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Challenging Issues, Keeping the Faith: Great Lakes Book of Mormon geography

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  • Alberta Reader Magrath, Alberta
    Dec. 11, 2010 8:05 p.m.

    A Scientist
    Did you get out of the wrong side of the bed this week?

  • Fred Vader Oklahoma City, OK
    Dec. 10, 2010 2:28 p.m.

    To "A Scientist":

    No, the Catholic Church was not in place during Jesus' lifetime. If it had been, it would not have needed to be "merely formalized" by Constantine, nearly 300 years later.

    I don't have an issue with the Catholics believing otherwise, however.

    My question is, that if Catholics believe that Christ appointed Peter to be the first Pope/Bishop (not stated anywhere in the Bible by the way), then how did the second guy, Linus, become Pope after Peter's crucifixition? Did he just decide to make himself Pope?

    Why no mention of Linus in the New Testament, since many of those writings were composed decades after Christ, and supposedly he picked up right after Peter's death?

  • A Scientist West Jordan, UT
    Dec. 10, 2010 11:24 a.m.

    to the truth,

    I can tell by your last comment that you have been reading way too much Talmage.

    Talmage wrote his pseudo-scholarly work, The Great Apostasy, drawing on biased sources that were a century old when he used them. That was over a century ago, making his book two centuries out of date and so biased and obsolete as to be laughable. Therefore, your selective and distorted view is quite naive.

    The "Catholic" church (gathering) was in place during Jesus' lifetime. His followers were "gathering" to listen to him, and gathering to listen to those he "sent" (apostles).

    Constantine merely formalized, under his political authority, what had already been in place for several hundred years, and endorsed the decisions of ecumenical leaders who met to work through variations in writings and doctrines.

    That is no different than what the LDS Church "Correlation Department" has done for a century, including ripping the canonical Lectures on Faith out of the D&C 80 years later.

    According to Talmage, apostasy includes altering the word of god! You accuse the Catholics of that, but turn a blind eye to yourselves?

    Only if you aren't afraid of truth will you find it.

  • Jolter Northern, Utah
    Dec. 10, 2010 10:02 a.m.

    In discussions such as these we need to define the terms of what Truth is. Many people often repeat statements they have heard without really thinking about the implications. The belief in relative or subjective truth is accepted as fact because it so often repeated. By suggesting reading material that supports his position Mr. Ash seems to believe he can help those who are seeking the truth, find the truth. His mistake lies in not suggesting reading material that opposes position. If a person is to determine truth for themselves they should gather knowledge from sources both pro and con so they can at least make an educated decision on their beliefs.

    "Absolute Truth is true regardless of what we believe and think. Absolute truth stands on its own. Absolute truth is absolutely true no matter what evidence there is for it. Truth is what corresponds to the facts. If the BoM and the LDS faith could stand on its own without challenge than there would be no need for Mr. Ash as an apolegetic and no need for him to justify the claims the BoM makes.

    Will DN ban my valid rebuttal like they sometimes do?

  • A Scientist West Jordan, UT
    Dec. 10, 2010 9:57 a.m.

    Sarah,

    You make bold claims.

    Unfortunately, you nor your "Christ" have any authority to judge all other religions as "abominations" and "corrupt".

    Islamic radicals claim the same kind of closed-minded "authority" from their god, and they deprive others of life, liberty, and property acting on that usurped or imagined authority.

    Your claims are as unfounded as are theirs.

    In the name of your unfounded claims to "Christian" authority, you and those like you deprive fellow US citizens of basic equality before the law in the most fundamental domestic matters.

    You have no authority or right to do so.

    And calling yourself "Christian" is meaningless.

    Matt7:21-23(paraphrased):

    "Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? [We are Christians!}

    "And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity."

    It would be wise to ask if these words apply to you. You might also ponder D&C 134:4. Are your religious opinions prompting you to infringe upon the rights and liberties of others?

  • Sarah Nichole West Jordan, UT
    Dec. 10, 2010 6:51 a.m.

    sharrona:

    It doesn't matter what other churches think of us, it only matters what Christ thinks of us. And by His definitions, we are Christian. He is the ONLY being that can say otherwise. You have not been given the authority to judge who is worthy enough to be called one of His followers. Therefore, you can't deny me the right to take His name upon me. Nothing you say can change that.

  • vic Colorado Springs, CO
    Dec. 10, 2010 3:38 a.m.

    Doctrine and Convenants: section 18 verse 47: Behold, I, Jesus Christ, your Lord and your God, and your Redeemer, by the power of my Spirit have spoken it. Amen.

    In various forms up until this verse, the Lord Jesus Christ was testifying of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon, the plates, and the various prophets.

    The question becomes did Christ say that the Book of Mormon is true doctrine or was it just the lies of Joseph Smith?

    As for me and my household, Christ has testified of the truthfullness of the Book of Mormon, we don't need DNA evidence as proof - Christ has already spoken it. Amen.

  • the truth Holladay, UT
    Dec. 9, 2010 6:14 p.m.

    RE: A Scientist | 10:59 a.m.

    The Greeks did not write the bible so I could care less about thier interpretations,

    interpretations of LATER manuscripts,

    manuscripts that were written hundreds of years after the events mentioned.

    I am more interested in what the original sources actually said

    And the catholic church was created over three hundred years later by an edict of a roman emperor, SO any claims by catholics a I find specious at best.

    their claims to lines of authority, are seriously problematical.

    THoughout history, from the begining of time, GOd dhas ALWAYS lead and directed his people, his church, through revelation to his servant, a Prophet, his prophet to his people and church.

    never through a "Pope" which is actually derived from the word for "bishop", which was NEVER the highest authority in the church, but a local leader of a congregation, and they do NOT have the keys necessary to lead the entire church, only a prophet does, and bishop leads only under the direction of a higher authoirity,

    one must have the ALL keys of authority to lead God's one true church.

  • JoeBlow Miami Area, Fl
    Dec. 9, 2010 6:09 p.m.

