Challenging Issues, Keeping the Faith: Evidence versus proof

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  • Michael_M Scottsbluff, NE
    April 16, 2011 6:11 p.m.

    This is too hilarious. "A true spiritual witness is more than mere feelings". Alright then, are we to apply that to the anecdotal evidence of the Bat Creek Stone? Mainstream science has concluded that artifact to be a hoax. Only the fringe elements continue to claim that it is real. So now we pray about it? Too funny. Also entertaining is the way FAIR went after Rod Meldrum over revelation but now it is important to understand the "true spiritual witness" when weighing evidence. Oh, I am laughing too hard to keep typing.

  • The Caravan Moves On Enid, OK
    April 16, 2011 10:30 a.m.

    Article quote: "A true spiritual witness is more than mere feelings;"

    As one who has experienced a true spiritual witness, I know this is true for myself.

    Go read Boyd K. Packer's talk entitled "The Candle of the Lord" and pay particular attention to the part about salt.

    There is far, FAR more power in that simple parallel than critics acknowledge.

  • Otis Spurlock Ogden, UT
    April 15, 2011 9:54 p.m.


    Weren't you supposed to give us a list of 25 evidences or something? Maybe I didn't understand you post? Still waiting...

  • Idaho Coug Meridian, Idaho
    April 15, 2011 10:51 a.m.

    Allen - I recognize that most members accept JS's renewal of plural marriage was directed by God and allowed for when commanded by God in the scriptures.

    This is one of the primary things that go to my confusion over what was revelation versus man-initiated. If God did command Joseph to renew plural marriage, He did so with a clear understanding that it would cause a phenominal amount of pain, confusion, defections, and negative attitudes toward the church even to this day. Certainly we cannot see what God sees. But when weighing the apparent positive outcomes of plural marriage versus negative, it seems that the scales at least from my human perspective tilt heavily in the direction of plural marriage having very negative consequences for both the early and modern church.

    It's tough to imagine God asking His young, struggling church to implement something that had such negative consequences and caused so many to both leave and not join the church. Even today, millions have a negative view of the church largely formed (incorrectly or not) through their opinions of plural marriage.

  • Otis Spurlock Ogden, UT
    April 15, 2011 10:45 a.m.


    I'm in. This is something I have been asking you to provide for a long time. I can't wait.

  • Allen Salt Lake valley, UT
    April 15, 2011 9:15 a.m.

    Thank you, sharrona, for quoting from chapter 2 in the book of Jacob in the BoM. You are right that the Lord has commanded us to have but one wife. However, in verse 30, the Lord states that if he wants to raise up a righteous people, he may command them to have multiple wives. Without that commandment, they are to live his commandment of one wife.

    "30 For if I will, saith the Lord of Hosts, raise up seed unto me, I will command my people [to have multiple wives]; otherwise they shall hearken unto these things [to have one wife]."

    I put in brackets additional words to clarify the meaning of the verse. I think my interpretation is clear and correct based on the context of the verse. People who have a different interpretation of verse 30 are invited to quote the verse with their interpretation in brackets, and then explain why they think their interpretation is correct. The key thing is that ALL verses of scripture must be interpreted within the context or meaning of all other verses of scripture.

  • Vanka Provo, UT
    April 15, 2011 9:03 a.m.


    I will go you one better. I challenge you to a public debate. Bring your "similarities" (as evidence??) and we can hash this all out in a public debate.

    I will even let you name the time and place.

    Are YOU in?

  • sharrona layton, Ut
    April 15, 2011 8:03 a.m.

    Truth and JM,Behold,David and Solomon truly had many wives and concubines, which thing was abominable before me, saith the Lord. : For there shall not any man among you save it be one wife; and concubines he shall have none.(Jacob 2:24,27) Also in (Jacob 3:5)the Lamanites receive a curse upon their skin for ignoring Gods commandment of only one wife.
    (Genesis 2:24)The devine intention for husband and wife was monogamy, One flesh is both a sign and an expression.

    Pentecone said,Bless the HOLY GHOST forHER Testimony of It! Read John chapters 14,15,16 KJV personal pronoun HE.
    You have lied to the Holy Spirit(pneuma)(Acts 5:3 NIV)you have not lied to men but God(Acts 5:5). The Holy Spirit (pneuma) is God. The Holy Spirit is not an it,but a person.

  • Pentacone Batley, W.Yorkshire
    April 15, 2011 3:02 a.m.

    Following On from JSB (4:38 p.m. April 14),

    Please remember that he is talking about the "Spirit of Christ" Within.

    We ALL Have one, and it is there to cause Motion and Emotion.

    Without it we could not Walk,

    And without it we could not FEEL.

    It helps us to "Love Ourselves" and thus "Love Others" (by Warming us Inside)!

    You can call upon GOD, for a Witness, until the Cows come home, but He can NOT help you further, until you Recognise the Incredible Blessing that you have WITHIN!!

    Please re-read JSB with THIS in Mind.

    With ALL Love,
    Joseph Peter Sheehan.

  • JM Lehi, UT
    April 15, 2011 1:02 a.m.

    Ill present 25 evidences, including detailed similarities between Middle East/Christian and ancient American.

    Examples: Tiamat/Tlaltecuhtli; net skirts, foreskin blood offerings, 3 ritual levels, foliated aprons etc.
    Critics agree to similarity, or disagree with good reason only. If disagreement is reasonable, we move to another similarity.
    No unreasonable quitting.
    Just chance, time-travel, etc dodging will be unreasonable and unnecessary. We all know chance might inspire both cultures to claim the temple/pyramid primordial/Eden hill rose from the primordial sea, but when that hill is also a thronestone, skull, crocodile, tomb-portal sacred-mountain, with 1Father/Adam buried below, and with the lifted central-cross/tree of knowledge-truth/life/death upon, by which the sacrificial King/Deity enters and conquers the underworld, AND His blood/life-water flows from cross/tree though cracked skull/hill enlivening 1Fathers skull below cross/tree and purifying filthy waters belowetc--then we collectively have evidence. : )

    Since begrudging prayers rarely work (friend was given $100 to read/pray, nothing seen/changed), after establishing 25 similarities including some/all above, all your screenames will admit detailed evidence each comment, and will stop being critical of LDS faith etc.

    Whos in?

  • JoeBlow Miami Area, Fl
    April 14, 2011 6:32 p.m.


    Have you read the Quoran or about Dianetics in search of truth?

    Wouldn't that be pointless is one's mind was already made up?

    The argument does not wash.

  • aaazzz Murray, UT
    April 14, 2011 5:20 p.m.


    I have a few questions about your last post, which are:

    What is the JM propostion?
    Is there a way it can be found and read?
    Is there some outside study or preparation that needs to be done before reading it?
    What will be happening on Friday that requires an RSVP?

  • JSB Sugar City, ID
    April 14, 2011 4:38 p.m.

    People who base their testimony of the Book of Mormon on evidences are going to be disappointed someday. There are some good "evidences" to support the Book of Mormon but facts can be misunderstood and further discoveries might make some of today's "proofs" irrelevant and then, bingo, there goes your testimony. An objective look at the evidence should cause people to at least acknowledge that the Book of Mormon might be a true record. Then, with that in mind, an objective and wise person would then follow the advice given in the Book of Mormon and ask God with a sincere heart, with real intent about the divine origin of the book. The spiritual confirmation then makes the evidences interesting and enlightening but not proof. The proof comes from the spirit. The problem is, I know so many people who refuse to actually read it prayerfully, with an open mind. Before they read it they already have decided it is not true and try to disprove it while reading it and so they never get the witness.

