Comments about ‘FAIR: Wordprint analysis and the Book of Mormon’

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Published: Monday, Aug. 8 2011 11:00 a.m. MDT

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Newport Beach, CA

I think the biggest (unintended) casualty here, is probably the ability to use wordprint analysis in *support* of the Book of Mormon.

The whole technique seems pretty fuzzy.

Brigham City, UT

1 Corinthians says it best (I believe in chapters 1-3) "the wisdom of this world is foolishness to God." I would guess critics of Book of Mormon also have an axe to grind with the New Testament. It is too simple for our hyper-educated elitist culture. The gospel is simple. But to make money we need to get into complexities and that can mislead us to disregard the simple. Better to be simple, poor and uneducated------- than to be rich, educated and opinionated (which is foolishness to God.)

Clearfield, UT

Here's reasons to fight against faith:

If all the clergy never uttered another word from a pulpit and if no-one ever tried to convince their children that they should believe in mythical beings and events that go against the laws of the universe and if all the religious people in the world kept their beliefs to themselves, then there would be no need to speak out. But none of that happens - we are subjected to a constant barrage of religious propaganda and if it were not answered, many would assume there was no other answer and would go steadily down the slippery slope of faith. If people are swayed by faith rather than evidence, reason, and logic then they are letting emotion, religious leaders, or dogma make their choices. It's also important to me that not only do I encourage people to think for themselves and question their beliefs but that I also encourage other related values like free-speech, human rights and democratic freedom not based solely on religious precepts. The invention of the internet has made it possible to spread facts and opinions and questions across the world. Because religion often speaks....the opposition speaks as well.

Idaho Coug
Meridian, Idaho

As I try to work through what I believe about LDS teachings, probably the most impactful thing that keeps coming back to me is the universal nature of faith, religious experiences, and spiritual conviction of one's choice of religion.

Millions upon millions who hold a conviction for Catholicism, Buddhism, Islam, the different branches of Christianity including Mormonism, and other minor or major religious beliefs - ALL experience a strong spiritual experience/conviction of the truthfullness of their chosen religion. ALL are persuaded to become better through their chosen religion.

And yet the teachings of each can greatly vary from one another.

Do we really think that a loving God will reward or punish us depending upon whether we made the right choice of religion when each religion is equally able to inspire spiritual feelings of surety and truthfullness? In actuality some religious experiences FAR exceed those typically shared within Mormonism.

If I have gained a testimony of anything through my study and prayer, it is that God will NOT judge us based upon the Church or religion we were a member of. We will be judged by the way we do or do not love and serve others. Period.

Hayden, ID

@ Vanka 3:03 PM.
Your analogy is false because at least 12 other people saw and handled the gold plates. None of them ever denied their experience! You can read their testimonies in the front of the Book of Mormon!

Provo, UT


Your analogy is false because it is fictional.

Just like the Book of Mormon.

Clearfield, UT

I find it interesting and worth pointing to the many major assumptions made by all the people who set themselves up as experts on what form god takes, how he thinks, how he would act, how he would treat people, how he will judge people, how he will punish or reward people, what he would say and do and want from us based basically on various religious doctrines. Spiritual feelings of surety and truthfulness need not be based on a God or book, but can be felt as a universal necessity to the well-being of all mankind. Spiritual feelings can be based on knowing that the universe performs according to the laws created by its mere existence with no need for a man-made creator. Teachings by a religion while often helpful to many are not universally needed for ones progression in a positive way through life. Most of the things people gain from religion can be gained without it. One need not believe or choose any religion to be a good person. I could call this my "testimony" because spiritually this is the "truth" I have found. What is testimony other than ones personal reality?

metamora, IL

Mr. Bennett: Your claim that there is not any archeological evidence supporting the Book of Mormon is clearly not based on any personal knowledge of ancient Americas. There is plenty of parallel evidence. The following is a short list of things I have personally compiled through study of the Book of Mormon and study of scholarly (mostly non-LDS authors) of ancient Americans:

1)Joseph Smith claimed that an ancient American civilization existed with a people who had written language at a time when such a thing was considered ludicrous. We now know that Mayans had a a civilization and a written language.

2)Joseph Smith claimed that the language was "reformed Egyptian." In their book, A Forest of Kings, Schele & Freidel reform to Maya written language as "reformed Egyptian."