    Dont get me wrong Sarah.

    It makes not one iota of difference to me.

    I think it is amusing though, that the LDS believe that all the other Christian churches are "an abomination" and then wonder why they don't include you as one of them.

    And more so, why do you want to be associated with those churches?

    So, if everyone called the LDS Christian but said that your teachings were flawed and basically wrong in the eyes of God, would you be fine with that?

    How do you feel when the Baptist come into town and try to "convert" the LDS to a correct religion?

  • sharrona layton, Ut
    Dec. 9, 2010 5:22 p.m.

    Sarah Nicole, You cannot judge a book by its cover. Mormons are wonderful people and when the Missionaries come to your door they will try to love you into their Church,they will not say,Do you want to join a cult?
    Who determines Christian or cult, after all if you do it yourself that would be circular reasoning.
    Google any mainline conservative Christian web page and it should tell you about Mormonism. Catholic Answers calls Mormonism a Non-Christian religion, The Lutheran Church (MS) considers it a Cult and Im sure you know what the Southern Baptists believe about Mormonism, a Cult.
    Christian Science has Christ name, but they deny the resurrection and not all members are not literally Scientist. Christodelphians (Friends of Christ) are similar to the JWs, both deny the Triune God and considered a cult by the Christian community. Just because someone has a car in their garage does not make them a mechanic. Mormons deny all the essentials of the Christian Faith, Once delivered to the Saints (Jude 3).

    The RLDS maybe joining the Christian community soon.

  • Sarah Nichole West Jordan, UT
    Dec. 9, 2010 11:33 a.m.

    lvic,

    In addition to FAIR and FARMS and Brother Ash's suggestions, I'd also recommend looking for two talks, one by Brad Wilcox titled "The Prophet & the Plates," and one by Daniel C. Peterson called "Defending the Faith." You may be able to find them in your library system, or you may be able to purchase them from Deseret Book or ldsaudio dot com. And maybe visit frostcave dot blogspot dot com, where Brother Heimerdinger shares a lot of his personal research into Book of Mormon evidences.

    You won't find a fully comprehensive list lying around, but these are some good places to start. Between all of them, you'll have quite a lengthy list to go from.

  • Sarah Nichole West Jordan, UT
    Dec. 9, 2010 11:04 a.m.

    JoeBlow,

    The difference is easy. When we're talking about the RLDS or the FLDS, we're talking about whether or not they're members of a particular sect of Christianity, LDS. It's like asking if the members of the Westboro Baptist Church are really part of the Baptist Church (though, obviously, with a much more positive association than that example).

    I don't know any member of the LDS church that would claim that the RLDS or FLDS or any other splinter sect are not Christian, just that they belong to a different sect of Christianity. It's no different than saying that, while the Catholic and Anglican churches started out as the same church, they have are now two separate, distinct branches of Christianity.

    As far as I'm aware, the Savior did not announce to the world that JoeBlow, or anybody else, had the right to determine who His followers were. That is a responsibility He has reserved for Himself. According to the teachings of the Savior, and those of His apostles, we are Christian. Until He tells me that I'm not one, what anybody else thinks does not matter.

  • A Scientist Clandestine, CA
    Dec. 9, 2010 10:59 a.m.

    the truth,

    Your interpretations of scripture are questionable, at best.

    Apostle simply means one who is sent and has nothing to do with church leadership because the word church simply means gathering.

    As for Ephesians, you miss the essential punctuation placed there by the KJ translators to convey the real meaning. Here is a better way to read it:

    11 And he gave apostles to some gatherings of believers; and he gave to other gatherings of believers prophets; and to other gatherings he gave evangelists; and to others he gave pastors and teachers;

    Finally, your Church is known to officially interpret Matthew 16:18-10 as referring to revelation as the rock upon which Jesus would build his gathering of believers. You do this to undercut the claims of Roman Catholicism to having direct authority from Jesus through Peter (the first Pope). As such, this scripture cannot be correctly interpreted in the way you try to do, even by your own standards.

    Once you have been properly educated in Biblical Greek, please come back and discuss these passages knowledgably. Until then, continue groping for non-existent evidences (gratuitously called parallels by wishful thinking believers).

  • Mike Ash Ogden, UT
    Dec. 9, 2010 10:54 a.m.

    lvic, you may want to locate the link in my articles that take you to the rest of my earlier articles. There are many evidences for the BoM sprinkled in several past articles. You might also want to get a copy of "Of Faith and Reason: 80 Evidences Supporting the Prophet Joseph Smith."

    Lastly, you might want to go to FAIRLDS dot org and read the reviews of the "Christian" DVD that slams the Church. The DVD has many, many errors. You can contact me by email if you have other questions (my email is linked in my articles).

  • A Scientist Clandestine, CA
    Dec. 9, 2010 10:36 a.m.

    Chachi,

    I appreciate your attempt to declare yourselves "Christians".

    The world has had the New Testament for a couple thousand years to testify of the reality of Jesus Christ.

    This makes the BOM superfluous and irrelevant, as well as unsupported in its historical status.

    Nobody needs the BOM in order to believe in Jesus Christ.

    The so-called "Jesus" of the BOM is not the same as the Jesus Christ of the New Testament.

    Simply read 3 Nephi 9:1-13 and you will see a Jesus who brags about destroying 16 cities and millions of people, then threatens the traumatized survivors with destruction if they don't turn to him! You can't find that kind of Jesus in the New Testament.

    And where is the "core message of Jesus Christ was love, charity and service" in that bloodthirsty rant in 3 Nephi?

    We don't buy your claim that because the BOM testifies of Christ we should all roll over and accept its "truth" and overlook the obvious problems. The book is not what you claim.

  • UtahBlueDevil Durham, NC
    Dec. 9, 2010 8:48 a.m.

    What the heck difference does all this make. We can't even locate exact records of Christ life - yet few christians have issue with this. Fellow Mormons need to stop trying to find physical proof validating the Book of Mormon.

