Challenging Issues, Keeping the Faith: True scholarship vs. wishful thinking

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  • What Fountain Valley, CA
    Feb. 6, 2011 1:26 a.m.

    Thank you MichaelM.
    However, I'm still a little confused. I'm not sure which apologists you are referring to, or why we can't trust them.

    And, while I'm still reading your list, so far I haven't found the answers to my questions.

    X2a wasn't claimed as evidence by Michael Ash or in the above JM comment

    Some of these hint or claim that prevalence of D4h3 and x2a in certain areas indicate route. However, honestly, this in no way proves that "rare" D4h3 and x2a didn't come by boat, or that no others came by boat.

    I'll keep reading but would appreciate quotes supporting your claim implying that all Native Americans originated in the Middle East but had no interactions with those settling the Fertile Crescent.

    Here is quote from UC Berkley scholar:

    We dont know how people got to the New World, when, or who they were. Those questions are very much up for grabs right now and very controversial."

  • Michael_M Scottsbluff, NE
    Feb. 5, 2011 6:05 p.m.

    Here is a very brief listing of sources available online. LDS apologists should not be trusted. Two of these sources are from an LDS scientist (Dr. Perego)

    The Presence of Mitochondrial Haplogroup X in Altaians from South Siberia
    The American Journal of Human Genetics, 2001

    Y Chromosome Evidence for Differing Ancient Demographic Histories in the Americas
    The American Journal of Human Genetics, 2003

    Origin and Diffusion of mtDNA Haplogroup X
    The American Journal of Human Genetics, 2003

    Polarity and Temporality of High Resolution Y Chromosome Distributions in India Identify Both Indigenous and Exogenous Expansions and Reveal Minor Genetic Influence of Central Asian Patoralists
    The American Journal of Human Genetics, February 2006

    A novel subgroup Q5 of human Y chromosomal haplogroup Q in India
    BMC Evolutionary Biology 2007

    The Phylogeny of the Four Pan-American MtDNA Haplogroups: Implications for Evolutionary Disease Studies (Perego)
    Plos One, March 2008

    Updated Comprehensive Phylogenetic Tree of Global Human Mitochondrial DNA Variation
    Mutation in Brief #1039, 2008

    Distinctive Paleo-Indian Migration Routes from Beringia Marked by Two Rare mtDNA Haplogroups (Perego)
    Current Biology, January 13, 2009

    Correcting for Purifying Selection: An Improved Human Mitochondrial Molecular Clock
    The American Journal of Human Genetics, June 12, 2009

  • What Fountain Valley, CA
    Feb. 5, 2011 5:08 p.m.

    Michael M, I'm curious about your comment. I'm pretty sure the JM comments were referring to some recent statements but didn't get a chance to review.

    But, how do you know:
    1 Where Native American DNA developed? I know scholars estimate mutation dates but didn't know there was proof of where those mutations took place. If you can prove that Native American DNA markers mutated in the Middle East I'd be grateful.

    2 How do you know there were no interactions with people in the Crescent?
    We know very little of anything about the people living anywhere 20,000 years ago.

    3 I'm not sure why people act offended that some Native American ancestors were from the Middle East, rather than from China or Central Asia (especially since 20,000 years ago the ancestors of current Chinese probably weren't in China and probably weren't near the Bering Strait). Please explain.

    4 Did more recent studies move migration dates back to 20,000 years ago? Mutation dates? I'm very curious about the studies that have outdated other studies.

    Thank You.

  • Mormoncowboy Provo, Ut
    Feb. 3, 2011 8:27 p.m.

    Idaho Coug:

    As you said, "just wishful thinking". The Church may be making subtle steps towards loosening the requirements on how members perceive The Book of Mormon, so far as it relates to membership. Still, that's the most you are ever going to get. There would be nothing to gain and everything to lose from publicly making a proactive statement as to a revised position. We can of course look to the precedents set in the cases of the Priesthood Ban, and Polygamy. Particularly in the last thirty years, nothing has been stated "doctrinally" on either of these issues. In fact for the most part Church leaders have said nothing, leading to immense speculation and ambiguitu amongst the general membership on these topics, while mitigating fallout from taking positions either way. When the issues have been addressed Church leaders broach the subject strictly in terms of "current policy", again neither embracing nor denouncing the doctrinal positions. This is the best that can be expected with regards to The Book of Mormon. Subtle changes behind the scenes with interpretations left to the membership. It is good for maintaing neutrality, but bad for religious providing theological vigor to the faith.

