. If so, I apologise if I bore anyone, but as I have written on this subject myself (see later link), I felt it worth relaying this absurd claim made by FAIR.

    Until the 2005 film “The Bible v. The Book of Mormon” was released; no one ever seemed to question the concept of Nephite coins in the Book of Mormon. Everyone knew and accepted that the Nephites developed and used their own currency system.

    Subsequent to the film, in a remarkable turn-around concerning all that Mormons previously understood about coins from reading the Book of Mormon, FAIR claimed the heading to Alma 11 is “almost certainly wrong” and that the Nephites did not have coins after all…

    It is notable that as ever there has been no official response from the First Presidency or Quorum of Twelve who are the ones (rather than mere apologists) who are supposed to actually represent God. Apologists stir up a hornets nest and the big fifteen keep quiet.

    In a three minute clip, entitled “The Book of Mormon and coins”, John Welch, founder of FARMS introduces what is news (to them, but not the rest of the world) that “sometimes people criticise the Book of Mormon saying that it talks about coins; and coinage wasn’t really invented until after Lehi has left Jerusalem.”

    Daniel C. Peterson, PhD – Middle Eastern Studies; makes this astounding confession:
    “There have been no coins found in Ancient America because they didn’t exist – and they don’t exist in the Book of Mormon.”
    He adds: “The header note to Alma 11 which describes Nephite coinage is almost certainly wrong.”

    Brant Gardner, Scholar, Mesoamerican Studies claims:
    “The header is a modern addition. It has nothing to do with the text. It certainly isn’t unusual that people will read that section of the Book of Mormon and assume that it’s coins but we do that with the Bible too. We will read ourselves back into it and make assumptions about the early culture based on what we believe, so we read these things and say it must have been coins.”
    Kerry Shirts, Contributing Researcher Foundation for Apologetic Information and Research then says:
    “But those headings were not on the plates. From our understanding, some of the modern brethren put those headings to try to give us kind of a guide but the actual text itself describes different weights.”
    Peterson then confirms his view:
    “It describes pieces of metal; it says nothing about them being stamped or minted which is what makes a piece of metal a coin. There is no reason to expect to find Nephite coins because I don’t think they ever existed and the Book of Mormon doesn’t claim they do.”
    Kerry Shirts:
    “The actual idea of the differing weights being used as a weight system in the monetary system is actually in the [sounds like ‘Meso-obtanian’, which is not a word, perhaps he meant Mesoamerican], the Arcadian – and the old Babylonian, come to think of it. This is how they used their money was through weight.
    John Tvedtnes, Senior Scholar chimes in:
    “In fact even the Israelites used weights initially. The Bible mentions some. The most common was called the shekel which comes from the verb ‘to weigh’ – actually it is the verb meaning to weigh.
    Back to Peterson:
    “We know that coinage first appeared apparently in Libya, in modern Turkey or Anatolia and you see in some burials clearly the transition that occurs after Lehi’s departure by about a century or so from the new world. You see mixed hoards of stamped minted coins and also specific weights of metal that are not shaped, minted or stamped. So, there was an evolution there in a sense. People went from fixed weights of metal to actual coins. Lehi left just before that change took place.
    John Welch concludes:
    “And that’s what we have in this weights and measures section of chapter eleven. It’s part of a big picture of the legal reforms that explains why those weights and measures were initiated at that time and they conform with what one would have expected from the ancient world.”
    Peterson:
    “We always have the problem of trying to impose on the text our own imagination of things. If you read the text very carefully and try to filter out your own cultural presupposition the ancient people didn’t necessarily live, think or act exactly the same way we do.”
    The three minute clip from which the above text is drawn is available here:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_TC-JJ...

    The question is, after a long succession of Mormon ‘Prophets’, if the heading is wrong, when the headers were first introduced, somewhere around 1920 it seems, why did the prophet of the day (Heber J. Grant) allow such an error to be included in the heading or why hasn’t the Mormon God revealed the supposed error to a later prophet and had him ‘clarify’ it. Clearly, Church authorities have no idea what the truth is and do not appear to venture an explanation – or even an opinion. It is left to apologists to make such statements, presumably in some kind of attempt to escape the inevitable alternative conclusion that Nephite ‘coinage’ is yet another evidence of the Joseph Smith hoax.

    The heading to Alma Chapter 11 includes the words: Nephite coinage set forth…

    Verse 4 confirms they had actual coins (imprinted or not) and such manufactured ‘pieces’ do not deteriorate or decay in any way. If they existed in any form, some should (and would) have been found decades ago. The word ‘pieces’ in this context, in Joseph Smith’s day, meant coins – that’s a fundamental; and previous to an apologetic need for such fanciful conjecture; completely accepted fact.

