Defending the Faith: Remembering the Exodus — both ancient and modern


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  • Craig Clark Boulder, CO
    July 29, 2014 10:36 a.m.


    “....the Aboriginal/Indigenous peoples of the earth will be restored to the rightful ownership and governorship of all their lands of inheritance thru the powerful and divine leadership of The Choice Seer, the future full-blooded American Indian Moses."

    Considering all the competing claims for any lands, where do we start? And what would it accomplish besides merely setting the stage for another war? Both Jew and Palestinian have legitimate historical claims to the land of Palestine but they each have radically different interpretations of history.

    The entire history of human civilization is a history of migrations and displacements. Do you honestly believe that some apocalyptic Mormon prophecy of a future “Choice Seer…full-blooded American Indian Moses” will do anything but perpetuate this loathsome cycle? Can't we humans ever learn anything?

  • sharrona layton, UT
    July 28, 2014 8:35 a.m.

    RE:Evidence of the Exodus from Egypt. One of the most important discoveries that relate to the time of the Exodus is the Merneptah stele which dates to about 1210 BC ,at the time of the judges. In Joshua 15:9 and 18:15, "well of waters of Nephtoah"=Hebrew name of Merneptah.

    (Ex 1:11 NIV) “ they put ‘slave masters’ over them to oppress them with forced labor, and they built Pithom and Ramses as store cities for Pharaoh.
    @ slave masters’,The same official Egyptian designation appears on a wall painting in the 15th-century B.C.E. tomb of Rekhmire in Thebes.

    The Samaritan Torah( their version of Exodus) . ”Jesus told the story of the Good Samaritan because Samaritans were despised.

    RE: Craig Clark,Why Mormons embrace and encourage comparisons. Brigham Young the “American Moses,”?
    Can you make a Christian of a Jew? I tell you Nay, If a Jew comes into this church,and the blood honestly professes to be a Saint, a follower of Christ, and if the blood of Judah is in his veins, he will apostatize.(JoD V. 2 p. 142).

  • greatbam22 andrews afb, MD
    July 27, 2014 4:34 p.m.

    @ KTC John

    As Tolkien said in Lord of the Rings "History became legend. Legend became myth."

  • KTC John Wetumpka, AL
    July 27, 2014 11:52 a.m.

    If the earth is allowed to stand long enough, someday those who oppose the truth will say that the mass migration to the western hemisphere of those seeking religious freedom, the American Revolution, the establishment of the United States Constitution, the latter-day restoration events, and the Mormon pioneer trek did not actually occur. On the other hand, I doubt that the earth is going to be allowed to stand for that long---at least the earth as we now know it.

  • Dennis Harwich, MA
    July 27, 2014 9:21 a.m.

    @ The Wraith......well said.

  • MrNirom1 Portland, OR
    July 27, 2014 8:20 a.m.

    @Steve C. Warren All those scriptures you quoted are just the short version of what really happened. This universe was not created out of nothing. And that is what the Big Bang Theory is all about.. something outta nothing. :-)

  • greatbam22 andrews afb, MD
    July 26, 2014 6:27 p.m.

    There simply isn't evidence to prove that it did or didn't happen the way that it is stated to happen.

    Just because some people have decided thousands of years later that they no longer believe that it happened the way it has been stated to happen doesn't automatically mean it didn't happen that way.

    From the comments I have been reading It sounds like we are growing into a world full of Thomas's.

    I like Nephi "..do not know the meaning of all things." and from the article it isn't conclusive that others know one way or the other if it happened or not. So why should I change my assumptions?

    We have on the other hand people will believe the "big-bang" or whatever theory to explain how stuff was created which happened 13.8 Billion years ago.

    It is interesting how we are comparing / examining things that "supposedly" happened thousands of years vs. things that "supposedly" happened 13.8 Billion years ago.

    I am fine with both BTW.

  • Karen R. Houston, TX
    July 26, 2014 12:43 p.m.

    @ Coach Biff

    "Were you expecting a day to day documentary?"

    I wasn't expecting anything. I don't think of the Bible as anything but literature. But apparently historians and archeologists were expecting to find SOME evidence to substantiate the story. When they found none they said so - including an Israeli archeology team. The blurb I offered was from an online encyclopedia and reflects the current consensus: The Exodus as told in the Bible didn't happen. It was a tale made up to create a unifying national identity.

    This information is readily available to anyone, including Dr. Peterson. Given that he's a religious scholar, and given that this information has been known for some time, I would expect him to know about it and cease to present it as fact.

