Challenging Issues, Keeping the Faith: Challenging Issues, Keeping the Faith: Proof is in the eye of the beholder

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  • Michael_M Scottsbluff, NE
    March 26, 2011 7:12 p.m.

    Evidence and proof. Michael Ash has written that "Proof is in the eye of the beholder". I find this claim troubling for many reasons but let me give just one.

    An interesting study can be found in the journal of Applied Cognitive Psychology, volume 24, pages 899-908, "Can Fabricated Evidence Induce False Eyewitness Testimony?"

    The results showed that when people are exposed to false information their beliefs, memories etc can be influenced. Even to the extreme case of giving false eyewitness testimony when there are real consequences for an innocent person.

    I have stated before that LDS apologists are not to be trusted. One example for me saying this is the map of Moroni's travel from Meso-America to New York. It is used to show that Joseph Smith considered a limited geography theory, but that map includes the Kinderhook plates which are known to be fraudulent. Apologists know this but do it anyway. This is only one example of how false information is presented by apologists.

    Proof is not in the eye of the beholder. The psychology study mentioned above covers this quite well.

  • JM Lehi, UT
    March 26, 2011 3:01 p.m.

    Soccer dad today, so quick sources:
    Metals: Check MikeA articles on-Nephis bow, liahona ( "machined" iron surviving Mesoamerican cankering), BoM evidences today (includes steel for JS meant steeled, thus many hardened metal American artifacts suffice), also search anachronisms, rust and canker, metals in the BoM on FAIR and Jeff Lindsey, and just saw PBS History of American Indian Achievement episode1 shows Indigenous Peoples coming from ME, and IP most advanced metalworkers in world.

    LANGUAGE: with truth comment (and our linguist knows languages disappear, especially when Nephite culture and writing were intentionally destroyed (if Muslims likewise destroyed Copts, Egyptian would be replaced by Arabic))
    Check FAIR and Mikes DN Reformed Egyptian (briefly discusses Mesoamerican Hebrew)
    Also BoM evidences Reformed Egyptian exclusive, didnt speak Hebrew, "altered" Hebrew writing according to different speech. Nephites absorbed into larger Mulekites who spoke different language (probably also married surrounding cultures). BoM says later renegades taught Lamanites (also intermarried) unfamiliar Nephite language (for communication).

    Critic waits for : ):
    New Light: "Anthon Transcript" Writing Found?
    Reformed Egyptian: Language of My Fathers

    Aazzz, check Mike-Great Lakes weather, plants on FAIR (Wade Miller etc)

    @Magajuwin enjoyed your heeding prophets comment, see JM above.

  • Magaju win Scottsbluff, neb
    March 26, 2011 11:37 a.m.

    @think man,

    thank you I agree with you. I have tried following the path but hated being subjected to liars and theives and say I must follow them because god put them in their callings. I wondered how someone can say devolvement about my people in this site and deseret let them get away with it. I can only surmise that racial profiling is an okay beleif, marry only your own kind and not anyone beneath your money level. this is racial profiling. So stealing and lying in the name of God is okay as long as you are rich and white you are perfect. This is what I refuse to obey. Many have confused what truth and reality is all about. I will continue to walk the Red Road, because the one that the BofM followers say to follow makes me evil for following my peoples teaching? When they do not know what we believe. Truth, honesty, helping the poor, accepting others as humans and abhor wasitu. which means those who steal and take and care nothing about human lives. We value a human life not matter how they live or what they believe.

  • aaazzz Murray, UT
    March 25, 2011 2:46 p.m.

    Re: Thank you for your response. I have read it several times, and I am not sure what will be required from me to understand it. I am not sure what you want we to understand from your writings. Your passion is admirable, but I really don't understand what I am to think about your response. I just am not capable of understanding your thoughts. Keep up you work, and thanks for responding to my question.

  • Michael_M Scottsbluff, NE
    March 25, 2011 1:47 p.m.

    "Proof is in the eye of the beholder" certainly allows a varied perception of reality.

  • Hank Pym SLC, UT
    March 25, 2011 1:27 p.m.

    Re: Mormoncowboy | 9:03 a.m. March 21, 2011

    As for 2 Nephi 2:11-16 - Lehi states that there must be "OPPOSITION" in all things. In other words, choice, good for evil, bitter for sweet, etc. He does not say that there must be "contradiction" in all things. Opposition refers to two or more competing forces which push against each other. Contradiction is logical dillema based on competing ideas, where both cannot mutually exist. Either the Church is true, or it is not.

    Agreed. 2 more examples; Faith/Reason and Science/Religion.

    Re: Searching . . . | 9:25 a.m. March 21, 2011

    Lehi was given a miraculous compass on which the writing was updated periodically to guide his family through Arabian peninsula.

    It could be speculated that Lehi & family set sail from Yemen. If you watch enough of History International, youll eventually learn that there has been a trade route from Mecca to Sanaa Yemen for sometime. Further, there was a Jewish community in Yemen from 1000 BC to 600 AD.

  • Searching . . . Orem, UT
    March 25, 2011 11:48 a.m.

    truth: obviously the Lehites spoke and could write in Hebrew when they first arrived. Language does change over time, but not as drastically as you infer. Chaucer's English would be nearly impossible for us to understand spoken today, but merely difficult to read.

    Written language tends to consistency over time. Egyptian hieroglyphics took nearly 3000 years to evolve to Demotic script. The change enabled scribes to write more quickly using cyphers rather than the elaborate glyphs originally intended as monumental text.

    Reformed Egyptian would be based on demotic or hieratic from the brass plates. Writing reduces language flux. Reading and writing were exclusive skills in most early cultures. Culture tend to stick to one codex. The BoM codex should have lasted from 600BC to 400AD. Lamanites would also know it as they were one nation until 350AD. The earliest writing found in America are the Olmec hieroglyphs. Mayan is based on that. The oldest writing on portable media are the American Codices. The Dresden Codex is a good example of these. It is written in Mayan Hieroglyphs, matching the monumental text. Demotic cyphers are much easier to write. Why change to something more complex? Where is the reformed_Egyptian?

  • JM Lehi, UT
    March 25, 2011 11:42 a.m.

    @Azzzzz, luckily youre not a weekly Critic committed to changing. Evidences like eyewitnesses, impossible OW/NW details, geography etc; names, dates, Manassehs DNA, Jews with IP markers/morphology, detailed religion etc; Mesoamerican written gold plates; etc(mountains) arent enough for them.
    Theyd demand substantiality like prove Nephi wore buckskin and what Mesoamerican weather/season Alma (from NY town Alma?) planted his garden during AND prove an extinct minority grew neas, corn, European wheat, Japanese silkworms, linen etc. (No! Weve piped, Ceiba silk, neas, etc arent the dance, and corn grown doesnt prove Alma did it, and plants related to and possibly degenerated from wheat prove nothing (degenerated here meaning previously cultured but degenerating, like Cortez, from Christian culture, but put gold above humanity (unlike Montezuma with his slaves and bowl of warm human hearts).
    @Magajuwin please forgive misspellings.

    MichaelM: my familys multiracial, APdiscusses 1976 instruction, explains interracial akin to rich marrying poor etc, perfectly ok; crucial only to marry within religion. Antis edit.

    @JoggleWang, just saw comments REASAP.

    Seems Joggle wants religion without religion, believes Mormonism because it stands after 200years of extreme scrutiny, plus, HPower and living forever logically provable, Atheism? Not, 0scrutiny : )
    CheckJM scrutiny of lies Dec2009-Apr2011 : )

  • Thinkman Provo, UT
    March 25, 2011 10:22 a.m.

