Comments about ‘Challenging Issues, Keeping the Faith: How Moroni and the plates may have made it to Hill Cumorah’

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Published: Monday, Feb. 28 2011 6:30 a.m. MST

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Otis Spurlock
Ogden, UT

After reading this article, one thing stands out in my mind. Namely, I'm very thankful that the Savior doesn't care about the historicity of the BoM (See David O'Mckay's 5 things the Savior Will Ask You When You Meet Him). With all the mind bending and mental gymnastics it's not suprising that, as Elder Holland recently acknowledged, "there are many that are firmly in this Church that do not believe the Book of Mormon is historical."

I'm also thankful for the recent steps that the Church has taken in lessening the importance of the historicity (See recent changes to the baptismimal and temple recommend questions).

As was recently told to me, people don't read the BoM and then say to themselves "wow, what an interesting history book". If people are focusing on the history of the BoM, I would humbly suggest that they go back and read it again to find its real meaning.

Lehi, UT

Also, when the BoM was translated, technology was little more than it was in Moroni's day. PPratt traveled thousands of miles on foot, by canal, river etc,

Traveling such great distances didnt create problems for early Saints, and JS is said to have considered sending Saints to Mesoamerica to settle what he felt were BoM lands.

Note: I love reading Mikes articles, and am thankful for the honest comments, testimonies, information etc. The critics are also entertaining, but keep in mind that they are perfectly willing to be dishonest about everything. They (in general) know there are mountainous evidences for the BoM, and all their attacks and spiritual violence fail in logic (if they had even one legitimate claim they wouldnt have to resort to dishonesty and repeating debunked misinformation(check: Mikes articles/comments, FAIR, Maxwell, etc for questions, Mike also has an excellent book including discussions of Kinderhook etc), As Critics do, these seem to simply wish to darken minds with doubt. On the bright side : ), this is further evidence that the BoM is true, for darkness hates the light, and, they have failed for 200 years, wasting their lives in attacking and discouraging LDS.

Murray, UT

Well, Mormons do have a history of traveling long distances. Moving from Vermont to New York to Pennsylvania, then to Ohio, Missouri and Illinois and finally on to Utah. Besides this, since the church began missions to foreign parts have be part of being Mormon.

You could say that Moroni was just being a type for future saints.

Searching . . .
Orem, UT

So, Mormon is given access to all of the Nephite records, reads through them and decides which stories are the most important, makes or arranges for hundreds of gold plates, then painstakingly etches the condensed history onto the plates, all of this while leading an army to its doom against the Lamanites and raising a family. He finally hands them off to his son Moroni who takes possession of the records and, while hiding out from the Lamanites, reads through the history of the Jaredites and condenses their history, etching it onto the plates along with some of his own writings. Then he binds the plates, packs them up with breastplate and Urim and Thummim, and heads northeast from Mexico through Utah, dedicating land for temples along the way. He then locates the hill, makes a stone box and deposits the plates, breastplate, and translators. After 1500 years he contacts Joseph Smith, shows him the plates, explains how to use Urim and Thummim with the breastplate and turns them over. Joseph then hides the plates in a hollow log and translates with a stone. Not a very efficient process. Moroni should be upset.

Lehi, UT

(Dude,you've implied in times past that geography is crucial but claimed Mormons' are empty handed, and that when geography is established then you will start believing other evidences for the historicity of the BoM. I know it must be troubling to you to see that, once again, JS accurately predicted details that he could not have known (ups, downs, around, Hebrew directions, Mesoamerican customs, etc etc), thus Im guessing youve fabricated this claim--that Mormonism is abandoning the Book of Mormon: ): )(funny)--as a distraction from truth and mountainous BoM, PoGP, etc evidences, and especially from the voice of the Spirit etc. I understand this is what you do, but honestly, you've been trying that one for over a month, and I don't think it's working. You've been blessed with creativity, but even fiction requires some believability. Some of your copying from anti-Mormon sites was interesting (was fun looking into false claims, seeing how they actually support JS, BoM historicity etc), this, however, is beneath even your gifts, it doesnt even merit investigation. No offense...

But, all true LDS know Christ cares about the BoM, it testifies of HiM. He brought it forth.

Everybody Wang Chung Tonight
Riverton, Utah

From the article, "Its also possible that during the decades in which Moroni was wandering and fleeing from the Lamanites (Moroni 1:1-3) that he simply carried the 50-pound plates until he made his final home in upstate New York."

