Challenging Issues, Keeping the Faith: A short history of LDS Mesoamerican scholars

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  • redhat Fairfax Station, VA
    Aug. 3, 2015 10:04 p.m.

    There really is only 1 question to be asked: can the historicity of the
    BOM only be proven by a "spiritual" witness?
    The answer must be yes because to date there is not a single/1 item of scientific
    Evidence to prove it is actual history. I say that because
    All supposed evidences from a mesoamerican or hemisphere theory have no scientific basis that
    That jaredites or mephitis or nahom Ever existed.
    If you have 1 irrefutable scientific evidence please share it.

  • Mormoncowboy Provo, Ut
    Feb. 19, 2011 6:47 p.m.

    Alberta -

    I this question to Mr. Peterson in his article "Some Aids to Nourish our Faith". In short, can you explain why a "desire" as you call it would be requisite. Perhaps starting from the beginning, by clearly defining exactly what this desire is, and what exactly should be the object of it.

    If desire is strictly a general willingness to follow God wherever that may be, then let me assure you - I have that. If God is as religions claim him to be, all knowing, then I trust he knows that. If however the desire is more specific, I find that largely problematic to sectarianism, conversion, and ultimately faith. For example:

    am I to desire that the Book of Mormon be true, after reading it? Is that perhaps why I am also not persuaded by Islam, simply because I have no desire to believer the Koran?

    Secondly, how does one certify that ambiguous religious experiences are not merely interpreted according to the bias of ones desire? What if I desire that God exists within a specific theological framework - might I run the risk of not finding him when it turns out reality is different from my desire?

  • JM Lehi, UT
    Feb. 19, 2011 11:05 a.m.

    The BoM will flood the earth. But, this time, the vineyard grows slowly, not becoming lofty too quickly. Some are pruned, others will blossom. Those who believe without seeing evidences are more blessed, for we grow by discerning eternal truth through the Spirit. Still, evidences are springing, brought from the earth quietly, line upon line, just enough for those truly searching, for those who might need evidences before trying the experiment (Searching, open minds are good, yours could give place for the seeds of faith, but after experiencing the sun, no need to question its existence. And, honestly, I havent posted the most powerful historical evidences, only supportive tidbits. Time isnt ripe.

    But BoM evidence is mountainous, even if it were only Nahom, a cylinder seal, an single angel, thats sufficient, take courage, open your hearts, seek.
    Evidences are increasing, from science, miracles etc, and then all critics will have left to justify burning or destroying is repeating hopes that Joseph, like Samuel, knew by chance, or the devil, or because he said so many things.

    So carry on all. Some testify, others confuse, criticize, attack.

    Wish I had more time to share, for I know He is real.

  • JM Lehi, UT
    Feb. 19, 2011 11:00 a.m.

    My feelings have evolved on comments. Im now very disappointed that football and meaningless events get more attention than Mormon Times articles.
    What is more worthwhile than learning about our Fathers dealings with His children? Ive learned immeasurably from studying the BoM historically. Mikes articles have taught me so much, and Ive gained answers from the honest comments. There are some here only to darken, perfectly willing to lie, fabricate, etc. Zeezrom can lead people astray if not checked, but I have too little time and cant spend more on repeating disproven fabrications.
    And, while this isnt a Testimony meeting (which I often miss), I do benefit from testifying here and especially from others testifying. For Jeff is correct, God does speak. There is no arrogance in that, Moroni says His promise and miracles are unto all the earth. He directs all good inquiring people, even those who havent yet joined His Church. Conversely, if I were to judge, Atheism seems a prideful religion. Agnostics dont know, but Atheists feel billions are wrong, for they KNOW all the Universe holds, and God isnt there.
    LDS teach the restoration adds to others.

  • Alberta Reader Magrath, Alberta
    Feb. 19, 2011 10:06 a.m.