    I'd like to see the plates that Joseph Smith says he translated the Book of Mormon from "Reformed Egyptian" to English. IF the Book of Mormon was a record of some peoples in the Americas, where are the plates? And no, please don't give me the excuse that Joseph Smith had to give them back to an angel. That is the best "the dog ate my homework" excuse that I used to accept but since I decided to rely on evidence and logic rather than just my heart and feelings, I can no longer accept that there is or even was any such set of gold plates with ancient writings and especially since there is NO evidence of any people that roamed even a small area in the Americas that the Book of Mormon claims to be a history of.

    There certainly are some very good principles contained in the Book of Mormon by which we should conduct our lives, but it has become clear to me after studying it, teaching from it and "testifying" of it that it is a work of fiction and that no such peoples of Lehi or Jaredites ever existed.

  • Doctor Tucson, AZ
    March 24, 2011 3:15 p.m.

    Truth, If they wrote on brass plates in reformed Egyptian I'd like to see examples of reformed Egyptian inscribed on ruins or even other plates.

  • Joggle Clearfield, UT
    March 24, 2011 2:23 p.m.


    It seems to me you don't even read all the comments nor do you understand the challenges presented. Read my second comment and you will see that I stated what it would take for me to believe ANY religious belief. Your faith can't overcome the challenges. They are obviously there, but instead of responding to them with reason and certain (undisputible) accuse critics of purposeful lies, posing, forging, misinformation, fabrications etc,....which is no defense of your assertions and claims at all. You ignore much of what is said and then you make false accusations toward critics because your defense is_weak.

    Why does it matter as to the reason why any of us are here? Is there a rule that I missed that says critics aren't allowed here!? It doesn't really matter whether anybody is seeking the truth or not. I freely admit I'm not seeking or expecting the truth here, but if it presents itself....I will recognize it. I will at least consider information, but first "the challenges" and lack of evidence must be overcome. It hasn't!

    I freely admit I'm here to challenge the Mormon version the_truth!

  • the truth Holladay, UT
    March 24, 2011 1:04 p.m.

    RE: sundancejedi

    I find your namecalling offensive and am suprised the DN even allowed it since it added nothing.

    RE: Everybody Wang Chung Tonight

    There is no evidence that the nephites or lamanites spoke or wrote hebrew or egyptian in daily converstions and writings.

    So your expectation are in error and are basd on assumptions.

    We only know the nephites record keepers wrote in aform desribed as reformed egyptian NOT egyptian,

    that the brass plates they brought with them were written in egyptian and Lehi could read them and passed onthat knowledge.

    the mulekites who came at about same time as Lehi's family, had lost thierlanguage by the time they werefound a couple hundred years later by the nephites.

    The lamanites devolved quickly into tent dwellers who wore loin cloths. there is no evidence they had any system of preservation for language or history, etc.

    We KNOW thre were more advanced civilzations in americas, and that theyWere quite populous, the mound builders were believed toHaveNumbered over 4.5 million.

    and those who came after, their remnants live in a more devolved primative state.

    this is all fact.

    That doesn't make them less human just less enlightened.

  • Everybody Wang Chung Tonight Riverton, Utah
    March 24, 2011 10:46 a.m.


    I would accept evidence of Hebrew or Egyptian writing in Mesoamerica. Another would be if a Native American language showed good linguistic evidence of Hebrew or Egyptian loanwords -- solid patterns of correspondence, not piecemeal lists of similarities. I would also accept a steel weapon, shield or any other implementation that showed steel/iron work.

    JM, now please tell me what evidence you would accept that your beliefs are in error.

  • Magaju win Scottsbluff, neb
    March 24, 2011 9:36 a.m.

    @ Jm
    you have not spelled my name correctly. It is an accurate name given to me passed down for generations. So no need to Answer someone who cares not for true names.
    @ truth. You have no scientific proof of devolvement. It has come to name calling and I am suprised that deseret has allowed such things. I am proud to be a true American Indian that shows true meaning of life. The so called life that you say is good is nothing but abhorrent to my people. Stealing,deceit,gold,lies, take,take, take and use up spit out and throw away. saying nuclear power is clean. put down and crush so you can look all powerful.Saying that we are evil because our skin is dark. Mine will never turn white. this I am greatful for. We do not toss people aside because of our beliefs, or say don't marry beneath you, or marry of same race. This is the truth you love. No thank you. you cannot handle truth. You deny it and make it up along the way to suit your ego. no I will not follow.

  • aaazzz Murray, UT
    March 24, 2011 9:28 a.m.

    Here is what I would like to see evidence for:

    Is there evedence for a tropical or a temporal climate in the book of mormon?

    Is there evidence that the plants and animals listed are new world species?

    You have asked what I would like to see evidence of, and I feel those would be good starting points, of course anything you choose to present would be great. Thanks for you enthusiasm.

  • Dennis Harwich, MA
    March 24, 2011 6:23 a.m.

    Members of the Quorum of Twelve have indicated numerous times that the BoM is not a History book. Very simple. It didn't happen.

  • JM Lehi, UT
    March 24, 2011 12:13 a.m.

    Busy week, lots of good comments, and many of the same anti-Mormon tactics : ) (sorry, but we might as well be honest about what you are doing here).

    @Megajuwin I just did a search for your comments, and for "JM" and didn't find what I was hoping for, an answer to my questions on first page.

    @weekly Critics: Again, you claim there is no substantial evidence, I've asked several times for what evidence would change your lives, i never get an answer.
    Again, what more do you expect?
    The Spirit witnesses, evidence supports, even proves the BoM miraculous.

    You again claim feelings cant be trusted, but offer no proof for your faiths.

    That worries me. Feelings are the only way to know anything crucial, like murder is wrong.

    Its impossible to drag you to happiness or up the sacred mountain with evidence, you know that, and, as Mike points out, no matter how much evidence, it will neither save nor convince the hardened heart.

    I think a big step for all critics would be admitting to yourselves that you really arent here seeking truth. And, with the lies, posing, forging, misinformation, fabrications etc, youre purposely leading from truth.

  • JoeBlow Miami Area, Fl
    March 23, 2011 6:21 p.m.


    I was not attempting, nor did I, take anything out of context. I agree that while your addition does "soften" the concept, it is clear that church leaders HAVE preached "against interracial marriage".

    Regardless, if church leaders, including church presidents do say things that are "unflattering" to church image, or turn out to be blatantly wrong, we hear the chorus of "they were speaking as fallible men".

    So in the end, what does it really matter?

    I would certainly classify most LDS church leaders as very wise men who give good advice. Much like my grandfather might.

  • sundancejedi Provo, UT
    March 23, 2011 6:19 p.m.

    the truth-

    Your grasp of vocabulary and spelling prowess are certainly indicative of your "devolved" state. That is simply the truth

  • the truth Holladay, UT
    March 23, 2011 5:43 p.m.

    RE: Michael_M

    The truth is NEVER offensive nor erroneous.

    People who live primately devolved socially and culturally from more advanced state..

    It is scientific truth.

    As you move from society in item and disttance you people living more priamtiely as move away.

    As peol move aaw3y forman enlighten state they devlovle, as embrace false ideolgies ans philosophies,, as as embrace satiflying fleshly desrires over other things, as value education less ans less, if they method preserving languge histopry culture etc,

    people devolve,

    even in our society from gangs, to hippie communes, you can the truth of it.

    I find sreading ignorance offernsive whihc what you are doing,

    I find you taking things out context from preithoommanuals offensive,

    and social scientist can tell there is greater chance of success in marrigage, the more you have in common.

  • Northern Lights Louisville, KY
    March 23, 2011 5:04 p.m.


    I would love to put the President Kimball's comment into context.