  • Idaho Coug Meridian, Idaho
    Feb. 3, 2011 5:52 p.m.

    Otis - we can only hope.

    But then I read things like Jeffery R. Holland's recent conference talk and wonder, did he not get the memo or are we just wishful thinking?

  • Otis Spurlock Ogden, UT
    Feb. 3, 2011 4:49 p.m.

    Good comment Idaho Cougar. As I stated above you are also no longer required to believe in the BoM as historical to be baptized anymore.

    Just a few years ago, it was a requirment to have a testimony of the BoM before baptism. Now, there is no such requirement and no mention of the BoM in the pre-baptisimal interview.

    There are some BIG changes going on right now (behind the scenes) in regards to how the Church views the BoM.

  • Idaho Coug Meridian, Idaho
    Feb. 3, 2011 2:42 p.m.

    Bishops and Stake Presidents are instructed to ask the temple recommend questions as they are written and not expound or insert their own interpretations.

    Nowhere is it asked if you believe in the Book of Mormon specifically and certainly is nothing asked about the historicity of it.

    The Book of Mormon is a testament of the Savior and his atonement. Not a history book. Therefore, if a member does not believe in the Savior then I don't think they should be attending the temple. But if a member believes and appreciates the testimony the BofM provides of the Savior but is uncertain or even does not believe that the Nephites and Lamanites actually existed - THEY CAN ATTEND THE TEMPLE!!

    There are some very black and white, all or nothing members and some post here. I just hope they are not the one's asking the temple recommend questions.

    The Lord put us here to be progressing and if we are LDS to be continually working on our testimonies. He knows that some faithful LDS can reasonably be confused about or have doubts about the historicity of the BofM. He still wants to see them in his temple!

  • Michael_M Scottsbluff, NE
    Feb. 3, 2011 8:49 a.m.

    You said "Leading scholars now say American DNA source unknown". This is an outdated claim and a misuse of scholarly data.

    The American source of DNA dates back to the near east from more than 20,000 years ago. Before that, all humans originated in Africa. America's first people had no contact with those who developed in the Fertile Crescent. Their accomplishments were made outside of the Old World. They progressed on their own, as all human beings are capable of.

    The belief that European history and culture is superior has confused the understanding of America. Ideas such as found in the BofM distort the origin of America's first people. This happens because of attempts to explain them with the Bible and Book of Mormon. Adam and Eve are a myth. The Book of Mormon is fiction.

    Your mention of Q-P36 is another misuse of data. Read the journals of science and not the writings of apologists if you wish to argue for scientific evidence. If you wish to believe in the Book of Mormon then practice Moroni's promise and quit seeking signs to validate your faith.

  • JM Lehi, UT
    Feb. 3, 2011 12:02 a.m.

    Couldnt resist

    (Dude, its your best, but try taller, like "theyre no longer called Mormons cause..." or "Official Declaration#") ; ) (stays our secret)

    @ex, do Sandy Utah Branches still require faith/testimonies for critic recommends?
    Otis needs ...: )

    @sharonnaclayCo, youre loved, check FAIR, again.

    @OtisCmtmanetc, MikeM, Texas??

    MikeA and others discuss historical: steel, RedSea rivers, Shazar, Bountiful, compass, glass, metal bows, temple, horses, armor, Baallike rites, 80 evidences, detailed religious/cultural/geography/name correlations etc (etc here=unmentioned mountainous and growing list of supposed blunders proven BoM supportive by real science )

    Even if eyewitnesses hefted plates and saw angels some would dismiss.
    @MichaelM, sounds familiar, check previous articles and comments on false DNA claims. (Leading scholars now say American DNA source unknown, interestingly IAmerican marker Q-P36 is "founding" Jewish marker, found in Iranian, Iraqi, Yemenite etc (not just Ashkenazi Jews, Khazar connection questioned), indications that people settling Central Asia are Manasseh related etc. (Manasseh wasnt Jewish+ mother "Asiatic"), IAmerican markers entered China etc late, 13000BP redheads, IAmerican morphology isnt East Asian was ME, Polynesian, etc. They explain this quandary saying few interactions bury DNA etc.

    Geographynw? : ) : ) im focusing

  • brokenclay Scottsdale, AZ
    Feb. 1, 2011 7:36 p.m.