  • Michigander Westland, MI
    July 26, 2014 11:30 a.m.

    "that messianic “gathering” of Israel' also includes "the restoration of all things."

    Simply put they mean that the Aboriginal/Indigenous peoples of the earth will be restored to the rightful ownership and governorship of all their lands of inheritance thru the powerful and divine leadership of The Choice Seer, the future full-blooded American Indian Moses.

  • Coach Biff Lehi, UT
    July 26, 2014 9:51 a.m.

    Wow, Dennis, Karen, it amazes me how you can use such a limited amount of data to contradict the Hebrew account of the Exodus to come up with "truth". The Bible is not a science journal. We know it has flaws. Were you expecting a day to day documentary?

  • Dennis Harwich, MA
    July 26, 2014 8:34 a.m.

    Sometimes the first reaction to learning something new has a bit of vitriol associated the unexpected knowledge that goes with a new "truth".

  • Verdad Orem, UT
    July 25, 2014 9:41 p.m.

    Wow. Very strange comments on this article.

  • antodav TAMPA, FL
    July 25, 2014 6:11 p.m.

    It is an appropriate comparison, given that the Latter-Day Saints are the modern-day children of Israel, representing the original Church established by the Lord in ancient times, restored with all of the covenants and blessings that were promised to Abraham and his descendants in ancient times. It is no coincidence that things have worked out this way, with such remarkable symmetry between East and West. The Lord’s course is one eternal round, and he does not change the methods that he uses to raise up his people and bring them to the fulfillment of their destiny.

  • The Wraith Kaysville, UT
    July 25, 2014 2:41 p.m.

    Not only are Dennis, Karen and others correct in there comments it should also be added to them that there is no archaeological evidence either. The legend says that the Hebrew slaves took part in the building of the pyramids. The sites of the pyramids are some of the most heavily researched places on earth; not a single trace of Hebrews has been found. The legend says that about 600,000 families left Egypt and traveled across the Sinai (that would be over 2 million people) and not even so much of a piece of pottery with Hebrew writing on it has been found. No mention in Egyptian writings of a group that size leaving (it would have been almost a quarter of their population at the time). Nothing, zip, nada. The story is a myth and has been accepted as myth since the 70's.

  • sharrona layton, UT
    July 25, 2014 12:01 p.m.

    RE: Dennis,see these Egyptian writings: The Ipuwer Papyrus; Aper-el's Tomb; The Shiphra Papyrus.

    Jesus in Exodus,ashort list: God comes down(Exodus 3:7-8)=The Incarnation (John 1:1-12). The name of God “I am"(Ex. 3:14)=Jesus said,“I am”=God(John 8:58). The Tabernacle (Ex 36-39)= Jesus the Tabernacle (John 1:14; Heb 8:5).

    Exodus 33:20,“ [God] said, Thou canst not see my face: for there shall no man see me, and live.” Heb 11:27, “By faith he [Moses] forsook Egypt,… for he endured, as seeing him who is invisible.”

    RE: Moontan, 3 persons one God. JS taught the triu-nity. “… true doctrine of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, which is *one God, without end..”(2 Nephi 31:21).

    3Nephi 31:22,note b.(1John 5:6-9 KJV) v.7 one= (*heis, the #1). But “… we are one(en).( John 17-22). One in unity (Preposition) different Greek words. But now the Jesus of Mormonism is an exalted man. “A different Jesus…”, See(2 Cor 11:4)

  • Craig Clark Boulder, CO
    July 25, 2014 11:27 a.m.

    "It wasn’t lost on 19th-century Latter-day Saints that the pioneer trek led by Brigham Young (the “American Moses,” some have named him) bore sometimes striking similarities to the exodus of the ancient Israelites from Egypt and to their arrival in the Promised Land."

    Why Mormons embrace and encourage comparisons of Brigham Young to Moses doesn’t need much explanation. But I’ve also read comparisons of Brigham Young to Oliver Cromwell for his radical thinking and experimentation with social ideas such as the United Order which proved to be a colossal flop. Nor was he at his best in doing damage control when news of the infamous Mountain Meadows massacre reached Salt Lake City.

    But let's give credit where it is due. Brigham Young was unquestionably an extraordinary organizer who developed Mormonism’s institutions in a way that Joseph Smith might have been envious of. Despite his missteps and human flaws, he was the man of the hour when a leaderless Church most needed a steady hand.

