@ atl34My take on this is: Standard belief. Interesting combination
of words. Is that like what the scientific community believes until some new
info comes along?I think the majority of believers believe
MesoAmerica is the Book of Mormon land. And that is only because that was the
most logical thinking. I am hoping that those that believe that, reconsider.
There is much more to consider and the western part of South America has much
more to offer than MesoAmerica. There are so many tell tale signs that this was
indeed the Book of Mormon lands. MesoAmerica was settled by Nephites and
Lamanites.. but it was NOT the lands on which Lehi arrived and Mormon died some
1000 years later.The plates being buried in NY is not a problem.
After all.. Moroni never said where HE buried the plates.. only where his
father.. Mormon did.
@MrNirom1"and then landing in what is now Chile at about 30 degrees
South Latitude. "Hold on there... first off I thought the
standard belief was that it's not known where they landed? Secondly, I
thought the standard belief for those who did claim a location claimed central
America. Thirdly, the plates were found in New York which is distinctly very far
away from Chile.
Bill Fitz,Thank you for the invitation. I am glad to hear that it
is so simple. May I ask? Did you perform this same task with sincere intent and
praying to God asking for truth for every other piece of claimed scripture? Quran, Tanakh – Torah, Nevi’im, Ketuvim, The Evangelion, The
Book of Giants, Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health, The Word of the
Lord – Book of the Law of the Lord (LDS break offs), Writings of Ellen
White, The Mabinogion, Rasa’il al-hikmah, Homeric Hymns, Sruti,
Svetambara, The Five Classics, The Four Books, The Thirteen Classics, The
Donghak Scripture, Books by Bahá'u'lláh, The Kojiki, The
Fudoki, The Guru Granth Sahib, The Barton Cylinder, The New World Translation
Bible, Book of Shadows, A Course in Miracles. Apologies to anyone if I missed
your sacred text, there are just so many that it is impossible to list them
all.As all religions say, if you find fault in these books it is
mistakes by men, not of their god/s.I hope arrogance isn’t
leading you to your truth.
Mormoncowboy,"...why are we digging so deep into the text to
make a linguistic defense of the historicity of The Book of Mormon?...."______________________________It is curious, isn't it? Dr.
Peterson may want to address that question in a future column. Then again, he
might see the wisdom of letting the question hang.The Book of Job is
regarded by many scholars as a work of literary fiction. What makes it scripture
is that for centuries, people have come to believe in it. The same is true for
the Book of Mormon. I don't regard the Quran as the revealed word of God.
But 1.5 billion Muslims do. To them, it doesn't matter what I think. Nor
Response to Brahmabull and cohorts, You guys are making this too difficult. Get
a copy of the Book of Mormon and read with sincere intent. Pray to God. Ask if
it is true. Yea, it really is as simple as that. You can come to know as I did
(on the first day I ever opened the Book and read) that it is the word of God
and that Joseph Smith is the Prophet of the Restoration of the fullness of the
Gospel of Jesus Christ. I also alert you to the scripture that reads, if there
are mistakes, they are the mistakes of men. How do you like that, an answer to
your question in the very books that you question.
@MormoncowboyI hold the story that Joseph gave since that is the
ONLY story that is backed by history. Any other theory has NO historical facts
associated with them. None. Your "somebody gave it or sold it to Joseph"
is lacking in historical facts - there are none. Just because YOU think that an
angel is unlikely, hardly makes it so.
If a man wrote the BoM, he would have taken credit for doing so. It is
inconceivable that pride of authorship would not have risen its head sooner or
later. Like Einstein publishing Relativity ... anonymously. Or Bach allowing his
beautiful work to be attributed to the town blacksmith. Not possible. I see only
two choices here ... either Joseph wrote the BoM himself, or the preface to the
BoM is true. To say he wrote such an involved, complicated, intricate work, when
he couldn't compose a letter, strains credulity. Today, no one would
believe him if he announced that he wrote it himself. Most would laugh at a
young man's (boy's) claim to have written a book involving many
disciplines, when he confessed "I didn't complete elementary
school." Liars and cons leave a life littered with evidence of
their deceptions. Littered. A fraud, a fake, a clown is as easy to identify as
the moon in the sky. In Joseph's case, even his admitted flaws have to be
exaggerated and embellished by his critics in order to concoct a semi-valid
criticism. I wonder how many people just don't want the BoM to
@skepticYou know.. I could see your point if at age 21.. that was
all that happened.. Joseph wrote the Book of Mormon.But you see..
there is this problem that all of this Gold Plate business happened long before
the Book was written. This all started when Joseph was 14 years old. So what
you now want me to believe is that Joseph convinced his entire family.. His
mother, his Father, all of his brothers and sisters.. his grand parents.. fooled
the Three Witnesses.. deceived the other 8 witnesses.. got his wife to buy in on
the whole thing.. and all of this so he could be chased down.. put in jail.. tar
and feathered.. etc. He just hypnotized them all and got them to lie for him.
Somehow.. I just don't think so. There is more to this story than Joseph
was a genius and wrote the Book of Mormon. His wife would have had to lie when
she described how the translation process worked. So you have to call everyone
a liar. Talk about a conspiracy theory.. WOW.
Some ask how could Joseph Smith at 21 years of age write such a book as the BOM;
the answer is simple: he could because he could, by whatever means he used. How
could Mozart, Beethoven, etc. compose the masterpieces at their young ages, and
the great scientists make their (Newton, etc) discoveries, they did because they
could. The world has seen past things, and will see even much greater future
things than the BOM. Some men have genius for something's; and others have
so little as to believe most anything.