    Does it really matter where the Garden of Eden was? What difference does it make if the Nephites were in New England or the farthest tip of Chile. In your quest for salvation, does any of this matter, one bit?

    Very few of us are charitable, or forgiving enough to measure up to the standards set by Christ. Worry more about that, and less about if Nephi had blue or brown eyes...

  • JoeBlow Miami Area, Fl
    Dec. 9, 2010 6:24 a.m.

    "nor do they get to decide who belongs to the club."

    Who does get to decide?

    Could the same argument be used when discussing the LDS and other LDS splinter groups like the RLDS?

    Certainly the RLDS look much more similar to the LDS than the LDS vs Catholic or Baptist.

    If not, please explain the inconsistency.

  • the truth Holladay, UT
    Dec. 8, 2010 6:20 p.m.

    RE: Chachi | 7:55 p.m.

    Regarding the use of "Isle",

    in the bible "isle" is most often used to desrcibe a coast or a coast-land,

    or more specifically "isles" or "isles" is a city or cities cities, or place or places next to the "sea".

    you can find numerous examples of this in the old testament.

    The "isle" used here is most probably talking about the coast, or coastal place, or coastal city or land where he lives,

    and following scriptures in the same chapter, are talking about other new coastal places where others have came to from the old world.

    and it should be no surprise that that Jacob would the same words the same way as old testament people, since his father and mother came from the those same old testament lands and peoples (Jacob was born on the ship on the way to america).

  • Chachi Charlottesville, VA
    Dec. 8, 2010 4:57 p.m.

    lvic: I'd suggest you don't let them distract you from the main point: Mormons are Christians because we believe in and worship Jesus Christ as the Savior of the world and the Son of God, and we accept the Bible as scripture. If the Book of Mormon were false, it would not mean that Mormons are not Christians; just that Mormonism is a false denomination of Christianity.

    So don't argue the evidences of the Book of Mormon with them; instead, respectfully point out that there is more than one version of Christianity, and they don't have a monopoly on the term, nor do they get to decide who belongs to the club.

  • lvic las vegas, nv
    Dec. 8, 2010 3:00 p.m.

    jm thanks, had never thought about the authenticity nor the need for physical evidence regarding the BoM until just recently. My kids attended a christian school. They came home one day and informed me that the school had just taught them that Mormons are not Christians. I went to the school the next day to let them have it. They sent me home with a video that explained that the BoM was not true because there was no real, tangible physical evidence to prove it, it has really thrown me for a loop. I began reading and surfing the net to defend my position that there is real proof, geography, artifacts, etc. That was my interest in reading this article. And why i have asked for your help. As you can see i know very little about this subject, and am trying to formulate an opinion. I have been inactive in the church for about 10 years. Just learning of all these issues as of late. My asking for help was sincere, hope that is understood, thanks

  • JM Lehi, UT
    Dec. 8, 2010 2:07 p.m.

    Many easily argue away Biblical evidences by claiming contemporary writers created fiction, setting in ME, kings, etc (check: (edited)).

    With the BoM we have an additional powerful witness to the Biblical reality of God, the Living Jesus, exalted Man.

    Separated Indigenous American religious themes show ancient knowledge of Christ.

    JS couldnt create the BoM with its mountainous evidences; some discussed at Maxwell, FAIR, Mike, etc, a few discussed here: correlations, Mayan place names; kings; detailed Mesoamerican geography, cities; IA with MEast, Polynesian etc morphology; steel; Shazar, masculine Alma; Lehi; compass; stained swords; metal bows; RedSea rivers; glass; horses; Bountiful; Bethlehem at Jerusalem; impossibly matching Mayan temple symbolism (mingled with Baal?, cross/tree of life on Eden/Golgotha, grave/womb rebirth, with three Otherworld levels etc; and signs enough for seekers and fallen alike, with crucial Spiritual whisperings- all make the BoM a most powerful witness, and knowing it's true gives joyous direction.

    Sharrona: luvya, never abandon Christ for "Christian" title.

    Gentiles sheep, but one fold (walled enclosure) with??? Fruitful Joseph not inside, but hear One Shepherds voice.

    @Ivic: thanks for forgiving my too shallow reading assumptions, sorry, I see now.
    I study symbolism, Maya=Middle East.
    What interests you?

  • lvic las vegas, nv
    Dec. 8, 2010 10:34 a.m.

    jm- Thanks for your response. I hope I can clear a few things up. You are correct I am new to this site. I was not trying to put you on the defensive and I am not a critic. When I read what you had said, I was actually excited to hear that there may physical evidence about the book of momron. I have asked the missionaries and some memebers of the church but have found little help. I looked through your last comment, and will look up the stuff you suggested. If you can be more specific and give me more resouces I would really appreciate that. Again, was not trying to critic you, i actually would like to learn the evidence you are talking about. thanks

  • Senor Awesome Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Dec. 7, 2010 10:17 p.m.

    Here is what the church provides which differentiates it from other organizations....

    Resources/Tools: Book of Mormon, Temple, Weekly Meetings, Emphasis for Families, Bible Teachings, Modern Revelation, Gift of Holy Ghost by Laying on of Hands, Priesthood Authority and Callings, & Accountability.

    Incentives/End Objective: Return to live with God for Eternity with Family.

    Requirements: Faith, Repentance, Baptism, Gift of Holy Ghost, Love God with all thine heart, Love thy neighbor as thyself...

    To me it just makes sense..for me to meet the requirements and achieve the incentive I need all of the tools/resources. Sure I can become a good/moral person in life, but I want more and the incentive offered is pretty sweet and I personally don't think I could achieve the incentive without all the accountability or resources...I have oversimplified things and haven't mentioned everything because of limited space, but this gives you an idea.

  • Alberta Reader Magrath, Alberta
    Dec. 7, 2010 8:02 p.m.

