If Joseph Smith was a fraud where did the Book of Mormon come from?

Critics say the Book of Mormon is not the word of God, that it is a fraud and false. So then what is your explanation for the existence of the book? It must have come from somewhere. Joseph Smith had an elementary school education and wasn’t known for having great writing skills. Did he write it on his own? Could you, even with the help of your college education and the Internet write such a book? Before you answer, have you actually read the book from cover to cover? The idea that Joseph Smith, or any other person or group of persons, could write such a book, even today, is hard to believe. I’d be willing to bet that if you got 20 of the smartest people together with degrees in archeology, Meso-American culture, Hebrew studies, theology, and Central American geography, they might be able to write a book, but I bet it could be conclusively and obviously proven to be an invention within a matter of days.

But hey, give it your best shot. If you don’t believe Joseph Smith was a prophet who translated the Book of Mormon from ancient plates with God’s help, where do you think the book came from?

Comments

  1. There are actually many substantive theories about how the book was written. First, it is useful to note that many of the facts in the book of mormon are inaccurate or false (like where the people living in the Americas came from, where the plates could have been buried, etc.). But, as to your specific blog post about how Joseph Smith could have written the book (given his education level), a particularly interesting theory is put forth in the book, "An Insiders Perspective on Mormon Origins." Smith, despite having a low level of formal education, was widely regarded as being intelligent. The author discusses an analysis of the book of mormon and compares it to the word structure used in many sections of the King James Bible. The study finds that the word use (both the words used, the order they are placed in, etc) are very similar in both books. His conclusion is that Joseph Smith likely copied sections of the bible changing names and details in order to tell a new story. It's an interesting read that I highly suggest.

    • This is not very high level reasoning. The second sentence speaks of the BOM being inaccurate or false. This statement doesn't document its own source of information such that you can declare that the BOM is inaccurate or false. Please enlighten me.

      • The King James Bible has a grammatical mistake in Isaiah 6;2 It has an incorrect plural for seraph it should be seraphim’ The same exact error is in Nephi 16;2!
        Which proves that it was a direct copy of the K.J.V.! There are many other instances of plagiarism of other books in the Book of Morman If you take the time it is very easily done on line!

        • If Joseph Smith was such a good con man, why would he have copied from the very book his followers were so familiar with? Could he have been so foolish as to think nobody would notice? Or is there another explanation to why there are identical passages in the Book of Mormon and the KJV Bible? See http://en.fairmormon.org/Book_of_Mormon/Plagiarism_accusations/King_James_Bible

        • That doesnt prove anything. The scriptures are not examples of perfect literature, they are writings of inspired MEN. If Isaiah made a grammatical error in his writings and Nephi was quoting him verbatim then it only makes sense that the error would carry over.

    • Joseph Smith senior was a school teacher, He and young Joseph were involved in all sorts of treasure hunts. Dad's tree of life story occurred well before 1830 . The Smiths jointly plagiarised travelogues from as early as 1818.
      http://www.youtube.com/user/an1iluzion?feature=mh

    • Interesting theory about "likely copied sections of the bible changing names and details."…… that doesn't work for me. I know both books pretty well. The Book of Mormon can not be accounted for that way. There are passages of the mormon book that are the same as the bible but those are easily explained, noting peculiar there. The rest is quite a different format. The language sounds a lot similar but not the content.

  2. GIVE ME A BREAK….JOSEPH TOOK THE KJV OF THE BIBLE AND JUST CHANGED THE WORDS??? ARE YOU KIDDING???

    IF YOU WANT TO SPEND YOUR TIME DEBATING AUTHENTICITY, TRY THE BIBLE….HALF OF THE AUTHORS OF THE BOOKS CALLED THE BIBLE ARE UNKNOWN. NONE OF THE BOOKS WERE WRITTEN IN THE TIME THE STORIES OCCURED. AND JUST WHO DECIDED WHICH BOOKS GOT IN THE BIBLE AND WHICH DIDN'T?

    • You absolutely have not read the Book of Mormon and therefore are making a statement which you have no credibility in making.

  3. my brother is 8 years old, and his "made up stories" are just as good as joseph smith's. how could mormons believe in Christ, yet also believe the writings of joseph smith?— he is no prophet, he's just a lonely story teller wanting some attention. why can't the places in the book of mormon be found? sure i've heard it's in new york city, but no one has found anything. places and names are all made up. don't believe in this rubbish. for example, bible states man must marry a woman…. not however many joseph smith married….but polygamy was okay because joseph said "god accepted it" … give me a break.. when joseph was murdered (that's right… not died for anyone else's sin nor resurrected in 3 days) he's didn't wake up in heaven….. now you mormons need to wake up, truth be told, christ's coming soon….you're not going to heaven if you don't repent… and there's no such thing is the planet kolob.

    bible tells us to "test the spirits because not all of them are good" so test out mormonism, research joseph smith, find those places that are mentioned… least everything in bible have existed or the places are still there to this day.

    • 1. I've been a Mormon for 33 years and I've never found any conflict between Joseph Smith's teachings and those of Christ.

      2. Not much archeological work on the Book of Mormon was done until the last few decades, and there are quite a few discoveries that have been and continue to be made that lend credence to the Book of Mormon narrative. To say no one has found anything is patently false. Just because you haven't heard about it yet doesn't mean the evidence isn't there.

      3. The Bible has examples of prophets marrying multiple women at the same time, apparently with God's approval. Even if it didn't, lack of evidence that plural marriage is approved by God is not proof of His disapproval.

      4. Yes, Joseph was murdered, nobody claims otherwise, and we don't claim that he's our Savior in any way. This isn't about Joseph Smith vs. Christ. Christ is our Savior, Joseph Smith is a prophet, like Moses or Peter.

      5. How do you know there's no such thing as the planet Kolob?

      6. Is your entire belief in the Bible based on archeological evidence?

      • You say that “Not much archeological work on the Book of Mormon was done until the last few decades, and there are quite a few discoveries that have been and continue to be made that lend credence to the Book of Mormon narrative. To say no one has found anything is patently false.”

        Please provide actual sources to this claim because I cannot find any. I am not interested in anecdotal “evidence” because it carries absolutely no weight. Since you say there have been “quite a few new discoveries that have been and continue to be made” surely you can provide a source describing a newly excavated a temple site, a battle field (of which there should be many), anything supporting that the people who built it, occupied it or died there, whatever the case may be, were the same people one reads about in the book of mormon, As far as I can tell the thing that is “patently false” is your claim that there have been “quite a few discoveries” … “that lend credence to the Book of Mormon”.

    • I am actually trying to find the source of the Book of Mormon. Your comments are a ludicrous as what you propose. I am looking for something substantial. Your comments don't help anyone. The bible is not a credible book in my mind but the Book of Mormon is a second "witness" that would, if true substantiate it. For that reason I need to find out, really, where the Book of Mormon came from.

  4. Unfortunatley Joseph Smith fails the prophet test, Read Deuteronomy 18 20-22, False prophecy, I am not, nor was I a christian, or a person who cared about Mormonism or any other religion but I did test and question him because of any man saying later in human life after the bible had been around for 1500 years, supposably having a new revalation of God, Seems fishy, so If you test him, Joseph Smith had many false Prophecies, even if one did not come true he is a false prophet, Most mormons are so deep into their faith by way of upbringing that they deny what is truth, Not one of the prophecies in the bible has ever been proven false, I search for 3 years in literature, history and study of Greek and hebrew, and have to say that you can't find one. Good luck and prove it to me as I tell anyone. It was easy to find Joseph Smiths false prophecies, as well as Rusell with the JW's also many false prophecies, seems to be a trend with the new so called revalation prophets.

    • For the record, this is what Deut. 18:20-22 says:

      20 But the prophet, which shall presume to speak a word in my name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or that shall speak in the name of other gods, even that prophet shall die.
      21 And if thou say in thine heart, How shall we know the word which the Lord hath not spoken?
      22 When a prophet speaketh in the name of the Lord, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the Lord hath not spoken, but the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously: thou shalt not be afraid of him.

      Dr. T., you say it's easy to find Joseph Smith's "false prophecies" yet you don't provide us with a single example. Would you be so kind as to give us some evidence of your claim? By the way, here is a list of many prophecies of Joseph Smith that have been fulfilled.

    • You are correct. The writers of the bible books did not tell us about the failed prophesies of the OT prophets. They only relayed the ones that came true. They mostly wrote telling a story with a point.

  5. This is the problem I have with religions. All it takes is someone to say they were sent from god and if people believe them they are in like sin.. so to speak.
    Personally I don't believe in good or evil either. Right and Wrong and human concepts. I'm not saying they are not important but we don't need a deity to tell us that smashing open our neighbours head for the sweetmeats within and raping his wife is wrong. Most of us know it is wrong and not acceptable behaviour.
    When people think they can "talk with god" or are on some mission then they believe the normal rules do not apply to them which is very dangerous.

    Perhaps as humans we are largely afraid of the unknown and therefore try to put some meaning to life. It's too easy to say "if I do this in this life I will be rewarded in the afterlife". The question religious people always like to throw out there "but what if your wrong?". Well right back to ya. What if YOUR wrong? You have just wasted the one life you had following what your religion expects from you.

    It's also too easy with religion to prey on the weak minded to gather a following. All it takes is one person out to make a name for themselves and have their story and teachings live on after they have died. All they have to do is claim they were sent from God and have enough people believe them. The parents will in turn force.. er I mean teach their children that religion who will then spread it further and further.
    IMO there have been many of these kinds of people in the past who have done just that. Hubbard, Smith, Jesus, Muhammad, Jim Jones. The list goes on. Just my opinion of course but really any religion is just one person or one groups opinions and rules on life.

    Yes there is a lot of things out there that we have absolutely no understanding about and are unexplainable.. for now. But just as early man looked up at the planets and thought them to be gods we too like to try think there is someone or something out there looking out for us. Makes us feel all warm and fuzzy inside thinking that someone has a plan for us. Because lord knows (yes, I see the irony of using that statement) that we don't have a plan for ourselves.

    Next time make your own plan. Enjoy YOUR own life. Do the best in life that you can do and don't tell others how to live their lives. But like I said. That's just my opinion. You can tell me to go f myself for all I care. No sweat off my b41ls what you do or don't do with your lives.

    • You bring up an interesting point with the "What if you're wrong?" question, but the logical conclusion to that train of thought would be to join a religion or at least live in accordance with some set of rules associated with God. Logical, because if there is no God, then there's no harm in joining a religion. But if there is a God, then at least you've got a shot at joining the right religion or living the right rules and reaping the benefits thereof. On the other hand, if you believe there isn't a God and therefore do whatever you want in this life but it turns out there is a God, then you might be in a bit of trouble down the road, right? Therefore, even if you don't believe God exists, it's still logical to live as though God did exist, because at least you've got an insurance policy just in case.

      If there truly is no God you can't claim that anyone "wasted" their life following religious principles because if there is no life after this one then nothing matters, and therefore nothing is a waste of time, no matter what it is.

      But we're talking as though there's no way to know whether God exists or not, and that's one way in which Mormonism differs from most religions–from the first lesson those interested in Mormonism receive they're invited to find out for themselves whether this church is the one and only true church of God or not. This idea, that man can communicate directly with God and that God communicates directly with man, is one of the fundamental tenets of our religion, and so it's not necessary for people to run around speculating or making assumptions one way or the other–they can find out for themselves.

    • You're
      "Don't tell others how to live their lives" kinda ironic
      Atheists tend to push their ideals on life more than religious people do.
      Just sayin :)

  6. You in turn raise some interesting points there my friend.

    For me personally I am not going to live my life the way someone else tells me to "just in case".

    If I sold you soul insurance. Insurance that if you died and did not go to heaven then your family or any relatives you had left behind would be compensated does that sound like something you might be interested in?
    Or how about Platypus insurance? You never know when you may go to Australia and be attacked by one of these little buggers. Or whatever "insert highly unlikely occurrence" insurance you want. It's the same principle. Your buying into it because of a what if factor, regardless of the unlikelihood of it.

    And don't get me wrong. I am in no way saying that a life devoted to whatever God you choose to believe in is wasted. In fact I think most religions have some pretty good core value systems, but if Islam is right then everyone else is screwed when we die. If the Jewish people are right then ditto, as with Christianity or even Mormon's. They are all saying pretty much the same thing. If you don't believe in this then you will be punished in a place that we can't prove exists and in an afterlife that we "surprise surprise" can't prove exists either.
    It's much like the insurance salesman in my mind. It's using fear to get them to see something your way. But that's my view on it. And I'm sorry, but any omnipotent being that says worship me or else is not someone I want to spend eternity with anyway.

    And it's not that I have a problem with religion… any religion really(except for the ones that would do others harm). The ideals and thoughts behind a set of life governing rules are usually pure and innocent. It's the people who corrupt it along the way that get me. The humans that have at one time or another wanted either more power/fame/money for themselves that sway people to their way of thinking.
    Those parents that force their children into the way they want them to grow up without ever giving them a choice and lastly the people who use religion as an excuse for brainwashing and/or violence towards others.

    But those are not the reason that I choose not to be part of a religion in the classical sense. I don't believe in heaven/hell. I don't believe in god and the devil. I do believe there may be something out there. But logically if we think about it then it is unlikely to be a all powerful being who just has always been. They had to come from somewhere. Be it a multi-dimensional being of pure energy or a collective of all the souls past and future I think there could be something out there. Now I'm not going to worship this being, if it does exist then I would like to think it is beyond petty human emotions of jealousy, rage and spite, so in my mind we are on good terms. I will live my life and do my best to add something good to it. I will love my friends and family with all my heart. I try not to harm others. I will do my best in life. If that's not enough to get me into the cool kids afterlife party then so be it.

    I think it is great that you guys do that. But again, if it is up to the individual to find their own relationship with god you are still putting it in the person's hands.
    Walk down this completely hypothetical lane with me for a spell if you will.

    Lets say a guy who is schizophrenic is brought up hardcore religion X by his parents. He knows he has voices in his head but ignores them as best he can and never mentions it to anyway for fear they would think him possessed. One day while out in the field by himself on of his multiple personalities takes on the form of an angel. The angel tells him that the ways of the church have been lost and that god has sent the angel to him to bring his children back into the light. So he re-writes the holy book according to the "angel" and shows his workings to the world. Most claim he is mad and they are right about him having mental problems. But because the boy has such faith and conviction in the "angel" he sways some to his new correct religion.
    Over the years those people who devoted their lives to this religion have children and tell their children the same stories they heard with such passion and fire that those children follow in their parents footsteps. And so on. Until one day the religion has millions apon millions of people all believing the same/similar things.

    Now, was that kid the messenger of God. Or was it just his mental illness manifesting itself around the religion his parents had forced onto him and did it in such a way that he could cast off the religious shackles his parents put on him but still maintaining the principles?

    Who's to know. After a few hundred years gossip and hearsay becomes legends where the original truths are so distorted by Chinese whispers that very little if any original facts/truth remains.
    Alternatively, if this same kid had told his parents he heard voices in his head then proceeded to beat him and chain him up to try get the devil out of him. Then the kid grows up and the voices instead tell him to kill his parents and anyone else of that religion because they are the evil ones. That man would not be seen as a prophet or a messenger of god. They would just see a crazy killer.
    But if the first option went down and years later someone said that they heard their "prophet" was nothing but a raving loony with voices in his head then he is liable to be tarred and feathered by some of the more hardcore fanatics of said religion.
    But this is all hypothetical.

    Going back to your communicating directly with god. Yes, it is a step up from most religions that seem to suggest only certain people can talk to god.
    But again, if I were to ever even try something like that I would be breaking it down to logic too much which is why religion is not really for me. For instance. We walk into a temple to have a chat with god. The choir is singing softly in the background. I feel an enormous rush of peace and tranquillity when I sit down and pray.
    Now I would say the enormous rush of peace would be coming from the beautiful temple I am in. That warm tranquillity I feel is the soft hymns being sung that send a shiver down my neck.
    That peace I find when praying is the same peace I find when meditating. It's not god then IMO, it's just me, calming my mind to block out all the everyday worries and woes.
    Thats not god doing that and giving me that peace. It's just little old me, finding my own centre of being and holding it.
    But again, just my opinion. Which is why religion is not for me.
    And if I am wrong. Well, life's a game. Sometimes you win, sometimes you loose. If I die and that's it then so be it. If I die and am re-incarnated then so be it (funnily enough out of all the possibilities this one sounds the most plausible to me. Not that I believe that's how it would go down but if any of the religions were correct I would put my money on the ones where you get re-incarnated. If the soul if eventually energy then it has to go somewhere after you die. Why not right back here on earth?). If I die and wake up in hell with Satan poking my bum with his red hot poker (so to speak), then so be it.

    I'll let the cards fall where they may. If god exists and has a plan for me then I'm sure I'll be the first to know about it.
    As for you. Enjoy your life. Thats the only thing I ask of others. Nothing more, nothing less.

    PS: Sorry for the length and if it is a bit ranty.

  7. Actually, Mormonism is a little different than other religions in that we don't think non-Mormons are "screwed" when they die. I think Joseph Smith put it best when he said "The difference between Mormonism and other faiths is that they believe we are going to hell whereas we believe that even they can be saved." I'm actually paraphrasing there, but it's pretty close. We believe it's risky to reject the truth in this life, but we definitely don't believe that those who never hear of Mormonism are condemned, and we don't even necessarily believe that those who reject Mormonism are condemned. We're of the opinion that you can't reject what you don't understand, and so if the truth is taught to you in a way that doesn't make sense to you, or you've got so much intellectual baggage that you don't see things clearly, then that's not necessarily your fault.

    I suppose you've got a point when it comes to the weakness of the insurance analogy in that the same logic could be applied to the flying spaghetti monster.

    Anyway, you and I agree on most things you've mentioned in this last comment. Like you, I wouldn't worship a being that was subject to "jealousy, rage and spite" or a being that said "worship me or else." I wouldn't worship a being if I didn't have proof of their existence.

    Now, when it comes to proof, how do we know what is true? For many intellectuals brought up in Western culture, the very concept of God seems crazy, let alone the Joseph Smith story. I think it's very debatable how much of that is due to indoctrination vs. logic, but I can easily see how people think it's all insanity. But it's as simple as this; If it's false, it's insane, and if it's true, it's not insane. The question is whether or not your desire to know what is true overrules your desire to stay within your comfort zone and live your life as you currently want to.

    A lot of people, when taught something new, will effectively or directly say "Even if it's true I don't want to know." I've had discussions with people where they actually say those words, although I think a lot of them are really saying "I don't think it's true and I don't feel like making the effort to find out if something is true if I already think it isn't."

    But let's suppose you hear the Joseph Smith story, or you want to know if it's true or not, or maybe you just heard about the Mormon concept of "God" for the first time, and you want to know if there is a God or not, and if he's a sentient being who can communicate with us. I would gather that most people would think it a logical conclusion that if God exists, and if he wants us to know that he exists, then if we ask him directly if he exists as though he did exist, that he would respond. If he doesn't respond, then either he doesn't exist, or there's something wrong about the way we're asking him.

    But suppose you ask and you get a feeling. I've had feelings and wondered "Is that coming from God or just my head?" How do I know I'm not just plugged into a big computer like in The Matrix and everything I feel is just simulated feelings being pumped into me?

    I'm not sure the best way to explain it, and perhaps this is a weak attempt, but first, lets take for granted that there is a God. I know you don't necessarily believe in my idea of God, but just for the sake of argument, let's assume he exists, that he's a sentient being like you and me, except he's all powerful and all knowing. Imagine you have another sense, in addition to smell, touch, sight, etc. and that sense allows you to receive communication from God, and when you receive that communication you are able to "know" that it's authentic. How do you know? Well, that's the tough part. How do you know that 2 2=4? It's sort of like that. It's logical, it's obvious, but if someone asks you how you know, you can't explain the details of how you know. You can tell how you learned that 2 2=4, you can tell about the first time it made sense to you, but you can't say why it's true other than to weakly say "Well, it's obvious."

    The only way you can understand what I know is to follow the same steps and get the same results. Then you'd be able to say "Oh, ok, I get it." We still wouldn't be able to explain it to each other, but we'd understand each other.

    The most common mistake people make, however, is to ask God questions about things they don't really want to know. Answers from God have consequences in that you're responsible for the knowledge once you get it. If God tells you he exists, but then you just go on your merry way, then that doesn't help you, it actually hurts you, so if you ask just to satisfy your curiosity without any intent of changing your life then God's not going to tell you he exists. Obviously if you're asking because you want to get a negative answer so that you can tell people "I prayed and I didn't get an answer" then of course you're not going to get an answer.

    What it really comes down to in the end, then, is that the only people who find the truth are those who; 1) are so intent on finding the truth that they don't care what it is, they just want to know it, or 2) those who already want the truth to be what it is. If what you want is a life where you feel that you're "independent" and not beholden to anyone, then it's going to be difficult to accept the truth as we Mormons see it, unless your desire to know the truth is stronger than your desire to live your life the way you want to live it.

    • What a bunch of drivel. For goodness sake do you think you are writing for a idiot audience?

      • Haha oh, David Wright, the irony in your response is great. "…do you think you are writing for 'a' idiot audience?" In your case, David, I believe he is.

    • You say that the only way to know for sure is to pray earnestly and with pure intent and desire to know the truth. I was raised in the Mormon faith, and prayed fervently. When I got no response from God, I fasted, prayed and studied the scriptures more frequently, and with greater intend, and still I received no response from God. For years I struggled to know the truth, and went to church regularly, and preformed the duties of my various callings with great zealous, yet still I received no answer. Are you telling me that for years of my life, I was merely praying wrong?

      Furthermore, you say that explaining your knowledge of God is like explaining that 2=2=4. If you can count, you can explain that 2+2=4. If loo loo loo I've got some apples, and loo loo loo you've got some too, all you have to do is count the apples to know that my two apples combined with your two apples would make one, two, three, four apples.

      Another thing, you say that you can use the same logic used in the insurance analogy to disprove the Flying Spaghetti Monster, but I feel, based on that comment, that you don't really understand the concept of the FSM. No one actually believes in the FSM, Pastafarianism was, as a whole, created as satire, as a response to the thought that God has to exist because you can't prove he doesn't, so really, bringing up the FSM will do nothing but hinder your argument.

      To answer your original question of how do you know that Book of Mormon isn't real, let me pose this question. The other day my niece told me a story about a chipmunk and a frog who go on an epic adventure and ultimately learn the true meaning of friendship, though in more five-year-old terms. I was very comprehensive and she referenced several geographical points. Does this mean that she had divine intervention, or she just has an overactive imagination, and a pension for storytelling?

  8. Josh Steimle….You are @#$##$ in the head just like all other Mormons. I pity anyone who is non-mormon to argue with a mormon. Why do it? They are all wackos. It's the biggest joke cult started by a loser, down on his luck piece of @#$# named Joseph Smith. You guys have got to be freakin kidding. He's the kind of guy you would see trying to scam a quick buck on a street corner…and he has the court record to prove it.

    Have a nice time on planet Kolob, @#$#$. hahahahahahahaha

    • I always find it interesting that when a person is incapable of logically debating a topic he will frequently resort to meaningless insults.

  9. I find it interesting that the Mormon religion is incapable of logically debating anything, much less defending themselves in an intellectual conversation.

    My initial comment was on the level of the Mormon church. Actually, I take that back…my comments actually have some truth to them. Ouch.

    • Just because you don't believe in the Mormon church doesn't give you the right to be an asshole.

  10. And to address where the Crook ( I mean book of course) of Mormon came from…Not sure…doesn't really matter considering most of the enlightened world views mormonism as a sham. However, I do know where they can stick that book. Right up Gordon Hinkleys ass…Which coincidentally is where all mormons seem to have their heads anyways. Guess they can read it there.

  11. Once again, you merely throw out more insults and barely attempt to make a point. If you want to have an intellectual debate then say something intellectual. That generally means you make a claim and then present evidence to back it up.

    You're welcome to continue posting comments with insults, but so far you're doing a better job of proving that your accusations regarding Mormons are more accurately to be directed towards yourself.

  12. If you read my first post you would notice that I said it is pointless to debate with a mormon, for mormon's are too far gone in the depths of stupidity and blinded by the words of a useless nobody named Joe.

    Is mormonism a cult?

  13. And no…my comments should not be directed at myself…I'm talking about the mormon cult members (like yourself) who have a very big imaginations.

  14. One more thing, there is no such thing as having an intellectual debate about the mormonism cult. Mainly because there is nothing intellectual to say about mormonism. Secondly, no educated man would ever defend the mormon cult.

    All mormon cult members do is make claims…nothing ever backed up.

    Joe Smitty is a fraud. His interpretation of the Egyptian scrolls were bogus. And what happened when they were interpreted by an eqyptologist? They did not say the same thing…hmmm….and what was their defense? Oh, it was different fragments that he was interpreting….ok, where are those fragments then? Hmmm…cant find them eh? Crook of Abraham is a sham. Bummer.

  15. And your silence confirms it. What would your earthly "divine" leader of the mormon cult think?

  16. You obviously haven't done much research on Mormonism, Mike. And you're a bit quick to jump in with the "silence" bit. You see, I actually research my claims and provide evidence to back them up, which takes a little time.

    1. "there is nothing intellectual to say about mormonism" – Nice claim, do you have any evidence to back up the claim?

    2. "no educated man would ever defend the mormon cult" – What is your definition of "educated"? College degree? PhD? Multiple PhDs and scores of peer-reviewed publications? There are plenty of people defending Mormonism who are "educated" by any reasonable definition of the word, unless you only believe people are "educated" if they blindly agree with your own prejudices.

    3. "All mormon cult members do is make claims…nothing ever backed up." – Go check out http://farms.byu.edu. You could spend the next 10 years of your life reading highly researched materials that back up the Mormon faith and still only scratch the surface of the evidence that's out there. Just because you haven't bothered to read anything anyone has written backing up Mormonism doesn't mean nobody is doing it.

