Questions

After reading some of the Google news alerts that came across my desk in the past couple of weeks I was left pondering several questions. For instance…

On August 27th this headline appeared: “Huckabee Denies Mormon Slur.” The story was actually a transcript from a Rush Limbaugh radio interview with former presidential candidate Mike Huckabee. At issue was the comment Mr. Huckabee made during his campaign when, responding to a reporter’s question, he asked, “Don’t Mormons believe that Jesus and the devil are brothers?” Mr. Huckabee explained to Mr. Limbaugh,

“It was a question that I actually asked of the New York Times Magazine writer, because he knew a lot more about Mormonism than I did. It appeared as 11 words in about a 10,000-word story, and that got all the play.”

The question I ponder from this story is this: Since Mormonism teaches (and hence Mormons believe) that Jesus and the devil (Lucifer) are brothers, why was Mr. Huckabee’s comment labeled a “slur”? Would it have been a slur if Mr. Huckabee had said, “Mormons believe in baptism for the dead, don’t they?” Or, “Mormons believe God appeared to a farm boy in upstate New York, don’t they?” Or, “Mormons believe in Jesus Christ, don’t they?”

On September 3rd the Salt Lake Tribune ran a story titled, “Utah Democrats back off religion-based attack on Palin.” The article reported,

“The Utah Democratic Party charged this week that Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin is a ‘devout member of an anti-Mormon denomination’ and questioned whether LDS faithful should vote for her.”

As it turned out, the charge against Mrs. Palin by the Utah Democratic Party had no basis in fact:

“Palin is not a member of the church the Democrats are referencing, that church denies it is anti-Mormon and there’s no evidence of any anti-Mormon rhetoric from its pulpit.”

The Democratic Party has backed off and now says they have no plans to make Mrs. Palin’s religion an issue in the election. But one question I have been asking myself since reading this article is this: If it is bigotry to not vote for a Mormon because of his religion, isn’t it also bigotry to not vote for a non-Mormon because of her religion?

Someone who appears to be LDS (identified as ne1410s) left a comment about the Salt Lake Tribune story that included this:

The Utah Democrats have nothing to be ashamed of. Stan Lockhart’s phony righteous indignation doesn’t change the fact that the Assemblies of God [the denomination in question] are indeed anti-mormon. This is from their official web site:

http://www.ag.org/Pentecostal-Evangel/Articles2002/4579_spencer.cfm

The link provided by ne1410s does indeed go to the Assemblies of God web site, to an article which appeared in its denominational magazine Pentecostal Evangel in 2002. Written by former Mormon Jim Spencer, the article, titled “Is Mormonism Christian?” begins,

“Notice that the title of this article is not ‘Are Mormons Christians?’ That is a somewhat different question. No one can see into the human heart but God. No one but God is qualified to judge hearts. But, does Mormonism teach a consistent biblical doctrine — a Christian doctrine? That is an important question because we can judge the teachings of an organization. And we must do so if we are to faithfully discharge our responsibilities as Christ’s disciples.”

What follows in Mr. Spencer’s article is a look at several key doctrines (i.e., the nature of God, priesthood, grace, scripture, etc.) and how the LDS understanding of these doctrines differs from that of historic (biblical) Christianity.

My question: If it is “anti-Mormon” for a non-LDS organization to delineate some major differences between Mormonism and historic Christianity, is it also anti-Mormon when the LDS Church does the same? Or, if it has to do with the perspective of the author, should the LDS explanation of how Mormonism differs from other religions be deemed anti-evangelical? Or anti-non-Mormon? Based on the distinctions listed and explained on the LDS web site, is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints an anti-[fill-in-the-blank] denomination?

On September 4th the East Valley Tribune (Arizona) ran “Group uses billboards to reach out to ex-Mormons,” a story about PostMormon.org. The article described a recent billboard ad sponsored by the group:

“It features a generic smiling family of eight, a Post-It note that reads ‘You are not alone!’ and the Web site address: www.PostMormon.org.

The article went on to interview and record the stories of former Mormons and the feelings of loneliness they experienced after leaving the LDS Church. The article quoted an LDS spokesman in Arizona:

“I think it is another instance of people who have decided to leave the church. Generally, what we find is that oftentimes people who leave the church don’t leave quietly. [They sometimes] leave bitterly and want to make some sort of a statement.”

One Mormon (lmoll4) commented:

“Whether or not you believe what the church represents you should out of respect for other people who do believe, just leave it alone. Because you have left the church I am not going to attack you so I would hope that you would do the same. In this country we have freedo[m] of religion. Please be respectful of that.

This story raises yet more questions in my mind. If it is true that those who leave Mormonism and talk about it, that those who make statements about it are bitter and disrespectful, is it true that people who talk about having left another religion for Mormonism are also bitter and disrespectful? Are people who talk about their spiritual journeys into Mormonism attacking those who have not made the same journey? Are they infringing on the Constitutional rights of others to freely practice their own religions?

Just wondering…

Friends, as you engage in discussion please be aware of the Mormon Coffee profanity filter that removes the Mormon N-word from comments.

