Quantcast
Faith

Challenging Issues, Keeping the Faith: Dilemmas with Great Lakes model more than just geographical

Comments

Return To Article
  • MrNirom1 Portland, OR
    June 7, 2015 11:37 p.m.

    It is sad that Dr. John Sorenson can offers several reasons why he doesn’t believe that the Great Lakes region and cultures match the Book of Mormon text, yet he has to change what Nephi understood as compass direction to make his model "fit".

    The reason MesoAmerica seems to fit is because of structures and buildings. They are definitely Nephite in origin.. but that is all. What you have in MesoAmerica and in North America are the remnants of those Lamanite and Nephites that boarded the ships that Hagoth build and sailed NORTH. Real North.

    Jacob.. the brother of Nephi told us what the promised land looked like that they were upon. Problem is.. no one wants to believe him. Everyone makes excuses for what Jacob as said and tries to convince us that he didn't really mean it. But he did!

    Jacob clearly said, “.... but we have been led to a better land, for the Lord has made the sea our path, and we are upon an isle of the sea” (2 Nephi 10:21)

    Nephi recorded Jacob’s words exactly as they were spoken. They were on an island. Think about that.

  • The Atheist Provo, UT
    Jan. 28, 2011 5:59 p.m.

    So we have some agreement that belief in the BOM as historical is not, nor should it be, required for members of the LDS Church.

    If that is a good policy, it makes one wonder why Ash is spending all this time on "evidences" of the BOM, and why the DN and BYU continue to pay him to do such a useless thing.

    But beyond that, there is Article-of-Faith 8. In what sense do people who don't believe the BOM is "historical" believe the BOM is "the word of God"? Is "the word of God" merely figurative?

    If so, what other beliefs in Mormondom can be considered figurative?

    How about AoF#1: "Do you believe in God, the Eternal Father, and in His Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost?"

    "Yes, in a manner of speaking," says the Trinitarian who wants to be just Mormon enough to attend his daughter's wedding.

    It sounds as if you can believe pretty much whatever you want in the LDS Church.

    Why is that? So long as you pay a full tithe, they really don't care what you believe?

    Sounds an awful lot like a business to me.

  • Otis Spurlock Ogden, UT
    Jan. 27, 2011 5:43 p.m.

    Idaho Coug wrote:

    "If we become a black and white, all or nothing church regarding the BofM, I'm afraid our activity rate of 40% will fall even further. I believe the church needs to be open to a diversity of testimonies. We are all just doing our best here on this earth."

    I agree. Even if we assume a 40% activity rate (which is probably on the high end) out of 14 million members, it means that 8.4 million people have literally just walked away from the Church and have stopped going. Millions more have probably requested their names taken from the roles.

    The Church has seen the above effects from taking a black and white stance, and it is not good. I for one applaud the Church by allowing diverse testimonies and not making a belief in the BoM essential or a requirement for anything in the Church. It is a good sign.

  • JM Lehi, UT
    Jan. 27, 2011 1:59 p.m.

    If Joseph fabricated BoM geography he would have made this easier, but-as Mike demonstrated with OW- NW discoveries, which Joseph couldnt know, are bringing BoM realities to life. Mormon, etc, knew geography as military leaders and included details (pass, by sea etc) just beginning to be understood.

    President JFSmith, archaeologist, says study until "we can bear witness that (BoM) history is true."

    Spacious mockers are loved, remember, theyre mostly two people posing.

    Some hope to sift growing faith, knowing now that darkening anti-questions actually support JS and BoM evidence is powerful and mountainous. They play destructive emotional games, pretending testimony-free Temples, leading as doubting brothers/sisters, taught Zelphism since Sunbeams, and when Mike explains Joseph probably never taught Zelphism, they pretend everything becomes doubtful opinion etc

    @searching: BoM true either way, but Lamanite idol gods maybe pantheon, fallen Israelite Baalim (also Mayan deity) were spirits, with Yhvh "chief among them."
    Garth, Lund, etc, growing places discovered (Lamanai, Isabel, Tabasco, Teancum, etc etc)perhaps chance, maybe not, we'll see : ).

    ME/Maya religious relationship isnt chance though.

    Megajuwin: where do you believe Sidon etc were?

    cmtmanCo: Bible sopports BoM; evidence awesome, says priests last days.

    Busynw flyfree strawman!! : )

  • The Atheist Provo, UT
    Jan. 26, 2011 10:54 a.m.

    As one whose wife is active LDS, and who is under constant pressure to "get a testimony" and join the "Saints", I find it troubling that missionaries lead with the Book of Mormon in trying to convert people, yet a testimony of the Book of Mormon as a historical record is not required for LDS to get into the Temple: the pinnacle of LDS ordinances.

