Quantcast
Faith

Challenging Issues, Keeping the Faith: Challenging Issues & Keeping the Faith: What archaeology can and can't teach

Comments

Return To Article
  • Searching . . . . Orem, UT
    May 6, 2011 1:22 p.m.

    Allen,

    "It's not an absolute promise..."

    The promise (after conditions) is "he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost." So, if you meet the conditions, you will receive the answer. Seems absolute to me. Sort of like "Ask and ye shall receive" or "If any of you lack bwisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him" (which also has a condition).

    So, did I meet the conditions?

    1. Read/study: I've read and studied the BoM several times, by myself, with my family, in seminary, church classes, etc.

    2. Sincere prayer: The first time I truly supplicated in prayer regarding the BoM was when I was 12. No answer. I kept asking sincerely over the next 30-some-odd years. It never changed. Unfortunately, the promise doesn't provide an expected timeline.

    3. Faith/Real intent: I was LDS, so I was taught faith in Christ as a child. The BoM WAS part of my life. How does one know if he has reached the benchmark on these requirements?

    My experience is hardly unique.

  • ? Fort Knox, KY
    May 6, 2011 10:46 a.m.

    I'll try this comment again and hope it's a little clearer.

    What would give Michael Ash, Rod Meldrum and others the marketable skills asked for on the subjects they talk about? If these don't have the skills you seek, could not they call upon others who do have these skills to verify what they claim?

    I suppose, Joseph Smith could have also drawn upon the talents of others to produce something like the Book of Mormon. Others older than him could have used him to push forward their claims. However, God spoke to and sent angels to prophets in the past. Samuel was also a young man when the Lord called upon him. (1 Samuel chapter 3) If the Lord spoke to someone like him, why couldn't or wouldn't He speak to someone like Joseph Smith?

    Mormoncowboy: Thanks for taking time to look up and answer my questions. You don't have to agree with what I've posted, but that's o.k. The Book of Mormon is true, so then that means apologists and others need more info. One good thing is, we believe God will yet reveal many great and important things.

  • Allen Salt Lake valley, UT
    May 6, 2011 9:23 a.m.

    @Searching

    "I'd like to understand why such an absolute promise has so much variation in result."

    It's not an absolute promise, because the promise is conditioned on specific conditions that only the person and the Lord can judge.

    Here are the conditions.

    1. And when ye shall receive these things, (read & study the BoM)

    2. ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; (sincere prayer in the name of Jesus Christ. Not just a few minutes of mumbling words but minutes, hours, days, years of sincerely talking to God)

    3. and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ (real intent means being honest with God and willing to make the BoM part of your life. People must have faith in Christ. Agnostics and atheists likely will not receive testimonies)

    4. he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost. (testimonies are spiritual communication with God)

    Notice, there is no mention of physical evidence or logical deductions. Our approach to the BoM must be spiritual, based on sincere faith and prayer.

  • Allen Salt Lake valley, UT
    May 4, 2011 10:35 p.m.

    @Searching Neither trumps the other. Jeff's answer was given to him. It's a private matter between him and God. Your answer was given to you. Again, a private matter between you and God. The Lord said that we shouldn't judge others, and I thus can't comment one way or the other on Jeff's experience and your experience.

    LDS bear testimony of the truthfulness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, of Jesus' Atonement, of the Church, of the scriptures (including the BoM), not to convince people those things are true, but to open the door, so to speak, for the Holy Ghost to envelop the person if it is the Lord's will that that should happen.
    Again, let me repeat. LDS do not bear testimony to try and convince people. They bear testimony to allow the Holy Ghost to bear testimony to the souls of the people who hear the LDS testimonies. Whether the Holy Ghost does visit the people or not is a matter between them and the Lord. I should not say anything about this, because it is a private matter between the people and the Lord.

  • Searching . . . Orem, UT
    May 4, 2011 8:35 p.m.

    Jeff, it is not consistent because not all people who ask get the promised answer. You received an answer. I received a conflicting answer. Who's trumps the other's?