  • Joggle Clearfield, UT
    April 14, 2011 11:30 a.m.

    "Apologetics" is the systematic defense of a position regardless of its legitimacy. Apologetics usually start from the proposition that a truth has been found and must be defended. Dogma is found at the root of most apologetic enterprises. Apologetics can also be understood as the opposite of real scholarly pursuit. Scholars seek understanding with regard to the real, the logical, the useful, etc. Science has proven to be the most reliable branch of scholarship in terms of its ability to help us understand what is real and how relationships between real things work by way of theory formation and testing by experiment. Not surprisingly, as the study of science and history progresses they often contradicts dogma. This brings scientists and other scholars into conflict with apologetists who generally masquerade as scholars since that enhances their credibility. Apologetics is dizzying! This is largely the result of the need apologists have to obscure and twist the evidence scientists and other scholars unearth that contradicts the dogma that apologists must defend. To be fair....other religions do no better. Any truly scholastic endeavor will subject themselves to peer review. Reputable scholars won't even waste their time on this bunk.

  • JoeBlow Miami Area, Fl
    April 14, 2011 10:26 a.m.


    Again, I have no idea what your post means. (i did read it 4 times)

    But per your request here it is


    (please tell me what I just agreed to)

  • JM Lehi, UT
    April 14, 2011 10:15 a.m.

    @Vanka, truths? is reasonable. Mike refers to studies, you assess them with what credentials? Beyond-feeling unreasonable credentials? : )

    @Sharonna, FAIRpolygamy Romans7:4genesthai not to JS, Moses' law (Moses the polygamist) most polygamists one flesh.

    @Doctor, Mexico Museum? Date? Critics claimed "ancient American horses" (google) never existed. True scholars disagree (perhaps originated here) and cant explain extinction (probably human caused). Dates are constantly changing, fast approaching BoM.

    Wade Miller, Michael Ash etc, have excellent horse articles, BoM date etc.
    search names with "horses" also cement, iron, etc on FAIR

    @Searching, Im different because nearly every comment contains some evidence for hope, faith, and eternal truth (including everything from spiritual reasoning and witnesses to critics failures) or how I came to knowledge of Jesus and BoM truth. Example, last JM@Doctor.
    Youve slightly embellished my Baal claims. You expressed interest (also Kish, Izabal, and something else??) I provided references.
    @Doctor and @Searching, I like your ideas, but ask for an agreement from each of you (ALL who recommended searching/doctor comments) plus:

    Thinkman (who apparently hasnt read recently)
    (randomly selected from pg2, may not be critics : )
    @ALL Critics
    Please read JM proposition and RSVP : ) (friday)

  • Allen Salt Lake valley, UT
    April 14, 2011 9:57 a.m.

    Thanks, Searching, for clarifying that. I accept the BoM as scripture due to what I think is a spiritual witness, but I look at physical evidence as an engineer (retired now after 44 years in industry). One of the earlier comments about the Bat Creek stone made sense to me. If the Bat Creek stone is genuine, it is likely secondary evidence, just evidence of people with a Hebrew background of some kind with nothing implied that the people are related to the BoM. There were an awfully lot of Hebrews living from 600BC to 421AD, and only a very few of them were related to the BoM. It's very likely that almost all of the archeological evidence is non-BoM.

    I like the concept of direct evidence and parallel evidence. Both types are "evidence" but they are different from each other. People who don't accept the BoM as scripture tend to talk about direct evidence (even though they usually just use the word "evidence") while active LDS tend to talk about parallel evidence (again, just using the word "evidence"). They have foolish arguments with each other, foolish because they are talking about two different things.

  • Michael_M Scottsbluff, NE
    April 14, 2011 9:44 a.m.

    It is one-sided to only look for writings to support what one wants to believe. Concerning the Bat Creek Stone, here are two more exposed hoaxes that help to see the Bat Creek Stone for what it is:

    The History of the Cardiff Giant Hoax, New Englander, Volume 34, 1875

    A Mammoth Fraud in Science, American Antiquity, 1988

    I remember a children's song in Primary about the wise man and foolish man, rock and sand. All I can say is that if "mountains of evidence" on built on sand, they are already washed away.

  • Alberta Reader magrath, ab
    April 14, 2011 8:58 a.m.

    Oh Vanka
    you do have a sense of humor don't you.
    your global authority reference gave me a chuckle

  • Searching . . . . Orem, UT
    April 14, 2011 8:25 a.m.


    "I don't remember Ash discussing the Bat Creek stone and advising us to use our testimonies instead of rational explanations of the stone to determine if the stone is a BoM artifact or not."

    In the last few weeks, Mr. Ash has been focusing his articles on testimony in preparation for the Mesoamerican evidence that he will be sharing in the coming weeks. It's clear to me that his expectations are that we include our testimonies as a factor as we consider the validity of evidence. If he can expect that for Mesoamerican artifacts, why not the Bat Creek stone? "?" seems to feel that it might be valid evidence, so I suggested that he use the Ash approach. I choose to filter it through a more reliable means, and while a consensus on the stone has not be achieved, I tend to lean toward it being a fraud. Which way should those lean who are looking for precolumbian Hebrew artifacts to validate their testimonies and bolster their faith?

  • skeptic Phoenix, AZ
    April 14, 2011 8:00 a.m.

    It seems so far our study of the historical reality of the Book of Mormon has concluded that it is pseudohistory; so maybe the next best step is to study its social value. Is it a better social path than other competitive options.

  • Michael_M Scottsbluff, NE
    April 14, 2011 5:54 a.m.

    Check out what Wikipedia has to say about Pseudohistory.

    "Philosopher Robert Todd Carroll suggests the following criteria for a topic to warrant the term pseudohistory:

    That the work uncritically accepts myths and anecdotal evidence without skepticism.

    That the work has a political, religious, or other ideological agenda.

    That a work is not published in an academic journal or is otherwise not adequately peer reviewed."

    I'm always humored when someone calls the peer review writings in academic journals "one sided". One should be cautious when looking for anecdotal evidence without skepticism.

  • Pentacone Batley, W.Yorkshire
    April 14, 2011 1:47 a.m.


    Please can we concentrate on ONE aspect?

    Is the Book of Mormon Scripture or just an Expression of Man?

    Mr.Ash is Not claiming to be writing Scripture, so he Quotes:

    A True Spiritual Witness is More than Mere Feelings

    On the Other Hand, if written by The HOLY GHOST, She would say:

    Hearken to the Lord Thy GOD, and Behold the Warmth of your Spirit Within-That of the Spirit of Christ

    Is this not the way ALL Scripture is Written?

    Please, Practice your Internal-Spirit of Christ- Given to you ALL at Birth, and Bless the HOLY GHOST for Her Testimony of It!

    With Ever Kindness,
    Joseph Peter Sheehan.

  • What Fountain Valley, CA
    April 14, 2011 12:25 a.m.

    I didn't know much about the Bat Creek inscriptions. So I looked up the references given by Michael_M. The references only tell one side of the story.

    Wikipedia is somewhat more neutral.

    The Bat Creek inscriptions are still hotly debated. Mainfort and Kwas seem to be grasping at straws to prove them fraudulent. They try every angle, but remain unconvincing. They even argue that the middle to late woodland dating of the wooden Bat Creek earspools was "contaminated by water," but subsequent research dated the mounds to the same period.

