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Challenging Issues, Keeping the Faith: Challenging Issues, Keeping the Faith: A better methodology

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  • aaazzz Murray, UT
    Sept. 2, 2011 1:44 p.m.

    It looks like Mike has given up on these articles.

    @The Vanka,

    I guess I see a diference in beliving in an organization that asks its members to have values, and just being a racist. I am sure you can be mormon and a racist, but you can also be mormon, and not be a rasict as well.

    Having spent time in combat, I feel like belief in God is an excuse, rather than a cause, for commiting these horrible acts.

  • The Vanka Provo, UT
    June 13, 2011 12:25 p.m.

    aaazzz,

    Why is it not "fair" to criticize someone for their beliefs?

    Some people "believe" that blacks are an inferior race because they were "fence-sitters" in the pre-existence. That horribly racist belief should be criticized.

    Some people "believe" some invisible man in the sky (who gave them permission to take children as wives) tells them to take over the world through any means necessary, including terrorism and violence against noncombatants. That horrible belief deserves to be criticized.

    Some people believe that beliefs are above criticism. That belief MUST be criticized!

  • aaazzz Murray, UT
    June 13, 2011 9:18 a.m.

    @Joggle
    It looks like you are just trying to pick a fight with Allen. I don't have any problem with pointing problems with the logic that Mr. Ash uses, but it is not fair to critize someone for their beliefs.

  • Joggle Clearfield, UT
    June 10, 2011 9:26 p.m.

    @Allen

    I actually did note what you really said, but nonetheless I think it applies because reason and logic seem to be thrown out the window when faith is favored....for whatever reason....and there are many....but mostly to fill a need. I appreciate your "live and let live" attitude as reflected in your post, but many of your brethern and church authorities do not reflect the same tolerance and "to each there own" spirit. It's one thing to believe what you want personally, but religions and churches are in money making power positions that promote faith over reason and logic. We understand your religion more than you realize intellectually, but you fail to see the reason and logic that's missing from it. The HG can be explained as something other than what you think it is....in short....a product of your religious mind.

    Reality exists on it's own without any need to be believed in. When you believe on faith, you reprogram your mind to accept information that can be_false. If there was a real God or Holy Ghost influencing people, then the message from this single source would be consistent. It isn't!

  • Allen Salt Lake valley, UT
    June 10, 2011 8:20 p.m.

    Hi Joggle,

    This is my last comment for this week.

    "Thank you for your admission that the LDS Church can't support its doctrine and history with logic and reason!"

    I didn't say that the LDS Church can't support its doctrine and history with logic and reason. What I did say is that "we [LDS members] can't convert anyone through our logic and reasoning." Through discussions, we can help others understand our beliefs, and those discussions might cause others to intellectually agree with us, but such agreements don't necessarily lead to conversion.

    To LDS, conversion is a spiritual process in which a person is influenced by the Holy Ghost to believe. We give our testimonies about knowing the church is true, not to try to convince people, but to open the door for the Holy Ghost to influence the person, if he [Holy Ghost] chooses to do so. From our viewpoint, this is why some people read the BoM and pray about it and nothing happens. They read and pray, but the HG doesn't come upon them. Moroni 10:4-5 in the BoM explains that spiritual truth comes via the HG.

  • Joggle Clearfield, UT
    June 10, 2011 7:21 p.m.

    @Allen

    Thank you for your admission that the LDS Church can't support its doctrine and history with logic and reason!

    Really....in my opinion nobody is purposely tearing down anybody here. We just disagree with the religion. Yes, we repeat ourselves! Yes, we have strong opinions. I repeat myself. You know why? It's because I would like to see a reasonable argument based on reason and logic for LDS claims. I guess that's too much too expect though. Otherwise....you see...(contrary to the belief of some) we don't have an organization to try to convert people....so our disagreement is nothing compared to the LDS public relations machine. Everybody is welcome to believe what they want, but....I for one don't believe religious beliefs should go unchallenged with.....reason and logic!

  • Allen Salt Lake valley, UT
    June 10, 2011 4:25 p.m.

    Vanka,

    My previous posts don't directly deal with the posts by Ash, but they do apply to the efforts of some who comment on Ash's articles who seem to be on crusades to tear down the faith of LDS. Those comments say the same thing week after week, even though the topics of Ash's articles change. My posts also apply to comments from some active LDS who seem to be on crusades to convert others to their belief-system. We LDS can be examples of our faith. We can explain why we believe the way we do. But, we can't convert anyone through our logic and reasoning.

  • Vanka Provo, UT
    June 10, 2011 10:44 a.m.

    Allen,

    What does any of that have to do with evidences of the Book of Mormon?

    If you want to talk to your therapist, go get an appointment. But we aren't your therapist.

  • Michael_M Scottsbluff, NE
    June 10, 2011 5:11 a.m.

    A couple of things I noticed in this article:

    "Given the likely assimilation of the Nephites into New World cultures..."

    "a superior methodology is to look for Mesoamerica in the Book of Mormon.

    The apologists pretty much say that LDS leaders have been wrong about all of the ancient people of America being BofM people. The New World cultures were from the "others". Seems to me that this lowers the position of America's indigenous people even more than when they were from the subordinate tribe of Manasseh.

    How about a reality check? Maybe read the Guatemala Truth Commission Report on the genocide of the Mayan people. While their history and culture has been highjacked for BofM cruise tours and apologists write things like this article, does anyone care about the real people?

    What about looking for Mesoamerica in the BofM? How do you know what to look for? What the apologists say is there?

    Why not learn about the real people and their story without the BofM delusion. Here is a starter:

    A Brief History of Piedras Negras as Told by the Ancient Maya, History Revealed in Maya Glyphs, published by the Aid and Education Project, Inc.

  • Allen Salt Lake valley, UT
    June 9, 2011 10:22 p.m.

    I have chosen the LDS church as my belief-system. I'm comfortable with the doctrine and history of the LDS church. If I meet people who aren't comfortable with their lives, I'm happy to explain about the LDS church. Some of them may feel comfortable with the LDS church and decide to join that church. Other of them may not feel comfortable with the LDS church and decide to look elsewhere for a way of life that will satisfy them. I'm not interested in trying to convert people by "proving" their life-style is wrong.

    Keep in mind that I haven't said anything about finding truth. I understand that not all life-styles can be true if those life-styles conflict with each other. At this point in my life (I'm 75 and probably will be dead within a few years), I'm concerned about the quality of my life -- I don't want to waste my life. When I'm on my death bed, I want to be able to look back on my life and say, "I had a good life. I'm happy with how it all turned out".

  • Allen Salt Lake valley, UT
    June 9, 2011 10:05 p.m.

    I thought I'd give a suggestion for consideration. We're born into mortality. At some point, we will die. It's important that during the time we are living, we each find a way of life that is satisfying to us. If a person finds satisfaction in a spiritual approach to truth, that is fine! If another person finds satisfaction in a scientific approach to truth, that is fine! If one person's belief-system involves thinking his or her church is the only true church, that is fine! If another person's belief-system says that all churches are true, that is fine! And, if another person's belief-system says that no churches are true because there is no God, that is fine!

    We each have our life to live, and then we die. It's important that we each find a belief-system that brings satisfaction to us. I don't expect your belief-system to be the same as mine. We're different persons.

  • Searching . . . Orem, UT
    June 9, 2011 5:14 p.m.

    Jeff,

    The existence of a brain receptor for spiritual experiences is still being debated, but I can go along with your proposition. Your argument for the receptors may actually build on Joggle's points rather than counter them. Having the receptor doesn't negate the experience, but it also doesn't confirm it. Each of the sensory receptors, or the brain's interpretation of their signals, can be fooled in a variety of ways. Magicians commonly fool visual receptors, for example. Touch can be numbed through cold or anesthetics. Disorders such as schizophrenia fool these receptors in all manner of hallucinations.

    Peeking behind the magician's curtain or observing what a schizophrenic describes are ways of determining the reality of an event. A spiritual receptor does not have this advantage. We can't touch what the observer is touching or follow their gaze. We are left to judge their description. It isn't whether the spiritual receptor is connected to God, a shared sense of community, or an amplification of loving feelings. Believe in it as you will, but it isn't a proof.

  • Jeff Temple City, CA
    June 9, 2011 4:13 p.m.

    This is my 4th post. Sorry I won't be able to answer everything in detail.

    @dalep2u: Nephi and Noah are separate questions; the question of how much detail in an inspired book may be universally true or regionally true is another separate and long question. Your suppositions show some inaccuracy: the ark was 300 cubits (about 450 feet) long, making it half again as long as a football field.

    @ Joggle: You suggest that spiritual confirmation can be refuted, then you proceed to try to refute things that wouldn't be spiritual confirmation. Of course, there is a place in the brain that registers spiritual experiences; there are places for visual, auditory, olfactory, and other experiences; the presence of a receptor in the brain doesn't negate the experience.

    Of course all religions can't be true. Either one or none is true; there is no other logical possibility. That would mean that either one religion will come accompanied by spiritual confirmation, or no religions. The possibility that the answer may be no religion does not negate the one religion; and the refutability of experiences in false religions (or the presence of true experiences) affects nothing. God is irrefutable.

  • Searching . . . Orem, UT
    June 9, 2011 4:00 p.m.