    I think our debate is getting too close to semantics now. I actually agree with some of what you and Allen have posted. But while your testimony may be proof to you of spiritual truth, your testimony is not proof to me and my experience conflicts with yours. I'd like to understand why such an absolute promise has so much variation in result. Also, BoM civilizations, if they truly existed, would leave more than spiritual evidence. While a physical artifact may not prove the BoM true, it would lend credence to LDS claims. Maybe Mr. Ash will get back to that eventually.

  • Joggle Clearfield, UT
    May 4, 2011 8:11 p.m.

    @Jeff

    I did respond to your comments, but DN has no rhyme or reason as to why they reject or simply lose my comments.....so I'll just say this....and hope it gets posted.

    Mormon apologetics is systematic defense of Mormonism against its critics so as such Ash has to overcome criticism of the BoM in order to promote faith in those that question it. IT'S HIS JOB. As long as you rely on "the Spirit" without being able to prove it's not your own thoughts or emotions and as long as you can't refute reasonable evidence that claims are improbable....you fail in any argument. I have a problem with believers who insist the Book of Mormon is an ancient Mesoamerican text when such a claim requires distorting and misleading statements about both the content of the Book of Mormon, and most especially, about Mesoamerican history. If truth exists in Mormonism....it shouldn't have to be twisted and contorted to make it truth.

    I recently read something that a Mormon I know attributed to "the Spirit" and thought....I could come with that on my own.....with my own mind!

  • Jeff Temple City, CA
    May 4, 2011 5:48 p.m.

    @ Searching:

    You write: "Moroni's promise is not consistently reproducable on either a scientific or spiritual level," and you use for evidence that "there are variations in the answers that people have reported."

    I would like to point out that those "variations" you mention include many people who have had the promised answer. I acknowledge that it is not universal; but it is consistent and reproducible on a spiritual level.

    You assume that "because [I] have 'no obligation whatsoever to prove the Book of Mormon true,' ... that non-believers, and especially critics, are not welcome to read or comment to these articles." You say that you can "only" assume that. I think you may be free to make other assumptions; your conclusion and my statement are non-sequiturs.

    I try hard to show that I believe that there is much room for discourse. I certainly feel that non-believers and critics should be allowed to speak here, though I believe I am free to criticize their errors (and vice versa). I have also tried to make it clear that I do not believe that spiritual truth is learned from any other source that the Spirit of God.

  • Idaho Coug Meridian, Idaho
    May 4, 2011 2:37 p.m.

    Why do apologists like Mike Ash do what they do? I think they know that their arguments only strengthen testimonies of those with strong testimonies. I doubt they think they will persuade investigators or strengthen those members who question. In reality, this series of articles actually highlight the lack of direct evidence for many who have thought the argument air-tight.

    And that may be exactly why they do it.

    I have read Mike's comments on other online forums. My hunch is that he sees it as inexcusable that thousands of members fall away every year when they confront surprises in LDS history and doctrine. LDS coorelated education has been and remains largely whitewashed. In today's internet world, one can learn more difficult facts about actual LDS history and doctrines in an evening than they did in 40 plus years growing up in the Church.

    And the reality is that this causes hundreds if not thousands (including ward and stake leaders) to fall away or at least become seriously challenged.

    Mike and other apologists provide this education in a faith-promoting way. They see no excuse why members should not be educated.

    And I respect that!

  • Searching . . . Orem, UT
    May 4, 2011 1:31 p.m.

    Jeff,

    As long as the original hypothesis is in doubt (and for most of the world it is in serious doubt), any assumptions or conclusions drawn from that hypothesis will be in doubt. Moroni's promise is not consistently reproducable on either a scientific or spiritual level. This is observable by the variations in the answers that people have reported. I, myself, have never gotten the promised answer, although I have been raised in the church, read the book several times, and prayed sincerely with real intent expecting a positive answer. Because you have "no obligation whatsoever to prove the Book of Mormon true," I can only assume that non-believers, and especially critics, are not welcome to read or comment to these articles; they are intended only as faith-strengthening anecdotes to keep members in the church.