    I'm not convinced that the Bat Creek inscriptions are genuine. But it also seems unlikely that Emmert tried to impress his Smithsonian by planting Hebrew inscriptions under a buried skull, aong with brass bracelets, and wooden earspools dating between 32-700 A.D. If he were seeking attention one would think he would mention the miraculous Hebrew find before he died. The Museum assumed the writing was Cherokee and Emmert seemed to agree, until his death. Many years passed before someone looked closer.

    I'll ponder that tonight, while some of you ponder how to more effectively redirect the topic to polygamy.

  • ex missionary Sandy, UT
    April 13, 2011 7:33 p.m.

    I've never read Compton so I don't have an opinion on his work but I do feel it is worthwhile to point out the poor logical basis of two comments in the above post at 4:42 p.m. April 13, 2011

    "MUch of it is hearsay, or claims by women." - Wow! Setting up hearsay and claims by women in a parallel fashion like this is insulting to more than half the human population. I'd be very careful believing the arguments of anyone dismisses information based on such a sexist viewpoint.

    "We do not really know the status of many of the marriages." - In a case like this it isn't necessary to know the status of all of the marriages. You have ample evidence with those that are well documented. For those that care to look, LDS geneological records demonstrate Joseph Smith's early polygamy and troubling polyandry.

  • Full-on double rainbow Bluffdale, UT
    April 13, 2011 7:30 p.m.

    Idahocoug is back? Nice. I always enjoy your honest opinion/experiences, and look forward to your thoughts on re-reading the BOM.

  • Allen Salt Lake valley, UT
    April 13, 2011 5:54 p.m.


    "So, do you research more, weigh a single artifact with controversial Hebrew script against a possible historical scenario and choose the more reliable explanation, or do you follow Mr. Ash and rely on your testimony to discern which is correct?"

    I don't remember Ash discussing the Bat Creek stone and advising us to use our testimonies instead of rational explanations of the stone to determine if the stone is a BoM artifact or not. I guess that is something I missed, and if you will post the date of his post so I can study his post, I'll appreciate it.

  • the truth Holladay, UT
    April 13, 2011 4:42 p.m.

    RE: sharrona | 9:40 p.m.

    The truth is CLEARLY right.

    Genesis 2:24 is a command from God to get married, speaks NOTHING concerning polygamy,

    IN polygamy each maryiage is a separate and individual entity.

    Deut 17:17 speaks concerning men taking wives on thier own initiative and without permission from God.

    Romans 7:3 says nothig about polygamy, speak exclusive about what is adultry regarding women. Polygamy is never mentioned and was not practiced at that time.

    Todd Compton assumes many things, things that shouldn't be assumed, and many things are claimed without conclusive substantiation. MUch of it is hearsay, or claims by women. We do not really know the status of many of the marriages.

    RE Vanka

    Still you give no evidence, just continue to make baseless claims.

    REGARDING language evidence:

    Lehi knew howto read eqyptian and passed itOn toHis faithful sons. The record keeping by BOM prophets seem toBe inA form of egyptian.
    We don't know what BOM people spoke or wrote in daily.

    Many who attack the BOM ASSUME hebrew, simply because theyWere isrealites, but in Isrealmore thanOne language wasSpoken.

    Lehi (andHis family) beingFrom manasseh mayHave spoken and wrote primarily in egyptian.

  • Idaho Coug Meridian, Idaho
    April 13, 2011 1:19 p.m.

    Thanks to Mike Ash and all those who have commented. I continue to enjoy and learn from all of you.

    It seems clear that there are many parallel evidences but so far little to no direct evidences for the historical nature of the Book of Mormon. I reject the notion that God has purposely hidden evidence to protect our free agency. I also reject the notion that direct evidences would not have a very positive influence on attitudes toward the Book of Mormon by active members and critics alike.

    I remain an active member with many questions. I hope to answer some by re-reading the Book of Mormon. I had hoped to do that by now but other things have gotten in the way. I intend to begin my re-reading today and hope to remain open to the spirit as well as reason and intellect. God gave us all for a reason.

    Thanks again to all of you who make reading the D-News online enjoyable.

  • Jeff Temple City, CA
    April 13, 2011 12:49 p.m.

    More of Jax's questions answered: "Second, if [I am] convinced by such evidence why do [I] suppose the scientific world isn't convinced by the evidence?"

    Latter-day Saint scientists are convinced by the Spirit. Non-LDS scientists aren't doing much research (that I'm aware of) into the Book of Mormon. I don't think that avenue of research would be very lucrative for non-LDS scientists, so few if any would pursue it. Some former Latter-day Saints have done some research that I'm aware of, but their research is vested in proving the book false.

    "Do [I] believe it is some kind of conspiracy?"

    I am inclined to laugh at conspiracy theorists. It takes too much energy to get such a conspiracy going, and even the most avid anti-Mormons are not organized enough to agree on a conspiracy. I rather attribute it to apathy.

    "Perhaps a satanic or even Godly influence is preventing scientists from agreeing?"

    Only insomuch as Satan encourages sloth, greed, apathy, anger, and such influences; and God honors His children's agency.

  • Jeff Temple City, CA
    April 13, 2011 12:27 p.m.

    Jax and others have talked about spiritual evidence as something unreliable because they claim they have not had a similar experience. I clearly disagree with them. I believe that evidence from spiritual sources is valid and may be considered with all other evidences. While I know they disagree with me, I continue to think that evidence from the Spirit is superior to all other evidence, and that in matters such as the Book of Mormon, the Spirit should predominate.

    Jax asked some questions that, given the above premises, I think are worth answering, but it may take more than one post.

    First: "absent [my] spiritual witness, ...would [I] be objectively convinced based on the physical evidence available that the Book of Mormon is a true, literal, historical record of people that lived in America? " In my case, I was convinced secularly that the Book of Mormon was true before I gained a spiritual witness. I later saw some secular evidences fail, while I became aware of newer secular evidences that were useful. I think that, without the spiritual witness, I would be "blown about by every wind of doctrine" and unable to come to a firm conclusion.

  • Michael_M Scottsbluff, NE
    April 13, 2011 12:07 p.m.

    @? about the Bat Creek Stone

    These two professional writings on this stone must be read by anyone who wishes to speculate about it. Both can be found online.

    The Bat Creek Stone: Judeans in Tennesse?, Robert C. Mainfort, Jr., and Mary L. Kwas, Tennessee Anthropologist, Spring 1991

    The Bat Creek Fraud: A Final Statement, Robert C. Mainfort, Jr., and Mary L. Kwas, Tennesse Anthropologist, Fall 1993

  • Searching . . . . Orem, UT
    April 13, 2011 10:31 a.m.


    Lowell Kirk, a historian who lives in the area of Bat Creek, did some long-term investigation regarding the Bat Creek stone (Google "lowell kirk bat creek"). He provides information about the key players in the find.

    The finder of the stone, John Emmert, does not appear highly-trained archaeologist; rather, he worked under the direction of an archaeologist who was located in D.C.

    Emmert was a Civil War veteran who was wounded in battle.

    Emmert had a team of young men working for him on the dig. Being handicapped, Emmert probably did not do much digging himself.

    While there is no reason to suspect Emmert of forgery, he did have enemies.

    One enemy was a local engraver and had connections with at least one of the young men working for Emmert.

    Unfortunately, Kirk doesn't reference his sources in the article, so without further research it's difficult to validate his claims. So, do you research more, weigh a single artifact with controversial Hebrew script against a possible historical scenario and choose the more reliable explanation, or do you follow Mr. Ash and rely on your testimony to discern which is correct?

  • Pentacone Batley, W.Yorkshire
    April 13, 2011 3:07 a.m.