About Sharon Lindbloom

Sharon surrendered her life to the Lord Jesus Christ in 1979. Deeply passionate about Truth, Sharon loves serving as a full-time volunteer research associate with Mormonism Research Ministry. Sharon and her husband live in Minnesota.

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133 Responses to Questions

  1. faithoffathers says:

    Arthur,

    “The poetic patterns found in ancient writings are simply a result of Smith copying the styles of writing found in the Bible.” This is an incredible stretch my friend. Anybody who knows the Book of Mormon recognizes that, yes, there are passages found in the BOM that are also in the bible. The Nephites had the brass plates, a record of the prophets. But the VAST majority of the BOM is not “verbatum” from the bible.

    There is essentially no way Joseph Smith knew anything about chiasmus. Trying to make up a story line that sounds like scripture alone is actually extremely difficult. I challenge anybody to do try it. And to produce a text with the same poetic structure as ancient scripture without knowing it is, again, a huge stretch.

    Chiasmus is not simply rhyming or simple parallel concepts. Sister Tanner’s attempt to explain this away fails in the ultimate slight of hand in saying Joseph essentially adopted the language of the Bible. There are very complicated structures involved. Alma 36 contains the most beautiful and complicated chiastic structure I know of. It contains a series of 26 lines or verses, each with its own concept or key word. The following 26 lines or verses are a mirror of those 26. Perfectly descending, mirrored words or concepts in reverse order. At the center, or apex, is the central teaching- the atonement of Christ. I would diagram it here, but I don’t know how to keep it in format.

    The reason this structure came through the translation is that the structure is based on concepts or proper names, not pronunciations or sounds like typical poems.

    By the way, these structures are found throughout the Bible. Some of them appear broken up, or incomplete. Guess what happens to these poetic structures when one looks at the Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible? They fall back into parallel, chiastic structure. For a dumb farm boy, he sure was smart!

  2. LDSSTITANIC says:

    faithoffathers…what we find extremely interesting is that he not only copied the King James Version word for word…he also copied the words in italics which ARE NOT in the original manuscripts. They were provided by the translators to clarify meaning. Oooooopppss…dumb farm boy…

  3. Andrea says:

    chismus: a reversal in the order of words in two otherwise parallel phrases, as in “He went to the country, to the town went she.” Not so difficult to do, even if it is 52 lines.

    “Trying to make up a story line that sounds like scripture alone is actually extremely difficult. I challenge anybody to do try it.” Here’s an email I wrote to my sister regarding the Mexican buffet we were having for Labor Day: And behold, it came to pass that I, Andrea, had a vision whereunto it would change the day of rest in the latter part of the year, known to some as Labor Day, and would cause exceedingly much great joy. For I, Andrea, will enter into partnership with the Lamanites to the south to bring a great feast of food for my people to partake of and enjoy so that it will nourish and strengthen their bodies, as the Lord hath commanded.

    Not so difficult, unless I wanted to write it in Latin.

  4. Missusslats says:

    He also copied the typos in the KJV–“Cherubims”, anyone?

    From BRMc (MoDoc, 1979, p.124-5): “In English, the plural of cherub is cherubs; in Hebrew, the plural is cherubim, except that the King James Version of the Bible erroneously translates the plural as cherubims. The Book of Mormon (Alma 12:21; 42:2-3)…give[s] the plural as cherubim.”

    From UTLM:

    “The word cherubim appears three times in modern editions of the Book of Mormon, and is used correctly (as Mr. McConkie stated). This would certainly be evidence in favor of the Book of Mormon if it was not for the fact that in the first edition of the Book of Mormon the word appeared in all three places as cherubims, with the s improperly added (see the first edition, pages 256, 337, 338). So, what at first appears as evidence for the Book of Mormon becomes evidence against it when the whole truth is known.” http://www.utlm.org/onlinebooks/3913intro.htm

    Reading this, I determined to purchase an 1830 BOM and see for myself. The facts back it up. Smith did the same with “seraphims”.

  5. faithoffathers says:

    LDSSTITANIC,

    Many believe as I do that, yes, when Joseph noted that the plates quoted Isaiah or Malachi, he opened the KJV of his Bible and used it to finish the passage. Doing so would obviously make it easier.

    But the reverse is also true. There are places where the KJV does not entirely match the original manuscripts, but the Book of Mormon does. For example, Isaiah 2:16 is quoted in 2 Nephi 12:16. The KJV of Isaiah 2:16 says: “And upon all the ships of Tarshish.” The original Hebrew manuscript also says “And upon all the ships of Tarshish.” But the Greek Septuagint manuscript says “And upon all the ships of the sea.” 2 Nephi 12:16 says “And upon all the ships of the sea, and upon all the ships of Tarshish.” Could both the Hebrew and Greek manuscripts incompletely quote THE original while the Book of Mormon quotes it completely and accurately? Explain that. God’s revelations through Joseph Smith should not be dismissed so quickly.

    Falcon and others: I can’t take you to Zarahemla, but that doesn’t mean it didn’t exist. Ever been to central-southern Mexico or Guatemala? The place is filled with ruins and remains. I have seen many of them. Many LDS scholars believe the real Hill Cumorah is near Vera Cruz Mexico. The hill is massive and is surrounded by 23 small rivers and 23 ancient MAN-MADE dirt mounds that resemble fortifications. Local legend has it that a tremendous battle was fought here. Interesting that Mormon names 23 men who each led 10,000 men in the great, last battle at the Hill Cumorah.