    He also said, "A couple HAS NOT committed sin if an Indian boy and a white girl are married, or vice versa. It isn't a transgression like the transgressions of which many are guilty. But it is not expedient. Marriage statistics and our general experience convince us that marriage is not easy. It is difficult when all factors are favorable. The divorces increase constantly, even where the spouses have the same general background of race, religion, finances, education, and otherwise." (Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, p.302-303)

    He simply was providing sage advise to the culture of his time on giving marriage the best possibility for success. Divorce is an ugly thing! It's also important to understand that his comments were not official doctrine of the Church - just a recommendation. There is more explaination as one continues to read; you'll find it isn't about race.

    It's amazing how some are using the entire bag of tricks on the message board this week. Just about everything Michael Ash pointed out about critics is being demonstrated right here - and then some!

  • Michael_M Scottsbluff, NE
    March 23, 2011 4:38 p.m.

    Vone writes "I have never once in my life heard any preaching against interracial marriage by any leader of the church."

    This year (2011) the official curriculum for the young men is the Aaronic Priesthood 3 (34822) manual. The lesson beginning on page 127 includes this:

    We recommend that people marry those who are of the same racial background..."

    I hope that clears it up for Vone. We are in the 21st century now and this is still taught to young LDS men.

  • JoeBlow Miami Area, Fl
    March 23, 2011 3:11 p.m.

    Vone writes "I have never once in my life heard any preaching against interracial marriage by any leader of the church."

    We are unanimous, all of the Brethren, in feeling and recommending that Indians marry Indians, and Mexicans marry Mexicans; the Chinese marry Chinese and the Japanese marry Japanese; that the Caucasians marry the Caucasians, and the Arabs marry Arabs. (Spencer W. Kimball, The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, p. 303)

  • Vone Salt Lake City, UT
    March 23, 2011 2:25 p.m.

    Magaju win:

    wow there are some ridiculous statements in that comment, I have never once in my life heard any preaching against interracial marriage by any leader of the church. Tithing does go you buying land for building churches and temples, however, it does not go to building commercial buildings that is all done by the various commercial arms of the church. Tithing is not meant for the poor it is to build and maintain the church, fast offerings are meant for the poor and needy and that is exactly what they are used for.

    All I have to say about the proof thing is I don't need it and I believe that the church is true. However even if I am wrong I know that it is because of the teachings in the Book of Mormon I am a better more charitable slow to anger person. I never had any interest in the bible or Jesus Christ until I started reading from the Book of Mormon, it turned my life around so I dont need proof, I know I am better because of it.

  • ? Fort Knox, KY
    March 23, 2011 12:55 p.m.

    Magaju win: What is the history of your people? How did your people come to live on the American continent? What do your people believe?

  • skeptic Phoenix, AZ
    March 23, 2011 11:05 a.m.

    I believe Magaju win has a very good complaint. The Mormon church encourages and supports geneology and ancestral search, but at the same time they label the American Indian and purloin them of their true indentity and geneology.

  • Magaju win Scottsbluff, neb
    March 23, 2011 10:22 a.m.

    We beleive in a great being and equality to all. Women are treated as sacred not to rule over. The cheifs were the poorest because they helped the tribes people. Mormon leaders are locked in their ivory towers and cannot be touched or talked to. Woman cannot disagree or they are labeled unworthy. you teach against interracial marriages? This is from god? No it is not. We did not do this because this is how we learned to get along and stop wars. Only mormons talk of superiority and who is degenerate. Pay tithing, But it goes to buy more land and building Malls, not back into helping the poor. Truth Money is the root of all evil. Take land and destroy a way of life in the name of god because you are helping them better themselves. How by your lies and deciets. How is that good. We live by honesty. We do not take and use and then toss away. Degenerates to those who do not follow your teaching. This is not from God! who is really the degenerates now?

  • ? Fort Knox, KY
    March 23, 2011 6:06 a.m.

    Then there are pictures of things like the Dead Sea Scrolls. At first one might think they are ruined, yet somehow they've been able to unravel them and read them. There might have been such records for the American continent, but because some records were kept on metal plates, it seems their value was more in the material the records were made of rather than for the content that was written on them. Yet, the use of metal plates in ancient America seems to be coming forward when once there were those who scoffed at the idea.

  • ? Fort Knox, KY
    March 23, 2011 5:59 a.m.

    For any who doubt there is any evidence to support the BookofMormon, what if you are given a handful of clues that are hundreds of years old, would you be able to pinpoint the location these clues lead to? Then would you be able to explain the history of the people that lived there, how they came to live there, how was their government formed, and what did these people believe.

    As it is, there are ruins throughout North and South America, but at best people can only guess what the history of these people might be, how they came to the Americas, and what these people believed.

    The Book of Mormon is a record of people who lived somewhere in the Americas. (My opinion is they lived fairly close to where the record was buried.) Yet, to date not much is known about the history of the Americas to even be able to compare what we learn from the Book of Mormon. One thing I question is, why dont we know more of the history of this continent than what is presently known? Many things seem to be coming forward, but what does any of it mean?

  • Michael_M Scottsbluff, NE
    March 23, 2011 2:28 a.m.

    the truth said :"we know the_lamanites quickly dengerated and would probably developed their own language, and may have_not had any formal written language, and they're the group that survived"

    The thought that America's living indigenous people are from degenerate ancestors is offensive in the 21st century. Proof is not in the eye of the beholder but erroneous understanding most certainly is.

    The people who developed the written languages, architecture and artwork, astronomy and mathematics found in Meso-America never disappeared. It took the Spanish 170 years to gain control over their lands. Between 1966 and 1990 up to 200,000 of these people died or disappeared in the genocide of a civil war, but the people are still there.

    When will the 19th century notion of a fallen and degenerate people be discarded? Scientific research and data no longer supports this offensive description of degenerate ancestors. DNA shows the living people being from real ancestors who should be acknowledged for their own accomplishments, without adding in the fictional influence from Near Eastern mythical ocean migrations.

    It is time for a paradigm shift in the direction of reality.

  • brokenclay Scottsdale, AZ
    March 22, 2011 11:09 p.m.

    Everybody Wang Chung Tonight | 1:36 p.m.

    Very, very insightful! The critique applies to certain posters here, as well.

  • Weber State Graduate Clearfield, UT
    March 22, 2011 8:41 p.m.

    Bill, if you really believe my post last week was an attempt to mock you, then you missed my point entirely. By changing a few of your words, it's easy to see how closely your argument in favor of your perception of truth resembles the position of other faiths and their perception of truth.

    Believers in the Qur'an are utterly convinced that this book was verbally revealed to the Prophet Muhammad through the angel Gabriel, just as you are entirely convinced that the BoM was revealed to the Prophet Joseph Smith by the angel Moroni. In fact,the conviction of a Muslim regarding the truthfulness of the book is so powerful that they are willing to die to protect that belief.

    The fact remains...both books cannot be truth in the absolute sense, and your testimony of truth simply does not trump their testimony of truth, regardless of whether or not Islam has living prophets.

  • Full-on double rainbow Bluffdale, UT
    March 22, 2011 8:30 p.m.

    Alberta, agreed that of the regular posters no one is changing their mind. I do know personally, that finding out about the unsavory side of church history can be a catalyst to leaving the church. There is a reason you dont hear about some of the things posted here at church. When it seems like man is calling the shots behind the scenes and not Godwell that destroys faith. I am happy that the church brings you happiness and perspective in life. I have no doubt that you would make a great neighbor. However I disagree with the people who stand up in church and say that they would remain a member even if it wasnt true.

    One last thoughtIf mormoncowboy proclaimed himself a prophet I could be convinced to pay him tithing. Oh, probably not 10% but wed figure something out.

  • the truth Holladay, UT
    March 22, 2011 5:36 p.m.

    These comment show that few truly understand the priciple of faith, and why it necessary,

    and really it begins when you understand why we here,

    that this is mortal probation,

    We are not here to prove to God we will do waht is right, when have evidence, that proves nothing

    but will we do what is right, make the right choices, keep his commandments,
    believe his word whether from him or his prophets,

    thqt is the true test.