    Sharrona
    I respect for Christian fervor but I believe
    the words of Christ himself from the BofM concerning His other Sheep found in 3 Nephi

    21And verily I say unto you, that ye are they of whom I said: Other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one bshepherd.
    22And they understood me not, for they supposed it had been the Gentiles; for they understood not that the Gentiles should be converted through their preaching.

  • Chachi Charlottesville, VA
    Dec. 7, 2010 7:55 p.m.

    To "the truth": Where do you get this idea that unless the Nephites were able to see from one side of the narrow neck of land to the other, that they wouldn't be able to figure out what it was shaped like? Do you think that humans couldn't make maps until they invented airplanes?

    To Mike Ash: Here's hoping that the next installment answers the big questions with the Great Lakes model: If the Great Lakes are the "sea east" and the "sea west," then how did Lehi et al sail there? Via the St. Lawrence River?

    And why does Jacob think he's upon an isle of the sea (2 Nephi 10:20)? Are we supposed to believe that they're living in Ontario or Michigan and never figured out that they're in the middle of a continent? Why are there all sorts of references to weather phenomena but not to snow (except figuratively)?

    If there aren't any good answers to these problems, then let's admit that and move on to the Mesoamerican model.

  • the truth Holladay, UT
    Dec. 7, 2010 7:25 p.m.

    RE: Dennis | 6:39 p.m

    Let see:

    Christ oradined Apostles, created a church leadership,

    oraganized some deciples "seventies" for missionary work,

    from pauls letters we see there were congregations oraganized in other cities and foriegh countries,

    Ephesians:
    5One_Lord, one_faith, one_baptism,

    11And he gave some, apostles; and some prophets; and some evangelists; and some pastors and teachers;

    12For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:

    13Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:

    14That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;

    and there are sciptures that mention bishops and churches in this place and that,

    sounds_like_a_church_to_me,

    and Christ himself said (matthew 16:18-10) "...and upon this rock I will build my church;...And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven..."

    Sounds like Christ definitely organized a church.

  • Dennis Harwich, MA
    Dec. 7, 2010 6:39 p.m.

    Christ never, ever, organized a Church.
    EVER!

  • sharrona layton, Ut
    Dec. 7, 2010 6:00 p.m.

    Bill in Nebraska: So who are the Gentiles? In (Acts 9:15; 28:28) The Greek word (ethnos, 1484) is translated Gentile. In Romans 10:19(ethnos) is translated nation. Ethnos = ethnicity or ethnics. Jews did not much care for non-Jews.
    Jonah was told by God to preach to Ninevites (Gentiles), but he said no way but God provided him a way.
    So when Jesus told the disciples, Go ye therefore, and teach the all nations (ethnos) baptizing them in the name of the Father, and the Son and of the Holy Ghost. (Mt 28:19). They may not have been overjoyed. Therefore,"other seep"(John 10:16)are Gentiles.
    So the big question is why are you here? (Galatians 1:8)and(John 3:16)
    Now I have a couple questions. In Revelation 14:6 is that the Angel Moroni and is that a future or past event?
    IdahoCoug; I have read the BofM multiple times but have not for a while.
    Me too, but now I prefer the Bible.

  • Idaho Coug Meridian, Idaho
    Dec. 7, 2010 4:23 p.m.

    I just want to again thank everyone here for such incredible insight regardless of where you come down on the Book of Mormon issues that Mike presents. And thanks to Mike for this series that has provoked such good comments.

    I have read the BofM multiple times but have not for a while. This series and these discussion have motivated me to read it again. I plan to start today and try to finish by the end of December.

    I challenge you all to join me!! You know I am not doing this from some kind of a missionary challenge. The regulars here know I am the odd active LDS skeptic - although we are much more in mumber than you may think ;). But I think these conversations could even be richer if many of us were reading the book that this series and these comments are actually about.

    And for the critics, no need to challenge me to read non-LDS stuff for balance. I just finished Richard Dawkins, The Greatest Show on Earth and Jared Diamonds, Guns, Germs and Steal.

  • Senor Awesome Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Dec. 7, 2010 12:21 p.m.

    Thank you for all of your feedback...I think Christ organized a church because He knows we are human and we need structure, incentive, urgency, and encouragement to improve ourselves and become the best people we can be. Strictly looking through practical eyes, without mentioning spiritual eyes, I feel the structure, resources, and support offered through the LDS church offers the best chance for me to come to Christ. I don't disagree that you can become a moral person without church, but for myself I know it would be difficult to do this on a consistent basis without an organization.

  • Bill in Nebraska Maryville, MO
    Dec. 7, 2010 12:07 p.m.

    To Sharrona:

    So who are the Gentiles? You excuse the Book of Mormon and even the scriptures that testify of the Book of Mormon. You bypass the scriptures that tell of the Apostacy that was to come when it was prophesied by Isaiah and Daniel. You follow the creeds that were established by MAN not by our Heavenly Father or his Son Jesus Christ.

    It is well known that those members who leave the LDS Church becomes its most ardent critics because they have lost the gift that was given to them at Baptism.

    Explain then that who preaches the Gospel to those that have died without knowledge of the Gospel.

    It is even said that even the elite will stray away. The tree of life as depicted in the Book of Mormon is as close to what happens to us as we loose the testimony borne of the Spirit via direct revelation from God. The creeds were established again by man.

    So the big question is why are you here? To destroy the faith of people who know the truth of the Book of Mormon because it has been revealed to them in a manner indescribable.

  • sharrona layton, Ut
    Dec. 7, 2010 11:38 a.m.

    JM, "The LDS I know understand the BoM stands, powerfully, and is historical, and that Jesus really visited,His "other sheep",(John 10:16) Wrong.
    The Bible tells us who these other sheep are; and they are not the Nephites or Laminites but they are instead the Gentiles. Jesus made it clear that the gospel message would be given to the Jews but because of their unbelief it was later delivered to, the Gentiles.(Acts 28:28)This commission was given to Paul in(Acts 9:15).
    Did Israel not understand? First, Moses says, I will make envious by those who are not my nation; I will make you angry by a nation that has no understanding.
    And Isaiah bold says I was found by those who did not seek me; I revealed myself to those who did not seek me. (Romans 10:19,20 NIV). Neither the Nephites nor the Laminates can meet this qualification.
    Senior Awesome: I left the Church, when I became a Christian. I had lost all things, but I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ. Who is Not an exalted man.