    Mr. Vader,

    With all due respect, you may count me among those critics who have tried "to prove their own beliefs about the Church wrong." As a former believer, I attempted to prove the church and was unfortunately successful. It would be much more convenient for my current situation had that not been the case. As a critic, I often slip back into the believer's mindset to test the veracity of certain concepts presented to me. At times, these concepts prove valid, at others they are proven wanting in logic. As a whole, there is too little correlation between doctrine and logic for me to believe the Church to be the God-sanctioned organization that its members claim. I hope you don't get too hung up over this. I believe that it is should be the goal of all people to search for truth in the most valid and efficacious process possible.

    Best regards,

    Searching . . .

  • Joggle Clearfield, UT
    June 9, 2011 2:53 p.m.

    Once again, I would like to point out that "spiritual confirmation" CAN BE REFUTED!

    We tend to believe things we want be be true. Psychology research indicates that people tend to interpret ambiguous information and experiences in a way that benefits their interests and beliefs. They cant all be right! We may hold such beliefs partly because we want to hold them, and in such cases we should be all-the-more-ready to question them, but many don't. They just accept their preferred explanation over the possibility that their explanation could be wrong. Your feelings are real you may feel them so strongly, in fact, that youre certain theyre true. Knowing is a state of mind. When we know something is true, we feel with great certainty that its true. But the act of knowing does not itself make anything true: our mental states represent the world, they dont control it. A belief that is strongly feltor even known....can be false. Our feelings themselves are real, but the reality they point to may not be. A strong feeling that something is true doesnt make it true.

  • Fred Vader Oklahoma City, OK
    June 9, 2011 12:55 p.m.

    Zack,

    Are you saying that some critics apply the scientific method to their beliefs regarding the Church? This would mean that they sincerely try to prove their own beliefs about the Church wrong. Clearly Vanka and Sharrona don't subscribe to this form of criticism, nor do you as demonstrated by your posts. Can you provide me an example of a critic who does? If you find a legitimate example of a critic using the scientific method in criticizing the Church, I'll have to acknowledge that I overgeneralized. If you can't find such an example, I wouldn't get too hung up on it. I don't think it's the role of a critic to seek to prove the Church or its claims correct.

    Best regards,

    Fred

  • dalep2u Herriman, UT
    June 9, 2011 12:20 p.m.

    If a book from "God" contains many truthful items yet also contains items that can be be proven to be wrong...then how do you know what to trust and what not to trust? Do you trust that Nephi came across the ocean in a boat? Do you trust that Noah brought EVERY LIVING THING (I know..I had to go back and read the specific scripture myself...) on a boat that was smaller than the length of a football field?

    What do you trust? As such...what are you basing your belief in? A truth or a lie? How do you know?

    Sorry...but Praying isn't going to answer the Noah question... :-)

  • RLO HOL Holladay, UT
    June 9, 2011 10:01 a.m.

    . . . we begin by assuming it is true . . .

    and Hugh Nibley is revered by members as some sort of learned thinker!

    what a strange world (state) we live in.

  • Zack Tacorin Salt Lake City, UT
    June 9, 2011 7:40 a.m.

    Fred Vader,

    Are you saying that some apologists apply the scientific method to their beliefs regarding their Church? This would mean that they sincerely try to prove their beliefs wrong. Clearly Ash and John Lynch (who I quoted above) don't subscribe to this form of apologetics, nor did Nibley as demonstrated in the work Ash cites. Can you provide me an example of an apologists who does? If you find a legitimate example of an apologist using the scientific method in defending the Church, I'll have to acknowledge that I overgeneralized. If you can't find such an example, I wouldn't get too hung up on it. I don't think it's the role of an apologist to seek to prove the Church or it's claims wrong.

    Best wishes,

    Zack

  • raybies Layton, UT
    June 9, 2011 6:35 a.m.

    The other day I taught a Gospel Doctrine lesson on Hypocrites. At first, I used a scholarly article on the topic. It talked about ancient Hebrew, and Greek meanings of the words. I found the details fascinating--but I fretted about the lesson I would give. Then I actually opened the New Testament and read the words of Christ. Immediately I had dozens of insights enter my mind as to how I could apply the words I read. It was like night and day to my spirit. I kicked myself for spending a majority of time reading "experts" and "academics" who speculated on the deeper meanings and evidences of the words therein.

    Likewise the Book of Mormon is scripture. I find its pages packed with spiritual insights that no amount of treasure hunting or ancient languages expertise can do justice. Ponder it. Read it. The insights I've gained in doing so have been more valuable to me on a personal spiritual level than any other scripture. I am grateful God designed it this way. The lack of academic distraction focuses the spirit on the message--that Jesus is the Christ. That truth is enough convincing for me.

  • Jeff Temple City, CA
    June 8, 2011 11:04 p.m.

    Once again, I would like to point out that most of us who believe in the Book of Mormon approach from the point of view of having had a spiritual experience that confirms the truth of the book to us. Having had that experience, all other proofs or supposed disproofs of the book are completely inconsequential. We are generally not looking to confirm or disqualify our belief, having previously received a confirmation that is (as I have noted before) irrefutable.

    The purpose of exercises like Michael Ash's are 1, to help those struggling in the faith to the point that they will seek and receive the personal revelation that they are qualified for; and 2, to clarify or elucidate what the rest of us may or may not see in the inspired text.

    Critics seem to want to ask us the constantly reconsider the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon, then accuse us of closed mindedness, fallacious thinking, and unscientific (!) approaches to what should be a spiritual thing.

    Long before I spiritually knew the Book of Mormon was true, I steeped myself in critical writing against it. I don't need to revisit all that. Been there.

  • Michael_M Scottsbluff, NE
    June 8, 2011 3:45 p.m.

    The Bauman Reader by Peter Beilharz, pages 125 and 126 gives a good rundown on Blass in Chapter 5 on Hermeneutics and Critical Theory. Texts and documents of Christianity were being questioned. The Protestant movement of the sixteenth century caused hermeneutics to become even more important. The authenticity of documents and questions over forgeries was being applied to Christian sources dating back to the first century.

    Nibley's approach seems like a circular argument. We do not have the gold plates. Blass recommends to not assume forgery, but how do we ignore the Anthon manuscript forgery made by Hoffman? Is it valid to apply Blass's test to the the BofM itself? Is is sound reasoning to assume the BofM is what it states it is? A collection of writings from ancient documents that were engraved in metal but that we do not have? All we really have is the 19th century documents associated with Joseph Smith and the early leaders of Mormonism. This is a different different matter than that faced by Christianity in the 16th century over the Protestant movement.

    I am not convinced that the Blass test is appropriate concerning the BofM.

  • RLO Holladay, UT
    June 8, 2011 3:15 p.m.

    hah! this is beyond the pale. just an embarrassment to real scholars

  • Fred Vader Oklahoma City, OK
    June 8, 2011 1:43 p.m.

    @Zack:

    If you agree with Weber's sentence, but you think my sentence is "overgeneralized", then I don't think you know what "overgeneralized" means, and you missed the point of my post.

    If Weber State Grad's "overgeneralization" of Apologists is right, then the same "overgeneralization" applies to Critics as well.

  • Fred Vader Oklahoma City, OK
    June 8, 2011 1:33 p.m.

    @Zack:

    If you agree with Weber's sentence, but you think my sentence is "overgeneralized", then I don't think you know what "overgeneralized" means, and you missed the point of my post.

    If Weber State Grad's "overgeneralization" of Apologists is right, then the same "overgeneralization" applies to Critics as well.

  • Zack Tacorin Salt Lake City, UT
    June 8, 2011 12:16 p.m.

    Fred Vader wrote at 9:56 a.m. June 8, 2011, "Weber State Grad said, Apologists work to sustain a rigid premise of belief rather than objectively weighing ALL the evidence, ultimately arriving at the same initial premise in perpetuity...thats how it contradicts the scientific method."

    "You could just as easily substitute critics for apologists in this sentence as well, and it would be equally true."

    Considering that many of the LDS Church's critics were once testimony-bearing members (as I once was), you have overgeneralized the position of the critics. But regarding apologists, I think Weber State Grad is right. Please read what John Lynch (then Chair of the Board of Directors of the Foundation for Apologetic Information & Research) said.

    "I would always reassure them that an answer exists, whether you know it or not because as Bob pointed out yesterday, the Church is true so therefore the Salamander Letter has to be false. So there will be an answer. We may not have it right now, but we will find it."
    (John Lynch, Foundation for Apologetic Information & Research Conference, 7 August 2009)

    I'm sure other apologists agree. Ash seems to.

  • ? Fort Knox, KY
    June 8, 2011 12:03 p.m.

    With the scientific method do you always have to find ways to prove a hypothesis as false rather find ways that the hypothesis could be true in or order to find out whether the hypothesis is true or not?

    What is wrong with starting with the belief that something is true and finding things that support that belief? Others might say, what is wrong with starting with the belief that something is false? I think each will find what they are looking for according to their belief.

    For many who believe the Book of Mormon is true and everything else that goes with it, they have been able to go to the source of all truth and receive a witness personal to them that these things are true.

    "Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name [Jesus Christ], which is right, believing that ye shall receive, behold it shall be given unto you." (3 Nephi 18:20)

  • Andrew Ainsworth IRVINE, CA
    June 8, 2011 12:03 p.m.