    Cowboy and there are a lot of them in Alberta
    Reasoning as you asked for is Moroni 10 or Alma 32 as starters if this is not good enough for you then you do fit my point 4 above exactly.
    do you possess the most fundamental quality to get an answer Desire?
    I don't get that feeling from any of your posts I have read to date

  • the truth Holladay, UT
    Feb. 18, 2011 4:59 p.m.

    Clearly you have NEVER read the BOM or the phone book.
    But each to his own.

    There are no ananchronishsm in BOM, it was translated for modern readers,

    DNA does not prove or disprove the BOM, theat been shown by the experts

    There is no plageriazation, nephi brough the brass plates with him which contain the 5 Books of moses and writing of the ppophets up to that time including Isaiah, and is therefore the most correct translation Isaiah that exists,
    and Jesus taught the SAME gospel to those in america,
    he can not plagerize himself.

    You have demonstrated nothing against he BOM other than you have a negative OPINION of it, you want tobleive your own assumptions, and you choose to belive the stories of the opposition,

    A fair and honest person would start out from a more objective view point.

  • Alberta Reader Magrath, Alberta
    Feb. 18, 2011 1:18 p.m.

    Vanka let me take a page out you book and ask you is you can read? I know the answer and realize you are intelligent as I have said before but you completely missed the point of the quote
    read it again

  • Searching . . . Orem, UT
    Feb. 18, 2011 9:51 a.m.


    Approaching life with a closed mind is a waste of time, whether it is reading LDS leaders' books, books promoting theories contrary to LDS-approved history, the BoM, or this board. The value I see in this board is testing my ideas against others' views and getting leads on points of interest. There have been interesting posts from both positions and plenty that continue to rehash old arguments that go nowhere. Hopefully, when Michael gets back to presenting his evidence, the conversation and debate can focus on the relevancy of the objective evidence rather than relying on subjective personal testimony.

  • Vanka Provo, UT
    Feb. 18, 2011 9:34 a.m.

    " if one could justifiably criticize a phone directory for lack of a plot"

    I love Maxwell's quote. My experience with the Book of Mormon is very much like reading a phone directory! Perfect comparison!

    And yet some faithful believers got their underwear in a knot because I said the BOM is "boring"? I wonder why you don't get angry with Maxwell (rest his soul) for comparing the BOM to a phone directory? He as much as says the BOM lacks a plot! I agree!

  • Bill in Nebraska Maryville, MO
    Feb. 18, 2011 6:24 a.m.

    To Mormoncowboy and others: You just made my case.

  • Mormoncowboy Provo, Ut
    Feb. 17, 2011 8:55 p.m.


    What does the Book of Mormon purport to be, I wonder. " It is a record of Gods dealings with the ancient inhabitants of the Americas.." and alleges to contain the fullness of the everlasting gospel. If it can be debated that its claim to be a literal record, is not true - then possibliy could the claim that it contains the fullness of the gospel, also potentially be untrue? In other words, Neal A. Maxwell aside, the book is only doctrinally dense in so far that the things claimed therein are true.

    As for your above comment, I suggest you reconsider your observations. No one is suggesting that because we have not experienced something, that you could not have experienced it either. What I am suggesting is that if you really had experienced that thing, you would be able to provide me better reason to believe you, than you have. You on the other hand think it sufficient to merely assert that God has revealed something to you, only to then to resort to a philosophical mind game about perceptory experience as a scapegoat for why you can't articulate your undoubtable assurances from the divine. Not convincing enough!

  • Bill in Nebraska Maryville, MO
    Feb. 17, 2011 8:44 p.m.

    To Searching: You can learn a lot more from reading the books put forth by the leaders of the Church than you will ever learn on this board. You get a difference of opinion but most of the discussion that JM has brought forth is for the betterment of the Book of Mormon. However, to try and give any thought or reason as to why one believes or has faith one way or another is a total waste of time.

    I enjoy reading what Michael Ash puts forth but it isn't important to me to know where it took place, only that I know it did. There is no way I can convince someone that it did.