    In the BOM, the Jaredites lived before the Nephites in the same general area. Near this hill today, there are countless ruins and remains from an earlier civilization centered in the same location. And these are not the only groups to inhabit mesoAmerica during this period.

    Maybe these ruins and battle site have nothing to do with the Book of Mormon. But it is a little premature to claim the BOM is implausible based on archeology.

  6. Missusslats says:

    And it came to pass, Andrea did writeth a great many things upon her napkin during the feast, such as cannot be written here due to the great mirth with which Missusslats was overcome. And Missusslats, having a great burning in her bosom, determined to partake of such Lamanite food as seemeth her good and therefor maketh an end to her record.

  7. 4givn says:

    Andrea and Miss,

    You where able to take something that they said couldn’t be done, and assembled before their very eyes, Amazing. Just imagine what you could come up given a longer period of time.

    Fof,

    You doubted it could be easily done, and yet you beleive in a place that is not here. I’ll quote Darth Vader on this one,”(mechanized breathing) I find your faith disturbing.”
    W/LOVE

  8. germit says:

    To All: I’ll be out of town for a few days and not taking my laptop with me, so I don’t know howmuch Mormon Coffee I’ll be drinking till Wed. I’ll miss ya’ll, but I might sneek in a post from a coffee shop or something when the wife isn’t looking.
    FOF: you might be surprised to hear me say that is a BIG overstatement to say that there is no archeological evidence for the BoM. That’s too big a statement and you won’t hear it from me but what scant evidence you do have is very weak, in my opinion (reminds me of fossil evidence for transitional forms, that’s another story) Given the hundreds of thousands to millions of Jaredite and Lamanite presence, you have next to nothing to show for that: including linguistic and religious hold overs. I would be glad to pursue what you consider the best collection of today’s evidence. Thanks for the posts, we’re running out of LDS voices here at MC. Enjoy your weekend.
    GSW: Hey , your posts are using sentences up to 10 words or more, we appreciate that, welcome back.
    Missus: I bet you’d be a Lamanite princess of rock star status. Verily, thou speaketh of the old ways in truth and from the bowels of mercy.

  9. Arthur Sido says:

    Cluff,

    Well, if you source is the esteemed scholar Hugh Nibley then I am undone!

    “Just because JS didn’t have the complete text doesn’t mean he couldn’t translate it. He was a true seer. New discoveries even today are confirming the transaltion is valid.”

    New discoveries such as? So even though Smith said that the BoA was a translation and provides notes that you have in your facsimile, is it your position that he was translating from the papyri or is it your position that he was seeing visions spurred by the papyri? The facsimilies in your quad and mine look just like the papyri we have that are believed to be the originals. It stretches the limits of credulity to look at the papyri which have NOTHING to do with Abraham or mormon doctrine, and then look at the facsimiles and believe that they are not one and the same.

    FoF, I didn’t say that the vast majority of the BoM was copied verbatim, but there are big stretches that are including quotes that, as mentioned above, include words and misspellings from the KJV that have been corrected since in better translations. I am curious, what is your background in Hebrew or linguistics? You have made a case based on linguistics, is that your research or someone else’s. You also neglect to address the issue of Hebrews generations removed from the Middle East, who wrote a record in “Reformed Egyptian” which presumably is a completely different language more similar to ancient egyptian (although we don’t know since we don’t have any examples of reformed egyptian to look at) and it was then “translated” by Joseph Smith but retained Hebrew language patterns. It would be similar to writing something in Polish and then translating that into Chinese and then translating it into English. The forms wouldn’t survive.

  10. GRCluff says:

    Arthur:

    I won’t be able to cover all the details of that chapter–(Hugh Nibley; Abraham in Egypt–Abraham and the Book of the Dead) but here is my understanding:

    1. Many parts of the Book of the Dead was authored by Abraham, then copied and used by Egypians.

    2. Two DIFFERENT ancient sources attributed to Abraham and uncovered in recent years have translations that map to the JS version for the Book of Abraham in the PoGP. Nibley lays out the translation word for word with comparisons to the JS text.

    3. The graphics found in the Book of the Dead and copied into the PoGP are ALSO found on other ancient text materials attributed to Abraham.

    I have 2 possible conclusions given these facts:

    1. The JS translation was based on a fragment of the original, and the more recent findings include more complete source documents.

    2. JS had a more complete document at one point and only a fragment was found in the museum. The more recent findings are duplications of the original.

    The new discoveries he mentions are:

    1. Apocalypse of Abraham as preserved in the Old Slavonic texts (1960)

    2. The “Testament of Abraham,” The oldest texts of the Testament are Greek and were first edited by M. R. James in 1892. He described the work as “a second century Jewish-Christian writing composed in Egypt.” (239:9.) Subsequent studies have tended to push the date back.

  11. falcon says:

    Mormon Friends:
    Can you name me any legitimate independent scholars that agree with your take on anything you’re discussing above? If there were such, then my guess is there would be all kinds of books written about it along with articles in professional journals. The fact of the matter is, it’s all a joke. To tell you the truth, I’m embarassed for you. I can’t even seriously debate this nonsense with you. I’d rather talked to someone who believes in Big Foot or the Loc Ness Monster.

