Challenging Issues, Keeping the Faith: Many interconnected pieces of evidence support the Book of Mormon

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  • JM Lehi, UT
    June 4, 2011 11:44 a.m.

    Glancing through, and I think it's important to note again that anti-Mormons ("critics," no one wants to admit to themselves that they're "anti-Mormon" it's like being anti-Semitic or KKK etc)have been trying for almost 200 years to discredit the BoM and have always failed.

    On the DN they post information from leading anti-Mormon websites (some seemingly obsessed with destroying eternal families here are leading anti-Mormons)which is clearly fabricated, they invent libraries where Joseph somehow miraculously retrieved NHM, they invent towns where he got Alma, they constantly repeat ideas that they know are debunked and fallen (apparently hoping no one will say anything, and sometimes LDS tire of the repetition), etc etc.

    But, I notice now that they mostly focus on simply being negative. Sowing seeds of doubt really doesn't require logic, only discouragement, negativity, darkness, temptation to deny the rising glorious sun.

    The evidence for the BoM, which testifies to the Divinity of the Biblical Christ, is overwhelming.
    All attacks have fallen.

    All that is left is to read and pray. So they attack that : ).

    Once they testified to knowing BoM truths.

    Did they lie then, or now?


  • charlie91342 Sylmar, CA
    June 3, 2011 12:03 p.m.

    re - Independent | 11:30 a.m
    "your approach seems reasonable except I would point to the Lord's teaching that we should "become as a little child."

    the problem with that statement is if God has never stated anything. You are assuming a book you read was written by God. What if it wasn't?

    Psycologically, if you "become as a little child" you are opening yourself up to suggestion.

    so what you are really saying is that if you open yourself up to suggestion, you can convince yourself that the BoM is true and your religion is true. You can call it a leap of faith or whatever, but it is really you convincing yourself. And yes, that can be done. You can do that with anything.

  • Independent Henderson, NV
    June 3, 2011 11:39 a.m.

    Continued. I realize that it seems very foolish to just start believing, but if we are to receive all the blessings God has for us, we really do have to exhibit this kind of humility. I understand that some people just can't do that, and I don't think they are bad people. I just know that once you take that leap of faith and decide to believe, the truth of it becomes clear. There have been times when I have doubted, but I just sucked it up and decided to act as if I knew, and I've never been disappointed. I've had experiences that have had no other explanation other than that the LDS Church and its doctrine are exactly what they claim to be, but they are my experiences and cannot really help you or anybody else. But I know, yes KNOW, they are real, and I make no apology for knowing it. Neither do I claim any ability to prove it to you. I fully acknowledge how weak that point of view looks, but I can't deny the truth of it, no matter how much I might be mocked for it.

  • Independent Henderson, NV
    June 3, 2011 11:30 a.m.

    Idaho Coug, your approach seems reasonable except I would point to the Lord's teaching that we should "become as a little child." I know it doesn't seem fair that we would have to just take that leap of faith and believe when we haven't seen any tangible evidence, or we haven't yet received a spiritual witness after coming from a purely objective standpoint. But this is the way the God set it up. He requires faith. He gave us parents so that we could learn and accept things as truth by virtue of our childlike humility, because he knew that if we were to only accept things as true if they could be proven by some kind of scientific method, we would never really arrive at it. I fully acknowledge that it takes a big leap of faith, for someone who is truly objective, to accept the LDS faith, or any faith for that matter, as truth. But I will also say that once we do let down our guard and simply trust, the results are very real and fulfilling.

  • Weber State Graduate Clearfield, UT
    June 3, 2011 8:01 a.m.

    J Sam:

    It appears I ruffled your feathers...sheesh. Although I'm sure you meant it as derogatory, the term "college boy" still made me smile.

    You need to understand that science does not seek to "refute" the existence of a deity. Rather, it endorses an empirical methodology for validating phenomena. Ironically, your portentous demand of me for "proof" of scientific observation could very well be applied to you regarding your testimony of "truth."

    Twin Lights:

    Religion is not a trick of the's a functional social construct of society. The definition of "truth" for each religion, however, varies and is reinforced as a consequence of that particular religion's sacred customs and rituals.

    As to why some are frequent commentators to a religiously-owned newspaper, it's Mr. Ash who issues the challenge each week by virtue of his claim of evidence and the further assertion of other posters who claim to "know" the truth. A response to such challenges should not bother you if you are secure in your faith.


    "They might as well go talk to a dog...the dog won't believe them either."

    Now that's a great comment...I certainly agree.

  • Jiggle Clearfield, UT
    June 2, 2011 11:27 a.m.

    @Twin Lights

    You will NOT see me commenting everywhere on many different articles so NO I don't spend a great deal of time here, but why does that matter anyway? Is being a religious person a requirement!? I think this is a good venue to present and argue an opposing view. I find it intellectually stimulating, but I have no personal derogatory agenda. I disagree with all organized religion; not just LDS. If readers learn from my view or consider goal is achieved. Apparently you have missed where I have stated my views here so I'll just say as a Pantheist....I view the Universe (Nature) and God as identical. Pantheists do not believe in a god that is described or thought of as having a human form or human attributes. Yes, I SEEM to have atheistic views, but that is because I don't ascribe to the same "god" definition you do. I'm not a convert from any religion.

    The record through MY life concerning Jesus remains unconvincing since no one has the slightest physical evidence to support a historical Jesus. Early historical documents can prove nothing other than showing an evolution of belief.

  • atl134 Salt Lake City, UT
    June 2, 2011 10:45 a.m.


    "As someone else has said, "I've done it and millions others have done it and found it to be true.""

    Here's the problem... people have done this with the Bible and become Christians, with the Quran and become Muslim, Watchtower and become Jehovah's Witnesses, Dianetics and become Scientologists. It's a pretty common theme among religions that many people read stuff, ponder it, pray about it (if it's a prayery kind of religion) and then get some sort of faith based confirmation of it.

    "All of this nonsense of proof determines whether you have faith in the Lord Jesus Christ or you don't. "

    You can believe in Jesus and not believe in the Book of Mormon. It's not that hard, over a billion people do this.

  • atl134 Salt Lake City, UT
    June 2, 2011 10:39 a.m.

    "you antis and you fault-finders need to get a clue that LDS doctrine has never held that every word coming out of the mouth of an LDS leader is Church doctrine"

    Maybe you should tell LDS members that too since several wanted to railroad me for opposing Prop 8.

  • Idaho Coug Meridian, Idaho
    June 2, 2011 10:15 a.m.

    I am in the process of re-reading, studying and trying to once and for all decide what I believe about the Book of Mormon.

    I do not think it is a transparent or spiritually and intellectually honest process to go the the Lord asking that my predetermined answer be radified by the spirit.