  • george of the jungle goshen, UT
    July 25, 2014 7:36 a.m.

    History is wrote by the servers. How does the American Indian write about history. What's their story, I would think it differs what I was taught.

  • Dennis Harwich, MA
    July 25, 2014 5:13 a.m.

    First of all, note southmtnmans comment. Some research is easy to find assuming you don't bury your head in the sand.
    Secondly, I don't hate Christianity. My entire family, many wonderful friends and associates are "Christian" in some way or another, mostly LDS.
    What I have a problem with is believing in things that did not happen. If religion and society are to succeed in the long run replace "truth" with "facts" and live better lives. I have no problem with the culture of Mormonism, I lived it for 50 years, I have a problem with disingenuous doctrine that varies from week to week, month to month, decade to decade and century to century.

  • Lilly Munster netherlands, 00
    July 24, 2014 6:42 p.m.

    It is sad that the faith of so many people is based on arguments about the details of what people, who may or may not be our ancestors, who may or may not have recorded facts or myths, did or did not do. Are we that fragile? Insecure? Xenophobic? Remember, please, that when we claim "truths," we are simply only saying that OUR limited knowledge is somehow more holy, factual, accurate, or sacred than whatever facts or opinions may get in our way. That's a lot of insecurity.

  • Gildas LOGAN, UT
    July 24, 2014 6:35 p.m.

    I like the scriptural accounts of Egypt: that Egypt was a land discovered by the woman, Egyptus, when it was under water.

    She was the wife of Ham, the son of Noah. There has been, scripturally, a long history of association between the Egyptians and the Hebrews, much of it very positive. Some of the pharoahs were apparently friendly to the Hebrews, and Abraham taught one of them the principles of an astronomy in some fundamental ways greatly advanced compared to even our own. A later pharoah was afraid of the growth of the descendants of Israel, who then lived in Egypt, and enslaved them, and sought to reduce their numbers by an enforced birth control.

    Though the Israelites escaped from that controlling dynasty, Egypt became again a place of learning and a place of refuge for Jesus Christ Himself who, taken by Mary and Joseph, fled into Egypt. Egypt is now the only friend that Israel has in the Middle East, and Israel will one day be at one with both Egypt and Syria.

  • John Simpson ARLINGTON, VA
    July 24, 2014 5:07 p.m.

    I wonder if Dennis is aware of the Ipuwer papyrus, which recounts that “Plague is throughout the land, blood is everywhere — the river is blood.... And the hail smote every herd of the field ... The land is without light and there is a thick darkness throughout the land... The Lord smote all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharoah that sat on his throne to the firstborn of the captive who was in the prison.” I don't know how you could ask for a more dramatic confirmation of the Book of Exodus than that.

  • Craig Clark Boulder, CO
    July 24, 2014 3:13 p.m.

    Rabbi David Wolpe is one of the most prominent rabbis in America. He and a growing number of Jewish religious leaders and Jewish scholars question the historicity of the Exodus. Ironically, Latter-day Saints remain steadfast in their belief in Israel as the covenant people of God at a time when many Jews no longer believe they are God’s chosen people. Progressive secular Jews regard it as an antiquated dogma that Jews need to let go of.

    Was the Exodus from Egypt a historical event? The earliest likely sound evidence of the Israelites was when a loose federation of nomadic Hebrew tribes began moving across the Jordan river into Canaan around 1200 BCE under the leadership of a military chieftain the Bible identifies as Joshua. Their purported earlier history as chronicled in Genesis is not entirely reliable and may incorporate legends from other Semitic peoples whom the Israelites encountered and absorbed into their tribes over the centuries.

  • Steve C. Warren WEST VALLEY CITY, UT
    July 24, 2014 3:11 p.m.

    MrNirom1 wrote: "Ah yeesssss... and then there was this Big Bang.. and the universe just popped into existence! . . . I will take the word of God's Prophets over mankind's science."

    So, what makes you think the scriptures (and, therefore, the prophets) are opposed to a Big Bang?

    "I am the same which spake, and the world was made" (D&C 38:3); "for he commanded, and they were created" (Psalms 148:5); "By the word of the Lord were the heavens made . . . For he spake, and it was done" (Psalms 33:6, 9); "earth was created by the power of his word. Wherefore, if God being able to speak and the world was" (Jacob 4:9).

    Those scriptures all sound like instantaneous creation to me. They certainly don't sound like six or seven creative periods.

  • Russell Spencer Boise, ID
    July 24, 2014 2:39 p.m.