  12. GRCluff says:

    falcon:
    The book I reference lists the scholars and their findings on the ancient books I reference. If you are interested you can review the chapter and let me know if they meet your requirements. I am not going to list their names and the dates of their findings, because they are the results of Nibley research.

    I really don’t think it makes any difference because those who are opposed to Mormomism will not be impressed, and will begin to immediately find fault regardless of the quality of Nibleys research. Most will not care to look it up at all because they have already made up their minds.

    Most solid Mormons won’t care to focus on research that validates their views either, because they actually believe what the bible says on the matter. Faith should be based on the power of God, not on evidence and reasoning. We defer to the higher power, so this kind of validation is meaningless.

    My REAL point is– the claims being made here about the Book of Abraham have reasonable and detailed evidence to the contrary, but no body cares about it.

    Those opposed to Mormonism who know about the evidence to the contrary will slander and lie as they see fit to continue to ignore opposing evidence. The ends justify the means.

    Most will believe the lies being published because they don’t have enough faith to ask God or rely on the answer. They don’t have resources or motivation to example both sides in a fair minded manner.

    It is a little like selling a Chevy truck to the Ford dealer. I’ll bet the only stuff HE read is about Ford trucks.

    He will say:
    Can you name me any legitimate Ford dealer that agrees with your take on Chevy trucks? If there were such, then my guess is there would be all kinds of books written about it along with articles in professional journals.

    Yeah, like thats going to happen. I’ll stick with my data from the Chevy dealer, thank you, even if his name IS Hugh Nibley.

  13. falcon says:

    OK CLUFF so we have as your reference Hugh Nibley who, on another thread, was shown to be less than authoritative in his use of his references. In fact the line “he had the ability to look at a printed page and see things that weren’t there” pretty much captures him. Now if you Mormons, when you talk to each other, want to use his work, what do we care? However if you were to walk into any setting outside of Mormondom with your claims, you’d be shamed out the door. It all comes down to my former claim that people buy things emotionally and than try to rationalize their purchase logically.” If you need to do this to maintain your Mormon faith fine. Just understand it’s more of the same regarding Mormon faith gymnastics, mind bending and brainwash mantenance. I’d appreciate it very much if you could produce a BoM written in reformed egyptian.

  14. faithoffathers says:

    Thoughts on the 2 Nephi 12:16 point in my earlier post?

    More on the Book of Mormon:

    Fernando de Alva Ixtlilxî chitl was a descendant of the rulers of Mesoamerica before Europeans arrived. His authoritative history from the 16th century states:

    “It is the common and general opinion of all the natives of all this Chichimec land, which now is called New Spain . . . that their ancestors came from western parts . . . as appears in their history; their first king was called Chichimecatl, who was the one who brought them to this New World where they settled . . . and they were those of the division of Babylon.”

    Fray Bernardino de Sahagî n collected materials in the 16th century including the native tradition that:

    “the account which the old people give is that they came by sea from toward the north, and it is certain that they came in some vessels of wood, but it is not known how they were built; but it is conjectured by one report which there is among all these natives, that they came out of seven caves and that these seven caves are the seven ships or galleys in which the first settlers of this land came . . . they came along the coast and disembarked at the Port of P înuco, which they call Panco [near Tampico, Veracruz], which means, place where those who crossed the water arrived.”

    Another version in the local tradition holds that these vessels were “turtle shells.”

    Sounds a lot like the Jaredite crossing- and in the location Near Vera Cruz, Mexico I spoke of in a previous post.

    Plant flora, ancient art,as well as tradition support the idea that people traveled between the east and west by boat. I can give specifics if desired.

    Linguist Brian Stubbs has identified more than one thousand Hebrew and/or Arabic forms in tongues of the Uto-Aztecan family.

    Mary LeCron Foster, linguist at University of California, concluded that “Quechua, the language of the Inca, shows extensive borrowing from a Semitic language.”

    More Later.

  15. falcon says:

    OK FOF,
    I hate to waste a whole post on this, but if your going to quote all of these sources please give the source of your sources…..get it? Is this a dump from FARMS or FAIR or did you go into deep research mode and get all of this from the oiginal sources. So where did you get this stuff? I’ll go there and read it myself.

  16. faithoffathers says:

    Two main points: first, most everybody has a bias- mormon or non-mormon. This doesn’t mean all their work is to be dismissed, but must be analyzed methodically. You seem anxious to dismiss Hugh Nibley. Have YOU proven him to be an unfaithful or misdirected linguist? Have you read any of his works? Or have you read criticisms about him?

    I can provide critical statements from famous and respected authorities regarding almost any historian, scientist, or Egyptologist. For example, I have scathing statements from giants in the field of Egyptology regarding the five experts recruited by Bishop F.S. Spalding to review the authenticity of the Book of Abraham. Such criticism is inherent in the academic process. But problems arise when non-experts choose such criticisms to support whole campaigns of thought, for example against the Book of Mormon or for it. Such abuses usually go entirely unrecognized in forums such as this.