  • cval Hyde Park, UT
    Dec. 7, 2010 11:24 a.m.

    So many of you are confused about "proof" and "evidence."

    There is no proof. For God to provide such would violate the First Principle of the Gospel. Faith.

    There is a great deal of evidence. Evidence gives us information that we can compare to what we already know and/or believe to be true. Evidence is subject to interpretation, and we tend to interpret it through our own lens.

    We can argue here about whether this evidence or that evidence proves the Book of Mormon true or false...

    Of course it doesn't prove anything either way. As has been said the evidence is interesting. I enjoy thinking about it, but testimony comes from a different source. The recipe for finding that is in the book itself.

    Of course to find it you would have to actually read and study the book, not just what others have said or written about it.

  • JM Lehi, UT
    Dec. 7, 2010 11:18 a.m.

    Im confused.

    Is the main object of critics to misrepresent to lead astray from truth?

    Sometimes critics alter documents, comfort disbelief by chanting no evidence for the sun, thats Spauldings sky fire; or they used to post as LDS, Mike, etc, some still seem to have multiple accounts...its madness...but fun to watch, still, whats the motivation?
    Can anyone explain to me what good can possibly come from attacking scriptural goodness by misrepresentation?

    We ALL know the BoM has been scrutinized for nearly 200 years and there is no fatal flaw. Regular critics know BoM evidences are mountainous, and more than sufficient to inspire open hearts to plant the experimental seed.

    Those who honestly and diligently seek in humility will find. Jesus has promised this, He does not lie, millions have found.

    I sought answers, and found. If you have yet failed to find, why try to lead others to your failure with deception or misrepresentation?

    If God has spoken to you, awesome!

    Why claim that some evidence you have never produced proves He hasnt spoken to me? : ) : )

    LuvYall, keep on...and can we talk about geography again?
    Figuring out "where," together, is meaningful...

  • Searching . . . Orem, UT
    Dec. 7, 2010 10:53 a.m.

    Senor Awesome, that's a very good question, and one that keeps people in the church long after their testimony has died. Membership in the church is a huge investment in time, money, and acculturation. Leaving the church for whatever reason threatens reputation, friendships, and even familial relationships. To state that member leaving the church is a casual thing is to misrepresent what is probably a very difficult and painful transition. However, it can also be a transition to a much more comfortable and fulfilling outlook on life.

    The LDS church does not have a corner on morals, incentives, and support. All religions teach morals, and even atheists can raise a family based on a moral code. For social support, religions, clubs, and service organizations would all gladly accept your involvement; invite friends over instead of waiting for the home teachers.

    By incentives, I assume you refer to temple promises. Every religion guarantees life after this one, with varying degrees of rewards depending on righteousness. My experience has taught me that moral living brings its own rewards and I don't have to be dead to enjoy them. Also, lofty promises aren't always what they seem.

  • Jax Bountiful, UT
    Dec. 7, 2010 10:15 a.m.

    "What should I do now? Do you have a better alternative for me to live including a set of morals, incentives, and a support group that will help me become a better person than what was revealed to Joseph Smith?"

    Billions and billions of people have morals and find meaning outside of Mormonism. Almost everybody on this planet does just that.

    Personally, I have found morality and meaning in searching for truth and thinking of others, but I would recommend that instead of seeking to have somebody else define morality for you, figure it out for yourself. What makes sense? What makes you happy? What makes those you care about happy?

    I think you will find that many of the principles that you find comforting in Mormonism, you will rediscover through empathy and common sense without the additional baggage that comes from Mormonism.

    One other thing I have found is that it is okay to admit to not "knowing" everything. There is some satisfaction in saying I'm just not sure about this or that. The journey through life and quest for truth is quite enjoyable even without some presumed knowledge about what happens when we die.

  • Razzle2 Bluffdale, UT
    Dec. 7, 2010 9:54 a.m.

    We believe and hope all things. (Glass half full) I won't say something is NOT true until you can prove it is. Rather I say everything is possible until it's proven false.
    I do get goose bumps though when I stand on the ruins of the central valleys of Southern Mexico and the non-lds guide says, "All of those hills as far as you can see are cities of cement built 100-400 A.D." - The time of peace and prosperiety in the BOM that we know so little about.
    Why can't Asians cross the Barrier Sea, just because it is not in the BOM? Why can't Lamanites mix with other people between 500 BC to 1500 AD? Why do all Lamanites have to be descendents of Lehi's group?

  • Senor Awesome Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Dec. 7, 2010 9:43 a.m.

    I have an honest question for the critics...ok lets suppose you have convinced me the Book of Mormon is false and have shaken my faith. What should I do now? Do you have a better alternative for me to live including a set of morals, incentives, and a support group that will help me become a better person than what was revealed to Joseph Smith?

  • Mormoncowboy Provo, Ut
    Dec. 7, 2010 9:26 a.m.

    Megan:

    I would say yes, The Book of Mormon is "as historical or truthful as the Book of Abraham". There are many way's one can read into that though.

  • Dennis Harwich, MA
    Dec. 7, 2010 6:20 a.m.

    Quoting the BOM to prove it's authenticity is a little ridiculous isn't it?
    I think if you'll read the words of Zelph you'll find some real answers to all of this.

  • JM Lehi, UT
    Dec. 7, 2010 3:53 a.m.

    Sometimes the only clear thing from critics is that they want to confuse. : )

    The LDS I know understand the BoM stands, powerfully, and is historical, and that Jesus really visited His other sheep etc. IC is unusual, but welcome, and free to think as he wants.