    My process is to honestly, objectively, read and ponder and ask the Lord to reveal to me whether or not the Book of Mormon is true. I do have faith that He will make something of such incredible importance very clear. And I do not think He expects me to ask the question with a preconceived answer. That is how I lived as a Mormon for most of my life. Everything was predetermined to be true and therefore everything I saw, heard, felt and experienced was used to confirm that. I will not go into such an incredibly important process as an apologist. I will go into it with faith that God will let me know if it is true - unequivically.

  • otonashii1 Round Rock, TX
    June 2, 2011 9:22 a.m.

    Ok then. Everyone who has read, studied and prayed about the BoM is not sincere. And if I already believe in the BoM the evidences are compelling. But if I dont find the evidence compelling, its because I am not sincere. Got it.

  • Bill in Nebraska Maryville, MO
    June 2, 2011 6:56 a.m.

    It would seem so. To me one must be sincere and really have intent before prayer works. So yes if you feel what I said is correct. You can believe what you will but until you have studied the Book of Mormon, pondered it and and then with real intent an answer will not come. The Holy Ghost will not testify different things to two different people. It just insn't going to happen. So yes, I do feel that. Just as I have and millions others have faith and trusting in the Lord I have received my witness. You are putting your faith in signs and I refuse to. The evidences are compelling if you already have a spiritual witness of the Book of Mormon. It is not compelling if you fail to not have that witness. Science and man will never prove the Book of Mormon true. Only through the spirit will that happen.

    All of this nonsense of proof determines whether you have faith in the Lord Jesus Christ or you don't. As I stated before and what the Book of Mormon teaches: If you believe the Bible, you will believe the Book of Mormon.

  • OnlyInUtah Cottonwood Heights, UT
    June 1, 2011 9:34 p.m.

    The only evidence I need is what I feel in my heart. My knowledge is based on the spiritual truth I have gained by reading and studying the words of the prophets. The critics can deny all they want. They might as well go talk to a dog.. the dog won't believe them either.

  • Twin Lights Louisville, KY
    June 1, 2011 8:23 p.m.


    I didn't assume. I asked questions.

    I fully understand that not everyone believes "Christ, Moses, Peter, Paul were real people or if real....not divine". I was simply asking Joggle (you?) and Weber State Grad to put themselves on record regarding their views.

    From what you say, yours are relatively standard atheistic views - not a problem for me.

    I agree that there is no independent evidence for many biblical figures. Though I understand your assessment of Paul's writings, I think you overstate the case.

    I disagree with your assessment of the historical Christ. The record has become stronger vs. weaker through my life.

    I asked the prior questions to find out why you are here. You spend a good deal of time on these boards. If you do not believe in religion (this, or any other), why are you a frequent commentator on the website of a religiously-owned newspaper?

    Are you here to show us the way? To just have some fun with folks who have subpar brain wiring? I simply do not understand your motivation.

    I am a convert and I spend NO time commenting on the religion of my youth.

  • otonashii1 Round Rock, TX
    June 1, 2011 7:19 p.m.

    @ Bill. Am I to understand from your post, that if I dont get the answer you believe i should get that I am not sincere? Interesting.... And how many BoM people were at the alleged NHM site? About 30? So your saying that after a very short time this small band of BoM people were able to leave a mark. Yet hundreds of thousands of BoM people over a millenia could not leave a single trace? I wonder why that is?.....

  • Jiggle Clearfield, UT
    June 1, 2011 5:54 p.m.

    @Twin Lights

    Let me elaborate: I think religion and spirituality, when we look at these in very broad terms, help us in the same ways that the brain tries to help us, in terms of maintaining ourselves. When you look at the vast amount of literature and data that has been collected, we find religion often is extremely supportive of our behaviors: It helps us in terms of our mental health, our ability to cope with various issues and problems, and therefore it tends to be pretty good at helping us maintain ourselves. I would argue the brain ultimately is a believing has to be. It's trying to make some sense out of the world, and it puts together a perspective on our world, fills in a lot of gaps, doesn't bother to let us know about it, and yet somehow we use that information to go through our lives as if we know what's going on! The practices and rituals that exist within both religious and non-religious groups become a strong and powerful way to write ideas (neural connections) into our brain. Religious figures are not exceptions! Our brains can lead us astray!

  • Bill in Nebraska Maryville, MO
    June 1, 2011 5:05 p.m.

    To otonashii1: I may agree with you NHM if it wasn't the fact the place is a burial site that fits exactly where Joseph Smith said it was. Compelling is there if you look at everything that is present. You say you have prayed about the Book of Mormon and you get it is false. I disagree with that because I feel that one must read, ponder, study it out in your mind and after all that then ask if it is true. As someone else has said, "I've done it and millions others have done it and found it to be true." I believe if you really want to know and have a desire to know then the answer will come to you just as it came to me. Otherwise, you will never receive the answer as we have.

    JAX: Brings up an interesting point. The difference is that in none of the OTHER so called religions has Christ stated that, "This is the only true and living Church on the Earth." That is correct, Jesus Christ has stated such. Why would God allow all of these religions? Because we all have our agency to decide.

  • Jiggle Clearfield, UT
    June 1, 2011 3:37 p.m.

    @Twin Lights

    I love the assumptions people make here! Not everybody believes Christ, Moses, Peter, Paul were real people or if real....not divine or in touch with a God. I believe the Bible is simply a human attempt to explain a world that wasn't understood and to control society. It is stories, myths, some truths and a guide for living passed down through the ages, but not of_divine origin.Not only has the divinity of Jesus been seriously questioned, but his existence as a real man is being more and more seriously all the time. Evidence is very lacking. Now, if the facts of the life of Jesus were known in the first century of Christianity, Paul (who I believe may have lived) was one of the men who should have known them fully. Yet Paul acknowledges that he never saw Jesus; and his Epistles prove that he knew nothing about his life, his works, or his teachings. Biblical archaeologists have not (yet) been able to prove that Moses ever really existed. Today, most critical scholars agree 2 Peter was not written by the Apostle Peter. Nonetheless, all New Testament writings came well after the alleged death of_Jesus.

  • Jax Bountiful, UT
    June 1, 2011 2:49 p.m.

    The other day I was watching one of those space exploration shows on the history channel. It was showing video of the earth taken from space. Looking down at the earth, it seemed so small and vulnerable. People could not be seen, only land, ocean, and clouds were visible.

    It seems so silly from that perspective to contemplate all the wars and death and fighting that we see on the news everyday. In the context of religion, it also seems silly that there is some sort of supernatural being affecting our lives, a being that would have millions believe in Islam, millions believe in Hinduism, and millions believe in Christianity. It seems even sillier to think that such a being solely endorses a tiny sect like Mormonism or Bahai'i or Juche or other tiny religions. Even sillier are the claims of such sects to absolute truth or a unique path to God. At some point I hope our species matures to the point that we can put these types of superstitions behind us, or at least use them to unite us instead of divide us. I just don't see that being possible in the current religious environment.

  • Jiggle Clearfield, UT
    June 1, 2011 2:09 p.m.