    What is needed is a consistent, methodical approach where big judgments are reserved and emotions are kept off the academic table. This is hard to do, but the student or scientist who introduces such emotions to the argument undermines his own credibility.

    I mentioned before the hill near Vera Cruz, Mexico. This was dismissed here because this data was not in a book. I mentioned it because of my own experience at the hill. I can stick to published data if that is desired.

    Fernando de Alva Ixtlilx îchitl, Obras Hist îricas, ed. Eduardo Chavero, 2 vols.

    Fray Bernardino de Sahagîn, Historia General de las Cosas de Nueva Espaî a (Mé xico: Editorial Nueva Espa îa, 1946), 13—14.

    Matthew Roper, John L. Sorenson Before DNA J of Book of Mormon Studies, 12:1.

    Mary LeCron Foster, “Old World Language in the Americas” presented at the annual meeting of the Language Origins Society, Cambridge University, Sept. 1992

    Mary LeCron Foster “The Transoceanic Trail: The Proto-Pelagian Language Phylum,” Pre-Colombiana1/1—2 (1998)

  17. GRCluff says:

    falcon said:
    “I’d appreciate it very much if you could produce a BoM written in reformed egyptian.”

    Can I produce instead a quote from the BoM on the topic of “Why such a book would be bad?”

    Alma 32:19 And now, how much more cursed is he that knoweth the will of God and doeth it not, than he that only believeth, or only hath cause to believe, and falleth into transgression?

    God is not in the business of cursing mankind, but saving them, right?

    Imagine for a moment (this is quite a stretch so prepare yourself) that we had such a book in SLC, in a vault. Let’s say we have scholars visting to carbon date the gold, study and review the characters. Now the stretch. Lets say it was all validated. It is an ancient work and the transation is valid.

    What would that mean to you? What would it mean to people who have read it and then choose to ignore its teachings?

    The purpose of our life is to learn to walk by faith. To be equally enticed by good and evil. Is that balance threatened? Wouldn’t the devil and his angels need more power now to keep the balance? Is that something you want?

    It is better, from God’s perspective to let the REAL witness prevail. Follow what the Bible teaches:

    1 Cor2:1 And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God.
    2 For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.
    3 And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling.
    4 And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power:
    5 That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.

    We can access the power of God by reading the paper translation and recieving the witness. It is the wisdom of men that requires the plates.

    God wants us to know by faith, not by evidence. It is ONLY those who LACK faith that will require it.

  18. Arthur Sido says:

    Cluff,

    “It is a little like selling a Chevy truck to the Ford dealer. I’ll bet the only stuff HE read is about Ford trucks.”

    The difference of course is that choosing a Chevy over Ford doesn’t have eternal consequences, not even here in Detroit!

    You argue that we discount sources like Nibley, but have you examined and critically considered the sources that disagree with him, and with you interpretation of the BoA? Have you read the books and works of Christian apologists or do you just discount them as being @nti-mo works? The works of people like James White, Bill McKeever, the tireless research of Sandra Tanner. What have you studied of their works?

    Old Slavonic apocryphal writings aside, if the papyri we have in hand are indeed the originals, and I believe the evidence points to that being the case, then it is clear that either Smith didn’t really translate them (i.e. that they were some sort of channeling device) or that he made up what they said secure in knowing that no one else could contradict him. I keep coming back to the facsimiles and Smith’s clumsy “interpretations”, those interpretations have no relation to the Egyptian beliefs portrayed. You can try to argue away the papyri but it is hard to do the same with the facsimiles in your quad.

  19. jackg says:

    Robyn said, “We believe that we can only be saved by the grace of Christ.” If only this statement were true. Alas, Mormons say the right things, but their faith betrays them. They want to be followers of Christ, but just can’t divorce themselves from their works as worthy of salvation. Yes, they think their works make them worthy. I once heard a young woman talk about a temple trip and “how wonderful to see all the worthy youth.” Worthy because they answered the bishop’s questions right, as if we can make ourselves worthy. So, Robyn leaves with her testimony that we are fighting against God’s work. How sad when Mormons are the ones fighting against God’s work and don’t realize it. Her statement about the Bible reveals how JS had a low view of the Bible, and now that has been passed down to faithful followers of JS. One cannot be a faithful follower of JS and Jesus Christ, our LORD. I pray for the Mormons that they will respond to God’s grace in their lives. And, I would ask all Christians on this blog to pray for my 17-year-old son, Daniel. His mother makes him go to the Mormon church with her. But, he has told me has no testimony about any of it. This last week, he was allowed to attend a Christian youth group. Please pray for him because it is a different experience for him, and he is considering returning this week. You know, at 17, he doesn’t even know what to question. All he knows it’s that Mormonism is “weird.” But, the Spirit is working in his life, and I pray that my son will be clear in what questions to ask. Thank you for indulging me. Blessings, Jack.

  20. falcon says:

    FOF,
    You gave us a nice little bibliography but what I really want to know is where you got the nice little bibliography? I doubt if you did original research and dug up these gems. My guess is they come off of some Mormon website. You give quotes and a bibliography but no page numbers so someone could go and look so I guess you are using them as a secondary source and you got it from some place else. Where might that be?

