Comments about ‘Reader voices: The prophet Mormon and his work on the Book of Mormon’

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Published: Sunday, Aug. 4 2013 5:00 a.m. MDT

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Craig Clark
Boulder, CO

"These two great men, Joseph Smith and Mormon, both had a hand in advancing the work of bringing forth the Book of Mormon."

Where would either of them be without the other?

Harrison Lapahie
Shiprock, NM

I am Navajo and Mormon. I have been told that American Indians are not Lamanites, but actually descendants of Asians and some European groups, through the scientific method of DNA testing, proving the BOM is not true. I have thought about this and came up with this conclusion: Native Americans are principal descendants from a few different racial groups! Some tribes have DNA traits from Asia, some from Europe, and at the minimum, a small near insignificant amount from the Middle East and Polynesia. But the Middle East and Polynesia is not shown as a racial trait because it is so insignificant with a sigma giving it no importance! This makes Lamanites among (not the principal) ancestors of American Indians. DNA testing started with no pure American Indian tribal member to be tested, as with other racial groups, and then having those impure racial groups to be compared with other impure American Indian tribal members. Therefore, the probability factor of Hebrew or Polynesian DNA in a Native American is insignificant! The BOM represents the Lamanites/Nephites, but also mentions another group, the Jaredites, who existed before the Lamanites, living in the New World. BOM is positive for all.

the truth
Holladay, UT


Different "familiar".

familiar - something you know or recognize, something that is family

But thanks for connecting Moroni/BOM and Isaiah/prophecy correctly.

the truth
Holladay, UT


A Scientist claimed he has received no answer, and made his own conclusions.

I am sure it is the same for to you. But only you know the truth.

Aurora, CO

It is not worth being concerned about historical evidence. Brother Terryl Givens made it clear at one of the church firesides that one does not have to believe in a literal Book of Mormon to be a faithful member and hold a temple recommend. So, why argue about it.

Craig Clark
Boulder, CO


"....one does not have to believe in a literal Book of Mormon to be a faithful member and hold a temple recommend. So, why argue about it."

Joseph Smith himself ordained that it would be argued about endlessly by publishing it to an incredulous world as a translation of an ancient record. Had he offered it as an allegorical tale, the world might be less condemning and even reluctantly willing to consider its worth as an inspired work, if not scriptural.

Oregon City, OR

@sharrona It is natural that some have misunderstood the term "familiar spirit." The contemporary use of familiar is as an adjective, derived from the Latin familiaris, meaning “domestic” (an adjectival formation from familia, “family”). The word means something like “intimate, very friendly.” But in about 1590 the word began to be used as a noun meaning “demon, evil spirit.”

In the KJV, the “one that hath a familiar spirit” does not, mean that people will be familiar with it (i.e. "rings a bell," or something they've been acquainted with before)

Rather, the term "familiar spirit" in Isaiah has something to do with divination by communicating with the spirits of the dead (necromancy). KJV use of “familiar” in this sense is an unfortunate translation, both because it confuses modern English readers and because it brings up images of medieval witchcraft that don't match the ancient biblical world.

Isaiah is referring to events at Jerusalem (called "Ariel") Thus, Jerusalem and its inhabitants will be destroyed, and Isaiah says that the only thing that will linger on is their voices or witness "from beyond the grave," so to speak. FAIR

Springville, UT

1aggie posted:

=DNA testing has shown that the American Indians came from Asia, not Israel.

When was that DNA testing done? Most of the time when I've heard of DNA testing it was done around 2000. But I have a distinct memory of watching NOVA with my father in 2008 where the NOVA researchers tried to copy the results of the DNA testing and discovered that indeed the majority of DNA came from Asia, but there was some DNA that they couldn't recognize.

Eldersburg, MD


Scriptures in the Bible taken out of context and aimed at dismissing a religion contrary to one's own beliefs only conforms to man-made interpretation of doctrine.

This is precisely why the Bible alone cannot create absolutism regarding the doctrine of Christ, the nature and character of God, and all His works.

While most of Christianity accepts the Bible as the only scripture of God, does this make it absolute, final, or the only source of God's word and truth that ever has been given, or ever will be given?

Why is the Spirit of Revelation, eternal Covenants, and Priesthood authority denied by most of Christianity and yet it is backbone of the entire Bible? Would not God reveal more on the subject, especially in these tumultuous latter days?