    When looking at the pro-Mormon websites such as FAIR and FARMS, I can now see just how deeply Mormon apologists are caught in a cycle of circular reasoning. Since their initial premise which underlies everything they say or think is that "the Mormon Church is the only true church on the face of the earth," they bend each fact to that end. And when they seem caught, they simply turn to their testimony. Independent, unbiased deliberation requires abandoning all preconceived notions, but since they do not leave anything on the table before beginning their studies, it is not possible for them to reach an unbiased opinion. They close their minds before even beginning the process of "studying" the question - and they have arrived at their conclusion before beginning the "analysis" as well. Moroni's promise is an excellent example of circular reasoning because you must believe it and its outcome first. Failure is always the inquirer's fault!

    There is absolutely no intellectual data that Mormon apologists will admit automatically compels an intelligent person to reject the Book of Mormon. Michael Ash's response is filled with rationalizations as well as attempts to minimize non-Mormon findings and opinions.

  • otonashii1 Round Rock, TX
    June 1, 2011 2:02 p.m.

    @ Bill. Interesting you start off your post with "evidence of the BoM is compelling." Then you describe evidence as circumstantial. And the circumstantial evidence, basically proves, and quite plausible. Those are words that do not indicate solid compelling evidence. NHM may not necessarily mean NHM, there are 27 other possibilies, is it not plausible NHM is not Nahom? Is a 1/27 chance solid compelling evidence?

    You mention places in plural form, are there any other BoM place names that have been discovered? I respect your testimony, as well as Hinkley, but I have read, studied and prayed about the BoM and have not found it to be true.

  • Twin Lights Louisville, KY
    June 1, 2011 1:26 p.m.

    Weber State Graduate and Joggle,

    Nice quote. On that basis all religion is a trick of the mind (or brain wiring/chemistry if you will) and Christ simply one of the most duped by its power since he ended up dying for his convictions.

    Is that your position? That Christ, Moses, Peter, Paul, etc. (and any other religious figure you choose) were all simply led astray by their brains?

  • Bill in Nebraska Maryville, MO
    June 1, 2011 12:33 p.m.


    As Michael Ash was so quick to notate a few weeks ago that if we even give the critics actual information that proves plausibility they still won't believe.

    As President Hinkley and all prophets before him have stated, the most sure way to know if the Book of Mormon is true is through and by the spirit alone. All else is only confirmation but does not deter from what the spirit says.

    Some critics on this board have mocked this statement by saying I know the Spirit has told me it is false and then state in another sentence that they don't believe in revelation. This is a total contradiction of what they just said.

    President Hinkley stated that he doesn't understand how anyone who has read, studied and prayed about the Book of Mormon will not find it true. I agree with this statement.

  • Bill in Nebraska Maryville, MO
    June 1, 2011 12:20 p.m.

    The evidence of the Book of Mormon is compelling. There are many places where circumstantial evidence basically proves the Book of Mormon is quite plausiable. The problems with dissenters and critics is that they are looking for solid compelling evidence such as a place or name. However, when given such they basically toss it out as if it never existed. Proof of this is the NHM found in the Arabian peninsula. Found there is a burial and the spelling that can and basically does agree with NAHOM in the Book of Mormon. Due east of their on the otherside of the peninsula is an area that is best described as Bountiful. Critics have shun this. First it was done that no such place ever existed as noted by the critics in the 1800s but now it is proven to be correct.

    The proof is there as to how Joseph Smith could have written something so illconceived as to put such places on the Arabian Peninsula made him a fraud. Today it is a proven FACT that such existed all the way back to the time of the Book of Mormon.

  • Joggle Clearfield, UT
    June 1, 2011 12:03 p.m.

    @Weber State Graduate

    I find what you say to be quite acceptable. I've read about it. It is what I mean by self-convincing, because I do know that rituals and immersion can bring about emotional responses people interpret as God. I realize our brain will tend to always seek out some sort of transcendental hope, otherworldly protection, or explanation even if it's not God. Some evolutionary biologists argue that human mind is hardwired for "God" for evolutionary reasons and that is why our brains are so receptive to religious experiences to various degrees. Religion might be a side effect of a developing brain. Our brains needed ways to explain the world around us, so they may have created a belief system that could serve as kind of secure default place. However, people like Jeff simply disregard research of other explanations such as religiosity itself being an adaptive neurobehavioral system as even being possible because to do so would be destructive to their personal emotional security....yet they expect people to just accept their explanation as true even when it is very possible they are wrong. We can be certain that religion affects the brain....we are just_not_certain_how!

  • J Sam Salt Lake City, UT
    June 1, 2011 11:12 a.m.

    Weber State Graduate -

    Okay college boy, tell me this. What is gravity? How does it work? Explain in terms of particle physics how the sun works. (Good luck, BTW.) Explain strong and weak nuclear forces. What makes quarks behave the way they do? Even a semi-intelligent particle physicist will tell you science knows very little about the quantum world, why particles behave the way the do, why forces exist, and what is behind it all. Did you know quantum physicists have assigned quarks attributes of "intelligence" and "beauty"? Hmmmm....

    So who's to say that the universe isn't being controlled by a more fundamental force that emanates from God's throne? Science sure can't refute this. In the end, when all things are revealed, JS may end up being the genius and you will be the idiot. I know who my money is on.

    All of this is really lame actually. Here's the thing, at some point all you haters, you antis and you fault-finders need to get a clue that LDS doctrine has never held that every word coming out of the mouth of an LDS leader is Church doctrine... sheesh.

  • Weber State Graduate Clearfield, UT
    June 1, 2011 11:03 a.m.


    If I may be so bold, please allow me to provide an alternative point of view regarding how Jeff might truly "know" the truth.

    Research has shown that religious ritual such as prayer, meditation, and "humbling" oneself to be open to the "spirit" are "culturally invented symbolic displays that transmit potent conceptions of the world and imbue them with emotional and motivational significance." Such ritual activates the "mesolimbic dopamine system amongst other components of cognitive-affective processing so that the moods and motivations evoked by ritual performance seem uniquely realistic in ways where doctrinal ideals are turned into very powerful and profound convictions of "truth."

    Since such ritual performance like taking the Moroni challenge, engaging in scripture study, immersing oneself in intense prayer and opening oneself up to spiritual promptings are very potent practices, the LDS church smartly promotes them as a means to validate the "truthfulness" of its claims...indeed their perception of the "truth" is powerfully and emotionally validated, but not necessarily by supernatural means.

    Therefore, people like Jeff really do "know" the truth as they claim and to question his evidence and ask for proof is pointless..he is literally convinced of the truth.

  • Weber State Graduate Clearfield, UT
    June 1, 2011 9:16 a.m.


    The difference between science and religion is that science is willing to admit when its wrong and actually welcomes a challenge...religion is generally hostile against any challenge to its dogmatic conventions of "truth."