    Ash should be embarrassed for advocating the most intellectually disingenuous methodology imaginable for evaluating whether a text is ancient. Ash starts by setting up a false dichotomy with two bad options and says we must choose one or the other: assume authenticity, or assume fraud. (We should assume neither.) Ash then makes a "two wrongs make a right" argument by saying we should assume authenticity because it's no less biased than assuming fraud. The problem is that when you assume a purported ancient text is authentic, you put an impossible burden on critics by requiring them to prove a negative. Nobody can prove that a band of ancient Israelites did not migrate to Japan, and nobody can prove that a band of ancient Israelites did not migrate to the Americas. Ash fails to point out that we could prove a positive--that Israelites did immigrate to Japan or America--by finding archaeological evidence it. However, Ash knows we don't have archaeological evidence of either migration. Yet under Ash's "better methodology" we must assume that any purported ancient book about Israelites in Japan (or America) is true until someone accomplishes the impossible by proving a negative.

  • KC Mormon Edgerton, KS
    June 8, 2011 11:28 a.m.

    sharrona
    The problem is less with the Greek than yours and those who only use modern translations of the Bible understanding of English. If you go to a dictionary you will find that the words you say are translated wrong are infact translated correctly people today just do not understand the many meanings of most words. What infact the modern translations have done is simply use more common words from todays language for fords people are to lazzy to look up to understand. As for Joseph plagerizing the line what you are then saying is that no other language other tha n Greeke can have that same thought. There you fail.
    As for the claim that I only addressed one minor claim by others last week I addressed 13 others If I were to addresses these same claims every week you would still not get the point that all the web calims mislead people trying to make things look like Joseph Smith copied full passiages from the Bible and the truth that is because they know people are too lazy to actualy take the time to look at them side by side and will just take their word.

  • Enola BOUNTIFUL, UT
    June 8, 2011 10:49 a.m.

    Okay, so let's proceed with Ash's hypothesis. Starting with the idea that the book was written by ancient authors, the next step is to attempt to falsify that hypothesis. Something tells me we won't see Ash moving on to that step.

    The problem with that hypothesis is that it isn't even what the book claims to be. It is not the writings of ancients, but Joseph's claimed interpretation of the writings of ancients. That makes Ash's hypothesis meaningless.

    E.g. If a critic points out an anachronism in the Book that falsifies the hypothesis, then the answer of the apologist is that the translation is in Joseph's own words, so the anachronism is not problematic. (Ash has used this exact defense before in these articles.) However, such a position makes the supposedly falsifiable hypothesis to be completely without use. Ash is practicing poor science if it can be called science at all.

  • sharrona layton, UT
    June 8, 2011 10:11 a.m.

    Bill in Nebraska, You misunderstood my comment, LORD(all capitals) is the KJV O.T. reference to the Hebrew word YHWH or Jehovah. Lord is reference to adonai(sir master).
    JST makes a significant doctrinal by failing to understand and differentiate the Hebrew words in the text in Genesis JST(Moses). Examples: and the LORD(YHWH *,3068)God(Elohim, singular*430) called unto Adam(Genesis 3:9 KJV);the LORD(YHWH)God (Elohim ,singular 430)make coats of skins(Genesis 3:21 KJV).. Google Strongs concordance Hebrew (# 430௼)

    God saves,Jesus saves= Jesus is God. Does the Bible contradict Mormonism? "the love of God because he laid down his life for us(1John 3:16 KJV).Jesus said to Peterfor flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my father which is in heaven(Mt 16:17 KJV)

    I was not referring to the Septuagint, Greek O.T. though the Septuagint was the (real)Apostles Bible, though JS uses many Greek words in Genesis.

    (JS) I completed the translation and review of the N.T. on the 2nd of February, 1833(HofC v.1 p.324,1833).

  • Zack Tacorin Salt Lake City, UT
    June 8, 2011 10:00 a.m.

    Jeff at 9:48 p.m. June 7, 2011 said, "Some scholars are reportedly beginning to believe that the book is an ancient book".

    I'm very curious about these scholars. Can you point us to their claims to believe the book is an ancient work?

    MormonCowboy - Good point on the belief vs. hypothesis testing. Ash certainly is not promoting the scientific method to discover the truth about the Book of Mormon. He seems to be saying to, "just accept it as true, and you will discover it's truth, and don't worry about this idea of confirmation bias."

    Weber State Grad - I agree completely.

  • aaazzz Murray, UT
    June 8, 2011 9:56 a.m.

    The golden plates were not used in the translation of the Book of Mormon. Joseph didn't know the language anyways, so the Lord sent the test directly into his mind. He then game the text to the scribe, occasionaly giving spellings for proper nouns. I am not sure if the plates had to be in the room where the translation was taking place or not. This process has been documented many places, inclunig books that have been sold at Deseret Book. In other words, any am not making a statemnets about the Book of Mormon being true or false. I am just describing how it was translated.

    I hope this inspires other to learn first, and debate later.

  • Fred Vader Oklahoma City, OK
    June 8, 2011 9:56 a.m.

    Mormoncowboy said, then I assume that the Kinderhook Plates must be real ancient documents (make no mistake, Joseph Smith did "translate" them)

    No he didnt.

    Brokenclay said, It is also curious that one claims a corruption whenever there is a contradiction to be found. And all of this is apart from real manuscript evidence. Isn't this rather circular? Evangelicals have virtually nothing spiritually in common with the person who would do such things to the Bible.

    Then you had better warn Sharrona that he/she isnt an Evangelical, because he/she is constantly pointing out the corruption in the KJV in comparison to his/her beloved Greek versions. He/she must not be a real "Christian" either, right Brokenclay?

    Weber State Grad said, Apologists work to sustain a rigid premise of belief rather than objectively weighing ALL the evidence, ultimately arriving at the same initial premise in perpetuity...thats how it contradicts the scientific method.

    You could just as easily substitute critics for apologists in this sentence as well, and it would be equally true.

  • Weber State Graduate Clearfield, UT
    June 8, 2011 8:57 a.m.

    Zack:

    Apologists dont use the scientific method...that's my point. They begin by assuming a hypothesis is correct and then look for evidence to support their initial premise rather than devising experiments that might falsify the hypothesis. Whatss worse, many casually and unethically disregard any evidence to the contrary that might bring the original hypothesis into question...that's intellectual dishonesty.

    Jeff pointed out such fallacious reasoning perfectly when he posits that the Book of Mormon "really isnt" provably false. Jeff is correct to some degree in that nothing is really "provably false," but to take that rigid position in hypothesis testing removes any objective opportunity to even entertain any evidence that might falsify the hypothesis.

    Mormoncowboy delineates the difference between apologetics and the scientific method clearly by pointing out "hypothesis testing and belief are two different things."

    Apologists work to sustain a rigid premise of belief rather than objectively weighing ALL the evidence, ultimately arriving at the same initial premise in perpetuity...thats how it contradicts the scientific method.

  • brokenclay Scottsdale, AZ
    June 8, 2011 8:43 a.m.

    Bill --

    It has always been a curious thing to me that a religion must denigrate one of its Scripture books (the Bible) in order to elevate another (the BoM), like the LDS Church does. When the LDS Church does this, the implication is that the Bible as it is (apart from JSTs) actually does contradict Mormon doctrine. Otherwise, why pick the Bible apart on its transmission (and even in its original writing!)? It is also curious that one claims a corruption whenever there is a contradiction to be found. And all of this is apart from real manuscript evidence. Isn't this rather circular?

    Mormons keep saying they have a lot in common with evangelicals, but then they turn around and parrot the arguments of Muslims, atheists, and liberal Christian theologians which denigrate the integrity of the Bible. Evangelicals have virtually nothing spiritually in common with the person who would do such things to the Bible.

    The NT was written originally in Greek. Matthew may have been originally written in Aramaic, but that is somewhat speculative. None of the NT was written in Hebrew. How are the Gospels written AFTER the death of the Gospels' original authors? Confused.

  • ? Fort Knox, KY
    June 8, 2011 8:27 a.m.

    As I've said before, my ability to believe is a gift. I've been blessed to be able to recognize when my prayers are being answered. I know Heavenly Father hears and answers prayers. As I understand things, to be able to know for oneself that the church, the scriptures (Bible and Book of Mormon), and the words of prophets and apostles both ancient and modern are true is that it all begins with faith.

    "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God . . . but let him ask in faith, nothing wavering." (James 1:5-6)

    "Faith is things which are hoped for and not seen; wherefore, dispute not because ye see not, for ye receive no witness until after the trial of your faith." (Ether 12:6)

    "Faith Precedes the Miracle," by President Spencer W. Kimball.

  • Bill in Nebraska Maryville, MO
    June 8, 2011 12:05 a.m.

    To Sharrona: I was condescending when I stated the Book of Mormon contradicts the Bible which it does not. Neither does the Pearl of Great Price or the Doctrine in Covenants. In fact, as the Bible testifies of the Book of Mormon, so does the Book of Mormon testifies of the Bible. The two together contains the fullness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The Book of Mormon clarifies those part of the Bible which were changed or omitted by the creeds. Secondly, the Old Testament of the Bible was originally written in HEBREW not Greek. Therefore, again the Old Testament Greek is just a translation. Good in parts but if you go solely on the Greek then you are very incorrect. The New Testament was written in both the Greek and Hebrew. Many of the Gospels were written years after the death of the Apostles of Jesus Christ, the original authors. Therefore, not complete. The same contradictions you mention the Book of Mormon has each of the Gospels either omit or at time contradict each other. Joseph Smith's translation of the Bible were all REVELATIONS from on High, not something he made up.

  • Jeff Temple City, CA
    June 7, 2011 10:51 p.m.

    More on Nibley: Nibley's idea that one begins with the assumption that a work is written by the stated author (in the case of the Book of Mormon, that would be a number of ancient authors including the editor Mormon), is very useful as a beginning point in literary analysis. It is especially useful in discovering the value in a book that claims to be scripture.