    4. "His interpretation of the Egyptian scrolls were bogus" – Here's 25 pages of evidence backing up Joseph Smith's interpretation of the scrolls. It goes a bit beyond what you claim Mormons claim as evidence. If you have any sources that credibly and intellectually refute anything put forth on that webpage I'd love to see it.

  17. And regarding one of your posts further up the thread… All it would take to create such a phony story would be a few Hollywood screen writers. Many of which do not have degrees.

  18. Oh ok. So I guess you're not in on the joke. Yikes. You're part of it.

    Why would anyone waste 10 years of their life reading bogus researched materials on the mormon cult? Not something a smart man would do. And wow, there's a whole state of these people. Lame. I wish my grandma didnt live in Salt Lake City. Shes not of your cult by the way.

  19. I'm starting to wonder if you're for real…I mean, you're not actually a Mormon pretending to be an anti-Mormon just to make anti-Mormons look foolish, are you? Because however well-intentioned, doing such a thing would undermine the legitimacy of this blog and not really help anyone. Seriously, if this is really the case just let me know and I'll delete all our posts going back and forth.

  20. That was a pretty lame attempt at humor. @#$# mormons cant do anything right.

    Instead of just deleting just OUR posts back and forth, I think you would do yourself and the whole world wide web a favor by deleting your whole site. Boom.

  21. And my definition of an educated man is not someone who earned a rubish degree from a mormon university.

  22. When does the space ship leave for planet kolob? You guys are all astronauts. Way out there. But, oh yea, we anti-mormons are the foolish ones.

    You believe in the mormon cult because you want to believe in it. Not because you have any evidence suggesting you should. Admit it. You were indoctrinated as a kid and now its just who you are…its cool.

  23. The difference between the mormon cult and normal people is that when our parents take us to a worthless church, we separate ourselves from it eventually. I guess if you could live like Warren Jeffs, why not stay, huh?

  24. 1. "Critics say the Book of Mormon is not the word of God, that it is a fraud and false. So then what is your explanation for the existence of the book? It must have come from somewhere."

    -For the book to be considered Scripture it must have external and internal agreements. External factors include archeology. To this date there is no concrete evidence of an ancient world in the Americas existing as the BOM claims. There is no evidence of metalurgy, horses, and elephants prior to the exploration of Europeans. Internal factors are those that agree within itself. If there is an agreement why is the verbage incorrect? I was told JS wrote in such a way that God commanded him to. Yet, in the Bible I see the OT, written in Hebrew and Amaric,and the NT, written in Greek, were translated into our language of English. Here is a prime example of what would be agreement: in the NT, Jesus says he is the Alpha and Omega. If he were to say this in the OT he would say he is the Alef and the Tav. Another example of agreement is the in the OT a prophet named Elijah (means: The Lord is God) shows up. In the KJV Translation of the NT Elijah is translated to Elias. This is the same person, but his name translates differently into other languages. However, the BOM translates a language, that is Greek, that was unknown at the time to Israelites and Egyptians into English. The greatest factor of internal evidence is where prophecies are made and then they are shown as revealed (OT vs. NT of Bible).

    2. One internal discrepency of the BOM is the use of Egyptian language by Israelites. This factor shows the lack of understanding of the Hebrews. They considered themselves special and outsiders, the non-Jews, as corrupt. Therefore, they would not permit themselves at such a time to use any language other than their own when speaking to one another or in their writings. If you don't believe me then ask a Rabbi.

    3. "Joseph Smith had an elementary school education and wasn’t known for having great writing skills. Did he write it on his own? Could you, even with the help of your college education and the Internet write such a book? Before you answer, have you actually read the book from cover to cover?"

    -Do not be suprised that the 3rd grade level of education in Smith's day far surpasses the 8th grade education of today. John Quicy Adams was an American Ambassador at the age of 14. What level of education do you think he had?

    -I have read it and found it exactly as you said, "Joseph Smith was not known for having great writing skills."

    4. " The idea that Joseph Smith, or any other person or group of persons, could write such a book, even today, is hard to believe."

    -It is very believable. With the expasnion of technology writing a book has been made easier. Just a simple copy and paste for those lacking in education. If you doubt me, you should see the 7 year olds, like my youngest son, who have little education, but are a whiz with a computer and internet.

    5. "I’d be willing to bet that if you got 20 of the smartest people together with degrees in archeology, Meso-American culture, Hebrew studies, theology, and Central American geography, they might be able to write a book, but I bet it could be conclusively and obviously proven to be an invention within a matter of days."

    -Then please explain why the BOM has been explained away with as an invention of one's own mind that men, women, and children will oppose that view. If it is fact then please show us where there is evidence, other than FARMS, that prove the BOM.

    6. "But hey, give it your best shot. If you don’t believe Joseph Smith was a prophet who translated the Book of Mormon from ancient plates with God’s help, where do you think the book came from?"

    -If you believe in demons then you can believe that demons know the past and present. They would not know the future as God knows. You would also know that demons can influence man. Any person claiming to know the things of God will not deny that Adam and Eve were tempted and gave into their temptation. Satan tempted the Christ using Scripture. Scripture that the devil took out of context. Judas, son of Simon Iscariot, was overcome by the devil. There is a parable that Christ speaks of involving unclean spirits. Therefore, it is the work of the spirit of antichrist as spoken of by the Apostle and Prophet John.

    The greatest challenge to anyone in the LDS religion is what are you going to do when the logical and spiritual evidence shows the BOM is imaginative and its author was never a prophet of God?

    7. Why not do what the first century church did when the men of God spoke to them? They searched the Scriptures (the Old Testament) to see if what they said were so.

  25. I've added some numbering to the previous comment to make it easier for readers to understand what I'm responding to. None of the actual content of the comment has been modified.

    1. "For the book to be considered Scripture it must have external and internal agreements." If we are to say the Book of Mormon is not scripture due to a lack of archeological evidence, are we also to disbelieve those parts of the Bible that are not supported by such means? Where is the conclusive archeological record to support the Garden of Eden, the Great Flood, the Israelites spending 40 years in the wilderness, or the resurrection of Christ? It is this type of thinking that has led many experts, even so-called Biblical scholars, to arrive at the conclusion that the Bible is mere mythology and shouldn't be taken as accurately describing real events.

    And besides, your claims about a lack of archeological support aren't exactly true. For example, there is evidence of horses in pre-historic America from National Geographic. Although it refers to horses that lived 10,000 years ago, considering that a few decades ago experts thought there had never been horses and now there is concrete evidence there were, we have to admit the possibility that perhaps there will be future discoveries of horses living during the periods described in the Book of Mormon. Here's another resource on horses and the Book of Mormon you may want to check out. Here are some other resources on archeology and the Book of Mormon.

    The problem with using archeology in an attempt to disprove the Book of Mormon is that we don't have a complete archeological record. At best an extremely small percentage of the potential archeological work in Meso-America has been done, and it would take decades and perhaps hundreds of years at the current rate to complete the rest, and who knows what discoveries might come to light during that time. While there may be a lack of evidence to give you the "concrete" proof you're looking for, a lack of evidence doesn't prove the Book of Mormon to be false, it merely fails to prove that it is true.

    2. "One internal discrepency of the BOM is the use of Egyptian language by Israelites. This factor shows the lack of understanding of the Hebrews. They considered themselves special and outsiders, the non-Jews, as corrupt. Therefore, they would not permit themselves at such a time to use any language other than their own when speaking to one another or in their writings. If you don’t believe me then ask a Rabbi."

    This is pure speculation. A modern-day Rabbi cannot be depended on to know exactly what a Jew of 600 BC would or wouldn't have done when it comes to using certain languages. I would suppose many Rabbis wouldn't be exactly supportive of the New Testament either. Additionally, the primary Jew in the Book of Mormon who would have been responsible for the use of any Egyptian language being adopted by the Book of Mormon peoples would have been Lehi, who was not necessarily like other Jews of his own day. Based on the Book of Mormon, he appears to have been a merchant who traveled widely, and he likely did business in Egypt and had to have an understanding of their language. Since the Egyptian language was more compact, it was more efficient when it came to writing on a limited resource, namely gold plates, than was Hebrew.

    3. "Do not be suprised that the 3rd grade level of education in Smith’s day far surpasses the 8th grade education of today. John Quicy Adams was an American Ambassador at the age of 14. What level of education do you think he had?"

    The educations received by Joseph Smith and John Quincy Adams were quite different. Adams' father was a Harvard graduate, a lawyer, and a statesman. He was one of the most educated men of his time, and his wife was arguably smarter than he was. Adams was raised in Boston and Europe and received perhaps the best education imaginable for that time. Joseph Smith lived on the frontier of civilization and his parents were barely literate. Joseph's wife, Emma Smith, said he couldn't write a decent letter to save his life. Years after Joseph's death and Emma's estrangement from the Mormon church, Emma was asked this question by her son with the following answer:

    Question. Could not father have dictated the Book of Mormon to you, Oliver Cowdery and the others who wrote for him, after having first written it, or having first read it out of some book?

    Answer. Joseph Smith could neither write nor dictate a coherent and well-worded letter, let alone dictate a book like the Book of Mormon. And, though I was an active participant in the scenes that transpired, and was present during the translation of the plates, and had cognizance of things as they transpired, it is marvelous to me, "a marvel and a wonder," as much so as to anyone else.

    4. This is speculation on both our parts. You think it is easy, I think it is impossible, and I so suppose we'll have to agree to disagree until someone tries.

    5. People continue to believe in the Book of Mormon despite evidence given against it because the evidence given against it is not very credible once you begin to research it.

    My intent is not to prove to anyone that the book is true, only to prove that it is not false. The only way a person can find out whether the book is true is to read it and then ask God if it is or isn't. Anyone who does this with sincerity of heart will find out that it is. Anyone who lacks sincerity will not.

    6. I've been examining the logical and spiritual evidence for 30 years and the more I learn, the more convinced I am that Mormonism is true.

    7. I've done this, and the more I study the Bible the more convinced I am that Mormonism is true.

  26. Good for you Steimle. Dedicate your life to something you can't prove as true…and take comfort in knowing (in your mind anyways) that it can't be proven as false. You're quite the contrarian.

  27. I can prove to myself it's true, but I don't pretend to be able to do the same for others. Everyone has to find out for themselves and the best I can do is remove some of the impediments.

  28. Sure, buddy. What you mean is that your mind blurs the boundaries between reality and fantasy, however you can't make us blur those same boundaries, hence, you can't make us believe.

  29. Sorry it's been a while. I lost interest and then forgot about this place and saw some comments were made so decided to check it out again.

    I wouldn't say that I have a closed mind. I relish finding the truth wherever I can. I don't think my non-moving views on this subject count as me being too closed minded to see the truth.
    I have tried in my younger years to speak with god. I prayed thanking him/her for the things in my life. Never asking a thing from said deity, never asking for answers to life or for me to win the lottery (though if he/she is out there and wants to help me win the lottery rollover this week I might start believing. he he). Back then I would say I wanted it to be true. After a time I stopped believing because I didn't feel anything. I didn't feel what you obviously think you felt when you communicate with god. I didn't ever get someone talking back to me.

    Interestingly though, the one time I made a wish on a shooting star it came true. From that result perhaps I should start praying to celestial bodies as I got the feeling closest to what you were describing when my wish came true. That and it's track record is a lot better than gods at the moment.

    And yes, while I agree it is possible that there may be another sense that allows some to communicate it's just not true. All the other senses we can measure, record and prove exist.
    Because if you then theres nothing in your mind to say that other senses and abilities could not exist. This opens the flood gates for telekinesis, telepathy, mind control, etc.. etc..
    Unless you believe these things exist too?

    Oh, and we know that 2 2 = 4 not from just knowing. But because it is provable. If you have 2 apples and you add another 2 apples you get 4 apples. It's a fact. There is no such proof for god. There is no equation that says Faith man = heaven. There is no way to prove such a thing.

    But yes, who knows if we are not just plugged into the matrix and these are all just bits of data flying around in the virtual construct. Heck, I even realise it's a possibility that we are nothing more than a dream of some higher being. Personally my proof against such an argument is that life is too random.
    Like me stumbling onto this site for instance. If I hadn't been bored at work that day I might never have found it. Or if my boss had walked in at the wrong time I would have closed down the browser before typing my first post.
    Or even the random event of the earth's formation and mutation of single celled organism's to create the plethora of life we currently have on earth.

    So yes, I can see that Mormonism is different from some religions. But then again like I said. If you ask any devout member of any religion they would argue the same points you have. That they know their religion is the right one because they have communed with their deity.
    You can't all be right can you?
    And if you are all right then damn god's got some split personality's.

    Unfortunately the only way any of us will really know and understand all these things (or not if there is indeed nothing after life) is when we die. And then it's too late to change your mind.

    So yes. I think there is more to life then we will know in this lifetime. But if my end findings in the search for the truth ends up differently to yours simply saying "You obviously don't want the truth enough to see it" or "Your wrong because…" doesn't necessarily make it so.

    But I'll make you a deal. If it turns out I'm right then I'll try come back as a ghost to tell you. And if your right then you can give me a boost over the pearly gates, or at least put in a good word for me with the big man. ;-)

  30. Argh, I hate it when I spent 20 minutes typing in a long response, and then I click "submit" and the page freezes and I can't even copy my comment to paste it again and I have to start all over. There's no way I re-writing all that, so here's the short response to one part of your response:

    "…while I agree it is possible that there may be another sense that allows some to communicate it’s just not true. All the other senses we can measure, record and prove exist."

    The ability to measure or record something does not determine its existence, it merely says something about the methods and tools we have at our disposal. If you went back in time to the 1500s and tried to explain the concept of radio wave transmission and reception to a farmer in Germany he would think you were crazy and then he might kill you for blasphemy.

    In the case of spiritual communication the methods and tools are available to everyone. But instead of certain metal parts touching other metal parts and conducting electricity to the right areas so that a receiver is tuned into the right frequency, it's a matter of being in tune spiritually which is more about attitude than physics. It's more like how your friend will tell you a secret if he thinks he can trust you than just being able to push a button. If God trusts your intentions and you're in the right frame of mind (humble, submissive, meek, open-minded, etc.), then he communicates with you in a way that you can understand. If you're not tuned in, then you don't receive the communication and to you it's as though it didn't exist. If you try to measure it using technology and lab sciences then you can't prove it exists any more than you can use the same tools to prove that you love one of your children–and yet you know that you do.

  31. Yea…except for the fact that kids are tangible living and breathing things, and so are the tools for transmitting radio.

    If anything, Steimle, you're talking to the devil. God, if there is one, doesn't recognize the Mormon cult. Sorry.

  32. I'm not sure we're speaking the same language, Mike. Yes, of course kids are tangible things, I never said they weren't. Love, however, is not a tangible thing. Yes, the tools for transmitting radio are tangible today, but they weren't in 1500. If you're going to enter into the debate you might as well take the time to understand what your opponent is and isn't saying, otherwise you end up arguing a point that nobody is making. This does nothing to advance your point of view but instead makes you look foolish…and quite frankly I'm still not convinced that you are who you say you are. I'm still worried you're really a Mormon who is just trying to make anti-Mormons look bad and I'm playing into it, because I'm having a hard time believing anybody could sincerely be saying the things you're saying unless you're a 12-year old or something.

  33. “The problem with using archeology in an attempt to disprove the Book of Mormon is that we don’t have a complete archeological record. At best an extremely small percentage of the potential archeological work in Meso-America has been done, and it would take decades and perhaps hundreds of years at the current rate to complete the rest, and who knows what discoveries might come to light during that time. While there may be a lack of evidence to give you the “concrete” proof you’re looking for, a lack of evidence doesn’t prove the Book of Mormon to be false, it merely fails to prove that it is true.”

    “Joseph Smith lived on the frontier of civilization and his parents were barely literate. Joseph’s wife, Emma Smith, said he couldn’t write a decent letter to save his life. Years after Joseph’s death and Emma’s estrangement from the Mormon church, Emma was asked this question by her son with the following answer:

    “Question. Could not father have dictated the Book of Mormon to you, Oliver Cowdery and the others who wrote for him, after having first written it, or having first read it out of some book?

    “Answer. Joseph Smith could neither write nor dictate a coherent and well-worded letter, let alone dictate a book like the Book of Mormon. And, though I was an active participant in the scenes that transpired, and was present during the translation of the plates, and had cognizance of things as they transpired, it “is marvelous to me, “a marvel and a wonder,” as much so as to anyone else.

    "4. This is speculation on both our parts. You think it is easy, I think it is impossible, and I so suppose we’ll have to agree to disagree until someone tries.”

    Yet, the question posed by the son appears to have a good sentence structure as well as the answer given by the wife of Smith. Yet JS’ dictation’s to his scribes were well thought out (please refer to the Doctrines and Covenants). One does not need to have a school diploma to have intelligence to speak. Learning doesn’t always take place in a classroom. Therefore, by the time Smith became an adult he would have had enough learning to use comprehensive speech.

    “5. People continue to believe in the Book of Mormon despite evidence given against it because the evidence given against it is not very credible once you begin to research it.”

    The most credible test is that of internal evidence. I was told by several LDS missionaries to consider the D&C as “The Book of Joseph Smith.” If anything in the D&C conflicts with the BOM then which one is true? It is commonly said by LDS members that if JS is a false prophet then the BOM is not true.

    “My intent is not to prove to anyone that the book is true, only to prove that it is not false. The only way a person can find out whether the book is true is to read it and then ask God if it is or isn’t. Anyone who does this with sincerity of heart”

    If the book is not false then it must be true. The opposite of true is false. To prove something is either true or false is to put it through thorough examination, or testing. It is doubtful that a God that would say, “Come let us reason together”, “Come test Me on this”, and “The heart of man is wicked. It cannot be trusted”, or a man of God saying, “Every word of God is tested”, would want us to put trust into something that cannot be proven. Faith with logic is a key factor.

    “I can prove to myself it’s true, but I don’t pretend to be able to do the same for others. Everyone has to find out for themselves and the best I can do is remove some of the impediments.”

    How would you logically support that BOM is another “testament” of Jesus Christ? The title does not say “companion” rather is says “testament”. Synonyms for testament in American English are: attestation, colloquy, confirmation, covenant, demonstration, earnest, evidence, exemplification, instrument, proof, testimonial, testimony, will, witness.

    Notice that the common reference is that which involves proof. Therefore lack of evidence to prove the BOM as true or false leaves it in the realm of a theory. Whereas it cannot be confirmed nor denied as truth then it would be considered more on the side of fiction. Fiction equates to non-factual. For example, Aesop’s fables contain moral issues, but it does not mean the book is factual.

    Personal conviction on a matter does not mean it is true in an all encompassing nature. Personal conviction is equal to opinion.

    If this book is to be taken as truth then their will be evidence to support such a claim. It is simple as that. To remove any impediment is through the use of fact. Facts based on internal and external evidence. We have improved in the realms of archeological discovery and still the contents of the BOM are lacking in supportive evidence. Please note that many archeological discoveries that were found were first intended to discredit the Bible. Many discoveries were not done by followers of Christ. Unfortunately, the archeological discoveries since the 1930’s have done more to give credit to the authenticity of the Scriptures. Since the 1930’s there has been a large amount of external evidence to support the Bible we should also see an array of support for the BOM. However, we do not see this type of external evidence. Internally for the book to be fact then it must agree with the OT and NT of the Bible. Unfortunately, through careful examination, this is not the case.

    I understand the LDS followers use the phrase, “based on the testimony of two or more witnesses” to prove the BOM true. The BOM contains the names of these witnesses in its preface. However, no explanation is given to why the BOM can be a work of fact when indeed several of the witnesses had left the church or had been excommunicated. How can the testimony of an apostate founding member of an organization hold credibility? In this case the phrase, “By their fruits ye shall be known” helps bring this matter into the light.

  34. "Therefore, by the time Smith became an adult he would have had enough learning to use comprehensive speech."

    Comprehensive, yes, but hardly on the level of what would be required to write any book, let alone a book like the Book of Mormon. If you go back and read any letters of Joseph Smith in his own words (as opposed to documents that were revelations or documents written by others who may have written down the ideas Smith was communicating rather than his exact words) this becomes quite obvious. The idea that Joseph Smith was a literary genius who could have written or dictated the Book of Mormon in two months time simply doesn't hold up against the large body of evidence showing that he was in fact no more educated than what you would expect from someone with a 3rd grade education.

    And to say that writing a book like the Book of Mormon could be done by someone without education is absurd. One need only read it to see that this simply would not be possible, and anyone who claims otherwise hasn't really read it or is simply pushing an agenda without care for finding out the truth.

    "It is doubtful that a God …would want us to put trust into something that cannot be proven." Anyone can obtain proof that the Book of Mormon is true. All you have to do is read it and sincerely ask whether it is true or not and God will tell you. I can't prove to you that the Book of Mormon is true, but you can prove it to yourself. If you don't receive a positive answer than the problem most likely has something to do with your level of sincerity.

    Once God tells you the Book of Mormon is true (or the Bible for that matter), external and internal evidences don't matter. You know there must be an explanation and that it all works out somehow, even if you don't know exactly how. To say one must be able to have proof from internal and external evidences (other than God himself) is like saying a person must know all the inner and outer workings of a car before driving it. Why? It's enough for me to know that if I turn the key it will start and if I push the pedal it will go. It's enough for me to know that the Bible and Book of Mormon are true because God tells me so. I don't need archeological or linguistic evidence to prove that to me. If I base my beliefs on such factors then every time some knew bit of knowledge comes along I'll have to reconsider everything. It's very inefficient, and would put the gospel beyond the reach of the uneducated masses of the world.

    "How would you logically support that BOM is another “testament” of Jesus Christ?"

    The word testament in this case is synonymous with "witness," as in a witness at a court trial. The Bible is one witness of Christ, and the Book of Mormon is a second which confirms and clarifies the first.

    "We have improved in the realms of archeological discovery and still the contents of the BOM are lacking in supportive evidence." Not true. See Book of Mormon Evidences. Of course none of this proves definitively that the Book of Mormon is true, but neither does any archeological evidence prove definitively the truth of the Bible. But to say there is no archeological, or internal or external evidence of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon, is patently false.

    "However, no explanation is given to why the BOM can be a work of fact when indeed several of the witnesses had left the church or had been excommunicated. How can the testimony of an apostate founding member of an organization hold credibility?"

    Actually, numerous explanations have been given for about 150 years, it just appears you haven't run into any of them yet. The fact that several of the witnesses left the church and/or were excommunicated adds to the credibility of their testimonies. If all these people signed their names to statements saying that the angel of God appeared and showed them the original plates from which came the Book of Mormon, wouldn't you expect them to deny that once they denied the LDS Church and Joseph Smith as a prophet? And yet in spite of leaving the church, they still insisted that they had seen an angel and that the angel had shown them the plates. Their testimony would, in reality, be quite a bit less credible if they had all stayed in the church and never left it.

  35. "Anyone can obtain proof that the Book of Mormon is true. All you have to do is read it and sincerely ask whether it is true or not and God will tell you. I can’t prove to you that the Book of Mormon is true, but you can prove it to yourself. If you don’t receive a positive answer than the problem most likely has something to do with your level of sincerity."

    This logic doesn't add up. So essentially what your suggesting is that if I asked and prayed to god to tell me the truth, if I don't get an answer then I am the one at fault for not being sincere enough regardless of my level of faith? Nothing at all to do with the possibility that I am right and not you?
    And what if I got a different answer to yours? ie: Was told by God that the correct relgion was Islam, Buddism etc? Is that the devil speaking?

    So lets imagine for a second that God has verified that the bible/bom is true and not some other religion. You were truly god and wanted "your children" to follow your teachings, knowing how human nature is when someone dismisses what you believe to be true and knowing there are many other religions in this world, you would "if you were a logical god that is" create some irrefutable evidence to back your holy scripture.
    Also knowing the wars that have been started in the name of religion. All he/she would have to do is give a little evidence and most of the violence would stop.
    Or even, why hasn't the Devil come forward with some false evidence to sway people the wrong way? It would be easy enough for him and be to his advantage. The most logical reason is neither exist.

    The fact that the only evidence you have is a book with no other backing that the church's own and you telling me that it's true is no real proof at all.
    By using that same logic if I wrote some scripture (I only just finished high school, and not very well. So there is no way I could write a whole scripture), then went around claiming to have been visited by an angel and spoken with God who told me this is the next scripture on from the BOM. Then I get some followers. Would you believe me?
    Likely not. And with good reason.

    If indeed there is a god then no religion is correct 100% IMO. Because, like I previously stated. Any person of faith in any denomination of any religion will all say the same as you. That they read the scriptures, asked god and was answered that yes, that is the correct religion. Either they are all right or they are all wrong.

    And if indeed like you suggest there is a specific "channel" that some are tuned into to speak directly with God it would be crazy to suggest that only people of a particular religion could tune in. You don't hear about any mass walkouts from the Vatican because god told them they were following the wrong religion do you? And why hasn't God proved this by giving a person of pure faith the lottery numbers so that he can end world hunger hmmm? Or at least some other sort of evidence that he could take to show people that his/her religion is the one true religion. Wouldn't even need to be anything big. But it hasn't happened. Why do you think that is?

    • If Joseph was a fraud – how could the Book of Mormon have been written? That’s like saying “If an eight year old can’t build a house – where did that cabin made out of Lincoln Logs come from?” The Holy Bible, which was polished and honed and then finally voted on, with apocryphal (i.e., irrational, inconsistent, or badly written) books thrown out is eloquent. It’s not only part of the world’s religious heritage, its English version is well-accepted as part of the canon of English literature. In contrast, the Book of Mormon is one piece, written all at once, with no editors or peer review – and the product shows it. It can’t be divinely, inspired, because it’s badly written, and any God I can conceive of HAS to be a better writer that that. Would God REALLY use such an obnoxious number of “Beholds…” to start his verses at the beginning of the book? Would he use a word like “stiffneckedness?” Would the story itself be so far-fetched and obviously the work of an anti-Semite and a racist? Sorry, Charlie – it doesn’t pass the taste test. Maybe he wasn’t a fraud – he might have been deluded, manic, or schizophrenic. FRAUD is a matter of intent. But – I think the book originated in his neural synapses and went from there to a sharp quill held firmly in Smith’s hand. Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean that somebody isn’t out to get you, and just because you see Angels doesn’t mean they’re really talking to you.
      -yocsmotel

      • Whether the Bible is eloquent and the Book of Mormon not is a subjective matter, so I’ll ignore that for the most part.