    Was I refused admission to my daughter's wedding for such an inconsistent and arbitrary reason?

  • JoeBlow Miami Area, Fl
    Jan. 26, 2011 8:39 a.m.

    Utah Fan,

    "There were golden plates - numerous people saw and handled them - even thieves tried to steal them. A few people lifted them and claimed they weighed 60 pounds or so. All historical stuff."

    Joseph Smith did exist - That is historical

    As far as those that "saw" and "handled", there is certainly some discrepancies in the stories. Most that claimed that they "handled" did so with them covered up. Others have waffled as to whether they saw them with their "spiritual eye"

    Regardless, it is disingenuous to claim that these things are "historical stuff"

  • Utes Fan Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 25, 2011 4:33 p.m.

    @brokenclay

    "why would God inspire the Bible, Old and New Testaments, and ground it in verifiable history, and then give another testament (the BoM) and make it unverifiable? It makes no sense."

    Joseph Smith was a real man. There were golden plates - numerous people saw and handled them - even thieves tried to steal them. A few people lifted them and claimed they weighed 60 pounds or so. All historical stuff. Of course none of these historical events prove a divine origin.

    What is "verifiable" then? The historical places, or the divinity? Church history IS verifiable, and therefore, the D&C, a divine book of scripture is historical like the Bible. But its divinity is not verifiable, like the Bible.

    The BOM is coming along with evidence - Nahom, Bountiful, etc. See Brant Gardner's mega-6 volume commentary on the BOM. Granted, none of this is yet hard proof, but I would hope at least raise an eyebrow and bring one humbly to his knees in prayer.

    The BOM has more challenges proving its historicity - vague geographical references, etc. The approach to prove its historicity might be different than the Bible - but that hardly proves it false.

  • brokenclay Scottsdale, AZ
    Jan. 25, 2011 3:33 p.m.

    @Searching . . . 9:59am -- well said.

    It's eye-opening to see how many Mormons here don't accept the BoM's historicity. Very interesting.

    @Utes Fan 10:44am -- No one said that just because the Bible is historical that it is therefore automatically inspired or theologically accurate. The contrast is that the Bible is actual history that is verifiable to a high degree, while the BoM is strictly unhistorical, and is completely unverifiable.

    That is to say, Nebuchadnezzar was a real Babylonian king. The Hittites were a real group of people. Joseph was a ruler among the Egyptians. Goshen was a real land. Jericho was a real city. All of these things are verifiable. We have not even one thing like these that is verifiable in the BoM, outside of what can be attributed to plagiarism from the KJV.

    Does historicity necessarily make a book divine? Of course not. Must a divine book be historical, especially if it purports to be? Absolutely.

    As I've said before, why would God inspire the Bible, Old and New Testaments, and ground it in verifiable history, and then give another testament (the BoM) and make it unverifiable? It makes no sense.

  • Utes Fan Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 25, 2011 11:58 a.m.

    @Magaju win

    "Women are not chattel that you rule over because you are a P.H. and know what is best for them. You belittle them and when they speak the truth you ignore them. The chief is the poorest who lives among the people and not locked in some ivory tower and not letting the people talk to him. The church has truly lost its way and now man rules over the church not god and they rule over the woman so the woman must be silent. I will not blindly follow someone who does not follow god."

    If this is your view of how the LDS Church regards women, then you either got this information from Mormon critics who grossly misrepresent LDS Church beliefs or you have personal issues that you mistakenly identify them with Mormon doctrine.

    Nothing could be further from the truth.

  • Hyena Murray, UT
    Jan. 25, 2011 11:01 a.m.

    This comments are always a forum for discussing whether or not it is important that the Book of Mormon is factual. Very few of the comments are related to the article. I understand that because as I have read the articles, I don't feel like they contain alot of content.

    I read the Book of Mormon daily. At times it has made it hard for me to see it as a historical document, but I keep reading. No apologist will ever be able to put it into a historical context. At best they look for reasons not to exclude it.

    I guess I don't understand how the apologist help strengthen the case for the text being historical. Currently the church leaders are not trying to make that case. They apologist just bring up more things to question, and they bring up things that don't relate to the values and principles that the church encourages us to have.

    I have heard leaders encourage us to study the scriptures by topic, which I feel is pointing us to the church doctorine rather the storyline of the Book of Mormon.

  • Magaju win Scottsbluff, neb
    Jan. 25, 2011 10:53 a.m.