@ Tyler DYou stated: "Seems to all comes down to how we define
“truth.” "There is a truth called absolute truth.
That is the truth about something whether people believe it or not. For
example.. the earth is round. Even though there was most of the people who
believed it was flat.. their belief did not make it so. The earth is round and
that is an absolute truth.Belief does not affect absolute truth.
Neither does unbelief. There is a truth out there. An absolute truth. When it
comes to God.. there are a few people who could tell you that indeed he does
exist as an absolute truth. We can have faith to believe.. or not believe.. but
it will not change the fact that there is a God.
@ CCJonesWhat I like more than Moroni bringing up the words of Paul
in the 13th chapter of Corinthians, is showing that Paul took it from someone
else. This particular passage is actually one of those things that
turn out to be a striking vindication of the Book of Mormon. For the whole
passage, which scholars have labeled "the Hymn to Charity," was shown
early in this century by a number of first-rate investigators working
independently (A. Harnack, J. Weiss, R. Reizenstein) to have originated not with
Paul at all, but to go back to some older but unknown source: Paul is merely
quoting from the record. Now it so happens that other Book of Mormon
writers were also peculiarly fond of quoting from the record. Captain Moroni,
for example, reminds his people of an old tradition about the two garments of
Joseph, telling them a detailed story which has been found only in [th'
Alabi of Persia,] a thousand-year-old commentary on the Old Testament, a work
still untranslated and quite unknown to the world of Joseph Smith.
Fly Fisherman:I have theory you might consider. My theory is this,
someone wrote it prior to 1826, but after 1700 (at least). Joseph Smith got a
hold of it, whether that's because he wrote it, stole it, borrowed it,
bought it, or it because it was given to him, and he then had it published.It's nonsense to argue that because we can't verify an
alternative theory then we must accept the story of angels as the most likely.
It's particularly strange that you would hold the most likely theory under
such high scrutiny, and yet not apply that same skepticism to the Moroni story.
@ GK WillingtonI am surprised that you have a problem with
authorized homicide. Especially in religious text. The Law of Moses had
incorporated into it capital punishment. Capital punishment is authorized
homicide.. is it not? Why so ironic?
@Semi-Strong, submit to the test in Moroni 10:3-5.Moroni 10: A testimony
of the Book of Mormon comes by the power of the Holy Ghost—The gifts of
the Spirit are dispensed to the faithful—Spiritual gifts always accompany
faith ,“Moroni’s words Speak from the Dust.”And
you shall be brought down, and shall speak out of the ground, and your speech
shall be low out of the dust, and your voice shall be, as of one that has
a” familiar spirit”* out of the ground, and your speech shall
whisper out of the Dust (Is 29:4) *ghost conjured up from the grave,(NLT)Regard not them that have familiar spirits, neither seek after wizards,
to be defiled by them: I [am] the LORD your God.( Deut 19:31.)if
they preach a different Jesus(exalted man) than the one we preach, or a
different kind of Spirit(familiar) than the one you received…(2 Cor
11:4).@Bill in Nebraska. RE: FAIRLDS, should not be interpreted as
official statements of LDS doctrine, belief or practice. Where does the buck
There are two facts that are clear from the text of the Book of Mormon and from
the objective history of its production: The text reflects a great deal of
deliberate thought in its selection and organization of narratives and doctrinal
discourses, demonstrating deep knowledge of the entire text by its
author(s)/editor(s); and neither Joseph Smith nor any of his contemporaries
functioned in that way. Joseph simply read the text aloud in a linear fashion,
from written English words he was able to see, including spelling out names he
was unfamiliar with, and the only editing function was having the person acting
as scribe read back each written sentence to confirm it was what Joseph saw. All
of this was done in the presence of Oliver Cowdery as scribe and Emma Smith, and
then in the presence of the entire David Whitmer family, including several adult
men and women. Joseph was not reading from any paper manuscript. So when did the
complex editing happen? The only explanation available is the one Joseph gave.
My favorite is when Moroni quotes the apostle Paul from the 13th chapter of
to MrNirom1You are semi-skeptical about the Phoenicians yet have no
problem w/ the BoM?Almost like the Phoenicians are the fictional
ones & you know Lehi’s route? I'd bet that the Phoenicians were
the "Pagans" already inhabiting Canaan prior to Moses.
to MrNirom1You are semi-skeptical about the Phoenicians yet have no
problem w/ the BoM? Almost like the Phoenicians are the fictional ones?
Interestingly; you know Lehi's route? I'd bet that the
Phoenicians were the "Pagans" already inhabiting Canaan prior to Moses
and his road trip. Funny, you should mention Laban. How ironic is it
the homicide is rationalized in a religious text?
Though I cannot verify the validity of Braumhall's statement. What people
struggle explaining with any logic is how Joseph Smith could have been (at the
time the book was published) so well versed in ancient Hebrew, Egyptian and
Jewish tradition and language, letalone be able to write anything so profound.
Imagining up so many charcters, stories, covenants, writing styles, etc all
while maintaining a very high level of doctrinal consistancy to the Bible.
If 'reason, research and logic' could disprove the claims of Joseph
and the BoM as to its origins, both would have been exposed as frauds long, long
ago. The very fact that the question still exists is proof that man, using
intellect alone, cannot dismiss the BoM as a human construct. Continued debate
amounts to not much more than kicking a horse that died last century. We need to
take a hint and move on. Trigger ain't waking up.
@ GK WillingtonYes.. they would have been seen. To be seen is to
know where they are.. and to know where they are is the ability to kill them.