        As to what words God would use, neither the Bible nor the Book of Mormon we use in English are the exact words of God. They are both translations, and use the words of their translators. Even if you were to read the Bible in its original language, it still is made up primarily not of words God has spoken, but rather those of his prophets. If you think the Bible is eloquent then you have those the prophets and those who translated it to thank rather than God, except in the sense that all things come from God.

        “Would the story itself be so far-fetched and obviously the work of an anti-Semite and a racist?”

        If it’s obvious that Joseph Smith was a racist and an anti-Semite I suppose it will be quite a simple matter for you to prove this. I will await your proof.

        So, the Book of Mormon is far fetched? Do you believe Adam and Eve were the first humans on the earth? Do you believe a guy named Noah built a big boat and put two of every type of land animal into it and that the entire planet was covered with water? Do you believe God talked to Moses through a bush that appeared to burn but didn’t? Do you believe the Israelites carried a golden box around that helped them defeat their enemies? Do you believe a guy named Jesus died, but three days later came back to life? Is there anything in the Book of Mormon more far fetched than any of these things?

  36. "So essentially what your suggesting is that if I asked and prayed to god to tell me the truth, if I don’t get an answer then I am the one at fault for not being sincere enough regardless of my level of faith?"

    Depends what you mean by the word "faith". I see them as being more or less the same thing, which is this–if God tell you the Book of Mormon is true, that means that Joseph Smith was a prophet, that means the LDS Church is God's one and only true church, and that means you plan to join it and actively participate in it. If you pray merely to satisfy curiosity, or with the set thought that the book is false, or with the intention of not getting an answer so that you can say "I prayed and didn't get an answer" then you're not going to get an answer. You have to be willing to change your entire life based on the answer you get, otherwise you're not ready for the answer.

    The logic of it all depends on your reference point of view. If you don't already know the Book of Mormon is true then of course it logically has to be true or false. In which case it does no harm to sincerely ask God. From your point of view anything is possible. But from my point of view I already know it's true, so I know you'll receive a positive answer if you're sincere, and that the only way to not receive an answer is to not be sincere. Each of our views are logical based on the information available to each of us.

    "And what if I got a different answer to yours? ie: Was told by God that the correct relgion was Islam, Buddism etc? Is that the devil speaking?"

    Assuming that someone is praying with regards to the LDS Church/Book of Mormon etc., yes, I would suppose so. I find it difficult to believe that God would allow someone to be exposed to the true religion but tell them to follow another. But who knows, I could imagine there being exceptions. I think there are definitely cases where people are told by God to follow other religions in the absence of Mormonism. I happen to believe that Islam, Buddhism, and many other religions were inspired of God. I think they fit into his purposes in that they move people in the right direction. If you look at who was converted by Islam initially, it was people who previously worshiped multiple Gods and idols and such, and so Islam is an improvement over that and has brought hundreds of millions closer to the truth than they otherwise would have been. Do I believe Mohammad received revelations from God? Do I believe those revelations told him to move in a different direction than Mormonism? Yes and no. I think Islam and Mormonism (and almost every other religion) move people in the direction of God. I have no doubt that those who sincerely strive to live by the teachings of Islam, Buddhism, or the Bible will be saved because I believe anyone who lives up to the knowledge they've been given will be saved. But if they're presented with additional truth and reject it because they've made up their mind that they'll believe what they already believe and no more, then they're damned in the sense that they're stopped and can't progress until they open their mind.

    Regarding the rest of what you say, you and I have fundamentally differing perspectives on the purpose of life, who God is, and how God operates. If I accepted the same basic ideas you have about what God should be like, then I would agree with you on just about every point you make. I'm afraid this may not be short, but I'll do my best…

    The purpose of life and everything God does is happiness. That's the goal. Not happiness in every moment or everything, and not the kind of happiness that is associated with fun or laughing or simple pleasures, but the kind that last forever and which can exist in spite of terrible things also existing. Let's just call it "eternal happiness" for now.

    What makes God happy? Having children and raising them to be like him, or in other words, creating more gods. So God begets spirit children (don't ask me how, I haven't a clue). We're all his spirit children. The spirit is the individual part of us that makes us different than everyone around us. It's our personality. Our spirit body is like our physical body, but can't be destroyed or damaged, and it's made of different material than our physical body. I don't understand it all and I understand this sounds crazy, but bear with me.

    Before this life, we all lived in the presence of God as his spirit children. We could do most of the things we can do here like walk and talk and progress intellectually. But we were limited by not having physical bodies. We couldn't reproduce and raise children, we couldn't feel pain, or go through any of the other experiences we have due to having a physical body.

    God has a physical body, but it's a perfected physical body. It can't be damaged or killed and doesn't wear out like ours. And God is omniscient (knows everything) and omnipotent (can do anything). So how does God get these spirits to bridge the gap and become like him? Apparently we can't become like God unless we really want to become like him. And we can't just say "Yeah, I want to be like God", we have to really want to be like him. That's where the earth comes in. It's a testing area to allow us to prove to ourselves and God what we really want to become.

    We're born on the earth and our minds are wiped virtually clean of all memory. This gives us the freedom to choose. If we could remember living with God and we knew everything about the plan, then it wouldn't be much of a test. In fact it would all be pointless.

    God sends us prophets and scriptures and other evidences that he exists and he tells us what we're supposed to be doing down here, but he does it in such a way that we can still doubt. If the evidence were too convincing then we wouldn't exactly be free to choose. Of course most people haven't been and won't be exposed to Christianity during this life, but they still have the opportunity with every choice they make to prove what type of person they are and what they want to become. They do it when they choose to beat their wife or be nice to her, when they choose to take some of their time to serve others or they focus on themselves, when they get married and raise children or indulge in physical pleasures by sleeping around.

    The problem with this plan is that we all do bad things in this life. We all make mistakes. In God's world, imperfection has immediate and permanent consequences. This is where Satan came from. He was one of God's spirit children along with all of us, but he rebelled against God, and because of the knowledge he had the consequences were immediate and can never be changed. Satan is eternally cut off from God and can never become like him. Although the rest of us were "incomplete" we were still perfect. But down here, we aren't perfect. But having lost our knowledge of everything from before, the consequences are not immediate, and so we're in a sort of limbo. We've got problems, but the consequences haven't kicked in yet. How to fix this? That's where Christ comes in.

    Don't ask me the details of how it works, but somehow Christ (who was also one of those spirit children along with all of us) does it. He was born with different traits than the rest of us because we was literally half-god and half-mortal. He lived a perfect life, and then suffered all the consequences of our mistakes. He also suffered all our pain, sickness, etc.

    Somehow, like a chemistry experiment I don't understand but which produces interesting results, the combination of all these factors enables Christ to "pay" for our mistakes, and then, if we fix our mistakes, they get written off, or forgiven, like a bad debt. In order for the debt to be written off, we have to do what Christ says, and what he says is "be perfect" because again, becoming like God, who is perfect, is the ultimate goal. Christ knows we're not going to become perfect here on earth and we'll continue to make mistakes, but the important thing is to be heading in the right direction when we die, because when we die the situation changes, and per my understanding it becomes a bit harder to fix our mistakes, or repent, than it is to do here.

    After death, we go on progressing and if we've made the right choices we ultimately become like God and the cycle continues. Not everyone becomes like God, but that's because not everyone wants to be like God. It's kind of like how everyone says they want a big, nice mansion to live in, but do they really? I don't. I find a townhouse much easier to take care of and I like being able to talk to my family without an intercom. Not to say that people who live in mansions are more godly, but you get my point. Before we came to earth we may have thought we wanted to be like God, but here on earth we may prove to ourselves that we really don't want to do all that work that it takes to become like God, or that we really aren't as inclined to be as self-sacrificing and charitable as he is.

    I should mention that life here is not just about testing, it's also about learning. We learn from our experiences, and those experiences can teach us to become more like God. Mother Theresa certainly learned how to be more like God. But so may the guy who's completely illiterate, works in an open-pit gold mine in Africa, and at the age of 14 is killed for his $3 paycheck by a co-worker. It's hard for us to begin to judge what people are learning from their experiences, which is why God commands us not to make judgments about whether people are going to heaven or hell–we're not very good at it, and there's no point since it's not our decision.

    This life is merely a blip in the eternal scheme of things. We've got billions of years behind us and billions of years ahead of us, and this life is a mere speck of time, although it is the most critical time of our entire existence because it determines everything about what we do after this life.

    You could ask why God reveals anything of himself, if this testing mechanism works so well. Why establish a church at all if people can still be tested and learn without the church? I might speculate upon the reasons, but I don't know. All I know is that he has established his church, and that if I reject it I'm in trouble, but if I accept it I'll not only be better off for it in the next life, but I'll be happier here as well.

    So why doesn't God give irrefutable proof of his existence? Why doesn't he make it obvious to everyone that the Bible is true? Why doesn't he make it obvious which church people should join? Because it would destroy his plan to do so. If God removes doubt, he removes freedom to choose, and without freedom, this life is pointless when you consider God's long-term plans for us.

    Why does God allow suffering? Why does he allow children to be molested? Why does he allow people to go hungry? People suffer, are molested, and go hungry because of the choices people make. The only way for God to prevent these terrible things would be for him to take away freedom, and once again, the plan would be ruined. People must be allowed the freedom in this life to commit the most horrible atrocities that; 1) they might prove to themselves and God who they really are, and 2) to allow people to commit the greatest good works. Take away world hunger, and you also take away the opportunity for people to sacrifice their own wants to help those who are hungry. Take away slavery and you take away the opportunity for people to commit acts of heroism to release slaves from bondage. Take away sadness, and you also take away happiness. Everything would be gray, drab, meaningless.

    And besides, it's all taken care of after this life. The child who is molested, tortured, and murdered is, on the other side, welcomed into Christ's arms and Christ takes away the pain. He already suffered that child's pain, and through some miracle is able to take it away so that the child doesn't suffer anymore. The suffering of the parents who lose a child this way is taken away in the next life, and can be softened in this life. All those who suffer in this life receive 100% comfort in the next, and can receive at least some measure of comfort in this one.

    The genius of God's plan is that everyone gets a fair and equal chance. Any advantage or disadvantage is the result of personal choices, and thus nobody can blame anybody else or God for how they end up. In the next life I believe the test results will be startlingly obvious.

    So the question becomes one of whether you're the type of person who wants everything, or are you satisfied with what you've got? If you're satisfied with what you've got and just want to live your life in peace, then you're free to make that choice. It doesn't mean you'll go to hell in the next life, it just means you may be stuck on a lower level of progression. I'm sure you'll be happy and feel like you got what you wanted. For me, that's not enough. I want everything God is offering me. I want to live the kind of life God lives. I wouldn't be completely happy with anything less, and membership in the LDS Church is the only guarantee I have of being able to get there. I don't really believe you'd be satisfied with anything less either, but that's for you to decide.

    God gave us the Bible to help us along the way. Anybody who lives the teachings of the Bible is well on their way to living the kind of life God lives. The Book of Mormon is additional truth which confirms and clarifies the Bible and helps us even further along the way. People can reject it, but only at the risk of being stopped in their progress.

    God doesn't want to force anyone to believe in either the Bible or the Book of Mormon. His goal is not for everyone to join his church, his goal is for as many of his children who desire it to live the life he lives. Membership in his church during this life is not a requirement, but accepting all the truth that is revealed to us is, and God gives us ways to identify the truth such that we can trust in it. But those methods only work on an individual basis. I can't prove to you that the Book of Mormon is true, or that God exists, but you can prove it to yourself. That's all that really matters.

  37. 1. Joseph Smith could read and understand the KJV of the Bible well enough to ask what church to join. If not then the stories told of him are false. If he could read the KJV well then why couldn’t he dictate a book based on his own ideas? His mother, in a book, says that he was a tale bearer…and very good at it.

    2. One can pick and choose what parts of history they want to believe, but it does not get rid of the facts. Facts of archeological discoveries in Asia prove the existence of events and people that are mentioned in the Bible. Mayan, and other Aborigine American, discoveries in the Americas dismiss the BOM. Why is that? Why won’t the Smithsonian Institute use to BOM to help locate archeological sites?

    3. What of the fact that there is no mention in the Bible of a newer covenant after the new covenant?

    4. If anything else then flip to the pages of the BOM where it speaks of the sacrifices made according to Moses. These are sacrifices being made in the Americans contrary to the Law. Under the Law:

    -It can be only Levite priests to make the sacrifices

    -Only a Levite a descendant of Aaron could be high priest who was to go into the Holy of Holies once a year on the Day of Atonement to sprinkle blood on the mercy seat on the Ark of the Covenant.

    -All male Jews had to be in Israel, specifically in Jerusalem at the temple (that's where the tabernacle was), 3 times out of the year for the appointed sacrifices

    -If a Levite had a spot or blemish he could not serve as a priest because he would be unclean.

    5. Anyone can pray for an answer to something, but it doesn’t mean the answer is true. I guess the only way to prove the BOM correct by a previous standard is to do what Joseph Smith did and wait to hear a voice from heaven and the appearance of God and/or angels. I logically believe this would be proof enough for a non-believer. Then again, if this were so then ALL the Jews who left Egypt with Moses would have believed and not perished. Even in the midst of a column of fire and seeing the wonders of God people wouldn’t believe. Even if one were to rise from the dead doesn’t mean anyone will believe.

    6. If God wanted us to use blind faith dealing with His word then what would be the point of having Scripture? Why even try to have a discussion of right or wrong Scripture if none are willing to look at the facts? Why go so far to say it is logical to trust ones own heart that the facts? Why bother having a logical discussion only to come back with nonsensical words? If one only had to pray to receive revalation then why do we bother convicting crimminals even when they were told to do it by some supernatural force? After all, it was right to them and they knew it in their heart.

  38. 1. If being able to read a book were equal to the task of writing a book we'd have a lot more authors. There is simply no credible argument to be made that Joseph Smith wrote the Book of Mormon, either from his own mind or from copying other books. Every effort has been made over the past 150 years to prove this and nobody has been able to provide anything but the most tenuous circumstantial evidence that can withstand only the most superficial examination but nothing more.

    2. "Facts of archeological discoveries in Asia prove the existence of events and people that are mentioned in the Bible." Where is archeological proof of arguably the most important event of the entire Bible, namely the resurrection of Christ? The most important events of the Bible do not have much if any archeological evidence to back them up. Certainly not enough to prove the Bible is true beyond any doubt. Those who claim the Bible is true take it on faith, as do those who believe in Book of Mormon.

    "discoveries in the Americas dismiss the BOM" – This isn't factually true. As I already mentioned above, there is substantial archeological evidence backing up the Book of Mormon narrative. I'll post this link once again which covers just some of the archeological evidence, which it appears you missed the first time I posted it – Book of Mormon Evidences.

    3. What of it? This proves nothing. The Bible is neither a comprehensive record of everything said by every prophet, and even if it were that doesn't mean that if you collected everything every prophet ever said that it would contain everything that would ever happen in the world.

    4. I'm no expert on this, but here's the short answer based on what I can gather. The restrictions which enabled only descendants of Levi to perform certain ordinances was a restriction that was placed solely upon the people of Israel for a defined time period (from the time the restriction was given until Christ). The people of the Book of Mormon were a separate people from those at Israel, and operated under different restrictions that God gave them for their circumstances.

    5. You are correct in saying that seeing God, Christ, angels, or visions is not enough to spark real faith, or as you pointed out the Israelites of Moses' day wouldn't have been so pigheaded. Enduring faith comes through communication with the Holy Ghost. Everything else may strengthen one's convictions after they have received a testimony via the Holy Ghost, but without the witness of the Holy Ghost even the most "convincing" proof such as seeing and talking with God is not enough. It is this witness of the Holy Ghost that the Book of Mormon promises as an answer, rather than visions or visitations.

    6. Who said God wants us to use blind faith? How is either of us in this debate not willing to look at the facts? If I haven't responded to a question you've asked and that gives the appearance of me avoiding the matter than I assure you it was unintentional. I'm also not sure if you're referring to my words as being "nonsensical" or something else. If you think something I've said doesn't make sense, then by all means tell me what it is and I'll explain it until it makes sense.

    "Why go so far to say it is logical to trust ones own heart that the facts?" I don't trust my heart, if by "heart" you mean my own feelings. I trust the witness of the Holy Ghost. It's true that this witness is commonly referred to as a "feeling" but that's only for lack of a more descriptive and accurate word. Either way, it is not a feeling that comes from within from from without. It is a form of external evidence.

    "If one only had to pray to receive revalation then why do we bother convicting crimminals even when they were told to do it by some supernatural force?"

    Our system convicts criminals based on their verifiable actions, not on what is in their heart. Only God can judge the heart because only he knows what is in our hearts.

  39. Ok.

    Well here's a question for you then.

    Do you believe that it is possible for a person to become like god through their own sets of morals and/or deeds (or achieve access to heaven) and without the works of Christianity or Mormonism?
    Well.. its actually more like a 2 part question. Firstly the one above and then, Do you believe that anyone who believes in another religion other than those specified above are able to get to that same level of "being like god" if they were a devout Buddhist for instance? Or a Muslim? Or someone of the Scientology faith perhaps?

    Wait as sec… Ignore that last one, it isn't a proper religion. :-P

  40. Yes and no (you're right, it really is a two-part question).

    What's necessary for exaltation (becoming like God) is to accept all truth. Damnation (halted progress) is a natural consequence of the rejection of truth, the same way that falling to your death is a natural consequence of stepping off a cliff.

    Truth isn't the exclusive domain of Mormonism. All religions possess varying amounts of truth. If I, as a Mormon, were to reject the truths found in other religions I'd be just as damned as members of those religions would be for rejecting the truths found in Mormonism.

    What's different about Mormonism is that it contains "saving truths" that aren't to be found anywhere else. If this life were the only shot one had at getting it right, then yes, everyone would have to become a Mormon in this life to be saved. But this life isn't the only chance. Those who would have accepted Mormonism had it been explained to them in such a way that they could understand it, or who would have accepted it had they been exposed to it, will have the chance to accept it in the next life. So yes, Muslims, Buddhists, Scientologists, other Christians, and even Democrats can all be saved, even if they aren't converted to Mormonism in this life.

    Per my understanding, the only people who are in danger are those who recognize the truth and reject it.

  41. So basically you are saying that to progress past a certain point at some point in their "soul development" they would HAVE to become a Mormon?

    So what if I had my own "ethos" that incorporated all the "saving truths" as well as many others completely independent of any exposure to Christianity/Mormonism. Would I still get to the same level of "being god" as someone who has been a devout Mormon over many lifetimes?

    Could you perhaps give me an example or 2 of these "saving truths"?

  42. Jimboom, you make some excellent points. But let me make some different arguments.

    Let me preface my comments by simply stating that I think it's much easier to believe in the Bible than it is the Book of Mormon or Joseph Smith. Thus, being an Evangelical Christian today is much easier than being a truth-seeking Mormon.

    Quite simply, those who believe in the Bible and consider themselves Christians are very much like members of my own church that don't search out the entire truth. Unfortunately, however, it is not a fair comparison (Christianity versus Mormonism). If Christianity today was examined under the microscope that Joseph Smith and Mormonism are and if there existed the same abundance of information on Christianity that exists on Mormonism, I think it's not too far fetched to say that Christianity would not fair much better than Mormonism. But the reality is, outside of what is written in ancient books, we know next to nothing about the lives of the actual characters living in Biblical times (new or old). Seriously, how many opinions from neighbors of Jesus or His family exist? What do we know about the people that wandered with Moses in the desert for 40 years? Who was there to write about the weaknesses of Peter or Paul?

    My point is that it's so easy for so many to blatantly accept Christianity and so easy to condemn Joseph Smith. But in reality what's so different in believing that Smith saw angels and conversed with God and what Paul experienced in the New Testament or Moses parting the Red Sea or Jesus walking on water or Noah building an ark that could hold all of the earth's inhabitants? Why are the latter "miracles" so readily accepted and yet Joseph Smith so quickly damned.

    I'm not saying that this makes Smith a prophet of God. I'm simply saying those attacking Smith and the church need to adjust their expectations and study the account with more humility, fairness.

    I, myself, have a tough time with much of the Joseph Smith saga. There are indeed ample evidences where I think he is being deceptive – but not necessarily to get gain. But I also find the story profound. Why would anyone continue a fraud for so many years – especially with regard to both getting and then hiding the golden plates? How was he able to translate the Book of Mormon in the manner that is so well documented? I doubt someone who also had to work during this time would have had time to write out such a well thought out manuscript. And if there was a fraud, how was it so well conceived that no one ever recanted or no evidence found to refute his claims? Sure, some left the church but none ever recanted their witness to having seen the plates or their experience in translation (or transcription).

    My personal feeling is that Joseph Smith was extremely insecure about his calling. I think he often exaggerated his abilities in order to convince others (examples would be the Book of Abraham, translation method, some of his claims, some of his revelations specifically for other people). Of course, you could also claim that this was because he was a fraud. But there is a certain simplicity and humananistic to both what he accomplished and also where he failed. The problem is we don't really have any other Biblical prophet or leader by which to give a fair comparison.

    But, what he brought to Christianity (or brought back) are some basic concepts.

    1) God had a plan for humanity (ie, Adam's eating of the forbidden fruit was an eventuality and the Fall of Man had a purpose)

    2) All people living or dead will have a chance to accept the Gospel. While not much is known about how this really works, the idea is that since man is God's creation, God is ultimately more interested in man's progression than he is our damnation. Thus, we will each be judged by what "talents" we are given and what we do with those "talents" or gifts.

    3) Through the guiding of the Holy Spirit, one can consult God in one's daily life. It's not to say that every trivial thing may get an answer or that we may get the answer we want, but the idea is to be worthy to receive inspiration.

    Finally, to answer your question about saving truths, I would simply refer you to point number 2 above. Ultimately, I do not believe you have to be a Mormon to either glorify God, progress, be happy, etc but I do believe that Mormonism, in its true form, is the easiest path to God.

  43. I find this site very interresting!! i see there are some that really want to gain some knowledge and others who sit behind their computer and make comments with no real logic behind it.. i wish i knew more about computers to join in the debates properly.. even though i dont like fighting, only giving insights and giving food for thought.

  44. people in these days remind me alot of the people in the bible when a prophet like for example noah says that it will be flooding soon, no one believes him and probable he got some insults like many give to joseph smith… well what happened to them? i just feel sorry for people who make such harsh judgements and fight against something that they cannot prove wrong.. oh what horror awaits the man who persistently fights against truth proven or in the process thereof…

    that counts for any religion, book or theory about truth. if i dont like something i leave it alone and put it away… but people are atracted to"mormonism" for some reason… their curiosity can help them learn very deep and interresting things and perhaps if they get that far they can be strengthened spiritually, but it can also have the adverse effects on those who seek its destruction.

  45. You make some good points Gerhard. Yes, prophets have always had it bad.

    Though from a normal everyday person's perspective it's easy to see why people ignored prophets.
    I mean if you were to put it in modern terms. You see a guy on the street with a sign saying "The End is Neigh" and spouting all kinds of things about how God came to him and told him that the sins of the world would be doused by god's fiery wrath.
    Most people would ignore him or even brand him as a loon.
    Though if 10 years from now the earth was hit by an asteroid and most of the world was wiped out then anyone who remembers that "crazy guy" on the street corner would call him a Prophet and if he was still alive probably follow him and whatever he preached…. even if he was technically crazy or on drugs and guessed the whole thing.

    Portlandcoug. Yes, I agree that all religions should be held under the same scrutiny. The problem is that devout followers of any religion don't generally like it when you question anything about their religion. This is why I have said that Mormonism seems to be ahead of the pack in this point.
    For me though I think there is no way to really be able to 100% verify a religion one way or the other. I mean sure you can take peoples word for the fact that they have "spoken with god", or "seen the light". But as for physical evidence. It is not really possible to provide physical evidence for something so spiritual.
    But spirituality has been part of human nature since back when we worshipped the sun and the stars. So to completely ignore this as part of our nature would be to ignore a part of ourselves.

  46. I have done a decent amount of research into the Mormon Church and I have several issues that prevent me from believing that the church is indeed true

    1) Joseph Smith has released many different accounts of the "first vision". These accounts are highly varying. In some accounts he claims to have seen one personage, in others more than one, in some a visitation of angels, and in the currently accepted version he claims to have seen God and his son Jesus Christ. However, the bible tells us that no man can see the face of the Lord and live. While, there are several passages that may sound as if Moses and others have actually seen the Lord, I cannot accept the fact that a man such as Joseph Smith was able to see the Lord.

    2) Joseph Smith had a history of being a treasure seeker, using "seer stones" to find treasure. What a coincidence that he would end up using stones to translate the plates.

    3)Joseph Smith translated the plates in his hat??? And when Martin Harris lost the 116 pages he had to abandon that work and move on to the story of Nephi, which was very similar but just from a different perspective.

    4) I 1842, Joseph Smith became a Mason. However, on the same day of his joining he rose to the highest rank of Master Mason. It seems that he would have had to have some previous contact with them to rise to this rank in only 1 day

    5)It is now known that Joseph Smith had at least 33 wives, several of these women were already married, this is complete adultery. Joseph Smith attempted to cover up his fornication by claiming it was "ordained by God"

    6)There are many prophecies from Joseph Smith that have failed and thus disprove him by the prophet test given in Deuteronomy. For example, Joseph Smith prophesied that Jesus would return in 56 years (History of the Church Volume 2, pg. 189), He prophesied that a temple would be built in West Missouri during his generation (Doctrine and Covenants 84: 2-5), He even claimed that the moon was inhabited by 6ft tall men (The Young Woman's Journal, p. 263). I would consider all of these to be false prophesies
    7) When Joseph Smith died, in his pocket was a Jupiter Talisman. This talisman is supposed to have the superstitious power to bring one fortune, power, and women. Why would a prophet of God carry and believe in the power of one of these?