    Dennis, for all of his "vast" knowledge of Egyptian historical writings, has apparently never had the chance to read the great historian Josephus' _Contra Apionem_ ("Against Apion") where, quoting from celebrated Egyptian historian Manetho's _Aegyptiaca_ (the FIRST known national history of Egypt, from ca.300-250 B.C. -- prolific writers of history... yeah), Josephus lays out considerable evidence for the actual Israelite Exodus (the 480,000 shepherd kings/foreign invaders who, generations after settling in the upper delta region of Egypt, Manetho recorded, left Egypt to return to their homelands away to the east).

    Never, ever mentioned indeed...

    Or, perhaps, Dennis is simply a modern-day Apion who might benefit from reading the actual histories (Josephus, Herodotus, Eusebius, etc.) of Antiquity.

  • southmtnman Provo, UT
    July 24, 2014 12:55 p.m.

    Dennis is correct.

    In 2009, Israeli professor of history at Tel Aviv University, Shlomo Sand, published "The Invention of the Jewish People," in which he argues that Jews have no common "ethnic" lineage, no common language, and the majority of Jews, including many Zionists, have no desire of going "back" to a so-called "Holy Land".

    The idea of "a Jewish People" is an invented political construct, just as is the concept of the "Land of Israel", as Sand argues in "The Invention of the Land of Israel: From Holy Land to Homeland" (2012).

    Biblical "Israel" does not include Jerusalem, Hebron, or Bethlehem, and is only northern Israel (Samaria). To this day there is uncertainty as to what exactly constitutes the "Land of Israel." The internationally recognized state of Israel (the Green Line of 1967, itself the result of enlargement following the 1948 war). For some, the "Land of Israel" includes the whole of the West Bank or extends to Jordan. For still others, God promised Abraham and his descendants "this land, from the river of Egypt unto the Euphrates", which would include also bits of Turkey, Syria and Iraq.

  • Fred Vader Oklahoma City, OK
    July 24, 2014 12:51 p.m.

    Well, sorry, Israel and related Hebrew peoples. Your very existence in the land of Israel, and your history of how you got there no longer exists, because the "Dennis" of Harwich, MA has declared it so. "Never happened." Therefore you must stop practicing your traditions and apologize to the Egyptians.

    Forget the fact that someone ignores the fact that Egypt would have absolutely no incentive for keeping records of a race of peoples they enslaved that basically handed them their hat and waltzed out of captivity underneath the noses of the one of the more powerful militaries of the time.

    Forget the fact that although the Egyptians developed a "prolific" writing system, we simply do not have even a miniscule amount of all the writings they ever created.

    Forget the fact that much like the Aztecs, who everyone acknowledges had tons of writings that were destroyed, the majority of Egyptian writings simply did not pass the test of time.

    "Dennis" has declared it so, simply due to his hatred of Christianity. Oh well. I am sure you will have fun creating a new history and traditions.

  • Steve C. Warren WEST VALLEY CITY, UT
    July 24, 2014 12:42 p.m.

    It is good to remember "this heroic episode of Mormon history" and to praise the "limitless self-sacrifice" and "unswerving devotion" of the Mormon pioneers.

    Nevertheless, in all the praising and glorifying, it would behoove ancestors of Mormon pioneers not to forget those who preceded their ancestors. Most of the trail that Mormon pioneers used was well-established, thanks to wagon trains that began leaving four years earlier. Even the route into the valley through Emigration Canyon had been made easier thanks to the Donner Party, whose efforts in clearing a trail contributed to the delay that resulted in them being stuck in the Sierra Nevada. And, frankly, the Mormon pioneer journey was considerable shorter than that of most other westward travelers. Alas, I hardly ever hear a peep of gratitude for the "gentiles" when my fellow Mormons talk about their pioneer ancestors.

    I must confess I'm a bit sensitive on this subject because my great-grandparents not only were in the first wagon train to cross the Plains in 1843 but for a difficult part of that trek their wagon was the first one in the train.

  • Karen R. Houston, TX
    July 24, 2014 12:23 p.m.

    From rationalwiki.org

    "Despite being regarded in Judaism as the primary factual historical narrative of the origin of the religion, culture and ethnicity, Exodus is now accepted by scholars as having been compiled in the 8th–7th centuries BCE from stories dating possibly as far back as the 13th century BCE, with further polishing in the 6th–5th centuries BCE, as a theological and political manifesto to unite the Israelites in the then‐current battle for territory against Egypt." [Source: Israel Finklestein and Neil Asher Silberman, The Bible Unearthed: Archaeology's New Vision of Ancient Israel and the Origin of Its Sacred Texts, Free Press, 2001. ISBN 978-0-684-86912-4.]