    It amazes me how man tries to use science to prove the BoM. Using the same theories can also disprove it to be in South and Central America.
    I can only surmise that some have followed man rather than the words of God.
    I would rather follow the American Indian way of life because it has focused on the people and how important women are as well as men. Women are not chattel that you rule over because you are a P.H. and know what is best for them. You belittle them and when they speak the truth you ignore them. The chief is the poorest who lives among the people and not locked in some ivory tower and not letting the people talk to him. The church has truly lost its way and now man rules over the church not god and they rule over the woman so the woman must be silent. I will not blindly follow someone who does not follow god.

  • Utes Fan Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 25, 2011 10:44 a.m.

    I don't think anybody is putting down Otis or Idaho Coug for having doubts as to the historicity of the BOM. At least I hope not. Disagreement should not be interpreted as a put-down. I do reject that the BOM is not important to Jesus.

    It takes faith to believe. Those who believe the Bible but criticize LDS for the BOM due to "lack of evidence" (which I disagree with) are really showing a double standard. The historical facts regarding the Bible in no way proves its divine source. If so, we wouldn't have many non-Christian religions and atheists would believe more often.

    While I have a firm testimony of the truthfulness (and hence historicity) of the BOM, I do understand those who struggle with it. Lately, I have received numerous "divine manifestations" regarding things I have prayed about in my Patriarchal Blessing, but I am having trouble believing and accepting the answers I have been given - and I don't exactly know why I can so easily believe the BOM but have difficulty believing some things in my Patriarchal blessing. So different things are difficult to believe for some of us.

  • Searching . . . Orem, UT
    Jan. 25, 2011 9:59 a.m.

    Unfortunately, the church is an institution of absolutes. Church leaders reiterate that every six months. That makes it difficult for a member who has been indoctrinated with that philosophy to reconcile many historic facts that don't jibe with truth or logic.

    Logic tells me that if the BofM isn't historical, then somebody wrote a fiction. Would God have commanded Mormon to scratch out hundreds of pages of fiction on gold plates just so they could be found, translated, and hidden again? Would God command Joseph to pretend he is translating from non-existent plates as He feeds him inspired fiction? Either of these scenarios goes against my Mormon learning that God deals in truth, not fiction. If the BofM isn't historical, it's fiction and isn't true. If it isn't true, I can't accept Joseph as a prophet. If I can't accept Joseph as a prophet, I'm not "worthy" of a temple recommend.

    I can accept that many members hold sincere beliefs, that the church mostly teaches good morals and principles. But because of what it taught me as a child, I cannot accept it as true.

  • Idaho Coug Meridian, Idaho
    Jan. 25, 2011 9:04 a.m.

    To Bill -

    I sincerely appreciate your testimony. But I personally think it would be a mistake for the church to "draw the line in the sand" per se regarding the BofM. I think there is a reason one does not have to proclaim the absolute historicity of the BofM in order to attend the temple. Many in the church are either uncertain or disbelieve the BofM is absolute factual history. And yet many are still active, strong members.

    If we become a black and white, all or nothing church regarding the BofM, I'm afraid out activity rate of 40% will fall even further. I believe the church needs to be open to a diversity of testimonies. We are all just doing our best here on this earth. For some, it is a struggle for BofM logic to match our faith. And yet we still continue to attend and do our best.

  • cmtam lake forest, ca
    Jan. 25, 2011 8:21 a.m.

    @ Bill in Nebraska, "That the priesthood and all the keys pertaining to it were restored by Joseph Smith as a prophet of God."
    Mormons think the authority comes from the priesthood, both Aaronic and Melchizedek. What they fail to understand they do not have the right to either one. The Aaronic or Levitical priesthood ended with the death of Christ(John 19:30).The entire function, and the term priest itself (Cohen) means one who stands foe another, and mediates his cause. Before the Great Sacrifice, the priest hand to stand in the gap for the people and offer animal sacrifices to atone for sins. Do Mormons still carry out this function? No. Therefore their office is insignificant.

    Joseph realizes such; but those things which existed prior to Moses day namely, Sacrifice, will be continued.(HofC 1840)complete quote avialable.

  • Mormoncowboy Provo, Ut
    Jan. 24, 2011 9:22 p.m.

    Bill:

    You are strictly recycling tired cliche's. What is an "enemy to the Church"? The Church does not really have many "enemies" who wish to see it fall, they have critics who wish to expose it. The critics are not bent on proving The Book of Mormon false, as it has yet to be proven true. Instead they are mostly people who at one point in time had the institution cram the BoM down their throats as matter-of-fact history. In spite of that they have since learned that there is really little reason to believe such thing, and finally there is no reason once you omit the socially induced and ambiguous warm fuzzy that LDS members claim to. Mormonism is the aggressor, by asserting a book of doubtful historicity, and hinging their claims to authority and earthly dominance on suspect claims. Many of us were born into that, and we didn't ask for Mormonism, it was imposed. We are critical and doubtful. The descriptor "enemies" can connote a far less thoughtful objection to your religion, so I reject it.