    There also is no way I can tell someone what the Spirit is like when it testifies because I don't have that capability in my writing to do so. I just know that it did. The only way that can be done is by asking yourself in the way it is taught. All else will and does fail.

  • Alberta Reader Magrath, Alberta
    Feb. 17, 2011 6:25 p.m.

    I appreciate the effort to try and give some "proof to the BofM" it at times does help my testimony but is the last level of "proof" for me.
    Let me quote from my favorite Apostle for quotes Neal A Maxwell.

    "The doctrinal density of the Book of Mormon clearly overshadows the portion that is given over to history or to details such as the description of Nephite money( or I might add geography)The books structure is clearly and intentionally secondary to its substance, and its plot to its principles.
    Yet some will criticize the book for not being what it was never intended to be, as if one could justifiably criticize a phone directory for lack of a plot"

  • Alberta Reader Magrath, Alberta
    Feb. 17, 2011 6:04 p.m.

    Bill I agree with you on your above post.
    Someone that doesn't like me suggested I read from the Maxwell Institute for the evening with the warning it would make me sluggish. Interesting instead of making me sluggish it energized me like the energizer bunny. As documented here two people can read the same thing (ie BofM) and come out at opposite ends of the spectrum.
    Those that don't believe make the following mistakes and over generalizations to others that believe
    1 What he has not experienced no one else can.
    2What he does not know no one else knows.
    3Because he has not felt no one else can feel.
    4 Because he is lacking in evidence for things of faith ie Jesus Christ book of Mormon or whatever comes from faith he generalizes and states whatever evidence amassed by believers is either insufficient or naively misinterpreted.
    It seems as those that dare not to believe dare not to allow others to beleive

  • Searching . . . Orem, UT
    Feb. 17, 2011 5:14 p.m.


    If your definition of time wisely spent on these boards is to effect a change is someone's opinion, then you are wasting your time here. I enjoy some of the debate and hope learn something from the exchange of ideas. Not all of it is helpful, some of it is too pedantic, but other has made me think and adjust my viewpoint to an extent. For example, I am intrigued by the parallel that JM pointed out between Tiamat and Aztec/Mayan mythology. I'm more open to a connection between the old and new worlds, although, for me, that connection doesn't currently include Jaredite or Lehite origins.

    I understand your point of view, and have held a similar point of view for the majority of my life. I don't now. I respect your opinion and hope that you would try to at least understand mine. I hope to continue to learn something through these discussions, and maybe someone will present something that will shake me. Until then, it can still be entertaining. So Bill, whether you continue to contribute or decide to spend your time elsewhere, thanks for wasting time with us.

  • Bill in Nebraska Maryville, MO
    Feb. 17, 2011 4:39 p.m.

    To All: What is bad is that no one is going to win in this debate. Those who are against the Church and its membership are not going to convince those of us that it is wrong. Probably won't put any doubt in our minds either. So in reality we are all wasting our time trying to voice a viewpoint that no one is going to listen to or even take underadvisement.

    So these comment boards are nothing but waste of time for critics and non-critics alike.

  • ? Fort Knox, KY
    Feb. 17, 2011 3:17 p.m.

    If people don't believe He has said the things He has said, it is still between them and God to work through.

  • JoeBlow Miami Area, Fl
    Feb. 17, 2011 11:56 a.m.

    I think that you are missing the point "?".

    Or maybe you just dont understand that most people don't believe that "HE SAID" any of those things.

    Kinda hard to use that as an argument to us Non-Members.

  • ? Fort Knox, KY
    Feb. 17, 2011 7:07 a.m.

    It seems to be that people arent so much against members of the church or the church itself. Their issue is with God. It is He who has said that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is His church. It is He who has said what has been said about other churches. It is through Him we will find the truth, as we seek Him and have faith in Him. If people say God has told them their church is true, too, then I think this is between them and God to work out.

  • ? Fort Knox, KY
    Feb. 17, 2011 7:05 a.m.