    EVIDENCE versus PROOF.

    This Article seems to be specifically concerned with the Book of Mormon.

    When I was first given a Copy, 25 years ago, I (being a Catholic) quickly hid it from my Parents.

    But, in the quietness of the Night, I carefully opened it, and Read the first few lines. Good Grief, what is THIS?

    I Immediately realised that I was not Reading any Ordinary Book. There was a Special Power in the Presentation of the Phrases, the like of which I had NEVER seen (As Catholic, you are NOT supposed to Read Scripture Just Follow the Priest in Mass).

    Since this experience, I have Read the Bible, from Cover to Cover (LDS/JST/KJV), then the D & C, PofGP and the FULL History of The Church, a Number of Times.

    Being an English Scholar, & Engineer, I quickly worked-out how to Recognise how Things are Written, under different Circumstances and Authorities.

    Scripture is given through the POWER of The HOLY GHOST!

    Therefore, if any of you are confused as to Evidence & Proof, first determine what is Scripture, and what is the Expression of MAN.

    With All Love & Kindness,
    Joseph Peter Sheehan.

  • sharrona layton, Ut
    April 12, 2011 9:40 p.m.

    Truth,said Clearly "God authorized the practice(polgamy) in the past", wrong.

    Therefore shall a man leave his mother.and shall cleave unto his wife; and they and they shall be one flesh.(Genesis 2:24).Neither shall he multiply wives to himself,that his heart turn not away.(Deut 17:17)

    So then if, while her husband lives, she be married to another man, she shall be called an adulteress: but if her husband be dead, she is free from that law; so that she is no adulteress, though she be married to another man. (Romans 7:3). Polygamy is adultery (sin) O.T.,or N.T.

    Mormon historian Todd Compton estimates that Smith married at least 33 women and that one-third of them were simultaneously married to other men.

  • Vanka Provo, UT
    April 12, 2011 6:20 p.m.

    to "the truth",

    First off, you failed to answer my question. What are Ash's credentials? It is a simple question. Why won't you answer it?

    Secondly, I am going to pull a page from your book and let's see how it plays:

    My "evidence" has been provided directly in my comments. This evidence is "self-evident" and irrefutable. But only those who are intelligent, unbiased, sincere, worthy human beings are able to "see" the evidence. (can you "hear" the tune I am playing on my special Lyre?).

    Finally, my credentials are far more impressive and relevant than Ash's credentials. I am especially qualified to say "terrible things", for which I am a global authority!

  • the truth Holladay, UT
    April 12, 2011 5:06 p.m.

    RE: sharonna:

    Polygamy was never authorized by God during new testament times.

    NO one is ever allowed to practice polygamy without pewrmission.

    So new testament scriptutre affirming that fact is not a problem, and was in fact needed as surrounding cultures at that practiced a form of polygamy and God needed to make clear no one was to practice it.

    Clearly God authorized the practice in the past,

    and it was authorized again in the 1800's by commandment form God to his prophet Joseph Smith, and only for those given permission to practiced it even asked to practice it, it was not a blanket authorization to all adult males.

    The greeks do NOT have last word on on Isaiah.

    I would rather trust God and modern revelation.

    RE: Vanka

    YOu make many claims and assertions yourself.

    Where is your proof and evidence backing them up?

    ASh is not asserting anything based on his expertise or credentials,
    and he has cited references for all the things he gives in his studies and research that he is relating to us.

    What are your credential to refute them?
    And again what is the evidence for the terrible things you say?

  • JoeBlow Miami Area, Fl
    April 12, 2011 3:45 p.m.

    "At what point do scientists and archeologists say that there are enough coincidences to equate there is evidence or proof of something?"

    Please detail out just one or two of these "coincidences" that you feel the most logical explanation is BOM historicity.

    And when I say "logical" I am referring to sound scientific practice.

  • atl134 Salt Lake City, UT
    April 12, 2011 3:20 p.m.

    "It looks like these articles are comming to the conclustion that there is not enough evidence to rule out the historical aspects of the Book of Mormon. "

    Isn't proving a negative impossible and thus to expect someone to prove that would require a logical fallacy?

  • atl134 Salt Lake City, UT
    April 12, 2011 3:18 p.m.

    "I dont believe, however, that there is secular proof for the Book of Mormon, and I believe that such proof would contradict the laws of agency and wouldnt convince the hard-hearted anyway."

    Depends on how you define hard-hearted. The way the sentence is worded it makes it sound like there wouldn't be a difference for anyone but there most certainly would be in the case of say someone like me who is an inactive member of the church specifically due to doctrinal disagreements and lack of belief in things like whether the Book of Mormon is fiction or non-fiction. I'm not an idiot, if there were sufficient evidence to support its veracity I'd believe it. The problem is I'm stuck with "book translated off of plates that were supposedly taken away by God" which honestly carries that particular vibe. The vibe that says "even if this is the truth... you have to realize that if it were a hoax... this is exactly what would have been used as an excuse and that makes it all look questionable".

  • ? Fort Knox, KY
    April 12, 2011 2:11 p.m.

    Just a coincidence, huh? So, I'm guessing there are many coincidences, but not much that some would find as evidence or proof. At what point do scientists and archeologists say that there are enough coincidences to equate there is evidence or proof of something?

  • ? Fort Knox, KY
    April 12, 2011 1:49 p.m.

    Im not a scientist or archeologist, just a person with an opinion. It seems to me that there is evidence, but a lot of it has been plowed over or built on top of and buried over time.

    What does it take to make cement? Isnt adobe brick a type of cement? What is to be understood by the Ancient Platform Mounds of North America and Mayan Ruins throughout Mesoamerica? How were they built? Was some type of cement used in building any of these? What about Pyramid Ruins in North, Central and South America? Wouldnt and of these have been built with some kind of cement?

    How about American Metal Plates or Ancient Metal Plates? What about plates people are discovering both in America or the Middle East?

    If any of these things are true, wouldnt these things at least prove the Book of Mormon to be plausible?

  • Searching . . . Orem, UT
    April 12, 2011 1:47 p.m.


    I didn't mean to imply that the stone was a forgery. And after further research, found that it wasn't likely planted to be found. A 2010 study of the stone confirms the finder's story, that the inscription is at least as old as the contents of the mound, and not likely a forgery. (Google "newport tower bat creek")

    As to the inscription, the researchers I quoted stated the time frame for the Proto-Hebrew found. It may be that Lehi's Hebrew would have changed in such a way as to be represented by the Bat Creek Stone. For a printed language to be passed down, it has to be used to some extent. So, it's curious that no other examples have been found in the area. Until more is found, the connection to Lehite influence is still tenuous at best. Its origin is completely speculative at this point, so a Lehite connection is still tenuous and other explanations may have more weight.

    As for Micmac, from what I have read, it was never a proper language, more of a mnemonic system. Correlation with Egyptian is mostly coincidental.

  • Vanka Provo, UT
    April 12, 2011 1:07 p.m.

    I the last article, Ash completely (and I mean thoroughly) MIS-represented the scientific research on emotion in cognition and decision-making. The preponderance of research shows that emotion in cognition and decision-making distorts and undermines good thinking and decision-making.

    In this article, Ash has created the most abominable distortions of logic and reason (circular arguments, non-sequitur, red herring, illusory correlation, confirmation bias, etc.). I dare say this series of articles by Ash could serve as a case study for every species of logical fallacy in any introductory logic course.

    Why would he make these errors? What are Ash's credentials? Does he have a PhD in archeology or antiquities? Ancient or classic languages? Philosophy or psychology? Statistics, mathematics, or formal logic? Law?

