Comments about ‘Challenging Issues, Keeping the Faith: Many interconnected pieces of evidence support the Book of Mormon’

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Published: Monday, May 30 2011 5:00 a.m. MDT

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Full-on double rainbow
Bluffdale, UT

"How sad it would be to reject the restored gospel because of secular finds that could be proven invalid or false in the future."

Conversely, how sad it would be to spend your whole life in an untrue religion based on unproveable claims. No, that's a little harsh. It's not sad to spend your whole life in an untrue religion. People have been happy to do it for quite some time now. Tell you what Mike, get back to me when there is any convincing evidence and we'll take it from there.

Ogden, UT

Another excellent article, Michael.

However, logic will hardly (if ever) convince the dyed in the wool critic who will always erroneously claim that his/her approach is scientific.

Book of Mormon apologist writers along with critics do not utilize a scientific method.

However, apologists do not claim to do so; instead, they strive to gather information.

Scientists admit that they "prove" nothing, the most they do is to "test data, which appears to lend a bit of evidence in support of or against a theory."

Critics gather no data, test no hypotheses; they just spout opinions.

Richmond, VA

My parents were converts to the LDS faith mainly because they accepted and believed the BoM to be true. As a result of their conversion, all of us their children also read and prayed about the book and received testimonies for ourselves that it's truly the word of God. We simply didn't just follow them blindly. Like millions of others who have read and testified of it's truths, our witness is born of faith, not based on the discovery of any physical evidences or lack of it. A witness obtain through faith coupled with honest and sincere prayer is more than enough proof for us to accept and believe.

Provo, UT

Again, I ask: What are Michael Ash's credentials? Has he obtained a peer-reviewed level of expertise in anything valid relating to antiquities in either the so-called "old world" or the "new world"? Is he recognized as an authority on any subject related to the claims he is making about evidence (e.g., philosophy of science), or archeology, or anthropology, or ancient languages? Upon what basis can we trust that Ash has not engaged in cherry-picking, but instead has the depth and breadth of expertise, as well as the ethical commitment that comes with a credentialed level of knowledge in one of these areas, that gives us reason to believe he is treating the subject objectively and accurately?

Provo, Ut

I think Ash is trying to filibuster!

Lehi, UT

I always agree with big Samoans ; ), and I agree with Mike, again.

There is now an abundance of undeniable evidence for the miraculous nature of the BoM, but I would never base my testimony on it.

More blessed are those who have believed without seeing.

Science is fickle and ever changing, by nature. It can never lead anyone to Christ. Our weekly critics (fulltime anti-Mormons, critics posing as LDS etc) have been given many evidences which they can't explain, hard as they try. They have also been answered week after week after week. They ask, and are given, but they do not receive, for they don't seek, and thus don't find. Those who won't recognize and follow the Spirit won't believe, even if many were to come from the dead and testify, even if the plates were seen or returned, even if Jesus were to walk the earth, even if people were raised from the dead (and that has happened in the Latter Day, from faith in Christ who is taught in the Bible and BoM)...

The Spirit of God leads to all truth.
The spirit of darkness leads to the full, broad path

Phoenix, AZ

As Mr. Ash states there is dearth of secular evidence of proof to support the Book of Mormon as true history. However, if it is truth that Mr. Ash seeks then perhaps it will help to search the other probability of the Book of Mormon being an inspirational religious work of fiction. There is a plethora of evidence to support this probability. Much of the evidence has been presented by posters on this site: View of the Hebrews, Vern Holley Map, entheogens, the many changes and editings of the story and book, DNA, the inconsistance of the First Vision, eyewitness and testimonies against Joseph Smith and his claims. It seems defending the Book of Mormon has become more of a political issue than a religious search for god and truth. Is it not usually (if not always) best to know the truth, isn't truth closer to god.

Weston Jurney
West Jordan, UT

These have been fascinating columns, and I hope they continue. I have to say that I wish the DesNews would find a way to make them findable. Some weeks they're among the headlines, some weeks they aren't. Even searching for the author often fails to turn up his columns. And this week, clicking on the links in the column is taking readers to (of all ridiculous things) articles about the 1988 presidential election.

