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Comments about ‘Embracing the power of the Book of Mormon’

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Published: Thursday, Jan. 5 2012 5:00 a.m. MST

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Full-on double rainbow
Bluffdale, UT

Without the tittle "Defending the Faith" I dont feel as antagonistic.

NT
Springville, UT

Thanks, Bro Peterson. Even a few minutes a day reading and pondering this magnificent modern-day miracle gives me purpose, hope and perspective. It truly does tell me all things what I should do.

skeptic
Phoenix, AZ

If one wishes to defend the book of Mormon he might start with producing one bit of natural evidence that it is anything more than fiction.

@Charles
the greater outdoors, UT

Dear skeptic: what does "producing one bit of natural evidence that it is anything more than fiction" have to do with the truth, validity or power of the Book of Mormon?

Are you a Doubting Thomas who has to "see" to believe?

The simple fact that the Book of Mormon is here, available for all to read is proof that it is true. It, the Book of Mormon, stands on its own merits.

I encourage you to actually read the Book of Mormon and feel the power of the word of God as written by His prophets of old.

mightymite
DRAPER, UT

Seriously? Come on Dan, you have to bring it a little more than that. You mailed it in this week on very week arguments again. Common I want to believe but your just killing me.

atl134
Salt Lake City, UT

@Charles
"The simple fact that the Book of Mormon is here, available for all to read is proof that it is true."

Surely that is not the standard you use to determine literary truth since I'm fairly sure you don't believe the Quran to be true, and you sure as heck don't believe The Hobbit to be true (is this nation ready to elect an elf to be president?).

"what does "producing one bit of natural evidence that it is anything more than fiction" have to do with the truth, validity or power of the Book of Mormon?"

Because there is good reason to be skeptical of the Book of Mormon's validity if there were not evidence to support the Book of Mormon events having happened.

Arlin Nusbaum
SLC, UT

Thank you for your comments, they will be used and referenced.

Verdad
Orem, UT

I may be misreading Peterson, mightymite, but I don't really think that this column was intended to offer a proof of the Book of Mormon or even that it's primarily about arguing for the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon. The bit about Joseph's lack of "pride of authorship" was just a side observation about something that Peterson seems to think -- and that I think -- counts against his being the author. Is it a decisive proof? No. Is it an interesting bit of evidence? Yes.

Overdubbed
San Diego, CA

I do not understand the doubts about the Book of Mormon.

It is a miraculous book.

I could far more understand doubts about Joseph Smith or Jesus Christ but reading the Book of Mormon, I do not understand the doubts at all, if you in any way accept other religious texts, particularly the Bible.

RanchHand
Huntsville, UT

@Verdad;

I saw an auction recently where an Original Book of Mormon (pretty cool actually) was sold for somewhere around $60K. The title page read "The Book of Mormon: Author Joseph Smith Jr."

That seems to refute your statement about Joseph's "lack of pride of authorship".

Weber State Graduate
Clearfield, UT

There is no denying that people can "feel" the power of the BoM.

However, the BoM has no more power than what the reader gives it. The feelings and emotions experienced by the reader are a product of one's own individual reaction...nothing more. Everyone has the ability to give meaning and experience the exact same sensations through the reading of countless other literary pieces.

Simply put, the "power" of the BoM is not intrinsic, nor is it supernatural...it's what people give it.

metamoracoug
metamora, IL

Skeptic:

The most direct evidence of the veracity of the BofM is the phrase "it came to pass." This phrase appears ubiquitously in Mayan writings. Please see Michael Coe's book Breaking the Maya Code. Dr. Coe is not LDS but he is one of the foremost authorities on Meso-America. His recounting of the events leading to breaking the Maya code includes an explanation of "it came to pass" and how extensively it was used. In fact, he includes one example -- about 10 sentences long -- in which the phrase is used 4 times.

This is one bit of natural evidence that this book has an ancient American origin, but I know it will not make any difference to you.

Furthermore, I have an ever increasing list of parallel evidences -- things JS couldn't have known in 1829 because no one knew them. The real issue here is you are asking me to do your home work for you. When you have read the BofM 50+ times and also immerse yourself in the study of ancient America you will see the same things I see. Until then, your opinion is worthless.

metamoracoug
metamora, IL

Ranchhand:

The state of New York required that published works have an "author" listed. Joseph Smith's name appears as such to fulfill the legal requirement.