    Alma 11:4. “Now these are the names of the different pieces of their gold, and of their silver, according to their value.”

    This verse; which is not just a header to be discarded; but is the actual text, clearly states that the pieces each had an individual value – and were not just part of a weight system.

    FAIR claims that the word ‘pieces’ of gold or silver doesn’t mean they were imprinted – which would only then make them ‘coins’. The notion that they would need imprinting to qualify as currency is absurd when you consider the many different early forms of currency, metallic and otherwise, that have existed around the world without imprinting. However, they seem to think that such pieces would only be found if they were imprinted. Since when did refined pieces gold or silver deteriorate, imprinted or not?

    Peterson says later burials contained “mixed hoards of stamped minted coins and also specific weights of metal that are not shaped, minted or stamped.” So, in the Americas let’s not expect to find imprinted coins and just settle for “hoards” of “specific weights of metal that are not shaped, minted or stamped” instead. Where in all the Americas have any of the millions of these pieces ever been discovered? The Americas have seen more archaeological research than anywhere else on the planet and there is not a single ‘piece’.

    References to weights and measures of the Old World do no more than verify the fact that Smith made up the idea of Nephite coinage in the first place as they would have had no knowledge of such things – just as detractors have long argued. Now apologists play their usual mind games, meant to capture the faithful before they lose faith, and exploit their delusion further by explaining away the inexplicable in a new (and everlasting?) idea that the header was wrong all along, misleading everyone, and only they as academics can ‘clarify’ matters and now explain everything away satisfactorily.

    These pieces can hardly be considered just measures of ‘weight’ by any stretch of the imagination. Joseph Smith clearly recorded what God supposedly told him via his seer stone in his hat. No pieces have been found, any more than coins have; and no other gold or silver usage in any such complex refined form has ever been found in the Americas. Gold dust was used (in quills) by the Aztecs and Maya who also used measures of 24,000 cocoa beans as ‘currency’. Despite the FAIR claim that they used weights, most used no form of currency at all and 24,000 cocoa beans have little to do with weight and everything to do with simple numbers.

    The ‘pieces’ of precious metal were equal to, or multiples of, other specific values. Therefore each ‘piece’ had to be of equal weight. Such pieces are therefore effectively coins – minted and / or stamped or not; each piece would have had to have weighed the same and perhaps (if they were real) could have been shaped in order to easily recognise the differences. The shekel reference does not mention the fact that shekels were definitely NOT ‘pieces’ that each weighed the same. A shekel was indeed a measurement of the weight of any number of sizes from dust to lumps, making up the appropriate weight. This has always been perfectly clear and understood by anyone who has studied it. The Nephite system, whatever you conceive it to be, must be admitted as being ‘pieces’ of precious metal and therefore should still be locatable and dateable – even without any imprints. Gold and silver doesn’t miraculously deteriorate just because it has no imprint! They had to have had millions of these so-called ‘pieces’ and nonehave been found at all. Also, in the case of Biblical shekels, which are mentioned in the video clip, archaeological digs have not only located evidence of such in the form of gold, silver and bronze ingots; but also evidence of the methods of weighing them; naturally, dating to before the time Lehi supposedly left Jerusalem, just as apologists (only now) admit. So, where is the archaeological evidence for methods of weighing these millions of missing Nephite ‘pieces’ of metal – or at least ingots of gold and silver to substantiate the claim?

    Measures of barley (Alma 11:7 and 15) could not have been used against the value of Nephite coins or ‘pieces’, even as weights, as there never was domesticated barley in the Americas. Pathetically, apologists cling to the idea that a few grains of a type of small barley of some description may have been found in one or two minor locations dating to the BOM time period. Unfortunately, Arizona does not help problematic geography associated with the BOM, so one problem always leads to another. Additionally, it is completely different to the species of domesticated barley claimed to have been introduced from the Near East by BOM characters. Remember, Smith claims they brought it with them and that it was a staple and it had to feed millions of people. It is a conclusive fact that this was not the case. Of course, devious apologists may next claim that ‘barley’ may have meant some other type of grain of convenience, just as tapirs once suddenly seemed to have been able to act as horses in order to pull fictitious BOM chariots; another fanciful and ludicrous apologetic notion, which has hopefully (and sensibly) now faded out of apologetic fashion.

    The reality is that the Spanish introduced barley to South America in the 16th century. British and Dutch settlers introduced it to the United States in the 17th century. Soil core samples from across the continent show nothing prior to that and according to the BOM it was a staple and used against coins or now suddenly the ‘weight’ system they employed. Barley is a pollen producing crop and no soil core samples have located domesticated barley in the Americas prior to the later colonisation. So, coins or weights – it makes no difference, the whole concept is outrageous and a study of all Native American tribes and civilisations proves beyond doubt that no such system as described in the BOM (whether coin or weight) was ever employed by any of them.