Why would faith and works be required of all ancient peoples in the Bible, and yet many today say only grace alone saves? Why wouldn't we also have the power of the Priesthood and be required to do the works of Christ to truly follow Him as in ancient days? Is God changeable because Christ atoned for our sins that we are saved independent of our works?

layton, UT

EternalPerspective the Bible taken out of context.

The KJV/3 Nephi Sermon on the Mount. LDS Scholar Dr. Larson finds 12 examples where JS copied the 1769 KJV errors.
Mt 6:13 KJV and 3Nephi 13:13 Both have the doxology, For thine is he Kingdom and power and the glory forever amen. The KJV is based on 9th to 12th century texts. Earlier and better manuscripts do not contain the doxology. One example.

RE: MrNirom1, the term "familiar spirit”,(defined)

(LeGrand Richards, Value of the Holy Scriptures, Ensign May 1976). “when I read that book, I get the same spiritual uplift that I get when I read the New. Testament. ’Isn’t that what Isaiah meant when he said that it should have a familiar spirit?"

( Is 29:4 JST) “And thou(she) shalt be brought down, and shalt speak out of the ground, and thy(her) speech shall be low out of the dust, and thy(her) voice shall be, as of one that hath a “Familiar Spirit”, out of the ground, and thy(her) speech shall whisper out of the dust”. The inspired version makes 4 minor changes

Eldersburg, MD


Scholarly knowledge of the scriptures from academic study and theologians who spent their lives searching for evidences of God's works, does not equate to a sure testimony of eternal truths and realities that can only be given by the Holy Ghost.

KJV 1 Corinthians 1:26-29 says, "For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: That no flesh should glory in his presence."

William Tyndale said, "I defy the Pope and all his laws. If God spare my life ere many years, I will cause the boy that drives the plow to know more of the scriptures than you!". As with Moses and brass serpant, the wise and learned are kept from God's truths today. They disbelieve just like the Pharisees of Jesus day.

A Scientist
Provo, UT

kaparowitz wrote:

"Sounds like you have a doubting mind that questions everything. To find the truth you first have to accept that you do not know the answer definitively. Then you must reach out and hope to find the answer."

You presume to judge me, and your unrighteous judgment presumes that I receive(d) no answer because I doubted.

After a quarter of a century of "reaching out", and being married to the best Mormon you would every meet, I can assure you: I doubt because I received no answer; not vice versa.

But your response is common from members - they fault me, and condemn me rather than admit that Moroni's Challenge is flawed, and that good, worthy people do not see the world the same way they do.

Instead, you judge me as having "fear of failure," "give up trying", and "come to the wrong conclusion."

Again, your judgment is unrighteous, and therefore, your "well wishes" at the end of your comment are disingenuous.

But I wish you a future filled with less self-complacency, less unrighteous judgment of others, and less arrogance.

Good luck with that.


"...very many customs...I have witnessed among them... appear to be decidedly Jewish; and many of them so decidedly so, that it would seem almost impossible, or at all events, exceedingly improbable, that two people in a state of nature should have hit upon them, and practiced them exactly alike".

George Caitlin:Letters and Notes on the Manners, Customs, and conditions of North American Indians"

Mr Caitlin lived among American natives over many years and painted hundreds of portraits of them.

He referred here to the monotheistic beliefs of the natives, their separation into genders for worship, their sacrifices of firstfruits and the best male animal, their belief that they were a favored people, their belief that the good would live again in a glorious kingdom, immortality etc.

"I have made this a subject of unceasing enquiry during all my travels, and from evry individual Indian wih whom I have conversed on the subject.... I have received evidence enough, as well as from their numerous and humble modes of worhsip, to convince the mind...of any man..."

Mr Caitlin's notes were written from 1832-1839.

Craig Clark
Boulder, CO

The origins of indigenous peoples of pre-Columbian America was a mystery to Europeans who migrated to the New World from the early 1500s onward. So few pieces of the puzzle left it wide open to be imagined. Crude attempts to explain based on what seemed plausible were conjecture in the absence of known facts. But given the religious heritage of Europe, it shouldn’t be surprising to see an explanation that affirms Christianity’s providential destiny to bring the message of universal salvation to all mankind. That’s what was electrifying in the Book of Mormon history of Christian belief among ancestors of those regarded as heathens and savages in Joseph Smith’s time.