    Working from the assumption that the Book of Mormon is an ancient book, written by inspiration from God, allows one to test the teachings and doctrines in the book. For those who truly believe in the book, there is a legacy of service and sacrifice that is rarely paralleled. The doctrines and teachings of the Book of Momron are astounding in their power to promote goodness and Christlike behavior, which, I think, is an undeniable evidence of the book's authenticity.

  • Jeff Temple City, CA
    June 7, 2011 9:48 p.m.

    Nibley's idea as cited by Ash is only part of what he said.

    Nibley goes on to point out that the main reason critics do not believe in the Book of Mormon is because of the supernatural nature of its translation. Some scholars are reportedly beginning to believe that the book is an ancient book (it certainly has things, as Nibley points out, that would indicate this), but they are scrambling to find a non-supernatural explanation. The difficulty with the "supernatural" (the angelic visitation and the inspired translation) seems to be a major problem with many of the critics on this site, as well. The idea seems to be, "I can't believe in the Book of Mormon because I don't believe in God/angels/modern revelation/miracles [pick your point of disagreement]." If one doesn't believe in those things, then there needs to be some explanation for the book that precludes them.

    Other critics object to the Book of Mormon not because it is provably false (it really isn't), but because they disagree with it. That is the equivalent (I'm quoting here) disbelieving in the roundness of the earth because Columbus was offensive

  • Mormoncowboy Provo, Ut
    June 7, 2011 9:02 p.m.

    In connection with Zack Tacorin's useful clarification it should also be noted that hypothesis testing and belief are two different things. Ash pairs the condition of assuming the hypothesis with the position of "unbelievers". Often times in hypothesis testing a researcher will have to assume a role that they do not personally hold to, a practice sometimes called the "devils advocate". In other words, it is perfectly proper and possible for an unbelieving researcher to take a position they disagree with to prove it false. For example, if we assume that the Nephites were a real civilization then we should expect some trace evidence of their existence among the DNA, or archeological and/or anthropological remains of some native American cultures. Critics do this, so Ash's article is a straw-man. If I assume that Joseph Smith could actually interpret ancient languages by divine means, with the precedent that God would protect him against forgerers wishing to ensnare him in a contradiction, then I assume that the Kinderhook Plates must be real ancient documents (make no mistake, Joseph Smith did "translate" them). Again, critics have taken this position and rejected the hypothesis. Apologists then just change the assumptions.

  • sharrona layton, UT
    June 7, 2011 8:59 p.m.

    Bill in Nebraska, said the Bible contradicts the Book of Mormon,add the P.of G.P. as well.
    Robert J Matthews,In every case,LORDin the KJV is rendered Lordin the Inspired Version. (p.ix,JS Bible corrections,1977).
    This is a significant doctrinal mistranslations especially in the JST of Genesis(P.of G. P. Moses).
    Wherever you read LORD(all capitals) in the KJV, O.T.= *Jehovah/YHWH,3068)while Lord=(adonai,113)or sir, master.
    The KJV N.T. translates the Greek word kurios for Lord,lord, or sir. There are four verses where the KJV translates kurios as LORD: Luke 20:42, Acts 2:34. Matthew 22:44, Mark 12:36. References Psalm 110:1 The LORD said unto my Lord -In the Hebrew,"Spake Jehovah to my Lord." The Hebrew word *YHWH is the incommunicable name of God, [JS unknowingly follows the KJV mistranslation of Jehovah in Abraham.(D&C. 110:3;Abra. 2:8)]YHWH is never given to a created being. Google, YHWH/Tetragrammaton.

  • Independent Henderson, NV
    June 7, 2011 6:10 p.m.

    In other words, JoeBlow, I'm not asking you to up and believe like I do. I'm just asking you to keep an open mind, and withhold from judging me as a complete idiot just because I chose to believe that the Book of Mormon is true. I get that you are not satisfied with the evidence, and I thank you for acknowledging the possibility that the Book of Mormon could be true. That's really all we're asking for, because whether or not you chose to believe it is entirely your own personal matter.

  • Independent Henderson, NV
    June 7, 2011 5:57 p.m.

    "So, I dont know it the LDS religion is true or false and can openly admit it.

    Can you?"

    That's a fair question. No, I cannot say with 100% certainty that the LDS religion (whatever that means) is true, but what can I say that about? What I can say is that I am satisfied with the degree of certainty I have that the LDS Church teaches true doctrine, that it holds valid priesthood authority, that the Book of Mormon is of God, that God exists, and on and on. I suppose it is possible that I will die and none of it will turn out to be true, or it will not be as I perceived it to be, but I trust the information I've received well enough to chose to believe, and if I say "I know" it is in the context of religious conviction and LDS culture. I don't think it's anything to get worked up over. If I chose not to believe anything that I wasn't 100% certain of, I wouldn't believe in anything at all, and I'm not interested in living that way.

  • Bill in Nebraska Maryville, MO
    June 7, 2011 5:10 p.m.

    If we fail to believe the Book of Mormon is historical as the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve have indicated then again we are apostizing. You can not in this day and age be a fence sitter. You either have a testimony or you don't. If you don't and are a member then it is up to you to obtain that testimony and the witness that is sure to come. Your failure to obtain that witness is no one fault but yours. The Lord has told us how to get it. The Prophets have told how we are to get it. Nothing else should or ever will matter until your witness comes through and by the Holy Ghost. It is the Holy Ghost that will testify this truth to you. Science for the most part is based on theories then once theories are proven over and over again it becomes fact. We are now beginning to understand more about our universe and about our own earth. Yet man will NEVER know all that there is to know. In time we will be told but only after thw final judgement.

  • Zack Tacorin Salt Lake City, UT
    June 7, 2011 5:04 p.m.

    Many comments assert that the statement You must begin by assuming that the author indicated really wrote it contradicts the scientific method. I disagree. The scientific method is that it requires one to assume a hypothesis correct for the purpose of making certain predictions of what would be expected based on this assumption. One of the later steps of the scientific method is to then devise experiments designed to attempt to falsify the hypothesis by demonstrating that the prediction or predictions of the assumption is(are) false. Failure to prove a prediction is false does not prove the hypothesis correct, but successful proof that the prediction is false can demonstrate the hypothesis is not accurate or true. In other words, to assume the Book of Mormon was really compiled and abridged by Mormon (and Moroni) allows this assumption to be testable.

    However Ashs premise, that the critics will immediately cry that such an examination is bias, is an over-generalization. I am one among many who now believes the Book of Mormon was not written by ancient authors, yet for over twenty years I testified that I knew the Book of Mormon was true.

  • Bill in Nebraska Maryville, MO
    June 7, 2011 5:04 p.m.

    I find it fascinating that everything about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints gets discussed in these forums except the actual topic. The doctrine of the LDS Church and its ever changing ways to the fact the Bible contradicts the Book of Mormon.

    Mr. Ash has so clearly stated in many of his excerpts the facts that anyone given anything that would indicate the Book of Mormon is not only historical but a literal translation, if a non-believer will never believe what is given to them. No one is ever going to be converted to LDS Church solely on the evidence science can give it. Science will never be able to prove or disprove the Book of Mormon.

    As members of the LDS Church, we either believe in continuous revelation or we don't. If we don't then we are apositizing and are not a member in good standing. We either believe that Joseph Smith is a Prophet of God and the Prophet of the restoration or we don't. Failure to recognize this and we apostize. We either believe the Book of Mormon is true in ever connection or we don't.

  • Utes Fan Salt Lake City, UT
    June 7, 2011 11:50 a.m.

    "By Joseph Smith, Jr, author and proprietor".

    Copyright law in 1830 in New York required a "author and proprietor". No such copyright was offered for a "translator". So Joseph was forced to include those words. Not to mention that Joseph Smith on numerous occasions at that time declared he was the "translator" but had to use "author and proprietor" for legal copyright issues.

  • Enola BOUNTIFUL, UT
    June 7, 2011 11:11 a.m.

    What I mean is the book itself lists Joseph Smith as the Author. But even absent that obvious starting point, Ash is citing Nibley who is citing an author talking about forgeries. We don't have the plates to determine if a forgery occurred. All we have is what Joseph Smith dictated to his scribes. Thus, whether or not the Book of Mormon is a translation of ancient writings or a 19th century creation, we know that we aren't examining a forgery but a document that passed by the lips of Joseph Smith. That should be the starting point in my opinion. To say we should take Joseph's word that it is a translation of ancient writings seems absurd to me, and I'm surprised Ash would bother with such poor logic.

  • Brahmabull sandy, ut
    June 7, 2011 11:09 a.m.

    @ Utes fan - To answer your question about Joseph Smith being an author. Well, some of that may have to do with the fact that the 1830 first edition of the book says "By Joseph Smith, Jr, author and proprietor." That should be a huge indication that he was the author, as stated by himself. Of course that was changed later, as the church does many things.

  • Full-on double rainbow Bluffdale, UT
    June 7, 2011 11:04 a.m.

    @ KC Mormon

    I agree that the examples you provide aren't very convincing. However there are plenty of websites that will show all of the apparent plagarisms. Trying to trivialize the issue is certainly one way to deal with it.

  • Utes Fan Salt Lake City, UT
    June 7, 2011 10:29 a.m.

    @Enola

    "Okay, but I'm pretty sure Joseph Smith is the indicated author of the book, so why isn't Ash beginning with that premise."

    How can you be so sure? Even some critics don't believe Joseph Smith authored the book.

  • sharrona layton, UT
    June 7, 2011 10:10 a.m.