Florissant, MO

I had proven that the writings in the Book of Mormon and everything about it were factual years ago. I prove it again and again as I read it. I do enjoy reading these findings and yet it doesn't change my view at all. I also would not use them to try to convince someone else that everything is true, cause they need to know that truth, through reading and praying. I believe that people can intellectualize themselves into believing and not believing. Findings and information that support the truth of the Book of Mormon are like using Photoshop on your photo. The photo is there and it is real and you took it, but the program helps to enhance it. But the photo is the core or foundation, before it is enhanced.

Boise, ID

Even if a sign was uncovered, sealed underneath a million ton mountain with BoM names in English - with pictures - the naysayers would not be happy. For them it is about attacking the Church not discovering new truths.

Scottsdale, AZ

I will repeat my position that the best evidence against the BoM is just to read the book itself. No one who is acquainted with the KJV and has a proper understanding of how inspiration works will accept the BoM as an authentic work. Indeed, no one outside of the multiple Mormon denominations accepts the BoM as a genuine historical document, let alone as divinely inspired. The plagiarism, anachronism, and 19th century similarities present unassailable evidence for the book's inauthenticity. Furthermore, I have also received convincing personal testimony from the Holy Spirit that the LDS Church is a false church. The combination of biblical, rational, and existential arguments like these makes for an extremely strong case against the BoM.

Idaho Coug
Meridian, Idaho

I have greatly appreciated Mike's efforts and the very interesting insights of believers, critics and even those faking to be LDS (that one was for you JM :))
I have added my honest thoughts as I have come from a place of both love for the Church and frustration/uncertainty as a lifelong member of the Church.

But now it is time to take up the Book of Mormon's challenge again. I wanted to do this a few months ago but I begin today with an honest and sincere reading, study and prayer. I believe that if the Book of Mormon is the word of God, the spirit will clearly make that known to me.

I have read the book multiple times as an excited youth believing the testimonies of the adults I respected and loved. But now, I will read it again with an open, adult mind, with no preconceived notions of truthfullness or lack thereof. There are evidences both for and against it's truthfullness. I will set those aside and simply believe that if it is true - the spirit will make that very clear to me.

Thanks again to everyone for their insights.

Brigham City, UT

How many LDS believe the Book of Mormon? That is my question. Some verses make us uncomfortable. Take Alma 26:22 for instance. He that has faith, repents, does good works, prays continually without ceasing.....will be able to stand at the pulpit and reveal things which have never been revealed....and it goes on to say you will be great at missionary work and bring many to the truth. Some may mistakenly think that only a select few in the church can reveal new things; not so--- according to this verse. Yes, sharing a personal experience may be what the verse refers to in revealing things which have never been revealed. And part of me, also, thinks--- Pres. Packer (and maybe one or two others) may be the only one in the church who believes this verse. Imagine if every talk or prayer you heard was something new. We would always be learning, as we should. So my question is: if people don't dare teach new things, does it mean they don't have faith, repentance, good works nor do they pray without ceasing?

Temple City, CA

@ skeptic: Have you ever read Hugh Nibley's satirical book review called "How to Write an Anti-Mormon Book"? It's very insightful and very funny, and you have managed to illustrate in your post some of the very steps that Nibley cites as commonly used by anti-Mormons. You use suppositions ("if it is true..."), you make a long list of supposed evidences (all of which are scattered over about two years of archives), and you name evidence that is difficult to look up. Of course, in your suggested search for truth, you haven't recommended that refutations that accompanied the "plethora or evidence" you name.

@ brokenclay: You make the astounding claim that "No one who is acquainted with the KJV and has a proper understanding of how inspiration works will accept the BoM as an authentic work." Since I know the KJV quite well, the only hope you would have is that I don't have a proper understanding of how inspiration works. I know that I have received inspiration, but I don't know everything about it. Is it your contention that any inspiration that declares the Book of Mormon true to be improperly understood?