    No, the critique hasn't been answered. Allow me to clarify some more. Psalm 110:1 says,

    "Jehovah [the Father] saith unto my Lord [the Messiah, Jesus], Sit thou at my right hand, Until I make thine enemies thy footstool." (American Standard Version)

    The verses in the NT that quote this verse (including Matthew 22:44; Mark 12:36; Luke 20:42f; Acts 2:34f; Hebrews 1:13) make it very clear that this verse refers to the Father as Jehovah (KJV, LORD, all caps, not simply Lord), and that he talks to the Messiah, Jesus Christ. The LDS paradigm cannot account for this discrepancy, and many others. In virtually every chapter of the OT, you will find that Elohim and Jehovah are used interchangeably with reference to God.

    Only the orthodox understanding of God as a triune being can account for all of the data-- not polytheism or sabellianism (which you have often misrepresented us as).

    As far as the main topic of the thread, it may be that the church leadership is slowly preparing to repudiate the Book of Mormon sometime in the future, if what Otis and Cowboy are saying is accurate.

  • cmtam lake forest, ca
    Feb. 1, 2011 5:43 p.m.

    RE: "Utes Fan, Most apologists would disagree and say the evidence for the BOM only gets stronger."

    I find the more I read the Bible the evidence for BoM,and the author,JS gets weaker.

    Thou shalt rule them with a ROD of IRON; thou shalt dash them in pieces as a potters vessel. (Psalm 2:9 KJV& JST )
    He shall rule them with a ROD of IRON; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of my Father. (Rev 2:27 KJV).

    And he shall rule them with[the WORD of GOD]; and they shall be in his hands as the vessel of clay in the hands of a potter; and he govern them by faith, with equity and justice ,even as I received of my father.(Rev 2:27 JST).

    JS mistranlates and contradicts the Word of God,and JST at the same time.

  • Apocolypse Cow Sunny and 75, CA
    Feb. 1, 2011 5:07 p.m.

    Let me get this straight. First, Michael Ash admits in this article that there is no evidence as of yet for the Book of Mormon. Second, belief in the Book of Mormon is not currently required for a temple recommend, but it used to be. Third, belief in the Book of Mormon is not currently required for baptism in the LDS faith, but it used to be.

    Seems like a huge change is going on right now at the highest levels of the Church regarding the Book of Mormon.

  • Otis Spurlock Ogden, UT
    Feb. 1, 2011 2:50 p.m.

    Bill and Ute,

    Actually, once you've had the discussions and have attended services at least three times within a six month period, you can be baptized and be confirmed as a member.

    That's pretty much it, to be honest.

    Here are the current questions that are asked before one can be baptised:

    Do you believe in God and Jesus Christ?
    Do you believe in the restoration of the gospel? Do you believe that the current LDS church president is a prophet of God?
    Do you feel that you have repented of serious past transgressions? (This includes crimes, abortions, and homosexual relationships.)
    Do you understand and are you willing to obey the law of chastity?
    Do you understand and are you willing to obey the law of tithing?
    Do you understand and are you willing to obey the word of wisdom?
    Do you understand and are you willing to keep the Sabbath day holy?
    Are you ready to make the covenant of baptism and strive to be faithful to it all your life?

    Notice how there is not mention of the BoM. This is a pretty radical change from just 4 years ago when it was required.

  • Mormoncowboy Provo, Ut
    Feb. 1, 2011 12:06 p.m.

    The bar being raised has no implication for raising the theological standard of missionaries. It is strictly an increase demand on a worthiness scale. In other words, a prospective missionary who loses their virginity prior to marriage could commonly wait a necessary one year probabtion and still serve. Now, in most cases they can't. That's what raising the bar actually means in practice. The assumption was that conversion = worthiness, ie, a person who maintains total chastity must do so because of their testimonies (naturally it couldn't be due to a lack of opportunity). Conversely, someone who violates said law must do so only because they are casual about their faith, and not because they buckled under mortal pressure. Furthermore, as opposed to the promise in the D&C that repented sins are not "remembered" by the lord, for purposes of missionary eligibility, they are.

  • Bill in Nebraska Maryville, MO
    Feb. 1, 2011 11:48 a.m.

    To Otis:

    As stated by Utes Fan and what I said last week are statements are totally incorrect. The Book of Mormon is actually being more emphasized as stated in General Conference talks and in the Sunday School Lessons.

    As Utes Fan so nicely put it that for one to have a TESTIMONY of the Restoration, one must have a testimony of the Book of Mormon. I have talked to numerous Stake Presidents and Bishops of which they emphatically state that the WOULD NOT give a recommend to anyone who does not have a testimony of the Book of Mormon.