    Part 2 of 2

    In Moroni 7, Moroni teaches, it is by faith that miracles are wrought. He asks, How is that ye can attain unto faith, save ye shall have hope? What shall ye hope for? Moroni says, Ye shall have hope through the atonement of Christ and power of his resurrection, to be raised unto eternal life, and this because of your faith in Him according to the promise.

    It looks like a person must have faith and hope, because a person cant have hope without faith and faith without hope and there is hope because of the atonement and resurrection of Christ and our faith in Him.

    Moroni teaches, He cannot have faith and hope, save he shall be meek and lowly in heart.If a man be meek and lowly in heart and confesses by the power of the Holy Ghost that Jesus is the Christ, he must needs have Charity..Charity is the pure love of Christ.Whoso is possessed of it at the last day, it shall be well with him.

  • ? Fort Knox, KY
    Feb. 17, 2011 7:04 a.m.

    Part 1 of 2:

    Without a belief in God or faith in Jesus Christ it is hard to receive answers to prayers. JM and others are not being arrogant when they say they have received answers to their prayers. They are testifying that prayers can be and are answered.

    God is not a respecter of persons because the requirements to receive eternal life, blessings given, and answers to prayers are the same for each person. How ones prayer is answer may be different from anothers, but each is answered according to their faith in Jesus Christ. Some speak face to face with God, others see angels and visions, some have dreams, a burning of the bosom, for others a quiet assurance and peace, something that is held in ones heart that no one else could possibly know about, yet it is made manifest to them that someone does know what is in their heart. If someone receives an answer to their prayer, it means somewhere along the way that person met the requirements by which an answer can be given. The first is to have faith in Jesus Christ.

  • Full-on double rainbow Bluffdale, UT
    Feb. 16, 2011 7:27 p.m.

    It seems that other people have been "down the road and back again" with Jeff on how exactly the spirit testifys of truth. Thats ok because Jeff is a "freind and confidant."

    The thing I have been thinking about is that I really don't see anything unique about Mormonism compared to other faiths. Priesthood? Everyone lays claim to authority. Catholics say they even get it straight from the source. Although Divinci code would say otherwise. So you look at the fruits of that authority. The problem is other faiths claim to have healings, miracles, prophesy, ministering of angels, speaking in tongues, revelation etc.

    How can you reconcile that many other faiths claim to have the same gifts of the spirit? Thats the problem as I see it. God is telling Mormons via the spirt that the church is true and JS was a prophet. The same way Jeff is telling us how to recognize the spirit, God is telling people their church is true too. How can you accout for this?

  • Vanka Provo, UT
    Feb. 16, 2011 5:28 p.m.

    the truth,

    Do people actually know how to READ in Holladay, UT, or is it just you?

    Go back and try to read my comment again. I was talking about "SPIRITUALLY poor"...

  • Jeff Temple City, CA
    Feb. 16, 2011 5:14 p.m.

    To Mormoncowboy: Apart from visions, which you say seldom happen (I disagree, but for the sake of this, we may put them aside), there are a number of scriptures that desscribe how to receive revelation.

    It is important to see them all in context--take them together--and they paint a consistent picture of how the Lord communicates.

    1 Kings 19:10 ff (esp. 12).
    Job 32:8
    Enos 1:10
    Moroni 7:13
    D & C 8:2
    D&C 9:7-9 (you alluded to this)
    d&C 11:13
    D&C 85:6
    Acts 2:27
    D&C 97:1
    John 14:26-27
    Luke 24:31-32

    Speaking anecdotally, there is a simultaneous communication in both your mind ("enlightenment"--something becomes clear that wasn't before; something seems sure and comprehensible; a distinct voice, something like a whisper, communicates directly into your ear) and your heart (these are "feelings," though they are not emotions; there is a distinctive and sometimes powerful sense of peace, rightness, and goodness about what is spoken to the mind).

    It is not any harder than learning to concentrate on one thing in the midst of distractions, but with practice it's possible.