    KC Mormon, Ephesian 6:4 is more than a coincidence, these 8 words are a translation of the Greek: in the nurture and admonition of the Lord(Enos 1:1); in[the]nurture and admonition of [the]Lord.(KJV&JST)

    Modern a more accurate translations of Ephesian 6:4,in the training and instruction of the Lord(NIV); in the discipline and instruction of the Lord( NASB); in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.(ESV)

    Also Enos wrestles with God(Enos 1:2)wrestle*which I had before GodJacob also wrestles with God in (Genesis 32:24-32)but Jacob wrestled with an angel of God(Hosea 12:3,4). The BoM and JST are full of coincidences?

  • juanster Aberdeen, SD
    June 7, 2011 9:58 a.m.

    Michael Ash rocks! I am always impressed by the dialogue and discussion generated by his articles. Pro, con or undecided, you cannot discount his ability to provoke thought and response. The size of his blogs is consistently impressive. Thank you Deseret News for this entertaining, informative and lively forum.

  • Enola BOUNTIFUL, UT
    June 7, 2011 9:57 a.m.

    Also, correct me if I'm wrong, but don't all sides agree that Joseph Smith dictated the Book of Mormon by placing a stone in a hat, putting his face in the hat, and then having a scribe record his dictations? If somebody is going to accept that premise, that ancient records can be translated through a stone in a hat, then there is no real point in arguing about archeology. To accept that premise is to throw rationality out the window, which is fine in a religious context, but it just seems so useless to argue these points in a scientific context.

    I was reading up on seer stones and found D&C 130. It says that God lives on a great Urim & Thummim, that the Earth will become a Urim & Thummim, and that the white stone mentioned in Revelation 2:17, will become a Urim and Thummim to each individual who receives one. It seems odd that the Mormons I know seem to have abandoned belief in such stones yet their theology seems to give great importance to such things.

  • Utes Fan Salt Lake City, UT
    June 7, 2011 9:50 a.m.

    Elder Jeffrey R. Holland wrote a wonderful book called "Christ and the New Covenant". In that book he shows the words of Jesus in the Book of Mormon alongside the words of Jesus in the New Testament. He shows the differences and similarities. Those differences, as KC Mormon has noted, are inspired and very enlightening. Some of those differences are subtle and trivial, while others give us much more understanding. Truly, I am grateful for the Book of Mormon and the words of Jesus in it. Our understanding is increased and enlarged because of it.

  • Enola BOUNTIFUL, UT
    June 7, 2011 9:40 a.m.

    You must begin by assuming that the author indicated really wrote it.

    Okay, but I'm pretty sure Joseph Smith is the indicated author of the book, so why isn't Ash beginning with that premise.

  • KC Mormon Edgerton, KS
    June 7, 2011 6:53 a.m.

    Full-on double rainbow an redhat
    The "words of Paul" found in the Book of Mormon just like the same issue of words taken from the Bible I addressed last week are not as impressive as critics make them out to be. Critics make it sound as if whole passages were copied from the NT yet when you look at the passages side by side what it comes down to is literally a claim that either a concept is the same or out of a long verse you can find a small hand full of words that are the same or close. For example Enos 1:1 has 44 words in it Ephesians 6:4 has 21 words in it the words in common are 6 words. This is hardly the smoking gun the critics claim it to be.

  • Michael_M Scottsbluff, NE
    June 7, 2011 4:34 a.m.

    I read an interesting paper in the "History Compass", a peer review journal. The paper is titled:

    Pseudo History/Weird History: Nationalism and the Internet by Greg Melleuish, Knostantin Sheiko and Stephen Brown, 2009

    Here is a quote from the abstract:

    "One of the most important developments in the production of history in the early twenty-first century has been the capacity of 'weird history' or 'pseudo history' to have a large impact on the public sphere."

    The article discussed how people believe things that are not real and confuse pseudo with genuine history. It was not about the Book of Mormon, but is very applicable.

    Apologists seem no different than those who are promoting pseudo history. Their arguments defy any reasonable assessment of the evidence.

  • nick humphrey kent, WA
    June 7, 2011 12:59 a.m.

    "Some early LDS writers made the mistake of thinking that a 19th or 20th
    century view of how Book of Mormon people might have lived and behaved
    should be obvious in the archaeological record of ancient New World
    cultures."

    from my dear associate marcello:
    Yes, like Joseph Smith, Parley Pratt, Orson Pratt, Wilford Woodruff, Joseph
    Fielding Smith, etc. Silly LDS writers...

  • J4c3 Lehi, UT
    June 7, 2011 12:33 a.m.

    Even if you assume it's true, if you research it through unbiased sources, you can see it is obviously not true. The mention of many animals, currencies, and technology in precolumbian America is nearly impossible. That's really all you can say for it, no matter how much you try to bend the proof, it will eventually break.

  • nick humphrey kent, WA
    June 7, 2011 12:17 a.m.

    "2) DNA evidence indicates that the 177 year long "prophetic" claim that the lamanites are the *principle* ancestors of the american indians"

    i meant to say:
    2) DNA evidence indicates that the 177 year long "prophetic" claim that the lamanites are the *principle* ancestors of the american indians *is false*

  • nick humphrey kent, WA
    June 7, 2011 12:13 a.m.

    @Independant "What I don't understand is how some are so convinced that the Book of Mormon is NOT true."

    1) because there is no official church art depictions of joseph "translating" the book of mormon with his head in his hat reading words from a glowing stone. the church doesnt teach about this "translation" method because it is called divination and the old testament specifically forbids these practices.

    2) DNA evidence indicates that the 177 year long "prophetic" claim that the lamanites are the *principle* ancestors of the american indians.

    3) the BOM contains many anachronisms

    4) according to current scientific understanding, the creation story in genesis (the basis of judaism, christianity, islam) is fiction, thus the book of mormon could not be true

    etc, etc, etc

  • ? Fort Knox, KY
    June 6, 2011 9:13 p.m.

    Vanka: What kind of credentials are you looking for? What are your credentials?

    What are my credentials? Doubt I have any.

    What's wrong with quoting those who do have whatever credentials you are looking for?

  • Full-on double rainbow Bluffdale, UT
    June 6, 2011 8:43 p.m.

    With all this talk of "mountains of evidence" and problems with the BOM. I would like to see people answer redhats first question. Even when I believed the church was true I had no faith promoting explanation for New Testament passages being in the BOM. That was a definite "put it on a shelf" issue.

  • Brahmabull sandy, ut
    June 6, 2011 7:22 p.m.

    Thriller - no actually the church's teachings aren't perfect in any sense of the word. If they were, then there would be no need for them to have changed or edited doctrine and practices in the last 180 years. Clearly anybody can see that they aren't perfect.

  • junkgeek Agua Dulce, TX
    June 6, 2011 7:20 p.m.

    None of this matters. Establishing the 'veracity' of the Book of Mormon has nothing to do with linguistic analysis.

  • JoeBlow Miami Area, Fl
    June 6, 2011 7:03 p.m.

    Independent,

    I am in the camp where I don't know. And I am fine with not knowing.
    I have a real problem with those who claim that they do know and that their brand is the only really good one (or the one with the full truth)

    And FYI, I do not dislike something (assume you mean the LDS faith?) I believe that the LDS religion has a chance of being true, just like a multitude of other religions out there.

    So, I do have an open mind.

    But, I am dissolusioned and very skeptical of all religions. There is a common theme among the religions that I see. That theme is power and money.

    And there are a lot of POWER and MONEY religions out there.

    Does that make them false? Nope. Doesn't make them true either.

    It there is a higher being (hope there is, but not sure) I would imagine that he or she would look at our world and all of the religions, and sadly shake his or her head.

    So, I dont know it the LDS religion is true or false and can openly admit it.

    Can you?

  • Independent Henderson, NV
    June 6, 2011 5:53 p.m.

    JoeBlow, I don't blame you for being a little dissolusioned, but I think a more probable answer to your question is that very many, if not all religions have at least an element of truth to them. I can understand if you don't want to jump on the bandwagon and join up with a particular religion, but how likely is it that all of this is just a pure fabrication? Wouldn't you want to at least keep an open mind about it before passing it off as pure fiction? The fact that there is a lack of physical evidence would prompt me to withhold judgement, not say conclusively that it's all made up. Why is keeping an open mind about the Book of Mormon so completely out of the question? It seems a little odd to me that you would have such a strong reaction to a lack of physical evidence. I think the real issue is your view of "the nature of religion." But I have to ask, does the fact that you dislike something preclude it from being to some degree true?

  • sharrona layton, UT
    June 6, 2011 5:36 p.m.

    Nephi contradicts the Bible,"... for we know it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do" (2 Nephi 25:23),similiar to,"God helps those who help themselves!("Hezekiah 6:1). This verse is not in the Bible.
    JM,The Bible teaches just the opposite, God helps those who Cannot help themselves.
    (Jesus)said Lazarus come forth(John 11:43 JST&KJV), Lazarus who was dead and buried came forth, Lazarus did not say no way, Im not doing it, he came forth.

    Its not of him that willeth nor him that runneth, but of God that showeth mercy.(Romans 9:16 JST&KJV).

    He saved us,not because of(self) righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Ghost(Titus 3:5 JST&KJV)

    Salvation is of the LORD(Jehovah)(Jonah 2:9 KJV). The reason people today are opposed to it is because they will have God be anything but God. He can be a leader, a teacher, a helpful shepherd, anything at all only not God. For a simple reason, they want to be God themselves.

  • JoeBlow Miami Area, Fl
    June 6, 2011 4:30 p.m.