    Hopefully some critics actually read the link on DNA, it was an article on Meldrums DNA claims etc. It doesnt argue that the BoM isnt history.

    @Ivic, must be new.
    Regular critics dont ask, knowing they have been offered many evidences.
    And, generally, when evidence is repeatedly given, critics run to repeating old, dead, answered strawmen (i.e translation, claims that something like doxology not in original text (although it was recorded possibly as early as 1st century), or JS' telling of FVision (variation actually indicates he told truth from memory, as Paul etc did, focusing on different applications), or Abraham (miraculously historical), Zelph, Bible places (most debated; BoM places, kings, time known also), Apostolic opinions (Paul, Peter, etc certainly gave scriptural opinions now unheeded) or critics just repeat no evidence whle straing at it, etc)

    However, if you'll read and thoughtfully respond I'll keep on giving...: )

  • megen Truth or Consequences, NM
    Dec. 6, 2010 9:32 p.m.

    Is it as historical or truthful as the Book of Abraham?

  • Mormoncowboy Provo, Ut
    Dec. 6, 2010 9:06 p.m.

    Bill in Nebraska:

    I think Alma 13 is a good counter in some respects, to the argument that The Book of Mormon does not mention a "pre-existence". Still, it needs finer clarification for it to be and endorsement of the Mormon concept of our "pre-earth life", which may have been a better phrasing on my part. There is little debate in the Christian world that God is without beginning of days or end of years, but where Mormonism is different is on the idea that we too, as Gods spiritual offspring, share that quality with him. Alma 13 does address Gods pre-existence, but speaks of our beginning as from "the foundation of the world", which is consistent with "mainstream" interpretations of the Bible. Secondly, according to this chapter, God pre-selected his High Priests based on a foreknowledge of what would be their earthly righteousness. This runs contrary to some interpretations of Abraham 3, where such decisions were made based on a level of righteousness in a "pre-earth life". While it may be argued that there is enough ambiguity in these scriptures to not rule out a consistent interpretation, it is stretching the literal content.

  • Bill in Nebraska Maryville, MO
    Dec. 6, 2010 8:19 p.m.

    To Sharrona:

    As I stated before Jesus Christ is the Chief Cornerstone of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. The others are the other cornerstones. That is why people have to discredit Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon to prove it is false.

    This has been going on for 150 years plus and the Book of Mormon continues to be the witness that converts people to the Church. Many things of the Bible have been lost or removed on purpose. The Bible has gone through so many translations that things have been removed and the creeds of the early church were removed to satisfy in more ways than one that of Charlamange. The Bible testifies of the Great Apostasy that beset the early Church and the restitution of all things. Isaiah, Daniel and others all testified of this apostasy to take place.

    The Book of Mormon is the most correct book on the face of the Earth. It is this book that will convert one. It is the Holy Ghost that testifies of truthfulness of the Book of Mormon and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. All else is Satan's work.

  • the truth Holladay, UT
    Dec. 6, 2010 8:17 p.m.

    RE: brokenclay | 12:24 p.m.

    Mormons actually do believe the BOM is historical account,

    but since it an abridgement of greater records,

    it does NOT contain a full historical account.

    But NO history will, and NO historical evidence will, no por no pive metal, nothing physical will be able prove that Joseph Smith is who says he is,

    or Jesus, or Nephi,... nor any biblcal or BOM prophet,

    At some point you will have to exercise faith and belief.

    That is the number one requirement of religion and test of our existance here.

    ONE BIG problem with trying to use a "narrow neck land" as a basis for BOM lands,

    is all the "narrow necks" chosen are only narrow when seen from above,
    when chosing a place it must_be visually narrow to the eye and the perspective that these ancient people would have seen it.

    Hence it is not michigan or part of mexico, or panama.

    It is much more narrow,

    and there's no evidence in the BOM that it even separated, or soley separated, the lands north and south, or the seas, it seems to have no geographic significance other_than a great_city was built nearby.

  • sharrona layton, Ut
    Dec. 6, 2010 7:13 p.m.

    Bill in Nebraska, "1: The first vision of Joseph Smith 2: Joseph Smith as a Prophet of God
    3: The Book of Mormon 4: Jesus Christ - the Chief Cornerstone."

    #1 for Christians: Jesus is the Chief corner stone, (Psalm 118:22) cited six times in the New Testament (Matthew 21:42,Mark 12:10, Luke 20:17, Acts 4:11, Ephesians 2:20 and 1 Peter 2:7). He is the reason for the season and the Christian faith.
    # 2 and 3. The inspired version of (Is 29:14 JST), The book (BofM) shall be delivered to a man, verse 16, by the power of Christ verse 17,three witnesses. The Dead Sea Scrolls the Apostles Bible (Septuagint) 250 A.D. and KJV all refute this false prophecy of the BofM and JS.
    #4, I lost count of the number of first visions of Joseph Smith. By faith he (Moses) left Egypt, not fearing the Kings anger; he saw him (God) who was Invisible.( Hebrews 11:27)

  • Aspiring Theist Sandy, UT
    Dec. 6, 2010 6:48 p.m.

    Bill in Nebraska,

    I am not trying to judge your spiritual experiences, but it seems quite often in these discussions the point comes up that an answer to a sincere faithful prayer is the only way to know the Book of Mormon is true scripture.

    There are people who have read and prayed (as earnestly as they could) regarding the Book of Mormon and not received an answer. So they continue to look for other evidence.

    It doesn't appear from my perspective that a spiritual witness is always absolute proof. I have a neighbor who prayed about the Book of Mormon and received an answer "from God" that the Book was completely true BUT that the LDS Church is in apostasy today.

    So, did God give him the first answer and Satan the second answer in the same prayer?

    Unfortunately there are examples of people who have received a spiritual witness and "know" something is true only to find out later they were wrong. Mark Hofmann's father is one example. He received a spiritual witness that his son was innocent but sadly we all discovered this was not the case

  • Bill in Nebraska Maryville, MO
    Dec. 6, 2010 5:19 p.m.