  • Full-on double rainbow Bluffdale, UT
    Feb. 16, 2011 5:13 p.m.

    I have never really understood this statement, "People have been challeging The BOM for 180 years, and have not succeeded."

    Here are some of the unresolved problems: anachronostic animals and crops and culture. No archeological evidence as supported by Mr. Ferguson. No DNA evidence. Apparent plagarisms from the Old Testament and strangely enough the New Testament. No dark people turning light. Etc.

  • Independent Henderson, NV
    Feb. 16, 2011 4:54 p.m.

    "The Book of Mormon is a product owned and promoted by the Mormon Church, why shouldn't the Church comply with the law of the land in their product disclosure."

    What makes you think the Mormon Church knows anything more about the content and truth of the Book of Mormon than what they have already said? They believe that it is ancient scripture, translated by Joseph Smith through the power of God. The general authorities of the church accept the Book of Mormon on faith in the same way as the general membership. What more is there to say?

  • the truth Holladay, UT
    Feb. 16, 2011 4:23 p.m.

    RE: Vanka

    "poor in spirit" has NOTHIING to do with wealth, God loves the rich and the poor and everyone in between,

    Sorry to break to you but it refers to HUMILITY! being humble.

    Ferguson is sad story about a man wanting so much to place the BOM in meso-amerca, and could never make it work.

    But thats what happens to those who place so much weight in vague geographic details barely mentioned in the BOM, vague details that may no longer exist as they did then.

    We have no idea how much has changed over the last 2000 years, and especially since the geographic catastrophy that happend when Christ came.

    NONE of anti's, or weak believers have been to find anything in coreect in BOM, especially those things that make it the "most correct book" and those are the gospel principles contained in the BOM

    People have been challeging The BOM for 180 years, and have not succeeded.

    When you try make it conform to your own view you will always go away sad,

    in other words you need to Poor in spirit (humble) to inherit the Kingdon of God.

  • Vanka Provo, UT
    Feb. 16, 2011 11:59 a.m.


    At the risk of boasting, I would just like to point out that I (and others like me) will "receive the Kingdom of Heaven".

    In Matthew 5:3, Jesus taught:

    "Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."

    The words "poor in spirit" speak of abject poverty, a beggarly kind of poverty. 'Ptochos' literally means having nothing, totally broke, empty-handed.

    As "believers", many claim to "have something" spiritually: a "testimony", or some other "knowledge" or belief or spirituality of some kind. You claim it to be yours, and you hold it a dear possession.

    But (most) atheists like myself do not claim to have anything spiritual: no belief, no testimony, no knowledge, no nothing.

    This is what being an atheist means: without a belief in god.

    Is there anyone else who can claim to be more "poor in spirit" than that?

    And according to Jesus, he said WE inherit the Kingdom of Heaven.

    To all the "believers" I say, Come visit us sometime. I think we have an extra mansion you can stay in.

  • Mormoncowboy Provo, Ut
    Feb. 16, 2011 11:14 a.m.

    "I also disagree about whether or not the "mode and manner of revelation" can "never" be "nailed down." Both the mode and manner of revelation are very clear and straightforward in scriptural texts. They are quite easy to "nail down.""

    Then please enlighten me. The scriptural texts speak of "burning bosoms" - What is that, exactly?

    God will tell us in our "hearts and in our minds" - how? How does one sort out their thoughts so as to discern between those thoughts that are "inspired" and those that come of the person having them. As a side note, I have heard this question many times in Elders Quorum and Gospel Doctrine, suggesting that the general membership is even uncertain here. How does one learn something in their heart, in such a way as not to be emotionally subjective.

    The holy ghost shall teach us. Again - how, exactly? How does one sort out the subjectivity without resorting to circular logic.

    The only scriptural examples of revelation that cut through reasonable subjectivity are literal visitations from Angels and heavenly beings. Unfortunately very few have the courage to make such claims - but instead assert more certainty than subjectivity warrants. That is not humility!