  • Bill in Nebraska Maryville, MO
    Jan. 24, 2011 8:48 p.m.

    To all who doubt:
    "Finally, the Book of Mormon is the keystone of testimony. Just as the arch crumbles if the keystone is removed, so does all the Church stand or fall with the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon. The enemies of the Church understand this clearly. This is why they go to such great lengths to try to disprove the Book of Mormon, for if it can be discredited, the Prophet Joseph Smith goes with it. So does our claim to priesthood keys, and revelation, and the restored Church. But in like manner, if the Book of Mormon be trueand millions have now testified that they have the witness of the Spirit that it is indeed truethen one must accept the claims of the Restoration and all that accompanies it."

    This is not opinion but stated by a Prophet of God. This is complete and total revelation. The other is that if you treat lightly the Book of Mormon it will be held to your condemnation. See Section 20 of the Doctrine & Covenants.

    "

  • sharrona layton, Ut
    Jan. 24, 2011 7:51 p.m.

    Bill in Nebraska, "That the priesthood and all the keys pertaining to it were restored by Joseph Smith as a prophet of God."Wrong.
    Mormons think the authority comes from the priesthood, both Aaronic and Melchizedek. What they fail to understand they do not have the right to either one. The Aaronic or Levitical priesthood ended with the death of Christ(John 19:30).The entire function, and the term priest itself (Cohen) means one who stands foe another, and mediates his cause. Before the Great Sacrifice, the priest hand to stand in the gap for the people and offer animal sacrifices to atone for sins. Do Mormons still carry out this function? No. Therefore their office is insignificant.
    Joseph realizes such; but those things which existed prior to Moses day namely, Sacrifice, will be continued.(HofC 1840)complete quote avialable.

  • Vanka Provo, UT
    Jan. 24, 2011 6:52 p.m.

    Bill,

    That completely fails to answer the question: If what you say is true, why aren't members required to affirm their belief in the BOM in order to enter the Temples? Much less, affirm their specific belief in the historical accuracy and reality of the BOM?

    Is the BOM the keystone of your religion or not?

  • Bill in Nebraska Maryville, MO
    Jan. 24, 2011 6:43 p.m.

    To cmtam:

    What you are bringing forth are totally someone elses interpretations. Isaiah teaches completely about our day and about the gathering of Israel. They were never completely destroyed. Even brokenclay would disagree with your reasoning. He states that parts of each tribe was returned to Israel thus the ten tribes do still exist today.

    Yours is totally false teaching in every way shape and form.

    To Vanka: You need to need to understand that the Book of Mormon is the one that does the conversion as President Hinkley so well taught and what Elder Holland taught with his testimony of the Book of Mormon. The Book of Mormon proves that Joseph Smith was/is a prophet of God. Without the Book of Mormon there is no LDS Church. Those are facts that those who have questions need to understand.

    There is no gray area when it comes to the Book of Mormon. It is true in all it's writting or Mormonism is FALSE. That is the fact and why critics continue to attack the Book of Mormon. If you are a member of the Church I suggest you obtain that testimony of the Book of Mormon.

  • Vanka Provo, UT
    Jan. 24, 2011 5:47 p.m.

    Otis is correct, you do not have to profess belief in the BOM at all, much less its historicity, to qualify for the Temple.

    Makes you wonder what they mean by saying the BOM is the "keystone" of the LDS religion if it isn't even in the catechism!

  • Apocolypse Cow Sunny and 75, CA
    Jan. 24, 2011 5:38 p.m.

    Thanks Otis. You are not alone. Hang in there and don't let people try to bring you down for your honesty. Just remember as Idaho Cougar said, thee are many people in the Church who don't seem to understand other members who don't believe it all. And many don't have much patience for members who have real questions and doubts. Stay strong brother.

  • Bill in Nebraska Maryville, MO
    Jan. 24, 2011 4:47 p.m.

    Otis: When you are asked do you sustain the Leaders of the Church as Prophet, Seers and Revelators and answer yes. Sustain is more than just saying yes. There is much more to it than that.

    Yes, the Savior does care if the Book of Mormon is true, otherwise why would he have had Joseph Smith translate it. I suggest going back and Reading Neal Anderson talk from General Conference that talks about never leaving him. Also, go and reread Elder Holland's talk where he testified of the Book of Mormon in depth. The only way to know of its truth is by the Spirit and only the Spirit.