    When members claim to know the BoM is true, they place upon themselves the duty to prove it true, because they made an absolute claim. When they more humbly "present it and tell why [they] accept it," it becomes a matter of faith and is much less offensive to other faiths and beliefs.

  • Jeff Temple City, CA
    May 4, 2011 1:00 p.m.

    @ Searching: I disagree. The "first question" according to Joggle skips a number of steps, and therefore is more properly the second, third, or later question. The Mormon apologists that Joggle says are so desperately trying to prove hypotheses are not even doing that, as Allen so competently said.

    Since the apologists are believers, and have (apparently in most cases) experienced the sort of spiritual confirmation of the Book of Mormon many of the rest of us have, there is no obligation on their part to prove anything true. The non-spiritual "evidences" presented are only tentative handles for people to hold onto until they more properly receive a spiritual conversion.

    We have no obligation whatsoever to prove the Book of Mormon true; we only have an obligation to present it and tell why we accept it.

    That's why Joe Blow's disclaimer is interesting. Does Joe Blow feel an obligation to disprove everyone who disagrees with him, or just Mormons? I have received a spiritual confirmation that the Book of Mormon is true; I'm not in the least "desperate" for scientific evidence to prove its truth. How is Joe Blow (or any critic) threatened by that?

  • JoeBlow Miami Area, Fl
    May 4, 2011 11:29 a.m.

    I will stop trying to prove the LDS wrong, when the LDS stop telling me that they KNOW they are right.

  • Allen Salt Lake valley, UT
    May 4, 2011 10:38 a.m.

    @Searching

    As I read Ash's articles, I don't see the articles as attempts to prove anything. I see them as attempts to provide reasonable explanations of particular data. Apologists recognize the BoM is accepted on faith and not on scientific evidence. The many calls in these comments for explicit scientific evidence of the BoM are attempting to force apologists to provide something that the apologists have never claimed they were providing.

    It's obvious there isn't explicit scientific evidence of the BoM. Lots of parallels but no direct evidence. We accept the BoM on faith, and I wish the critics of the BoM would stop asking for direct or explicit evidence. I also wish LDS who accept the BoM would stop claiming there is direct evidence of the BoM. Parallel evidence is not direct evidence. For example, Hebrew characteristics in the text of the BoM are not direct evidences of the BoM. They only show that who ever wrote the BoM, whether it be Mormon or a scholar in the 19th century was familiar with the Hebrew language. Let's just accept each other as friends and stop trying to prove each other wrong!

  • Searching . . . Orem, UT
    May 4, 2011 8:48 a.m.

    Jeff, the "first question" is important because otherwise apologists are using an unproven hypothesis as a constant to prove a subsequent hypothesis. The BoM has not been proven true. There are enough independent researches who have applied the prescribed procedures and arrived at alternative conclusions to assume that at worst the BoM is false and at best the data is incomplete.

    I believe most LDS archaeologists sincerely use their research to better understand the cultures they are uncovering, with an eye out for possible links to Jaredites and Lehites. In contrast to archaeologists whose findings at times can be linked to people and events found in the bible, no findings can yet be linked to the BoM.

    Apologists, on the other hand (in my opinion), stretch the findings to fit into the hypothesis that they are wanting to defend. Mr. Ash's goal, as expressed by the series title "Challenging Issues & Keeping the Faith," is to give support to those whose faith is shaken by the lack of BoM artifacts. His delivery can't be impartial because his goal isn't impartiality. His opinions and writings are biased and should therefore not be trusted as scientifically defensible.

  • JoeBlow Miami Area, Fl
    May 4, 2011 4:43 a.m.

    Jeff,

    When the apple fell to the ground, Newton looked for an answer to something he knew was happening.

    You could come up with many answers, maybe all are wrong, but we know that the apple fell.

    Where the BOM is concerned, people are desperately looking for scientific evidence for something that quite possibly (probably?) never happened.

    I am not saying it is in"appropriate" but, the evidence would never lead one in that direction.

  • Jeff Temple City, CA
    May 3, 2011 2:56 p.m.