    Peole still make wrong choices even with evidence, evidence does not change who you really are,

    and this all finding oput who you really are, and are you worthy for greater progression,

    faith is paramount.

    RE: Everybody Wang Chung Tonight

    Why would you expect to find hebrew or egyptian?

    Do you know for a fact what they spoke and wrote daily in either of those two languages?

    we don't know,

    your expectations are based on assumptions.

    we know the_lamanites quickly dengerated and would probably developed their own language, and may have_not had any formal written language, and they're the group that survived,

    the_nephites kept record in_what's describe as_a "reformed egyptian",

    so_they developed their_own written language after a_time.

  • Searching . . . Orem, UT
    March 22, 2011 4:47 p.m.

    Bill: Rephrasing one's comments in an opposing or conflicting context is a powerful way urging the commenter to see his arguments from outside his belief system. I don't believe Weber Graduate intended it as mocking (I could be wrong), so I'd invite you to put away your "sticks and stone" dismissal of his comment and try looking at it again. Can you say that if someone of a different religion (Muslim, Catholic, or some denomination claims modern revelation) said those words to you, that you would agree with them? Would you call them on their logic?

    There is a great deal of fear within the church of looking at things outside the Mormon perspective. From experience, I know the discomfort that arguments and evidences that don't fit the paradigm can cause. Pressure from investment into the program (time, money, culture, family, etc.) kept me from looking at issues logically. Like many members, I would put it on the back-burner until some rationalization would help me explain it away. I assume many who read these articles are looking for similar rationalizations. I hope they decide to look deeper.

  • Doctor Tucson, AZ
    March 22, 2011 4:34 p.m.

    I have had my disbelief strengthened by these articles and the comments. I had read some things I was sure were distortions or out right lies by "anti" mormons. But I've come here and found out they were true, just rationalized away by the faithful. My wife (raised Mormon) didn't know many things discussed in these forums. She too didn't believe they were true. Anyway, I enjoy reading these articles and lok forward to them. Mormons are nice people once you get them to stop thinking you want home teachers dropping in and calling.

  • aaazzz Murray, UT
    March 22, 2011 3:40 p.m.

    It would be cool if they found an ancient ninja settlement somewhere in the Western Hemisphere. This comment is not meant to indicate anything other than the fact that I like ninjas (as portrayed in pop culture, as opposed to actual ninjas), and that I think it would be cool if we found a nest or infestation had occured in the Americas in pre-colombian days:)

  • JoeBlow Miami Area, Fl
    March 22, 2011 1:42 p.m.

    The proof that Mr Ash is showing is the Lack of Disproof.

    There is a possibility that words had different meanings in other times.
    There is a possibility that described geography changed by quake or flood
    There is a possibility that DNA markers disappeared.
    There is a possibility that Golden plates were moved to another continent to be found.
    There is a possibility that we have just not dug in the right places to unearth massive civilizations.

    And, I cant refute any of his possible explanations.

    But, as a thinking man, I find the collection of things that must happen to make the BOM story believable, highly improbable.

    But hey, I could be wrong.

  • Everybody Wang Chung Tonight Riverton, Utah
    March 22, 2011 1:36 p.m.

    Part II

    Mike wrote, "If humans had incontrovertible secular evidence for the existence of God, they would be unable to freely choose whether or not to accept God."

    So God exists, but He's not going to give any evidence. And then when I don't believe in him, He's going to punish me for not believing in Him despite the lack of evidence?

    There's something odd about Ash's post. Take another look at his two reasons for not giving evidence.

    Point 1: If you gave someone evidence, they could still just reject it.
    Point 2: If you gave someone evidence, it would destroy their agency because they'd be unable to reject it.

    So which is it? Can someone reject evidence, or can't they? He's rested his case on two points that contradict each other.

    Is this really the best that Michael Ash can do?

  • Everybody Wang Chung Tonight Riverton, Utah
    March 22, 2011 1:31 p.m.

    Evidence for the Book of Mormon? At last! Unfortunately, Ash then spends the entire column making excuses for why we shouldn't expect evidence. That's always a bad sign. If he had the evidence, he would rely on it. Instead, there's tap dancing.

    Mike states, "Im unconvinced that any critic would convert because of some alleged proof.

    This is not quite right. When I deconverted, it was not because I had 'hardened my heart'. In fact, I spent years making excuses for the church and trying to shoehorn the facts into my narrow religious belief. Only when I realised that it had no evidentiary basis did I abandon the religion I'd invested so much in.

    I will change my mind if the facts require. One would be evidence of Hebrew or Egyptian writing in Mesoamerica. If Ash has this evidence, let him say so.

    I might say that Ash's presumption may be based on his own attitude. I wonder what evidence he'd accept that his beliefs are in error. I hope he shows up in comments, because I'd really like to ask him that one question.

  • Alberta Reader magrath, ab
    March 22, 2011 1:21 p.m.

    Milk Beast
    Reading Mikes articles seems to be a "hobby" for the same few that seem to read and comment
    Really they neither help or hurt. Going along with Mikes current article, the believers that post still seem to believe those that don't continue not to believe so no real change in my opinion
    Not a single comment I have read on the negative side against the LDS church has
    chipped away at my testimony it is still completely intact

  • Bill in Nebraska Maryville, MO
    March 22, 2011 12:10 p.m.

    Weber Graduate and others" You took what I said last week and basically mocked it with the Quran. The problem is that the Muslims do not believe in living prophets or modern revelation. I do so you mock was basically just that a mock, which meant nothing.

    The first principles and ordinances of the Gospel of Jesus Christ are:

    Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, Repentance, Baptism by immerision for the remission of sin and then the laying on of hands for the Gift of the Holy Ghost.

    Mormoncowboy asked who he should have faith in. Jesus Christ but by his own comments he has put his faith in man just as many of the critics have. Faith is the belief in things that are unseen yet are true. Until one is fully willing to submit to the Lord, putting your faith in man instead will garner you nothing. Just as Josha stated: " for me and my house, we will serve the Lord".

    The Holy Ghost WILL testify of the truth of the Book of Mormon is one is broken hearted, humble, meek and willing to submit to the Lord. Otherwise all comes through the adversary.

  • Weber State Graduate Clearfield, UT
    March 22, 2011 11:14 a.m.


    I believe you are mistaken in your assumption. Those who take an honest, objective, scientific approach to evidence most often do not intend to diminish the value of faith. Rather, many will admit that faith indeed has much value in society and is an important requisite for human hope. But having faith that something is true doesnt necessarily make the object of that faith a fact.

    Furthermore, I find it troubling that when challenging supernatural claims, its entirely convenient to brand people who favor scientific protocols as "naysayers" or "haters" out to diminish the value of faith. Such action creates a clever prejudice and diverts attention away from the debate.

    There are those who are quick to cite absolute faith as a replacement for reason, which does nothing but diminish the value of reason in favor of a rigid code of faith.

  • skeptic Phoenix, AZ
    March 22, 2011 10:42 a.m.

    The Milk Beast,

    Just my two cents, but I think anything that challenges sane people to think and study positive events and excercise our God given brains and reason is good for the individual and society as a whole. If the Book of Mormon is real history and not fiction then there will be evidence of proof of its being. It is a natural law of God's creations. If it is not a true history, then it is best to know that and adjust accordingly. God is truth, and God can only be truely worshiped and accessed through truth.

  • The Milk Beast Herriman, UT
    March 22, 2011 10:05 a.m.

    Full Rainbow,

    I agree. Mike is, and has been, taking a beating on a weekly basis for a long time. I have to wonder if his articles are helping or hurting?