    8) In the Journal of Discourses, Brigham Young (A supposed prophet of God) makes many racist remarks. I do not believe in a racist God, nor do I believe that a prophet of his would harbor such feelings.

    9) The whole deal with Temples and the ceremonies within, to me, seems to be just a creation of Joseph Smith influenced by his membership in Free Masonry. I particularly like the old part of the ceremony where members would pretend to slit their throat as a symbol of their dedication.

    10) The whole conversion method used by missionaries to convert people is absurd. Asking people to read the Book of Mormon and then pray for a "burning in their bosom" SERIOUSLY??? A funny feeling give me a break. The bible tells us that the heart is the very deceptive (Jeremiah 17:9, Proverbs 12:20) so we are going to prove a book and religion true by a feeling we get. Similar feelings can be produced by the body as a result of many things. Such a feeling does not prove anything.

    Overall, I do not believe Mormonism is the true religion ordained by God. However, I know several Mormons and they are great people. If Mormonism works best for someone, I would advise that they remain in the church. If the church makes you a better person, it would be a sin for me to pull you away from it.

  47. Hi there everyone! I saw some new posts on the site and decided to leave some of my own remarks. Firstly I want to thank MikeChad for his comments. I respect the fact that you you mention that mormons can be good people and that the church probably helps us to be so. Most people make us feel so down about what we believe and try to destroy our hope and faith with vicious remarks and all negative info they can find.

    I just wanted to explain how I got to be a part of this church…

    It started many years ago with my father who was a very good man and had a good upbringing in the dutch reformed church. I think he was about in his late twenties when he came to an awareness of this church because of his brother being taught by missionaries here in South Africa. My dad was a very sceptical person by nature and I am sure he wasn't out searching for a church. He was introduced to the book of mormon ever so briefly. The story continues and my dad was alone one day in a park and his mind was turned to the church and this book.

    He decided to say a sincere prayer and ask Heavenly father about this story, keep in mind my dad was a sceptical person not looking for a religion as such.

    In his own words which he recounted to me, he told me he recieved an answer to his prayer as clear as anything, as if a voice as clear as the voice of a person speaking to you in person, not in his ears he said, the following: 'Dit is waar en niks anders maak saak nie!' in english that translates to: It is true and nothing else matters…

    He was so certain that the God that he prayed to which he was taught about in his upbringing in a christian home and a recognised christian church, was the one who answered his prayer that day.

    And who was he to deny an answer from God? who is anyone to do so? He phoned his brother who was in contact with the church and he told him he wants to join the church as soon as possible. He then needed to be seen by the missionaries and he was baptised two weeks later. In the church it is highly uncommon for people to be baptised so quickly as it is a lot to commit yourself to.

    Well he grew older and stayed commited to what he knew he needed to follow. At the age of 33 he started a two year mission for the church. Yet again highly uncommon for someone that age to serve a mission. A few more years passed away and he met a lady in the church whom he married at age 44.. the lady is my mom. I have five brothers so there are six of us.

    I am not active in the church because I was brainwashed or manipulated, I was brought up in the church and have my own choice what to believe now. I am married now and still active in the church I have questioned many things, but I feel satisfied with all the answers that I have researched.

    Well I just have a question to all those out there bashing my religion and my faith. What does a person go to after he leaves this church? The organisation in most christian churches are so questionable and unstable. They all are gathered under the same wing and yet they have such conflicting practices for example baptism. After so much knowledge etc how can we leave this and go elsewhere, that is why people who leave the church tend to fight against it, there is not much else to do..

    I know it is always easier to point out negatives and not positives. I dont want to even start explaining all the loop holes in the so called christianity sector of religion… the most confused group of people in the world. I ascribe it to a lack of organisation. I also dont want to go into what the catholic church did back in the day and the fact that most of the organised christian churches we know today that are registered and recognised stem from the catholic church after realising that things were out of line. These guys helped to open the way for the world to have more freedom in religion. They tried their best to reform the christian practices and get things going the right way.. they did a good job, but now it is out of hand. Churches everywhere with ministers getting paid quite well after paying for biblical studies.. just like any other career… In fact If felt like it, I can go to the tertiery institutions and sign up for a degree in religions and a few years later I can open my church and call it …followers of god/gospel craze/bible buddies or whatever.

    Anyway, I will leave it at that and say that I hope everyone the best. I will probably meet you all in front of the judgement bar of Jesus Christ and then we can get some more clarity.

    Take care my friends,

    Gerhard.

  48. MikeChad,

    Your point 5 is exactly why I don't believe in most religions. People by in large are very susceptible to religion and therefore all it takes is someone coming along who wants to make a name for themselves and they decide to create a religion.
    And years ago (i'm talking hundreds if not thousands of years ago) I'm going to take a pot shot that it was pretty easy to sway and impress the masses with a little sleight of hand.
    Hell, is there any way to be 100% sure that some of the stories of Jesus in the bible were not just in fact con men taking advantage of this Jesus guys name and curing people for a fee or something like that?
    Then this great story of Jesus coming to a town and healing all their sick would be born. Even if he didn't actually cure anyone once the story is out there there is no way to squelch it.
    This is not helped by the fact that back in Christ days they were very desperate times. Promising people something in the "afterlife" for them following you and your word in this life seems a pretty sweet deal.. or at least it would have to slaves I am sure.

    I think the reason people are so quick to turn to religion is that they feel they are missing something spiritual in their lives and religion is a quick easy fix for that. What most people don't realise is that spirituality can be achieved from within without the need to join one religion or another.
    But thats just me.

    Oh and lastly. If you were looking for that hotline to god then how would you know what religion to go for? It's not like there is one religion that goes "Oh yea, all the other ones are just as good as this one, they are all much of a muchness". No, they pretty much all go "This is the one true religion, you HAVE to follow this religion or at least share some of it's beliefs to get into heaven.. otherwise… well you don't wanna know what happens to you".

  49. I just want to say that this is ridiculous. If you are open minded and do your research, the mormon church is not true. Otherwise, you are following the counsel of the church and any information outside of LDS published literature is Anti-Mormon. What a ridiculous way to live. I am soo fed up with it, I went on a two year mormon mission and grew up in the church. I was even a zone leader and AP in my mission for the record. When you do the research, it doesn't make sense. What about blacks receiving the priesthood? The "prophet" Brigham Young, said that the Blacks will never recieve the priesthood and if they did then the church had gone astray. What about that? Please respond to that. President Kimball was very brief in his comments that times have changed and the blacks can now receive the priesthood. Please admit that the mormon church was manmade, it's crazy. What about the eight witnesses. Mormons would like you to believe that they physically saw the golden plates. In actuality, they saw the plates in two seperate groups of 4 and they saw them in a "Vision", not physically. What about the connection between the Mormon Temple ceremony vs. the Masonic Temple ceremony? They're soo similar it's ridiculous. Read about it! Joseph Smith was a mason. He manufactured a temple ceremony out of the masonic ceremony. By the way, the mormon Temple ceremony has been changed multiple times since the time of Joseph Smith. More to come later, but do your research and you will find the truth. Organized religion is a joke. Believe in God and the Bible, Treat others as you would like to be treated. Pray to God for forgiveness. But don't let some religion try to make you feel overwhelmed with guilt for not following their superstitous teachings and doing everything so perfectly. For in organized religion, nothing is ever good enough. Please respond. I would love to see what you have to say! Joseph Smith was a savvy swindler and smooth talker. If he thought a woman to be attractive, he would say that he received revelation from on high that she was to be with him and that it was no sin, that he had received revelation that it was OK. What a convenient way to get what you want and live like a King. Be a good person and live by the golden rule. The LDS teachings are "out in space".

  50. Josh,

    I enjoyed your article and appreciate your convictions. I do have a problem with the premise of your arguement though. My take on your position is that unless we (the unbelieving), can tell you (the believing), where the BOM came from other then Josephs claim then it must be true. Please correct me if I have misinterpreted your position.

    By this logic must we believe that a magician posses magical powers simply because some of us can't explain how they performed a magic trick. The arguement is flawed from the beginning. We may never know the exact origins of the BOM. We can however see the many flaws that exist. I'd be happy to make a list but I'm sure that you are already familar with the lack of evidence to support the BOM. I find the BOM to be a great representation of 19th centurey religious views as well as a neat look at the 19th (though incorrect) assumptions concerning the American Indians. Many therories can be presented as to how Joseph Smith came to write the BOM. Solomon Spaulding inspite of what Holland says is a viable option to it's origins. I am tired of JS being portrayed as some uneducated nit wit. He was very intelligent and came from a family of accomplished authors. He had a firm grasp on the English language and was absolutely a religous genius. He was capable of convincing 30 women 11 of which were married to sleep with him and keep it secret (for the most part). While this seems humorous it is no small feat.

    Could you, even with the help of your college education and the Internet carry on so many relationships with out your wife and local church members knowing about it. Joseph Smith was an amazing man as is evident by the legacy he left behind. I don't think people give him the credit that he is due and I say that in all seriousness. Thanks again for your article.

  51. In response to Jed Smith, that's all good stuff which I'd like to research and respond to elsewhere on this blog, but none of it attempts to answer the question on this thread of where the Book of Mormon came from, assuming Joseph Smith was a fraud.

    In response to MQ_2, yes, you have misinterpreted my position. I'm not trying to prove the Book of Mormon is true, I'm only challenging others to prove it false. If it cannot be proved false, then that at least means it may be true, and that's as far as I'm trying to go here. I've heard a lot of theories about where it may have come from (other than Joseph Smith's claim), but none of the theories is conclusive, and the more I research them the weaker they become.

    I'll be totally open about my feelings when I started this blog–I was a little bit scared. I had grown up in the LDS Church and everything I knew was from the LDS Church point of view. I went on a mission, where a lot of people like me get exposed to anti-Mormon literature for the first time, but that didn't happen to me. I went to a remote part of Brazil where hardly anybody knew who Mormons were. So when I started this website I realized I was opening a can of worms, not knowing what I would find or what it might mean about what I had believed to be true all my life. But I pulled the trigger, deciding that if my religion were true, then I didn't have to worry.

    I started doing research on various topics on the Internet, and every time I started researching a new topic I would feel that same bite of fear in the back of my mind, saying "What if all these anti-Mormon people are right? What if you find conclusive evidence the church isn't true and it's all a lie?"

    I would do my research and read through all the anti-Mormon websites out there, trying to find the most damning evidence I could. I would invite people to comment here on the blog. And so far, I have to say I've been terribly disappointed. In every case as I've researched and talked with people about the popular anti-Mormon theories I've found myself thinking "Are you serious? That's the best you've got?" I was really expecting to be shaken in my beliefs and have to do some serious soul-searching. I thought I was going to find myself in situations where my dedication to believing the truth, no matter what it was, would be brought into conflict with LDS doctrines. Instead, I've found people recycling anti-Mormon theories that were disproved conclusively 100 years ago. I've found people using the weakest logic imaginable. I've found people who think they've got something that will bring the LDS Church to its knees, but when I look at what they've got I find they don't have a clue about LDS doctrine and have proved a point nobody cares about because it doesn't matter.

    Instead of being shaken by anything I've learned, I've instead found more and more evidence that what I believe is indeed true. I find myself saying "You think I'm an idiot? You think this is all a fraud? Fine, prove it with conclusive evidence, and I'll give it all up." But don't give me this circumstantial, so-called "evidence". Don't give me the same recycled stuff people were using 100 years ago that has already been resolved conclusively. If you're going to shake me, you've got to come up with something pretty good, and so far, I haven't seen it, despite having spoken with some pretty intelligent people who have left the church. The more I talk to people, the more I'm convinced I'm not going to find anything to shake me, although I try to keep an open mind about it. I'm willing to thoughtfully consider anything anybody wants to put in front of me. But I'm afraid I've pretty much lost my faith in the ability of anyone to present any halfway-convincing evidence against the LDS Church.

  52. Hi Jed, with regards to your question about Brigham Young saying "that the Blacks will never recieve the priesthood and if they did then the church had gone astray." Can you send me some references so I can research it further? I can find plenty of references to Brigham Young saying some variation of the first part, but nothing where it is combined with the statement that "if they did then the church had gone astray".

    Thanks

    BTW, there is a pretty good Q&A article on the subject of blacks and the Mormon church at http://www.fairlds.org/FAIR_Conferences/2003_LDS_…. Turns out slavery was permitted by Brigham Young in Utah for about 10 years. Did you know that? I didn't. I surprised I hadn't already heard that used.

  53. Josh thanks for your response. Thats cool that you are willing to put your beliefs out there for anonymous readers to view and respond. I'm sorry that I misrepresented your position.

    "I’m not trying to prove the Book of Mormon is true, I’m only challenging others to prove it false." Proving it false is a seperate issue from proving it's origins.

    The Book of Mormon has provided me with many insights, and answers to prayers. However, I also remember feeling the spirit when my mom played me tapes of my favorite GA Paul H Dunn. His lies impacted me in a positive way. But they were still lies. Why is it up to the non-believers to prove it false? I would expect those who make the claim to be willing to prove it true. The lack of evidence is overwhelming.

    You refer to anti-mormon material a few times. What is your definition of anti-mormon? The reason I ask is that most active LDS members look at anything that isn't faith promoting, or put out by the church as anti-mormon. That's a pretty narrow window to view the world from. As Packer said to a group of seminary teachers "some things that are true are not very useful." But does that make it anti-mormon? I am very skeptical of anyone that says don't worry about the truth it may lead to you losing your testimony. Imagine if a salesman said that to you. Why is religion any different? I want to know the truth. Let me decide how it impacts my faith.

    You seem sincere and I wish you the best of luck.

  54. Note: MQ_2’s comment has been copied and pasted in its entirety in order to create a new post, since it is off-topic for this particular discussion. Read What’s up with Brigham Young and all those racist statements he made? to continue the discussion there.

  55. Note: Jed's comment has been copied and pasted in its entirety in order to create a new post, since it is off-topic for this particular discussion. View the new topic Are the 11 witnesses of the Book of Mormon reliable witnesses?.

  56. Funny thing about those pesky witnesses….NONE EVER RETRACTED their "tall tales."

    I wish people would stop criticizing Mormons for what they believe….So what if they believe in "extra stuff." Does it detract from Christ?

    At the judgement, do you think the Lord will send Mormon's to hell because they did extra things?

    Mormons won't criticize "mainstream Christians" for doing to little if those folks don't criticize them for doing too much!

  57. Ok, I moved the last two comments from Jed Smith and MQ_2 to new posts, since they're entirely new topics of conversation. Now, to respond to MQ_2's previous comment:

    1. "Why is it up to the non-believers to prove it false? I would expect those who make the claim to be willing to prove it true."

    It's not that I expect non-believers to prove the Book of Mormon or anything false, unless they're trying to change my mind. The attitude of many non-believers seems to be "If you can't prove to me that it's true, then why do you believe it?" My response is "Why are you asking me to doubt it if you can't prove that it's false?"

    As for proving the Book of Mormon is true, I fully recognize I can't prove that to anyone else. I've already proved it to myself, but the only way someone else can know if it's true is to prove it to themselves. Nobody else can do it for them. But there's a perfectly legitimate and scientific way to prove it to yourself–just read the darn book and ask God if it's true with an open mind and humble heart. Of course people say "I did this, and I didn't get an answer!" but so far everyone who has said that to me seems to have been reading the Book of Mormon and praying about it with the intention of NOT getting an answer, just so they can argue that point.

    2. Man, you guys are helping me create more content than I've put on this site in months! – My definition of "anti-Mormon".

  58. " 1. But there’s a perfectly legitimate and scientific way to prove it to yourself–

    2. just read the darn book and ask God if it’s true with an open mind and humble heart. Of course people say “I did this, and I didn’t get an answer!” but so far everyone who has said that to me seems to have been reading the Book of Mormon and praying about it with the intention of NOT getting an answer, just so they can argue that point."

    1. Please tell me that you don't really feel that that is a "perfectly legitmate and scientific way to prove it" I want to know if Einstiens therory of relativity is true. Should I pray about it and then see how I feel? There is nothing scientific about your method.

    2. "so far everyone who has said that to me seems to have been reading the Book of Mormon and praying about it with the intention of NOT getting an answer"

    I've read it over 20 times. I read it cover to cover 3 times and prayed about it at the end of each reading. When I was 15 I read it from cover to cover then went out in the woods like Joseph Smith did and prayed about it. Nothing. I felt disappointed, I thought maybe I did something wrong and didn't read it with enough gusto or pray with enough faith, I even felt that it might not be true but I quickly pushed those thoughts out of my head. I read it again in highschool and then prayed about it. Again nothing. I remember having those thoughts again that it might not be true. But there was no way that could be since my parents were so smart and they believed it. My bishop was smart and he told me that I would know it was true if I just prayed sincerely and with real intent. The third time I read it I was 18 and was working on a fishing boat in Alaska. I was in an environment with pornography everywhere, drugs, alchohol and a bunch of rough neck workers all stuck on the same boat for 6 months. I remember reading the BOM and feeling a peaceful feeling. Kinda like the feeling you have when you've been away from home for awhile and you walk into your home to the smell of a familar dinner being cooked and seeing your family all together in the livingroom waiting to greet you.

    I was convinced that this was the answer I had been seeking all those years. I did my duty by going on a mission and serving diligently. I was called to positions of leadership and continued to read the BOM over and over and over again. There was something that was seriously nagging me. It was your so called "perfectly legitimate and scientific" method or Moroni's promise. "By the power of the holy ghost you shall know the truth" this religous experience is common to nearly all religions. Born agains feel the spirit of Christ and they "know" that they have accepted Christ. It's not just religious experiences its patriotism, the feelings I get when I read letters from old girlfriends, touching movies, hugging my kids… It's a real feeling. But its not from a supernatural source its an emotional response, endorphins are released into our blood and suddenly we have the spirit testifying to us.

    My journey out of the church didn't start with no evidence to support the BOM, church history, rascism, sexism, the prophets statutory rape of teenage girls, constantly evolving teachings (lately we have been having lessons on the new and everlasting covenant. Suddenly it's about celestial marraige. 20 years ago it was still understood that it was about Polygamy) changing temple ceremony, prophet never prophesying, the church treating tithing like it is money to be invested, Church buying cattle ranches, malls, hotels, and companies….

    My journey began after I came home from my mission. I followed my mission presidents, and patriarch's advice and sought guidance from the Spirit in all of lifes major decisions, like where to go to college, what to study, who to date… The more I prayed the more I felt the spirit. The more I followed the spirit the more confusing my life became.

    The spirit will never be a consistent guide to ones decisions in life or to finding out if something like the BOM is true. It took several years of prayer, and studying to finally realize this simple truth: The spirit is all in your head. Once I realized that I became very interested in understanding the true history of the church. Not to be an "anti-mormon" but because understanding my culture and heritage has been fascinating. I still attend church every Sunday.

    3.“Why are you asking me to doubt it if you can’t prove that it’s false?”

    I'm not asking you to doubt. I just posted in response to your original question:

    Critics say the Book of Mormon is not the word of God, that it is a fraud and false. So then what is your explanation for the existence of the book? It must have come from somewhere.

    If you want to believe it Awesome. It most likely won't lead you to fly a plane into a building, drink poisoned kool-aid, or sit in a burning house watching your kids die. So knock yourself out. Give 10 percent of your money to the temple building corporation, buy some magic undies, and enjoy the funeral potatoes and jello. It doesn't hurt anyone else so have fun.

    Just take some time to study the real history of the church, think about times in your life that you have felt the spirit outside of the normal religious experiences, and ponder it in your heart. And when you shall recieve these things, I would exhort you to use your brain, common sense and little bit of logic while reasoning if these things are not true. And if ye shall study with a sincere heart, with real intent, having an open mind, your ability to reason and use your brain in place of emotions the truth will be manifest unto you by the power of your mind. And by the power of your own mind you may know the truth of many things.

    Good luck Josh

  59. Josh,

    So what is your answer? Just say "Jesus come into my heart" and that is it?

    To tell you the truth, I had the same problems you had. I questioned everything. I thought if the Prophet was wrong once, it was all over……I was wrong.

    The modern Church is probably the way the original Church should have been.

    Modern Church leaders (Prophets/Apostles) have learned to just shut their mouths on every topic or question. Joseph Smith answered every question put to him like he was responding for the Lord. He drew "thus sayeth the Lord" like a six-gun.

    Bottom line is that the Church does nothing that detracts from Christ or His mission.

    Mormons may do a lot extra, but that doesn't count against them.

    Do you really think the Lord God will judge Mormons harshly.

    BTW…. who wrote the Book of Mormon? I doubt it could be written today.

  60. Sorry…. I was responding to MQ 2.

  61. 1. The difference between praying about the theory of relativity and the Book of Mormon is that there is no statement within the theory of relativity such as there is in the Book of Mormon.

    2. Well, I don't know quite what to say about your experience. It's not much different than my own, yet we seem to be on different sides of the question. I've grappled with the idea that it all might be in my head since I was a child. When I was a kid I used to wonder if life was like the Matrix, and everything I felt was being generated by a computer or aliens or something, including my emotions and what I thought was the spirit. It really bugged me for years. But at the same time there was always something in the back of my mind that I couldn't get rid of, some sense of what was "real" and what wasn't, and the gospel always felt real. When I would seriously think about it I would feel like not believing the gospel is real would be like saying that seeing the sun or stubbing your toe and feeling the pain is an illusion. Even more than that, it would be like denying that my consciousness or existence is real, and to me, if I'm thinking, then it's real. I don't see how consciousness and self-identity could be fabricated. Maybe I'm not using the right words, so forgive me if I'm not making sense.

    But I think a lot changed for me on my mission, and maybe this is where our paths diverge a bit. I don't think I knew what "following the spirit" meant when I went on my mission. But during my mission I had hundreds of experiences where I would take a step back and say "Ok, what are the chances of that being a coincidence?" And then I'd think "What are the chances that all these hundreds of experiences are all coincidences?" Since my mission, I feel like I've gotten more attuned to listening to that inner voice that doesn't say anything, but just nudges me and says "Nah, that's not what you should be doing." or "You should probably do such and such…" And the more I've paid attention to it and have stopped rebelling against it (which has been terribly difficult for me to do, because I like testing the limits of things and seeing what happens, plus I can be quite lazy if I don't want to do something), the more things have worked out for me. I've had literally thousands of experiences that from my perspective are beyond coincidence, and beyond my ability to make happen subconsciously. I can't find any way to explain things that have happened to me other than to say that it's God.

    But it's not just a bunch of coincidences that make me believe it all. It's a sense of surety, of things making sense and being logical. It's a sense of peace and joy, but it's not an emotion like what I feel when I'm watching a movie or feel patriotic or any of those things, it's quite different. I've felt it plenty of times outside of church, prayer, reading the scriptures, or "outside the normal religious experiences", but always in relation to truth, knowledge, and learning. Reading what you're saying makes me wonder if you've ever felt what I have. It doesn't sound to me like we have, or that you remember it if you have. I don't meant that as a put-down or anything, just an observation.

    As for using my brain, common sense, logic, etc., I've used that all my life and the more I do, the more the gospel, Joseph Smith, the Book of Mormon, etc. all make sense to me. That's part of what I love about it all. I can read a one-page article that somebody spent hours working on, and find holes in it, and even more when I read the critiques of other people on that article. With everything related to the gospel, whenever I find a hole and start researching it, the hole gets filled in and goes away, or in situations where facts are difficult to come by I can at least find a possible explanation of how the hole might be able to be filled in. I think it comes down to people believing what they want to believe, which is the whole genius of God's plan.

    I've got a friend who left the church several years ago. He spent 10-15 years intently studying church history and trying to resolve his doubts. He studied special collections and all sorts of stuff not available unless you go to BYU and get access to the rooms where they keep original manuscripts and such. I'm not sure there are many people around with more knowledge of anti-Mormon literature combined with church history knowledge. He knows most of the anti-Mormon stuff is illogical garbage, but he found enough stuff he couldn't get over that he ended up leaving the church. I've talked with him at length and he's brought up just about everything you have and quite a bit more, and he's referred me to all sorts of books and bits and pieces of church history I didn't know about. He's told me the core things he couldn't get over and explained how he sees things. Before he did, I had that same feeling of fear I had when I started looking into all of this. But when he explained it all, I thought "Are you serious? 15 years of research and that's it?"

    For him, it was largely a culmination of things and he finally got to the point where he thought "This just can't be true." I guess I look at things differently. I've read about Joseph's wives and how some of them were married to other men and all that. I don't understand it, and it all sounds horrible, but I look at it and think that first of all, we don't have all the facts. We don't know the exact nature of these relationships because a lot of it is based on hearsay, much of which comes from sources antagonistic to the prophet. I'm not saying I doubt that he married the wives of other married men, that seems to be well-documented by credible sources, but were the relationships the act of a sex-crazed maniac, the way Joseph Smith is portrayed by his enemies? Or could there be another explanation for it, or another perspective from which to see things? When I look at things from the framework of our modern-day societal standards, then it seems crazy to even consider Joseph Smith being anything but a sex-crazed egomaniac. But then again, if I were exposed to the customs of every culture in our world today, I'm sure I would think half of them were crazy until I took the time to see things from their perspective and understand where they're coming from. So how presumptuous is it of me to judge Joseph's actions based on my present-day perspective without having more than the most superficial information about it? I'm not saying we should turn a blind eye to things that bother us, only that when we judge based on our limited understanding which seems so straightforward and correct to us, we can end up making mistakes.

    As I said above, I think it ultimately comes down to the fact that people will believe what they want to believe. Everything I know and learn about the gospel is something I want to believe. I want it to be true, and I see things from that perspective. It's my opinion that the majority of those who leave the church are looking for an excuse, and latch onto whatever makes them feel as though they're maintaining their intellectual integrity. I think my friend, despite his claims to the contrary, wasn't trying to prove the gospel to be true, but was trying to find a way out because the "church life" wasn't the life he wanted to live.