    Independent

    It is the LACK of physical evidence to start with.

    That, coupled with the nature of religion. There have been countless numbers who claim that they have the truth. That is why there are so many religions.

    How many religions out there do you think are true?

    Out of the hundreds of religions, my bet is either none or one. (and I would put my money on none)

  • Independent Henderson, NV
    June 6, 2011 3:15 p.m.

    I can understand why someone wouldn't be convinced that the Book of Mormon is true, simply from looking at physical evidence. What I don't understand is how some are so convinced that the Book of Mormon is NOT true.

  • The Vanka Provo, UT
    June 6, 2011 3:04 p.m.

    Mo-Pa,

    After that comment, I think we need to see your credentials.

  • Mo-Pa OGDEN, UT
    June 6, 2011 2:49 p.m.

    Vanka, conversely a number of people have shown, repeatedly, that Ashs arguments are right on target and that critical arguments are fallacious, selective, circular, etc.

    And contrary to your claim that Ash hasnt provided a single argument in favor of the historicity of the BoM, I can only shake my head in amazement. Just a week or two ago Ash recounted many of the evidences in its favor as he outlined in his series during the discussion of the Lehite journey through Arabia. Perhaps you might benefit from a refresher on the definition of evidence.

    Vanka wrote: Questioning a person's credentials is not ad hominem, especially when all Ash has left is his own opinion - his own authority. When an argument is nothing but an appeal to authority, the credentials of the claimed authority are the core of the argument.

    A refresher on the definitions of ad hominem and appeal to authority also seem to be needed. At worst Ash might appeal to the authority of those scholars he cites, so you can question ¬_their_ credentials. Since you seem to neglect the actual arguments and focus on credentials, however, you are still engaging in ad hominem.

  • OC64 Edmonton, AB
    June 6, 2011 2:27 p.m.

    Wow...start with the assumption it is true?? Those are great critical thinking skills. I'm all for academic discussion of any topic but that is more than a little simplistic and unrealistic

  • nick humphrey kent, WA
    June 6, 2011 2:14 p.m.

    "Once you assume that a document is a fake, no arguments and no evidence to the end of time can ever vindicate it, even if it is absolutely genuine"

    and we can see from years of observation that because mormons assume that their religion is true, very often no arguments and no evidence to the end of time will ever convince them otherwise, even if mormon doctrine is absolutely made up.

    "If one assumes that it is true, its features at least become testable"

    do you concede that the book of mormon is falsifiable, that it can be disproved?

    "the Nephites and Lamanites would have taken on the characteristics of the surrounding populations."
    "Given the likely assimilation of the Nephites into New World cultures"

    fact: the church taught for at least 177 years that the lamanites were the principle ancestors of the american indians and this "truth" has been "confirmed by the holy ghost" to millions of members. fact: in 2007, the book of mormon intro that also stated this was changed to reflect the theory ash is pushing in his article.

  • Idaho Coug Meridian, Idaho
    June 6, 2011 1:51 p.m.

    Mo-Pa - I am reading it and I am enjoying it a great deal. I'll admit, I love these conversations and get pulled to them every Monday. I probably should give it a break though while reading if I truly want to remain objective. Good point!

  • The Vanka Provo, UT
    June 6, 2011 1:38 p.m.

    Mo-Pa,

    Being "called" on a comment is not the same thing as being shown to be wrong. All the other commenter did was say my call for credentials was "ad hominem". Unfortunately, DN does not post all my comments. My response was not posted.

    A number of people have repeatedly shown by argument and reason that Ash's "arguments" have been fallacious, selective, circular, and often absurdly inconsistent with past prophetic utterances, received LDS "doctrine", and scripture.

    Indeed, it has been pointed out again and again that Ash has failed to provide a single argument in favor of the historicity of the Book of Mormon.

    When a person's arguments so consistently fail, it is reasonable to question their credentials.

    Questioning a person's credentials is not "ad hominem", especially when all Ash has left (in the absence of good arguments and evidence) is his own opinion - his own "authority".

    When an argument is nothing but an appeal to authority, the credentials of the claimed authority are the core of the "argument". As such, my questions hit at the core of the argument: What are Ash's credentials?

    Nobody has answered. Not even Ash.

  • atl134 Salt Lake City, UT
    June 6, 2011 1:34 p.m.

    @JM
    "simply to destroy eternal families?"

    People who don't believe in the BoM cannot possibly have this as a motive since thinking this would require believing the LDS church were true which doesn't match up well with lack of belief in the BoM.

    "forging documents"

    Incidentally that's a charge leveled at Joseph Smith and his BoM as well considering that the supposed plates he was translating off of aren't available.

    "While Critics keep asking LDS to have open minds, it seems that LDS minds are far more open than the mind that would intentionally lie to try to lead others away from BoM truths. "

    I think there are a ton of close-minded people on both sides of this debate.

  • Brahmabull sandy, ut
    June 6, 2011 1:12 p.m.

    Jm - I am here, waiting for any 'proof' that you may have. I am not running, but waiting for your response and I will look at it as I do any evidence. I am not running as you claim the anti-mormons do. You classify me as such even though you have no idea what my motives are. It is sad that you feel the need to classify those who do not agree with you into one group that you call anti-mormons. If you respond, and I can actually understand it, I will debate it with you. My guess is that you will be the one that doesn't respond with any concrete evidence. Surely if there are "mountains of evidence" as you claim you will be able to provide at least something.

  • Mo-Pa OGDEN, UT
    June 6, 2011 1:02 p.m.

    Idaho Cougar, was it you who posted last week that you were going to read the BoM as objectively as possible?

    I think you, and unfortunately too many others, misunderstand the "one true Church" claim. This claim does not preclude spiritual experiences, miracles, visions, and the guidance of the Holy Ghost among non-LDS. Are you aware that the Church once acknowledged that even Mohammed, Confucius, and others were possibly inspired by God?

    Truth is truth, regardless the source, or if it is secular or spiritual. Mormonism seeks to embrace all truth and claims no monopoly on truth. Nor does it claim that they have all the truth that can be had.

    Their claim is that they have the necessary truths and priesthood powers to officiate in saving ordinances. They also claim that prophets _can_ receive new God-revealed truths for the benefit of God's children (but not that every thought/word they have comes from God).

    From my personal research I've found relatively few accounts of visions/spiritual experiences/miracles that conflict with the LDS teaching of a "one true Church."

  • Idaho Coug Meridian, Idaho
    June 6, 2011 12:44 p.m.

    The problem behind all of these arguments and almost all arguments related to religion is simple - the insistence on one true religion or spiritual path to the exclusion of others.

    There is one primary argument against one true religion or path. It is the reality that people of ALL faiths and beliefs experience consistent and often profound spiritual experiences in confirmation of their religion or beliefs. Religions and beliefs that entirely contradict one another but nonetheless have a rich history of spiritual confirmations.

    If you study religious and spiritual experiences in general, you will be amazed at the diversity of those experiences. People of other faiths claim visitations of angels and even God just as early Mormonism did.

    The more I study and experience people outside the bubble of LDS correlated material, the more it seems so clear that there are many paths to spirituality and to God in this life. Near death experiences seem to confirm this as none come back testifying to one religion. The non-religious can also be on a legitimate life "path" with their own personal confirmations.

    I feel the spirit when I think of this - not when I dig in to defend Mormonism.

  • Mo-Pa OGDEN, UT
    June 6, 2011 12:44 p.m.

    Vanka, I think you got called on the "credentials"-ad-hominem card last week & never responded. I'm surprised you've pulled it out again.

    Idaho Cougar, you wrote: "Mike has made it clear the evidentiary search is very different today than it was in the past. It has to be and theories have had to change. Frankly, this is not a positive reflection on the search for evidence. A search that the Church likely wishes would go away."

    I fail to see how you come to this conclusion. Isn't science a process of refining and modifying paradigms? Since Mike is not engaging material of revelatory nature (i.e., he's discussing the possible historical aspects of the BoM, not its standing as scripture), it would only be good science to modify paradigms that accurately reflect current science/scholarship. Why fault him for that? And why would this be a negative reflection on the Church since the Church is the one who funds FARMS and owns the Mormon Times? It seems to me that the Church welcomes all scholarly evidences but doesn't hang it's hat on them.

  • redhat Fairfax Station, VA
    June 6, 2011 12:22 p.m.

    ok- mike ash is trying but i have 2 challenges and give your best answer please- how can st paul's words end up in the book of mormon as words of an actual prophet/king/whatever when paul was yet to be born? for example i write a letter to my brothers in 1990 and the words i have written are found exactly as i wrote them on a plate/rock/papyrus/book dated 200AD. i do not need a tome of an answer- keep it simple and logical please to help me understand.

    second- give 1 or 2 examples of ancient physical evidence that are written about in the book of mormon and have been validated by science/archeology as existing in the mesoamerican culture- hint do not go for for steel swords
    which were unknown in meso america in the bom time frame and do not pls redefine the word "steel"- keep it simple and logical.

    rh

  • Mormoncowboy Provo, Ut
    June 6, 2011 12:15 p.m.

    About accepting the Book of Mormon as true - part of what goes into the testing, or falsifying, is a set of assumptions that belong to a theory. If a researcher can demonstrate contradiction against one of those assumptions, they have successfully falsified - at the least those conditions which depend on the falsified assumption. In Book of Mormon research, those assumptions keep moving. So, JM and Yarrlydarb are factually incorrect. The Book of Mormon has been disproven! Still the Church will keep on printing it and advocating it so long as there is a market for Mormonism.