3)The Book of Mormon measures time from at least two major events: Lehi's trip to the New World & the reign of the judges. Two calender dates. The Maya similarly had two calenders: one starting from a more ancient date; the second much later.

More coming.

metamora, IL

4)The BofM makes a really big deal of temples and like Isaiah calls them "mountains of the Lords House." The Maya -- as well as many other Native American peoples -- built their temples on top of "mountains."

5)BofM claims boats went to other places carrying people. Thor Heyerdahl demonstrated that using native rafts to sail to other places in the South Pacific is plausible.

6)BofM discusses "highways" between populated places. Those clearly marked ancient highways are there.

7)BofM demonstrates that there was frequent and sometimes constant warfare between Nephites and Lamanites. Early theories suggested that they were a peaceful people, but that is very obviously been refuted. Like the BofM, Native Americans -- especially those in the central American region -- were frequently and often constantly at war with each other.

8)BofM talks about frequent migrations of people. No question this is so among the Native Americans, especially in the central American region where "new leaders" frequently originate from distant places after migrating -- also like BofM peoples.

More coming.

Pullman, WA

Don't you love articles dealing with the Latter-day Saints.

There is still time for a simple test. Try this. Read the Book of Mormon for yourself, ponder over the truths set forth, allow the words to settle deep into your hearts, and then set your sophistry and pride and anger aside, and just ask God, once and for all, if this book is indeed what in is purported to be. Oh what joy. Think of it: truth and light springing forth from the earth; another testament shining forth to the glory and witness of Jesus Christ; and God peeling back the darkness of a very long night and speaking again to man on the earth as he did for thousands of years previously. Today we live the promised times of restitution of all things. Right now. This is it. This is the prophesied record of Joseph being joined with that of Judah to bless all the earth. This is Isaiah's "marvelous work and a wonder, for the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the understanding of their prudent men shall be hid." Don't miss it. Let it bless your life, like it has millions of others.

salt lake, utah

Regarding your 8 points of evidence-

1 and 4-8 are so vague as to be completely meaningless.

2 is almost definitely false. As far as I can tell no respectable scholars link the Mayan language in any way to Egyptian.

I am less certain about point 3, but it also seems to be false. The Mayans had a yearly and a cumulative calendar starting from a certain date. They did not have two cumulative calendars as you claim.

Brigham City, UT

Joggle-----50 years ago you would have been right: that a person can be good without religion-----today------that category of people is decreasing. Yes there are good atheists-----they are probably better at me in many categories----but they will soon be extinct----no neutrality with Christianity-- (by the way---a good moral honest atheist can make it into the terrestial kingdom which will be heaven for many people--much better than the dark telestial kingdom we now live in). To your point that religious people would be tolerable if they would just keep their religion to themselves-------that would be selfish though----to believe in something and not share it. If a person believes, they should share. If you find a good food diet, you share it, or any good idea for that matter. Yes, it is true us religious people can bother others with our missionary work, but that is because we love you-----yes we love enough to bother. Being nice is admirable----but just keeping the 10 commandments alone will get nobody into the Celestial kingdom. We must learn to love and forgive and serve.

Clearfield, UT


I'll use my last post to say...I disagree that...today...good people without religion are decreasing. I'm sure I've lived in that non-religious world more than you and I see it as increasing. The good news is that young people are joining the rising atheist movement in increasing numbers. Europe and the rest of the developed world in shucking off the rusty chains of ancient superstition and questionable religions. Religions in America have tried to argue that atheism and secularism would destroy the foundations of society. Today we can find any number of societies where the majority has freely abandoned religion and God. Far from being dens of iniquity, these societies are the happiest, safest, and most successful in the world. Atheists have long been saying that we can be good without God. The new atheism says that we can be better without God. Atheist don't have to actively share their beliefs because when the light of knowledge shines through it speaks volumes of logic and reason without having to defend itself with preaching, evangelizing, or prothylizing. We all can love, forgive, and serve without religion. It doesn't take religion to do that either.