    This is what I think is so great about God's plan. Everything is set up so that you can never be 100% sure what is real. It's all in limbo. And so we're free to create the reality for ourselves that we want. If I want to believe there is no God and we all evolved from green algae there's plenty of evidence for that…although no actual proof. But enough that I can feel like I have proof. If I want to believe that God exists but is ethereal and not involved in our daily lives and doesn't really care what we do, I can find evidence to back me up, and then I can live my life accordingly. And this works for everyone no matter what their situation is, no matter what has happened to them, where they live, what they're taught, etc. We each get to create the world we want to live in to the best of our abilities, and so when we go for the judgment, there won't be any arguing or pleading. It will be plainly obvious to ourselves and everyone else what we wanted, because our lives will an open book containing billions of daily decisions that spell it all out.

  62. I've come to a different conclusion about the nature of Joseph Smith and other prophets. One thing to consider is that Joseph was well past the point of "freelancing" and that he was not martyred, but his life was terminated by Higher Powers.

    I think Joseph was one of the deepest thinkers and ponderers there has been. After his visions, he probably concluded EVERY THOUGHT was inspiration. The Modern Church leaders have learned to keep their mouths shut on many topics and questions put to them. Joseph, Brigham and others did not.

    I can now accept a falable/fallable Prophet. I can now accept some they was some false doctrine. That uncomfortable path creates the environment necessary to establish true faith….faith cultered in an environment of doubt.

    To come to the highest level of faith requires one to sincerely search through both positive and negative experiences. The more Anti material out there, the harder it is to reach that level of faith. It is hard to look at a few actions, ideas or practices which don't seem to add up to Godlike inspiration. It is hard to realize that our leaders were not and are not inspired 24/7/365. On must accept the evolution of the Gospel from a simple and dramatic beginning to a more refined and sifted form of religious practice.

    Can a prophet be a prophet even when he has not been fully correct? This is the hardest thing a Mormon has to face and get through.

    I've traveled that path and lived with great doubts. I've concluded in my heart, that Joseph Smith was not inspired in all that he said, wrote or put into place. BUT…. that does not detract from the core fundamentals we have today.

    I wish all of our leaders and Prophets in particular, had not spouted off on all the issues of the day nor all the questions put to them. I think at times they clearly thought they were speaking for the Lord and in fact were not.

    Bottom line is that I feel very very very comfortable with the modern Church's culminating dogma and practices. NOTHING THAT I DO OR DON'T DO AS I PRACTICE MORMONISM WILL BE THOUGHT OF NEGATIVELY BY THE LORD JESUS CHRIST WHEN I STAND BEFORE HIM AT THE TIME OF MY JUDGEMENT.

    IF WE ERROR, IT IS ERRORING ON THE SIDE OF A MORE INVOVLED AND EXTENSIVE WORSHIP OF THE LORD JESUS CHRIST AND OUR EFFORTS TO BRING HIS MESSAGE TO BOTH THE LIVING AND THE DEAD.

  63. "I can now accept a falable/fallable Prophet. I can now accept some they was some false doctrine. That uncomfortable path creates the environment necessary to establish true faith….faith cultered in an environment of doubt."

    Kris, I appreciate your honesty. Most Mormons refuse to look at things logically and draw logically conclusions. For a long time I had the same thoughts that you stated above. Maybe Joseph Smith was just a Fallen prophet as most of those close to him suspected at the time they found out about his extra-curricle activities.

    Most Mormons take Josh's stance "…it all sounds horrible, but I look at it and think that first of all, we don’t have all the facts. We don’t know the exact nature of these relationships because a lot of it is based on hearsay, much of which comes from sources antagonistic to the prophet. I’m not saying I doubt that he married the wives of other married men, that seems to be well-documented by credible sources, but were the relationships the act of a sex-crazed maniac, the way Joseph Smith is portrayed by his enemies? Or could there be another explanation for it…"

    No matter how damning the evidence, regardless of what common sense should be telling you they will say as Josh does: "Could there be another explanation for it…" If it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck, then there could be another explanation for it.

    Josh I was wondering why you refused to address any of the concerns I brought up. Mentioning them is not addressing them. However, after reading this statement I understand: "When I was a kid I used to wonder if life was like the Matrix, and everything I felt was being generated by a computer or aliens or something, including my emotions and what I thought was the spirit." I think that anyone that could wonder about things like this is extremely susceptible to cults and superstitious thinking, I'm just glad it's Mormonism and not fundemental Islam, the Branch Dividians, or a member of Jones Town. My statements are falling on deaf ears. Good luck

  64. That's the thing MQ_2, there's common sense and "common sense". For many people, an appeal to common sense is just a way of saying "I don't know how to debate this logically, so I'm just going to claim that I have common sense and you don't." Claiming that Joseph Smith wasn't a prophet and appealing to common sense without irrefutable logic to back it up is no better than me claiming Mormonism is true and saying it's common sense without logic to back my claim up.

    You say it's because Joseph Smith married other men's wives. Fair enough, but where does it say a prophet can't do that and still be a prophet? The logical place to go would be to say the 10 commandments. But the 10 commandments also say we shouldn't kill, and yet in other places God commands people to kill. So if God sometimes commands people to kill, and other times commands them not to kill, then isn't it logical that while he may command someone to not marry the wife of another man, or even commit adultery (I'm not entirely sure there's even proof of that…I'm trying to remember what I read in Rough Stone Rolling, which seems to be the most comprehensive and well-researched history of all that stuff), isn't it possible that God could command the opposite? Now where am I not being logical and reasonable? How is it not logical to believe that whatever God commands is right, no matter what it is?

    As for thinking I would be susceptible to cults and superstitious thinking, what's more likely, that someone who thinks deeply, questions everything, and takes nothing for granted would be susceptible to group-think and irrational thought, or someone who relies on common sense without evidence? Aristotle and a number of other famous philosophers also question reality. It's called metaphysics. If you think Aristotle was likely to be caught up in a cult and victim to superstitious thinking, then I'm happy to be that kind of company, not that I agree with everything Aristotle believed, but I think he was a pretty good thinker.

  65. I think it is easier to explain (accept) that Joseph was probably wrong about plural marriage (though there is a good explanation regarding the need at that specific time) than it is to accept his marriage to other men's wives. I can't imagine the Lord condoning the marriage of ANY MAN, in particular Joseph, to ANY MAN'S EXISTING WIFE.

    Thank God (I say that reverently) that I now am completely comfortable in Stage 4 and look at the Church today, not 50 years ago, not 100 years ago and LOVE IT! It makes so much sense. It runs so smoothly. Worldwide consistency!!!!

    WHO CARES WHAT JOSEPH WAS RIGHT ABOUT OR WRONG ABOUT….. It's a given….it has to be a fact….that he was wrong about something he said or wrote.

    Live the Latter-Day Saint life, principles and ordinances and then let GOD SORT IT OUT!!! I'm betting that my extra efforts at trying to expand basic Christianity-lite are for the better of Christianity (and the dead) and I'll let the Lord judge me and the Church membership.

  66. When you change your mind about your true condition,

    you quickly realize that you are unable to earn favor with god.

    Forgiveness of sins is completely dependant on his true identity.

    Matthew 4:7 Jesus answered him, "Again it is written, 'You shall not put the Lord, your God, to the test.'"

  67. Q. If Joseph Smith was a fraud where did the Book of Mormon come from?

    A. From Joseph Smith, of course.

    One doesn't have to be a rocket scientist to know that it was Joseph Smith who was the author. If Joseph Smith did not author the book then it would not exist.

  68. Amen.

  69. That would make Joseph Smith one of the greatest American authors to-date. Are you all prepared to say that? Are you prepared to say a guy with his lack of education could write such a book?

    Give me a break!

  70. When we get down to the basic question it is only obvious that the book came from Joseph Smith. In a way, the question posed assumes that Joseph Smith was a fraud. You don't have to be truthful to write a book or to dictate words that are translated into a book. Our libraries and bookstores are filled with books that have these types of authorship. There are books written that are fact and books that are fiction. Just because one authors a book a book doesn't make one a great author. As I stated before, if Joseph Smith did not author the book then it would not exist. That is a plain and simple statement. No one else claimed to author the book. Only he did.

    There can be many more questions indeed. Here are a few:

    Q. If Joseph Smith was a fraud would that make the Book of Mormon a fraud too?

    Q. If Joseph Smith was a fraud would that make him a false prophet or a prophet of God?

    Q. If Joseph Smith was a fraud does it mean the LDS church is based on a lie?

    Q. If Joseph Smith was a fraud then who's more foolish, him or the people that believe him?

    Yet, none of the above questions were asked. I think those would be interesting to answer. Even better if they were followed by "why?".

  71. When we get down to the basic question it is only obvious that the book came from Joseph Smith.(WHY IS THAT OBVIOUS?) In a way, the question posed assumes that Joseph Smith was a fraud. You don't have to be truthful to write a book or to dictate words that are translated into a book. Our libraries and bookstores are filled with books that have these types of authorship. There are books written that are fact and books that are fiction. Just because one authors a book a book doesn't make one a great author. As I stated before, if Joseph Smith did not author the book then it would not exist.(AUTHOR OR TRANSLATOR?) That is a plain and simple statement. No one else claimed to author the book. Only he did.

    There can be many more questions indeed. Here are a few:

    Q. If Joseph Smith was a fraud would that make the Book of Mormon a fraud too?

    IF JOSEPH SMITH WERE FRAUDULENT IN ALL ACTIONS,INCLUDING THE BofM…TRUE. BUT WHAT WAS HE PROVEN TO BE FRAUDULENT IN?

    Q. If Joseph Smith was a fraud would that make him a false prophet or a prophet of God?

    IF JS WERE FRAUDULENT IN ALL ACTIONS, INCLUDING ALL ACTIVITES AS A PROPHET..TRUE. BUT WHAT WAS HE PROVEN TO BE FRAUDULENT IN?

    Q. If Joseph Smith was a fraud does it mean the LDS church is based on a lie?

    ONLY IF HIS FRAUD WAS PROVEN AND IT INCLUDED ALL ASPECTS TO HIS CLAIMS OF DIVINE VISITATIONS, TRANSLATION OF THE PLATES, ETC ETC.

    Q. If Joseph Smith was a fraud then who's more foolish, him or the people that believe him?

    IF YOU CAN PROVE HE WAS A FRAUD IN ALL ASPECTS OF HIS CLAIMS, THEN WE WOULD BE FOOLISH TO BELIEVE IN HIS CLAIMS…..WHERE IS YOUR PROOF.

    Yet, none of the above questions were asked. I think those would be interesting to answer. Even better if they were followed by "why?".

    JOSEPH SMITH MAY HAVE BEEN A FRAUD AT ANY POINT IN HIS "LDS LIFE." THE QUESTION IS WAS HE? WHEN WAS HE? IF HE WAS INCORRECT, IS THAT FRAUD?

  72. Ya know,it's really hard to get Mormons to see our point of view when clowns like Mike Jones write on here. While I am non-denominational, I definitely lean more toward the Protestant faiths than Catholic/Orthodox/Mormon. However, it does make me shiver when I see Baptists getting slapped down in debates by Mormons, and I see it ALL THE TIME!!

    Therefore, to Mike Jones and the rest of his ilk: PLEASE do not speak for us Protestants anymore. Just go away and go pig out at Shoney's breakfast buffet with the rest of your "saved" brethren. Picking you to be on my side is like choosing Mister Bill to QB my team instead of Peyton Manning. Just do me a big, huge favor and GO AWAY!!!

  73. Just to follow up on 'Embarrassed Christian' – and incidentally that is not me. Mike Jones' comments are totally out of place.

    Yes I am a Christian, and I live near a Mormon temple.

    Coming from Australia I am trying to understand the various 'cultures' in North America. I was interested in the original question as to how Joseph History could write the 'Book of Morman' (if it was not through divine intervention).

    After reading the various emails, I am none the wiser. I would have expected better replies from those who considered the book to be a scam rather than the replies currently posted. Dr. T (if you really are a doctor), your response was totally inadequate – not one substantial fact.

    If anyone has something useful to say, please post.

    Stephen

  74. Stephen,

    As far as I know, all Native Americans are of mongoloid descent. I have not taken any history courses in nearly a decade, but I do remember that. I also read it is quite possible that not all (even though most) of the Native Americans over here crossed the frozen Bering Strait 10,000 years ago but that some could have actually crossed the Pacific. However, I do not know of any that are of Causcasian descent. I DO know that there was a group of Indians in the Pacific Northwest of the U.S. that practiced capitalism; they owned private property while the rest of the Indians in our country were communal. I have often wondered about their descent because, if memory serves me correctly, they did look "different" than the other Indians. Like I said, though, it's been 10 years so I have to dig up my notes and check it out. Even if they were not of the same descent as our other tribes, that still does not explain other Mormon theories I have read on here, like the Nephites and Lamanites being from Central America or the discovery of the Golden Plates in upstate New York (the NorthEASTERN part of our country).

    I'll do more on my research of the "capitalist" tribe. Somebody help me out with one thing – did the Hebrews in biblical times lean toward a communal society or were they capitalist?

  75. I have been raised mormon all my life. When I turned 16, i did research for myself and found that the church presented by the Mormans was not only a false docrtrine, but more than against what our God told us to believe. I converted to Christianity on my own against my family's wishes. If you believe in God and in the bible, then this one verse should change your mind. Galatians 1 6:9 says . . . 6 I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— 7 which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned! 9 As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let him be eternally condemned!

    The above passage tells all of us Mormon, Christian, Jewish, everyone that there is only one true word of God and if you stray from that, there will be consequences. Ponder this . . .

  76. "……Apr 25th, 2009 at 9:04 pm

    Josh Steimle….You are @#$##$ in the head just like all other Mormons. I pity anyone who is non-mormon to argue with a mormon. Why do it? They are all wackos. It’s the biggest joke cult started by a loser, down on his luck piece of @#$# named Joseph Smith. You guys have got to be freakin kidding. He’s the kind of guy you would see trying to scam a quick buck on a street corner…and he has the court record to prove it.

    Have a nice time on planet Kolob, @#$#$. hahahahahahahaha"

    What nerve my friend to speak such harsh words. i feel sorry for you!!! I would rather end up on kolob than on the place of a person who hates his neighbour for what they believe, who do you believe in and respect.. surely not God? If so, go speak to your pastor or someone about your problems… Shame on you !!!!

  77. Hey everyone, I ran across this blog tonight and I wanted to share a few thoughts of mine. Sorry they are a little long but I believer they are insightful. I was born in the Mormon church but left at the age of 18. On the first Sunday of each month, Mormons have a Testimony meeting. These meetings particularly bothered me as the most common phrase was something along the lines of: “I KNOW THE CHURCH IS TRUE” or “I KNOW THE GOSPEL HAS BEEN RETORED IN THE LATTER-DAYS”. I have a serious issue with people saying these phrases and I would like to explain why
    If I were to ask a Mormon whether or not their were eternal consequences for sin and eternal blessings for righteousness, they would most likely agree. I believe this concept can be accepted as a doctrine of the church and a doctrine of many other faiths. The problem lies in the fact that if a Mormon truly KNEW that the LDS gospel was true, they would NEVER SIN! You might at this point argue that this is not true because they are simply sacrificing the eternal rewards of the future for the temporary pleasure of today. However, this is not the case.
    Let me provide a scenario. Say I am a banker (who can only tell the truth) and I offer you 1 dollar today or 1.1 dollars one year from now. While some people might take the 1.1 dollars, I would imagine the majority of people would prefer the immediate 1 dollar. Now say I offered you 1 dollar today or 50 dollars one year from now. Now the majority of people will take the 50 dollars, but perhaps a few prefer the 1 dollar. As we can see, the % of people who take the 1 dollar decreases as the rate of return increases. Now let’s say I offered you 1 dollar today or an infinite amount of dollars one year from now. In this situation, everyone who understands that a dollar is a store of value will opt to wait 1 year or whatever amount of time necessary for the reward of infinite value. Once again, as the rate of return increases so does the % of people who opt to wait. Therefore, if the rate of return is infinite then 0 of the people will wait.
    From this, it can be concluded that if a Mormon knew their doctrine was true, then they would never sacrifice the eternal reward for a temporary reward on this earth by sinning. Now many of you might say that the reward or rate of return is not infinite. However, an eternal reward is the same as a infinite one in this situation. Let’s just imagine here that you are person A and you have been more righteous than person B. For this you make the celestial kingdom and person B makes the Telestial kingdom. Lets say that one day in the celestial kingdom as opposed to the Telestial kingdom is worth 500 dollars to you (I know dollars seem out of place but it is important to remember that a dollar is a store of value and therefore we can use them to describe the value in this situation). You might conclude that $500 is not infinite therefore I am wrong. However, this reward of yours is eternal. What’s 500 multiplied by infinity. The answer is infinity. Therefore because the reward is eternal it is also infinite.
    Now the key point I am trying to make is that no one who truly knows about this infinite reward would ever sin to give it up for a temporal and non-infinite pleasure from sin. Therefore, ANY MORMON WHO SINS DOES NOT KNOW THE MORMON GOSPEL IS TRUE. I know this sounds harsh, but even the Book of Mormon says that faith is not to have a perfect knowledge of things. If it is of knowledge, then it is no more of faith.
    So the key thing I want to say here is for you members of the LDS church to stop telling people that you KNOW the church is true or that you KNOW Joseph Smith was a prophet… because you don’t. The fact that you sin proves that you don’t. I agree that you may have faith and believe these things, but you don’t know them. So in the future, when you go up to bear your testimony please refrain from telling everybody what you know and tell them what you believe. I it seems weird to say “I believe the Book of Mormon is true” or “I believe this church has the restored gospel” but it’s what’s true. Thanks for reading and please comment if you disagree with anything or need clarification.

  78. AGAIN – let me reiterate on what I said previously:

    GVS, go away. That was pure, venomous garbage you just spewed. I happen to have some Mormon friends who are anything BUT whackos. They seem much more educated and polished than you do. Also, more Christian than you. So again, thanks for shaming our religion. At least say what denomination you are so I can distance myself from it.

    Smith a loser, huh? He started his own town and began a denomination that has nearly 15 million worldwide followers. Heretic? Probably. Loser? Anything but.

    Wanna know some more heresies, gvs? How about John Calvin and his abominable predestination garbage, that got specifically created some people to burn in hell? Sick! Some medieval popes? Instigated a few pograms against Jews on their way to the Crusades. Just getting the troops warmed up, I suppose. No wonder God let the Muslims win that one! How about Augustine and various other old timers who said unbaptised babies are heading to hell? Nice, real nice.

    What's my point? Even though Calvin spread his barbaric tripe through Presbyterianism, that does not mean that denomination is unChristian. Many Catholics are extremely devout Christians despite their church's past antics. Pope John Paul II was an awesome Christian; anybody that can survive the trials of Nazism AND Communism like he did is a testament to my religion.

    I guarantee you most denominations have heresies within them. But to call somebody a non-Christian that believes in Jesus as Lord and Saviour – hey, if you wanna do it, go for it.

    But do it in a polite, Christian manner. In other words, gvs, GO AWAY!!!

  79. grace-works.net

    Christianity is black and white. I bleieve that by Gods grace we are are saved. All we need to do is ask for it.

    When we pass from this life and are met at Heavans gates, do you really think that God is going to discuss doctrine before you enter into heavan?

  80. Andrew… I also get irritated to hear people from all angles making such statements…

    but not all the time. I do believe that some people do Know these things to be true. And others don't. As we read in D&C to some it is given to know that Jesus is the Christ and others to believe on their words….Not 100% quoted, go see for yourself if I quoted it in line with what it should be…

    So yes, many who say that they KNOW….probably don't… or at least not to the extent that you might refer to.

    My point is that anyone can Know these things to be true. I have felt on quite a number of ocasions that there are people who know. I treasure that…

    I also know when you get irritated with church or people in it or you do something that is out of line with the gospel, it becomes natural to get more and more irritated with being at church and listening to imperfect people teaching you to be perfect.

    I know…. and no jokes… the power of the spirit is real and powerful beyond mortasl reasoning. and when you feel that and become aquanted with that feeling you will recognise that you feel it when you understand truth or hear it from another an have it be a chance for the spirit to testify to you that more of the doctrines and principles are in fact…truth.

  81. gvs… do you know that the LDS church is true?

  82. i find it interesting that so many people find this "religion" worth talking about, but then again i'm crazy enough to too, for i googled info about Mormons so guess i'm a little bit like you nuts as well, huh? how is it we can waste so much time either trying to prove or debunk Mormanism, i guess those that don't believe it simply feel so insulted that so many fellow humans have fallen for something so blatantly false. are we humans so guilty of wanting so badly to believe in something higher that ourselves that we'll fall for anything that sounds convincing? yup, we need only look as far as religious fanatics to answer that!

  83. I responded to my friend's invitation to attend a Mormon "testimony" service. Andrew, one thing that struck me was the constant references of Mormons "knowing" the Book of Mormon to be true. I'm not sure why they have to keep saying it; it's as if they are all trying to convince themselves. I'm not saying that all first impressions are correct, but that was definitely the first impression I had of the church members.

    I believe that "faith" and "knowing" are not synonymous. I was not there when Smith wrote – or translated – the Book of Mormon any more than I was there when Jesus rose from the dead. I can only state that I "know" the truth when I have seen it with my own eyes. Instead, what I have to do is rely on scripture along with other eyewitness accounts of biblical messages, and I have to have "faith" that they are correct.

    "Blessed are they that do not see yet believe." Believe, not know. I just have to have faith.

  84. Dear Embarrassed Christian and others with like mind,

    What use is it, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but he has no works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food, and one of you says to them, "Go in peace, be warmed and be filled," and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that? Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself.
     But someone may well say, "You have faith and I have works; show me your faith without the works, and I will show you my faith by my works."
    You believe that God is one You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder. But are you willing to recognize, you foolish fellow, that faith without works is useless? Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up Isaac his son on the altar? You see that faith was working with his works, and as a result of the works, faith was perfected; and the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “AND ABRAHAM BELIEVED GOD, AND IT WAS RECKONED TO HIM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS,” and he was called the friend of God.
     You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone. In the same way, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way? For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead.

    When someone is called Christian or not you would do well to be careful how you judge. Demons believe in the Lord, but it doesn’t mean they are characterized by good. Also, be careful on praising a denomination. Search the Scriptures, nowhere does it say belonging to a certain denomination makes one a follower of Christ. However, we can know whether or not something is of the Lord based on its character. You cannot get bad fruit from a good tree, nor can you get good fruit from a bad tree. If a denomination is nothing more than a break off of a false religion, and holds to its practices even though a few are changed up, what does that mean? How would God judge massacres of innocent people? How would He judge them when His name is being used as an excuse to commit murder? Therefore, be careful when you praise a religion that is wrought with bloodshed. All must return to serve the living God not based on human understanding, but by the wisdom and instruction the Lord gives.

  85. I quickly glimpsed at the responses on this blog and would like to share why I believe the Book of Mormon to be a true book.

    ST JOHN 7:15-17

    15"And the Jews marvelled, saying How knoweth this man letters, having never learned?"
    16"Jesus answered them, and said, My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me."
    17"If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself."

    Paul later teaches the Corinthians in 1st Cor. 2:13-14:

    13"Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual."
    14"But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned."

    I understand that Christ said the Father would send everyone the Holy Ghost to "teach [us] all things, and bring all things to your remembrance" (ST JOHN 14:26).

    When I was a child I couldn't understand everything that was taught to me immediately. However, as I continued in studies and with practice, eventually I understood what I was being taught.

    Paul continued speaking to the Corinthians saying "I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able." He later mentions to them that because of their misunderstandings they were confused what to call themselves – some were saying they were of Paul or Apollos – just as people who believe in Christ are called Christians.

    It is the same in a Spiritual aspect. If you believe that we have Spirits(or souls, whatever you want to call it, but this is not part of my explanation) inside our bodies, then there is also methods to teach our Spirits too just as there are ways to teach us of things physically.

    What did Christ call the Holy Ghost in ST JOHN 14:26? The Comforter. The Comforter is to teach us things, and bring things to our remembrance. Why not then, could we get Divine instruction from God? Does the Spirit in your lives do this? I hope so, and if so, you are very well following God, regardless which religion you belong to.

    This is where my belief comes in. I believe the Book of Mormon to be the Word of God, along with the Bible, and other the other parts of the LDS Standard Works, to be true because over time I have learned in my studies and practices of what is taught in these scriptures are from God.

    God has given us the Bible, to inspire us, to uplift us, to give us hope, to help us develop charity, that the world would be a better place. I know the Book of Mormon does too. And if anyone reads it with the same intent they have with the Bible, they'll know that also.

    As I quoted Christ earlier in ST JOHN 7, if Joseph Smith were to write the Book of Mormon for selfish purposes, then he succeeded. He got his multiple wives, pride, blahbity blah blah blah.
    However, if he was doing Divine work, then he succeeded in that perspective too, as God used him as a tool to bring forth further records for us to learn about God. And for that I'm truly grateful for Joseph Smith.

    Think of something that you are so grateful to know right now. Think back at the time you learned about it. How would you feel if you never had that opportunity? I'm sure God understood that when He sent Prophets to the Ancient Americans long before Christopher Columbus discovered America, just as He sent Prophets to the Israelites.

    Therefore, I give thanks to all the men who contributed to these wonderful records we have today, including but not limited to Moses, to Abraham, to Solomon, to Daniel, to Christ and his wisdom, Paul, Peter, Nephi, Mormon, Joseph Smith, and today, Thomas Monson.

    This is why we as members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints go to so much extreme to invite people to give the Book of Mormon a chance and evaluate it and talk to God to see if it is true. That way we give others the opportunity to give the Book of Mormon a try. It is the same way with people who have strong testimonies of the Bible – they go and share the things they felt and they learned because of how much value they have found the sacred texts.

    If anyone does believe the Book of Mormon to be true, then it is easy to understand the stories that Joseph Smith claims. We don't need archeology to prove to us that fact, and that still wouldn't convince our Spirits just as Paul said to the Corinthians as I quoted earlier.