  21. Berean says:

    The big problem with Hugh Nibley is that he is not recognized by the LDS Church as authoritative. He was not a Seventy, an Apostle, a member of the First Presidency – nothing. He was a BYU professor. All his works have a disclaimer at the top that state his views don’t represent the Church. If Christians put forth academic works by Christian theologians to the Mormons, would the Mormons read it and accept it? Absolutely not!

    I’m always amazed at what FARMS or FAIR will dig up to lead people down endless “rabbit trails”. Why not stick with the big trails? Let’s start with the Smithsonian institute. In official statements in 1996 & 1998, they state that they have found no archaeological evidence to support any of the BoM claims.

    What about LDS archaeologists Thomas Ferguson and Dee Green who spent their lives trying to validate the BoM claims by archaeology and found nothing. Thomas Ferguson said:

    “…The real implication of the paper is that you can’t set the Book of Mormon geography down anywhere – because it is FICTIONAL and will never meet the requirements of the dirt-archaeology. I should say – what is in the ground will never conform to what is in the book.” (“Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought”, 1990, p.79)

    Why are there no Nephite artifacts at the LDS Museum of Church History and Art? How can millions of people, a culture and a civilization vanish and leave nothing?

    Why does the LDS Church refuse to allow archaeology work to be done at the Hill Cumorah in New York where the Church has a large visitor center? With great wars and millions of people that supposedly died there, one would expect for something to be found. Does the Church want to grow in membership? Open up these off-limit sites and let the experts come in there and discover what is there if the Church is true. Archaeologists in the Middle East only need a child’s plastic sand box toys to uncover the artifacts over there.

    I’d be embarrassed if I was a Mormon.

  22. Andrea says:

    FOF said, “Many believe as I do that, yes, when Joseph noted that the plates quoted Isaiah or Malachi, he opened the KJV of his Bible and used it to finish the passage. Doing so would obviously make it easier.”

    Hang on, hang on. This doesn’t make sense. Did Joe believe at the time of translating the BoM that the Bible was missing those plain & precious things and had been translated incorrectly? If so, why would he open the fallible, corrupt text to translate the BoM instead of relying on GOD’s revealed translation??? Had he relied on God, wouldn’t He have been able to restore the original texts since He is infallible and therefore would not say something different that what was originally told to Isaiah? However, if at this time JS had not yet declared the Bible to be incorrect, wouldn’t God –in His infinite wisdom- have told JS the correct translation anyway? If He would have, but Joe copied the KJV instead, then I purport the BoM cannot be called “the most correct book on the earth”. I guess the third option is that the parts of the KJV quoted in the BoM had not been tampered with and needed no correction/amending. How fortunately coincidental it would be that the scriptures quoted by Nephi et al somehow escaped the apostasy and corruption that occurred with other scriptures after Jesus’ time.

    One last question. And I ask this of everyone here; would you rather read God’s Word as already written down by another, or have it revealed to you by God Himself? I’m just trying to figure out why opening the KJV would be easier than getting it straight from God. Maybe it was the strain on the eyes from staring into the hat for hours? But why would God make it so difficult? Was it a test? Wow, I have a lot more questions now than I started with.

  23. Jeffrey says:

    I have some things written by Lyndon Lamborn (ex mo after 40 years) – his research is amazing.. Anyways, heres some fun inconsitency’s

    “With Zion’s camp they found a skeleton in the top of a burial mound. Joseph said he was Zelf, warrior and chieftain under the great prophet Onandagus. Curse of dark skin had been removed from him. HOC II pp79-80

    There is an Onandaga tribe of Indians and an Onandaga County in the Northeast US near where Joseph lived.

    Silly Joe!

    Heres another zinger of JS altering verses of the Bible for the JST, but for some reason, the verse in the Bible is still the exact same in the BoM.

    Mathew 6:22: The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light.

    JST, Matthew 6:22: The light of the body is the eye; if therefore thine eye be single to the glory of God, thy whole body shall be full of light.

    3 Nephi 13:22: The light of the body is the eye; if, therefore, thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light.

    If the translation process of the BOM was without error, how come the verse (copied from the Bible for the BoM) wasn’t the way the JST states that it should be..

    Things that make you go hmm..

    Need more?

  24. faithoffathers says:

    Many responses- thank you.

    Berean- what difference does it make who Hugh Nibley is? He provides evidence for a position we are discussing. The data he puts forth either stands or falls. The church is concerned with inviting people to come unto Christ. That is achieved through faith, not proof or data.

    You repeatedly dismiss FARMS, etc. If you find their research faulty, show me how or argue against it. Waving your hand does nothing.

    The Smithsonian Institute- Do you really place weight upon what their opinion is about matters of revelation and scripture? Do you trust them when they tell you that Adam and Eve are folklore?

    I am supporting the idea of the Hill Cumorah being located in Southern Mexico, not New York.

    And yes, a civilization with millions of people that is destroyed will leave evidence. But sometimes it takes time to sort out what is left behind. The area I have referred to in my posts (S. Mexico, Guatemala) is filled with ruins and remnants from many lost civilizations. While we don’t have all the answers yet, there does seem to be enough evidence to suggest, again, that the Book of Mormon is plausible and cannot be dismissed.