    What Joggle has done is another sort of logical leap that critics of the Book of Mormon do. He says that Ash is using a "theory... to support his Mesoamerica claims." Ash has made no such claims. It is widely believed among many Latter-day Saints that the Book of Mormon occurred in Meso-America, but most know that there is NO definitive location, and Ash supports that proposition.

    S/he goes to announce that "The first question to be answered though is why modern BoM scholarship insists their interpretation is true to begin with, when it seems so contrary to the face value of the text itself."

    What is wrong with assertive scholarship? Why is this the big "first question"? Unlike spiritual answers to the text, scientists and other scholars are free to assert all sorts of things. We are not obligated to believe them, though Joggle seems to want us to.

    I fully agree with Joggle's statement that "BoM apologists and others often approach the topic with the a priori acceptance of the theory that the BoM is the ancient text Smith claimed." I disagree that there is anything wrong with it, however. It is perfectly appropriate.

  • ? Fort Knox, KY
    May 3, 2011 2:23 p.m.

    Mormoncowboy: You might find "Exploring the Book of Mormon in America's Heartland," by Rod Meldrum to be interesting. This is through Book of Mormon Evidence.

  • Joggle Clearfield, UT
    May 3, 2011 2:13 p.m.

    The problems with the theory that Ash uses to support his Mesoamerica claims are too numerous to adaquately address here. The first question to be answered though is why modern BoM scholarship insists their interpretation is true to begin with, when it seems so contrary to the face value of the text itself. The answer is simply that they have been forced into this corner, not only by modern science but also by the inconsistencies within the text itself, which have been noted almost since its inception. BoM apologists and others often approach the topic with the a priori acceptance of the theory that the BoM is the ancient text Smith claimed. Therefore, a theory must be constructed that allows for this final determination, regardless of how it strains or even insults the actual text or Mesoamerican history itself. When such a priori determinations are fixed before the analysis of available data, this is a sign of pseudoscience. Insisting the BoM is an ancient Mesoamerican text when such a claim requires distorting and misleading statements doesn't support it at all. When Ash uses words like possible he neglects to realize that possible can be a long way from probable!

  • Jeff Temple City, CA
    May 3, 2011 11:10 a.m.

    @ Mormoncowby: You're right; I disasgree with the parameters of your construct. The problem with the validity of your construct is that your premises are over-simplified (I forget the technical name for this fallacy). The first premise should more properly read: "If the Book of Mormon is a true history, then [some of] the [currenly surviving] Native Americans [might be] of Israelite descent, [and if that descent meets ALL criteria of DNA identification, then there should be some evidence of Israelite descent among Amerindians]."

    "[No definitive evidence of descent related to contemporary Isrealites has been discovered among contemporary Amerindians], therefore [Amerindians] [might not be] of Israelite Descent, therefore the Book of Mormon [might not be] a true history."

    This seems to be a common tactic of critics of the Church: use oversimplified or invalid premise(s), draw a binding conclusion from that premise. ie: "If the Book of Mormon were true, one SHOULD expect to find such and such. We don't find such and such, so the Book of Mormon isn't true." This is obviously faulty logic, but is used all the time--including in Mormoncowboy's example of contradiction.

  • sharrona layton, Ut
    May 3, 2011 11:09 a.m.

    Allen said,It's true that the D&C speaks of the land of the Lamonites. The D&C can be very helpful and is more reliable than the BoM,read( D&C 17: 22,23)It explains in deatail the communion service with wine,I have the pre-edited version, do you?

  • Mormoncowboy Provo, Ut
    May 3, 2011 10:43 a.m.

    Of course Allen, referring to the Phrase "American Indian" in the text of the BoM would be a dead giveaway, wouldn't it? Instead the BoM writers speak to the "remnants of their seed", as I recall. Secondly, borrowed from the Ex Mormon scholars testify site under Duwayne Anderson, 2 Nephi 1: 5-9, actually does state that the Promised Land had been "kept as yet from the knowledge of other nations". The only way to avoid contradiction is to broaden the parameters of "other nations", and draw implication on "as yet". The later requires you to postulate a major population incursion at the time of Lehi, which is untennable as it creates many other contradictions with known archaeology. In other words, the former requires one to take a strict interpretation of nation to include a specific size and organization of people that is not all encompassing. Hence the parameters are broadened.