    Early thinkers who proposed scientific explanations for understanding the universe over these prevailing religious conventions of "truth" were ridiculed...the most famous being Copernicus who postulated that the Earth revolved around the sun, an anathema to the theocratic "truth" that the Earth was at the center of the universe. Giordano Bruno was burned at the stake for expanding upon the ideas of Copernicus and Galileo spent the last years of his life under house arrest, labeled a "dangerous maverick" for challenging the centric views of Christianity.

    The zeal of some LDS fundamentalists in their attempt to defend Joseph Smith is strikingly similar to such radical religious ignorance. Many irrationally hold "true" the scriptural assertion made by Joseph Smith in the BoA that the sun gets its light and power from the revolutions of a distant planet.

    Ironically, it appears the Galilean "dangerous maverick" of yesteryear is now the "anti" or "hater" of today for daring to challenge such nonsense.

  • aaazzz Murray, UT
    May 31, 2011 5:23 p.m.

    J Sam,

    People are just talking about the articles. Mike's purpose is to discuss the historical aspects of the Book of Mormon, and by extension, that is purpose of the message board. Why are you so worked up people having different opionions?

    Your post are becoming so good I can now understand them. Good job.

  • J Sam SLC, UT
    May 31, 2011 5:12 p.m.

    The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is the restored church of Jesus Christ on the earth today. True. The Book of Mormon is the word of God. True.

    People in the LDS Church, including its leaders, are imperfect. True. Historical evidence will likely never provide any ironclad scientific evidence that proves the Book of Mormon is true sans faith. SO WHAT?! That's not the way God works.

    For those critics who claim to know the Bible so well, make a list of the prophets in the Bible, now tell which of these were perfect men? How about Christ's apostles? Also show me in the Bible a pattern of God using scientific evidence to prove any aspect of His existence, his gospel, etc. You people know better than this.

    Those of you who don't believe fine, leave us alone, be on your way, best of luck to you, especially in the next life.

  • Joggle Clearfield, UT
    May 31, 2011 3:52 p.m.


    You keep making the I invite you to quit beating around the bush and describe IN DETAIL your experience. Tell us why your experience can NOT possibly be an hallucination or better yet a product of your own mind. Keep in mind....if the experience is connected with self-interests (or bias) such as psychological satisfaction or ideology pride it would be considered to be a false experience. Consider....if there is just one God, why is there such wide variety in the reports of religious experiences? Indeed, they are mutually incompatible. They cant all be true, so at least some must be false. There are no independent criteria we can use to separate the genuine experiences from false or flawed experiences not only in the reports of others, but in ourselves. YOU and others can't say that my having no "God" experience is false either because my experience is no less relevent than yours. We can grant that people have some sort of experience and we can certainly grant that the experiences have a profound effect; but does this mean we must accept the reported content of these experiences has a supernatural basis? No!

  • Full-on double rainbow Bluffdale, UT
    May 31, 2011 3:12 p.m.

    "Knowing" that the church is true is a cultural thing. It would be more accurate to say "I believe" or "I hope" the church is true. Having good feelings or something making sense to you is not the same as knowing especially when is comes to supernatural claims. I think thats the whole point of something being supernatural or requiring don't know for sure. Alma32:34 says you can have a perfect knowledge of something if the word "swells within your sprouts up...and your understanding is enlightened." I can't think of a worse way to know truth of something supernatural than by feelings. It just seems like a scam.

  • Jeff Temple City, CA
    May 31, 2011 3:04 p.m.

    A number of people seem very certain that not only do I not know what I know, but it is virtually impossible for me to know it. Some of us have had this discussion before.

    I have even been called out to "prove" that I know what I know.

    As evidence for my not knowing, I have been presented with the cases of a number of ardent believers whose faith led them to commit heinous acts against society with the undocumented statement that they "knew" the truth in the same way I did.

    Keeping in mind that "all truth is independent in that sphere in which God has placed it," meaning that it's possible to know one thing and only have faith in another, let me explain.

    I know there is a God because I have both heard and felt Him. I have never seen Him, so I only have faith that He looks a certain way. On this point, as with a few others, there is no possible confusion in my mind and no possiblity of a hallucination. Others can find the proof by having the same experiences. Many have.

  • brokenclay Scottsdale, AZ
    May 31, 2011 2:48 p.m.

    @Fred Vader (Williams' article)

    "For our sake he [God] made him [Christ] to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God." (2 Cor 5:21)

    This is one of the most pertinent texts teaching the imputation of sin to Christ, and the imputation of his righteousness to the believer who is united with him (this is what is meant by "in him"). There are many other texts.

    No one has even bothered to address my illustration yet. Is that example just? A simple yes or no. It appears to fit very well the LDS conception of the atonement (and no one has bothered to distance the LDS view from my example). If God can arbitrarily determine what will satisfy him, then what we are left with is a capricious god not wholly unlike the gods of Greek mythology, who were as whimsical as any man. Justice is not absolute; it becomes completely relative. You are gored by the right horn of the Euthyphro Problem.

    Mormoncowboy: the head/members analogy is simply that-- an analogy. It is unrelated to the teaching of Christ regarding the eye and hand.

  • procuradorfiscal Tooele, UT
    May 31, 2011 2:42 p.m.

    Re: "Again, I ask: What are Michael Ash's credentials? . . . Upon what basis can we trust . . . ?

    Credentials? Who cares? Credentialed Ph.D.s have no corner on the truth. In fact, a number of recent "scholarship" frauds suggest just the opposite. One who trusts another because of an academic title is on thin ice, indeed.

    So, why trust Mike? Dont' trust him. Any more than you should trust a credentialed Ph.D., just because she's a credentialed Ph.D.

    Trust is entirely irrelevant to science.

    Here's a suggestion -- try a little science. Start with the proposition that your belief-based prejudice is no better than Mike's, and is not proven true by the ridicule of another. Check out the cited peer-reviewed studies. Become educated on the subject. Test his logic and hypotheses. Come up with a competing hypothesis. Support it.

    Like Mike does.

    You'll be surprised what lessons science can teach you.

  • atl134 Salt Lake City, UT
    May 31, 2011 12:57 p.m.


    "The LDS are the only Christian church that I know of that tries to convert other Christians."

    Jehovah's Witnesses in the most similar sense.
    Evangelicals using different means.
    Catholic grandmothers who are upset their grandson is about to marry a protestant girl (heh, sorry, I'm kidding, though actually my sister's boyfriends' grandmother actually would sorta fall in this category).

  • Brahmabull sandy, ut
    May 31, 2011 12:36 p.m.

    Well Fred you make a good point. But one thing is for sure. I do personally know a couple of people from other religions who do claims to know that they have the truth. So the point is if different people claim to "know" and they are from different denominations with different beliefs one must conclude that they all can't "know". That would be unreasonable. So either they are all lying, mistaken, or misled. I assume that they aren't lying, so misled or mistaken would be my best guess. Do I believe fellow mormons "know" that they have the truth more than I believe that catholics "know"? Again, that would be foolish to believe one group over another.