  • Vanka Provo, UT
    Feb. 16, 2011 11:06 a.m.


    Your claim that God has spoken to you IS arrogant, especially since the scriptures in which you claim to believe state:

    "God is no respecter of persons" (Acts 10:34; D&C 1:35; 38:16; Moroni 8:12)

    Yet your claim flies in the face of that. You are essentially claiming that God respects YOU enough to talk to YOU, but not to me or Mormoncowboy or billions of others. Is that not arrogant? Or at least hypocritical?

    Jesus said,

    "That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust" (Matt.5:45)

    But you believe God plays favorites: that the LDS Church is "the only true and living church upon the face of the whole earth, with which [the Lord is] well pleased" (D&C 1:30); that the LDS are "God's elect" and "chosen" people; that the LDS President is the "the only person on the earth who possesses and is authorized" to exercise God's power.

    Don't insult our intelligence.

  • Pickle Juice, The Key to a BCS Clinton, UT
    Feb. 16, 2011 9:51 a.m.

    I cannot imagine what it would be like to be in Mr. Ferguson's position. Here we have a man who devoted so much in the way of time and treasure to prove that the Book of Mormon was true. He wrote so many books defending the Book of Mormon from an archeological point of view. Yet he came to see that archeology and history will not vindicate the book of Mormon. He lost faith in the Book of Mormon completely.

    Mr. Ferguson had no faith in the Book of Mormon yet, he still continued to attend church regularly. To those who had questions about the Book of Mormon, he could give answers in either direction. To faithful Mormons seeking faith building material, he could and would give out much information that would confirm them in their faith. To Mormons questioning the historical veracity of the Book of Mormon, he could and would give out much information that would demonstrate the historical and archeological problems involved in the Book of Mormon.

    If Ferguson were alive today, he would be pleased at how many are firmly in the Church today, but also share his belief that the BOM is fiction.

  • LDS Revelations Sandy, UT
    Feb. 16, 2011 6:23 a.m.

    Fact is after decades of searching for the evidence of the BoM civilizations in the New World there is virtually nothing to show for it. NHM in the middle East IMO is the closest thing there is to any actual hits. From Mike's article one would think that they found Zarahemla, a chariot wheel or at least a steel sword.

    I find it interesting too that Thomas Ferguson was the driving force behind the research in Meso-America but after a quarter century of work came to the conclusion that not only was there no BoM archeology in Meso-America but also that the BoM was fiction. You can find copies of letters which he wrote online stating exactly this but for the full story I suggest reading Stan Larson's "Quest for the Gold Plates."

  • Jeff Temple City, CA
    Feb. 15, 2011 7:46 p.m.

    To Mormoncowboy: I disagree with your assessment of humility. It is perfectly humble to admit that God has spoken to you. There is no lack of humility in such a statement. It is no more audacious to say that God has spoken to you than it would be for a little child to say, "Daddy told me this."

    I also disagree about whether or not the "mode and manner of revelation" can "never" be "nailed down." Both the mode and manner of revelation are very clear and straightforward in scriptural texts. They are quite easy to "nail down."

    I agree that an element of humility is honest self-assessment and the willingness to "confess the limits of one's own experience."

    However, since most religions require acknowledgement of one's limitations before God, however, that would contradict your assertion that "religioni is anything but humble."

  • Jeff Temple City, CA
    Feb. 15, 2011 7:37 p.m.

    I have long felt that Meso-America was the location of the Book of Mormon histories. I believe it's Meso-America.

    That belief is nothing like the knowledge of the truthfulness of the book itself. If I found out that I was completely wrong on Meso-America, I could easily shrug off the minor embarrassment of being wrong about something I had never received a personal revelation about, and I would cling just as firmly to those things I know about.

    I see many things that make me believe that Meso-America is a likely candidate, but I am reluctant to share them because I am not confident enough about them to fend off attacks. (Do I make myself clear? I can fend off attacks all day long about my witness of the Book of Mormon itself, but I have never been sure about exactly where it happened, and whenever I thought I was sure, I got blasted by people who knew more than I.)