Lehi's life was in danger and one of the reasons he was told to leave
Jerusalem. One of the same reason's that the servant of Laban was taken
with Nephi to the wilderness rather than leaving him behind.Now..
the Phoenicians reached the Americas? Yes.. I have heard that one British
explorer claims as such and has made the trip himself that took two years to
accomplish with modern technology and charts. However.. Lehi and his family did
it in less than a year. And they built their own boat and were not sailors at
all. Only the winds and currents got them there. They did not transverse
around South Africa but went straight down south until reaching the Prevailing
Westerlies.. both wind and drift.. sailing south of Australia.. and then landing
in what is now Chile at about 30 degrees South Latitude. A very easy route to
maneuver.. especially from those who had no sea faring experience whatsoever.
GK Willington,If you are being chased, the Med might be the more
likely route to search.God has no problem with logic or geography.
But look at the path and timetable for the ancient Israelites leaving Egypt.
The Lord sometimes has a different purpose in mind.Tyler DThe issue here is true as in confirmed by spiritual witness that it is true,
not simply true as a corollary to spiritual experiences received. I recall that
you have cited conflicts regarding the latter.Reference archaeology,
I would simply note that specific claims in the book that were once thought wild
and totally out of character with archaeology are now considered consistent with
what has been found.Is that the same as direct evidence? No. But
then there is good evidence for some of the history of the bible and folks still
ignore that book. In the time of Christ, not all who met him followed him (or
even cared).Some who are so quick to criticize (present company
excepted) would be unconvinced if a temple were unearthed in a land that
anciently was called Bountiful and there were carvings of the visiting Christ.
to MrNirom1I'm not asking anything. I'm just pointing out
an oddity. "had they taken the route in the Mediterranean.. they
would have easily been seen."Been seen? Really?"Not to mention.. where could they have sailed to if they had gone the
route of the Mediterranean? The Lord was taking them to a promised land he had
chosen.. not a land they had chosen."The Phoenicians reached the
Americas. I have a hard time believing God has problems w/ logic and Geography.
@Bill in Nebraska – “The Book of Mormon is the truth about a people
that lived in ancient times in the American Hemisphere.”Seems
to all comes down to how we define “truth.” If
“true” means it affected your life in positive ways even including
profound spiritual experiences – subjective experiences I might add
– then OK.The problem people like me have if when people make
truth claims where they seem to using the word in the same as if I were to say
“the sky is blue” or “1+1=2.” That’s a
problem…And in the case of the BoM, it is making these sorts
of truth claims (history of America) which makes it totally fair game to put it
under the scrutiny of science, archeology, historical evidence (is there any?),
etc… wouldn’t you agree?If believers are not using
“truth” in this manner, then why not say “I believe” or
even “it seems to me?” It would clear up a lot of confusion and
perhaps minimize faith crisis for believers who come to understand the
scientific evidence for and against.
Any discussion on the Book of Mormon being false without presenting reasonable
arguments on HOW the book came to be, are useless to me. Given that I have read
all the "theories" by critics on the production of the Book of Mormon
and find them incredibly lacking in logic and reason, and especially given that
even the critics themselves cannot agree on a "theory" leaves me bored
with the discussions. I rarely check in on these discussions anymore, this time
being an exception. Discussions on the book being false because of certain
assumptions (assumptions such as "it should not have anachronisms", or
"it should not quote from the KJV Bible"), are useless to me as I see
them as bad assumptions (why can't God include KJV verses??? hint: He can
and did!). Again, no theory, guess, explanation, etc. about HOW the book came to
be, other than the explanation given by the Church today - that it was
translated by the power and gift of God - is acceptable. And, with that
beginning, that the book has NO explanation about its origins by critics
(because none exists), makes discussions about anachronisms, KJV quotes, etc.
"Scholars have NOT been able to come to an agreement on the Joseph Smith
papyrus."9MM, I'm curious why you would make such a
misleading statement?The truth is that translations and analyses of
the Joseph Smith papyri have been performed by both Mormon and non-Mormon
scholars since 1968. The translations among these scholars are consistent...they
AGREE that the available papyri and BoA facsimiles bear no resemblance to the
text of the Book of Abraham or Joseph's interpretation. They clearly AGREE
the papyri represent common Egyptian funerary texts that date back to the first
century BC, nearly 2000 years after Abraham.The disagreement is not
about the papyri or Joseph's incorrect interpretation, but about
Joseph's intended message. To argue otherwise would be out of the realm of
true academics.Some Mormon scholars suggest Joseph interpreted the
documents by other means such as through "revelation" rather than
standard "translation." However, such a position is difficult to
reconcile given both Joseph's and the church's claim that they are
indeed a translation. "A Translation of some ancient
Records...the writings of Abraham while he was in Egypt...written by his own
hand, upon papyrus." (See church website)
Misunderstanding must be the best way to make your point in a faulty
argument.When it comes to the Pearl Of Great Price, the "They" I
refer to is the "Egyptologists" referred to earlier in the same comment.
Also, if Egyptologists are unable to come to an agreement on an interpretation,
then what capability do they have in making a determination if one
interpretation is accurate or not.There is enough variety in all the
possible known interpretations at this point to make Joseph Smith's
translation of the Joseph Smith papyrus perfectly valid. To state otherwise,
would be out of the realm of true academics, and leads you into speculation.
Well did the Apostle Paul say, "3 For the time will come when they will not
endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves
teachers, having itching ears;And they shall turn away their ears from the
truth, and shall be turned unto fables."Those who oppose the
historicity (or any other aspect) of the Book of Mormon always want to see the
Plates for "scholarly examination".The point is that the
Holy Scriptures were not written for "scholarly examination". They were
written to bring souls unto Christ!I have studied the Holy
Scriptures for nearly 40 years and have a testimony of their truthfulness.