    I have offered as evidence:

    1. 2 Nephi 12:16 issue
    2. Linguistic ties between mesoamerica and semitic languages
    3. geographic evidence for the Hill Cumorah
    4. Statements from 16th century historians relating verbal history of origins of those people
    5. plant flora and ancient art showing trans-oceanic travel was likely.

    Will nobody address these evidences?

    The chiasmus question was dismissed with the argument that Joseph “used the language of the bible.” If you want to bring up the word embarrasment, this would be an appropriate place. Anybody with minimal understanding of linguistics must take this particular evidence seriously.

  25. falcon says:

    FOF,
    You certainly know how to dance to the Mormon tune. Didn’t I ask you to supply the sources of your sources? You won’t do it. You copied a bibliography off some Mormon website and regurgitated it here. No page numbers for your supplied information has yet to be provided. Your just playing games. When someone provides a source to substantiate their claims I ask, Did this piece of information come from the quoted source?, Was the person quoted legit?, Did the person quoting the source draw erroneous conclusions regarding the information? That’s just a start.
    Your line about bringing people to Christ is a Mormon add-on. The five points of Mormonism is Joseph Smith’s a prophet, the BoM is true, the LDS is God’s true church, the living prophet is getting messages from God and then ladies and gentelmen, coming in fifth and last is Jesus. That’s the main difference between Biblical Christianity and Mormonism. We take people to the Cross, Mormonism takes people to the little grove of trees. Christ is an after thought in Mormonism. It’s all about Joseph Smith. Mormons see Joseph Smith as the pathway to God. He punches a Mormon’s ticket. I challenge you to give-up Mormonism for Jesus. If you can’t do that, it proves that in your world Jesus is not adequate for your salvation. I’m not depending on membership in a religious sect to provide for me eternal life. I’m depending on Jesus. You need to go back to the drawing board and ask who Jesus is. The Mormon Jesus, who is a created being, the offspring of a father/mother god cannot save you. You need to find the Jesus of the Bible, the qualified Savior.

  26. Berean says:

    FOF:

    The evidence that Nibley’s puts forth is not credible. He was not a General Authority (GA) for the Church and his data does not stand the test. This blog does not afford me the time or space to refute what is put out by FARMS as much as I would like. There are blogs, websites and people that do that all day long should you care to look into it. FARMS is in retreat/defense mode in trying to defend the undefendable with Mormons leaving the Church and membership/baptisms/converts numbers declining. The LDS Church grossly overstates its actual numbers in Church membership so as to not alarm the 1/3 of the Church that is actually active.

    I point to the Smithsonian because they use the Bible as a guide in their archaeology work. The claims of the Bible have been verified by them and others because of the overwhelming evidence that has been discovered. No, the Ark of the Covenant hasn’t been found, but thousands of other things have which is very different than the Mormons have – nothing. Why not one Nephite coin, a sword, a bowl, anything?

    Your idea of the Hill Cumorah is your idea – not the LDS Church’s idea. They have a visitor center in New York and say that is the place. “Book of Mormon Student Manual Religion 121 & 122” on page 136 state that the Hill Cumorah is in New York. If you don’t like it, take it up with the GA’s.

    How about reading the work of B.H. Roberts who was a GA in “Studies of the Book of Mormon” which shows damning evidence that Joseph Smith got his information about the BoM from Solomons Spalding’s manuscript and Ethan Smith’s book “View of the Hebrews”?

    2 Nephi 12:16? That is plagiarism of Isa 2:16 – shame on Joseph Smith.

    This says it all: “The church is concerned with inviting people to come unto Christ. That is achieved through faith, NOT PROOF OR DATA”. So then, what is your point with the 16th century Spanish historians or anything else? It all falls back on D&C 9 (burning of the bosom).

  27. faithoffathers says:

    Still no comments on what I have offered as proof.

    Berean, I am surprised at your response. I have come to expect a more academic angle from you.

    Nibley, again- what does it matter if he is not a general authority. I truly do not understand your point here. Are we to dismiss the evidence he provides because he is not a GA?

    FARMS: sounds like you have read blogs that are critical of the organizations? This is very convenient to be able to dismiss one of the primary institutions investigating the BOM/BOA, etc. I am awaiting objective, critical explanation of specifically why any of their research may be dismissed.

    And again, the vast majority of LDS researchers believe that the BOM civilizations were located in southern Mexico and Guatemala. The visitors center in New York commemorates where the plates were buried 16 centuries ago. Oliver Cowdery gave the hill this name.

    George Q. Cannon: “The First Presidency have often been asked to prepare some suggestive map illustrative of Nephite geography, but have never consented to do so. . . . The reason is, that without further information they are not prepared even to suggest [a map].” Joseph F. Smith “declined to officially approve of the map, saying that the Lord had not yet revealed it.”

    B.H.Roberts: The prophet commissioned him to play “devil’s advocate” for a time to provide arguments against the BOM so the church could be better prepared to defend it’s claims. Critics who quote him never mention this.

    Have you ever read “View of the Hebrews” or Spalding’s manuscript? I am surprised critics still make this claim. The only explanation I can see is that they do not think people will read these documents. Please read them and tell me you believe this is where the BOM came from.