    Back to a post from a couple articles ago - I know we don't agree on this point but my whole view is that if the early church has documents and the current church comes in and edits all of the bad parts to whitewash the history, to me that is not right. Yes you can find the truth in the original books, but they are hard to come by, the church knows that I think.

  • Fred Vader Oklahoma City, OK
    May 31, 2011 11:53 a.m.


    Do we really know that the 911 terrorist "knew" or had "absolute sure knowledge" that what they were doing would get them into heaven, or did they just strongly believe it? I may have missed it, but I don't remember seeing anything in the news from these terrorists that quoted them as saying they "knew" that they were following God's orders.

    Most people make that assumption because of the serious act they committed, and because that is what Osama and other terrorists were teaching their followers, but it is an assumption to say that they "knew".

    Many people take suicidal acts without "knowing" that it is going to get them into heaven. Did the Kamikaze pilots "know" their acts were going to get them into heaven, or were they acting out of their own bravado and misplaced sense of honor? Men take desparate acts for many reasons, not necessarily because they "knew" God told them to do it.

    Jeff could absolutely "know" some things about the Gospel, and unless you are Jeff, it is highly unlikely for you "know" whether or not he is being honest.

  • Joggle Clearfield, UT
    May 31, 2011 11:47 a.m.

    You are right RIFLEMAN....Yes, our scientific understanding changes. As a way of knowing, there are limits to what science can reveal, but those limits are ever decreasing. The ideas we hold as true will in 100 years' time be superceded by better and more refined knowledge. That's a good thing. That's what's supposed to happen. Science is good at changing and updating our knowledge as the facts demand it. That's why our scientific knowledge has increased exponentially, while religions...look pretty much the same as they did hundreds of years ago. Because religions are based on beliefs instead of facts, they're not very good at updating when new facts come in. It takes a long time for religions to change, and there's usually a lot of resistance. There's so much to learn about our universe, and the scientific method is the most successful way to do that. But for people like you, if this knowledge doesn't agree with your religious preconceptions, you'll stick with unproveable faith, the words of self-convinced humans, and the self-convinced thinking that you KNOW God personally without undeniable universal proof that you do!

  • aaazzz Murray, UT
    May 31, 2011 11:28 a.m.

    I think Vanka would just like to see a bibliography for sources Mike Ash uses, and a further reading section that can supplement the facts Mike is presenting. Both or these additions would give these article more of a scientific backbone.

    In their current state, they are written rather more like opinion pieces. (I am talking about the structure of the text being presented to the reader, and not what the text contains.)

  • Twin Lights Louisville, KY
    May 31, 2011 11:26 a.m.


    Not quite. Much of religious history is buried so deeply in time that even relatively outstanding characters in the narrative cannot be found in the historical record. Much Biblical archeological evidence has been produced in just my lifetime.

    You overstate the case that Ash (to me) is trying to build in this series. Which is simply that there is some evidence but a great deal as yet unknown and for members not to latch on to "facts" that ultimately are not yet settled as such.

    You also overstate the issue of "no results". From what was knowable at the time Joseph produced the BOM, there have been a multitude of discoveries that hint (and yes, only hint) at the BOM being far more than the imagination of a sub 25 year old farm boy (or even two such farm boys). As you know, the rest is simply up to one's faith. One side saying there is sufficient evidence, the other saying not.


    I am aware of several sects that try to convert other Christians. For one example, please note the many ministries stationed in Utah to try to save the Mormons.

  • Brahmabull sandy, ut
    May 31, 2011 11:03 a.m.

    Fred - I realize my last post I did say "not possible", I should have used the words "highly unlikely" because I know that impossible has such a final meaning. It is possible, but highly unlikely. The apostles and prophets, many of which have never talked face to face with god by their own admission don't even KNOW. I don't know what the truth is either, but I have my opinions. I may very well be wrong. I think people who say "I know the church is true" are not trying to lie, but I also think that it is a false statement. Just like others in this post pointed out, the people who crashed into the twin towers KNEW that it would get them to heaven. They had to have absolute sure knowledge that it was true to go on a suicide mission. I couldn't do that. So the whole point is I don't think there are many who really KNOW. I am almost sure you would agree that those who crashed into the twin towers weren't following god, yet they went to the grave KNOWING that they were.

  • aaazzz Murray, UT
    May 31, 2011 10:43 a.m.

    Here is this weeks summary:

    I have shown some evidence of the Book of Mormon in the old world, and in future article I will show some interesting coincidences in the new world.

    I am not sure why I keep readin these articles.

  • Fred Vader Oklahoma City, OK
    May 31, 2011 10:30 a.m.

    Vanka asked: "What are Michael Ash's credentials? Has he obtained a peer-reviewed level of expertise in anything valid relating to antiquities in either the so-called "old world" or the "new world"?"

    Would you believe him more if he did? Vanka made the point I was trying to make last week. Essentially, critics believe their "experts" because they tell them what they want to hear, and use the "expert's" credentials to help them feel better about it. I choose to believe Joseph and the prophets because they tell me what I want to hear, and use the Spirit to help me feel better about it.

    No one is forced to believe it. Choose for yourself which "experts" you want to listen to.

    Brahma: Not sure I understand your point. It is impossible for Jeff to "know", is that what you are saying?

    What about Moses, did he not "know" God existed, even after speaking with Him? What about Peter, James, John and other disciples who walked and talked with Christ and witnessed His miracles? Did they not "know" He was who He claimed he was?

    Not saying Jeff has seen God, but "knowing" isn't impossible.

  • Jax Bountiful, UT
    May 31, 2011 9:57 a.m.

    Since Ash is not adding anything new this week, I think it would be a good time to thank him for his efforts. I'm a skeptic and I find his arguments weak and unconvincing, but at the same time I can recognize that there are probably people out there that need to believe that the Book of Mormon is true, that are better people because of that belief.

    I can appreciate belief in things like the Book of Mormon from a social and emotional perspective. I don't think I will ever agree with Ash from a rational, logical, and scientific perspective, but that's okay with me. I'm just glad we are able to discuss these topics somewhat openly. I don't think that was possible in most Mormon realms just a few years ago. I hope the trend toward openness and education continues.

  • Brahmabull sandy, ut
    May 31, 2011 9:42 a.m.

    Jeff - joeblow makes a very good point. If you knew it was true, that would eliminate the need for faith. If you know beyond a shadow of a doubt I think that you would be in a very different position. People claim to know different things all of the time. That simply doesn't make it true. I doubt that gods great plan is to have people know for sure it is true. You simply can't know for sure that it is true in this life. I doubt that even the apostles KNOW it is true. They believe with everything in them that it is. They are good men. Good christians. But to know - that is not possible.

  • Brahmabull sandy, ut
    May 31, 2011 9:24 a.m.