Detractors of the Book of Mormon who are unwilling to submit to the test in
Moroni 10:3-5 please keep your "scholarly" opinions to yourselves.
A couple of things strike me from the macro level. One is, consistent language
is a very old argument for the authenticity of the Book of Mormon. I remember
coming across it in my youth and somewhere still have books about it. It was a
contemporary argument with the we will find the physical remains of the Book of
Mormon cultures. But alas, that has never happened and in fact the search has
led to some losing testimony. So what's left..internal consistency.Secondly, others have eluded to this but the whole internal consistency
argument starts with believing that Joseph Smith didn't do research,
didn't stop and go back and see what he had said before In general it
starts with absolute faith in his version of the translation process. If that
story isn't accurate then it opens up all kinds of possibilities.
Brahmabull:The idea that certain important bits (like the
restoration of the priesthood) were not part of the original record is
understandable. In the Book of Mormon, Nephi is asked by Christ why the record
of Samuel the Lamanite was not included in the record. Surely the inclusion of
prophecy of "a day, a night, and a day" were worth including... Nephi quickly added it to the record.Your argument rests on
the premise that "this (the restoration of priesthood) could not have been
overlooked" and thus, the supposed event didn't happen. But things like this happen. People are people. Have you ever
forgotten to mention something important to you? Have you ever remembered it
later? If you did, did you say, "I can't tell about that important
thing now."Of course not. Your logic and argument
is not persuasive.Buttressing it with commentary from the Vogel book
does not make it any more persuasive. If Whitmer didn't believe, why
didn't he ever deny his testimony about the divine origin of the Book of
10CC,Reading the language of the BOM or KJV does require some
getting used to. I suppose I have become so. I have read various biblical
translations. The “modern” one I like best is the King James 2000.
I like Young’s Literal Translation as a reference.Yes, our
language has changed. I think the church is averse to changing anything unless
and until it is almost impossible for the average reader to understand them. I
suppose that if the Book of Mormon is to be updated, it might be in coordination
with an updated biblical translation. Just my own personal opinion –
nothing more.SilverprospectorYour summary is too
limited. There appear to have been various ways and/or stages. Under nearly
any scenario, the concepts had to pass through his mind which is where
Joseph’s phraseology would matter. As you read the Book of Mormon, it
seems clear that his language had some effect on the translation process.
Silverprospector: I would suggest you go to fairlds to really see more of what
has been said about the three facsimiles. You will find that what is different
in the first one from some of the other funeral texts. By the way the data has
been updated within the last two years. When was the last time the information
you are spewing was found out. Also, the only WAY to find out the truth of the
Book of Mormon is what has already been stated. The rest is man made and full
of errors. The other once one receives the answer to truth is beyond anything
Mormoncowboy, Weber, Barmabull and many others can ever contrive to state. The
Book of Mormon is the truth about a people that lived in ancient times in the
American Hemisphere. To really know one must ask of God or just wonder in
darkness as many that post here do.
Brahmabull and little brother Chris B:You should brush up on your
history with regards to the Restoration of the Priesthood. Your statement is
totally incorrect. For starters, I suggest reading, Larry C. Porter,
“Dating the Restoration of the Melchizedek Priesthood,” Ensign, Jun
1979, 5. I can't even hold a discussion with you until you
understand what you are talking about.
People, scholars in particular are getting so caught up in the nuts and bolts
examination of the Book of Mormon that they completely overlook the religious
doctrines that are found in the book. It is studying and living the doctrines
that will give a sincere soul a testimony of its truthfulness, not the nuts and
@ GK WillingtonAre you asking me why the Lord instructed Lehi and
his group to travel on foot rather than by boat? Honestly... you would have to
ask the Lord that question as he was he who directed Lehi to do so. But from my observations.. had they taken the route in the Mediterranean..
they would have easily been seen. And the Jews would have known where he went.
Just think of all the time, money and effort it would have taken to load up the
boat with all the animals and supplies they needed.. when they ended up spending
years in the wilderness on the Arabian Peninsula.Not to mention..
where could they have sailed to if they had gone the route of the Mediterranean?
The Lord was taking them to a promised land he had chosen.. not a land they
Simple question...why are we digging so deep into the text to make a linguistic
defense of the historicity of The Book of Mormon??? Because, at present,
that's all there is to study. That's the thing I have the hardest time
reconciling. All of this wrangling over textual evidence is a bit discouraging
given all the way's that The Book of Mormon ought to be defensible outside
of the text. Even if one could argue, as Jeffrey R. Holland does, that The Book
of Mormon is "teeming with Semitic complexity", this Semitic complexity
is noticeably absent everywhere that The Book of Mormon events should have
occurred. In which case, one would have to ask, "IF" the BoM actually
has some compelling textual intricacies to it, couldn't that just as easily
be evidence for the fact that it was contrived?? After all, a common criticism
of the four gospels, is the very fact that they are inconsistent.
Tyler DI believe the Book of Mormon to be translated by Joseph
Smith. I believe the text of the Book of Mormon to be revelations and teachings
as dictated to prophets by The Spirit, ie by God. I believe the Doctrine and
Covenants to be revelations and teachings dictated to Joseph Smith by the
Spirit or by God "in real-time" as you called it. I love the scriptures
(Holy Bible, Pearl of Great Price, D&C, and Book of Mormon) and they have a
power that no other books on the face of the earth have. I have read my share
of great literature, masterpieces, and none have the power to transform lives
that the scriptures do. They are truly the word of God. So I get a bad taste in
my mouth when scholars dissect the book as if it were a piece of literature
though I somewhat understand the exercise.
kvnsmnsnYour statement is blatantly false. That is not the only way
to find out. Reason, research, and reading and you can easily determine that it
is false. If you want to combine that with prayer and asking god, then fine. But
you are suggesting that only god can answer that question. Many people have
recieved different answers when asking, so that isn't reliable at all. So
if I want to know if the Quran is true the only way to find out is to ask god?