  • Mormoncowboy Provo, Ut
    Feb. 15, 2011 7:26 p.m.


    I find it odd that you and others seem to conclude that the route of "humility", is to espouse faith in a religious superstructure, under the pretense of revelation, while insisting all others are either wrong (even partially wrong) or deceitful. The mode and manner of revelation can never be nailed down unambiguously beyond thoughts or subjective emotions and feelings, yet you insist that God speaks to you this way. You call that humble? It is one of the most audacious things I can think of. I tend to think of humility as more of an honest assessment of ones self, or an attempt at hones self-awareness. Confessing the limits of ones own experiences, and not dressing up your fancy in religious hyperbole, that would be humble. Religion is anything but humble, my friend.

    As for Ferguson, I believe it was he who finally pinpointed the actual location and origin of Book of Mormon events, when he stated that these things "...occured somewhere in along the gray matter in Joseph Smith's head".

  • skeptic Phoenix, AZ
    Feb. 15, 2011 11:20 a.m.

    The Mormon Church is an American Corporation. Other American corporations have to disclose the content and the truth of their products. The Book of Mormon is a product owned and promoted by the Mormon Church, why shouldn't the Church comply with the law of the land in their product disclosure. It is the right thing to do. God is truth.

  • JM Lehi, UT
    Feb. 15, 2011 11:20 a.m.

    Im thankful that Mike previously reminded us of Fergusons fall(hes a favorite critic doubting Thomas).

    Apparently he fell from clinging to his own preconceptions. He was a lawyer (like one present professional critic) and amateur enthusiast whose extroverted passion and interest in Jakeman's Mesoamerican studies were influential. (Ash calls jakeman the father of BoM archeology.)

    It's good to remember falling happens (i.e another attorney who comments is now a leading anti (calls himself a "deconstructor" at ex-files) and fell after only a few weeks of studying now disproven anti-propaganda, same on the linguist etc ) because it reminds me to keep an open mind, study, stay humble, and pray knowing I lack knowledge, pray they don't sift me with assuming dishonesty.

    I hope to be ever willing to accept better ideas on things not yet revealed to me.

    Two examples: Ive undoubtedly proven to myself the relationship between ME religions etc and Indigenous (havent posted most) but remain open to how etc : ).

    On BoM geography I still wonder about east borders, sea, etc, or narrow pass. Reading Mike, Poulsen Sorenson, etc, searching BoM, and finding! Again, the details are impossible for JS to know.

  • Otis Spurlock Ogden, UT
    Feb. 15, 2011 8:21 a.m.

    John Charity Spring,

    I agree. I think it is telling that Mr. Ash states in his article that Thomas Ferguson is really the father of the Mesoamerican Theory, but fails to mention that after 27 years of field work in Mesoamerica, Thomas Ferguson came to the conclusion that the BoM is just "fiction".

    I'm sure Mr. Ash is aware of Thomas Ferguson and his opinion that the BoM is "fiction". I think there is a subversive reason that Mr. Ash mentioned Thomas Ferguson as the founder of the Mesoamerican Theory.

    The reason I think, is that you will find that Mr. Ash is 100% on board with the LGT, which places the Lamanites/Nephites in a very small, limited and isolated geographic region that has yet been explored. The LGT is the current theory of choice for FARMS and FAIR.

  • ex missionary Sandy, UT
    Feb. 14, 2011 11:27 p.m.

    Is it true that after decades of specialized research Ferguson lost faith in the BOM due to lack of evidence?

    Are these quotes accurate?

    "I'm afraid that up to this point, I must agree with Dee Green, who has told us that to date there is no Book-of-Mormon geography."
    -- Published paper titled "Written Symposium on Book-of-Mormon Geography: Response of Thomas S. Ferguson to the Norman & Sorenson Papers", 1975

    " cant set Book of Mormon geography down anywhere - because it is fictional and will never meet the requirements of dirt-archeology."