  • sharrona layton, Ut
    March 22, 2011 9:26 a.m.

    cval, We all place that evidence in the context of what we already know or believe to be true in relation to the evidence we have already discovered?

    Lectures on Faith, Q. What is the Father? A. He is a personage of glory and of power. (5:2.)

    Brigham Young (JOD v 1 p 49-50): "The Lord fills the immensity of space. What saith the Psalmist[139:7-10]? Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence? me. They changed their view.

    Blessed are thou Simon Bar-jo-nah for Flesh and Blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father(God is Spirit) which is in heaven.(Mt 16: 16-17) Jesus clearly states, God the Father does not have a body of flesh and blood.

    By faith he forsook Egypt not fearing the wrath of the king: for he endured as seeing him(God)who is invisible.(Heb 11:27). Faith in an exalted man is misplaced faith.

  • skeptic Phoenix, AZ
    March 22, 2011 8:47 a.m.

    How can it be as Mr. Ash states that: "proof is in the eye of the beholder". Proof is evidence of truth, or proof is truth: or it is not proof. If as Mr. Ash states it is what the beholder wishes to see, then it is not proof; it is just different opinions, wishes, desires, etc of people with their heads in the clouds. It is meaningless, and it proofs nothing. I hope we can all come back down to earth and continue the search for proof of the Book of Mormon lands.

  • cval Hyde Park, UT
    March 22, 2011 8:23 a.m.

    For the Lord to provide "proof" would violate the First Principle of the Gospel... Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. He has, however provided lots of evidence.

    The beauty and challenge of evidence is that it is often open to interpretation, so we look for more evidence that makes our case either stronger or weaker. We all place that evidence in the context of what we already know or believe to be true in relation to the evidence we have already discovered.

    Funny how similar this is to the scientific model of searching for evidence to support or refute our theories that the naysayers are so quick cite in their efforts to diminish the value of Faith.

  • Full-on double rainbow Bluffdale, UT
    March 22, 2011 8:08 a.m.

    I wonder if this article was inspired because Mike's ideas (apologist in general) keep getting hammered in this comment section. I'll bet it was somewhat cathartic.

  • nick humphrey kent, WA
    March 22, 2011 8:02 a.m.

    @Charles, spot on! his logical must apply both ways. DNA research shows that native americans come from northeast asia. the church changed the intro of the BOM in 2007, completely destroying 180 years of prophetic doctrine that the lamanites are the principal ancestors of the american indians.

    modern egyptology scholarship also concludes that the book of abraham is a hoax.

    yet mormons will hold on to their preconditioned psychological+emotional response (what they call a "testimony") to their dying day in the face of all proof against what they've been indoctrinated to believe in.

    finally and most importantly, the fossil record, dna, archeology and anthropology disprove the old testament claim that the first homo sapien offspring appeared a mere 6-7000 years ago. all evidence shows it was more like 200,000 years ago.

    but by all means remain a slave to a corporation bleeding you of your time and money because of a good feeling you get when you hear something nice (the identical feeling you get when you watch e.g. a disney movie).

  • Weber State Graduate Clearfield, UT
    March 22, 2011 7:24 a.m.

    Absolute "proof" of the BoM does not exist, just as absolute "disproof" of the BoM does not exist. Conversely, there is no absolute proof or disproof of the existence of elves. As a result, discussions about proof regarding supernatural claims must be examined in terms of probabilities.

    The scientific world typically examines claims of proof using levels of confidence, or how frequently an observed phenomena can be measured and if it contains the parameter that's being investigated as determined by the confidence level or a confidence coefficient.

    Since there is no scientific evidence of the supernatural, including the supernatural claims behind the BoM, it can be confidently concluded that such "proof" is reasonably low, just as the confidence level of the existence of elves is quite low and therefore improbable.

    The belief that such proof indeed exists is more likely the result of regimented religious ritual and symbolic cultural practice and customs that condition the mind to accept such improbabilities. Such ritual can induce powerful brain responses that promote very real "spiritual" experiences for people.

    The reliance on "faith" is a rather effective method of conditioning that serves to perpetuate the belief in improbable "proofs."

  • Mormoncowboy Provo, Ut
    March 22, 2011 6:57 a.m.


    Yes, I doubt very much the things contained in the Bible - and you guessed it, for the same reasons too! And that goes for any superstition purported as actual history from ancient literature. Still, your comment illustrates perfectly the problems with religious epistemology. As per your argument, I could never become convinced because I lack the a priori of believing in the first place. This is generally the end of the road conversation on the dichotomies of faith. You will insist that I must have "faith", or "desire", or I must be "sincere", etc. While you can drum up all of the scriptures in the world which support these adjectives, you can't even be sure what that means. Have faith in what? Desire what? Sincere in what way? Your own lack of clarity on these various issues then causes you to spin illogical arguments like your opening statement. I won't be able to clearly evaluate evidence unless I accept your conclusion first. Like Pascals Wager, you argue as though faith is one dimensional - while ignoring the dillema illustrated by your own founder. In which of all these Churchs (faiths/texts/traditions), shall I place my faith?

  • Dennis Harwich, MA
    March 22, 2011 6:10 a.m.

    If an "innocent" man were called int a "Church Court" and everyone in that court "felt" like he was guilty, not taking any concern for the facts or proof of the event, the man is guilty. Convenient way of looking at things isn't it!

  • Alberta Reader magrath, ab
    March 21, 2011 8:47 p.m.

    Great Article Mike
    best one you have done in my opinion since I started to follow your articles

  • Jeff S Sandy, UT
    March 21, 2011 8:28 p.m.

    No matter what the facts reveal, they support my position and strengthen my testimony. So, I may be wrong - but I'm never in doubt.

  • Bill in Nebraska Maryville, MO
    March 21, 2011 8:26 p.m.

    To the critics: Mr. Ash is just about to present to you some of the so called physical proof that can actually prove the feasibility of the Book of Mormon. This means that what the Book of Mormon states were here such as metals, barley and other things have been found. That the mesoamerican module closely resembles everything mentioned in the Book of Mormon and has been located in that area, yet you the critic will still not believe it. You will pass it off as wishful thinking and everything else. That is why you don't have the eyes to see or the ears to hear just as Christ has indicated about many of the leaders of Jeruselem. Until you are willing to become submissive as a small child you will never receive the answer you want or the spirit to testify of its truth.
    Just as Naham and Bountiful are in exactly the right spots pertaining to the Arabian pensisula as told in the Book of Mormon, you still can't see. The heavens have been opened to revelations today just as they were in the days of old since 1820 when they appeared to Joseph Smith.

  • Joggle Clearfield, UT
    March 21, 2011 6:17 p.m.

    The way to see by faith is to shut the eye of reason.~~Benjamin Franklin

    If your religion....or any religion could stand up to all scrutiny and provide absolute certainty then I would have to accept it as true, but since no religion can do that without the use of faith or subjective religious experiences....than I remain unconvinced. If a belief can't survive challenges to reasonable arguments then it deserves my skepticism or disbelief. Although some arguments cannot be logically excluded from being true, they very often can be excluded from being very likely true. This amount of contrary evidence makes belief unreasonable. If the only alternative you have to challenges is to ridicule and blame the person for not being spiritual enough (or some such thing)....rather than the source....then it is you who is so blind as to not see. When strong evidence to the contrary is denied in favor of self-induced religious experiences based on a predetermined need, desire, or simply because you want it to be true. ....then I find it impossible to be convinced based on people interpreting an already hoped for religious a revelation....or from God!

  • Allen Salt Lake valley, UT
    March 21, 2011 5:26 p.m.