9MM"That Joseph Smith's interpretation is wrong, even
though they can not agree upon an interpretation"I am not sure
who the "they" is that cannot agree on what it is. "these three facsimiles of Egyptian documents in the Pearl of Great Price
depict the most common objects in the Mortuary religion of Egypt. Joseph
Smith's interpretations of them as part of a unique revelation through
Abraham, therefore, very clearly demonstrates that he was totally unacquainted
with the significance of these documents and absolutely ignorant of the simplest
facts of Egyptian writing and civilization "Dr. James H.
Breasted, University of ChicagoSo then if his "translation"
is wrong, then where does that leave you? If the Pearl of Great Price is
fabricated, then isn't it at least minutely possible that the Book of
Mormon is as wellTWIN LIGHTS - I see that you mention the
translation process and so forth. There was no translation of the Book of
Mormon. If you recall, he stuck his face in a hat and the characters would
appear and they wouldn't disappear until the scribe got them correct. This
process is not translation at all. Not the least suspicious?
RE: zoar63, can you be certain his words survived intact? (Isa 6:1-3), John
Did,… he (Isaiah) saw *Jesus' glory and spoke about
him.(John 12:41 NIV). See,(Rev 4:1-11) The throne in Heaven.Do you believe
any of these? The virgin birth (Isaiah 7:14) Christ as a descendant of
David (Isaiah 11:1,10) ; Christ to be gentle to the weak (Isaiah 42:3) ; Christ
to make possible the New Covenant (Isaiah 42:6; 49:8); Christ to be a light to
the Gentiles and to be worshiped by them (Isaiah 42:6; 49:6-7; 52:15); Christ to
be rejected by Israel (Isaiah 49:7; 53:1-3); Christ to be obedient to God and
subject to suffering (Isaiah 50:6; 53:7-8);• Christ to be exalted (Isaiah
52:13; 53:12); Christ to restore Israel (61:1-3).RE: 9MM, “all
associated books of Christian scripture.” The original A of F. #8
We believe in the Word of God recorded in the Bible; we also believe the Word
of God recorded in the Book of Mormon, and in all other good books. See current
Tyler D,It has been a long time since I've been impressed by an
argument from fulfilled prophecy. The only real way to find out if God inspired
a book of scripture is to ask God if it is or not.
To address some of the comments about the Book of Mormon,Several things I
have learned in reading translated works and scripture. Do not take
someones attempt at simplifying a translated work at face value. Improved
readability does not mean improved comprehension of the original text. Idioms that are used in one language, while not readily translatable directly,
will have an idiom in the new language that is similar, ie.. "Alpha and
Omega" as opposed to "Aleph and Tav" or "you are free to
eat" as opposed to "to eat that you may eat" Again I
restate, occasional delves into scripture will not provide the understanding
needed to comprehend such texts.
@Not Asleep – “There was no choreographing, no editing, no
crafting-- it was as I believe the revelations to Joseph Smith-- dictating as
God spoke.”So did Joseph translate the BoM from plates or was
he dictating in-real-time revelations while looking into a seer stone at the
bottom of a hat?You’re understanding would appear to support
LDS Revelations,If the theory is true, Joseph Smith could not have
done it by himself. Please show who the other co conspirators were by verifiable
evidence, not the theories of men. For instance there are a lot of military
strategies found in the BOM. What person with a military background did Smith
consult to be able to write those descriptions? And the Allegory of the Olive
tree what Jewish scholar who knew that art of writing allegories helped him with
that?Smith must have been the most intelligent person to have ever
been born. He was just 19 years old and managed to write a book as complex as
the bible and no one yet has produced its equal. It is much easier to believe it
was translated as he said it was. Emma his own wife stated that her husband
could not even compose a readable letter much less write the BOM.
There is neither time nor space in these comments to clear, nor elucidate
misunderstood nor poorly educated opinions of Christian scripture. But I can
refer to a well written article concerning the Doctrine & Covenants.Ensign article, December 1984, titles "The Story of the Doctrine
& Covenants" By Robert J Woodford.It is a well written and
referenced article, and will be enough to get anyone serious about learning
scripture started.To address some of the claims made against the
Pearl of Great Price, I think the sources used must be carefully reconsidered.
Scholars have NOT been able to come to an agreement on the Joseph Smith papyrus.
In fact the sources used for such claims can only agree to one thing, if they
know it is the Joseph Smith papyrus. That Joseph Smith's interpretation is
wrong, even though they can not agree upon an interpretation.
*** The reference is in the book by Vogel
Twin Lights:I understand your point, and it certainly makes sense to
use common use language in translation.That said, I have to say I
find the BoM to be extraordinarily cumbersome to read. Have you ever read the
New International Translation of the Bible? It supports your (general) point
about readability and comprehension via commonly used language. King James was wise to try and get a common translation of the Greek NT and
Hebrew OT text into English, but our English has changed substantially since
then.If the LDS church is not averse to making minor improvements in
the BoM for clarification, why not attempt to refresh it with at least 20th
century English? (Not a hostile question, an honest suggestion regarding
LDSareChristiansI assume the book that Brahmabull referred to is in
the book by Vogel. You just have to do a little research. It is there. The fact
remains that the restoration of the priesthood isn't found anywhere until
1834.. 5 years after it took place. Certainly an event of such importance would
have been recorded at the time by Joseph or Oliver.... It is very suspect.RikitikitaviYou may have become bored with the critics
because you have no real answer for their questions. That is understandable.