    Ash has demonstrated a complete lack of ability to accurately deal with several known professional disciplines. This suggests he lacks the proper qualifications and understanding.

    If Ash lacks the credentials that would qualify him to appropriately represent the professional fields of study he has been bold enough to (mis)represent, then why would anyone read this man's writings at all?

    Can anyone show otherwise? What are Ash's credentials?

  • Bill in Nebraska Maryville, MO
    April 12, 2011 12:42 p.m.

    To Pickle Juice:

    "Not every one that saith uto me, Lord, Lord shall enter into the kingdom of Heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say unto me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in they name? and in they name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity....And every one that hearth these sayings of mine, doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand."

    Does this not sound like what you wrote to me? I only testify of what the Holy Ghost has revealed to me. Everyone has the same opportunity. To those who say they would believe if they saw the Gold Plates I highly doubt it. Christ walked the Earth and prophesied of his own Son ship and was not believed. Are you better than they? A lot of you ask for evidence (signs) and yet the Lord has given you signs enough. He has spoken and yet you still don't believe.

  • ? Fort Knox, KY
    April 12, 2011 12:25 p.m.

    Searching: You could be right about the Bat Creek stone being a forgery. But how could it be a forgery when it was professionally excavated by the Smithsonian from an undisturbed burial mound? Interesting you say that the Paleo-Hebrew or Phoenician alphabet is of 1st or 2nd AD, yet in some places I read it seems to be much older than that.

    Other curious thought is what about how some Cherokee Indians believe they have Jewish ancestry? What about the Micmac Indians and their writings? If I understand what Im reading, some claim that it is similar to Egyptian short-hand style writing.

    How any of this could relate to the BookofMormon is that Nephi was taught by his father after the learning of the Jews and the language of the Egyptians. Wouldnt this then be consistent with something like Paleo-Hebrew or Phoenician? If Hebrew and Egyptian type things are being found in America dating back to the time period mentioned in the BookofMormon and from the region Lehi and his family came from passed down to the time frame of Moroni, wouldnt that be one thing that could prove the BookofMormon to be plausible?

  • Searching . . . Orem, UT
    April 12, 2011 12:02 p.m.


    How are you any different than the critics and "antis" that you continually call out? Instead of claiming there is no evidence, you claim mountains but offer very little. But you are as biased and inflexible as everyone else. In the past, you have brought out a few things that I have looked up. When I critiqued the evidence, you questioned what it would take for me to believe. The problem with the evidence that you have presented so far is that it is incomplete and requires filling in a lot of empty spaces in order to arrive at your predetermined conclusion. For example, you claim that Mayan and Aztec human sacrifices indicate Baal-like ceremonies, which certainly came from a Baal-worshiping Laman and so we have incontrovertible evidence. What might convince me is a rational explanation of your evidence, followed by bit of debate on its merits with reference to expert opinion, and if it stands up to all of that, I would weigh it out and make a rational decision. I might even pray about it. But to begin with, evidence works a whole lot better than accusations.

  • Doctor Tucson, AZ
    April 12, 2011 11:48 a.m.

    JM-No offense, but I totally discount your posts. If you could just list 3 evidences with enough info to google them and get confirmation your credibility would skyrocket. You once claimed there were ancient horse bones in a Mexico City museum. Can you provide the words for me to put in google so I can see that? And those now claiming BOM peoples built wood houses and left no trace. Well one of Mr. Ash's articles used the example of ancient iron smelting in the old world as proof the BOM peoples could have brought that knowledge with them. Doesn't the BOM claim cement was used as a building material? I got that from these posts, if it doesn't I'd like someone to clarify that.

  • Mormoncowboy Provo, Ut
    April 12, 2011 11:36 a.m.

    Alberta Reader:

    The historicity of the Bible is not proven. It is accepted as a written work based on some real people, real locations, and some real historical events. The global flood followed by repopulation of the planet via eight lone survivors is not a proven fact. The exodus of Israel and associated miracles of Moses (plagues/passover angel/parting of the red sea) are not proven facts. Matters such as Babylonian siege of Jerusalem are based on substantiated history, but the legend of three Israelite friends who were cast into an oven and survived unscathed, is not proven. There is some speculation as to whether a person a named Jesus ever lived, I don't know if it is good speculation, but there is nothing to support the assertion that he raised the dead or performed his alleged miracles. I don't however "reject" the divinity of Jesus, so much as I have yet to find reason to "accept" it. Still, I have less trouble with Christianity in the abstract, as I do with sectarian religion. I am willing to hope on my own terms, but I won't offer loyalty to those who can't prove their claims.

  • Jax Bountiful, UT
    April 12, 2011 11:36 a.m.

    I get that some people believe in supernatural communications and whatnot, but in spite of trying numerous times (reading, studying, earnestly praying) and despite being promised several times by Mormon missionaries that I would receive a spiritual witness from God, it just hasn't happened. I know the drill already, it's my own fault, I'm not worthy to witness the Emperor's clothes, I get it. Frankly, God didn't keep Moroni's promise to me (numerous times), so I'm left to examine the Book of Mormon from a non-supernatural viewpoint.

    Specifically, I'm interested to know from believers if, absent your spiritual witness, you would be objectively convinced based on the physical evidence available that the Book of Mormon is a true, literal, historical record of people that lived in America? It seems a simple question, but I have a hard time getting it answered by my personal Mormon friends. Second, if you are convinced by such evidence why do you suppose the scientific world isn't convinced by the evidence? Do believe it is some kind of conspiracy? Perhaps a satanic or even Godly influence is preventing scientists from agreeing?

  • Searching . . . Orem, UT
    April 12, 2011 10:07 a.m.


    I did a quick search of "Bat Stone Ohio State" like you suggested. The articles were interesting. There remain some problems:

    While the patina of the stone indicates ancient origin, the number of archaeological forgeries suggesting Semitic origin during that era, along with the lack of other verifiable Semitic artifacts in the area, keep the stone in a controversial state.

    For a BoM artifact, researchers state that "the inscription in fact uses the Paleo-Hebrew alphabet of the first or second century A.D." Unless Nephites/Lamanites were using Hebrew as a written language when not writing on plates, and it developed in a manner nearly identical to Middle East Hebrew, or Christ taught Paleo-Hebrew during his visit, the Bat Creek stone would be completely independent of BoM peoples.

    Even if archaeologists were able to verify that the Bat Creek stone was 100% legitimate, by itself it remains does not indicate anything about the culture in the area and time period it came from. Lacking other similar artifacts, it suggests that it was either planted in the late 1800s for the researchers to find or somehow came across with a stray Phoenician or Roman boat.

  • JM Lehi, UT
    April 12, 2011 9:56 a.m.

    Mikes articles are awesome, and I love critics (again: seeking truth about their lies led me to truth) but Im sorta getting bored of Critics chanting the same old...

    Active anti-Mormon "But there is no evidence." Light seer "What about what Mike's talking about?" Anti "What? But there is no evidence!" Cheery truth seeker "What about (long list)?" Negative truth hider "No evidence, nope, I cant see it, so doesnt exist. I need evidence!" (offering none for his beliefs)

    Cheery guy "What would you accept as evidence?" Critics "There is no evidence." (except finally wang and doctor said "reformed Egyptian" was given..."Not that, there is no evidence." Thankfully there are word variations, occasional meals(spaghetti), math, etc ; )

    @Doctor- again: we find Jesus the same way we know anyone else, by communion, AND, in addition, by HG, AND by multitudinous other evidences, including: BoM evidence etc, and overwhelming detailed evidence that OW and separated NW Civilizations exista AND anciently knew Detailed history of The Divine Jesus.