    To put it even more bluntly Missionaries are not even called today as the bar has been raised unless they have a testimony of the Book of Mormon. That is a major requirement today for them to be called.

    Investigators to the Church are asked and required to pray about the Book of Mormon and its truthfulness. Many do not meet the requirement for baptism unless they have a testimony of it.

    Therefore, the continued emphasis of the Book of Mormon as the keystone to our religion is manifest in those statements.

  • Utes Fan Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 1, 2011 9:39 a.m.

    @Otis Spurlock

    "I find it interesting that there has almost been a complete revolution regarding the BoM in the last 10 years in light of many new scientific discoveries that clearly show the BoM is not historical."

    Most apologists would disagree and say the evidence for the BOM only gets stronger. Maybe go to Mormon Dialogue and Discussion Board web site and ask them to discuss it.

    "It used to be taught that the BoM was the Keystone of our religion"

    It still is.

    "I have seen its importance being more and more minimalized in the Church."

    I 100% disagree.

    "Belief in the BoM is no longer required for a temple recommend, or any calling or activity in the Church anymore."

    I am not aware of a requirement for a calling to believe in the BOM. However, for a temple recommend, a person must have a testimony of the restoration (it is one of the temple recommend questions). If a person believes the BOM to be false and not from God, I hardly think that person has a testimony of the restoration and, at least in my opinion, should not qualify for a temple recommend.

  • sharrona layton, Ut
    Feb. 1, 2011 9:18 a.m.

    Bill in Nebraska, as it is now REVEALED(*apokalupto) unto his HOLY APOSTLES and PROPEHTS by the SPIRIT." (Ephesians 3:5*)apokalupto=Verb: past tense,disclose,made known. akin to apokalusis or Apocalypse.
    as it is now 'been' revealed(Ephesians 3:5 NIV) is a better translation.

    Lord at putting Peter at the head,but not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock.(1 Peter 5:3)

    Today whenever a person claims to have a prophetic message from God it has to agree with God's word. Example, They tell us that the BofM states that Jesus was begotten of the Holy Ghost. "I challenge that statement The BofM teaches No Such Thing! Neither does the Bible! Joseph Fielding Smith. See Alma 7:10 & Mt 1:18.

  • Otis Spurlock Ogden, UT
    Feb. 1, 2011 9:09 a.m.

    Just read the article and I also have to commend Michael Ash for his intellectual honesty in admitting that there is scant, or no evidence for the BoM.

    I find it interesting that there has almost been a complete revolution regarding the BoM in the last 10 years in light of many new scientific discoveries that clearly show the BoM is not historical.

    It used to be taught that the BoM was the Keystone of our religion, but I have seen its importance being more and more minimalized in the Church. Belief in the BoM is no longer required for a temple recommend, or any calling or activity in the Church anymore.

    I for one think that only good can come from accepting the real truth about the BoM. I'm glad the Church has started to feel the same.

  • JM Lehi, UT
    Feb. 1, 2011 8:47 a.m.

    Seems tw deception attempt is "fall back to CriticsAF1 'absolutely no evidence'!!!"

    There seems to be dogma, in the Critical faith, that repeating this claim makes it true.

    Youre given signs enough, we all know this, and you've been unable to refute any, the BoM is proven to be miraculous, you cant unprove it, there is more science to that than theories invoking our daily actions. : )

    But, again, critics must turn a blind eye to the sun. This is what theyve always done.

    Even when the Son was here, giving, healing, etc.

    Perhaps I speak for all LDS who comment, when I say the evidences I post are fun, and, for open hearts, show the deception of those hoping some innocent soul unknowingly wanders here and believes the critics cry: "dont ask, dont pray, we tried and failed, dont bother, we proved it false (although all our proving only proves it true, so far, every time, still, some day...)" : ) luvyall

    Carry on my critical friends, pretend itll go: )

    Offenses must come

    Your fear that someone might take action and ask, and receive, is for good reason. There is bounteous evidence, and all honest seekers...find.

    @Liberal, its the details

  • Michael_M Scottsbluff, NE
    Feb. 1, 2011 7:08 a.m.

    Claims of Mountains of evidence are only wishful thinking. No credible scientific publication has announced DNA connections between Old World people and American people during any biblical or Book of Mormon timeline. The claim that Lehi's DNA is not known is deceptive. Haplogroups from the Old World are known and are not found in pre-Columbian America.

    If something as significant as pre-Christian trans-oceanic migrations to America were found in the evidence, it would be in reputable scientific journals. There is a reason such things are in the fringe elements of publications. These migrations never happened.