As a student of the Book of Mormon as a pure scriptural text, God's word, I
am not really comfortable with the "was very carefully written"
description of the Book of Mormon. This is my problem with scholars'
approach to the Book of Mormon: they want to analyze it as if it were man's
words, devices, etc. For me it is God's word through his prophets, pure
and simple, not some carefully, smartly, crafted literary publication which is
what I seem to get from Mr. Peterson's article. But perhaps I am
misunderstanding his writing, his intent, or his style. "Carefully
written" takes away from and diminishes "plainly translated." There
was no choreographing, no editing, no crafting-- it was as I believe the
revelations to Joseph Smith-- dictating as God spoke.
I will clearly state my position, I am LDS, and yes I have read, and do read the
Bible, Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, and Pearl of Great Price daily
for several years, as well as several books written by Biblical, Book of Mormon,
and historical authors. I am also in the process of reading the Old Testament in
the Hebrew language. For any one to disregard what is in either book
I think shows profound ignorance. There is a real lack of education of
historical and modern events surrounding all associated books of Christian
scripture, especially LDS Scripture. Such knowledge does not come from
occasional glances of articles published on the internet and written by fellow
ignorant's wollowing in the mire of misunderstanding and confusion, and
will not increase our understanding.
@ SparkyVA-"It is a product of an accomplished writer, though not of
our culture or time."I'd revise that statement to say the
BoM is likely the product of "writers" and agree that it is 'not of
our culture and time' but of 19th century America. The evidence places the
book squarely in Joseph Smith's time. Grant Palmer has tied 75% of the BoM
content to known sources from the time— not the least of which is the
1769 Edition of the KJV Bible. Tom Donofrio has done research showing a number
of links between Mercy Otis Warren's History of the Rise, Progress, and
Termination of the American Revolution (1805) and David Ramsay's History of
the American Revolution (1789) and the very specific language of the BoM.
Considering the testimonies of those who witnesses the BoM translation (D.
Whitmer etc) this is significant.
10CC,I have little doubt Joseph was familiar with the biblical
phrase.I can only say that when I translate, I often look for
linguistic or cultural touchstones for the audience to relate to. It makes the
translated text more relevant and understandable.I understand this
may not assuage your doubts, but I hope it is at least a partial answer in
understanding why others can believe.
Brahmabull posted: (Whitmer, Early Mormon Documents, Dan Vogel 5:137).Seeing the source, until I can read in context, I cannot determine to what
extent the telephone game comes into play from your quote. Do you
have source for the ORIGINAL documents? Not simply Vogels inference to them?
Weber State Graduate makes some interesting and thought provoking points.For BoM believers, how to reconcile the use of "I am the Alpha and
the Omega" (ie, "I am the beginning and the end"? This phraseology
is used in the New Testament, because the NT was written in Greek; Alpha is the
first letter in the Greek alphabet, Omega is the last letter in the Greek
alphabet.The only problem is that the BoM was not written in Greek.
It was written in a language we don't have the source for. So, we're
left to believe that Joseph Smith saw "Alpha" and "Omega" in the
BoM plates, or he just kind of put it in there because he'd seen it
somewhere before, like perhaps in the English translation of the New
Testament.There are many, many anachronisms in the BoM that are
tough to explain.
Don't ya just love the wisdom found in ACTS 5:38-39!! All naysayers would
do well to re-read these verses. The rest of us have grown far beyond bored
with all this tired same old worn rhetoric. So many well-educated (as well as
those of us who are less so) continue to testify to the divinity of the Book of
Sharonna, Before the discovery of the Dead Sea scrolls, some of the
earliest complete manuscripts of various books of the Old Testament dated to
around 900 to 1000 A.DThe Dead Sea Scrolls were found in jars inside
a Qumran cave by young Bedouin shepherds in 1947. Coming from the late Second
Temple Period, a time when Jesus of Nazareth lived, they are older than any
other surviving biblical manuscripts. The ages of the scrolls range
from 300 BC to 68 A.D. These dates support earlier paleographic research, which
estimated the ages of the scrolls by analyzing the handwriting styles,
materials, and formatting of the manuscripts. Before 300 BC there
are no earlier verifiable sources. The last surviving Hebrew Scriptures were
from approximately three centuries after the Babylonian captivity. So how do we
know what Isaiah really said since he began his ministry 193 years before the
captivity (792-715 BC) can you be certain his words survived intact?If Christians believe in the Bible they do it by faith since the manuscripts
that support it only date back to 300 BC for the OT and starts at 200 AD for the
Actually changes to the BoM have been made to make it more honest. There were
two "original" documents - one that the transcribers wrote down, and a
copy made for the publisher. The third "original" document was the
original printing of the BoM. They all differ slightly from one another. Some
was simple transcription errors. For this we take the first original document
written mostly by Oliver C. But there is a problem with this first and second
original: Oliver C. didn't do any punctuation. The Publisher tried to
correct this by adding in his idea of what the text meant. The LDS
Church has, in a very scholarly way, tried to restore the original meaning of
the BoM, using the first document as the source while keeping most of the
punctuation of the original publisher but fixing any punctuation that was
incorrect or that would change the doctrinal meaning of the text to be out of
sync with the early teachings of the Prophet. None of these changes were major
or any cause for one's loss of Testimony. These changes are due, as the
Prophet said, to "the failings of man", and not God.