    Things I don't understand I know will be revealed someday and so I just put them on a shelf as Neal Anderson so well put it.

    Evidence of the Book of Mormon is in the Cover itself. You will not find it by science alone. Science will never prove or disprove the Book of Mormon, so yes your testimony of the Book of Mormon does matter. It is a key to a strong testimony. Without that your testimony is weak and thus flutters like the wind proven.

  • cmtam lake forest, ca
    Jan. 24, 2011 4:44 p.m.

    Bill in Nebraska;"Another testament of Jesus Christ" and another,also false.
    British- Israelism teaches, "The ten tribes of the Northern Kingdom (Israel) are "lost" after their capture by the Assyrians in 722 B.C. Through
    intermarriage with other nations, their unique national identity is "lost". Great Britain and the USA [LDS] are believed to be the Anglo-Saxon ancestors of the tribes Ephraim and Manasseh so it may be inferred by British Israelism -(BofM)are really the chosen people of God. "This theory was first put forward around the year 1519.

    The key verses that refute British Israelism is 2 Kings 17:18-23:Verse 18"Therefore the LORD was very angry with Israel, and removed them out of his
    sight: there was none left but the tribe of Judah only." Here "out of His sight" is interpreted as "disappeared into oblivion." "There was none left but the tribe of Judah only " is interpreted as "descendants of Judah are the only tribes in existence today."
    It was poular again around 1740-1840.

  • Idaho Coug Meridian, Idaho
    Jan. 24, 2011 4:16 p.m.

    To Otis -

    I commend you for finding ways to stay in the church despite your doubts. So many active members don't seem to understand other members who don't believe it all. And many don't have much patience for members who have real questions and doubts.

    Millions have literally walked away from the church and never looked back. But members like you hold on to the testimony the DO have rather than leaving because of what they DON'T. I hope you know you are far from being alone in the church. I struggle every day with hanging on to the church despite many holes in my testimony including the lack of BofM evidences.

    There are a couple of websites that can be very supportive. If you google New Order Mormon or StayLDS, you will find that thousands like you are trying to remain in the church despite real struggles.

    Few active members realize that it is far easier to happily believe everything than to stay active while struggle with real doubts.

  • Apocolypse Cow Sunny and 75, CA
    Jan. 24, 2011 2:21 p.m.

    JM,

    I hope you are aware that all of your evidences about the Mayans are completely disputed by FAIR and FARMS and even Michael Ash. Nobody really believes the Mayans had anything to do with the Nephites or Lamanites. FAIR and FARMS are pushing a Limited Geography Theory where the events supposedly took place in a very small geographic location and only involved a very limited group of people that were isolated and had no or very limited contact with other people. So it appears that your mountain of evidence is really a pile of something else.

  • Waikiki Gal Waimanalo, HI
    Jan. 24, 2011 2:15 p.m.

    Otis,
    Thanks for your honesty. There are many people just like you. As Elder Holland recently said, there are many people firmly in this Church that do not believe in the Book of Mormon. I agree with you that the only thing that really matters in this life is to try to be good to other people and your family. Nothing else really matters in the end, certainly not the Book of Mormon. Thanks again for your honesty.

  • JM Lehi, UT
    Jan. 24, 2011 1:56 p.m.

    @Otis critic, why pretend, and why dishonestly deny BoM evidence when mountains exist, OW and New?

    Hiding wont save ; )

    @broken: Awesome if coins truly establish Prophet Joseph. However, no such Biblical evidence existed 2008 (or as quickly as BoM evidences are coming forth); therefore critics argued BoM descent from mythic Bible stories like Joseph was another blunder (as yall argued previously John8 fiction etc), thus these coins are BoM evidence, supporting primary BoM origin.

    The BoM establishes the miraculous Bible, the Bible supports the BoM! : ) luvut.

    @searchingidentity, missed your points.
    Enjoying learning. Laman Baalism speculation began after noticing some rites among other plentiful, detailed ME and ancient Christian American symbolism (impossible for Beringia theorists, 12,000BP).

    Baal (unutterable), lord of heaven, Biblically local spirit-deities worshipped as cult images (Wiki) Great Spirit uttering ok but peculative Laman religion, tree focus, probably wasnt strict Baalism (like other Israelites), likely altered by Lamoni time.
    Yes, secret combination rites, Lamanite religion etc described only in passing, like Biblical Baal rites. BoM mentions sacrifice, perhaps ritual war (interestingly mighty hunters quickly practice ritual warfare, clubs, etc, like original ball ritual war in primordial-water place) etc
    Isabel led many.