    I have copied my section on Nephite currency from ‘The Mormon Delusion’ Volume 2 and posted it for a period on my website including these notes for those who go there without seeing this thread; so anyone who cares to revue the absurdity of Smith’s Nephite currency ideas can do so. Whether we substitute ‘weights’ for ‘coins’ or not, ALL the problems still remain. The link is available here:

    http://www.themormondelusion.com/page...

    Just scroll down to the heading.

    If you want to substitute ‘weight’ for ‘coin’ everywhere in my work – which is quite a stretch for FAIR to now claim – nevertheless, all the problems still remain. It solves nothing and questions everything – including this:

    FAIR claims that the chapter ‘headings’ (which mention a coin system) were “a modern addition” and “It has nothing to do with the text”. They claim “some of the modern brethren put those headings” with the “wrong” assumption that it relates to coins. They didn’t bother to consider two things.

    Firstly, those headings seem to have been first introduced somewhere around 1920. They were approved by the First Presidency or they would never have appeared. The header today remains the same. It clearly states “COINAGE” which was always accepted as the case. There have been dozens of members of the ‘big fifteen’ since that time. Each one of them is sustained as a prophet, seer and revelator. How is it that the Mormon God has not once seen fit to ‘inspire’ let alone ‘reveal’ the truth regarding this matter to any of those leaders (including TEN actual prophets) in all those years – and still chooses not to do so – to avoid such a problematic situation arising? Recognising that actual coinage is an impossibility in supposed Nephite times but accepting the Book of Mormon must still be shown to be true at any cost – what authority from that God do mere apologists claim in order to decry their own leaders (and their God) who permitted such an (obvious only to them) error in the first instance? Do the Mormon leaders and their God now rely on academics to explain what is really meant in the “most correct book ever written”? – which to most of us, is really the most ‘fictitious book ever corrected’! If the First Presidency is still happy with the header, then as they reign supreme in the Church, apologists should accept that it does mean coins – unless and until the First Presidency concede otherwise and declare otherwise on behalf of their God. The fact that it is still there affirms that as of today – either they accept that Nephites supposedly had coins or – the only alternative (thanks to apologists who pointed it out) they accept the fact that the apologists are correct but are quite content for the headers not to be ‘corrected’ and thus perpetuate yet another lie? Which is it? Either apologists are wrong and they should say so, or Church leaders persist in publishing yet another conceded lie.

    Secondly, B.H. Roberts seemed quite satisfied to believe they had coins – not just weights, when he wrote, “we have also a number of names of Nephite coins and the names of fractional values of coins…” Roberts ‘explains’ the coinage system and their relative values and then states “there is stated a system of relative values in these coins that bears evidence of its being genuine”. (A New Witness for God. 3:145). So; apologists are also disrespecting Roberts’s explanation which was clearly accepted by the whole Church, leaders and members alike, until this very day. No one I know locally has any more doubt about the coin system than they have any idea that apologists decry it.

    If Church leaders did one day alter the header to read that it was purely a system of measurement by weight, none of the surrounding problems disappear. It would just add even more complications for the Church, as it would show a reliance on academic postulations based on delusional reasoning rather than revelation from God. What a way to run a railroad that would be!

    The apologists may have been better advised to leave well alone as they look increasingly foolish in trying to be clever about things which are already complete nonsense and they just make matters worse. Why would a God dictate the most ‘correct’ book into Smith’s hat and at the same time leave such ambiguity about what has become – due to meddling apologists who want to look the part and appear clever enough to explain the inexplicable – yet another monumental problem for the Church? I can’t help but wonder how such delusion still prevails in people who can see the truth and yet instead of facing it, spend their lives searching for and publishing supposed plausible but unfounded alternative postulations in response to evidence against, not just this, but all the claims made by the Church.

    After the millions of words that apologists have been obliged to write in order to fabricate supposed ‘explanations’ to the hundreds upon hundreds of problems surrounding Mormon so-called scriptures, isn’t it time that at least some of them had their own epiphany and realised the real answer to it all is extremely simple. It is ALL impossible and Smith made just it up.

    Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored. (Aldous Huxley).

    http://www.themormondelusion.com
    topic image
    An Example Of Book Of Mormon Evidences And The Scientific Method
    Tuesday, Jan 3, 2012, at 08:01 AM
    Original Author(s): Anonymous
    Topic: BOOK OF MORMON EVIDENCES   -Link To MC Article-
    One of the goals of science is not to prove theories right, but to prove them wrong. When this happens, a theory must be changed or thrown away. It is important to report the results even if the outcome proved the theory wrong.