    @Sharonna, keep trying ; ) luvya.

    Are you saying Isaiah is onetime prophecy only? (Unlike anything else Israelite?) (Maybe Milk and aazz could explain ) thx : )
    @aazzz, thanks, I put less thought into that : )

  • Allen Salt Lake valley, UT
    April 12, 2011 9:54 a.m.

    "By deferring our behaviour and decisions to "the spirit" we effectively are doing just the opposite of what the LDS church teaches about free agency and accountability. God made me do it or Satan made me do it are one in the same in that both claims attempt to defer responsibility for our actions."

    Thinkman, I don't understand the point you're making. God gives witnesses through the spirit that something is true, but He doesn't force anyone to follow those witnesses. We are free to accept or deny the witnesses and we are free to change our lives accordingly or to continue our current way of living. I don't see any attempt by God to have us defer to Him responsibility for our actions. If you would elaborate on your comment to help be better understand your point, I'll be grateful.

  • Thinkman Provo, UT
    April 12, 2011 9:33 a.m.

    "The spirit" doesn't convey evidence. You can't use feelings to know truth. You can, but would be unwise to base decisions on "the spirit" as we have seen much death and destruction from the hands of men and women who were just doing what God or "the spirit" or higher power told them to do.

    We make decisions in our every day lives that are influenced by our outlook on life, our feelings, evidence that we know, experiences we have had and from the experiences of others. By deferring our behaviour and decisions to "the spirit" we effectively are doing just the opposite of what the LDS church teaches about free agency and accountability. God made me do it or Satan made me do it are one in the same in that both claims attempt to defer responsibility for our actions.

  • aaazzz Murray, UT
    April 12, 2011 9:25 a.m.

    After a little thought the premise of this article bothers me. The basis of my career, engineering, is what Mr. Ash is calling evidence. This is also true for medicine, science, and many other fields. While we do not have absolute proff of anything, we have enough evidence that we can build houses that don't collapse and planes that fly. If we reduce the importance of evidence, than we reduce the importance of the knowledge that the Lord has allowed us to learn about our world.

  • Thinkman Provo, UT
    April 12, 2011 9:25 a.m.

    There is no ample "evidence" for the Book of Mormon being a book that came from God or from an angel as Bill from NE claims. Michael Ash states in the article that: "I believe there are many secular evidences that support of the Book of Mormon."

    Evidence is proof. Feelings or a warm burning in your heart or a good feeling about something doesn't equate to evidence or proof that something is true. Why the use of the word "secular" to modify evidence. Evidence is evidence that is tangible and can be shown and proven. Where are the gold plates from which the Book of Mormon was supposedly written? That would be proof which is also evidence. Instead what we have is "spiritual" evidence that there were gold plates which such evidence was given as a testimony of 11 people plus Joseph Smith but that doesn't mean that there is evidence that the gold plates ever existed. It is merely people's conspiring words that collude for the purpose of proving and convincing others that the Book of Mormon came from gold plates. Their testimonies aren't evidence nor proof.

  • Joggle Clearfield, UT
    April 12, 2011 8:54 a.m.

    Ash fails to realize evidence need not reach certain proof, but it must carry a high degree of probability and strength. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. Evidence presented for the BoM has a LOW degree of probability and strength. Only solid evidence will significantly increase the probability and strength that the BoM is true. The so-called evidence is overwhelmingly negative and weak for the BoM. The BoM's occult method of translation, plagiarisms, internal inconsistencies, archeological disproof, unreliable witnesses, and many other problems reveal that the LDS Church is in serious error when it claims to be true.

    It can be argued that we can never really prove anything; we can only disprove things. Ash and others fail to disprove critics arguments and challenges.

    What the LDS care about is protecting their own belief system, whether it's true or not. That is disingenuous. The evidence against it ultimately doesn't seem to matter. When all else fails and fail it does....the old spiritual discernment or experience ploy is pulled out and is vaguely thrown out as evidence when it isn't evidence at all. Neither is the false "hard-hearted" ploy, Mr. Ash uses to support his_argument!

  • sharrona layton, Ut
    April 12, 2011 8:24 a.m.

    Truth, Joseph Smith got it wrong (Is 29:14 )is not a prophecy about the Bom But (Is 29:14JST) is, But the book (BoM)shall be delivered unto a man(JS).verse 16 by the power of Christ, verse 17,..the three witnesses. Not supported by the Dead Sea Scrolls ,Septuagint or KJV. Which is the correct version?

    Bill in Nebraska: The Doctrine & Covenants testifies of the Book of Mormon? What about (D&C 17: 22, 23) which describes the blessings. Do you agree that these are blessings ?
    (D&C 132:61-62 )Polygamy. Jesus, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and cleave(united) to his Wife: and they twain(duo) shall be one flesh(Mt 19:5). O.T. Saints sinned,N.T. Saints have no excuse.

    A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behavior, given to hospitality, apt to teach. . . . Let the deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well."(1Tim 3:2,12) After Pentecost and the permanent indwelling of the Holy Spirit.

  • Pickle Juice, The Key to a BCS Murray, UT
    April 12, 2011 8:05 a.m.


    I have read, prayed, pondered and studied the BoM with an open and sincere heart. I'm confident the BOM is not true.

    When I meet the Savior and if He tells me that I was wrong about the BOM, I will have a very serious discussion with Him about all the many thousands of reasons why I just could not accept the BOM as historical.

    We will frankly discuss Joseph Smith's many past problems as a "translator" with the Greek Psalter, Book of Abraham, Kinderhook Plates, etc. We will frankly discuss the many different changes to the "most correct book on earth". We will frankly discuss the many different and contradictory teachings apologists and leaders have put forth about the BOM. I will frankly discuss with Him the complete absence of any evidence to support the BOM. I will also frankly discuss with Him the mountains of scientific evidence against the BOM.

    More importantly, I will discuss with Him that I was a good person, was kind and gentle, I was honest in all my dealings and did my best to follow His teachings. I know He will say that is all that mattered, nothing else.

  • JoeBlow Miami Area, Fl
    April 12, 2011 6:50 a.m.

    Mr Ash writes

    "It should be indisputable to both critics and believers that there is scientific data which supports the historicity of the Book of Mormon."

    I read Mr Ash's column every week.

    Maybe I have missed it, or maybe we have a different definition of "scientific data"

    What I have understood from these articles is that many of the claims can NOT be dis-proven. To me, that is a far cry from supporting evidence.

    Can someone list just a couple of the most compelling SCIENTIFIC evidences supporting the BOM? Mr Ash perhaps?
    Maybe that will help me understand if we just disagree on the term.

  • Bill in Nebraska Maryville, MO
    April 12, 2011 6:37 a.m.

    TO Mormoncowboy: All I can say it is more than feelings because I don't have the capacity to put into words what it is. That is my weakness. You say I put my faith in man where as you put yours in God because I have learned to listen to the Holy Ghost testify to me of the truthfulness of the Gospel. I still listen to the still small voice when it speaks to me. How do I know? I can only say because of the peace, comfort and other things that come over me. This replaces just a feeling.

    Yes, it is true that when you were on your mission that you would ask investigators how they feel. Why, because that is the only thing that many including you could describe it as. I can't describe a burning in my bossom any more than Joseph Smith could. The only thing is that my testimony over time has grown to something where just belief has be replaced by a pure knowledge. I don't need a scientist to tell me there is evidence here of this or that. The spirit has already confirmed that.

