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

Return to article »

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

  • Oldest first
  • Newest first
  • Most recommended
Surrey, BC

I find it interesting that critics of the LDS church have scads of time to devote to writing and trying to disprove everything from JS to modern revelation. I certainly don't waste my time trying to disprove any other religion and actively speak out against them. Why waste your time on DN? Nothing said on these boards will make any difference. The gospel continues to be spread around the world and the humble hear the message and act on it. The effects of daily following Christ and applying His teachings in my life are all I need as testimony, not arguments about this evidence or lack of evidence.

In the end we will all kneel individually before God to account for our actions in this life. At that point it will be too late to give any excuses for our actions or lack of actions.

Clearfield, UT

I don't disagree with you at all. In fact, I oppose indoctrination of children into religion. My comments are referring to adults who have access to more information than children.

Well stated! You might call me a naturalist! I believe people are naturally good or evil plus all shades in-between. Man is what he chooses to be.
Man is a creature of this earth, blessed with astonishing faculties that allow him to choose to behave well or badly. I believe we control ourselves....not some mythical entity!

@Voice of Reason
I beg to differ! People who have an opposing opinion or outlook have usually already questioned and learned about beliefs that oppose there own. For example: I have learned about the LDS Church. People have come to their conclusions based on learning, questioning, scrutinizing as many aspects, opinions, information concerning the subject as possible. Limiting information/knowledge is not growth. Neither of us may be able to prove our views to each other, but that doesn't mean others won't at least consider the information. There's nothing wrong with building on your beliefs, but I personally prefer to build mine on as much information/knowledge as possible.

Petaluma, CA

To illustrate the flaw in analysis, Fields said that, using the Stanford researchers' methodology, it can be shown that Sidney Rigdon wrote 34 of the 85 Federalist Papers (even though he wasn't yet born) and that Rigdon wrote 30 percent of the chapters in the Bible.

without detailed information, there is no way to validate the counter that Fields offers, but its pretty clever on the face of it.

Sandy, UT

QED Criddle QED!

Now go back to your actual field of study.

As a fellow Olympus Titan, somewhere between the Cottonwood Mall and Heaps a Burger....you lost your way. Sad legacy.

Nashville, TN

Ranchhand - you asked Mc:
How will those who devoted their lives to the lds church feel if they find out that what they devoted their lives to was really false?

But I believe she answered that question already, and quite eloquently, I might add, when she said:

I believe it is from God and have chosen to live my life accordingly. Someday, in the next life, we will all know the truth. If I find out that it is not true I will have no regrets for having lived my life without alcohol, drugs, immorality, dishonesty, or hate. I will not regret making temple covenants that lead me to serve others, be faithful to my husband, and live a family oriented life. I can't think of anything in my life as an active Latter-day saint that I would regret if I learned it wasn't true. I love it all-the temple, Sunday meetings, callings, missions, family history research, and family life in the Church.

I completely agree with her.

Utes Fan
Salt Lake City, UT


"Another is that the lds church won't leave us alone"

I guess the LDS Church exercising its right to freedom of speech bothers you.

"actively engaged in a campaign to deny equal treatment under the law from many of us"

The LDS Church is actively engaged in a campaign to protect its own rights from the laws that are being proposed. I respect your right to take the other side on the issue and would expect the same of you.

"We can't turn our backs or we may end up with something sticking out of them."

Don't expect your words and ideas to be respected if you portray intentions of violence by your opponents simply because they disagree with you. Reasonable minds can disagree. Unreasonable minds resort to grotesque exaggerations.

Salt Lake City, UT


Mountains of evidence for the Book of Mormon? Really?

Name one secular textbook that says ANY civilization in the ancient Americas looked like those described in the Book of Mormon. Go ahead. Just one secular textbook or researcher that supports this idea.

If that's too hard, name one mainstream genetic researcher that believes that American Indians are descended from ancient Jews and not Eastern Asians. They have done genetic studies on that point, just so you know.

No, in fact, there is NO (as in ZERO) objective evidence of the "divine" origins of the Book of Mormon and MOUNTAINS of evidence against that being the case.

But, thanks for playing.