    We are a church that teaches correct principles and allow its members to govern themselves. There is no one forcing us to believe these things, there is no one to force us not to watch rated R movies, or look at Pornography, or drink alcohol. But I sure know deep down inside me that they are principles that a loving God would give us that we don't end up in the pitfalls that seems to be so prevalent in our day. We teach our family these things, and sure, you can say we shelter them from the world, I was sheltered, but when I see people with the negative consequences from not living correct principles, I am very thankful to be sheltered.

    I would like to close with my favorite scripture in the Book of Mormon, and you can skip it or read it, I don't care, but it is something that I believe to be true. And if you think about it, I bet you'll believe it's true too.

    The scripture is being said from a person named King Benjamin, who loved his people and worked with them. Just before he passed away he spoke to his people on a high tower, and had the words written so that everyone could hear. This scripture out of his speech is found in Mosaih chapter 2 verse 41 and it reads:

    "And moreover, I would desire that ye should consider on the blessed and happy state of those that keep the commandments of God. For behold, they are blessed in all things, both temporal and spiritual; and if they hold out faithful to the end they are received into heaven, that thereby they may dwell with God in a state of never-ending happiness. O remember, remember that these things are true; for the Lord God hath spoken it."

    It is because I strive to live the commandments that Jesus gave to us and further instruction from God through His modern Prophet today that I am happy. I love you all. And in Christ's name I leave you my testimony.

    Amen.

  86. I quickly glimpsed at the responses on this blog and would like to share why I believe the Book of Mormon to be a true book.

    ST JOHN 7:15-17

    15"And the Jews marvelled, saying How knoweth this man letters, having never learned?"
    16"Jesus answered them, and said, My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me."
    17"If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself."

    Paul later teaches the Corinthians in 1st Cor. 2:13-14:

    13"Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual."
    14"But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned."

    I understand that Christ said the Father would send everyone the Holy Ghost to "teach [us] all things, and bring all things to your remembrance" (ST JOHN 14:26).

    When I was a child I couldn't understand everything that was taught to me immediately. However, as I continued in studies and with practice, eventually I understood what I was being taught.

    Paul continued speaking to the Corinthians saying "I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able." He later mentions to them that because of their misunderstandings they were confused what to call themselves – some were saying they were of Paul or Apollos – just as people who believe in Christ are called Christians.

    It is the same in a Spiritual aspect. If you believe that we have Spirits(or souls, whatever you want to call it, but this is not part of my explanation) inside our bodies, then there is also methods to teach our Spirits too just as there are ways to teach us of things physically.

    What did Christ call the Holy Ghost in ST JOHN 14:26? The Comforter. The Comforter is to teach us things, and bring things to our remembrance. Why not then, could we get Divine instruction from God? Does the Spirit in your lives do this? I hope so, and if so, you are very well following God, regardless which religion you belong to.

    This is where my belief comes in. I believe the Book of Mormon to be the Word of God, along with the Bible, and other the other parts of the LDS Standard Works, to be true because over time I have learned in my studies and practices of what is taught in these scriptures are from God.

    God has given us the Bible, to inspire us, to uplift us, to give us hope, to help us develop charity, that the world would be a better place. I know the Book of Mormon does too. And if anyone reads it with the same intent they have with the Bible, they'll know that also.

    As I quoted Christ earlier in ST JOHN 7, if Joseph Smith were to write the Book of Mormon for selfish purposes, then he succeeded. He got his multiple wives, pride, blahbity blah blah blah.
    However, if he was doing Divine work, then he succeeded in that perspective too, as God used him as a tool to bring forth further records for us to learn about God. And for that I'm truly grateful for Joseph Smith.

    Think of something that you are so grateful to know right now. Think back at the time you learned about it. How would you feel if you never had that opportunity? I'm sure God understood that when He sent Prophets to the Ancient Americans long before Christopher Columbus discovered America, just as He sent Prophets to the Israelites.

    Therefore, I give thanks to all the men who contributed to these wonderful records we have today, including but not limited to Moses, to Abraham, to Solomon, to Daniel, to Christ and his wisdom, Paul, Peter, Nephi, Mormon, Joseph Smith, and today, Thomas Monson.

    This is why we as members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints go to so much extreme to invite people to give the Book of Mormon a chance and evaluate it and talk to God to see if it is true. That way we give others the opportunity to give the Book of Mormon a try. It is the same way with people who have strong testimonies of the Bible – they go and share the things they felt and they learned because of how much value they have found the sacred texts.

    If anyone does believe the Book of Mormon to be true, then it is easy to understand the stories that Joseph Smith claims. We don't need archeology to prove to us that fact, and that still wouldn't convince our Spirits just as Paul said to the Corinthians as I quoted earlier.

    We are a church that teaches correct principles and allow its members to govern themselves. There is no one forcing us to believe these things, there is no one to force us not to watch rated R movies, or look at Pornography, or drink alcohol. But I sure know deep down inside me that they are principles that a loving God would give us that we don't end up in the pitfalls that seems to be so prevalent in our day. We teach our family these things, and sure, you can say we shelter them from the world, I was sheltered, but when I see people with the negative consequences from not living correct principles, I am very thankful to be sheltered.

    I would like to close with my favorite scripture in the Book of Mormon, and you can skip it or read it, I don't care, but it is something that I believe to be true. And if you think about it, I bet you'll believe it's true too.

    The scripture is being said from a person named King Benjamin, who loved his people and worked with them. Just before he passed away he spoke to his people on a high tower, and had the words written so that everyone could hear. This scripture out of his speech is found in Mosaih chapter 2 verse 41 and it reads:

    "And moreover, I would desire that ye should consider on the blessed and happy state of those that keep the commandments of God. For behold, they are blessed in all things, both temporal and spiritual; and if they hold out faithful to the end they are received into heaven, that thereby they may dwell with God in a state of never-ending happiness. O remember, remember that these things are true; for the Lord God hath spoken it."

    It is because I strive to live the commandments that Jesus gave to us and further instruction from God through His modern Prophet today that I am happy. I love you all. And in Christ's name I leave you my testimony.

    Amen.

  87. Abraham Lincoln had less formal education than Joseph Smith, but he composed the Gettysburg Address. That is far better written than The Book of Mormon.

    The Book of Mormon claims to be a detailed history of pre-Columbian America from about 600 B.C. to about 421 A.D. Nevertheless, there is no archeological evidence that any of the events in The Book of Mormon happened. There is much evidence that the events did not happen. The Book of Mormon talks about the use of steel, horses, and wheat, but there is no evidence that these existed before the coming of the Europeans. Horses did exist in the New World prior to about 10,000 BC. but they were hunted to extinction by the Indians, whom DNA evidence links to north eastern Siberia, and not to the near east, as the Book of Mormon would lead us to believe.

    Joseph Smith was not deluded. He was certainly not a prophet. He was a fraud, pure and simple. Anyone who makes a dispassionate study of Mormonism will have to conclude that. That is why I would be reluctant to vote for a Mormon politician. We need politicians who are able to evaluate evidence.

  88. Mr. Engelman,

    "Abraham Lincoln had less formal education than Joseph Smith, but he composed the Gettysburg Address. That is far better written than The Book of Mormon."

    This is irrelevant as we do not base our belief in the Book of Mormon because a farm boy with little education could write such a record.

    As popular the belief that there is no archeological evidence to prove the Book of Mormon is true may be somewhat credible, but is this really how the Lord works to reveal truth to His children? We see Christ telling the Pharisees that "a wicked and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign" (Matthew 16:4). With your logic I ask you, where is faith found in tangible proof? Did you forget to read 1Corinthians 2:14 in the Bible? Paul says that the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God. If one was to put their faith entirely on archeological proof, they would be like unto the foolish man building a foundation on a stumbling block. God works through faith.

    Don't be so hasty in your judgments of other LDS members. Sure, there are good people and bad people, that is common in all races and religions. But to completely blind yourself to a worthy candidate in our government because of religion or race is not giving the individual a fair chance, neither is the behavior civilized. What would it be like to have Jesus Christ-a perfect person- as the head of our government? I'd vote for him without question. But what about the Pharisees or Sadducees, would they vote for Christ?

  89. It is so easy to believe that a book of myths is true when the religion that surrounds that book changes its stand on what the original author stated. For example, Joseph Smith was a living prophet of the LDS church in his day, but today's LDS living prophet does not adhere to his teachings because they are "out of date". Today Joseph Smith would be considered one of the Fundamentalist Mormons.

    Archeological evidence does help when someone says that his book is the truest and most correct book in the world. This is not about a sign from Jesus to prove that He is the Son of God, but rather to point out to a human that what is physically stated is physically true. If someone wants to argue that their book is the most accurate and most spiritual perhaps the simple things should be evident. Unfortunately, that is not the case with the book of the mormons.

    Remember: it is written that every word of God is tested. If the book of moromon is the word of God and it is put to the test reason would stand that it would have not only spiritual evidence but also physical evidence to back up its claim.

  90. "It is so easy to believe that a book of myths is true when the religion that surrounds that book changes its stand on what the original author stated. For example, Joseph Smith was a living prophet of the LDS church in his day, but today's LDS living prophet does not adhere to his teachings because they are 'out of date'. Today Joseph Smith would be considered one of the Fundamentalist Mormons."

    I've read pretty much everything Joseph Smith ever wrote or said that we have a record of, and I'm hard-pressed to think of any doctrine Joseph taught that differs from what is taught today. There may be different practices in the church today due to new revelations from God, but practices should not be confused with doctrine. Unfortunately, "fundamentalist Mormons" do not seem to understand this, which is why they break with the LDS Church. If Joseph Smith were around today, he would be teaching the same things being taught in the LDS Church today.

    "If someone wants to argue that their book is the most accurate and most spiritual perhaps the simple things should be evident."

    Why? It would be nice if what were true were always backed up by solid physical evidence, but sometimes something that is true is not accompanied by physical evidence. Perhaps God has set things up that way on purpose to see who believes because they recognize and are attracted to His teachings, and who believes only when solid physical evidence is presented and they cannot deny any longer. "…because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed." – John 20:29

    There is plenty of archeological evidence supporting the Book of Mormon, it's just that people who operate under the assumption that the book is not true choose to ignore it, just as people who do not believe the Bible is a factual account choose to ignore the evidence that supports it. Almost any argument that can be made against physical evidence lending credence to the Book of Mormon can also be used against the Bible.

  91. Andrew that was interesting. I find it annoying that members say they know the Book of Mormon is true. I'm embarrassed to say that I've said I know it is true hundreds (maybe thousands) of times as well. I understand why they say it and why they teach their children to say it as well. Understanding it doesn't make it logical. It's really sad that children are brainwashed into thinking that no one from this dispensation can enter the Celestial Kingdom with out the consent of a adulterous con artist.

    Josh you said "There is plenty of archeological evidence supporting the Book of Mormon" I would quantify "plenty" as being more then 5 but would accept even one strand of evidence. Can you provide any archeological evidences that support the BOM. I would love to see any evidence at all especially archeological. It would make my life a lot easier if I could find a reason to believe again and re-assimilate myself into the religion my family belongs to.

    You also said, "it’s just that people who operate under the assumption that the book is not true choose to ignore it" I doubt archeologists are giving much if any thought towards the BOM while doing their research. Are you capable of operating under the assumption that the book may not be true and not ignoring the evidence against it? Just curious.

  92. Jeff Lindsay has compiled a decent list of evidences supporting the Book of Mormon, so I'll refer you there for starters. But of course if you think the only thing holding you back from re-assimilating yourself back into the Mormon church is a lack of archeological evidence then you're going to be waiting a long time, because archeological evidence alone will never convince anyone the Book of Mormon is true, just as the considerably greater evidence of the truthfulness of the Bible still fails to prove to many that it is true and not mere mythology. The only way you can know if the Book of Mormon is true is to ask God and get an answer. Otherwise you'll be filled with doubts every time you hear something new that seems to undermine the authenticity of the book, then you'll overcome it as those claims are debunked, and then you'll read something else against the book and have doubts again, and you'll never get anywhere.

    I don't ignore the evidence against the Book of Mormon. One of the main reasons I started this blog was to investigate all the contrary claims and see where they lead. Granted, I know the book is true so there's a bias that's tough to get around, but I like to think I'm approaching the matter with an open a mind as possible given the circumstances. I'll admit I was a bit hesitant when I started on this task, since I didn't know what I would find and I was afraid I'd find something that would really shake me, so I was at least that open-minded, but so far I've been disappointed at the lack of sophistication of arguments against the Book of Mormon. Most of them don't hold up under the most superficial inspection, with MormonThink.com being the lone exception I've found. It actually takes some time and research to work through some of the stuff that guy brings up.

  93. There are 3 sides to the issue. The first is physical evidence. Secondly, there is spiritual evidence. Finally, there is personal opinion (or belief).

    Physical evidence can be proved or disproved.

    Spiritual evidence can be proved or disproved.

    Personal opinion (or belief) cannot be argued against.

    Aborigine Americans are descendents of Asians and not Jews. This was proven by architectual evidence and deoxyribonucleic evidence. Buildings of the aborigines resemble that of Asian culture and not that of Jewish or Egyptian culture. The DNA speaks for itself. What does it mean? Either JS got it wrong in his translation or the BOM is a fairytale.

    Jesus was a good Jew and the emigrant Jews to the New World had no fellowship with God. Under the Law of Moses the Jews had to be at the temple in Jerusalem 3 times a year for specific feasts. Jesus made a point to attend them. Yet, the so-called Jews in the New World somehow could never make it. It did not matter where you were living in the world, if you were a male Jew you had to be where the tabernacle was 3 times a year. Unfortunately, the Jewish New Worlders did something they shouldn't have done. But in 2 Nephi 5: 10 it says: "And we did observe to keep the judgments, and the statutes, and the commandments of the Lord in all things, according to the law of Moses." So these Nephites kept the law? Once again either JS got it wrong in his translation or the BOM is a fairytale.

    The above are to examples of physical and spiritual evidence. Just because the proof is there doesn't mean an individual would believe it. Anybody can believe a lie with all their heart. Even Hitler knew this to be true. But what does God really say about the heart? He said not to trust it. Interesting!

    Here's an excercise to try and let me know the results. In this exercise you will find that a burning stove top will not burn your hands.

    A) Turn the burner on the cooking stove to the highest setting.

    B) Pray to God to tell you if the burner is going to burn your hand or not.

    C) When the burner is glowing bright orange/red place your hand on it palm side down.

    D) Pray to God to tell you if the burner is going to burn your hand or not.

    E) Keep your hand on the burner for 1 hour at its highesrt setting (if that's physically possible).

    F) Pray to God to tell you if the burner is going to burn your hand or not.

    G) Remove your hand and write down your results.

    If you do this exercise and your hand gets anywhere from a 1st to 3rd degree burn than I do not believe you had enough faith. You should try again. When you open up your heart to God your hand shouldn't get burned.

  94. "Aborigine Americans are descendents of Asians and not Jews. This was proven by architectual evidence and deoxyribonucleic evidence. Buildings of the aborigines resemble that of Asian culture and not that of Jewish or Egyptian culture. The DNA speaks for itself."

    Actually nothing of the sort has been proved. The "science" of "disproving the Book of Mormon by DNA evidence" is so shoddy anyone with basic intellectual capacity can see through it after doing 10 minutes of research. I won't go into detail since it's been debunked in detail elsewhere, but here's the simple version:

    Problem #1. We don't know what the DNA profile of the people of the Book of Mormon were. We don't know how "Jewish" their DNA was, or if they were partially Arab, or Asian, or what they were.

    Problem #2. The DNA upon which the "science" is based was from modern-day "Jews". But modern-day Jews are anything but pureblood descendants of the people who lived in Jerusalem at 600 BC. And even if they were…there's still Problem #1.

    Problem #3. There's nothing in the Book of Mormon, and no doctrine of the LDS Church, that claims that ALL native populations of North and South America are descendants of the people in the Book of Mormon. It is true that many Mormons are of this opinion, but only those who have done little or no research, which most are not inclined to do since it doesn't seem to be a matter of much importance and is only a minor curiosity.

    So, the only way that DNA could disprove the Book of Mormon would be if we were able to get a DNA profile from someone's remains from 600 BC, in the Jerusalem area, who MUST have been genetically related to the Book of Mormon people (assuming they existed), and then compare that to the DNA profile of someone who is a native of North or South America who MUST be a descendant of the Book of Mormon people (again, assuming they existed). How would you even begin to be able to do this? You couldn't. Finding a DNA match that supports the Book of Mormon would be the proverbial needle in the haystack. Using DNA to discredit the Book of Mormon would be many times more difficult, the equivalent of proving there is not and never was a needle in the haystack…and it's a big haystack.

    "Under the Law of Moses the Jews had to be at the temple in Jerusalem 3 times a year for specific feasts."

    What about the Jews who were taken captive into Babylon? And was the law that they had to be at the temple in Jerusalem, or at a temple? Cause the Nephites did have a temple…but if there were only one temple in the Old World, then of course the scriptures would have referred to "the temple" rather than "a temple" since those writers were not aware of any other temple to which Jews could have gone.

    "Just because the proof is there doesn’t mean an individual would believe it."

    I totally agree with you on this point. It's incredible to me that people can deny the overwhelming evidence that the Book of Mormon is true :)

    "But what does God really say about the heart? He said not to trust it."

    We can quibble over the usage of the word "heart" in the scriptures but the real questions are; 1) does God still speak to man? if so, 2) how?, and 3) what is He saying?

    Whether it's described as a feeling in the heart, or words in the mind, or events that prove to one God's hand in their lives and His will concerning them, or God appearing and speaking out loud like one person speaks to another, the point is that God either speaks or he doesn't. in the LDS Church we claim He still does communicate with us, in many different ways, and that anyone with an open mind and heart can receive the same communication and prove to themselves that what the LDS Church claims is true.

    As for the exercise, obviously you're trying to create some sort of allegorical statement, but I'm not sure what it is…why would someone need to pray to God about something that is obvious? Why would someone pray to God about something that has already happened, and the results of which are plain?

  95. "As for the exercise, obviously you’re trying to create some sort of allegorical statement, but I’m not sure what it is…why would someone need to pray to God about something that is obvious? Why would someone pray to God about something that has already happened, and the results of which are plain?"

    And that is the same reasoning as to why anyone one would believe Joseph Smith is a prophet of God and the Book of Mormon is the word of God. The results are plain! Just like the wall of Jericho, it all came crumbling down.

    • That just doesn't make any sense. If it were plain, or crumbling down, then the LDS Church wouldn't have 200,000+ new converts each year. It wouldn't be one of the few religions where statistics have shown that its members are more likely to be active in it as their level of education increases. It wouldn't be the religion of highly respected CEOs, statesmen, educators, authors, scientists, and other leaders of society. Not that those things prove it's true, but they would seem to cast doubt on the idea that it's "plainly" false. Jim Jones, Manson, and the like led groups that were plainly false, which is why their followers numbered in the hundreds or less and were short-lived. The LDS Church has survived almost 200 years of criticism and persecution of all sorts, and yet has continued to grow during all that time.

  96. Actually it makes complete sense. Just because your numbers are high doesn't mean squat. Muslims have by far the greatest numbers than any religion. Doesn't mean that what they believe is from the Lord.

    Jesus said, "Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it. Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them. Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?' Then I will tell them plainly, 'I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!' Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash."

    Jesus also said, "Strive to enter through the narrow door; for many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able."

    You seam pleased to boast of your great numbers. As you can see the larger the number the larger the road…to DESTRUCTION! Therefore it is true, like the walls of Jericho, it all came crumbling down.

  97. "Just because your numbers are high doesn’t mean squat." – I never suggested the numbers of LDS members means the religion is true, nor was I using the numbers to boast. I know enough math to know that 13 million Mormons is pretty smaller compared to a billion Muslims, a billion Catholics, or a billion Hindu. I only brought it up because you claimed Mormons are just as crazy as someone who would put their hand on a stove and leave it there, and I said I doubted you could convince a few hundred thousand people per year to do that, no matter what resources you possessed. Perhaps you think it would be easier than I do, but I think the comparison is silly.

    "As you can see the larger the number the larger the road…to DESTRUCTION!" – If anything, this supports the Mormon faith, since our numbers are indeed small compared to every other major religion.

    As for the other scriptures you cite, how do you know it isn't Mormons who are building on a rock? How do you know it isn't the Mormon church that has true prophets? We study the Bible and read all these scriptures and interpret them as supporting our faith. Who is to say our interpretation is not correct?

  98. “Problem #1. We don’t know what the DNA profile of the people of the Book of Mormon were. We don’t know how ‘Jewish’ their DNA was, or if they were partially Arab, or Asian, or what they were.”

    Maybe they weren’t Jews at all since they didn’t speak or write in the language of the Hebrews. If we don’t know how Jewish or Hebrew someone is then that shoots the BOM way down. But I’m sure that’s okay and God was only kidding about only the descendents of Aaron could hold the position of High Priest under the Law. Also, John the Immerser could not pass on the Aaronic priesthood to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery because there is no way to prove that John was really from the tribe of Levi and a descendant of Aaron. (Oh wait…John was dead already. Herod had him beheaded. John was never a High Priest. Therefore, John could not pass the position onto anyone.) There is no way that you can prove he was a Jew. (Even if John was a Jew he could not pass the Levite priesthood onto someone who was not a Levite. As a matter of fact the only way to be a Levite priest was to be born a Levite. In order to be a High Priest one had to be born a descendant of Aaron. It’s a genetics thing, and it’s a birthright thing.) God must have been joking about the Savior would be a descendant of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob (a.k.a. Israel), and David. Perhaps Jesus wasn’t as Jewish as we thought He was.

    Or is it that you do not understand science and how DNA testing is done? It is my opinion you should do more research on the subject of DNA and genetics and see all the different ways it is accomplished.

    “I never suggested the numbers of LDS members means the religion is true, nor was I using the numbers to boast. I know enough math to know that 13 million Mormons is pretty smaller compared to a billion Muslims, a billion Catholics, or a billion Hindu.”

    1. You stated, “That just doesn’t make any sense. If it were plain, or crumbling down, then the LDS Church wouldn’t have 200,000 new converts each year. It wouldn’t be one of the few religions where statistics have shown that its members are more likely to be active in it as their level of education increases. It wouldn’t be the religion of highly respected CEOs, statesmen, educators, authors, scientists, and other leaders of society. Not that those things prove it’s true, but they would seem to cast doubt on the idea that it’s “plainly” false. Jim Jones, Manson, and the like led groups that were plainly false, which is why their followers numbered in the hundreds or less and were short-lived. The LDS Church has survived almost 200 years of criticism and persecution of all sorts, and yet has continued to grow during all that time.”

    2. Are you sure this isn’t boasting?

    3. Is boasting a matter of interpretation?

    4. How do you know that the religions of Jones, Manson and like groups are false?

    5. So what does 200,000 really mean? It seems that using the opens the number to interpretation. 2000,000 could equal 1 million. So do the math, 13 million now plus 1 million a year = megachurch. However, megachurch is subject to interpretation.

    “I only brought it up because you claimed Mormons are just as crazy as someone who would put their hand on a stove and leave it there, and I said I doubted you could convince a few hundred thousand people per year to do that, no matter what resources you possessed. Perhaps you think it would be easier than I do, but I think the comparison is silly.”

    I wrote, “If you do this exercise and your hand gets anywhere from a 1st to 3rd degree burn than I do not believe you had enough faith. You should try again. When you open up your heart to God your hand shouldn’t get burned.”

    1. I never said nor wrote putting a hand on a stove is crazy or that a person is crazy for doing so.

    2. I never said nor wrote that those of the LDS religion or believe the religion are crazy.

    3. However, the word “crazy” is subject to one’s own interpretation.

    4. The word “burned” is subject to one’s own interpretation.

    5. My exercise is a test of faith.

    6. Another result of my exercise is that it will be proven that a red hot stove is indeed cold.

    7. Hot and cold is a matter of interpretation.

    8. By reason, when you take something's temperature, you find its heat, not its cold. Because something feels cold is matter of the beholder's opinion, or interpretation, and what they are used to. It can be said 60 degrees (Fahrenheit) would feel cold to someone who lives and Arizona, but the same 60 degrees might feel hot to someone who lives in Antarctica.

    9. Anyone can be convinced of anything at anytime at anyplace.

    By the way, to say or write that I said or wrote that Mormons are crazy or putting a hand on a stove is crazy is an outright lie. To tell a lie makes one a liar. A liar cannot be trusted because a liar doesn’t speak the truth. However, I’m sure you’ll figure out a way to make a lie come across as a matter of interpretation.

    As a reminder, the subject of this thread is “If Joseph Smith was a fraud where did the Book of Mormon come from?” Why is it so hard to let people answer the question? If somebody offers objective proof to the BOM as being a story of myths what’s your problem with that? Why do you need to hide behind emotions and opinions than to look at the evidence and decide objectively? (Some of the points that are being argued against JS and his writings are done by people who use to be LDS.) Why is it that all the “professional” arguments supposed to support the BOM and JS as a prophet is done by people who include a disclaimer that the thoughts and opinions are that of the individual and does not necessarily reflect that of the LDS church? (This is the disclaimer on the homepage of this website: “I am by no means a scholar, historian, or expert on any of this, I'm merely somebody who is interested in learning more about his own religion, responding to criticism, and fostering productive dialogue.”) In a way this discussion, as well as others, reminds me of “1984” by George Orwell.

    People will argue their opinions all they want. Next thing you know it the Theory of Evolution is taught as a fact. (Gee…I wonder how many people are convinced of this lie on a yearly basis.)

    Here’s a well known fact: The Joseph Smith Translation is a revision or translation of the King James Version of the Bible in English, which the Prophet Joseph Smith began in June 1830. He was commanded by God to make the translation and regarded it as part of his calling as a prophet. The Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints published the first edition of Joseph Smith’s inspired translation of the KJV Bible in 1867. They have published several editions since that time. Yet it is not the official Bible of the LDS church.

    I had always wondered why the compilations of the KJV Bible, BOM, D&C, and POGP never included the JST. It is interesting that a church will not use their prophet’s bible, but claim the bible of King James of England as the authoritative bible.