Actually, Moroni must have used many horses/tapirs to carry many wagon loads of plates. From the Journal of Discourses:

"When Joseph got the plates, the angel instructed him to carry them back to the Hill Cumorah. Oliver says that when Joseph and Oliver went there, the hill opened, and they walked into a cave, in which there was a large and spacious room. He says he did not think, at the time, whether they had the light of the sun or artificial light, but that it was just as light as day. They laid the plates on a table; it was a large table that stood in the room. Under this table there was a pile of plates as much as two feet high, and there were altogether in this room more plates than probably many wagon loads; they were piled up in corners and along the walls. (19 Journal of Discourses 38)

Murray, UT

I appreciate the passion and zeal you have. I am afraid that due to the way you arrange your thoughts on paper it is difficult to understand what you are saying. If you could separate your thoughts a little more clearly, and not use so many parenthesis, you would communicate your feelings more clearly.

I do not want you to feel like I a critisizing you or your viewpoints, just the way you present them when you are writing.

Scottsdale, AZ

I'd like to see how Mike would answer "Everybody Wang Chung Tonight's" quote from the JoD. It probably would go along the lines of, "The JoD is not inspired, so I don't have to take it into account in my explanation." I believe this is called "special pleading." It seems like a lot of this is going on.

With regard to those who say that only a feeling is necessary to demonstrate a work's historicity, I would point you toward David Whitmer, one of the BoM witnesses. He said he received word from God that was just as real that he must separate from the LDS Church for its apostasy (see my comments on Daniel Peterson's most recent article). At the very least, then, it should lead the LDS to doubt whether a simple feeling is sufficient for determining truth. As I have said many times before, there are many spirits in the world, and any one of them can give a person a feeling (1 John 4:1). I'm not saying that some form of existentialism is bad; but the fideistic existentialism of the LDS is certainly insufficient as a theological compass.

layton, Ut

JM: You are hard to understand. The BoM does lack history, but it does contain some truth from the Bible; .mercy hath no claim on that man; therefore his final doom is to endure a never-ending torment.(Mosiah 2:39)

...all is well and thus the devil cheateth their souls, and leadeth them away carefully down to hell. (2Nephi 28:22)

And fear not them which kill the body ,but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.(gehenna,1067).(Mt 10:28)Not hades or sheoul but gehenna.

Phoenix, AZ

In so many ways these stories become more preposterous, like straining nats and swallowing camels. The right thing to do is for the Mormon church to open their vaults, files and private library to qualified indepentend and objective scientist to examine and report the truth of the Mormon saga from beinning to present and set the Mormon people free.

Bountiful, UT

Why would Joseph tell people that God would strike them dead for looking at the plates? To me, that type of threat is not consistent with a benevolent God (or prophet), but is consistent with some type of fraud. There are accounts of people that looked under the covering that covered the plates, even under threat of death from God. They didn't find golden plates but found a tile brick. Joseph had lied that the plates were under the covering. I can appreciate Ash's attempts to make sense of the story of the plates, but we must consider the possibility that the reason the story of the plates doesn't make sense is because the plates may not have even existed at all.

(FYI, I tried to post the account of the tile brick, but the DNews censored my post. I'll never understand why the DNews tries to prevent information from reaching the populace, but whatever. It's their "news"paper.)

Lehi, UT

Just watched PBS program claiming Indigenous People came from SW Asia (showed Middle East Babel/Israel area), one says Native oral traditions of horses, but not here. Others discuss how IP greatest, elephant, horse, etc hunters and metalworkers, etc. Some say came by boat, etc.
2008 program so probably outdated alreadybut interesting.

@Broken: Visions of cave were also in WYO hill, etc, PR rumor, etc. Doesnt establish Cumorah location.

Feelings are the only way to know any important truth. Many are deceived by logic, etc, and many make up stories to deceive others feelings. (check FAIR on witnesses). Evidence always goes in favor of the BoM, and the logic of the philosophers fails every time it tries to stand against Gods prophets. So, if evidence converts you.: ).

Satan can speak, do miracles, use failed logic in his temptations, Pharisees Biblical arguments etc.

But how did Peter know Jesus was the Christ? Probably not simply voices, healings, argument etc. God revealed it, Peter felt the Sprit testifying, recognized Gods' voice by the Spirit, and knew by feelings (read Alma32) the difference between Gods voice and darkness and doubt promoted by critics/accusers (Diablo). You must feel eternal good/truth : )

Scottsbluff, NE

The article talked about a map. The problem I have is that the map includes reference to the Kinderhook plates. The August 1981 Ensign showed that the Kinderhook plates were a hoax. How can I trust a map that includes a hoax?

Let me be clear. The Kinderhook plates being a hoax never troubled my faith 29 years ago. But today's use of a map that includes a known hoax gives me no reason at all to trust apologists.

The Apostle Mark E. Peterson said this on April 5, 1953 during the General Conference:

"I do not believe that there were two Hill Cumorahs, one in Central America and the other one up in New York, for the convenience of the Prophet Joseph Smith, so that the poor boy would not have to walk clear to Central America to get the gold plates."