  • ? Fort Knox, KY
    April 12, 2011 3:55 a.m.

    It might be worth checking out the Bat Creek Stone through Ohio State University. This may or may not have anything to do with the Book of Mormon, but I think is worth looking into.

  • Alberta Reader magrath, ab
    April 11, 2011 11:23 p.m.

    Thanks for the honest answer I do read your comments whenever seen and yes I can tell you are analytical. If I remember correctly you once stated you do not believe in the divinity of the Savior. If that is correct not only did you leave the LDS faith but Christianity as well is that correct?
    So we continue to be left with a Bible whose historicity can be proven but you don't seem to believe the message of the Saviour lets just say in the Bible, BofM aside for now.
    Since the current article is on evidence and proof. What evidence or proof do you need to believe the messages taught in Christian scripture of the divinity of the Saviour even if you can prove geography?
    Likely this will come across as boasting but I have read the BofM at last count 38 times. Depending on the day month or year verses in the BofM take on different meaning and always teach me, never get tired of it.

  • born again Murrieta, CA
    April 11, 2011 10:45 p.m.

    The truth is whether people are willing to see it or not is that there is no evidence that the BOM stories ever existed. No brass plates. No evidence of Laminites and Nephites battles. Nothing written in any other books of history mentioning the Nephites or Laminites. On the other hand, the Apostles that walked with Jesus wrote first hand accounts of his existence with possibly some seccond hand accounts. The geography is still their. The archeology is there. The Romans wrote about Jesus. The Koran talks about Jesus. There are more writings verifying the life of Jesus, than any other historical text ever written. In second place is Homer's book the Illiad and the Odyssey. The Apostles that walked with Jesus are mentioned in many different historical texts as well.

  • Doctor Tucson, AZ
    April 11, 2011 9:19 p.m.

    You miss my point. I'm not asking for evidence of divinity. Just evidence there was even a civilization. I have not read the BOM. My understanding is the church once believed a vast civilization existed that was the forefathers of all native americans. Since more and more archeological knowledge has emerged your scholars have backed off that claim. So if you are saying a couple hundred jews built wood huts and survived for a few years then I'll concede evidence will be hard to find. But I don't think that's what you preach or believe so let's establish what you believe was the extent of your civilization so we can discuss what scholarly evidence such a civilization should have left. From what i have read here on this site hundreds of thousands of warriors fought with steel weapons at the hill cumorah. Show me an artifact.

  • Mormoncowboy Provo, Ut
    April 11, 2011 8:21 p.m.


    The difference between us is that I try and put my "faith" in that which deserves faith, by demonstrated evidence. You put your faith litterally in "Man". You state that your faith is in God, yet your entire conception of God requires you to accept a doctrine of him revealed to Joseph Smith. You take on faith the words of those who claim to hold God's authority, and call that "faith in God". I don't accept the claims of religious men, particularly those who frankly aren't trustworthy. You also echo Ash's argument that the spirit is "more" than feelings, and yet I haven't seen you provide any cogent explanation for what that means beyond "more". If it is "more" than feelings, perhaps you could provide greater explanation for this epistemological experience you call the "Holy Ghost"?

    Alberta Reader:

    I don't get this argument about BoM geography and evidence compared to Biblical archaeology. Seeing as how Joseph Smith claimed to have recieved the Gold Plates via a miracle, any archaeological claim supporting the BoM history, would be a major point scored for Joseph Smith. Are you familiar with the foundational Church history?

  • Full-on double rainbow Bluffdale, UT
    April 11, 2011 7:50 p.m.

    How is "reason and rational thought" a part of the process if you already have a predetermined conclusion? As an apologist you are trying to fit the square peg of evidence into your circle hole of your conclusion (the church is true). In many instances the two are incompatible, hence the need to play the faith card to fill in the gaps. It would seems that faith could be used to explain any unverifiable phenomenon (ie flying spaghetti monster). It just seems that some members have their minds made up and no amount of contradictory evidence could sway them. That kind of approach doesn't seem very honest or effective.

  • Bill in Nebraska Maryville, MO
    April 11, 2011 7:37 p.m.

    To Mormoncowboy: I've done many of the same thing. I have also attended a Catholic University and gone through many of the theological classes, yet my testimony remains in place. So where is the difference between you and I. I refuse to put my trust in what man can bring. The Book of Mormon in many ways states that it confuses the wise. Which are you the wise or do you take the Spirit for what it is?

    As Michael Ash stated when the Spirit testifies it is much more than just a "feeling". I've had too many spiritual ensounters to just discount it to something created by the mind. I've witnessed too many miracles that just can't be explained by man. I've watched the miracle of the Atonement take a person much as the women brought before Christ and seen a complete change of heart that the Book of Mormon and the Gospel brings. The Gospel in and of itself is pretty simple but it is MAN that tries to make it more than it is. The Doctrine & Covenants testifies of the Book of Mormon and the Book of Mormon testifies of Christ.

  • Alberta Reader magrath, ab
    April 11, 2011 7:21 p.m.

    You prove the exact point we try to make
    You correctly note that places in the bible exist as fact, that is verifiable. All would agree they do even you acknowledge this.
    You then discount the teachings in the Bible of Jesus as the son of God that he clearly and with no ambiguity taught the people. He taught with no ambiguity all must come to the Saviour to be saved. As I understand your posts you discount this as well.
    So even if geography could be proved for the BofM your beliefs would not change at all. The saving principles in scripture having nothing to do with actual geography or locations but what is taught as principles and commandments
    Likely no point in any missionaries yet for you we can always hope though

  • Mormoncowboy Provo, Ut
    April 11, 2011 7:20 p.m.


    I don't mind answering - I'm a returned missionary, I've led Gospel Doctrine three times, served in both Stake and Ward Sunday School Presidencies, and eagerly preached the Mormon message from a scripturally intensive standpoint. I am not professionally trained in the scriptures, but I am not ignorant of them. I generally wasn't one to track the number of times I read the scriptures, but I am comfortable in saying that I have managed The Book of Mormon cover-to-cover at least five times. I also have done written theological analyses of various sections, in great deal - so the cover-to-cover quota is quite misleading. I have read the D&C cover-to-cover twice, and again performed theological analyses an other sections. I have actually read The Old Testament cover to cover twice, the New Testament about four times with considerable LDS analyses on Revelation, The Acts, and a comprehensive study of the Gospels alongside BRM's Doctrinal New Testament Commentary. I used to read Joseph Smith History in the PoGP one Sunday each month, and have consequently read the PoGP more times than I can count. Not an expert, but not ignorant!

  • the truth Holladay, UT
    April 11, 2011 7:09 p.m.

    RE: sharrona

    Joseph Smith got it correct.

    There is nothing in the BOM that indicates that the BOM prophets were quoting Isaiah directly,

    they seem to be teaching from Isaiah,

    in addition the BOM prophets had the Brass plates which had more correct and complete record of the prophets of Isreal up tp 600 BC, something the greeks did not have.

    RE: Doctor:

    Without assuming, What would BOM evidence look like? What would everyday writings and speech look like and sould like?

    A culture that mostly built with wood what would you expect to remain from a people that was destoyed 1600 years ago?

    And how do you know evidence has not already been found, it just not recognized as such?

    You have to have faith (the FIRST principle of the Gospel) to believe someone is a prophet or the Son of God o rin any of the miracles.

    NO physical evidence can and will ever prove those things.

  • Doctor Tucson, AZ
    April 11, 2011 6:54 p.m.