    Sorry for the tangent away from Ash's article. Mention was made about the Mormon concept of hell, and I thought I'd elaborate on that. In the Old Testament, every reference to 'hell' is the Hebrew word sheôwl which means hades, the world of the dead or the grave. There is nothing in the use of sheôwl to imply eternal burnings in literal fire. In the New Testament, there are three Greek words translated as 'hell'. Haides means the place of departed souls or the grave. Geenna refers to a valley near Jerusalem in which refuse was burned, and this valley is the source of the metaphor about fire. Tartaroo refers to the deepest abyss of Hades or to an incarceration in eternal punishment. Biblical references to Hell refer to the grave or to the world of the dead in which the spirits will receive God's punishment.

    Revelation 20:12-13 brings out that Hell will give up its dead, implying that hell is temporary. That hell refers to Haides or Geenna. The New Testament also refers to Tartaroo, which Mormons refer to as "outer darkness" in which there is no forgiveness.

  • donn layton, Ut
    March 21, 2011 5:18 p.m.

    Per Bill in Nebraska, Peter saw all of the miracles and when Christ asked "Who Do You Say I am?" Peter answered, "You are the Christ, the Son of God." Christ then stated, "That it wasn't man that told him this but the Holy Ghost." Actually,
    But do men say ye that I am, And Simon Peter answered and said ,Thou art the Christ the Son of the Living God, And Blessed are thou Simon Bar-jo-nah for Flesh and Blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father(God is Spirit) which is in heaven.(Mt 16: 16-17) Jesus clearly states, God the Father does not have a body of flesh and blood. God is Spirit (John 4:24)

  • Pickle Juice, The Key to a BCS Clinton, UT
    March 21, 2011 5:07 p.m.

    If, as Michael states in his article that evidence doesn't matter, then you have to wonder why Mormon apologists even exist. Nearly universally, they all seem to follow a general pattern of stretching any evidence beyond recognition to fit the Book of Mormon (or Pearl of Great Price). But they conclude by stating that there is no need for physical proof of the divinity of the Book of Mormon because its divinity can only be confirmed spiritually.

    That is where I scratch my head. If the divinity of the Book of Mormon can only be proved spiritually, then why are they wasting such time, effort and brain cells? Why even defend Mormonism from an intellectual stand point? They could and should just post a huge sign that says: "Just Pray". It seems that any approach to justify faith with material evidence is a slap in the face and a severe contradiction to the very religion they are attempting to defend.

  • Otis Spurlock Ogden, UT
    March 21, 2011 5:02 p.m.


    Don't you think your comment was "ridiculing" of Boise's comment? If so, then aren't you guilty of the exact same thing you are accusing Boise of?

  • Bill in Nebraska Maryville, MO
    March 21, 2011 4:56 p.m.

    Mormoncowboy: Since you don't believe the Book of Mormon to be true then no convincing will ever convince you otherwise. Just as I said last week, no physical proof will EVER bring someone to Christ. The Bible is very clear on this as witnessed by his own assertion and the miracles he performed. He was still said to be a man with a devil.

    The ministering of angels isn't always visible and may not be only spirits. Until you fully understand that there is no way anyone is going to be able to describe to YOUR satisfaction what it is.

    How do I know Jesus Christ lived or died? You tell me, and the answer to that is by the Holy Ghost. There is no proof anywhere except the Bible to the fact he even was a person. How about Moses? Only in the Bible but no where in Egyptian History is his name ever mentioned. The same for any prophet in the Old Testament. Therefore, to go with your ascertain the Bible must also be false until someone can prove those as well to you.

    The Spirit tells you the difference and reveals all truth. PERIOD.

  • BoiseSuperBlue Twin Falls, ID
    March 21, 2011 4:51 p.m.


    Will you please have someone explain the irony of your last post to you?

  • Cats Somewhere in Time, UT
    March 21, 2011 4:40 p.m.

    Dear BoiseSuperBlue: Thank you for your post. One can always try ridicule. It is the last bastian of those who have no intelligent counter arguments.

  • Mormoncowboy Provo, Ut
    March 21, 2011 3:41 p.m.


    Thank you!

    While the banter back and forth seems fruitless, I still sense that there is value in continued conversation. Despite Ash's lack of confidence, I am confident that good evidence and good argument does in fact persuade.

  • Northern Lights Louisville, KY
    March 21, 2011 2:47 p.m.


    With regards to citing the story in Luke 16, you either missed the point or are deliberately trying to twist the argument. The point is, again, when a person has decided to reject the gospel, not even the dead, or angels, or signs can convince them otherwise. Nor will any of the proofs that you and your associates on these boards demand. Only the Holy Ghost can truly convert - and for me this was in a very personal way that cannot be ignored nor denied.

    I have a testimony of the living Christ and his gospel. I did not receive my testimony from physical proof. I didn't need it. In fact, President Hinckley once said about testimony, "It is something that cannot be refuted. Opponents may quote scripture and argue doctrine endlessly. They can be clever and persuasive. But when one says, 'I know,' there can be no further argument."

    And one final note, I know no Mormon who has rejected the doctrine of Hell. The scriptures provide great detail on those who are eligable. Luke 16 is a very good description as well.

  • sundancejedi Provo, UT
    March 21, 2011 2:31 p.m.


    You should compose a collection of your DN posts. I find them truly eloquent, well thought out and very quotable. Keep them up!

  • Joggle Clearfield, UT
    March 21, 2011 2:17 p.m.

    Proof may be in the eye of the beholder, but that doesn't make that claimed proof fact nor does it make that proof true! No, Mr.'s merely admirably impossible for critics and skeptics to be open to practitioner-promoted claims for some supernatural concoction for which there should be evidence and yet against which all the evidence points. Possibilities do not equal fact and although some evidence may seem plausible on the surface to can often be reasonably refuted by others. This typically stems from a higher standard of evidence for the claims made by the religious. Many theists and apologetics seem to lack that inner sense of logical discrepancy that sets a "wait a minute, that doesn't make sense!" alarms ringing in many of us. It has nothing to do with "truly hardened hearts against Joseph Smith". The problem simply lies in the lack of certain and absolute evidence within the source. Emotionalism is not a substitute for the truth. The request for proof is thrown out as a challenge because the burden of proof lies with the claimant. Untrue excuses for lack of acceptance ignores that the evidence is truly insufficient.

  • DanielAZ Tucson, AZ
    March 21, 2011 2:16 p.m.

    Mike is back! The last article didn't really develop any new ideas or say much of anything. This one was excellent! Judging from the number of comments which are so strongly worded form both sides, it appears Mike hit a raw nerve with some. Isn't it interesting how there doesn't appear to be much middle ground for the folks writing the comments. He's either got a halo or horns. I've never met him, but I suspect he's a pretty normal middle class dad who puts on his pants one leg at a time. Peace to all who read this. (So sorry I will not be able to respond to any flames sent my way, I just have 30 minutes during lunch to read a little news and then it's back to work!)

  • Mormoncowboy Provo, Ut
    March 21, 2011 1:38 p.m.

    Hi Bill:

    I don't recall that Laman and Lemuel ever saw angels, largely because I don't think Laman and Lemuel ever existed. Incidentally, part of why I doubt their existence is the incredulousnes of the narratives about them. After they "saw" angels, what proof would they yet require. Does it make sense that they would have doubted being censured by an Angel? Doubtful. Rather they're actions don't make sense in the context. Interestingly most Mormons notice this very thing, and yet draw the conclusion that "seeing an angel doesn't convert". I find this rational quite odd. Why did Joseph Smith trust the visit from Moroni then - and why do we put so much stock into it? Certainly if seein an angel didn't build faith, then there would be little restriction behind limiting such occurences, yet God seems quite protective of angelic ministrations. One of the key's of the Aaronic Priesthood is the Ministering of Angels, but why if such a thing is unnecessary. Listen to your own assertion. You are suggesting that a visit from angels would be of little religious benefit. It's nuts Bill.