    If the journal of discourses (which is a collection of discourses from the highest lds leaders) does not accurately contain LDS doctrine, then what does? If the discourses of the prophets and apostles is not doctrine then why do we have talks by regular church members every week. Surely if the highest in the lds church (prophets and apostles)can't be counted as doctrine then the guy in sacrament meeting can't be counted as doctrine either. The annoying thing about this is most LDS will quote out of the journal of discourses when it is a quote that supports their position. As soon as you bring out a quote that goes against their postition they will claim it was opinion. I was always under the impression that when a prophet spoke, he was speaking for the lord. I have quotes stating that this is true. If it is not the case, then what is the value of current prophets and apostles? If I can justify that what they are saying isn't doctrine but only opinion then what is their value to the church? Inspired guidance?

  • JoeBlow Miami Area, Fl
    May 31, 2011 8:56 a.m.

    Mormoncowboy hits it correctly.

    LDS get offended when someone questions the validity of their religion, all while they imply that all other religions are incorrect or lacking.

    The LDS are the only Christian church that I know of that tries to convert other Christians.

    Why is that?

  • Mormoncowboy Provo, Ut
    May 31, 2011 8:41 a.m.

    "I might be considered "anti" if, rather than trying to share my faith with others, I tried to denigrate theirs. I might be "anti" if I went on their websites and made sweeping judgements of them, or called them all fools and deluded, or blasphemed their cherished beliefs, which I don't do."

    Or if you spent two years knocking on their doors teaching the apostasy and restoration??? Perhaps? You can't exactly teach the restoration without teaching the apostasy can you.

  • skeptic Phoenix, AZ
    May 31, 2011 7:33 a.m.

    Jeff, It is easier to communicate with you now that we both agree and understand that there is a world of differece between believing and knowing. You state that you know that you know. Well, if you know then what ever you know you can prove, right. So prove it. Things that are real are supported by evidence and prove. Therefore, show your prove. Incidently, I wish you did know. I wish we all knew, but we don't we live by faith, love and believe; and a desire for a better tomorrow for the world and all mankind. Therefore, thinking you know the unknown is not good because it negates all other different believers and causes conflict and suffering. Also, if you actually knew, I imagine, you would be a very different and special person. So if I met you would I recognize you as very different and special.

  • Rifleman Salt Lake City, Utah
    May 31, 2011 6:13 a.m.

    Re: Joggle | 9:13 p.m. May 30, 2011

    There was a time when the best scientific minds in the world believed the earth was flat and if you got too close to the edge you'd fall over. Scientists frequently change their minds as new evidence overrules previous evidence.

    We have the testimony of the prophets ..... and we are free to believe or not. Two of Lehi's sons didn't even believe after they saw an angel. God will force no one to believe.

  • JoeBlow Miami Area, Fl
    May 31, 2011 3:37 a.m.


    Lots of people claim to KNOW and I doubt that you believe them

    Those who flew planes into building on 9/11 KNEW.
    Those Heaven's Gate followers KNEW there was an alien craft following the comet.
    The people in Jonestown also KNEW.
    And a great many people KNEW the end of the world would come last week.

    So please understand that, when it comes to religion, KNOWING is fairly common. We have heard it many many times before.

    We (I) don't know, I don't think the others KNEW and I'm pretty sure you don't either. That's why it is called faith

    So don't take it personally. It is just the nature of religion.

  • Twin Lights Louisville, KY
    May 31, 2011 12:56 a.m.

    Full-on double rainbow,

    Agreed. It would be incredibly sad to "to spend your whole life in an untrue religion". The minute I feel the gospel is untrue, I will be making a beeline for the door.

    What would you consider as convincing evidence? Would finding the City of Bountiful do it? If not, what exactly would be sufficient evidence for you to feel impelled to accept the gospel and commit your life to it?


    There is no ability to accept the BOM as "an inspirational religious work of fiction".


    The best evidence FOR the BOM is to read it. I make no claim of being an expert in either the Bible or the BOM, but I have read both several times. Each time I do, I become more convinced of the veracity of both.

    Despite archeological evidence, does anyone outside of the Christian world accept the NT as divinely inspired? Aren't archeological proof and acknowledgement of divinity very different things?

    You received a "convincing personal testimony from the Holy Spirit that the LDS Church is a false church".

    So you believe personal revelation can provide definitive knowledge?

  • Jeff Temple City, CA
    May 30, 2011 9:33 p.m.

    Skeptic, I am glad you bring up the difference between believing and knowing. That clarifies what I am saying. When I say I "know" something, especially something spiritual, I try to be as specific as I can. There are a few spiritual things that I know. I fully accept that fact that you neither believe them nor know them, and I do not believe that I am superior to you because I happen to know some things you don't know.

    Knowing that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the only true church, and stating that I know, is obviously offensive to some other faiths. I "know" that, also.

    I might be considered "anti" if, rather than trying to share my faith with others, I tried to denigrate theirs. I might be "anti" if I went on their websites and made sweeping judgements of them, or called them all fools and deluded, or blasphemed their cherished beliefs, which I don't do.

    I certainly would not be a "better Mormons if [I] were to ease up on the I know stuff." I would be a liar if I said I didn't know.

  • Joggle Clearfield, UT
    May 30, 2011 9:13 p.m.

    Those who base their belief system on scientific evidence tend to dismiss the BoM outright, because the book does not provide an adequate model for the Mesoamerican societies observed archaeologically. If a huge quantity of undeniable evidence was suddenly found supporting definitively the BoM, that would shift critics belief system along with the evidence. But how do believers deal with opposing views when they lack hard evidence? People that believe in the BoM do so for esoteric reasons, not because of academic proof. The Church instead teaches that individuals should believe in the BoM for less tangible reasons. There is no hint that any archeological evidence is immediately forthcoming to support the BoM. So Mesoamerican archeology, though considered important in the debate surrounding the BoM, will do little to change the people's beliefs. Spiritual feelings as a way to determine truth is unreliable. We all can produce those within our own minds. We are all searching for understanding and answers. Religion is convenient in the sense that it attempts to provide those answers whether right or wrong. Basic belief in God would be so much better for humans without organized religion's power brokering propoganda machine selling hope for_salvation!

  • skeptic Phoenix, AZ
    May 30, 2011 9:07 p.m.

    Hi Jeff, I don't care much for labels, but if you feel I need one, then I think I am better characterized as: A Miltitant Agnostic...I don't know; and niether do you! On the social and community level, I pretty much like everybody and everthing. (Just for clarity: there is a big difference in believing and knowing, OK).
    But, let me ask you a question. If you think and insist that you know; doesn't that mutually exclude all other different faiths and make you "anti" most everything. I think it would make for better Mormons if they were to ease up on the I know stuff and accept that they are pretty much in the same boat of believe and faith as the rest of the world.

  • Mo-Watcher OGDEN, UT
    May 30, 2011 7:50 p.m.