    To Idaho Coug and Mormoncowboy:

    Maybe in a certain sense you could be right but if you read Alma 13 you will see that it does talk of a time before the earth was created, Alma 34 gives you what this life is all about. A prepatory time in which we are here to prepare to meet our Heavenly Father and where we go after we die. It doesn't tell us about the many kingdoms but it does tell us where we go between paradise and spirit prison.

    Also, as far as the Doctrine & Covenants does is to clarify much of the Bible and the incorrect teachings associated with the creeds. Much of what happens in the Temple can and is found in the Old Testament if you look hard enough you will find it. To state that much of Mormonism is not found in the Book of Mormon you must look at what the four cornerstones of the Church are:

    1: The first vision of Joseph Smith
    2: Joseph Smith as a Prophet of God
    3: The Book of Mormon
    4: Jesus Christ - the Chief Cornerstone.

    Taking away the Book of Mormom and we have no religion.

  • cmtam lake forest, ca
    Dec. 6, 2010 3:15 p.m.

    Mormon Cowboy,Biblical Christianity has no support of any historical events that are relevant to Christianity," Wrong.
    "In those days Caesar Augustus(27 B.C- 4AD.) issued a decree that a census should be taken in the Roman world.(Luke 2:1-6) The birth of Jesus grounded in Historic Characters.
    Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost ,born of the virgin Mary, suffered and died under "Pontius Pilate"(actually lived).(Apostles creed) The death of Jesus is grounded in History. Not a fairy tales once upon at time there was the Book of Mormon?

    but again no proof that Christ sweat blood, True.
    Luke 22:44 is missing from the earliest manuscripts p66 and p75. These are also missing from Codex Sinaiticus and Codex Vaticanus (mid 4th century).
    But Joseph Smith didnt know the Greek variants appeared centuries later per scribal addition... See footnotes a, b, and c. = Mosiah 3:7; D&C 19:18. ( Luke 22:44 LDS KJV.)

  • Idaho Coug Meridian, Idaho
    Dec. 6, 2010 2:27 p.m.

    To Mormoncowboy -

    In responding to Bill in Nebraska you said something that I have always thought about. LDS members almost reflexively say that the BofM is the cornerstone of all we believe and gives us all we need to know to inherit eternal life - or something along those lines. I know cause I've said it a million times myself.

    But a close reading of the BofM gives us very little of what is found in the restored Gospel. It DOES give us a deeper insight to the atonement and certainly can be considered a second witness to the Savior. That is all wonderful but so much that is modern day Mormonism comes through the D&C and modern revelation from JS on down.

    Temples, Priesthood ordinances, WofW, garments, church administration, plural marriage, - the list can go on and on. But outside of the Savior and having faith and being good, so much that we would all coorelate to Mormonism is not in the BofM.

    I agree that most Christians who gave the BofM an unbiased reading would say that it seemed to be a Christian based adventure novel with little or nothing to do with Mormonism.

  • Idaho Coug Meridian, Idaho
    Dec. 6, 2010 1:49 p.m.

    To brokenclay -

    You stated, "It astounds me that many Mormons are giving up on the BoM being an actual historical account, and yet they still believe in Mormonism."

    I don't know if you are LDS, were formerly LDS, or personally know many LDS. I assume one of the above as the reason you are interested in this site.

    But a belief in the LDS faith goes SO much deeper than whether or not the BofM can be proven historical. My experience in the church leads me to believe that the majority of members only know a sliver of the doctrinal and historical issues that could lead an outside, objective observer to believe Mormonism is false. And many of them look at men like Mike Ash and say "the research has been done and they still believe so there is nothing to worry about".

    It is inherently vital for most members to think that way because for most LDS the truthfulness of the church goes to the utter CORE of all they are, value, and hope to be. For most there is no option that the church is not what it claims. That would destroy their very foundation.

  • Mormoncowboy Provo, Ut
    Dec. 6, 2010 1:40 p.m.

    Brokenclay: I am amazed at the Christian tendency to turn the logic button on and off at will. Biblical Christianity has no support of any historical events that are relevant to Christianity. Does Jerusalem exist? Sure, but there is no proof of Christ ministering there. Does the Mount of Olives exist, sure, but again no proof that Christ sweat blood there. Did Sodom and Gomorrah exist...well that one is as doubtful as Book of Mormon. The OT says it did, so good Christians of the world search the map trying to find plausible geography models to force a fit. Of course they never entertain the proposition that the whole thing is fiction. No different than Mormonism.

    Bill in Nebraska: The Book of Mormon says nothing of where we came from, i.e., the pre-existence. Interestingly it offers no more of a unique perspective on heaven than does the Bible - no degrees of Glory, etc. I've long thought that if Christians understood the Book of Mormon they accept it as Christian-friendly and direct their opposition to the D&C.

  • lvic las vegas, nv
    Dec. 6, 2010 1:13 p.m.

    jm- I was happy to hear there is a mountain of historical evidence to support the Book of Mormon. I would very much appreciate you sharing that with me. I have not been able to find any of this evidence. I understand to truly know if the book of Mormon is true, one needs to pray and have the spirit confirm its truth. It would also be nice to see the evidence you are talking about. PLEASE HELP

  • Bill in Nebraska Maryville, MO
    Dec. 6, 2010 12:26 p.m.

    There should be no confusion at all. The only way to prove the Book of Mormon will always be via what it says in the book itself. Everything else will always be conjecture or supposition. Some will say will this proves it false where others will say no it only proves it to be true. Until one really reaches out and asks with a broken heart and a contrite spirit whether it be true will the answer come in the affirmative. Nothing else really matters because it either confirms one faith of a lie falsehood or that it is definitely true. It is another testament of the Divinity of Jesus Christ. No other book on the face of the Earth answers the questions, where did we come from, why are we here and where do we go after this life except the Book of Mormon. No other book reflects upon God's dealings with man in more abundance than the Book of Mormon. Taking the Bible and the Book of Mormon gives us the complete and total Gospel of Jesus Christ.