The Book of Mormon gave the Americas a rich antiquity that paralleled Old World antiquity replete with the collapse of Nephite civilization coinciding with the fall of the Roman Empire and a subsequent descent into a dark age. The Book of Mormon is a Biblical parody with Mormon as a creative alter ego of Joseph Smith. It warrants wider appreciation as religious literature even as we continue learning more about the earliest Americans.

Springville, UT

A Scientist posted:

=But your response is common from members - they fault me, and condemn me rather
=than admit that Moroni's Challenge is flawed, and that good, worthy people do
=not see the world the same way they do.

How can Moroni's Challenge be flawed, in a world that a good God controls? When someone gets to the point that s/he is really ready to base the whole rest of that someone's life on _whatever_ answer God provides, and asks a question with intent to use God's answer as a certain foundation for that person's personal theology, how can a good God to anything _but_ answer that question? That God knows that if S/He doesn't answer then that someone has no way of every getting that certain foundation, so why in the world _wouldn't_ that God answer the question? If God doesn't respond immediately, then keep the question in the back of your mind until God does respond. What else can you do?

sandy, ut


If Moroni's challenge wasn't flawed then people would not get very different answers on that same question. Not everybody who takes Moroni's challenge gets a positive answer that it is true. I know because I got the answer that it isn't. I did all the other things it says, was humble, had faith... if just came back as a no. That is why it is flawed.

Los Angeles, CA

People around the world in virtually all walks of life have effectively taken Moroni's challenge (although not called that) by asking if their religions are true and woukd tell you they have received confirmation that their religions are true. How do we explain (or dismiss) that inconvenient fact?

layton, UT

@MrNirom1 ... Your voice will sound like a spirit speaking from the underworld; from the dust you will chirp as if muttering an Incantation(Is 29:4 NET)

RE: EternalPerspective, the Holy Ghost/Spirit=(pneuma)same Greek word.
The original Aof. #8 We believe in the Word of God recorded in the Bible; we also believe the Word of God recorded in the Book of Mormon, and in all other good books. See current #8. i.e..

MS discoveries since the KJV have a much better understanding of the Sermon on the Mount. Greek MS 200 A.D. thru patristic early support, which leads to the original text. These are earlier and better texts of Matthews Sermon on the Mount. The BoM never takes us to a verifiable text in history.

RE: the truth, connecting Moroni/BOM and Isaiah/prophecy:
A Marvelous Work and Wonder, a Modern Translation. “Therefore I will take awesome vengeance on these hypocrites, and make their wisest counselors as fools.” (Is 29:14 LB),Not a prophecy about the Bom But God will punish the Jews for spiritual wickedness; He will remove their discernment from their hearts.. . Fulfilled in that they rejected Christ.

Springville, UT

Skeptic posted:

=The BOM may be many things, but it is doubtful that it is history.

I took a look at the definition of doubtful, and it said:

1. of uncertain outcome or result.
2. admitting of or causing doubt; uncertain; ambiguous.
3. unsettled in opinion or belief; undecided; hesitating.
4. of equivocal or questionable character: His tactics are highly doubtful.

The first three definitions certainly fit. It's definitely possible to doubt that the Book of Mormon is history. But that doesn't mean that it's not history.

It's also possible to doubt that the story of the Israelite exodus from Egypt is history. Once again that doesn't mean that exodus isn't history. I personally believe that both the Book of Mormon and the Book of Exodus tell true historical tales. Could I be wrong? Of course I could. But so could anyone who doesn't believe one of those two accounts are history.

G L W8

Gildas, an additional observation: the bulk of the Book of Mormon story takes place in a very short time period: From Mosiah to the close of 3rd Nephi covers the period from 130 B.C. to 36 A.D. For those critical of the LDS position that American Indians descend from the peoples of this book, keep in mind it is impossible from a historical perspective and nearly impossible from an archaeological/anthropological perspective to either prove or disprove that thesis. Even a DNA analysis fails because we don't have sufficient evidence to know what peoples may have been on the continent at the time, may have come to the continent since, or if there may have been peoples here prior to the alleged arrival of the Jaredites. As to DNA markers, we can only speculate. To my knowledge, historical samples from the missing tribes of Israel circa 600 B.C. are non-existent. DNA relationships are easier to determine in the recent past.

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