    If the church cannot accept the JST bible as official how does that church expect to truly convince people to trust in the BOM as fact?

    Rather than argue your opinion, do as your disclaimer says, learn more about your religion. You have done well in responding to criticism. Fostering productive dialogue? Perhaps.

    • Alright, now for Iconoclast…

      "Or is it that you do not understand science and how DNA testing is done? It is my opinion you should do more research on the subject of DNA and genetics and see all the different ways it is accomplished." – Feel free to point me to a website detailing the methods used to "prove" the Book of Mormon can't be true using DNA and I'll create a new post on the matter since it's not relevant to the topic of this post.

      "Are you sure this isn’t boasting?" – I suppose it's a subjective matter. According to my interpretation of the word "boasting" no, it isn't.

      "Is boasting a matter of interpretation?" – Apparently.

      "How do you know that the religions of Jones, Manson and like groups are false?" – As near I can tell, their teachings, practices, "prophecies", etc. bear no resemblance to anything I know to be true.

      "So what does 200,000 really mean? It seems that using the opens the number to interpretation. 2000,000 could equal 1 million. So do the math, 13 million now plus 1 million a year = megachurch. However, megachurch is subject to interpretation." – I'm not sure what point you're trying to make with this paragraph…

      Regarding the whole stove thing, I'm afraid you've lost me completely. I'm not sure what your original point was, so I tried to guess at what it was, but perhaps I was mistaken, and going back and reading through it all I'm more confused than ever at what point you were trying to make.

      "As a reminder, the subject of this thread is 'If Joseph Smith was a fraud where did the Book of Mormon come from?' Why is it so hard to let people answer the question?" – It's pretty easy to let people answer the question, but it does seem difficult for people to stick to answering the question and not getting off on unrelated tangents which, I'll admit, I facilitate somewhat by responding.

      "If somebody offers objective proof to the BOM as being a story of myths what’s your problem with that?" – I have no problem with that, I just haven't seen any objective proof yet.

      "Why do you need to hide behind emotions and opinions than to look at the evidence and decide objectively?" – If we can agree that "hiding behind emotions and opinions" means to not examine information using logic and reason and you feel I have done that then by all means call me out on it. I'm not infallible, but my goal here is to use logic and reason and I think I do a reasonable job, but hey, like I said, if you think differently then call me out on it and I'll admit my mistake.

      "Why is it that all the 'professional' arguments supposed to support the BOM and JS as a prophet is done by people who include a disclaimer that the thoughts and opinions are that of the individual and does not necessarily reflect that of the LDS church?" – Because the LDS Church is the only organization with authority to declare what the doctrine of the LDS Church is. I might misunderstand a point of doctrine and therefore argue something that isn't even what the LDS Church says it is. Or I might argue a point the LDS Church has never taken a stand on, but which I believe to be true. For me to imply that whatever I say on this blog is exactly what is taught by the LDS Church would simply be factually inaccurate, hence the disclaimer to warn people to not blindly trust everything I say and to make sure nobody gets the idea that I'm saying what I'm saying with any authority of the LDS Church.

      Regarding the Joseph Smith Translation, I created a new post on that – Why Do Mormons Use the King James Version of the Bible Instead of the Joseph Smith Translation?

      Whew, I need to get back to work.

  99. The Church of Latter Day Saints expands because of its extensive missionary program. Nevertheless, most converts are not well educated. Prominent Mormons are nearly always people who were born into the faith, and who have not investigated its very shaky foundations.

  100. "Not much archeological work on the Book of Mormon was done until the last few decades, and there are quite a few discoveries that have been and continue to be made that lend credence to the Book of Mormon narrative. To say no one has found anything is patently false. Just because you haven’t heard about it yet doesn’t mean the evidence isn’t there."

    – Joshua Steimle

    Where is the evidence you are talking about? The Smithsonian Institution sets the standard for archeology. This is what they have to say about that.

    ——–

    Statement regarding the Book of Mormon by the Smithsonian Institution

    Document SIL-76 Spring 1986

    1. The Smithsonian Institution has never used the Book of Mormon in any way as a scientific guide. Smithsonian archeologists see no direct connection between the archeology of the New World and the subject matter of the book.

    2. The physical type of the American Indian is basically Mongoloid, being most closely related to that of the peoples of eastern. central, and northeastern Asia. Archeological evidence indicates that the ancestors of the present Indians cane into the New World – probably over a land bridge known to have existed in the Being Strait region during the last Ice Age – in a continuing series of small migrations beginning from about 25,000 to 30,000 years ago.

    3. Present evidence indicates that the first people to reach this continent from the East were the Norsemen who briefly visited the northeastern part of North America around A.D. 1000 and then settled in Greenland. There is nothing to show that they reached Mexico or Central America.

    4. One of the main lines of evidence supporting the scientific finding that contacts with Old World civilizations if indeed they occurred at all, were of very little significance for the development of American Indian civilizations, is the fact that none of the principal Old World domesticated food plants or animals (except the dog) occurred in the New World in pre-Columbian times. American Indians had no wheat, barley oats, millet, rice, cattle, pigs, chickens, horses, donkeys, camels before 1492. (Camels and horses were in the Americas, along with the bison, mammoth, and mastodon, but all these animals became extinct around 10,000 B.C. at the time when the early big game hunters spread across the Americas.)

    5. Iron, steel, glass, and silk were not used in the New World before 1492 (except for occasional use of unsmelted meteoric iron). Native copper was worked in various locations in pre-Columbian times, but true metallurgy was limited to southern Mexico and the Andean region, where its occurrence in late prehistoric times involved gold, silver, copper, and their alloys, but not iron.

    6. There is a possibility that the spread of cultural traits across the Pacific to Mesoamerica and the northwestern coast of South America began several hundred years before the Christian era. However, any such inter-hemispheric contacts appear to have been the results of accidental voyages originating in eastern and southern Asia. It is by no means certain that even such contacts occurred; certainly there were no contacts with the ancient Egyptians, Hebrews, or other peoples of Western Asian and the Near East.

    7. No reputable Egyptologist or other specialist on Old World archeology, and no expert on New World prehistory, has discovered or confirmed any relationship between archeological remains in Mexico and archeological remains in Egypt.

    8. Reports of findings of ancient Egyptian Hebrew, and other Old World writings in the New World in pre-Columbian contexts have frequently appeared in newspapers, magazines, and sensational books. None of these claims has stood up to examination by reputable scholars. No inscriptions using Old World forms of writing have been shown to have occurred in any part of the Americas before 1492 except for a few Norse rune stones which have been found in Greenland.
    http://www.utlm.org/onlineresources/smithsonianle

  101. Hi John, I figured that comment was worthy of its own post as a response, so here you go:

    Smithsonian Institute Statement Regarding the Book of Mormon

  102. In the Begining:
    Brigham Young: "Take up the Bible, compare the religion of the Latter-day Saints with it, and see if it will stand the test." Journal of Discourses, Volume 16, p. 46, 1873.

    Orson Pratt: "Convince us of our errors of Doctrine, if we have any, by reason, by logical arguments, or by the Word of God and we will ever be grateful for the information and you will ever have the pleasing reflections that you have been instruments in the hands of God of redeeming your fellow beings." The Seer, p. 15.

    Joseph Fielding Smith: "Mormonism, as it is called, must stand or fall on the story of Joseph Smith. He was either a prophet of God, divinely called, properly appointed and commissioned, or he was one of the biggest frauds this world has ever seen. There is no middle ground." Doctrines of Salvation, Page 188.

    What we really mean is:
    Mormon leaders demand total obedience regardless whether they are right or wrong. The ward teacher's message for June, 1945, stated: "When our leaders speak, the thinking has been done. When they propose a plan–it is God's plan. When they point the way, there is no other which is safe. When they give direction, it should mark the end of controversy. God works in no other way. To think otherwise, without immediate repentance, may cost one his faith, may destroy his testimony, and leave him a stranger to the kingdom of God." (Improvement Era, June 1945, p. 354) Herber C. Kimball, First Councilor to Brigham Young, clarifies further: "But if you are told by your leader to do a thing, do it. None of your business whether it is right or wrong." (Journal of Discourses, vol. 6, p.32}

    The Book of Mormon has events similar to and/or phrases identical to or nearly identical to those found in:
    A. The preface to the King James Bible
    B. 21 chapters of Isaiah
    C. The Apocrypha (These are the books in the Catholic Bible which are between the Old and New Testament. Machabees is an example.)
    D. James Adair's History of the American Indians (This contains 23 arguments that American Indians are descendants of Hebrews. It also tells of buried plates (5 copper and 2 brass) kept by an Indian tribe.) (London: E.&C. Dilly, 1775)
    E. Josephus' War of the Jews
    F. Ethan Smith's View of the Hebrews (1823, Poultney, Vermont, Smith & Shute, particularly p. 150). Ethan Smith preached in Poultney, Vermont from 1821 to 1826. Poultney, Vermont is near the location of many of the families who founded Mormonism.
    G. Shakespeare's Macbeth
    H. Shakespeare's Hamlet
    I. The October 22, 1823 Wayne Sentinel story by Asa Wilds of a vision with "Great Jehovah" which said, "…every denomination was corrupt."
    J. Manuscript Found (a manuscript written by Solomon Spalding.) Strong historical evidence points to the historical story line of the Book of Mormon being taken from a manuscript written by Solomon Spalding called Manuscript Found, which was missing from the printer in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Sidney Rigdon lived near Pittsburgh and knew the printer, J. Lambdin.

    The Book of Mormon contains some 27,000 words from the King James Bible, approximately 25,000 from the Old Testament and approximately 2,000 from the New Testament. If the King James Bible was published 1,190 years after Moroni allegedly buried the gold plates in 421 A.D., how did Moroni incorporate the 1611 A.D. King James Bible (including two Hebrew to English translation errors) into his gold plates? It's impossible. Thus based upon this alone, the Book of Mormon cannot be the translation of an ancient document.

    Pamela Tucci, of the National Geographic Society, had this to say: “The Society has never used the Book of Mormon to locate archaeological sites, and we do not believe that any of the places named in the Book of Mormon can be placed geographically by the evidence of archaeology. So far as we know there is no archaeological evidence to verify the history of early peoples of the Western Hemisphere as presented in the Book of Mormon.”

    Something from history:
    "We the undersigned [sixty-two (62) residents of Palmyra NY], have been acquainted with the Smith family, for a number of years, while they resided near this place, and we have no hesitation in saying, that we consider them destitute of that moral character, which ought to entitle them to the confidence of any community. They were particularly famous for visionary projects, spent much of their time in diggings for money which they pretended was hid in the earth; and to this day, large excavations may be seen in the earth, not far from their residence, where they used to spend their time in digging for hidden treasures. Joseph Smith, Senior, and his son, Joseph, were in particular, considered entirely destitute of moral character, and addicted to vicious habits." E.D. Howe, Mormonism Unvailed, Zanesville, Ohio, 1834, p. 261

    In 1835 Joseph Smith prophesied concerning the coming of the Lord. At a meeting called by Joseph Smith he instructed the Latter day Saints that it was "the will of God" to go forth and "prune the vineyard for the last time, for the coming of the Lord, which was nigh even fifty six years should wind up the scene." (History of the Church, vol. 2, p. 182) Eight years later he reinforced this by stating: "I prophesy in the name of the Lord God, and let it be written; the Son of Man will not come in the clouds of heaven till I am eighty five years old." (History of the Church, vol.5, p. 336). Unfortunately, he decided to go out like in a blaze of glory. Many will try to refute the coming of the Lord prophecy because he also said “if he lived to be 85” earlier in the prophecy. If one chooses to do their research they will find the prophecy was altered just a little bit. The original prophecy which is found in Smith's diary (April 6, 1843) stated: “I prophesy [sic] in the name of the Lord God and let it be written: that the Son of Man will not come in the heavens until I am 85 years old, 48 years hence or about 1890.”

    So what do we have here? The “prophet” saying the Lord would come at some point. The last point ending in 1890. There was no “if's” about it. The Lord was to come when Joseph was 85 years old, or 48 years after the prophecy was given, or in 1890. It was going to be one of those three. Yet, here we are…in 2010!

    • As for the larger message, I'll get to that in due time. I've already read all that stuff and if I haven't addressed it already on this site then it should make for some good new posts.

  103. The various plates and records referred to in the Book of Mormon and used in making it are (1) the plates of brass; (2) the record of Lehi; (3) the large plates of Nephi 1; (4) the small plates of Nephi; (5) the plates of Mormon; and (6) the twenty-four gold plates of Ether.

    Moroni, as the story goes, only took back the golden plates.

    Anyone want to explain what happened to all the other plates?

    Surely some of these should be around to investigate whether or not the abridgement of JS is correct.

    • Plates of brass – These are referred to in the Book of Mormon, but were not part of the plates Joseph Smith received. That is, Joseph did not receive the original plates, although some of the writings from the Plates of Brass were copied onto the plates Joseph did receive.

      The record of Lehi – This was part of the plates Joseph received. They were the 116 pages Martin Harris was "loaned" and which were lost.

      Large and small plates of Nephi – Writings from these books were included on the plates Joseph received…and I may be wrong on this but I'm pretty sure the physical plates were not part of the plates Joseph received.

      Plates of Mormon – I think you must be referring to the general "golden plates" here.

      Ether – These were abridged and the abridgment is part of the plates Joseph received.

      The "golden plates" were "one book" in the same sense that the Bible is one book, but also many books in the same way the Bible is. So to answer the question "What happened to all the other plates?" well, Joseph only received one set of plates, the "golden plates". I don't know where all the others are. Maybe in a cave somewhere in Central America? If anyone knows, I sure don't.

  104. Hi Joshua Steimle. I've been reading this entire thread and there was one post by MikeChad on August 18, 2009 at 6:43p.m. I never saw a response from you on that. You seem to respond to almost everyone else so I was wondering about your opinion on MikeChad's post. I am currently trying to understand the Mormon religion. I don't want to debate with you, I am simply curious as to what you think about his post.

  105. As a practical matter I can't respond to every comment because I have a day job, plus sometimes comments are posted that I don't see.

    …and upon reading MikeChad's comments, I don't have time to respond to them myself, and other sources have done a much more extensive job of responding than I ever could, so I'll refer you to where you can find the answers.

    Items 1-5 and 9 are worthy of fairly in-depth responses which I think are best handled by the book Rough Stone Rolling by Richard Bushman. However, I've tried to include links where possible since I don't expect everyone to rush out and buy and read that lengthy book which is probably the most realistic and frank examination of Joseph Smith's life.

    But here are some online resources:

    1. "Joseph Smith has released many different accounts of the 'first vision'." – Response: Isn't it odd that there are different versions of the First Vision story?

    2. "Joseph Smith had a history of being a treasure seeker, using 'seer stones' to find treasure. What a coincidence that he would end up using stones to translate the plates." – Response: Occultism, Seer stones, Divining, and Money-Digging

    3. a. "Joseph Smith translated the plates in his hat?" – Responses: Egyptians, Horses, and Rocks in Hats and Joseph the Seer—or Why Did He Translate With a Rock in His Hat?

    b. "And when Martin Harris lost the 116 pages he had to abandon that work and move on to the story of Nephi, which was very similar but just from a different perspective." – This one is easy–the book of Nephi covered many of the same events as the book of Lehi. Two people, two "diaries" or "journals" if you will, but within the same family and having more or less the same experiences, and so you have two books that are separate yet similar.

    4. "I 1842, Joseph Smith became a Mason. However, on the same day of his joining he rose to the highest rank of Master Mason. It seems that he would have had to have some previous contact with them to rise to this rank in only 1 day" – My cursory research didn't find a direct answer to this question, but here are some general resources on Mormonism and Masonry:

    The Relationship of "Mormonism" and Freemasonry

    How does one explain similarities between Masonic and temple ritual?

    Are Mormon Temples and the Mormon Temple Ceremony Derived from Masonry?

    5. "It is now known that Joseph Smith had at least 33 wives, several of these women were already married, this is complete adultery. Joseph Smith attempted to cover up his fornication by claiming it was 'ordained by God'" – Response: I really think it's difficult to sort through what is fact and what isn't with regards to this topic, and to understand how things fit together without reading Bushman's book Rough Stone Rolling, so I'm not going to attempt a response nor refer you to anything online because nothing I've found in my brief search compares to the amount of research Bushman has done on this matter. If you're after the truth, go read the book.

    6. "failed prophecies of Joseph Smith":

    a. "Joseph Smith prophesied that Jesus would return in 56 years" – Response: The Alleged Fifty-Six-Year Second-Coming Prophecy of Joseph Smith: An Analysis

    b. "He prophesied that a temple would be built in West Missouri during his generation" – Response: Joseph Smith/Prophecies/Independence temple to be built "in this generation"

    c. "He even claimed that the moon was inhabited by 6ft tall men" – Response: Joseph Smith/Moon inhabited

    7. "When Joseph Smith died, in his pocket was a Jupiter Talisman. This talisman is supposed to have the superstitious power to bring one fortune, power, and women. Why would a prophet of God carry and believe in the power of one of these?" – Response: The Jupiter Talisman Myth

    8. "In the Journal of Discourses, Brigham Young (A supposed prophet of God) makes many racist remarks. I do not believe in a racist God, nor do I believe that a prophet of his would harbor such feelings." – Response: What’s up with Brigham Young and all those racist statements he made?

    9. "The whole deal with Temples and the ceremonies within, to me, seems to be just a creation of Joseph Smith influenced by his membership in Free Masonry." – See responses to #4 above.

    10. "The whole conversion method used by missionaries to convert people is absurd. Asking people to read the Book of Mormon and then pray for a “burning in their bosom” SERIOUSLY??? A funny feeling give me a break. The bible tells us that the heart is the very deceptive (Jeremiah 17:9, Proverbs 12:20) so we are going to prove a book and religion true by a feeling we get. Similar feelings can be produced by the body as a result of many things. Such a feeling does not prove anything."

    Response: I was an LDS missionary for two years, and I never told anyone to pray for a "burning in their bosom", nor was I taught to do so. What we told people was to pray and ask God as the Bible teaches in James 1:5 "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him." In answer to the question "How will I know if God is answering me?" we would say that maybe the person would feel something, a feeling of peace, of assurance, of certainty, or knowledge. Maybe the answer would come in a different way, but that if they were sincere in their desire to know the truth and live it, then they would get an answer one way or another, enough that they would be able to rely on it. Choose any means of communication between God and man in the Bible, and that's a means by which a person could receive knowledge from God that the Book of Mormon is true.

    I've gone through this myself, and as for the feeling I get it's not what I've felt from anything else. I'm not even sure I'd concede that any other feeling I've ever had is similar to it, although I can only speak for myself and not others.

    Whew, ok. I hope that's all helpful, NewGirl.

  106. I feel like discussing the mormon faith with someone and hopefuly break them out of this cult, of which is very misleading, heritical, false, and aberrant theology.

  107. NewGirl, I would like to know where this MikeChad got his information. A lot of anti-mormon literature are full of lies and misconception. If you want to understand the Mormon religion, I suggest that you talk to the missionaries. They teach the basic doctrine of our beliefs and it is very clear and easy to understand. If you fill your head with doubt to begin with, you will never understand and will never be able to make connections. Questions are okay, but ask ones that are relevant; such as, "What do you Mormons believe on how salvation is achieved?" Really, I think you'll enjoy the Elders, try them out.

    As for you Kevin, why do you call the Mormon religion "very misleading, heritical, false" and classify our doctrine as "aberrant theology?" I strongly believe our values and standards are quite promising and everlasting. There are, however, Mormons that follow their beliefs, and those that are less valiant. But, if you notice those that do live their beliefs, you'll find that they enjoy a life full of happiness, harmony, and peace. Following principles that you claim as "very misleading, heritical, [and] false" seem to have a very positive outcome. Perhaps you should try living our Gospel one day and see for yourself–you just might surprise yourself.

  108. Plainly and simply the bible states you can't add to or take from it, so knowing and having read this, how can ANYONE LEGITIMATELY believe in Mormonism?

    That's END GAME right there, there is nothing anyone can say that can change what that scripture means.

    Don't even waste my time with a response because you are deceived and are unwilling to acknowledge this simple fact.

    In no way have I insulted you or your faith, but before god how can you discredit his word for that of man?

  109. Well, Happy Easter to you too MegaFacePalm! :)

    I never waste my time responding to concerns about the beliefs of the LDS church, for "the worth of souls is great in the sight of God" (D&C 18:10).

    Are you aware that it says that you can't add to the bible in four different places? Look up these scriptures:

    1.) Deuteronomy 4:2
    2.) Deuteronomy 12:32
    3.) Proverbs 30:6
    4.) Revelations 22:18-19

    Are you aware that in the NIV Bible (As well as the Jehovah's Witness Bible) there are missing scriptures? Try and find out what the NIV Bible says about these verses:

    1.) Acts 8:37
    2.) Matthew 17:21
    3.) Matthew 18:11
    4.) Acts 15:34
    5.) 1 John 5:7

    There are plenty more that I could list, but you should have observed by now that they are missing. What does that mean according to Revelations 22:19?

    Have you ever studied the Nicene Creed? It was an attempt to unify all Christian beliefs. However, in this attempt, the creed created a much larger stumbling block as "they have taken away from the gospel of the Lamb many parts which are plain and most precious; and also many covenants of the Lord have they taken away" (1 Nephi 13:26).

    As sacred the Biblical texts are, nevertheless, "We believe the Bible to be the Word of God as far as it is translated correctly" (Articles of Faith 8). It was decided long ago which books were canonized. There are missing epistles in the New Testament as well as the words of other prophets in the Old Testament. Here are a few references to them, but where are the actual references to them in the Bible?

    1.) Book of Jehu – 2Chronicles 20:34
    2.) First Epistle to Corinth – 1Corinthians 5:9

    There are so much more, but if you research this subject you will find a lot of interesting articles. You will also notice that there is much more to the Bible, but it is all missing.

    MegaFacePalm, and others who read this, do you understand what I'm trying to point out? This is why we Mormons believe in a living prophet. To reveal God's will for us today, not just in the past found in ancient texts. There is so much confusion between all the Christian denominations that Joseph Smith prayed to God to know which one to join. God and Jesus appeared to him and he was told to join none of them. Not that they were bad or evil, but they chose him to be a prophet in this last dispensation.

    To allow God's word to be removed is only taking someone away from His influence. To restrict God from adding to His own word presents the stubbornness one has for further instruction from God. Does God still love us today? Yes, this is why He will continue to give us daily scripture for our day, for our conditions in present day, for our benefit for the adversity we face today. If God had more to tell us, would we restrict Him to add it to his Word?

    Christ, quoting the words found in Deuteronomy, "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God" (Matthew 4:4). I believe the Bible, The Book of Mormon, The Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price are all words that "proceedeth out of the mouth of God" and intend to do my best to live by those words found therein.

    I encourage you to keep an open mind and doubt not the Power of God.

  110. How can any men ever become Gods when the Bible says, “Before me there was no god formed, neither shall there be after me”? (Isaiah 43:10)

    If Jesus was conceived as a result of a physical union between God and Mary, how was Jesus born of a virgin? (Journal of Discourses Vol. 1, page 50)

    If Lehi left Jerusalem before 600 B.C., how did he learn about synagogues? (See II Nephi 26:26)

    What kind of chariots did the Nephites have in 90 B.C. some 1500 years before the introduction of the wheel on the Western Hemisphere? (Alma 18:9)

    According to Hebrews 7:24, the Melchizedek Priesthood is not transferable. Why do Mormons pass it from one to another?

  111. Ok, I think I'm going to have to crack down on all y'all. This post is me asking you the question "If Joseph Smith was a fraud where did the Book of Mormon come from?". If you want to ask me a question, that's awesome, but let's have everyone ask those questions in the appropriate place, which is on the post Ask a Mormon Anything. From now on, I'm not responding to any more questions posted to this post unless they're directly related to topic of the post.

  112. As the question states, "If Joseph Smith was a fraud where did the Book of Mormon come from?” is to make the assumption that Joseph Smith was a fraud (i.e a false prophet). Therefore where could the Book of Mormon come from? Three major test are to be applied in order to reach that answer.

    First: INTERNAL EVIDENCE TEST
    Second: EXTERNAL EVIDENCE TEST
    Third: BIBLIOGRAPHICAL TEST

    A major factor that plays into the tests is objectionable proof. No feelings, no opinions, No personal interpretations, just the cold hard facts.

    Let's take a look at the BIBLIOGRAPHICAL TEST. The bibliographical test examines the manuscript authority of books and writings based on the NUMBER of MANUSCRIPTS in EXISTENCE and their CLOSENESS to the ORIGINAL. Below is a comparison of textual material from notable literature of antiquity.

    AUTHOR WRITTEN EARLIEST COPY MANUSCRIPT COPIES
    Caesar 100 – 400 BC 900 AD 10
    Plato (Tetralogies) 427 – 347 BC 900 AD 7
    Tacitus (Annals) 100 AD 1100 AD 20
    Pliny the Younger 61 – 113 AD 50 AD 7
    Thucydides 460 – 400 BC 900 AD 8
    Suetonius 75 – 160 AD 950 AD 8
    Herodotus 480 – 425 BC 900 AD 8
    Sophocles 796 – 406 BC 1000 AD 193
    Catullus 54 BC 1550 AD 3
    Euripides 480 – 406 BC 1100 AD 9
    Demosthenes 383 – 322 BC 1100 AD 200 (All 200 derived from 1 copy)
    Aristotle 384 – 382 BC 1100 AD 49 (No more than 49 of any 1 work)
    Aristophanes 450 – 385 BC 900 AD 10
    Homer (Iliad) 900 BC 400 BC 643
    New Testament 40 – 100 AD 125 AD 24,000
    Book of Mormon 600 BC – 421 AD 1829 AD 1 (2 if the printers copy is included)

    Based on the information above one could say that the Iliad is more spiritually and factually accurate than the Book of Mormon. However, we call it mythology. What is really sad is that "The printer's manuscript is not an exact copy of the original manuscript." (http://eom.byu.edu/index.php/Book_of_Mormon_Manuscripts) The printer's manuscript was written the same year as the original! Couple it with the fact that none of the metal plates the Book of Mormon was supposed to be carved on do not exist. The earliest manuscript was written on paper. Even the story of its translation appears to be mythological. It appears the Book of Mormon fails the bibliographical test.