Since that time I have heard no Apostle or Prophet state publicly in General Conference that Elder Peterson was wrong.

Why should I believe the apologists? Their map presented as evidence mentions a fraudulent artifact that the Ensign exposed nearly 30 years ago.

Bill in Nebraska
Maryville, MO


There are people that don't believe in the historical portion of the BOM but the MAJORITY OF THE CHURCH DOES. The difference is what is counted as historical and what isn't.

Do you want dates and times? Do you want to prove that an event didn't happen or what?

If you are saying that Christ DIDN'T VISIT the American hemishere then you are in direct difference to what the Church Doctrine teaches. If you are saying that there is no historical proof then that is possibly true but there has been proof that there was a time period of the Americas where a day revlution did occur. It may not be a complete and TOTAL HISTORY OF the ancient people but it is historical with the events that took place.

Scottsbluff, NE

JM said "Visions of cave were also in WYO hill, etc, PR rumor"

The actual source was in the Deseret News, 15 August 1877 - it was a printed discourse given by Brigham Young on June 17, 1877. How can Brigham Young be accused of spreading rumors?

D. Jeremy
Spring, TX

Jax said: "FYI, I tried to post the account of the tile brick, but the DNews censored my post."

Probably because your assertion is so clearly a distortion of truth that it was thought of as a joke or unjustly critical. Where in the world do you get your sources? I deem myself fairly well-read in LDS history and I have never heard of tile bricks being found in place of the plates. In fact, I have read several more accounts that indicate that Joseph did not go to extensive means to hide the plates at all from his scribes. The story abot the curtain separating Joseph and his scribes is just that, a story. I have yet to find any historical backing to that.

layton, Ut

Bill, JS was wrong about the BoM before: Joseph looked into the hat in which he placed the stone, and received a "revelation" that some of the brethren should go to Toronto, Canada, and that they would sell the copy-right of the Book of Mormon. Hiram Page and Oliver Cowdery went to Toronto on this mission, but they failed entirely to sell the copy-right, returning without any money...
we asked Joseph how it was that he had received a revelation from the Lord for some brethren to go to Toronto and sell the copy-right, and the brethren had utterly failed in their undertaking. Joseph did not know how it was, so he enquired of the Lord about it, and behold the following revelation came through the stone: "Some revelations are of God: some revelations are of men: and some revelations are of the devil." So we see that the revelation to go to Toronto and sell the copy-right was not of God, but was of the devil or of the heart of man. David Whitmer, An Address to All Believers in Christ, 1887, p. 30-31.False phrophecy.

Bill in Nebraska
Maryville, MO


What I'm trying to say is what do you feel is historical and what isn't?

Dates, times and so doesn't prove historical. If we say that a people was existing in this hemisphere at the time the Book of Mormon took place then do we need actual proof where Zarahemla is? Do we need actual proof that there was a person named Nephi, Mormon, Moroni and etc.? If you are saying because we have no proof to these people names then that makes it non-historical, I would agree with you in principle. However, if you are basing everything on mans word that these events couldn't take place because there is no proof then maybe we need to find out how. Mike Ash will come out and basically prove that the Geography of the Book of Mormon took place basically in Central America in an area about the size of Tennessee. All of the basic elements he will show proves the geography. You state that much what is said at General Conference is opinion. I would suggest you go back and read President Benson's talk that was reprinted in 2005, Ensign.

D. Jeremy
Spring, TX

In response to Everybody Wang Chung Tonight, we cannot be certain what Joseph and Oliver saw in the vision, nor can we be certain of the location of what the vision showed.

I personally believe what they saw was accurate. I think there had to be some site for housing all the historical records that had accumulated through the years. Where that site is no one knows (nor is it important), but it wouldn't make sense for the keeper of the records to haul around all those records where ever they went, or risk their destruction at the hands of evil-doers.

That said, I feel that Joseph and Oliver truly saw a records room. I don't believe that records room is inside the Hill Cumorah in upstate New York, but the vision likely showed them the Nephite records room where several uncompiled records remain to this day.

Modesto, CA

Ash ignores the facts:

1. The plates were secured prior to going to battle.

Why? Because both Moroni and Mormon were "in the front" of their 10k and knew their people would be "destroyed."

2. Mormon stayed nearby.

Why? To protect the records.

3. Where did Mormon find additional plates?

They were with the other records in a cave near the hill as reported by David Whitmer.

4. Prophecy says the record would come forth ON BoM land.

5. Prophecy says it would come forth to descendants of the Lamanites. If it was a "limited" area as Ash supports, those descendants were in a limited area.

6. Official church history named the hill Cumorah, as did a Nephite to Whitmer, Cowdery and Joseph.

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