    The BoM peoples are the primary ancestors of the American Indians. Falsified - apologists revise the assumption - thereby throwing Spencer W. Kimball and Joseph Smith (D&C) under the bus.

    The BoM events occured in what is now the United States - practically falsified (even Mormon scholars don't buy it) - so the assumption is revised, again throwing Joseph Smith under the bus.

    And if we were to falsify more, Ash and his friend (JM & Yarlydarb) will just insist on moving the assumptions again trying to render the Book of Mormon untestable.

  • yarrlydarb Ogden, UT
    June 6, 2011 12:10 p.m.

    Yes, Weber State Graduate, your absolutely right!

    What was I thinkin'?

    And here's another for you list of provable negatives: "You cannot debate with a numbskull."

  • JoeBlow Miami Area, Fl
    June 6, 2011 11:25 a.m.

    "The usual RE is for the Critic to run away and make a new claim, refusing open discussion."

    JM, I know you are out of responses, so I wont expect one.

    I am calling you on your statement above.

    On the few occasions that you do actually provide specific claims of proof, there are many who engage in conversation concerning said evidence.

    You may not like the responses, but to claim that they "run away" is just not a fair characterization.

    And to be fair, when you do make claims, many (me) have no clue what you are talking about. Hard to respond in those cases.

    And lastly, even for an apologist like Mr Ash, I bet your claim of "mountains of evidence" is over the top for even him.

  • JM Lehi, UT
    June 6, 2011 11:14 a.m.

    BrahmaBull

    This is my last comment, but just saw your RE to me.

    You should go back and read all JM comments. Your screename is relatively new here, but as far as I know Ive given references every time Ive been asked for every claim Ive made.

    The usual RE is for the Critic to run away and make a new claim, refusing open discussion.

  • JM Lehi, UT
    June 6, 2011 11:10 a.m.

    Of course, if we look, we can see that the same old tactics are at work here. There is undeniable evidence for a relationship between American and ME cultures, and also for the miraculous nature of the BoM. Many of those evidences have been discussed by Mike and others, and posted on the DN, many have not. Those who attack the BoM (for? simply to destroy eternal families?) must resort to fabrication, forging documents, twisting what Mike is saying, finding anything critical to say without open minds, and repeating well worn and disproven anti-Mormon arguments about population growth (assumes tens of millions of IP quickly came from a single Beringia group, but built very little until BoM times, when they had zero population growth, etc), or Lord kept the Land from others etc (check Mikes previous, FAIR etc on all), etc.

    While Critics keep asking LDS to have open minds, it seems that LDS minds are far more open than the mind that would intentionally lie to try to lead others away from BoM truths.

    I know God's voice, and the other evidences also point to BoM truthfulness.

    Critics have no proof against, but I do openly examine

  • Idaho Coug Meridian, Idaho
    June 6, 2011 11:06 a.m.

    JM said the BofM has - "changed millions of lives for the better, including mine. It led me to Christ, and away from the destructive path I was on."

    I don't think anyone can argue against the positive impact the Book of Mormon has had and continues to have on individuals and families. Even those who absolutely disbelieve Mormonism and the Book of Mormon almost unanimously acknowledge the positive lives most Mormons lead. A portion of that is influenced by the Book of Mormon.

    I truly think most general athorities would prefer the discussion would focus entirely on this. On the impact the Book of Mormon has on individual lives and how, for those who choose to be Mormon, it can be another way to focus on the life and mission of the Savior. I wonder what they think of this decades long search for evidence in the dirt?

    Mike has made it clear the evidentiary search is very different today than it was in the past. It has to be and theories have had to change. Frankly, this is not a positive reflection on the search for evidence. A search that the Church likely wishes would go away.

  • Vanka Provo, UT
    June 6, 2011 11:05 a.m.

    Once again, Ash has demonstrated he has no familiarity with the history of science, the logic of hypothesis-testing, or notions of validity, much less epistemology.

    Ash has insufficient credentials to be trusted on these topics. He is unfamiliar with (uneducated in) the key issues and thinking that are central to these claims.

  • The Stumped Rexburg, ID
    June 6, 2011 11:04 a.m.

    The Book of Mormon promises that one will know spiritually first (see below). The easily accessed empirical evidence of its veracity comes by experimenting with its precepts. Physical evidence comes over time, but one is not denied the benefits of its teachings waiting for its discovery.

    -----

    "Behold, I would exhort you that when ye shall read these things, if it be wisdom in God that ye should read them, that ye would remember how merciful the Lord hath been unto the children of men, from the creation of Adam even down until the time that ye shall receive these things, and ponder it in your hearts.

    And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.

    And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things." (Book of Mormon, Moroni 7:4-5).

  • skeptic Phoenix, AZ
    June 6, 2011 10:51 a.m.

    The truth is that the LDS church is a very wealthy large international corporation that has the money and resourses to employ independent experts and professionals to establish if the Book of Mormon is authentic history. The LDS church has smart leadership at the top that is not going to play Russian roulette with the truth; and chance coming out on the losing end. They learned their lesson when they conceded research liberties to Fawn M.Brodie to write her book: No man knows my history. No other major qualified institution is going to research the truth of a historical Book of Mormon because they all feel it is a no brainer work of fiction. So in the meantime the best we can do is debate unqualified opionions such as Mr. Ash's (and others pro and con)and hope we learn something new and gain some insight.

  • Brahmabull sandy, ut
    June 6, 2011 10:50 a.m.

    Jm - once again you make claims that are in and of themselves, untrue, dishonest, etc. You make claims of mountains of evidence for the Book of Mormon, but don't give 1 reference of that material or evidence you are talking about. You never give any sources or any real information, only your very vague opinion. I like others to give their opinion, but they need to back it up with something. That is great that the Book of Mormon changed your life in a positive way. That is not the debate. Many books, truth or fiction, have changed peoples lives in a positive way - but that doesn't make them all true.

  • Weber State Graduate Clearfield, UT
    June 6, 2011 10:44 a.m.

    To Bill and yarrlydarb:

    "It doesn't work both ways because you can't prove a negative."

    Precisely my point...you missed it entirely. By pointing out the same reasoning on the other end, it shows the flawed logic of the initial premise...both premises are equally absurd when taken to its extreme.

    Unfortunately, apologists begin with the premise that BoM authenticity is an absolute and no arguments and no evidence to the end of time can ever disprove such a premise, even if the BoM is absolutely not genuine. They look for supporting evidence and casually discard any contrary or lacking evidence based upon their initial premise.

    An objective investigator will begin with an initial premise of possible truth without any preconceptions against the possibility of being wrong. Any evidence to the contrary is objectively weighed by honestly entertaining the preponderance of evidence against the initial premise, something that an apologist refuses to do.

  • reviewboy LONG BEACH, CA
    June 6, 2011 10:39 a.m.

    Assuming a claim is what it says it is makes it testable, and therefore falsifiable. This is the core of every TV crime show: when a witness is questioned, you assume that they have something to offer. Even a confession is put to the test, because sometimes people cover up for someone else or are looking for attention, so you start with the premise that they're on the level, but you follow up, verify the facts, interview corroborating witnesses, etc. If you dismiss a witness out of hand without talking to them, then they aren't part of the case, for or against any argument. Plots often feature a belated return to the once-dismissed witness who turns out to be key.

    There are people who take the Book of Mormon's claims seriously, and the questions they ask have led to dead ends, and to new lines of inquiry. The comparative geographical theories would be utterly useless if you don't believe it's real to begin with.

  • Otis Spurlock Ogden, UT
    June 6, 2011 10:38 a.m.

    Bill McGhee,

    The statement that you cannot prove a negative is simply false. According to your logic, the following can NEVER be proven:

    Five is not equal to four;

    The ancient Egyptians did not watch Seinfeld; and

    There are not millions of living dinosaurs in North America


    Clearly, its possible to prove a negative statement. Especially when all the scientific, archaeological, linguistic, geographic and geologic evidence points one way.

  • yarrlydarb Ogden, UT
    June 6, 2011 10:38 a.m.

    And (to add to JM | 10:09 a.m. June 6, 2011 Lehi, UT), there will never be proof against the Book of Mormon. Why? Because all these pseudo scientists keep insisting they can prove nonexistence---impossible.

    Several years ago a couple of U of U researchers claimed they had discovered a way to produce cold fusion. But true scientists were unable to replicate their supposed findings. They indeed had not produced what they claimed to have produced. Replication proved impossible.

    Does that fact prove that cold fusion cannot exist or be produced?

    Absolutely not! as any true scientist will tell us.

    The fact that the U of U researchers did not discover or produce cold fusion is only proves that the researchers did not do what they claimed they did.

    Other researchers may yet discover or produce what the two at the U of U researchers claimed they did.

    Bottom line, science has not nor will ever be able to prove nonexistence and, as I said, any true scientist will frankly state, "The best we can do is to discover evidence to support to some small degree a hypothesis, not the opposite."

  • JM Lehi, UT
    June 6, 2011 10:09 a.m.

    In addition to the above, I must say that, even if we were to omit the proof of God's voice, recognized by all with ears to hear and eyes to see, even omitting those most powerful evidences, there are still mountains of external evidence that the BoM is an ancient record, translated into Joseph's 19th Century religious "language," testifying MOST powerfully of the Divine Nature of Christ and His real interactions with very real people in the Americas.

    Critics, who have been trying to discredit the BoM for almost 200 years, and are here day in and out, can't explain away the evidence. If they could, and if they had any proof against the BoM, the game would be over.
    They only need one touchdown. But must resort to fabrication, alteration, dishonesty, darkening the light etc.