Zoar63 - thank you for insulting my intelligence, but yes of course I know that.
I don't believe the bible as fact either. This was a Book of Mormon
article, so that is where my comment was directed. But we aren't talking
about a book with a 2,000 plus year history. Mormonism is a fairly new religion,
so changes are more easily noticed. But that is how it should be, because of the
claims of "most correct book" and "only true and living church".
I don't put jehovah's witnesses under such scrutiny because they do
not have the same claims of one true church etc.
@Twin Lights – “A great point.”And to you as
well…I’ll just add that as someone who does not believe
in the supernatural, I trust that there are equally compelling
“this-worldly” explanation(s) for how Joseph wrote/transcribed the
BoM. And I’ll leave it to those who know much more than me to
posit some of those…
Sharrona,Thank you but I am well aware of those points. I have been
around for a while and have heard/ready most of what you post.This
is not really what I was talking about in my post. I was addressing a question
about a writer who had great textual agreement and why that was so.Peace.
That doesn't really answer the questions I asked, but ok. That doesn't
address the Pearl of Great Price being nothing more than funerary documents. And
I don't see any sources that these changes were "well known". If he was a prophet he would not need to add in revelations later. What
does this quote say about the added in part about the restoration of the
priesthood? David Whitmer said:"I never heard that an Angel had
ordained Joseph and Oliver to the Aaronic Priesthood until the year 1834[,]
5. or 6—in Ohio.… I do not believe that John the Baptist
ever ordained Joseph and Oliver…" (Whitmer, Early Mormon Documents,
Dan Vogel 5:137).So there is no mention of this miraculous event of
Christs apostles, and John the baptist before 1834, 35, or 36. But then it is
retroactively added into the D and C later on. It doesn't make sense. And
even one of the 3 witnesses doesn't believe that it ever happened. Is he
credible in his opinion? I would think so, since he is a Book of Mormon witness.
Or maybe he isn't, and the witnessing of the Book of Mormon never happened
tim_the_tool_man_taylor,"....The question remains the
same—was Joseph Smith a prophet?...."______________________________Is the Pope the vicar of Jesus
Christ? Every individual can decide such claims as a matter of faith. I'll
never fully understand Joseph Smith but I don't devalue him as an original
religious thinker. He founded a vital and vibrant religion that now speaks to
the hearts of millions. I don't think that need be dependent on the 100%
veracity of Joseph Smith on all matters he spoke to. He was a flawed human being
as we all are.
Twin Lights, RE: Intertextualit: allusion, quotation, plagiarism.
“methought I saw, even as our father Lehi saw, God sitting upon his
throne, surrounded with numberless concourses of angels, in the attitude of
singing and praising their God” (Alma 36:22)… I saw also
the LORD(*YHWH) sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled
the temple. Above it stood the seraphims: each one had six wings; with twain he
covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly.
.., Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD(*YHWH)…..(Isaiah 6:1-3)Isaiah said
this because he saw *Jesus' glory and spoke about him.(John 12:41 NIV)@ The second proposed example suggests reliance upon the O.T. [KJV]
story of Elijah. i.e. (D&C 110: 1-16) Elias and Elijah appear
to JS, but in the Bible they are the same person. The KJV translators attempted
to transliterate Elijah to Elias because there isn’t a Greek character for
the English letter J.To avoid confusion, modern translations: NIV,NET and
the NASB have Elijah instead of Elias in(Mt 11:14; Luke 1:17) .
@Brahmabull"I lost faith in that book when I discovered that
earlier editions were different - and revelations changed. They were written
into later editions as if they were included in the originals. That kind of
dishonesty I cannot look past." It makes one wonder about the
authenticity of the new testament then especially since the oldest manuscripts
supporting it date only to the third century A.D. But you probably did not know
@Chris BI'm a "Mormon", and I think I can answer your
question."The editing and modification of the revelations was
never a secret; it was well known tothe Church of Joseph's day, and
it has been discussed repeatedly in modern Church publications, as well as
extensive studies in Masters' and PhD theses at BYU.If Joseph
could receive the Doctrine and Covenants by revelation, then he could alsoreceive revelation to improve, modify, revise, and expand his revelatory
product. Thequestion remains the same—was Joseph Smith a prophet? If
he was, then his action iscompletely legitimate. If he was not, then it
makes little difference whether his pretendedrevelations were altered or
Tyler DA great point. But, as I understand it, Tolkien spent a
dozen or so years between The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings getting all of
the back story together.He was a professor of ancient languages and
had the advantage not only of education (and age) but of time.
The intertextuality argument in favor of BoM authenticity is interesting, but
must be viewed in context with the many other problems that exist with the BoM
claim. Although it's understandable why members might easily latch onto
anything remotely resembling favorable evidence, one simply cannot ignore the
controversial evidence against BoM historicity. With all due
respect, the BoM quotes extensively from the Bible and shared vocabulary is not
necessarily a good measure of intertextuality. It's also just as likely
the BoM could have been plagiarized from a contemporary source with parallels
and so called "intertextuality" being nothing more than plagiarism
parallels of those particular sources. Unfortunately, scholars will
never know. Without the plates or an original BoM text available for scholarly
examination, one is left to playing word games to defend the faith.
I have no opinion about the BoM one way or another so this is not meant as an
insult, but the article did raise a question for me – should we be
similarly impressed when the Lord of the Rings shows internal consistency? And I have often had a similar thought regarding how the NT apparently
confirms prophecies spelled out in the OT - should we also be astonished when
the Return of the King (3rd book in series) fulfills the “prophetic”
statements found in The Fellowship of the Ring (1st book in series)?