Brother Chuck Schroeder
A Tropical Paradise USA, FL

Short analysis of the Book of Mormon. The Malay Theory. This theory says it would have been much easier for Nephi to travel a 4000 mile journey to the Malay Peninsula than a 16000 mile journey in open seas to the Americas. The author notes better language similarities, better DNA evidence, and other evidences to support his ideas, while clearly noting that he is not sure how the plates got to NY. According to Smith's account, and also according to the book's narrative, the Book of Mormon was originally written in otherwise unknown characters referred to as "reformed Egyptian" engraved on golden plates. Smith claimed that the last prophet to contribute to the book, a man named Moroni, buried it in a hill in present-day New York and then returned to earth in 1827 as an angel, revealing the location of the book to Smith and instructing him to translate and disseminate it as evidence of the restoration of Christ's true church in the latter days. The Book of Mormon is the earliest of the unique writings of the Latter Day Saint movement, God's dealings with the ancient inhabitants of the Americas.

Out There in, WI

I've read Spaulding's "Manuscript Found". It has so little in commen with the Book of Mormon its ludicrous to think it could be the basis for the Book of Mormon. About the only thing they have in common is they both involve a visit to the new world. Its too much of a stretch to think anyone used Spaulding's work to come up with the Book of Mormon.

Olympia, WA

The biggest problem I have with the anti-religion folks is that they like to think that they are the "more intelligent" ones who use reason and logic to guide their worldviews, and that religious people ignore reason and logic and rely entirely on "blind faith". That is a shortsighted and bigoted view which only serves to refute their own logic, as such a categorizing of religious believers is in itself illogical and unreasonable. Based on my own personal experiences as a religious believer, experiences such as numerous answers to prayers, spiritual promptings and ideas, are all very real and logical to me. To me, it is much more logical and reasonable to believe in God and in the tenets of my religion, than to not believe in them. We can't be expected to explain everything, but good religions such as Mormonism give us the benefit of being able to understand the things in life that matter most, such as our relationships with our fellow humans, and to be a loving and caring person, with the positive assurance that there is more to our existence than this brief mortal life.

Utes Fan
Salt Lake City, UT


"Name one secular textbook that says ANY civilization in the ancient Americas looked like those described in the Book of Mormon."

Name one mainstream researcher that has a scholarly understanding of the Book of Mormon that could recognize an ancient civilization mentioned in the BOM. The issue isn't only archaeology - the issue really is "what does the BOM really say." A non-scholarly understanding of the BOM won't suffice.

"If that's too hard, name one mainstream genetic researcher that believes that American Indians are descended from ancient Jews and not Eastern Asians."

Again, name one mainstream researcher who has a scholarly understanding of the BOM and what it really says and knows what the DNA of Lehi and his family was. (hint: it doesn't say ALL are descended from ancient Jews)

"No, in fact, there is NO (as in ZERO) objective evidence of the "divine" origins of the Book of Mormon and MOUNTAINS of evidence against that being the case."

Given faulty beginning assumptions, no wonder you view it like that. No active LDS claims the BOM can be proven. But given faith, and evidence, there are strong reasons why we believe it to be divine.


I have read the Book of Mormon 4 times. Most critics I find peruse the book and never read it and are not sincere in finding the truth and the veracity of the book.

Also you could ask Martin Harris, Oliver Cowdrey and David Whitmer if they believe the book is true. They are additional crazy witnesses that witnessed the veracity of the book by witnessing the existance of an angel calling himself Moroni.

I find it also ironic how easily the account of the three witnesses are so easily discarded by critics.

If you are sincere and really want to find the truth about this book, you need to read it without insincere motives. If you do this and follow the precepts of this book, your life will be greatly blessed and your life will never be the same.

This is my humble and personal experience!


My Christian faith is the Greek Orthodox faith. This is the same Christan Church organized by the Apostles when they came to Greece after Jesus ascended into Haven. The Greek word for "Good News" is "Gospel". Remember Christ told the Apostles to spread the "Gospel" to all parts of the world including the New World when we finally learned it was here. The Book of Mormon cannot be true for God tells us in the Bible that anyone who adds to the scriptures or takes away from the striptures will be cursed by God. So no matter what hocus pocus anyone goes through to prove the Book of Mormons they cannot get around the warning the Bible gives us. LDS does good works and the people are for the most part very good people. But good works alone will not save you. Christ said, "I am the Truth and the Light, no one enters Haven but through Me".... and "..he who believes in Me even tho he be dead yet shall he live". I choose to believe the words of Christs that needed no translation through gold plates using a special rock in a hat. Amen!