    Sharronna: stretchy, again, FAIR etc : )

  • Otis Spurlock Ogden, UT
    Jan. 24, 2011 1:03 p.m.

    brokenclay wrote:
    "If I could ask without ill intent, what then are the reasons you have for remaining active LDS, if most of what the church is built upon is simply misleading opinion"

    Mainly cultural reasons (My great great grandfather was Abraham Hunsaker who was baptised in 1839). Also, a large part of Gospel is centered around Christ and his teachings. I try to instill those values in my children.

    Utes Fan wrote:
    "As science has developed and progressed, it is clear that the BoM is not historical. Funny how so many of us see it the exact opposite."

    I am always open to learning about any evidence that may support the BoM. Please share your evidence.

    Bill in Nebraska wrote:
    "As I stated last week Christ doesn't care if we know where it occurred but he does care that what is written in the Book is true."

    Acutally, the Savior doesn't care. It is certainly not a requirment for entrance into the Celestial Kingdom or a temple recommend. It's clear the BoM is not important to the Savior. What is important to Him, is how we live our lives and how we treat each other.

  • Bill in Nebraska Maryville, MO
    Jan. 24, 2011 12:36 p.m.

    To Otis:

    I understand where you are coming from but to be able to testify of the Book of Mormon as Another testament of Jesus Christ is essential to testifying that Joseph Smith is/was a prophet of God.

    Key elements in a testimony is that Jesus Christ lives and is the head of this Church (LDS). That the priesthood and all the keys pertaining to it were restored by Joseph Smith as a prophet of God.

    As I stated last week Christ doesn't care if we know where it occurred but he does care that what is written in the Book is true. Other key elements is that the President of the Church is the only person on earth that receives revelation for not only the Church but the world. The other is that Christ is our redeemer and savior.

    To say otherwise of the Book of Mormon is incorrect. The quotes I cited last week are not just opinions but Christ's words to us. They will stand as a testimony for or against us at the judgement day. The Book of Mormon is the keystone to our Religion. Without it, we have no religion.

  • Utes Fan Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 24, 2011 12:25 p.m.

    Don't forget that the Doctrine And Covenants is a book of scripture that IS historical.

    And? So what? It means little, of course, that D&C is historical - it doesn't convert anybody. So with the Bible being historical. It doesn't prove it scripture.

    But the BOM being proven historical? That is different. Faith is then thrown away, and no longer do we even have a religion - it becomes a field of study and science - nothing to believe in.

    @Otis
    "As science has developed and progressed, it is clear that the BoM is not historical."

    Funny how so many of us see it the exact opposite.

    "The way I have reconciled the BoM is that I believe that Joseph Smith may have been inspired to write some uplifting and helpful parables about Jesus. The rest of the BoM is just his opinion."

    May have? Where is the historical proof that JS made it up? All the historical evidence proves that he did NOT make it up. Even critics cannot agree on this. Ironically, believing JS made it all up takes a lot of faith given the ample historical evidence he did not make it up.

  • brokenclay Scottsdale, AZ
    Jan. 24, 2011 12:10 p.m.

    Your honesty with the facts is truly refreshing to me, Otis. Often I get a defensive response from people. Thank you for the civil words in your response. If I could ask without ill intent, what then are the reasons you have for remaining active LDS, if most of what the church is built upon is simply misleading opinion? What is it that continues to make sense to you?

    The Bible gives the world an account which is both historically verifiable to a high degree and life-changing on a personal level. The legitimate Holy Spirit has always revealed God existentially to the Christian people (John 14:21). I've had these experiences personally on occasion, and it was more than just an emotional feeling; it included a rational, vision-type aspect. And we have evidence like I mentioned above showing that the Bible is historical-- there are scores of examples. The bottom line is, orthodox Christianity gives you a historical foundation on which to build a relationship with the real Holy Spirit. I invite you to look into this worldview. There is no other religion on earth that can claim this.

  • BOMG Modesto, CA
    Jan. 24, 2011 12:08 p.m.

    "Great cities"? That's a Mayan concept.

    Where in the Book of Mormon does it say that?

    Where in the Book of Mormon does it either the dimension or the population of "a large city."

    "archaeology should have discovered up to a half a million corpses and hundreds of thousands of weapons"

    No one buried the dead, their bones moldered upon the ground, the Lamanites continued to war among themselves and used the weapons.

    "Large-scale fortifications"

    There are more in Western New York than anywhere else in America.