Sugar City, ID

Concerning the interconnected pieces of evidence, I would like to encourage the reader to Google and read Jacques Cartiers second voyage to the area know today as Montreal, Canada about his visit with the natives in the Towne of Hochelaga.

Provo, Ut

Yes Jeff - another Gem from Mr. Nibley. I am amazed at the mans propensities for languages, but I have never been impressed with anything he has written. I encourage everybody here to read Nibley's list. Point #07 caught my attention as being telling. Therein Nibley points out that it is a common tactic of "anti-Mormons" to defend their arguments using supporting documentation. Additionally, those clever deviants also provide comprehensive footnotes in their literature. Thank you Doctor Nibley for exposing those tactics!

In a serious note, everyone of those points could be applied to Mormon apologists. Frankly, about every single one of those points could be argued of anyone who engages in rhetorical writing on nearly any subject in the world. Why not include as a parameter, that Anti-Mormons also spend some of their time reading??? The list is as laughably absurd as his other challenge as how to reproduce The Book of Mormon.

Please, I suggest everyone follow Jeff's advice and look up Nibley's short list.

Phoenix, AZ

%Jeff, Thank you for your attention. But I am not "anti-Mormon". I am not "anti" any believe or action that produces good works. I do have a problem with, (and I guess in that respect I am "anti"), knowers: or people who think they know and that they are special, different, know god's mind and think they know it is god's will for them to impose their religion or believes onto others. This is the same for Mormons, JW, Muslims, the Koran, BofM, BA, etc. I have no problem with you or Mr. Ash explaining how the Book of Mormon is a good thing that can change one's life for the better, etc. I think that that is a good heart and service. But when you start telling others that the Book of Mormon is real history and you know it to be true, ( I have no problem with those who say they believe and recognize it as good), then I believe these are dangerous people, if they be Mormon, Muslim, tyrants, etc. They are the enemies of good that have caused so much of the world's suffering and wars.

Temple City, CA

@ Mormoncowboy: You seemed to have missed the point in Nibley's #7. He says that anti-Mormons claim to provide documentation; they call it documentation; they boast about their documentation; but it's not documentation at all (in the early days, it was illustration; later, it became phots; still later it became unsubstantiated footnotes). Their "comprehensive footnotes," when followed up on, are vacuous and often false. Are you giving an example?

By the way, your beginning salley (how you admire Nibley's use of language) is described in his #5.

@ skeptic: I don't understand your post. You begin by saying you are not "anti," then you admit that you are "anti" those who say and do the things Mormons say and do, which would make you --what?-- "pro-non-believing-Mormon" but "anti-believing-Mormon"?

The proclamation that believing Mormons are dangerous was used by anti-Mormons to kill believing Mormons in the past.

You believe I am dangerous because I am certain that God lives, that Jesus is the Christ, that the Book of Mormon is true, that the Church is true, that Joseph Smith was a prophet?

Salt Lake City, UT

You know, I think the main issue is that it looks like one takes the assumption that the Book of Mormon is true and then starts looking for things that fit into it. I have to ask... if we didn't have the book of mormon then would any of these things that are found lead people to think something along the lines of the book of mormon events is what happened?

Provo, Ut

Before I mentioned Nibley's language skills I considered that you (or someone) may take note of point #05 - pretended love/concern for Mormons - and label me guilty. Perhaps, but considering Nibley's place in Mormon apologetics as one of the vaunted academians, I would have been otherwise challenged with bias for failing to recognize his recognized acumen. So I guess it's a catch 22 - but you still miss the absurdity of the whole point. Noting that many critics express love for the Mormon (btw - this class of critic is generally among the religious "Anti" - so who say's they are not as equally invested in the salvation of you as you claim to be in them?) proves what? What fatal flaw does this expose? You will argue that those claiming concern are not sincere, and yet you are in no greater position to judge that of them then they are of you - you anticipated personal observations and "experiences" notwithstanding. It would be highly disingenuous of you to claim that Mormons have cornered the market on sincerity.

Lastly, I can't speak to every document ever produced, but the JoD and HoC provide more than enough legitimate documentation.

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