    Integrity and honesty will require the Meso-American model to be discarded just as these articles have been doing with the Hemispheric and Great Lakes models.

    Consider the Church News in the Deseret News July 29, 1978:

    "Why not leave hidden the things that the Lord has hidden? If He wants the geography of the Book of Mormon revealed, He will do so through His prophet, and not through some writer who wishes to enlighten the world despite his utter lack of inspiration on the point."

  • JoeBlow Miami Area, Fl
    Feb. 1, 2011 5:31 a.m.

    "There is naturally disagreement on precise BoM American locations"

    As in "precisely" which continent might this have taken place?

  • Bill in Nebraska Maryville, MO
    Feb. 1, 2011 12:41 a.m.

    To Sharrona and Brokenclay:

    Actually all I said is biblical.

    Look carefully at the Church and you will find that all of the Members of the Quroum of the Twelve APOSTLES are Prophets, Seers and Revelators. One is selected from amoung them to be the president and lead Prophet/President of the Church. God reveals his will through his apostles and prophets (See Eph 3:5).

    Secondly, I answered your question above and told you that you misunderstood the scripture. Reread.

    Also, Paul goes on to teach tht "Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ). Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now REVEALED unto his HOLY APOSTLES and PROPEHTS by the SPIRIT." Emphasis mine. Paul through revelation puts Apostles and Prophets at the same level, yet only ONE at a time receives revelation for the entire Church as indicated by the Lord at putting Peter at the head. Today that lead Apostle is President Thomas S Monson.

    So yes, the teachings that is being spewed by some is false.

  • brokenclay Scottsdale, AZ
    Jan. 31, 2011 11:25 p.m.

    You missed sharrona's point. The apostles were higher in authority in the first century church than were the prophets (opposite of the LDS Church, who also only has one prophet at any given time). Further, there were more than twelve apostles in the early church (at least fifteen are named, including Paul, Barnabas, and James the half-brother of Jesus). There may have been dozens or even hundreds of apostles. Their common characteristic was they had all physically been with the resurrected Lord (1 Cor 9:1). Paul indicates that he was the last to have the Lord appear to him (1 Cor 15:5-8). The apostles and prophets were foundational in nature (Eph 2:20); once the foundation was laid, they were no longer required. But even so, there are many churches today who claim to have apostles, prophets, and spiritual gifts. The LDS Church is not unique in this regard.

    None of the teachings you mentioned are biblical. I'm still awaiting a satisfactory answer to my critique of the LDS "Jehovah = Jesus" doctrine.

    "Virtually any good feeling is the Spirit as long as it confirms something youre supposed to believe." -Former LDS Bishop

  • sharrona layton, Ut
    Jan. 31, 2011 8:11 p.m.

    Bill, "As God is man God once was is true"(Lorenzo Snow). We are saved by the Grace of Jesus Christ after all we can do (2 Nephi 25:23). Again this is in the Bible, not the Book of Mormon? Wrong.

    The old prophetical order or office. The law and the prophets were proclaimed until John the Baptist(Luke 16:16). In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets but in these LAST Days he has spoken to us by his Son (Hebrews 1:1,2)
    Today whenever a person claims to have a prophetic message from God it has to agree with God's word. Example, They tell us that the BofM states that Jesus was begotten of the Holy Ghost. "I challenge that statement The BofM teaches No Such Thing! Neither does the Bible!J Fielding S. See Alma 7:10 & Mt 1:18.
    First in line of the LDS church government is the prophet then comes the apostles and so on. But the Bible specifically says in ICor 12:28, First Apostles, Second prophets.
    The wall had twelve foundations, and on them were the name of THE twelve Apostles..,(Rev 21:14)

  • Bill in Nebraska Maryville, MO
    Jan. 31, 2011 6:42 p.m.

    To Sharrona: Everything you've stated actually proves the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

    By your reasoning the TRUE Church is not on the Earth because there are no Apostles or Prophets by your definition.

    Yet you cite a scripture that tells you that the TRUE Church must have Apostles, Prophets, Teachers, Deacons, Evagelists and etc. Therefore, all you've done is prove to all that the only true Church is the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. The God of the OT is Jesus Christ as directed by his Heavenly Father. Brokenclay gave some scriptures a while back and again he misunderstood them as well as My Lord is Jesus Christ but the Lord of Jesus Christ is God the Father who sent him to Earth.