    "volcanic activity"

    Guatemala has over 30 volcanoes, if that was BoM land, such a thing would have been mentioned more than in 3 Nephi.

    The void of data in the BoM for Mesoamerica speaks the loudest:

    -no mud slides
    -no torrential rains
    -no typhoons
    -no hurricanes
    -no floods
    -no ash from volcanoes
    -no earth quakes (except supernatural)
    -no motes around cities

  • sharrona layton, Ut
    Jan. 24, 2011 11:55 a.m.

    JM, Honest recommend holders sustain prophetic testimonies that Joseph truly had ancient plates, describing historic Christ in America?

    Joseph Smith said,Eloheim is from the word Eloi, God is singular number; and by adding the word heim ,it renders it Gods. ( H of C, 1844) Wrong.
    In Hebrew the form of the word Elohim, with the ending -im, which normally indicates a masculine plural, however with Elohim the construction is usually grammatically SINGULAR, (i.e. it governs a singular verb or adjective) when referring to the Hebrew God, but grammatically plural (i.e. taking a plural verb or adjective) when used of pagan divinities (Psalms 96:5; 97:7). See # 430 Strongs Hebrew concordance translates Elohim to God in the Authorized Version (KJV) Translation Count Total: 2606 AV God 2346, god 244, judge 5, GOD 1, goddess 2, great 2, mighty 2, angels 1, exceeding 1, God-ward + 04136 1, godly 1.

  • Otis Spurlock Ogden, UT
    Jan. 24, 2011 11:15 a.m.

    brokenclay wrote:

    "First, the LDS prophets have always purported the BoM to be historical. If it's not, then what does this say of the LDS hierarchy?"

    My own personal opinion is that those prophets were just giving their own opinion about the BoM. As science has developed and progressed, it is clear that the BoM is not historical. Also, these articles have shown, most, if not everything spoken by our leaders is just opinion.

    brokenclay also wrote:

    "Second, the BoM is said to be another account of Jesus, like the Bible, which is a historical account. Why would God give one historical account and another fictional account?"

    The way I have reconciled the BoM is that I believe that Joseph Smith may have been inspired to write some uplifting and helpful parables about Jesus. The rest of the BoM is just his opinion.

    brokenclay, I know the above explanation is sorely lacking. However, if one wants to remain an active Mormon in the face of so much evidence contrary to the BoM, then you really have to become a Cafeteria Mormon on steroids and completely disregard beliefs, traditions and follow what makes the most sense to you.

  • JM Lehi, UT
    Jan. 24, 2011 11:08 a.m.

    As said, science is often wrong, but, as science increasingly supports the BoM, critics must abandon science and desperately lead from Atonement, taught in scripture, by offering misguiding fruit and half truths from brotherly hands.

    Certainly we reject Christ when we reject His reality, His historicity as reported in scripture given by Him.

    Honest recommend holders sustain prophetic testimonies that Joseph truly had ancient plates, describing historic Christ in America.

    Seems Nephites interacted with unmentioned, Moriantons (Jaredite name) Northerners, etc, and were absorbed into larger heartland Mulekite culture (different language etc and interactions). After Nephite absorption, Lamanites were taught a different Nephite language by renegades (probably already writing, keeping inaccurate traditions).

    Still, at Nephite end, sacred BoM language was unknown to all others.

    IAmericans traditionally connected with ancients (mentioned some previously: Nazca lines centuries apart, different people, Maya adopting from Olmec, etc.)

    Lamanites etc would probably seek connections, synthesizing with ancients gods of Land, including idolatrous Jaredite culture (Adamic, Noachian remnant)(undecided Ether11. Check Mike, etc, interactions, early leader statements: one, Roper "Nephi's Neighbors"

    @searching: Israelite Baal names were unpopular 600BC (although Lamanite Isabel may=ritual Baalharlot) Yet Laman argues Baalist Israelites were righteous?


    JOeBlow: patience, the list fits.

  • brokenclay Scottsdale, AZ
    Jan. 24, 2011 10:50 a.m.

    Otis, I've often found you to make some good points, but I have to disagree with you on the importance of the historicity of the BoM.

    First, the LDS prophets have always purported the BoM to be historical. If it's not, then what does this say of the LDS hierarchy?

    Second, the BoM is said to be another account of Jesus, like the Bible, which is a historical account. Why would God give one historical account and another fictional account? Let me give you an example of the Bible's veracity. In 2009, ancient Egyptian coins were discovered which bear the name and image of the biblical patriarch Joseph. This is excellent proof that he was indeed a ruler in the ancient Egyptian kingdom, supplementing the Bible's account of him. And this is a pretty big deal. If this ancient account is true, then there really is no reason why Daniel couldn't have ruled in Babylonia and Persia. No such evidence exists for the BoM.