    Vanka, you keep asking this question. What you don't seem to realize is: 1) there is no thing as "objectivity" (Ash actually pointed this out many weeks ago. 2) Your argument is what is known as "ad hominem." An argument can be good or bad regardless of a person's expertise. If you want to brush someone's argument aside because of their lack of expertise (instead of addressing the argument), they you are attacking the man (ad hominem) rather than dealing with the argument. 3) Ash has mentioned on multiple occasions that he is summarizing the writings of many experts in the fields of discussion. Would you automatically accept the argument if it came from someone with "credentials"?

    Skeptic, I suggest you revisit Ash's discussion about "evidence" & "proof," and I'm fairly confident Ash didn't claim that there is a "dearth" of evidence supporting the BoM. Ash has already punched holes in the Holly map & DNA arguments, so give him a chance to address your other charges before claiming victory.

    Idaho Cougar-- awesome! The hardest thing to do is set aside the secular arguments (for/against). Turn it over to God with a sincere heart.

  • Mormoncowboy Provo, Ut
    May 30, 2011 6:48 p.m.

    Before I mentioned Nibley's language skills I considered that you (or someone) may take note of point #05 - pretended love/concern for Mormons - and label me guilty. Perhaps, but considering Nibley's place in Mormon apologetics as one of the vaunted academians, I would have been otherwise challenged with bias for failing to recognize his recognized acumen. So I guess it's a catch 22 - but you still miss the absurdity of the whole point. Noting that many critics express love for the Mormon (btw - this class of critic is generally among the religious "Anti" - so who say's they are not as equally invested in the salvation of you as you claim to be in them?) proves what? What fatal flaw does this expose? You will argue that those claiming concern are not sincere, and yet you are in no greater position to judge that of them then they are of you - you anticipated personal observations and "experiences" notwithstanding. It would be highly disingenuous of you to claim that Mormons have cornered the market on sincerity.

    Lastly, I can't speak to every document ever produced, but the JoD and HoC provide more than enough legitimate documentation.

  • atl134 Salt Lake City, UT
    May 30, 2011 6:43 p.m.

    You know, I think the main issue is that it looks like one takes the assumption that the Book of Mormon is true and then starts looking for things that fit into it. I have to ask... if we didn't have the book of mormon then would any of these things that are found lead people to think something along the lines of the book of mormon events is what happened?

  • Jeff Temple City, CA
    May 30, 2011 3:59 p.m.

    @ Mormoncowboy: You seemed to have missed the point in Nibley's #7. He says that anti-Mormons claim to provide documentation; they call it documentation; they boast about their documentation; but it's not documentation at all (in the early days, it was illustration; later, it became phots; still later it became unsubstantiated footnotes). Their "comprehensive footnotes," when followed up on, are vacuous and often false. Are you giving an example?

    By the way, your beginning salley (how you admire Nibley's use of language) is described in his #5.

    @ skeptic: I don't understand your post. You begin by saying you are not "anti," then you admit that you are "anti" those who say and do the things Mormons say and do, which would make you --what?-- "pro-non-believing-Mormon" but "anti-believing-Mormon"?

    The proclamation that believing Mormons are dangerous was used by anti-Mormons to kill believing Mormons in the past.

    You believe I am dangerous because I am certain that God lives, that Jesus is the Christ, that the Book of Mormon is true, that the Church is true, that Joseph Smith was a prophet?

  • skeptic Phoenix, AZ
    May 30, 2011 3:18 p.m.

    %Jeff, Thank you for your attention. But I am not "anti-Mormon". I am not "anti" any believe or action that produces good works. I do have a problem with, (and I guess in that respect I am "anti"), knowers: or people who think they know and that they are special, different, know god's mind and think they know it is god's will for them to impose their religion or believes onto others. This is the same for Mormons, JW, Muslims, the Koran, BofM, BA, etc. I have no problem with you or Mr. Ash explaining how the Book of Mormon is a good thing that can change one's life for the better, etc. I think that that is a good heart and service. But when you start telling others that the Book of Mormon is real history and you know it to be true, ( I have no problem with those who say they believe and recognize it as good), then I believe these are dangerous people, if they be Mormon, Muslim, tyrants, etc. They are the enemies of good that have caused so much of the world's suffering and wars.

  • Mormoncowboy Provo, Ut
    May 30, 2011 3:11 p.m.

    Yes Jeff - another Gem from Mr. Nibley. I am amazed at the mans propensities for languages, but I have never been impressed with anything he has written. I encourage everybody here to read Nibley's list. Point #07 caught my attention as being telling. Therein Nibley points out that it is a common tactic of "anti-Mormons" to defend their arguments using supporting documentation. Additionally, those clever deviants also provide comprehensive footnotes in their literature. Thank you Doctor Nibley for exposing those tactics!

    In a serious note, everyone of those points could be applied to Mormon apologists. Frankly, about every single one of those points could be argued of anyone who engages in rhetorical writing on nearly any subject in the world. Why not include as a parameter, that Anti-Mormons also spend some of their time reading??? The list is as laughably absurd as his other challenge as how to reproduce The Book of Mormon.

    Please, I suggest everyone follow Jeff's advice and look up Nibley's short list.

  • FDRfan Sugar City, ID
    May 30, 2011 2:28 p.m.

    Concerning the interconnected pieces of evidence, I would like to encourage the reader to Google and read Jacques Cartiers second voyage to the area know today as Montreal, Canada about his visit with the natives in the Towne of Hochelaga.

  • Jeff Temple City, CA
    May 30, 2011 2:26 p.m.

    @ skeptic: Have you ever read Hugh Nibley's satirical book review called "How to Write an Anti-Mormon Book"? It's very insightful and very funny, and you have managed to illustrate in your post some of the very steps that Nibley cites as commonly used by anti-Mormons. You use suppositions ("if it is true..."), you make a long list of supposed evidences (all of which are scattered over about two years of archives), and you name evidence that is difficult to look up. Of course, in your suggested search for truth, you haven't recommended that refutations that accompanied the "plethora or evidence" you name.

    @ brokenclay: You make the astounding claim that "No one who is acquainted with the KJV and has a proper understanding of how inspiration works will accept the BoM as an authentic work." Since I know the KJV quite well, the only hope you would have is that I don't have a proper understanding of how inspiration works. I know that I have received inspiration, but I don't know everything about it. Is it your contention that any inspiration that declares the Book of Mormon true to be improperly understood?

  • christoph Brigham City, UT
    May 30, 2011 1:34 p.m.

    How many LDS believe the Book of Mormon? That is my question. Some verses make us uncomfortable. Take Alma 26:22 for instance. He that has faith, repents, does good works, prays continually without ceasing.....will be able to stand at the pulpit and reveal things which have never been revealed....and it goes on to say you will be great at missionary work and bring many to the truth. Some may mistakenly think that only a select few in the church can reveal new things; not so--- according to this verse. Yes, sharing a personal experience may be what the verse refers to in revealing things which have never been revealed. And part of me, also, thinks--- Pres. Packer (and maybe one or two others) may be the only one in the church who believes this verse. Imagine if every talk or prayer you heard was something new. We would always be learning, as we should. So my question is: if people don't dare teach new things, does it mean they don't have faith, repentance, good works nor do they pray without ceasing?