The oddity of seeing Mormon scholars now probing textual interdependence within
the Book of Mormon as evidence of authenticity is that right from the start,
skepticism of its historicity stemmed from immediate suspicion that Joseph Smith
used the Bible as a creative model.That’s anything but
unprecedented whether or not Joseph Smith was trying to perpetrate a fraud. The
books of the Bible built on earlier efforts they tried to outdo. Chronicles
covers the same ground as Kings. It may have begun as an attempt to rewrite
history but to those who believe in the Hebrew Bible, Chronicles and Kings go
hand in hand. Interdependence of the synoptic Gospels has been analyzed to no
end although much of the traditions material originated from common sources. But
where did the Book of Mormon come from?Only one Christian religion
regards the Book of Mormon as historical. With the weight of independent
evidence being against it, that’s not likely to change.
Vangroovin,I'd love your hear your reply to Brahmabull from his
10:39 comment.And by reply is it too much to ask you address the
points he brings out?I guess I'd love for any Mormon to reply.
If you disagree with him, then please present the facts.If you
don't argue what he brings up, then why would the original DC not have
included important things until many versions and 5 years after such important
events supposedly took place?"I believe" doesn't hold
up unless counterarguments can be refuted.
Another in a line of great articles. Consider the phrase found in Alma 28:2,
Helaman 14:5, 3 Nephi 8:5, Ether 11:6 and Ether 11:7 "such an one as never
had been known". This appears in English to be a little bit of a clumsy
translation from another language. Yet each time it is translated from the
Nephite language it is translated the same. This phrase is used five times to
refer to something extraordinary that had never been seen before. A
portion of the phrase (such an one) is found a number of times in the New
Testament and Old Testament but the entire phrase as quoted above is found only
in the Book of Mormon. I believe John Welch and others have pointed out many
examples of Hebraisms that are evident in the Book of Mormon text.
The Book of Mormon is far too complex a document for the time it was brought
forth, even conceding a genius intellect for Joseph Smith. It is a product of an
accomplished writer, though not of our culture or time. That the teachings add a
layer of clarity to the New Testament, as well as reflecting a new
interpretation on the Old Testament more in line with the New Testament should
give anyone cause to reconsider what this book means to us.
vangroovinNo problems with differences of opinion - I can respect
that. Problem is, I have done all of that. It was only by studying them in depth
that I discovered the vast problems that they have. I am in no was trying to
change your opinion, just pointing out why I have come to that conclusion. The
Pearl of Great Price has NOTHING to do with the translations Joseph Smith gave
them. They are not what he claims they are. Every part of his translation of
them was wrong. Egyptologists have looked at them, and they are simple funerary
texts, and have nothing to do with Abraham and all of the other things Joseph
Said. Regarding the Doctrine and Covenants - I lost faith in that book when I
discovered that earlier editions were different - and revelations changed. They
were written into later editions as if they were included in the originals. That
kind of dishonesty I cannot look past. The restoration of the priesthood, for
example - it wasn't even mentioned until 5 years after it supposedly took
place. It isn't in diaries, or in the original D and C. If it happened,
certainly it would have been in there??
To BrahmabullI can appreciate your opinion, but I respectfully and
completely disagree. These books of scripture are consistent; consistent with
each other and consistent with the Bible. I invite you to study them and find
out for yourself, then ask God if they are true and consistent. God does
everything with purpose. I know these are inspired writings from God and are
not only records of historical significance, but inspired works to teach all
human-kind the true nature of God, his eternal plan, and his Son, Jesus Christ,
who died, who lives, who is the only one who can save us from our carnal state
as we exercise faith in Him. Each of these works of scripture including the
Holy Bible, help us to understand that and help us know how to work out our own
salvation. The fact that this author is pointing out literary consistencies
that most of us (including me) have not seen or understood before, should only
propel us to research these divinely inspired works on a greater scale.
coltakashiThe Book of Mormon isn't consistant. Neither is the D
& C or the Pearl of Great Price. 0 for 3 isn't bad, but hey, who's
Minor problem: that Alma (36) has 1Ne 1 in mind is complicated by the fact that
like Mormon (till near the end of his life--WofM 1-3), he and all were
unacquainted with the Small Plates, as born out by such passages as Al 45:9ff
(cf. 1Ne 12:19, 15:5; cf. En 13--unlike Alma, Enos does know about Nephi's
prophecy) and Al 1:12 (cf. Jac 7). All pointing to the conclusion that the
order of dictation corresponded precisely to the order of textual formulation.
per MrNirom1...Oddity 1 of the BoM; Why journey down the Arabian
Peninsula? Israel is right next to the Mediterranean.
Now if we could only get the MesoAmerican theorist's to be as honest and
forth coming. Lehi never saw MesoAmerica... but those who left on Hagoth's
Dan, I always look forward to your articles. I had never considered that
Alma's desire to have the voice of an angel and shake the earth to
repentance came from his own experience being shaken to repentance by an angel,
but of course, that makes perfect sense. I love the Book of Mormon!
Anyone who has written articles for publication knows how difficult internal
consistency can be. Composing an internally consistent narrative over 500 pages
long without an outline or notes is inconceivable. For someone to do it who had
never published a single essay, who was not trained in the tradition of
literature, is incomprehensible. And nearly 200 years of examination have shown
that the book is always more information rich than the society around it.
Proving the reality of the BoM, as the same "intertextuality" exists in
our day, the same real world use of available text or scripture, including
current Apostolic declarations, as well as proving God is the same, yesterday,
today, tomorrow. Valid & Ponder-worthy article, thanks,