    You can always find parallels when the parameters are broadened enough, ie, changing the story to fit the evidence. However, falsifying the BoM under these conditions becomes impossible as every contradiction will be met with reinterpretation. Ancient anti-BoM evidence however, will not ever be found.

  • Mormoncowboy Provo, Ut
    May 3, 2011 10:23 a.m.

    To give a final example of Ash's arguments:

    Denying the antecedent:

    If the Book of Mormon is a true history of a real civilization, then archeology will conform.
    There is no archaeology to be observed, therefore the BoM is not a true history.

    This is an invalid argument because it precludes the possibility that conforming evidence does infact exist, it just has not been observed.

    Contradiction:

    If the BoM is a true history, then the native Americans are of Israelite descent.
    Native Americans are not of Israelite Descent, therefore the BoM is not a true history.

    This is a valid logical construct (You may disagree with the parameters) as Israelite DNA and "Asian" DNA are mutually exclusive, ie, there is no observed mixture between the two.

    The apologist MO in light of contradiction, and in observation of Ash's apparent strategy, is to broaden the parameters to be generically inclusive of all possibilities so as to push the argument into the straits of denying the antecedent. Joseph Smith didn't mean this, or didn't mean that, etc. He does this not by stressing what the Bom DOES say, but rather by exploiting what it Does Not say!

  • Allen Salt Lake valley, UT
    May 3, 2011 10:20 a.m.

    @mormoncowboy

    "If geneticists for example state with 99.73% probability that all American Indians migrated from Asia...then that contradicts The Book of Mormons claim that they came from Jerusalem."

    Just a reminder that the BoM doesn't claim anything about the origin of the American Indians. The BoM does claim that the Lehites came from the Mideast, but the notion that all American Indians came from the Lehites was an assumption made by the early church members. I say "assumption", because that idea was something read into the BoM, not something read from the BoM. It's true that the D&C speaks of the land of the Lamonites being the frontier of the US and westward, but that was use of the word "Lamonites" in a general way, reflecting the assumption of early church members that all American Indians descended from the Lehites, just as we use the word "Americans" to refer to all inhabitants of the US, regardless of where the people may have immigrated from.

  • ? Fort Knox, KY
    May 3, 2011 10:02 a.m.

    Mormoncowboy: What about some of the things I have shared? It seems easy for folks to say these stones, earthworks, and other things are fake or that the pursuit of understanding these things in relation to the Book of Mormon is pseudoarcheology. Yet, there seem to be a few archeologists finding these things to be genuine. What if some of these things do have some relation to the Book of Mormon?

  • Mormoncowboy Provo, Ut
    May 3, 2011 9:20 a.m.

    Using the logical construct under wikipedia:

    Denying the antecedent:

    If P then Q
    Not P.
    Therefore not Q

    This is an invalid assertion because it is based on the principles of sets and subsets. P is a subset of Q, therefore P will satisfy the demands of Q, but many more things do this than just P.

    Contradiction - my approach for consistency

    Very simple:

    P does not = Q
    If P, then not Q.
    If Q, then not P.

    P and Q under contradiction are mutually exclusive elements that cannot coexist.

  • NoMad Grantsville, UT
    May 3, 2011 8:34 a.m.

    "More frequently critics of the church claim that the Book of Mormon is unsupported by archaeological evidence."

    During the period of 1959-1961, NWAF colleague Dee Green was editor of the BYU Archaeological Society Newsletter and had an article from it published in the summer of 1969 edition of Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, pp 7678 in which he acknowledged that the NWAF findings did not back up the veracity of the Book of Mormon claims. After this article and another six years of fruitless search, Thomas Ferguson published a 29-page paper in 1975 where he concluded,

    "I'm afraid that up to this point, I must agree with Dee Green, who has told us that to date there is no Book-of-Mormon geography..."