    As God is man may become and as man is God once was is true. We are all heirs to all that the Father has if we excerise Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and obey his commandments. We are saved by the Grace of Jesus Christ after all we can do. Again this is in the Bible, not the Book of Mormon.

    Your teachings are false.

  • sharrona layton, Ut
    Jan. 31, 2011 5:26 p.m.

    Bill in Nebraska: Faith alone will prove the Book of Mormon true. That in and of itself is proof of the Book.?" No,circular reasoning.

    Saving faith is only as good is the object of that faith. The God of the Bible.
    Built on a foundation of Apostles and prophets with Christ Jesus himself as the Chief cornerstone.(Ephesians 2:20)

    And in the (Christian not LDS)church God has appointed FIRST of all 'Apostles',Second prophets(1 Cor 12:28). Prophets are not the first line of Christian authority.,but for LDS.
    First'Apostles',in (Mt 16:18)Peters confession of faith that Jesus is the messiah . In (1 Cor 3:10,11) Paul says no one can be a foundation that is already laid, The Biblical Jesus. Not an exalted man.
    Second N.T. prophets, people to whom God made known a message for his people that was appropriate need or situation, (1Cor 14: 3-4)

    The old prophetical order or office. The law and the prophets were proclaimed until John(Luke 16:16). John the Baptist was the dividing line between the O.T and N.T..

  • Doctor Tucson, AZ
    Jan. 31, 2011 4:45 p.m.

    I wish someone could explain Nahom more clearly to me. Certainly "NAHOM" as typed on this keyboard was not the way it was spelled by the Arabs/Jews in Lehi's time. Was a rock with "NHM" discovered? because I don't think our alphabet was in use back then. How can an artifact discovered in the last 100 years be linked to the English translation of the BOM without the original plates? The rock is not engraved in English? correct?

  • Doctor Tucson, AZ
    Jan. 31, 2011 4:34 p.m.

    Isn't a burning in the bosom a sign? Typical LDS argument. "You can't ask for signs! Pray and God will tell you its true?" How? By giving you a sign.

  • Mormoncowboy Provo, Ut
    Jan. 31, 2011 2:20 p.m.

    "I think Mike realizes that holding up evidences that really are not substantiated may prop a few testimonies in the short term but hurts the overall BofM defense in the long run. It is probably better to say there is currently no evidence or only minimal evidence than wave a long list that eventually falls under real scholarship."

    I have been critical of Mr. Ash, but I would agree Idaho Coug in compliments of Ash's efforts. While we are at disagreement on the underlying thesis of faith in the Mormon Church, I applaud Mr. Ash's efforts to put honesty in scholarship at the forefront of this series.

    I would however add a slight addendum to the above quoted comment. Efforts for Book of Mormon scholarship should not be broached from a "what's best for the Church" platform based on long-term vs. short-term horizons, but strictly from a position of integrity. In reporting the evidence and findings, honest conclusions should be the goal regardless of which side of the Mormon divide that finds us. Anything else is scholarship in name only.

  • Aspiring Theist Sandy, UT
    Jan. 31, 2011 2:08 p.m.

    Bill, I am not sure faith alone will work for everyone. I am glad it has worked for you and it has worked for a few friends of mine.
    I am hesitant to go on just feelings without other support. An acquantance just joined the Eckankar religion because it felt good. Some people have read and feel God has directed them to the Scientology faith.
    I have a neighbor who was once LDS and has what seems like an unshakable faith in the Book of Mormon. He left the LDS Church and joined a Fundamentalist offshoot because God told him to. He is sure, however, that the Book of Mormon is true.
    All of these situations make some of us needing more than a feeling (no disrespect to Boston)to base our conclusions.

  • Idaho Coug Meridian, Idaho
    Jan. 31, 2011 1:21 p.m.

    I am as frustrated by the lack of solid, verifiable, objective BofM evidence as anyone. But I truly appreciate Mike Ash's efforts to support his testimony through real evidence even to the point of questioning or dismissing some favorite LDS "evidences" that have proven unsubstantiated.

    I think Mike realizes that holding up evidences that really are not substantiated may prop a few testimonies in the short term but hurts the overall BofM defense in the long run. It is probably better to say there is currently no evidence or only minimal evidence than wave a long list that eventually falls under real scholarship.

    I think critics can even appreciate his desire to support his testimony in a way that has not been done by most LDS scholars and apologists.

    JM - is there anyone that you cannot criticize? And which posters do you think are posting as the same person? This has been your mo from the beginning so it shouldn't surprise me. But I still love ya and honestly do appreciate your zeal and testimony. I just wonder if you appreciate anyone's view that does not match your own?