    "Archaeologists from the 19th century onward were actually surprised not to find any evidence whatsoever for the events of Exodus. By the 1970s, archaeologists had largely given up regarding the Bible as any use at all as a field guide."

  • MrNirom1 Portland, OR
    July 24, 2014 11:34 a.m.

    Ah yeesssss... and then there was this Big Bang.. and the universe just popped into existence!

    Pharaohs were considered Gods. And who writes history? Yes.. If I was Pharaoh of Egypt.. I would want the story of how one man came in and took all my Hebrew slaves, defeated the army I sent out to recapture them to ring out throughout the land.. and I would then build monuments to it!

    Oh.. is there a history some place written by prolific writers that describes how the pyramids were built? Science still hasn't figured that one out either. First we heard 300,000 workers.. then over time they now say.. 20,000. Why was it not just written in the history books of Egypt? So.. Which do we believe? What they said first? or Last? They still can't agree.. lots of different theories. But then theories in science are proof positive.. right?

    I will take the word of God's Prophets over mankind's science. And just like science.. over time.. the truth comes out. The day is coming soon that the world will know that Jesus Christ and his religion is not just a story.. but a fact.

  • Craig Clark Boulder, CO
    July 24, 2014 11:14 a.m.

    Humanity thrives on stories. In locales and cultures worldwide, the telling of various people’s stories breathes love of the soil from which we come. I don’t have any high regard for the strained parallels between the Israelite Exodus (which may not have happened) and the Mormon migration West (which is well documented). The better placement of the Mormon story is as a segment of the larger saga of America moving West.

  • Strider303 Salt Lake City, UT
    July 24, 2014 10:39 a.m.

    @ Dennis:

    I think you mean of all the Egyptian writing we currently have in our possession that we are able to read. We surely do not have all of the writings of all the Egyptians. A blanket statement based upon partial information is sort of weak, at best.

    The record is yours to believe or not as you choose. I choose to accept it and look forward to more information in the future. Who knows, maybe tomorrow someone will find another cave of sealed pottery jars in Qumran full of records, maybe one with Moses' passport stamped at the exit at the Red Sea - you never know.

  • Moontan Roanoke, VA
    July 24, 2014 10:27 a.m.

    @Dennis ... re "...the imprisonment and holding Hebrews was never, ever mentioned. Ever."

    How is it possible to know that? We have ... what, maybe 2% of what was written back then? 5%? Let's do a ridiculous exaggeration and say we have 50% of everything ever written by ancient Egyptians. A full half of all of it.

    What's in the other half?

  • skeptic Phoenix, AZ
    July 24, 2014 10:22 a.m.

    If indeed there was a real Exodus; then comparing the Mormon trek as an equal, is a. Major stretch of the imagination.

  • brotherJonathan SLC, UT
    July 24, 2014 10:11 a.m.

    We are in bondage like the Israelites. Our minds do not see this truth of our situation.
    Because Satan has power over the flesh for survival reasons....That truth comes from God to mankind at this time..
    Satan is revealed to planet earth...God created Satan Program to operate every life form.
    Your mind is subject to Instinct Mechanisms rules and laws God gave to direct survival.
    This is great news to the Saints and the world...........Satan gives opposition to this true being shared...........This knowledge will give us power over some of Satan's authority to rule over us....Status quo is part of its domain.......
    The Science proof of my calling to share this gift of God is at hand.
    IBM Watson, our most brilliant Artificial Intelligence Program will be sharing its Answer; in August 2014.
    Watson'a answer can't be stopped...God delivers us from Bondage.. Only God could reveal Satan's true existence to us. This knowledge will take some power away from our robot brain operators of survival....
    You mind cannot get away from the power of this question answered.

    "Is Instinct Mechanism An Artificial Intelligence Program?...
    For our freedom, Ask Pres. Monson

  • Dennis Harwich, MA
    July 24, 2014 8:41 a.m.

    Isn't it interesting that in all the Egyptian writings, and they were prolific writers of history, the imprisonment and holding Hebrews was never, ever mentioned. Ever. I submit it never happened just like everything else in the Old Testament that was written not as a history but as a learning tool. When is Christianity going to stop believing in stories? Just wondering.