    In 1976, referring to his own paper, Ferguson wrote a letter in which he stated:

    "...The real implication of the paper is that you can't set the Book-of-Mormon geography down anywhere because it is fictional and will never meet the requirements of the dirt-archeology. I should say what is in the ground will never conform to what is in the book."

  • Mormoncowboy Provo, Ut
    May 3, 2011 8:33 a.m.

    After reading the first two paragraphs it has become clear to me that Vanka's observations have been correct. Ash is Googling logical constructs and fallacies in order to keep up with the consideration. In other words he is trying to educate himself while he presumes to teach - which raises serious questions on most of his arguments.

    1) He states that critics are "silly" to suggest that the BoM "contradicts archaeology" and states that the fallacy is "denying the antecedent" because all archaeology is not discovered. He is basically stating that "lack of evidence is not evidence of lack", and he is correct on that point, however contradiction is not denying the antecedent. If geneticists for example state with 99.73% probability that all American Indians migrated from Asia (I'm not a geneticist, so I can't evaluate the debate) then that contradicts The Book of Mormons claim that they came from Jerusalem. This would not be an example of denying the antecedent, but it is a contradiction. Furthermore, denying the antecedent in this case can just as easily be a scape-goat for lack of evidence because it is hard to tell when all archaeology has been discovered.

  • Michael_M Scottsbluff, NE
    May 2, 2011 6:36 p.m.

    Michael Ash has written that the flood may not have been worldwide.

    From his Mormon Times article on February 1, 2010:

    "Not all LDS Church members believe the sun stood still (Joshua 10:13) or that Noah's flood covered every inch of the entire planet."

    From the 2008 FAIR Conference:

    "There either were horses in the ancient Americas, the fundamentalist mind may think, or the Book of Mormon is false. There either was a world-wide flood that wiped out virtually all life, or the Bible is false. To the fundamentalist, there is no middle ground."

    Mr. Ash offers this advice about the flood: "we should use our brains as well as our spirits when we study the gospel."

    Also see the FAIR article "Mormonism and science/Global or local Flood":

    "The belief that the flood was either global or local does not constitute a critical part of Latter-day Saint theology."

    "A current hypothesis that has been gaining ground since 1998 is that a significant flooding event occurred in the area now occupied by the Black Sea."

    To those who missed the point of my post, argue the flood with the apologists, not with me.

  • JoeBlow Miami Area, Fl
    May 2, 2011 6:14 p.m.

    "just look at evolution, a story this weekend assumes a relationship of old fossils to us, all to satisfy a theory."

    Well, lets look at the two possibilities.

    Evolution happened in man
    Evolution did not happen in man

    Is it fair to say that creatures have "evolved"? Personally, I believe that has been proven beyond doubt.

    Has man evolved? Well, science has shown VERY strong evidence.

    Those who deny evolution of man the strongest, do so only to "satisfy a theory"

    You tell me. Who has the most factual evidence to support their position?

  • the truth Holladay, UT
    May 2, 2011 5:46 p.m.

    RE: Michael_M

    What evidence would a worldwide flood leave behind that would not easily disappear in a few years of erosion, weather, and so forth?

    If you filled a bathtub then let it dry out slowly over several months,
    what evidence thousands of year later would you find that the bathtub was ever filled?

    "Science shows that humans have lived in the Americas without interruption for more than 10,000 years"

    Science has shown NO such thing.

    But then again science is full of assumptions, just look at evolution, a story this weekend assumes a relationship of old fossils to us, all to satisfy a theory.

    No hard evidence, just assumption, and before you cry about DNA, DNA can just shows common genetic features, NOT a relationship,

    all living things share common genetic features to some degree that does not show relationship, all relationships must be assumed.

    Science has shown the existance of man at various times, but other than it can no make conclusion of uninterruption, uninteruption is an assumption.

    We know small groups have travel the oceans for millenia, why not isrealites?

  • ? Fort Knox, KY
    May 2, 2011 2:51 p.m.