    If someone does not want everyone to know that the theory was wrong, he or she might not report the results right away. What if the theory turned out wrong so it was thrown away but the outcome was not reported at all?

    How does this matter with the Book of Mormon? Look at horses. Science maintains that horses in America had died with the large mammal extinction. They were not in America again until their arrival from Europe. Science does not support horses in the Book of Mormon.

    Here is a little story. You decide if the scientific method was followed and if results were witheld or just thrown aside because they were not the desired outcome.

    In 1935 a horse skull was found in a Wisconsin mound. In 1936 a college student found out about the skull. He confessed that when he was in his teens he and a friend had buried that skull in the mound. Like teens today, they laughed what someone would think if they found it two hundred years later but as an adult he wanted to make things right. The confession did not get reported right away. In 1962 the former student was now a professor and he wrote a statement of his teen mischief. Another professor identified the skull as a western mustang and noted that rodents had gnawed it, meaning it had been above ground for some time before it was buried in the mound. This backed up the confession.

    The Spencer Lake horse hoax was finally exposed in 1964 in the Wisconsin Archaeologist.

    http://www.archive.org/stream/wiscons...

    In 1967 radiocarbon dating results were published for the mound, showing it to be in the period from 500 to 1000 AD.

    See Spencer Lake on page 9

    http://www.google.com/url?sa=tandrct=jand...

    There are people who need more proof when things don't agree with what they want to believe. The radiocarbon dates for the mound caused some to wonder if the horse skull was that old too, even after the hoax had been exposed.

    In 2001, there were people trying to establish proof for horses in the Book of Mormon.

    http://maxwellinstitute.byu.edu/publications/jbms/?vol=10andnum=1andid=246

    "Meanwhile, Dr. Steven E. Jones of the BYU physics department has for several years been tracking down horse bones in North America considered to predate the European conquest. Professor Jones's purpose for this search is to submit the bones to tests by the radiocarbon method (some of that work has taken advantage of assistance from FARMS). So far, one or more finds appear to be possibly of pre-Spanish Conquest date, although definitive results will take more work. Further work is being done by Yuri Kuchinsky, a researcher in Canada who has been pursuing a variety of other evidence, based mainly on Native American lore, about possible pre-Conquest horses in North America."

    The Spencer Lake Horse skull was one of the objects to be tested. What if it really were as old as the mound dates? That type of evidence would vindicate the horse in the Book of Mormon. The outcome proved the theory wrong. The skull was not as old as the mound, it dated in the time period of the teen prank. For some reason the results did not get reported in FARMS publications at BYU, but the radiocarbon results were printed in 2004 in this non-LDS book:

    Our Collective Responsibility: The Ethics and Practice of Archaeological Collections Stewardship, ed. S. Terry Childs, Washington, D. C.: Society for American Archaeology, 2004

    http://books.google.com/books?ei=8Uf1...

    Page 30 has the radiocarbon testing. Only a portion can be read at the online link. With the paper copy it says this:

    “In this case those conclusions are testable. In 2002 I was contacted by Dr. Stephen Jones of Brigham Young University, a researcher conducting a project on the antiquity of New World horses. He was willing to provide funds for dating the skull using accelerator mass spectrometery (AMS) in order to settle questions regarding the skull’s antiquity. A single sample was removed by MPM staff from the aboral margin of the jaw near the gonion caudale. It was separated into three subsamples, one held as a voucher and the others independently submitted to different radiocarbon labs (Beta Analytic and Stafford Research Laboratories) for AMS dating. The samples were of approximately the same size and yielded results in close agreement. Beta 167209 yielded an uncalibrated date of 110 +- 40 BP; Stafford SR6189 yielded an uncalibrated date of 190 +- 35 BP."

    Mormons did not notice this book and the people involved in requesting the testing did not print the results for other Mormons to see. Science worked, a theory was proven wrong but the results were not published by those who had hoped for a different outcome.

    In 2005, FAIR made a video that included horses in America and the Spencer Lake Horse hoax was thought of as evidence for horses.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qkydMS...

    In 2008, a non LDS post graduate student informed FAIR of the error and provided them with the source for the 2004 radiocarbon results. Why didn't those who requested the radiocarbon dating of the skull publish the results? Why is the video is still on youtube? How many Mormon friends and family might see this video and believe it?
     
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      · ADAM GOD DOCTRINE (4)
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      · 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)
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      · STEVE BENSON - SECTION 14 (17)
      · STEVE BENSON - SECTION 15 (12)
      · STEVE BENSON - SECTION 2 (21)
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      · 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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