    You can only prove it via the Holy Ghost and only via the Holy Ghost.

  • brokenclay Scottsdale, AZ
    Dec. 6, 2010 12:24 p.m.

    What separates biblical Christianity from other religions is its ability to point at actual historical events that are externally verifiable to a very high degree. Christianity is faith built on real history. This is one of its most distinguishing marks.

    It astounds me that many Mormons are giving up on the BoM being an actual historical account, and yet they still believe in Mormonism. Faith must be built on something real; it must be founded on reality! When the historicity of the BoM is denied, then all of Mormonism must be conceded to be a sham.

    Thus, Mormonism must be classified as a purely existential faith, one without historical credibility. Societies that existed on the magnitude that the BoM purports do not simply vanish without a trace. We even have a good idea of the location of Sodom and Gomorrah, and God wiped them off the map personally.

    Credibility for the BoM cannot be based on the credibility of the Bible. I've seen a lot of Mormons try this on DesNews. The BoM must stand or fall on its own merits. It's also appalling how little attention Mormons give to their apostles' teachings on the matter.

  • Brother Chuck Schroeder A Tropical Paradise USA, FL
    Dec. 6, 2010 11:07 a.m.

    I'm confused now. History is still history, no matter how one spells it. So Michael R. Ash, plans to spend the next several issues discussing the Great Lakes Book of Mormon, as if he's a real expert here, for arguments of a Great Lakes model that varies from proponent to proponent and ranges from scholarly and informed to naïve and uninformed. When we are all linked to Adam and Eve, (we would have had to eat the forbidden fruit also, otherwise it would be from incest we wee placed here), he says that DNA cannot currently (and might never be able to) verify the Book of Mormon. Seeing we can't hold them in hand, could it then be that the problem is that the relics are all fakes and hoaxes produced, buried, never really discovered, and marketed by several men looking for fame and fortune only?. Then, tell me, what does support the Book of Mormon?. Other then word's alone ?. Am I not right ?. You tell me then.

  • Mormoncowboy Provo, Ut
    Dec. 6, 2010 10:21 a.m.

    If we are going to accept any model, then we have to consider more than just "where did The Book of Mormon history occur". Seeing as we are dealing with a book that has yet to prove itself as a literal history, we also have to ask the broader question of "Where does the Book of Mormon and its author/translator purport that these alleged events occured?". Joseph Smith pigeon holes either a limited geography great lakes model, or a migratory model that eventually places the last great battle of Nephites and Lamanites in Missouri. Furthermore, again (as I have stated on other posts) what reason do we have to believe that according to lore, Moroni was intended to have buried the plates anywhere other than New York? Every theory related to transporting plates has been 100% contrived in order to satisfy some type of alternative geography model. Also, we have to bear in mind the possibility that problems in the various models, particularly relating to DNA and race, may be more of a product of poor fictional narrative than actual DNA or science.

  • Idaho Coug Meridian, Idaho
    Dec. 6, 2010 8:50 a.m.

    Again, I appreciate Mike's willingness to dismiss "Mormon Myth". He knows that his job is to factually support his testimony of the Book of Mormon. That the BofM is not historical is not an option for Mike and yet I appreciate that he is attempting to make his case using reason and fact as much as possible. There is no question that many will come to a different conclusion. But he is willing to dismiss common myth among Mormons that are all too easily spread and accepted as long as they are faith promoting.

    Perhaps requiring just as much courage is the requirement of admitting that much that has been said by Prophets and Apostles was speculation and opinion. That makes it very difficult today to really know what was/is revelation versus speculation/opinion but apologists like Mike are willing to call it out when leader's statements do not mesh with the facts on the ground.

    The gap in logic in MUCH that is LDS is a struggle for me and others but I sincerely appreciate people like Mike who work to support their testimony through reason and logic (with faith) as much as possible.

  • Hellooo Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 6, 2010 8:36 a.m.

    Michael, notice that the tone and tenor of this article is much more strident than most of your work. But, continue to appreciate your writing on these subjects.

  • Otis Spurlock Ogden, UT
    Dec. 6, 2010 8:34 a.m.

    Michael Ash wrote:

    "In several earlier articles, I demonstrated that DNA cannot currently (and might never be able to) verify the Book of Mormon. Those who claim otherwise, or who claim that DNA SUPPORTS their particular geographic model, buttress their claims by cherry-picking scientific quotes and distorting their context while actually rejecting the very science behind DNA research. In a recent review of the topic published by BYUs Maxwell Institute, Dr. Gregory Smith details why the DNA-proves-the-Book-of-Mormon claim is false."

    This is probably the most intellectually honest that Michael Ash has been, up to this point.

  • JM Lehi, UT
    Dec. 6, 2010 8:09 a.m.

    I find it interesting that people spend their lives fighting the BoM.

    Only Christ saves us, and the BoM, with the Bible, testify of Him. It has changed the lives of the millions who know that it's true.

    The historical evidence that the BoM is true is also mountainous, and, while more comes forth daily, we are left to sort it out and figure out the details: when, where, why, etc, and then learn, in humility, the lessons these cultures have to teach us about our own, and about our common God.

    I agree that DNA, along with the other evidence, doesnt prove the BoM, really nothing can, even if we again had the plates (which have already been witnessed), only the Spirit changes humble minds on these issues, and even that can be argued away, just as the other evidence can and is. Even the round earth is argued away by some.

    However, those claiming DNA (or anything else) disproves the BoM are misleading, sometimes intentionally.

    Recent studies, including morphology and DNA support the BoM.

    @cmtman lw: "Gnostic" broad term. Many mainstream knew about pre-earth. Most modern Christians would be heretical in Origens day.

  • flatlander Omaha, NE
    Dec. 6, 2010 7:00 a.m.

    I don't get how people can spend their lives looking for something like this. Is this the Mormon equivalent of "Eldorado" and they will search forever thinking it is just over the next hill.