    I posted this in another article, but it may be worth repeating here. A book that may be worth reading for some folks is "Antiquities of the state of New York. Being the results of extensive original surveys and explorations, with a supplement on the antiquities of the West..." by E.G. Squire. Enjoy.

  • Vanka Provo, UT
    May 2, 2011 2:48 p.m.

    One would think that if Mr. Ash is going to pronounce an authoritative judgment on the entire field and tradition of Archeology, he would at least be required to have some credentials in Archeology. Or at least philosophy of science. Or something.

    What are Ash's credentials? What peer-evaluated expertise does he have that gives him any credibility at all on these topics?

  • BoiseSuperBlue Twin Falls, ID
    May 2, 2011 2:33 p.m.

    These articles just aren't the same without the zany and incomprehensible posts from JM. Where are you JM? Please post. My wife and I are going through our Monday withdrawals without you and your posts.

  • Doctor Tucson, AZ
    May 2, 2011 2:12 p.m.

    How far down did the glaciers come? That would explain minerals from Canada being found in northern AZ. And again, no one is asking for proof of the book of Mormon. Just eveidence that the culture/civilization existed. As long as apologists are willing to change their arguement to match the evidence (LGT) then the apologist will always be able to say, "See you can't prove me wrong."

  • DanielAZ Tucson, AZ
    May 2, 2011 1:52 p.m.

    Great article!

  • NoMad Grantsville, UT
    May 2, 2011 1:45 p.m.

    Michael_M,

    The publication is "Answers". You do have a valid point which is "Faith".

  • Michael_M Scottsbluff, NE
    May 2, 2011 1:34 p.m.

    Dr. Snelling's conclusions are not published in scientific journals for peer review. What is the "October-December 2008 quarterly publication"? Certainly not a professional scientific journal. Is that why the title was left out of today's mention of it? Dr. Snellings theories are not accepted by the scientific community and are even discounted by some young earth creationists.

    One could read Chariots of the Gods and believe that ancient astronauts influenced the Plains of Nazca, but just because something is in print does not make it so. This also applies to the writings of LDS apologists. Simply saying something in writing does not make it real.

    It is one thing to hope for things which are not seen, it is another to believe in the face of evidence to the contrary.

    The first is called faith, the second is defined as delusion.

  • NoMad Grantsville, UT
    May 2, 2011 1:28 p.m.

    Idaho Coug,

    Looking at To: "Michael_M" Comment: "Ask yourself this: Archaeology and DNA studies show that there was no Biblical flood in America. Science shows that humans have lived in the Americas without interruption for more than 10,000 years."

    His comment has no flood in the US

  • Idaho Coug Meridian, Idaho
    May 2, 2011 12:56 p.m.

    To NoMad -

    I'm not sure what you are trying to say by your quote. Are you saying this proves a worldwide flood?

    Google "zircon and the grand canyon" and one of the first things that pop us in an article from Nature News. This quote in it was interesting:

    "As soon as zircon crystallizes from molten magma, its radioactive uranium begins to decay into lead. The amount of lead in a zircon grain therefore reveals when it formed. These ages can then be matched to zircon ages from different mountain ranges.

    Half of the Grand Canyon samples were formed either around 1.2 billion years ago or around 500 million years ago. These ages match granite in the Appalachian Mountains. Only a quarter of the grains came from the Ancestral Rockies; the rest hark from the interior of Canada."

    Yes, it appears some of the zircon found in the Grand Canyon came from the Appalachian Mountains - at least 500 million years ago!

  • NoMad Grantsville, UT
    May 2, 2011 12:05 p.m.

    To: "Michael_M"

    "Ask yourself this: Archaeology and DNA studies show that there was no Biblical flood in America. Science shows that humans have lived in the Americas without interruption for more than 10,000 years."

    The Grand Canyon from the October-December 2008 quarterly publication, Answers. Written by eminent geologist Dr. Andrew Snelling. "Within this sandstone, we find grains of the mineral zircon, which is relatively easy to trace to its source because zircon usually contains radioactive uranium. By dating these zircon grains, using the uranium-lead U-Pb) radioactive method, it has been postulated that the sand grains in the Navajo Sandstone came from the Appalachians of Pennsylvania and New York, and from former mountains further north in Canada. If this is true, the sand grains were transported about 1,250 miles (2012 km) right across North America."