    --Letter to Mr. & Mrs. H.W. Lawrence, February 20, 1976

  • John Charity Spring Alloway, NJ
    Feb. 14, 2011 11:54 a.m.

    This article and the comments to it bring to mind a famous quote from Thomas F. Meagher: "The day will come when the outer-fringe of society will attempt to destroy society itself by attempting to destroy the Public Religion."

    Without a doubt, Meagher was right. The Founding Fathers knew that, for this Country to be successful, its citizens must recognize the influence of the Public Religion. The Fathers knew that there would be those who sought to destroy the influence of religion, but they hoped that the citizens as a whole would not forget the lessons of the Fathers.

    One thing that cannot be determined, is which side of the equation that Ash is really on. He initially appears to be a proponent of these theories, but a closer look reveals that he is attempting to follow in the divisively subversive foot-steps of Hugh Nibley. Ash must finally make a decision about which master he will serve.

  • JM Lehi, UT
    Feb. 14, 2011 11:35 a.m.

    Thanks Mike, great article.
    Reading Sorenson's work was truly humbling. I enjoyed his article on why BoM geography is important, and how our neglect of it might fit in with our general neglect of the BoM. I also enjoyed his discussions of evidences and explanations. Its enlightening to see how easily the statements of Smithsonian personnel are overturned, and I'm thrilled at our growing BoM knowledge, understanding, and increasingly powerful evidences. I acknowledge that the testimony that doesn't come from flesh and blood is the only one that leads to change and eternal life, yet, understanding the BoM in historical context is thrilling and exciting.

    I guess some critical persons may come here making fantastic claims that there is no BoM evidence, or that nothing was of value in Mike's article, or theyll fabricate rumors etc. Its entertaining to explain some of what is really going on with BoM discoveries, but I'm too busy lately. And my new theory is Critics already know they arent being honest, know where to find answers, know they are fabricating and twisting in order to lead astray, etc.
    Still love them all though.

  • BOMG Modesto, CA
    Feb. 14, 2011 11:31 a.m.

    You can expect a diminishment of focus on the historical instead of an admission of error on the model. Sorenson's culminating work "Mormon's Codex, An Ancient American Book" will seal their fate.

  • Hyena Murray, UT
    Feb. 14, 2011 9:21 a.m.

    As far as the SOP for these articles goes, we have another winner. Some interesting thoughts about the historical authenticity of the Book of Mormon, but no more. I would like to know if we will be getting more than this at some point, or if this is it.

    What we will get is a discussion of whether or not the LDS church has an oficial position on the historical authenticity of the book, and whether or not that is important.

    I assume the usual commenters will again make the same arguements they have pade in past articles. I do see a certain level of comraderie in the comments despite differing viewpoints. Maybe that is the purpose of these articles.

  • skeptic Phoenix, AZ
    Feb. 14, 2011 9:07 a.m.

    Mesoamerican ancient civiliztions have been studied and the history of the land and people documented as completely as ancient Eygptian history. There are no remanants or parallels with the Book of Mormon lands or people. Scientist have discovered, studied and doucumented ancient civilizations, people and lands thousands of years older than the BOM time. The Mormon God is a God of light, truth and order. There is nothing in the physical world of man that He has hidden from them. The Church has the money and recourses to solve the mystery and explain the question of the physical reality of the BOM location. The sooner they do the better for the church. The same as many of the other changes that have been made, such as who can hold the priesthood. One can imagine what a problem in todays world it would be for the church if they had not had the forsight to correct the priesthood issue when they did. Do what is right and let the consequences follow.

  • Full-on double rainbow Bluffdale, UT
    Feb. 14, 2011 8:25 a.m.

    I can summarize this one: Dudes made some lasting friendships in college. Started an archeological organization. Had fun. Wrote a manuscript. Manuscript was circulated.

    Was there any earth shattering, faith confirming info in this manuscript? Thanks.