    Alberta Reader-I never thought of it that way. Send the missionaries.

  • sharrona layton, Ut
    April 11, 2011 6:03 p.m.

    Jeff: "A Marvelous Work and Wonder" is evidence against the BoM.

    Therefore behold I will proceed to remove this people, and I will remove them: and I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will hide the understanding of the prudent. (Is 29:14 Septuagint Lxx)
    I will Destroy the wisdom of the wise ,and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent(1 Corinthians 1:19)
    Paul is quoting from the Apostles Bible, from where God denounces the policy of the Wise in Judah seeking an alliance with Egypt against Assyria. God will punish the Jews for spiritual wickedness; He will remove their discernment from their hearts. Fulfilled in that they rejected Christ.

    A paraphrase gives a good view of Isaiahs prophecy. Therefore I will take awesome vengeance on these hypocrites, and make their wisest counselors as fools. (Is 29:14 LB).
    JS mis-used the KJV; to create his false own prophecy of the BoM.

  • Alberta Reader magrath, ab
    April 11, 2011 5:55 p.m.

    Just the fact the BofM is tangible is very direct evidence. It absolutely exists and no one can argue that point. You can read it, live its principles or burn it stomp on it or let it collect dust but it still exists.
    One of the prophecies of the BofM is that it will continue to exist and won't go away. Time will prove this as well whether it is years or hundreds of years for the existence of this world as it now is the BofM will persist read and debated as it now is.
    BTW cowboy how many times have you read the BofM care to answer?

  • Doctor Tucson, AZ
    April 11, 2011 5:28 p.m.

    There is no evidence that jesus was/is the son of god. There is no evidence moses parted the red sea. There is no evidence the god of isreal exists or that any of the spiritual occurrences depicted in the bible occurred. However, there is eveidence the civilizations depicted in the bible existed. There is evidence the characters in the bible existed (not everyone, but many). There is eveidence the locations depicted in the bible existed. Many of these evidences are of the level of proof. What evidence is there of any new world character found in the book of Mormon, any new world location, any new world civilization? Let alone evidence that elevates itself to proof?

  • Jeff Temple City, CA
    April 11, 2011 4:10 p.m.

    I, too, enjoyed the article a lot. I felt that Ash has articulated many things that I have wanted to say, but have felt inhibited by either the 200-word limit or my own limitations.

    For me, the evidence of the Spirit is so powerful that the rest is just icing on the cake (so to speak). For that reason, I think that the Spirit of one of the evidences that Ash speaks of that carries more weight than other evidences.

    Because of the Spirit, I find the testimonies of the eleven additional witnesses to the Book of Mormon to be credible (though I think there are also historical evidences of their credibiility). And the Spirit of the only way to truly evaluate the prophetic evidences of both the Book of Mormon and the Doctrine and Covenants.

    I appreciate Ash's distinguishing between evidence and proof, and the special distinction between mathematical proofs and scientific evidences.

  • DanielAZ Tucson, AZ
    April 11, 2011 2:40 p.m.

    Great article with interesting points. It made me really think about things of eternal importance, which is an uplifting thing to experience during a short lunch break. Thanks Mike. Keep up the good work!

  • Searching . . . Orem, UT
    April 11, 2011 2:29 p.m.

    I was hoping that these articles would be more about the evidence supporting the BoM, but apparently they are more of a toolkit to bolster the testimonies of the believers. Of his primary points, the first three are directly related to the nature of testimony, which can be evidence of belief but is in no way a litmus test for the validity of actual archaeological evidence. The fourth represents biased judgment (based on personal spiritual testimony) when evaluating what has been found.

    The fact that Mr. Ash feels such a need to prep us with "you'll need to depend on your testimonies for this" before he presents the evidence doesn't bode well. Since when is faith a prerequisite for archaeological study? He continues to downplay evidence through to the end of the article. The current state or BoM evidence and archaeology is that the scientific community is resoundingly in favor of independent Mesoamerican development. Few, if any, are finding in favor of a Semitic influence. Is Mr. Ash's evidence enough to overwhelm that?

  • Mormoncowboy Provo, Ut
    April 11, 2011 1:32 p.m.

    There are countless articles discussing the various "types" of evidence, but only two really matter when it comes to proof - and perhaps this is what Ash is missing. There is Direct Evidence and Circumstantial Evidence. Examples of Direct Evidence would be eyewitness testimony, incriminating writings (such as a letter confessing guilt), etc. Circumstantial evidence is that which requires some "leaping" in order to make the connection. Each of these "types" can be stronger or weaker, depending on a number of criteria.

    The only sources of "direct evidence" that justify The Book of Mormon are the scant testimonies of intelligible occurences. The First Vision, or The Three & Eight Witnesses. While not entirely credible, at the very least these instances place the jury into a position where we must decide if such claims are reasonably plausible, possible, and/or likely. And this is one place where I will give Joseph Smith credit, he seems to at least to have understood what a "testimony" was. Much to the contrary of Ash's third point that Testimonies are more than feelings. Okay then, more of what? What "more" is there to it? The point of defense seems rather incomplete to me!

  • aaazzz Murray, UT
    April 11, 2011 1:29 p.m.

    Thanks for explaining your current thought process, and the direction that the articles are going.

    It looks like these articles are comming to the conclustion that there is not enough evidence to rule out the historical aspects of the Book of Mormon.

    Also, JM, that was your best comment to date, in my opinion. Thanks for taking the time to organize your thoughts.

  • Jax Bountiful, UT
    April 11, 2011 1:22 p.m.

    "It should be indisputable to both critics and believers that there is scientific data which supports the historicity of the Book of Mormon. The strength and significance of such evidence might be debated, but it cannot be logically or ethically argued that there is no evidence."

    Obviously this is true, but by the same measure there is "evidence" for every single theory or concept ever conceived. For example, people sometimes refer to a flying spaghetti monster as being as believable as the Gods most people believe in. We can observe spaghetti, therefore we know it exists. We know there are some creatures that can fly including birds, bats, insects, and even man. This "evidence" supports the theory that a flying spaghetti monster exists.

    When I read logic like this it makes me feel like somebody is about to take all my money.

  • Bill in Nebraska Maryville, MO
    April 11, 2011 12:47 p.m.

    As Michael just stated there is AMPLE proof to the historical aspects of the Book of Mormon. Still there are those who believe it to just an allegory or parables but not historical (Otis). The Doctrine and Covenants holds that the Book of Mormon is historical (Doctrine & Covenants 17) when it discusses the three witnesses. It clearly states they would see the Sword of Laban, the Liahona the Brother of Jared used and the Compass used by Lehi. Why, because these prove that these individuals lived. To say otherwise by a member of the Church can and does lead to apostasy.

  • JM Lehi, UT
    April 11, 2011 12:35 p.m.

    Thanks Mike, another great article.

    After reading your articles each week, I've learned that there is more than enough evidence, for anyone who needs that, to encourage honest hearts to commune with God about the BoM.

    Those who claim there is none are dishonest, and, even if they found Lehi's journal, and it was seen by witnesses, these would still say it's only parallel evidence. Just some guy had the same name as a BoM person, and same life. : )

    The interesting thing is, the need to claim there is no evidence when we all know there is. Apparently critics have even made another fabulous movie with such incredible claims.

    I'm not sure why they just don't tell the truth and simply admit they don't have enough faith, even if they saw Lazarus etc, and leave it at that. Why do Critics intentionally try to deceive others and lead them from truth? I guess I understand, but don't know if they see that is what they are doing?