    Yet the Bom has made many many touchdowns, and changed millions of lives for the better, including mine. It led me to Christ, and away from the destructive path I was on.

    There is no proof against the BoM.

    There are mountains for it.

  • Joggle Clearfield, UT
    June 6, 2011 10:09 a.m.

    How about not assuming the BoM is true OR false, but instead....take a neutral stance? Research is then initiated, evidence is gathered, and then a determination is made based on the evidence. Most researchers want their research to be an accurate reflection of reality and produce meaningful results. One factor that will always attempt to compromise the integrity of research is researcher bias....a self-caused error due to improper procedures or allowing personal beliefs to affect experimentation. Mr Ash seems to be approvong confirmation bias: only looking for data that confirms a desired conclusion. Allowing confirmation bias to get the better of your results is regarded as a particularly sad form of incompetence. If you use Ash's method you are bound to come come out having biased determinations right from the start. This could also be viewed as the circular reasoning.

  • otonashii1 Round Rock, TX
    June 6, 2011 10:07 a.m.

    For me,this weeks post goes sideways with the declaration that a small incursion of people in a larger existing population would not leave behind markers. Well Lehi in the desert was only about 30 people in a land supporters like to call Nahom. Small group leaving a marker in an existing larger group. Also, the BoM makes no direct references to other people. In fact, the Lord says he has kept the land hidden from other nations. And finally, small incursion? The numbers of people killed in battle indicate hundreds of thousands of people, if not millions. And how did such a small group expand so quickly? Population growth rates for the world in BoM times was near zero.

  • Mormoncowboy Provo, Ut
    June 6, 2011 9:52 a.m.

    The most poignant argument against population incursion is the fact that the Book of Mormon makes no mention of this. Instead the entire history is woven around Nephites and Lamanites, and all manner of ites, while Ash asserts they were living among the non-ites. They were able to "blend in with the crowd" so to speak, so as to completely hide their history, and yet still able to carry out a massive open family drama for a millenium. If they integrated with the indigenous people (a concept the Book of Mormon actually disputes), then how come they didn't adopt the indigenous governments - or currency, or language? Why didn't the Nephites and Lamanite lose interest in their own obscure conflict, and instead just adopt the concerns of the greater society of which they became a part of? None of this makes any sense. In fact, quite frankly the only way the Book of Mormon can make sense as a "real history" is if you try and stress that they were in fact the primary ancestors of the Native Americans. They either integrated and blended, in which case the BoM seems unplauzible, or they didn't.

  • JM Lehi, UT
    June 6, 2011 9:51 a.m.

    Enjoyed the article.

    In my studies Ive found an undeniable relationship between American and Middle Eastern cultures, religion, morphology, DNA,etc (speaking collectively).
    This relationship is so detailed that it is impossible for it to be by chance. I dont claim to know how it exists.

    We have to remember though that the BoM doesnt begin at the beginning of American history.

    The BoM does report millions here before Lehi and Mulek arrived. Jaredites were important for a reason, so their history was included, others were probably left out (same reason Jareds bro was?). Mulekites were probably closer to Jaredite hubs and survivors. Mike points out that Nephite language was altered. Nephites were also absorbed by larger Mulekite cultures, whose language they couldnt understand, after this renegade Nephites taught Lamanites another language etc.



    IdahoCoug, right, Mike did discuss the translation process for weeks, I agree with the "co-creative" model (even Isaiah, John, etc wrote God's word within their own context, after manner of Jews, seeing current surrounding (even pagan) symbolism in vision etc), but I disagree with the rest of your assessment. Broken, Sharonna, etc have long been posting supposed translation issues, none have stood that I recall.

  • aaazzz Murray, UT
    June 6, 2011 9:47 a.m.

    This weeks summary:

    First, I am starting from the assumption that the Book of Mormon is true.

    Second, I don't expect to find archelogical evidence of a Hebrew culter in the New World, as the Lehites adopted culture from te native who were all ready here.

  • procuradorfiscal Tooele, UT
    June 6, 2011 9:41 a.m.

    Re: "The Church has plenty of researchers who operate under Ash's requisite a priori's [sic] - so now it's their turn to present their findings. What have they found?"

    There's plenty there. And Mike has promised to discuss it all.

    His point, however, is that betting the farm on finding -- or not -- a stele that translates to "Welcome to Zarahemla," is neither realistic, nor dispositive.

    Deniers, on the other hand, seem much more positive. They constantly bear snarky, testy testimony of their primary article of faith -- that the Book of Mormon is hooey. Well, that places the burden on them to show it, then.

    Mike's brilliantly elaborated thesis is more modest -- no scientific proof requires either belief in, or rejection of, the truth of the Book of Mormon.

    Stay tuned.

  • Bill McGee Alpine, UT
    June 6, 2011 9:27 a.m.

    To Weber State Graduate: There is a fundamental flaw in your logic. It doesn't work both ways because you can't prove a negative. I can assert the BoM is true and require others to prove it is false. This is reasonable because the premise is testable. However, if others assume it is false, I can NEVER prove it is true to their satisfaction.

    For example, if I present you with a document I claim is ancient, and it includes a passage describing Nephi driving his car to the next town, it is demonstrably NOT an ancient document. End of story. If, however, I present you with an internally coherent document and you tell me to prove it is ancient, what can I do? I can show you how it is completely consistent with its purported time and place, but you can raise objections until the sun cools. (Of course, the discourse is much more complicated in real life, but the underlying logic remains true.)

  • Idaho Coug Meridian, Idaho
    June 6, 2011 9:10 a.m.

    We are learing more and more about the Mayan culture. Some exciting ruins are being uncovered daily even though much work is yet to be done. I think Mike and his contemporary colleagues are correct in moving from trying to find BofM content/teachings in the Mayan culture or the New World. We know enough about the Mayan/New World culture and very little resembles Judaism, Christianity or BofM without extreme and subjective stretches.

    The modern scholarly move to a very limited geography and quick, complete assimilation is necessary given that we cannot identify the Old World in the New with any real objectivity. The more we learn about the Mayan culture it will be interesting to see what similarities LDS scholars can pull from the Book of Mormon.

    I believe Mike already addressed this, but BofM analysis has to make the assumption that much of the text was personally inserted by Joseph Smith. There are way too many anachronisms and Biblical quotes written hundreds of years after Nephite existence to think it was a pure ancient translation.

    If the BofM is true, the textual development HAD to include a good amount of Joseph Smith's personal additions.

  • Mormoncowboy Provo, Ut
    June 6, 2011 8:56 a.m.

    I think anybody who has taken the time to read The Book of Mormon and pray about it has given the book for more benefit of the doubt than what it deserves. In any case, the idea that one must work on the assumption that the book is true is good for the researchers who undertake the task, to assist them in discovery. Though once they have discovered proof, they simply need to present those findings - and if they are compelling rational people will weigh the evidence. It is asking too much however for Ash to suggest that people in the general population must operate under the expectation that the book is true until it is proven false. The Church has plenty of researchers who operate under Ash's requisite a priori's - so now it's their turn to present their findings. What have they found?

  • yarrlydarb Ogden, UT
    June 6, 2011 8:24 a.m.

    To Weber State Graduate,

    Your statement, "Once you assume that a document is [genuine], no arguments and no evidence to the end of time can ever [disprove] it, even if it is absolutely [not] genuine" does not, contrary to what you claim, make any sense.

    You attempted to write a statement opposite to that of Michael Ash.

    Instead of what you wrote you should have written it as follows: "Once you assume that a document is a [genuine], [all] arguments and [all] evidence to the end of time [will] vindicate it, even if it is absolutely [false]."

    The point being, falsehood can never be vindicated because no valid arguments nor valid evidence to the end of time will ever exist.

  • skeptic Phoenix, AZ
    June 6, 2011 7:59 a.m.

    What an amazing turn of events Mr. Ash has presenting to us readers. We started out searching for the hay stack and now we are being told it is not a hay stack that we are attempting to evidence but maybe a needle in the hay stack; so minor and assimilated that it too may appear as a straw in the hay stack, but we must accept it as so because we have no way of proving other wise. It seems like a magic show. Now if Mr. Ash can just explain away the DNA issue he will have establised the invisible history of the vanished Book of Mormon people.

  • JoeBlow Miami Area, Fl
    June 6, 2011 7:57 a.m.

    Lets continue on the same reasoning.

    Does it also stand to reason the Mr Ash starts with the belief that in the following instances "we must begin by assuming that it was really written by ancient authors.

    - God revealed the truth to the Prophet Muhammad? So, is the Quran correct?
    - L Ron Hubbard's Dianetics and Scientology must be true?

    Have either of the above religious texts been proven false?

    Sure brings a whole lot of religions into play if we must take their claims as truth.

    Or does this line of thinking only apply to the BOM?

  • Weber State Graduate Clearfield, UT
    June 6, 2011 7:06 a.m.

    "Once you assume that a document is a fake, no arguments and no evidence to the end of time can ever vindicate it, even if it is absolutely genuine."

    Fair enough, but by following the same line of reasoning...

    "Once you assume that a document is [genuine], no arguments and no evidence to the end of time can ever [disprove] it, even if it is absolutely [not] genuine."

    To demand the acceptance of the first line of reasoning and then conveniently abandon the same logic on the opposite end exposes the writer's lack of credibility and intellectual honesty.

    With all due respect, such display of incoherent thinking and obvious bias is far from a better methodology for establishing truth.