  • the truth Holladay, UT
    March 21, 2011 1:33 p.m.

    RE: brokenclay

    I high;y doubt you witness form spirit not to belive the BOM.

    Satan and his followers want to do all they can to lead all he can away from the truth.

    And Satan can be very convincing.

    Witnwes from the spirit does not always come right away, but the spirit testifies to you when you are ready.

    There is no scientific truth that contradict anything in the scriputures.

    There are contradictiy theories of men, and there are contradicory ideas of men.

    The BOM is a translation, which includes a modern english translation of names,

    this means you will NOT find "zarahemla" or "nephi" an ancinet artifacts,

    nor would you even find hebrew,

    Even the plates of brass, contianing the books of moses and many other ancient prophets that lehi brough with him were written in egyptian!

    The nephites built in wood not stone,the lamanites were tent dweller in loin cloths

    If you want find evidence you need to be looking for the right evidence.

  • Searching . . . Orem, UT
    March 21, 2011 1:33 p.m.

    Allen: Good catch. I don't have a reference. I was going by what I heard in institute, seminary, and gospel_doctrine whenever polygamy was brought_up. My bad. To tell the truth, I don't believe it happened either.

    Others: This article has helped clarify some things for me. While I am looking for direct proofs that point primarily to the BoM, the faithful seem to be looking for evidence that confirms their faith. It needn't be incontrovertible, only a remote tie that can confirm their belief. As I started questioning these evidences, they felt increasingly like justifications, which I eventually dismissed as I no longer had a faith to defend.

    Mr. Ashe's description of the "Nephi slept here" conversation beautifully illustrates this difference. For the faithful, there would be no question that it would build faith. To a non-believer, of course there would be questions. Why would you not place the time, the morphology, context, authenticity, etc.? Scientists are not trying to prove a religion true. They're trying to uncover history. In short, what to JM and Cat are "mountains of evidence," to me are only faith promoting stories. Until they show something solid.

  • JoeBlow Miami Area, Fl
    March 21, 2011 1:32 p.m.

    "Only one sect can be right."

    How about if I modify that.

    At MOST, only one sect can be right.

    You must leave open the very real possibility that NO ONE is right when it comes to religion.

  • Pickle Juice, The Key to a BCS Clinton, UT
    March 21, 2011 1:13 p.m.


    Thanks again for adding absolutely nothing to this conversation.

  • brokenclay Scottsdale, AZ
    March 21, 2011 1:11 p.m.

    Think about the scenario that is facing Mormons today. There are multiple different LDS sects. Each claims to be the right one; each claims to believe the BoM and have spiritual witness of its truth. But each sect rejects the other sects as heretical and corrupt. Only one sect can be right. A spiritual witness cannot arbitrate this dispute, for all claim the same spiritual witness. Do you believe the SLC LDS Church, because it's the largest? No, for this is simply an argumentum ad populum. The dispute must be settled otherwise.

    Let me expand the scenario. Various other Christian groups and people, like myself, claim to have a witness of the Spirit, as well. But my witness tells me not to believe the BoM. Only one of us can be right, for the Holy Spirit does not lie or make mistakes. A spiritual witness is an important, even necessary component, but it must always be accompanied by other necessary components. There are many, many deceiving spirits in the world today. We must be very certain that the spirit we are listening to is the one true Spirit.

  • GmaxD Lehi, UT
    March 21, 2011 1:11 p.m.

    The great conceit of those who seek for signs is that any sign given and received will be sufficiently convincing of anything great.

  • Thinkman Provo, UT
    March 21, 2011 1:08 p.m.

    I appreciate the comments from thoughtful, non-attacking folks on this board on whether the Book of Mormon is a work of fiction or a book of God. I also appreciate the THOUGHT that goes into some of the comments that use logic and reason to come to a conclusion about truth. Using our hearts and feelings to find truth isn't going to lead us to finding the truth. Using logic, thought and reason and examining the evidence will lead us to truth. Truth is black and white and doesn't care about feelings.

    I appreciate JohnnyLingo's comments about the need to read the Book of Mormon and really see and look at its contents. I spent 30 years of my life studying the Book of Mormon in seminary, on a mission, institute classes and as a family and as a Gospel Doctrine teacher. I quoted Moroni's promise to LDS and non LDS folk probably over 1,000 times and have read, studied, and prayed about the Book of Mormon over 25 times. Yet, I know that without seeing any EVIDENCE of it being a book of God that it is instead a book of fiction.

  • brokenclay Scottsdale, AZ
    March 21, 2011 12:51 p.m.

    It amuses me when Mormons use Luke 16 to prove a point, but then simultaneously reject the doctrine of hell (unless you want to say that the rich man was a son of perdition; but saying this will cause more problems for a Mormon than it solves).

    The bottom line is that a true prophet's words must conform to previously received revelation. Revelation is often confirmed by miracles, though not always. Even false prophets produce miracles to try to draw the faithful away. It may be that the Lord raised up Joseph Smith to test his people -- to see whether they would remain faithful to him, discerning the deception (Deuteronomy 13:1-4). Christians must not abandon previously received revelation, even if they receive a miracle telling them to do so (like an angel appearing, or a spirit giving a burning feeling in the heart). Mormonism is polytheistic; this alone is grounds to reject it, even if the Book of Mormon offers a confirming miracle. We must be careful which spirits we open our hearts to, lest we be deceived. Test the spirits. Do not believe every spirit. The Scripture is very clear on this matter.

  • Northern Lights Louisville, KY
    March 21, 2011 12:25 p.m.

    I recall one example of this week's theme in the story of the Rich Man and Lazarus the Begger in Luke chapter 16. When both had died and Lazarus looked across the great gulf which separated him from paradise, he asked Father Abraham if he could go back and warn his five brothers. To this, Abraham responded, "They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them." The Rich Man then asked, "Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent," to which the response was "If they ahear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead."

    Jerusalem stands today, and yet millions still refuse any belief in God. There is no reason why this would be any different with Book of Mormon lands. That is simply not the way God works.

  • Bill in Nebraska Maryville, MO
    March 21, 2011 12:02 p.m.

    To the critics:

    This is exactly the same thing I stated last week. As Mormoncowboy so well stated Laman and Lemeul saw angels. They even heard the voice of the Lord and saw many miracles while in the Arabian Desert but still fell. Why because without the confirming testimony of the Spirit, it availeth one nothing. Sure Otis is right millions may flock to the Church but until they receive confirmation of the Spirit they will NEVER be fully converted.

    Yes, Peter saw all of the miracles and when Christ asked "WHO DO YOU SAY I AM?" Peter answered, "You are the Christ, the Son of God." Christ then stated, "That it wasn't man that told him this but the Holy Ghost." That is what converted Peter yet he still would deny the Christ before he was fully converted.

    The other is that those critics of the Book of Mormon who keep saying there is no proof have been proven wrong several times over. It has even been said that the scholarship of the apologists is actually defeating the critics so again Charles is wrong. Nothing in science is going to prove or disprove the Book of Mormon.

  • JM Lehi, UT
    March 21, 2011 11:44 a.m.

    Thanks Mike, another great article. I appreciated how you discussed the purpose of faith, in spite of all the powerful evidence.

    There are those who will always deny, even noonday light in the middle of their night. So, as Mike points out, we must still seek.

    Troy was thought to be mythic for years, but when evidences were discovered, it didn't change any lives.

    And, BoM evidences are more proving than many things the critics believe, yet this clearly doesn't save them. There is always room for doubt, even among those seeing Jesus with their eyes.

    Clearly, those straining at gnats and swallowing anti-Mormon camels here can always find justification for disbelief. And that's how it's meant to be, even though it is reaching a point where they must abandon logic to deny the BoM, still, anyone is free to doubt anything. We must seek higher things.