  • Idaho Coug Meridian, Idaho
    May 30, 2011 12:40 p.m.

    I have greatly appreciated Mike's efforts and the very interesting insights of believers, critics and even those faking to be LDS (that one was for you JM :))
    I have added my honest thoughts as I have come from a place of both love for the Church and frustration/uncertainty as a lifelong member of the Church.

    But now it is time to take up the Book of Mormon's challenge again. I wanted to do this a few months ago but I begin today with an honest and sincere reading, study and prayer. I believe that if the Book of Mormon is the word of God, the spirit will clearly make that known to me.

    I have read the book multiple times as an excited youth believing the testimonies of the adults I respected and loved. But now, I will read it again with an open, adult mind, with no preconceived notions of truthfullness or lack thereof. There are evidences both for and against it's truthfullness. I will set those aside and simply believe that if it is true - the spirit will make that very clear to me.

    Thanks again to everyone for their insights.

  • brokenclay Scottsdale, AZ
    May 30, 2011 12:29 p.m.

    I will repeat my position that the best evidence against the BoM is just to read the book itself. No one who is acquainted with the KJV and has a proper understanding of how inspiration works will accept the BoM as an authentic work. Indeed, no one outside of the multiple Mormon denominations accepts the BoM as a genuine historical document, let alone as divinely inspired. The plagiarism, anachronism, and 19th century similarities present unassailable evidence for the book's inauthenticity. Furthermore, I have also received convincing personal testimony from the Holy Spirit that the LDS Church is a false church. The combination of biblical, rational, and existential arguments like these makes for an extremely strong case against the BoM.

  • JLFuller Boise, ID
    May 30, 2011 10:45 a.m.

    Even if a sign was uncovered, sealed underneath a million ton mountain with BoM names in English - with pictures - the naysayers would not be happy. For them it is about attacking the Church not discovering new truths.

  • MoJules Florissant, MO
    May 30, 2011 10:42 a.m.

    I had proven that the writings in the Book of Mormon and everything about it were factual years ago. I prove it again and again as I read it. I do enjoy reading these findings and yet it doesn't change my view at all. I also would not use them to try to convince someone else that everything is true, cause they need to know that truth, through reading and praying. I believe that people can intellectualize themselves into believing and not believing. Findings and information that support the truth of the Book of Mormon are like using Photoshop on your photo. The photo is there and it is real and you took it, but the program helps to enhance it. But the photo is the core or foundation, before it is enhanced.

  • Weston Jurney West Jordan, UT
    May 30, 2011 10:27 a.m.

    These have been fascinating columns, and I hope they continue. I have to say that I wish the DesNews would find a way to make them findable. Some weeks they're among the headlines, some weeks they aren't. Even searching for the author often fails to turn up his columns. And this week, clicking on the links in the column is taking readers to (of all ridiculous things) articles about the 1988 presidential election.

  • skeptic Phoenix, AZ
    May 30, 2011 9:45 a.m.

    As Mr. Ash states there is dearth of secular evidence of proof to support the Book of Mormon as true history. However, if it is truth that Mr. Ash seeks then perhaps it will help to search the other probability of the Book of Mormon being an inspirational religious work of fiction. There is a plethora of evidence to support this probability. Much of the evidence has been presented by posters on this site: View of the Hebrews, Vern Holley Map, entheogens, the many changes and editings of the story and book, DNA, the inconsistance of the First Vision, eyewitness and testimonies against Joseph Smith and his claims. It seems defending the Book of Mormon has become more of a political issue than a religious search for god and truth. Is it not usually (if not always) best to know the truth, isn't truth closer to god.

  • JM Lehi, UT
    May 30, 2011 9:27 a.m.

    I always agree with big Samoans ; ), and I agree with Mike, again.

    There is now an abundance of undeniable evidence for the miraculous nature of the BoM, but I would never base my testimony on it.

    More blessed are those who have believed without seeing.

    Science is fickle and ever changing, by nature. It can never lead anyone to Christ. Our weekly critics (fulltime anti-Mormons, critics posing as LDS etc) have been given many evidences which they can't explain, hard as they try. They have also been answered week after week after week. They ask, and are given, but they do not receive, for they don't seek, and thus don't find. Those who won't recognize and follow the Spirit won't believe, even if many were to come from the dead and testify, even if the plates were seen or returned, even if Jesus were to walk the earth, even if people were raised from the dead (and that has happened in the Latter Day, from faith in Christ who is taught in the Bible and BoM)...

    The Spirit of God leads to all truth.
    The spirit of darkness leads to the full, broad path

  • Mormoncowboy Provo, Ut
    May 30, 2011 9:20 a.m.

    I think Ash is trying to filibuster!

  • Vanka Provo, UT
    May 30, 2011 8:44 a.m.

    Again, I ask: What are Michael Ash's credentials? Has he obtained a peer-reviewed level of expertise in anything valid relating to antiquities in either the so-called "old world" or the "new world"? Is he recognized as an authority on any subject related to the claims he is making about evidence (e.g., philosophy of science), or archeology, or anthropology, or ancient languages? Upon what basis can we trust that Ash has not engaged in cherry-picking, but instead has the depth and breadth of expertise, as well as the ethical commitment that comes with a credentialed level of knowledge in one of these areas, that gives us reason to believe he is treating the subject objectively and accurately?

  • thebigsamoan Richmond, VA
    May 30, 2011 8:34 a.m.

    My parents were converts to the LDS faith mainly because they accepted and believed the BoM to be true. As a result of their conversion, all of us their children also read and prayed about the book and received testimonies for ourselves that it's truly the word of God. We simply didn't just follow them blindly. Like millions of others who have read and testified of it's truths, our witness is born of faith, not based on the discovery of any physical evidences or lack of it. A witness obtain through faith coupled with honest and sincere prayer is more than enough proof for us to accept and believe.

  • yarrlydarb Ogden, UT
    May 30, 2011 8:30 a.m.

    Another excellent article, Michael.

    However, logic will hardly (if ever) convince the dyed in the wool critic who will always erroneously claim that his/her approach is scientific.

    Book of Mormon apologist writers along with critics do not utilize a scientific method.

    However, apologists do not claim to do so; instead, they strive to gather information.

    Scientists admit that they "prove" nothing, the most they do is to "test data, which appears to lend a bit of evidence in support of or against a theory."

    Critics gather no data, test no hypotheses; they just spout opinions.

  • Full-on double rainbow Bluffdale, UT
    May 30, 2011 8:19 a.m.

    "How sad it would be to reject the restored gospel because of secular finds that could be proven invalid or false in the future."

    Conversely, how sad it would be to spend your whole life in an untrue religion based on unproveable claims. No, that's a little harsh. It's not sad to spend your whole life in an untrue religion. People have been happy to do it for quite some time now. Tell you what Mike, get back to me when there is any convincing evidence and we'll take it from there.