  • Idaho Coug Meridian, Idaho
    May 2, 2011 10:31 a.m.

    The central theme of the Book of Mormon is the testimony of Jesus Christ accumulating in His physical appearance in the New World. The story of His appearance in the BofM seems to be quite dramatic. He came in great glory, preceded by fantastic and wide-ranging natural events, appeared to a large number of people, remained for an extended period of time, performed miracles, and introduced Mormonism or the same gospel we claim was restored by JS. This HAD to leave a dramatic impact on the culture and beliefs of those who lived during that time.

    Evidences of THAT would be huge to the claims we make of the Book of Mormon. Evidences of this would be very difficult to brush off as something else. It would be far more than a "lucky hit" by Joseph Smith. And regardless of what some may say, it would have a phenominal effect of the missionary work of the church.

    I would love to see some evidence that the dramatic events surrounding the visitation of Christ occurred. I don't that we teach a Limited Visitation Theory. It HAD to impact those people and that culture in a phenominal way!

  • JoeBlow Miami Area, Fl
    May 2, 2011 10:15 a.m.

    Wouldn't "great cities" and populations of hundreds of thousands or even Millions turn up via archeology?

    Wouldn't we have found a site where a great battle where hundreds of thousands of people died carrying weapons? Archeology would have found that by now.

    Yes, it is possible that the BOM is historical, and we just have not uncovered any real evidence based on BOM claims.

    Yes, it is possible, but common sense would suggest that it did not happen.

  • aaazzz Murray, UT
    May 2, 2011 10:01 a.m.

    I don't understand why Mike is talking about is how we don't really have anything to disprove the exsistance of the Book of Mormon.

    I don't really understand why he made the point about barley. Barley is an old world crop that conatins gluten, while Hordeum pusillum (which is the new world equivalent of barley) does not contain gluten. That probably doesn't make any difference, but I am not sure it is a good idea to start making these kinds of claims about the fauna and flora mentioned in the Book of Mormon. It leads to too many ather problems.

  • Everybody Wang Chung Tonight Riverton, Utah
    May 2, 2011 9:56 a.m.

    The best evidence of the BOM is the gradual but undeniable change its narrative can occassionaly have on an individuals heart and spirit. Such personal changes do not require supporting evidence, and never have so required.

    Seeking after scientific proof to support ones belief in the BOM is a mystifying endeavor. Why does Michael Ash expend such energy on this? Is it to aid in missionary work? Is it to authoritatively respond to critics of the historicity of the BOM? Is it to shore up Michael Ashs own faltering faith in the record? The Savior soundly criticized we who seek after signs. Sign-seekers may receive signs, but not unto salvation. It seems to me that Ash is in effect seeking signs for whatever purpose.

    I suspect Ash is in the midst of his own personal struggle with the historicity of the BOM, and is trying to address it with a wild goose chase for hard scientific evidence of the book. My advice to Ash is to just let it go.

  • Michael_M Scottsbluff, NE
    May 2, 2011 9:32 a.m.

    To avoid "na√Įve assumptions about what archaeology can and cant tell us about the early inhabitants of ancient America", people should read this: Three Basic Principles of Archaeological Research by Garrett G. Fagan. It can be found online. Here is a quote from it:

    "Archaeologists and historians will always support the evidence over speculation -- to do otherwise is to close the door on history and open the door on myth."

    People are too easily taken in by pseudoarchaeology and apologists should not to be trusted.

    Ask yourself this: Archaeology and DNA studies show that there was no Biblical flood in America. Science shows that humans have lived in the Americas without interruption for more than 10,000 years.

    The apologists are now trying to establish the belief of a small group of Israelites beginning about AD 600, living among these "pre-adamites". Such delusions are highly offensive to many of America's indigenous people, particularly those that apologists might tell us are non-BofM people.