    2 Ne 12:16. Did you read my initial post on the issue? Please read it again.

    Am I wasting my time providing evidences as you request when nobody will address head on?

  28. LDSSTITANIC says:

    faithoffathers…lucky guess perhaps? I don’t see anything earth-shattering in that addition. I think it pales in comparison to the other oddities.

    Jacob 7:27 Where did the French language come from???

    All through the BoM we have the words “Christ” and “Christian” but we know these words come from the Greek language. The word is Messiah in Hebraic origin…which is also in the BoM. Where did the Greek language come from?

    Too many questions and not enough answers…I think the 1830 title page says it all…Jospeh Smith authored the BoM.

  29. Berean says:

    FoF:

    What surprises me is the fact that we are having this conversation about the details of the Book of Mormon’s authenticity. As you stated, it doesn’t matter what the proof or data is. You’ve read the BoM and prayed about it and know it’s true. I’ve read the BoM and God told me it wasn’t true. You like Nibley’s evidence and think it’s credible. I don’t. You could read opposing information outside of LDS formats and I’m sure you wouldn’t agree with it. I’ve gone through the BoM and I have many questions about the contents and the blatant anachronisms. For me to list them all out here would take days worth of posts. I’ve gone to the FARMS and FAIR websites. Their conclusions come up short in the end in my opinion. They have to defend the BoM and JS to the death because they know the costs if any of them are shown to be false.

    How is a person to take a book serious that JS translated by looking into a magic rock in a hat? The 1830 version lists JS as “author and proprietor”. I reject the BoM because it is “another testament” of Jesus Christ. I believe the Bible is the complete Word of God and that the faith has been delievered to His people (Jude 3).

    “View to the Hebrews”? Yes, it’s right here in front of me. Is it necessary for me to list all the parallels to it that B.H. Roberts mentioned? Yes, I do believe that JS borrowed ideas from this book. The themes between both of the books is stunning which was BH Roberts’ opionion and I agree. Joseph Smith plagiarized from the Bible and was shown to be a fraud with the Kinderhook plates.

    Book of Mormon Student Manual Religion 121 & 122, page 136, says that the battles that took place in the BoM at the Hill Cumorah are in upstate NY.

    How long does it take to get evidence for the BoM claims? It’s been 178 years since the LDS Church was founded and still nothing.

    We should be talking about more important things such as what Jesus asked in Matt 22:42.

  30. faithoffathers says:

    Berean,

    It truly can be a frustrating endeavor to discuss such things with somebody of such divergent views. But it doesn’t have to be that way. We both feel strongly about our positions and that is OK. I followed the discussions here for some time and noted the many claims by non-mormons that there was no objective support for our beliefs. As I feel I know otherwise, I decided to post just a few of the evidences I am familiar with. I too am frustrated by the limited space and time to discuss the issues. I have also been surprised that nobody here offered direct rebutles to objective evidences. What is offered is emotional outbursts as people immediately change the direction of discussion. Somebody even responded to a claim of mine by saying “we can dismiss the Mormon church out of hand with no further discussion.” Not much of a scholarly feel to that.

    You ask “How long does it take to get evidence for the BoM claims? It’s been 178 years since the LDS Church was founded and still nothing.” Are we just talking past eachother? I have offered evidence and tried to respond to your questions and objections.

    Again I know you love the scriptures. My life has been so blessed by The Book of Mormon. I love it more than words can express. I wish you could taste the beauty of these scriptures.

  31. 4givn says:

    FOF,

    You keep on bringing up the quote from 2 Nephi. I am curious, is that an original Bom or one of the more recent versions?
    Also, you seem to be hovering around Central America, that your feelings are telling you IT is where this has supposedly taken place. Are they going to change the possible location of the hill which you seek?
    Your church has spent countless hours in trying to verify where this hill is. Do you forsee them doing it again in hopes of finding something to substantiate(concrete) Smiths claims. Finding something would mean a great deal to what you stand on. I guess that is up to your prophet to forsee whether or not it is prudent.
    I’ll go back to Hebrew 8 The point of what we are saying is this: We do have such a high priest, who sat down at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven, and who serves in the sanctuary, the true tabernacle set up by the Lord, not by man. W/LOVE

  32. Michael P says:

    FoF–

    I have actually seen several requests for more information on the sources presented. I think the audience here is willing to listen if you are willing to give more specific information. Doesn’t mean we will agree, but it would give us something to look at to verify your information.

    I’d bet I speak for a lot of us (rightly or wrongly) that we view Mormon sources very suspectly in large part because of the extreme bias and minimal support outside your church.

    You’re right about one thing in your response– perhaps this is shortsighted. But, when there is little in terms of outsiders giving credit to the BoM and its claims and only Mormon scholars holding it up, it becomes hard to take it seriously.

    See, part of the issue lies in the simple fact that many non-believers use the Bible as a map to find archeological sites and/or information. Its that reliable. The BoM has no such reliability historically.

    And if it can’t tell an accurate history, why would we trust it with our souls?

  33. Sharon Lindbloom says:

    Time to close this thread. Thanks for your participation.

Comments are closed.