    @Megajuwin, it's an honor to have the views of a Lakota with a testimony.
    Where do you believe the BoM took place?
    How do Lakota fit in with that?

    Is it offensive when people misuse information trying to prove you are not descended from BoM peoples?

  • Allen Salt Lake valley, UT
    March 21, 2011 11:26 a.m.

    @searching "Joseph Smith was threatened by an angel with a sword to institute polygamy or die."

    The historical evidence that Joseph Smith did say that an angel with a sword threatened him is based on weak historical evidence. There is no known primary record that Joseph Smith did say that, and the statements about the angel and sword were made many years later. It is true that LDS General Authorities and religious teachers have referred to the story of an angel and sword, but those men weren't living during the life of Joseph Smith, and the question, then, is where did they get their information. I personally have never accepted that story, because it is based on weak historical evidence and thus susceptible of being an inaccurate story.

  • Henry Drummond San Jose, CA
    March 21, 2011 11:23 a.m.

    It sounds like the real problem is lack of faith not scientific evidence. Why not just stick to faith then rather than twisting yourself into a pretzel about what science does or does not support?

  • Otis Spurlock Ogden, UT
    March 21, 2011 10:57 a.m.

    Michael Ash,

    I think you are being a little disingenuous here. For example, in your book Shaken Faith Syndrome, you state that many LDS find that their testimonies are weakened or destroyed by certain scientific findings, certain items in Church history or something else they may have read. So, certain evidence can lead someone away from the Church, but certain evidence will never bring someone to the Church?

    You are giving me a headache with all of your contradictions and mental gymnastics.

    Also, I would bet you my life if archeologists found Zarahemla, tens of millions (if not more) people would immediately flock to the Church. You're kidding yourself if you think otherwise.

  • johnnylingo62 Gray, TN
    March 21, 2011 10:47 a.m.

    You can only find things where you look. If you are trying to find your "lost keys", but you never look in the drawer in your spouse's nightstand, then you cannot claim that your keys are either "in your spouse's nightstand" or "absolutely not" in your spouse's nightstand -- unless you personally actually LOOK in your spouse's nightstand for your FIRSTHAND witness of what you find in your spouse's nightstand.
    I'm afraid that in most cases of religion, people don't look (seek) all possibilities.
    If someone "sees" the Book Of Mormon, but doesn't "read" its contents, then they may not ever truly "see" what's inside the book. But this is the part that many people fail to do... because it requires "effort" on the reader's part, and that is to accept the "challenge" that one of the supposed authors of the BoM provided to see if it is a "true book" (see Moroni 10:3-5) and I mean go look it up, and then you can still determine in your own heart, without polluted influence, what this book means to you... personally to you.

  • BoiseSuperBlue Twin Falls, ID
    March 21, 2011 10:27 a.m.


    Aren't you suppossed to be at a wedding in Hawaii? Are you there now? If so, go enjoy the beach!

  • Cats Somewhere in Time, UT
    March 21, 2011 10:09 a.m.

    Dear Mr. Ashe: Some of the above posts are absolute "proof" of everything you have stated in your article. Again, there are none so blind as those who will not see. Sad.

  • skeptic Phoenix, AZ
    March 21, 2011 10:01 a.m.

    It seems the search for real material evidence to support the Book of Mormon has resorted to the juvenile excuse of: we can't find or prove it, but; you wouldn't believe us no how, no way, anyway. But it is true and God is going to punish you.

  • Jax Bountiful, UT
    March 21, 2011 9:29 a.m.

    "I should note two important points regarding the nature of evidence and the necessity of faith. First, Im unconvinced that any critic would convert because of some alleged proof because I doubt that any proof could ever satisfy those who have truly hardened their hearts against Joseph Smith."

    Although I don't like the us versus them black and white mentality of Ash, I think there is some truth to this statement. Joseph Smith did some truly inexplicable things that I would characterize of evil. It would take a significant amount of evidence supporting the Book of Mormon to overcome the piles of evidence demonstrating that Joseph wasn't what he claimed to be. I personally know dozens of people that have gone from fully active, believing Mormon to non-believer and even anti-Mormon based on a study of the available scientific evidence. I do not know of a single person that has converted to Mormonism because of some scientific proof, rather converts typically describe spiritual or social reasons for conversion, which is fine, but let's not pretend that it's something that it isn't.

  • Cats Somewhere in Time, UT
    March 21, 2011 9:29 a.m.

    Dear Mr. Ashe: This is a really excellent article. is true, there are many who, if God himself came down and told them the truth, they would NOT believe. Faith requires humility and willingness to listen to the spirit. There are mountains of evidence that support the BofM and the Gospel of Christ if one has the humility to listen. Unfortunately, there are none so blind as those who will not see.

    Keep up the good work.

  • Searching . . . Orem, UT
    March 21, 2011 9:25 a.m.

    It is the Mormon conundrum: If the BoM events actually happened, it had to have happened somewhere; yet, because of the miraculous nature of the BoM advent, if any direct evidence is found, then faith and agency are compromised.

    The children of Israel were guided by a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night and led on dry ground through the Red Sea.

    Peter lived with Christ during His three year ministry and witnessed many miracles.

    Laman and Lemuel saw and received counsel from an angel.

    Lehi was given a miraculous compass on which the writing was updated periodically to guide his family through Arabian peninsula.

    Joseph Smith was threatened by an angel with a sword to institute polygamy or die.

    It seems that God has often acted in ways that take away agency and diminish faith. You'll notice that in many of these examples, followers were capable of choosing anyway. The conundrum tends to look more like an excuse. If the BoM is historical, there should be proof. Don't complain that it's questioned; that is the nature of learning. If it is strong enough, the proof will be justified_through_questioning.

  • Mormoncowboy Provo, Ut
    March 21, 2011 9:03 a.m.

    Then why all this talk of gaining testimonies, and personal revelation? Mormonism is principly about bridging the gap, via direct communion with God - reading the Book of Mormon and recieving a "witness" of it, etc.

    Secondly, what an asinine set of assumptions of the "critics". There is a highly naive theme among Mormons, perhaps most religions, that those who do not accept the weak "evidences" could not be persuaded by greater evidence. It is absurd to suggest such a thing. Rather, the obligation rests with those who would demand religious conformance, to offer good reason as to why. Extra-scriptural references within old world artifacts, referring to Nephi, would indeed be significant - from this critics point of view.

    As for 2 Nephi 2:11-16 - Lehi states that there must be "OPPOSITION" in all things. In other words, choice, good for evil, bitter for sweet, etc. He does not say that there must be "contradiction" in all things. Opposition refers to two or more competing forces which push against each other. Contradiction is logical dillema based on competing ideas, where both cannot mutually exist. Either the Church is true, or it is not.

  • yarrlydarb Ogden, UT
    March 21, 2011 8:39 a.m.

    You have made an excellent and essential point with regard to the importance of personal testimony and the fact that "proving the gospel" to be true would be contrary to the Plan of Salvation.

    Thank you.

  • Magaju win Scottsbluff, neb
    March 21, 2011 8:19 a.m.

    Poof only in the eyes of the beholder. So when one teaches facts that is produced by lies and false information it is truth. while one who goes by scriptures and truth and does not destort the prophets words or christ words they are the Liars? No truth is not wishy washy it is factual and can be proven, but not by so called scholars who want to make themselves look good and hide truths so they can force all others to believe in what they say or else. This is not from god but from the other one. As I have stated before you will fall and all will be destroyed because you puff yourselves up and Our people will have the gospel given to us because of the pride in your hearts. We are silently waiting and by the looks of it, it will not be to long to wait.

  • ? Fort Knox, KY
    March 21, 2011 5:37 a.m.

    Thank you.