  • Bill in Nebraska Maryville, MO
    Jan. 31, 2011 12:23 p.m.

    Faith alone will prove the Book of Mormon true. That in and of itself is proof of the Book. Trying to prove it scientifically will not be done until the Lord is ready for it to be done. DNA is trying to mix a known Jewish DNA, not the DNA of Lehi who is of the House of Joseph. As I have stated before, you can be a Israelite without being a Jew but you have to be a Jew to be an Israelite.

    The ten tribes have been scattered across the world and are now in the process of being gathered back together all around us. The Lord has given us a promise in the Book of Mormon that stands without question. Asking for proof of this magnificent book is like one asking God for a sign it is true. He has already told you how to prove it true but ye of little faith can't see it because of the blindness of your hearts.

    Until you put your faith in God, asking with a sincere heart with real intent, nothing will ever come of the truth. It is there for you, just ask in Faith, nothing wavering.

  • IndependentLiberal Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 31, 2011 11:33 a.m.


    The tree of life is symbolism that dates back for millennia in all types of cultures, ancient Egyptian, the Torah, Christianity, etc. Your assurance index of 99.999 ad infinitum that the Izapa 5 is directly stemming from or related to Nephi's dream is more of a faith index and certainly not a believable probability statistic.

  • Magaju win Scottsbluff, neb
    Jan. 31, 2011 11:10 a.m.

    It would be nice to use scholarly data, but whose do you chose? Scholarly data that is made up and not by true science that is published in professional journals for peer review?

    All the clues were given in the book of Mormon but many refuse to see it. They are blinded by Gold and the love of money and by those who say they are scholars but deny the true science and the words of God and Christ himself. Why does a man deny the words of God? There has never been a land where people flock to but the US (North America) or place of freedom. Who decides what is a mans word choice or Gods words? I thought Joseph smith was a prophet who stated through Christ words where the BofM lands are?

    I can only surmise that a man has lost his faith in the BofM and is using lies to promote his faith because he cannot come to grips of the truth and has refused the words of Christ and Moronis promise. Faith is believing without proof.

  • Jax Bountiful, UT
    Jan. 31, 2011 10:37 a.m.

    Ash makes a good point that wishful thinking cannot compete with true scholarship. Unfortunately, I find much of what Ash and other apologists write to be in the category of wishful thinking rather than true scholarship. Nearly all of the apologists start with a conclusion that the claims of the Mormon church are true and then work from there without even accepting the possibility that the whole thing may be false. This is not true scholarship, but is the very definition of wishful thinking.

  • Mormoncowboy Provo, Ut
    Jan. 31, 2011 10:34 a.m.


    I'm not sure what evidence you are referring to here. So far, as I have read Mr. Ash's comments, while still believing in The Book of Mormon, he more or less concedes that there is really no evidence thus far - with the possible exception of Nahom/NHM. Even that is debatable, but if there is anything that even brushes the domain of evidence, NHM is it. In fact, the very article we are commenting on is a critique of wishful thinking relative to those trying to prove the BoM true. So, where exactly is this mountain of evidence?

  • ex missionary Sandy, UT
    Jan. 31, 2011 10:29 a.m.

    hmmm... they taught the hemispheric model to the young women in our branch yesterday. The Branch President and a High Councilman were there.

    Why is there so much confusion in the church about hemispheric and limited geography models? You would think that for something as important as the BOM is to the church that they would get everyone on the same page. Instead it seems they let local units teach whatever is "faith promoting" and don't worry so much about aligning beliefs with evidence or truth.

  • JM Lehi, UT
    Jan. 31, 2011 10:13 a.m.

    Thanks honest LDS.

    I agree that Izapa stele dont prove the BoM. I read the FARMS articles etc.

    However, as everyone knows, I never just go along with anything.

    And theres still 99.9999% chance Izapa5 is related to Nephis dream (thats not positively to say descended from, but related), everyone is allowed to disagree of course, with my opinions, but I think scholars made hasty assessments trying to get away from other hasty assessments.

    Im prepared to defend that with non-LDS references soon as everything slows down here...

    I think Tehuantepec is only too wide if we read into the text.

    No time to read all Critics this week. The false claims have been exposed repeatedly anyway, but they might continue denying real evidence, and falling to pieces because Mike implied Joseph maybe didnt say something some thought he said. Then EVERYTHING will be opinion and everyone must believe the BoM isnt historical and recommends no longer require testimonies etc.