Lindon, UT

Vanka: I don't know which man was more logical, because your story was flawed. It does not include the information that 3 men saw an angel holding what was in the box, who testified to them that what was in the bax was the word of God, nor does it include the information about the 8 men who handled and closely examined what was in the box. Your story also does not indicate that all 11 men testified, in writing, and signed their testimony. In addition, I have never read an account of the man who found the box asking for money for himself, for his own use, but only for the benefit and growth of the Church (your story is full of bias and assumption), but have read about said man receiving revelations from God about paying tithing to the Church and this man taught the substances of these revelations to his followers. So, Vanka, which man really was more logical - he who wouldn't listen, invistigate, and find out for himself, or the man who listened to God and an angel and followed their counsel? Which one, Vanka?

Lindon, UT

And, Joggle, the opposition is Satan, the Devil, he who wanted to ursurp God's power and authority, was banned along with his followers to the earth, where they are the opposition to God's will and to His followers. A person is either for God or against God. If he or she is against God, then that person is a follower of Satan, the adversary, the opposition.

A voice of Reason
Salt Lake City, UT

Joggle, I'll be honest- I simply don't want to take the time to address your justification to fight religion. If you feel that way, I believe it would take a lot more than I care to argue on this point right now. I'll offer one point and no more today, perhaps another time.

The only thing I would offer is that nothing is definitively 100% provable and irrefutable. Arguments that justify fighting religion wouldn't last long in a moral or ethics classroom. If the students didn't find the flaws, the professors certainly would. I have used reason and logic to support faith (by certain definitions anyway) on these comment sections. I have provided logic in forums what as the recent article on what makes 'Mormon's tick' and others, regarding the very issue of whether it's okay to fight someone on their beliefs. Fighting begets fighting. The idea that the claim 'you are wrong' would justify any harassment of that idea is a violent one. As much as anti-religious people sometimes claim that religion is violent (because of specific accounts), I'd point out that irreligious is a belief all the same, potentially just as violent.

Danbury, CT

There needs to be an explanation also of how Rigdon "used" Joseph Smith to write the Book of Mormon when they did not meet until 1831, two years after it was published. Did Grandin ever meet Rigdon? Did Martin Harris, who mortgaged everything to financ the publishing of the book? Like most conspiracy theories, it requires that many people keep their mouths (and pens) quiet which is impractical and implausible. Even the people who wrote the Nauvoo Expositor hold to the Book of Mormon as true, while criticizing the practices of Joseph Smith. Somoene had to know back then, if this theory is true.

Like most pop history (eg. Dan Brown), we are hooked on easy research that "unearths" truths that others haven't discovered in centuries of serious searching, interviewing, and research.

I've read all kinds of theories and researched both sides. I've also travelled around Central America and had non LDS guides show me things that backed up the Book of Mormon, without them knowing I am LDS. I've lived and travelled in the Mediterranean and studied Near Eastern history. I'm convinced that there is much that happened in the past where we don't have clear evidence.

Salt Lake City, UT

It is a shame people debate the Book of Mormon without reading it and applying its teachings in their lives. I have found that the Book of Mormon has changed my life and made me more Christ like.

metamora, IL

Apparently, my third post was deemed too offensive and was denied so let me try again. Giantsquid re: #2. It's in print, read the book.

My emphasis is that what I have presented is a short list of items I've found through familiarity with both the BofM and archeological evidences and I could present much more: fiery flying serpent motif; world tree/tree of life similarities; BofM/Popul Vuh similarities; etc.

Now if you are looking for a sign that says "Welcome to Zarahemla," you are out of luck. But suggesting that there are not parallel archeological evidences is akin to saying there are no brass instruments in a marching band. They are there and they are obvious, but it requires in depth familiarity with both the BofM and the archeological evidence.

metamora, IL

Finally, I do not base my feelings re:BofM solely on these physical evidences. I included the effects it has had on my family: I'm convinced that my parents -- LDS converts -- would have been divorced early on except for the perspective provided by their religious beliefs; my wife -- also a convert and I bright, well-educated woman (PhD in neuropsychology) -- has lived a life of uncompromising integrity and Christian charity; I have had sons who have struggled -- one of whom attempted to to live without the LDS faith for a time -- who have found solace and strength and happiness that they did not find in any other place.

Then, there is me. Quite simply, all that I have and am I owe to Jesus Christ. All that I know of Him has come through Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon. While there are a thousand elements of my witness of the veracity of this book, none is more vivid for me than the joy that is my life. You may scoff as you please, but there will be a day when I will see that my faith has not been in vain.

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