    I agree with you that the BoM is not a historical account. But I disagree with you in continuing to ascribe to it any spiritual worth.

  • Mormoncowboy Provo, Ut
    Jan. 24, 2011 10:14 a.m.

    Of course, the line of reasoning argued in this post only works if you hold to the a priory that the Book of Mormon peoples actually did exist. Faith aside, that is a tough pill to swallow. If we can't even say within a reasonable geography (somewhere on the North, central, or southern American continents?) where these things happened, how can we say with certainty that we know they happened. If we broaden our perspective, then the great lakes and other area's (such as New York) are the likely setting's of some of the Book of Mormon, from the ignorant perspective of it's author(s). In other words, these contradictions just prove the fiction.

  • Searching . . . Orem, UT
    Jan. 24, 2011 10:05 a.m.

    JM: The parallels between the creation myths of Tiamat and Tlaltecuhtli are intriguing. A full study comparing the complete mythologies to determine further parallels would be appropriate to help determine whether there is a direct correlation or coincidence.

    I have a hard time attributing the correlation to Laman's Baal beliefs. The name "Baal" occurs exactly 0 times in the BOM. When the cultures cross, Lamanite rites are not mentioned. Lamoni describes deity as the "Great Spirit," not Baal; singular, not a pantheon; and quite reminiscent of Northern American tribes. For me, if a correlation actually exists, it would be from an earlier cross-pollination or would have been brought across the land bridge by the Mayan-Aztec ancestors. You need a stronger argument than Laman's feelings about the Jews' righteousness. As I said, however, the connection is intriguing.

    On Izabal: I couldn't find Lund's explanation on the Internet and don't have time to look it up in the library. Isabel must have been pretty influential to have a region named after and have it last over 2000 years. It reminds me of the Holly map criticisms.

  • Otis Spurlock Ogden, UT
    Jan. 24, 2011 9:57 a.m.

    It is becoming more and more clear with these articles that nobody has a clue where, and even if, the events of the BoM took place.

    Malay, New York, The Heartland, Meso-America, LGT, Africa, Baja, etc. Nobody has a clue.

    Someone brought up the fact last week, that you do not have to believe in an actual historic BoM to receive your temple recommend. I also personally know this as a fact (as a recommend holder who informed his Bishop he does not believe the BoM happened). There are some neat parables and teachings in the BoM, but it is clearly not historical.

    If you are honest with yourselves, you need to ask if the Savior doesn't care if the BoM actually happened, and a belief in the BoM isn't necessary for entrance into the Celestial Kingdom, then why even waste your time or resources trying to find evidence which doesn't exist?

    To sum it up, there is no evidence for the BoM, belief in the BoM is not required and the Savior doesn't care if we believe in an actual BoM.

    Just try to be good and Christlike. That's it.

  • JoeBlow Miami Area, Fl
    Jan. 24, 2011 9:23 a.m.

    Fairly comprehensive list for a case AGAINST the Great Lakes Model.

    But, don't many of those same bullet point apply to every possible scenario?

    I suspect this will all come down to a process of elimination. That would be the safest for the LDS Church as there will always be somewhere else to look.

  • JM Lehi, UT
    Jan. 24, 2011 8:10 a.m.

    Thanks Mike. I think you know honest hearts appreciate your wisdom and labors and sound science (which your critics increasingly abandon, must be the right track when those bells are frantically ringing).

    My BoM historicity knowledge increases each week.
    Carry on Brother.

    Seems the biggest straw flies after my 4 comments, oh well.

    @Waikiki, BoiseCowboyetc Sometimes its difficult knowing whom to trust.

    LW some of you claimed Lamanites couldnt write, and a million Mayan glyphs exist, all read, containing translated "detailed" history of hundreds, even thousands, of cities, reigns, etc dating "prior to Christ" through BoM times, with nothing related to the BoM.

    Maya Specialists say Preclassic (BoM times) sources are rare, and those few Preclassic scripts arent really translatable until after 250-300AD.

    Soum? ; ) What to trust?

    I know Maya religious symbolism contains impossible ME and Christian details. I believe they relate well to the BoM (an exclusive genealogy of systematically destroyed Nephite culture) and Lamanites had Baal tendencies.
    Weve already discussed lw claims (white, horses, etc).

    Some put all trust in critical sources, but those deceiving you and sowing darkness will reward you no good thing.

    Embrace light, share glad tidings of Christ, from Cumorah! !

    Continued Luvyall : )