    Not sure where this logic originates, but the things we know Joseph said can still be attributed to him, what we know God revealed to him is still revealed to him, and the BoM is always true... : )

  • JM Lehi, UT
    Jan. 31, 2011 9:45 a.m.

    Thanks Mike. still reading but busy.

    There is naturally disagreement on precise BoM American locations, since Zarahemla culture was destroyed before we could map. We know Jerusalem, Red Sea etc, which helped Mike accurately describe Lehis route, finding OW details that were so impossibly accurate that, after LDS scholars located the route and places, doubters theorized that Joseph had some miraculous map, or access to nonexistent libraries etc. (anything but faith that our Father in Heaven still gives prophetic gifts and answers, as promised).

    As I read the BoM and Mikes articles Im learning the American details are just as precise, but without known starting points like Jerusalem it takes longer. If the BoM were fiction Joseph would have described something easy, fitting with his own personal theories. Instead, Joseph translated details impossible for him to know, then guessed like the rest of us "not going to declare positively."

    That these details are beginning to be located seems upsetting to our professional Critics, who resort to posing as many, fabricating, distracting, pretending, denying mountainous evidence (and DNA is as expected, discussed for months), claiming testimonies aren't important or Temple required, everyone is doubting it, etc.


  • Cats Somewhere in Time, UT
    Jan. 31, 2011 9:20 a.m.

    Apparently some are uninformed that there is actually a MOUNTAIN of evidence that supports the BofM. There is also some matching haplotype evidence that has been found among the Maya. However, since we have no sample of Lehi's DNA I don't know how it would be possible to know if it matches or not.

    Actually, there are Jewish groups in the world today who cannot be matched up with other Jewish groups. That's a fact.

    In order to properly study DNA one has to study the DNA of populations and not the interpolation that has been put forward by those who take the work of those who have no population DNA research and make it fit their model of "No DNA evidence." Much of the evidenc has been misinterpreted and therefore is without merit.

    Clearly some people get up pretty early to attack the Church. One needs to have the scientific understanding of one who has studied population DNA in order to find that the "No DNA evidence" does not hold water.

    Don't lose faith in the things you know because of the things you don't know. The evidence will come along.

  • Hyena Murray, UT
    Jan. 31, 2011 9:19 a.m.

    As I read this series of articles, I am becoming confused about their purpose. My initial thoughs were that Mr. Ash was going to give some physical evidence, or at least, continue his tack of explaing why a lack of evidence does not mean that evidence does not or did not exist. For the last several weeks, this week included, he seems to be making a case against some evidence that has been accepted or considered plausible in the past. I would like to see the article change course to demonstrate more positive findings.

    I personally read the BOM everyday, and in doing so it is easy to see why a certain amount of critism exist, but that does not mean that the BOM cannot also contain a message that can improve our lives.

  • Michael_M Scottsbluff, NE
    Jan. 31, 2011 6:36 a.m.

    "The case for the Book of Mormon as an authentic ancient text should only be supported by rigorous scholarship and not by wishful thinking and the misuse of scholarly data."

    There is absolutely no DNA evidence of any migrations into the Americas from Jewish people during the Bible or Book of Mormon times. None. DNA does not disappear. Jewish researches in the Old World find DNA of their people dating back to the Book of Mormon periods. None is found in the Americas. Recent studies have even indicated Neandertal mating with Cro-Magnon more than 20,000 years ago, but no evidence in America of Jewish people mating with American Indians less than 2,000 years ago.

    There is absolutely no scientific or archaeolgical evidence in the Americas to support the Book of Mormon. None. All scientific attempts to make a case for it as an authentic ancient text are wishful thinking. Science does not support it.

    I was taught that the case for the Book of Mormon was from Moroni's promise. Evidence for the Great Lakes, Meso-American and Hemispheric models are wishful thinking. The only way to scientifically support these claims is from misuse of scholarly data.

  • Chachi Charlottesville, VA
    Jan. 31, 2011 5:54 a.m.

    There is a noteworthy alternative theory that also places the Book of Mormon in Mesoamerica, but uses the Isthmus of Rivas as the narrow neck of land instead of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec. The theory is made more plausible by the fact that the land between Lake Nicaragua and the Gulf of Mexico is swampy and impassable.

    The biggest problem with the Tehuantepec model is that the isthmus is too big, and the presence of very ancient ruins on its north shore show that it has been that wide since Jaredite times (contrary to certain theories that it used to be narrower due to the north shore being submerged).