Mormoncowboy
Provo, Ut

Charles:

"Are you a Doubting Thomas who has to "see" to believe?"

Yes!

Metamoracoug:

Allegedly, the Book of Mormon never said "and it came to pass". It supposedly said things in "reformed egyptian" that correlate to the English.

In response to Dan Peterson's article:

I guess we see what we want to in the evidence. I always interpreted Joseph Smith's disinterest in the Book of Mormon as evidence that he didn't translate it. He never really seemed to excited about it, as I would expect a guy who was called to be it's principle forebearer. Additionally, Peterson's general dismissall of Spaulding is out of hand, and only a technical assertion on the opinion of believers who would like to dismiss the Spaulding theory. As always, they dismiss without even discussing the substantial plagiarism made by Joseph Smith regarding finding the plates. Further, if Joseph Smith merely "stole" the Book of Mormon, but did not write it, his disinterest in the work is quite obvious. Peterson implicitly acknowledges this, which is why he must propose the Straw Man that the only tennable "anti" theory is Joseph Smith as author. He does so with adequately establishing why.

Searching . . .
Orem, UT

Metamoracoug:

That's an interesting proof that you produced. Let's put aside that claiming Michael Coe as a support for "LDS archaeology" won't get you very far or that one of the Spalding witnesses responded to the reading of the BoM with "Old 'and it came to pass' lives again."

I won't claim to be an expert, but from what I've read about Mayan, their written language was very linear. The main purpose of their stele were to record events, such as the ascensions of kings. Something like "the king was born, then this event happened, then he did this, then he was made king." Even the Popol Vuh was along those lines: "There was only immobility and silence in the darkness, in the night. Only the creator, the Maker, Tepeu, Gucumatz, the Forefathers, were in the water surrounded with light. [...] Then Tepeu and Gucumatz came together; then they conferred about life and light, what they would do so that there would be light and dawn, who it would be who would provide food and sustenance."

Compare that to 2 Nephi 3 or the discourses of Alma. First of all, there is no connection between Mayan and Egyptian--not stylistically nor linguistically. No written language that can be described as revised egyptian has been discovered in the Americas. Beyond that, Mayan doesn't seem capable of the depth of expression found in the BoM.

Cats
Somewhere in Time, UT

Ranch Hand: Copyright law at the time required that Joseph be listed as author. That is the only reason. You need to get up on the facts.

FDRfan
safety dictates, ID

a witness to the existence of a personal God who intervenes in human history for the salvation of his children,

I am totally convinced that the Book of Mormon is not only the handbook for our personal lives but also for the governance of our society. We all bring our backgrounds into our interpretation of what is written but a less than correct interpretation is better than ignoring what is written. This is a great opportunity to get more interest in this book. Examine the various political philosophies with what is written therein and vote accordingly. My interpretation leads me more toward being a Democrat and I simply don't see how members of the Church can be so die hard Republicans. But I can flip flop where warranted.

@Charles
the greater outdoors, UT

I am completely convinced that no amount of physical evidence would be sufficient for the naysayers. It never is. When one issue is negated the goal posts move.

Sorry, but the Book of Mormon's validity doesn't stand or fall on physical evidence. It stands on its own merits. Those who helped in the translation all detailed how it was accomplished.

The witnesses detailed how they saw the plates. No one ever recanted any of it and said it was all a hoax even when they left the LDS church. No one.

The promise is out there to anyone who humbly and truly wants to know the truths of God that are contained in the Book of Mormon. The last 2 paragraphs on the Introduction page detail what one can expect to receive in the way of knowledge through the Book of Mormon.

@mormoncowboy: then you'll just be one of those who is ever learning but never coming to a knowledge of the truth. Your call.

Folks, don't get sucked into the games Ranch plays. He was a member of the LDS church, former missionary who just likes to tweak members.

hermounts
Pleasanton, CA

I have been wondering for some time, is the church STILL under condemnation for neglecting the Book of Mormon?

metamoracoug
metamora, IL

Searching: Thank you for your thoughtful observations.

To some degree you are correct about Maya writing, though keep in mind we have very limited amount of script: 4 codices, plus what appears in stelae, buildings and pottery. Thanks to Landa we have a rosetta stone to Maya written language, but also thanks to Landa thousands of "books" were burned. So, while the writing we presently have is somewhat linguistically stilted, it does not follow that all that the Maya wrote was.

And I would respectfully disagree with you regarding the Popol Vuh, which is rich in symbolism and linguistic complexity.

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