West Jordan, UT

The critics say you can't trust evidence given by the Church or its members because they have an agenda. Well, if you can't see any agenda in the "evidence" put forth by the critics and anti-Mormons then you are truly blind.

I readily admit that we have an agenda in supporting the Book of Mormon and the Church. Our agenda is to help God accomplish his objective, "to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man." We want to share what has given us joy and purpose because we care about others.

Will you critics and antis admit that you also have an agenda? You say that we believers will ignore your evidence because we are sheep and believe no matter what. Will you admit that it wouldn't matter what kind of evidence was discovered that supports the Book of Mormon, you still would not believe? If I am a blind follower then so are you. We're just going in different directions.

Boise, ID

Any honest person wants to know what is real and what is not. You don't have to be an ardent believer to want to know the real story. That goes for the story of the Book of Mormon too. However, for generations there has been no serious attempt by the overwhelming number of people who write about the B of M to get very far into the weeds when it comes to scholarly research. Most have no idea what scholarly research is for that matter. They take the top off, look inside and then close it up again without every knowing what they were looking at and then write another expose. But that is changing and that is a very good thing.

Sandy, UT


The warning against adding to or taking away from this book, does not refer to the whole Bible or even to the New Testament, but to use Johns words, only to the words of the book of this prophecy.

Some of the books of the New Testament had not yet been written when John wrote the book of Revelation, or had even been gathered into one compilation.

The collection of writings consisting of the sixty-six books we know as the Bible were brought together and compiled into one volume long after John wrote the prophetic book that has been placed at the end of the collection.

It is also interesting to note that John himself added to scripture after writing the book of Revelation, which is generally conceded to have been written while he was on the Isle of Patmos.

It was long after John left Patmos that he wrote his first epistle.

This fact standing alone would be sufficient to defeat the claim that revelation was closed and that man was enjoined from adding to scripture. This adds cumulative evidence that John had reference to the book of Revelation only.

From Howard W. Hunter

Newport Beach, CA

I see the notion being floated that the fact that many former Mormons go out of their way to criticize the Church, is evidence that the Church must be true.

That's poor reasoning. It's human nature to try to justify one's choices, after they're made. The same thing happens when people leave the Catholic Church -- or their spouses, or their allegiance to their favorite brand of toothpaste or sports team. It says nothing about the actual truth, or value, of the thing the person was disaffected with. It's fair to assume that he's spending more energy making it look bad than a neutral person would, but it's not logical to then conclude that therefore, the thing must be perfect.

Weber State Graduate
Clearfield, UT


Bringing up the Book of Abraham problem in your post continues to set the church up for the type of scrutiny it most assuredly does not want.

Regardless of how badly some members desire to believe the so called facts about the BoA as represented by the church and her apologists, that desire, although sincere, simply does not change the facts of the matter.

Whereas the gold plates containing "Reformed Egyptian" do not exist for any independent analysis, the facsimiles of the vignettes and ten of the eleven known papyri fragments with Joseph Smith's explanations are indeed available for inspection.

Independent Egyptian scholars with absolutely no vendetta against the church have categorically concluded that they are nothing more than a collection of Egyptian funerary documents and magic spells depicting the most common objects in the Mortuary religion of Egypt...those are the facts.

The BoA problem is incredibly damaging evidence against the church and Joseph Smith's claim to have special translation powers. My sincere advice would be for the church to avoid continuing to defend such nonsensical material if it expects to maintain any sense of credibility involving legitimate scholarly inquiry.

Well Read

What a serious waste of time. It is either true or not true. It is not possible for man to prove either way. The proof or non proof comes from God - not man!

full disclosure
Providence, UT

@MC- the only agenda most of us have is truth. There are researchers out there that have no agenda who would like to keept the facts straight. In my studies, I only read books from distinguished LDS authors and researchers that I felt were credible. Not sure what agenda they would have. I did not want bias and if there was bias then i wanted them to lean on the side of the church. MC if you decide to go down that path it's Pandora's box and everything that you think you knew, is simply not how it happened. I wish you luck.

to comment

DeseretNews.com encourages a civil dialogue among its readers. We welcome your thoughtful comments.
About comments