    • That's interesting, but doesn't prove anything nor does it answer the question. The book exists, there's no argument about that since anyone can get a copy for free and read it. If it didn't come from where Mormons say it came from, then where did it come from?

  113. Those listed from Caesar to the New Testament were written in the language the author spoke and wrote. That language is Greek. The earlist manuscript and all the copies are written in the same language. That language is Greek.

    The Book of Mormon is supposed to be written in Reformed Egyptian. The earliest manuscript and its copy is written in English. Where are the Reformed Egyptian copies to match up to the original language of the author? Do the math and you will see something does not add up. I think we all know the answer as to why. There are no early copies of the Book of Mormon in Reformed Egyptian. The Book of Mormon was written in the language of the author. The language of the author was English.

    By the way, if JS and his witnesses could not make an accurate copy of the original what does that say about its authenticity? The same men who made the copy were the same ones who wrote down the original manuscript. They used the original manuscript to make a copy. The copy of the original was written shortly after (within that same year)they completed the original. The errored copy known as the "printer's copy" is what the LDS have treasured for many years…until they changed it.

    Let me spell it out for those who do not quite understand this.

    The only manuscripts that we have for the Book of Mormon is written in English not Reformed Egyptian. There is no authenticity for the Book of Mormon other than being a man made document written by Joseph Smith in 1829.

  114. Iconoclast, you raise some good questions. However, they are easily answered.

    If you have read the Book of Mormon, you would know that Nephi in his first chapter says that the record was written in "the language of the Egyptians," but written according to the "learning of the Jews" (1 Nephi 1:2).

    Therefore, the Book of Mormon was written in reformed Egyptian, but was written with a Hebraic style. I will illustrate to you how unique and authentic the Book of Mormon is by pointing out an interesting style of writing found therein. The unique written style found throughout the entire book are chiasmus, which is an inversion of two parallel phrases.

    Take for example, one of the most notable chiasmus found in the Book of Mormon, Alma 36. You can find an article about it here (It will also go over more on the subject of chiasmus):
    http://www.jefflindsay.com/chiasmus.shtml#alma36

    Joseph Smith must have gotten the record from an authentic source. Smith may have translated the record into English, but it was definitely written with a Hebraic style. I might also add that all the repetitions that Smith is accused of for being redundant and ignorant will be much more greatly appreciated in the light they originally shone.

  115. I am a member of the LDS faith and have been on both sides of the coin. I went on an LDS mission then fell away for years. I tried justifying my actions by going against the beliefs that I had once had. I started believing all the anti literature that I could find. Once I had hit the bottom, I came to a hard reality. Either you believe in a God or you believe in the big bang, the question hard to even ponder is where did God come from? The other question is where did the matter come from that started the big bang? Both questions have no answer, but yet I would much rather believe in life after death and seek as much understanding as possible. I will say this. Out of all the people that I ran across who were once members of the LDS faith and fallen away, most of them fall away because they are either offended from another member or they like a little booze or a beer during the superbowl or have a different life during the week. Sunday they put on the suit and pretend everything is ok, all the while looking for something or someway to justify what they are doing wrong. When someone starts bashing the church I can ALWAYS tell if they were once a member of it. ALWAYS…. ive been there. There are very few that leave for other reasons.

  116. Can anyone that is learned in Hebrew, Aramaic, or Reformed Egyptian give substance to DHarris' comment: "Therefore, the Book of Mormon was written in reformed Egyptian, but was written with a Hebraic style."

    Can anyone in this world, other than the LDS apologists, show what reformed Egyptian in Hebraic style looks like?

    "Joseph Smith must have gotten the record from an authentic source."

    Yet, there is no authentic source to match it to except the English manuscript. No reformed Egyptian, no metal plates, no Hebrew or Aramaic, and no Greek. I guess the English manuscript JS conjured up could be considered an authentic source since that's the language the Book of Mormon was written in for years.

    "Joseph Smith may have translated the record into English, but it was definitely written with a Hebraic style."

    Really? So where is this manuscript to back up what you are saying? The only manuscripts that we have of the Book of Mormon is in English. Also, the book was written in the style of 17th century Poetic British English. English styles and Hebrew styles are very different.

  117. This is why I don't try to prove the Book of Mormon is authentic. There is no objective proof. Evidence, yes, proof, no. Subjective proof, yes, you can get that by asking God, but it only works for the individual.

    But with regards to your questions Iconoclast "Where are the Reformed Egyptian copies to match up to the original language of the author?", "…if JS and his witnesses could not make an accurate copy of the original what does that say about its authenticity?"

    There are no Reformed Egyptian copies, nor a copy of the original. But this doesn't prove the Book of Mormon is false, all it proves is that either they didn't make any copies, or that any copies they made were destroyed or lost. This is merely a lack of evidence to prove the Book of Mormon is true, but it doesn't do anything to prove that the Book of Mormon is false.

    As for the statement "There is no authenticity for the Book of Mormon other than being a man made document written by Joseph Smith in 1829." well of course there's plenty of evidence to show that Joseph Smith didn't write it himself. For most people that's obvious from a superficial reading of the book. It would be difficult for someone with a 50-year education in ancient civilizations, ancient writing styles, and access to the Internet to write a book like the Book of Mormon. If Joseph Smith wrote it there would be all sorts of internal consistency errors, and it would be plainly obvious that there was a sole author. There are just too many things in the book that don't make sense for a backwoods, poorly educated young man to have created on his own.

    Of course if you want to make the case that someone else wrote it, go ahead, but I think the idea that Joseph wrote it on his own out of his own head doesn't stand up too well.

  118. The Book of Mormon came from the imagination of Joseph Smith. It is just that simple. As an imaginative work, The Hobbit, and The Lord of the Rings, by J. R. R. Tolkien are more complex, more compelling, and better written.

    The Book of Mormon reveals no knowledge of what was really happening in the New World between 500 BC to 300 AD.

  119. The BoM may exist indeed. It exists like the Eddur. And the Eddur are considered to be religious books to some, but they are plainly fictional. Yet there is one fact that the Eddur has over the BoM and that is some people named existed. It can be proven that Odhinn traveled from the Middle East and settled in the Norse country.

    I will have to agree with John Engelman. The bottom line is that BoM is a fictional work created by Joseph Smith. He may have had some help from his "reliable" scribes. However, these same men who pieced this work together couldn't make an accurate copy of their original work. That's pitiful when you consider the copy (a.k.a. printer's copy) was made the same year as the original. It's even more pitiful that the printer's copy is what was used to publish the BoM. Since 1830 the religions that use the BoM as their scriptures have been believing a lie. Strange that one would pray to God to have the revelation of the truth of the BoM and get an answer that it is a book of truth when indeed it was no where close to accurate.

    "This is merely a lack of evidence to prove the Book of Mormon is true, but it doesn’t do anything to prove that the Book of Mormon is false."
    What makes is false as another testament of Jesus is the following:
    No internal evidence.
    No external evidence.
    No bibliographical evidence.
    It violates the Law, the Prophets, and the Psalms.

    "This is why I don’t try to prove the Book of Mormon is authentic. There is no objective proof. Evidence, yes, proof, no. Subjective proof, yes, you can get that by asking God, but it only works for the individual."
    Uhhh…proof IS evidence. If this is the only way one can prove the BoM to be true then, once again, it is false. Perhaps a thread should be started called "Who Took the Moroni 10:3-5 Test and the Answer Came Back as Not True?"

    Therefore the BoM fails objective tests and subjective test.

    I believe many will benefit from the following websites. http://www.jesus4king.org/ http://www.jesusforking.com/

  120. One of my pet fascinations is Biblical archeology. The earliest mention of Israel can be found on the Merneptah Stele. This dates to 1213 to 1203 BC. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Merneptah_Stele

    The Tel Dan Stele, dates to the 9th or 8th centuries BC. It mentions "the House of David." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tel_Dan_Stele

    Israelite kings Ahab, Jehu, and Hezekiah are mentioned in Assyrian writings that were discovered and deciphered in the nineteenth century. A Babylonian account of the fall of Jerusalem has been found and deciphered.

    In addition, kings, empires, and nations mentioned in the Bible have also been mentioned in pagan writing in ancient Greek and Latin.

    Nothing like this exists for the Book of Mormon. There is no independent evidence that anything in the Book of Mormon happened.

    Mormons like to associate the events of the Book of Mormon with pre Columbian civilizations in the New World. Nevertheless, these pre Columbian civilizations were polytheistic, and practiced human sacrifice. Pre Colombian architecture was in no way influenced by the architecture of the Israelites. If Christianity had existed in the New World for several centuries, as the Book of Mormon asserts, it would have left an archaeological record that does not exist.

  121. John:

    "The Book of Mormon came from the imagination of Joseph Smith. It is just that simple." – Great, what evidence do you have that an 1800s farm boy with a 3rd grade education and being all of 20 or so years old could have come up with such a thing on his own?

    "The Book of Mormon reveals no knowledge of what was really happening in the New World between 500 BC to 300 AD." – Once again, what proof do you have of your statement?

    Icono:

    "However, these same men who pieced this work together couldn’t make an accurate copy of their original work." – I'm assuming when you say "original work" you mean actually copying down the characters from the Book of Mormon, or am I misunderstanding you? If that is what you mean, perhaps it isn't that they couldn't but simply that they didn't.

    If you mean they couldn't make a copy of the original manuscript that was dictated, there's more to it than that. Read Numerous Hebraic Language Structures and it will be clear why creating the printer's copy wasn't as easy as a straight copy job.

    "No internal evidence." – You've given me one or two examples, but nothing convincing as of yet.

    "No external evidence." – There's plenty. Book of Mormon Evidences is a good start.

    "No bibliographical evidence." – You haven't convinced me this matters.

    "It violates the Law, the Prophets, and the Psalms." – Only according to a subjective interpretation of such.

    "Uhhh…proof IS evidence." – Yes, proof is evidence, but evidence is not necessarily proof. There is supporting evidence, and conclusive evidence. There is plenty of supporting evidence for both sides of the argument regarding the veracity of the Book of Mormon. There is no objective, conclusive evidence either way. Not yet, anyway. But there is a simple way individuals can get conclusive, subjective evidence.

    As for “Who Took the Moroni 10:3-5 Test and the Answer Came Back as Not True?”, there's only one way to not get an answer, and that's to not fulfill all the requirements of the test :)

  122. John:

    “The Book of Mormon came from the imagination of Joseph Smith. It is just that simple.” – Great, what evidence do you have that an 1800s farm boy with a 3rd grade education and being all of 20 or so years old could have come up with such a thing on his own?

    “The Book of Mormon reveals no knowledge of what was really happening in the New World between 500 BC to 300 AD.” – Once again, what proof do you have of your statement?

    —–

    I have already answered your first question by pointing out that Abraham Lincoln had less than a year of schooling. No one denies that Joseph Smith was intelligent. All he needed to learn was how to read. Even then, if he had been better read he would have avoided some of the mistakes that have made Mormonism vulnerable. If he had known about the Rosetta Stone, for example, he would not have pretended to translate an ancient Egyptian manuscript into the Book of Abraham.

    I have already answered your second question with this link: http://www.utlm.org/onlineresources/smithsonianle

  123. "Great, what evidence do you have that an 1800s farm boy with a 3rd grade education and being all of 20 or so years old could have come up with such a thing on his own?"

    The stories that are circulated do not say he penned his works. Rather he dictated them.

    List of JS's scribes:

    Emma Smith (wife to Joseph Smith)

    Reuben Hale (brother to Emma Smith)

    Olivery Cowdery (school teacher)

    Members of Peter Whitmers family (farmers)

    Objects JS used:

    Seer stones (often called by some the Urim and Thummim)

    Hat

    Objects JS did not use:

    The metal plates (sometimes they were not in the same area when JS spoke the words.

    The idea that the BoM could not come from the imagination of Joseph Smith is a complete failure. Of my children the oldest child's level of reading and writing is far below his siblings. He is 2 years behind what his classmates are. His younger siblings are 2 levels above those children. However, my son can dictate a story in great detail with little to no flaw from his imagination. He speaks words in proper usage. When he speaks you would never figure out that he can barely read or write. This would be the same for Joseph Smith. Socrates never wrote anything; all his ideas were written down by his student, Plato.

    Abraham Lincoln was uneducated. Albert Einstein was considered uneducated. Stonewall Jackson considered to be uneducated. J.R. Simplot was uneducated. The list goes on.

    Want a list of other backwoods uneducated people? To add more insult to injury check out this link: (please note the names of famous authors)
    http://www.angelfire.com/stars4/lists/dropouts.ht

    God has given us all differing skills or talents. Just because one didn't have an education by social standards does not take their talent away. Joseph Smith had a talent for story telling.

    • Iconoclast – I guess my response to John could have been to you as well. Once your kid writes (or dictates) a 500-600 page book like the Book of Mormon and under similar conditions, let me know and then we can talk about how realistic it would have been for Joseph Smith to create the Book of Mormon on his own. Or if you can find anyone else who has done something similar that would work just as well.

  124. John – If you want to convince me that Joseph Smith could have created the Book of Mormon, then here's what you'll need to do:

    – Write a book of 500-600 pages.
    – Call it a sacred book if you will, and give it the form of a history.
    – Tell of a community of wandering Jews in ancient times.
    – Have all sorts of characters in your story, and involve them in all sorts of public and private vicissitudes; give them names–hundreds of them–pretending that they are real Hebrew and Egyptian names of circa 600 b.c.
    – Be lavish with cultural and technical details–manners and customs, arts and industries, political and religious institutions, rites, and traditions.
    – Include long and complicated military and economic histories.
    – Have your narrative cover a thousand years without any large gaps.
    – Keep a number of interrelated local histories going at once.
    – Feel free to introduce religious controversy and philosophical discussion, but always in a plausible setting.
    – Observe the appropriate literary conventions and explain the derivation and transmission of your varied historical materials.
    – Include in your paper more than 500 different descriptive titles for deity.
    – Because this is supposedly an ancient Hebrew record, give numerous and multiple examples of ancient Parallelistic Hebrew literary forms. Have whole pages, even chapters and larger sections written in Parallelistic (chiastic) patterns.
    – Dictate your story to a scribe. Leave your script as you dictate it, and never ask your scribe to tell you where you left off after lunch or the end of a day. On his own, your scribe can adjust capitalization, punctuation, the spelling of traditional words, and some simple grammar, but that is all.
    – Dictate parts of your story in non-chronological order.
    – Be sure to credit these parts of your story to different writers, varying your manner of using words and phrases so that a distinct separation of language style can be detected by modern word print analysis.
    – Do not use the Internet, a library, or do any extensive research other than to read those books you have at hand or can borrow from neighbors.
    – Keep a day job and earn a living while writing your book.
    – Get three people to sign their names to a public statement claiming that the book you wrote was translated from gold plates that an angel came down and showed to them. Make sure those three people never deny the statement they signed for the rest of their lives, even if they end up denouncing you as a fraud later.
    – Get 11 more people to claim that you showed them the gold plates from which you allegedly translated the book.
    – Do not ever contradict yourself.
    – Publish your book as a true history.
    – After you have completed the book you may make no changes in it other than correcting grammatical and spelling errors.
    – Invite any and all scholars to read and criticize your work freely, explaining in all seriousness to them that it is a sacred book on a par with the Bible.
    – Make sure the book is convincing enough that a religion will spring up around the book, and that over the next 175 years will attract several million people who claim the book is the word of God.
    – Do all of this in 60 days.

    • Also, regarding the Smithsonian letter, I already responded to that here. The letter(s) (there appear to be several versions) say nothing of whether the Book of Mormon is true or not, only that the Smithsonian doesn't use the Book of Mormon in their research, and that they don't have any knowledge that would contribute to evidence of it being true, which of course they don't since they haven't researched the Book of Mormon or its relation to archaeology.

  125. Joshua Steimle,

    Once again, there is no independent evidence that any of the events in the Book of Mormon happened. The languages of the American Indians have no evidence of a Hebrew background. The architecture of the pre Columbian Indians have no evidence of a Hebrew background either.

    1 Nephi 18:25 reads, "And it came to pass that we did find upon the land of promise, as we journeyed in the wilderness, that there were beasts in the forests of every kind, both the cow and the ox, and the ass and the horse."

    Those animals did not exist in the New World before the coming of the whites. Horses had existed 10,000 years ago, but the Indians hunted them to extinction.

    2 Nephi 5:15-16 reads, "And I did teach my people to build buildings, and to work in all manner of wood, and of iron, and of copper, and of brass, and of steel…And I, Nephi, did build a temple; and I did construct it after the manner of the temple of Solomon."

    There is no evidence of the use of iron, brass, and steel before the coming of the whites. No buildings have been discovered that resemble the temple of Solomon, or any other building in the ancient Near East.

    2 Nephi 10:3 reads, "Wherefore, as I said unto you, it must needs be expedient that Christ – for in the last night the angel spake unto me that this should be his name – should come among the Jews."

    Here Joseph Smith does not seem to know that "Christ" means "Messiah." It is not a name.

    Mosaih 9:9 reads, "And we began to till the ground, yea, even with all manner of seeds, with seeds of corn, and of wheat, and of barley."

    There is no evidence of wheat and barley before the coming of the whites.

    Alma 16:13 reads, "And Alma and Amulek went forth preaching repentance to the people in tehir temples, and in their sanctuaries, and also in their synagogues, which were built after the manner of the Jews."

    Here again, there is no evidence of buildings that resemble synagogues prior to the coming of the whites.

  126. "The Book of Abraham is a purported translation made in 1835[1] by Joseph Smith, Jr. of a set of Egyptian papyri purchased from a traveling mummy exhibition. According to Smith, the book was "a translation of some ancient records….purporting to be the writings of Abraham, while he was in Egypt, called the Book of Abraham, written by his own hand, upon papyrus".[2] Smith's translation of the papyri describes a story of Abraham's early life, including a vision of the cosmos.

    "The complete work was first published serially in the Latter Day Saint movement newspaper Times and Seasons in 1842.[3] and later canonized in 1880 by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) as part of their Pearl of Great Price.[1]…

    "The Book of Abraham papyri were thought lost in the 1871 Great Chicago Fire. However, in 1966 ten fragments of the papyri were found in the archives of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. Subsequently, an additional fragment was located in the LDS Church Historian's Office…Non-Mormon Egyptologists generally consider the Book of Abraham to be unrelated to the text of the papyri which are portions of Egyptian funerary texts, dating to about the first century BC.[4] Non-Mormon Egyptologists say the papyri text bears no resemblance to the translation given by Joseph Smith…Critics view the discrepancy as evidence that the Book of Abraham is solely a 19th century work by Joseph Smith." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Book_of_Abraham

    ——-

    The Book of Abraham proves beyond the shadow of a reasonable doubt that Joseph Smith was a religious charlatan. This is an excellent video of the Book of Abraham. It has been credited with destroying the faith of Mormons who were open minded enough to evaluate evidence: http://www.bookofabraham.info/

  127. It is a well known fact that the Book Of Mormon is a fake. Here is one undeniable proof that it was copied right from many Old Testament sciptures. Now before you argue the point with me just think of what I am saying. It is a fact that there were some iterpretational errors in the Old Testament when it was translated from the origial Hebrew text to the King James version. These errors were later corrected in our newer Bibles such as the NIV and so forth. Now these errors appear in the Book of Mormon as well. Thus prooving that it was copied directly from the King James version. This is a fact. If you wish to learn more go to youtube and find "Walter Martin on Mormonism" and "no" this guy is not a "guru" of exposing The Book Of Mormon as nonsence but He has done his research and it is undeniable.

  128. "Iconoclast – I guess my response to John could have been to you as well. Once your kid writes (or dictates) a 500-600 page book like the Book of Mormon and under similar conditions, let me know and then we can talk about how realistic it would have been for Joseph Smith to create the Book of Mormon on his own. Or if you can find anyone else who has done something similar that would work just as well."

    Perhaps I'll get at least eight people to write down what he says since he cannot read or write very well. I think you will stand in awe at the linear stories he can tell. All this from his imagination. However, he doesn't need to stick his face in a hat to do so, but he can if need be. I'll find a couple stones to toss in too. Only he's way younger than 20 so he has some time to practice.

    There is a good question is in regards to this third grade education level of Joseph Smith's. Which standard are we using? Today's or that of the 1800's? In that time if you completed the twelfth grade it would be comparable to getting a four year college degree in this day.

    "Joseph Smith's family was religious, but in general refrained from committing to a single denomination, as was common among frontier people in those days. The family regularly read the Bible together, prayed together and were deeply concerned with the welfare of their souls." (historyofmormonism.com)

    His family READ TOGETHER the Bible! Yet, it would not be any Bible. It so happens that IT WAS the King James Version. The READING LEVEL for this Bible is that of a TWELFTH GRADER by today's standards. However, JS could read it on his own, understand what is being said, then pray to God for answers. How remarkable! A third grader being able to understand what a twelfth grader could! I's say that's very good for an idiot.

    We are being led to believe that the Smith's were frontiersmen. Sorry folks, but at this time Vermont, New Hampshire, and New York was not considered frontier country. It was far from being classified as frontier. The territories that came from the Louisiana Purchase that was frontier country.

    Let us find out how JS could have came up with the BoM on his own (or with a little help from his friends). What writings was he (or they) exposed to during that time?
    A. King James Bible
    B. The Apocrypha
    C. James Adair’s History of the American Indians (This contains 23 arguments that American Indians are descendants of Hebrews. It also tells of buried plates (5 copper and 2 brass) kept by an Indian tribe.) (London: E.&C. Dilly, 1775)
    D. Josephus’ War of the Jews
    E. Ethan Smith’s View of the Hebrews (1823, Poultney, Vermont, Smith & Shute, particularly p. 150). Ethan Smith preached in Poultney, Vermont from 1821 to 1826. Poultney, Vermont is near the location of many of the families who founded Mormonism.
    F. Shakespeare’s Macbeth
    G. Shakespeare’s Hamlet
    H. The October 22, 1823 Wayne Sentinel story by Asa Wilds of a vision with “Great Jehovah” which said, “…every denomination was corrupt.”
    I. Manuscript Found (a manuscript written by Solomon Spalding.
    If we remove all these items what would we be left with? Not much except a few little battles here and there. Doesn't sound so inspired to me. I'd say that it would be easy to come up with a book of 500 to 600 pages when all one has to do is plagiarize.

    I find it humorous that those who are so convinced of their beliefs will try to convince that Joseph Smith could not come up with a story like it without Divine Nature. To me I get this picture of a guy who is such an imbecile that the only job that he could get with his education is to clean toilets at the local McDonald's; that he has to ride the short bus to work while having difficulty removing his helmet so he can lick the windows. I'm not trying to come across rude, but I'm not the one trying to paint this so called prophet as uneducated.

    I'm not going to convince those who are set in their ways. I do believe there are those who want to know the truth. The truth is the BoM is a fictional story from the imagination of Joseph Smith. He dictated his story to at least eight different people at differing times.

  129. Iconoclast,

    We have been though this before. As comparatively recently as 1900 only 6% of Americans graduated from high school. In the nineteenth century many brilliant people achieved great things with little formal education. One of them was Abraham Lincoln.

    The Book of Mormon is a creative work of imaginative fiction. It makes assertions about the New World prior to the coming of the whites that are clearly wrong. None of it can be independently verified. There is no such thing as Book of Mormon archaeology.

    I have read the Book of Mormon. Having read the Bible in several English translations, I was not at all impressed with the Book of Mormon. Indeed, I found it rather boring.

    Quite aside from the fraudulence of the Book of Mormon is the Book of Abraham. Joseph Smith bought an ancient Egyptian manuscript and claimed to be able to translate it. He claimed that by some miraculous coincidence the manuscript had been written by Abraham. Well, the manuscript has reemerged. It has been translated by people who can really read ancient Egyptian writings. The real translation bears no resemblance to what Joseph Smith claimed it meant. Mormons have come up with a number of twisted explanations for that. Those explanations are simply comical. It is really pathetic that anyone takes them seriously at all.

  130. It is obvious when reading the Book of Mormon as well as learning the doctrines of LDS that it is a different Gospel than that which has been taught to us by Christ and the Apostles. We are also told that it was revealed to Joseph Smith by an Angel. One would do well to acknowledge the words of the beloved Apostle Paul before falling for this nonsense…………..But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. Galatians 1:8

  131. In Washington, DC on Columbia Road near 16th Street there is a coffee house named the Potter's House. During the 1970's there would be a talk there on Monday, beginning at 7:00 PM, and lasting a half an hour. This would be followed by a half hour question and answer period. I usually attended these talks.

    Once a Mormon who was also a prominent Washington lawyer gave a talk. I told him that I had been proselytized by Mormon missionaries, and asked, "What would you say to the argument that the Book of Abraham was not really written by Abraham, but is the Egyptian Book of the Dead?"

    He sounded disturbed, and I sensed that I was bringing up an issue he was trying not to think about. He said, "It would take a while to explain. Come to the table after the question and answer period."

    When I did, he gave me his business card, and asked me to come to his law office for an explanation. It was obvious that he was running from me. The talks at the Potter's house were recorded, and played later on in the week on WETA. When I heard this talk, the Mormon lawyer's voice was even more disturbed than I remembered it to be.

    I have asked a number of Mormon missionaries about the Book of Abraham. They do not know very much about it. I have to tell them. They hardly even understand my arguments against it. However, whenever I talk to an intelligent Mormon, that Mormon reveals anxiety. They know what the truth is, but they try not to think about it.

  132. "I always find it interesting that when a person is incapable of logically debating a topic he will frequently resort to meaningless insults."

    – Joshua Steimle

    I certainly do agree with this. The sacrilegious sarcasm of Mike Jones and others does not advance their arguments against Mormonism. I have always found the Mormon religion fascinating. I have never known a Mormon I did not like. I enjoy talking to Mormon missionaries.

  133. Hello, I am a 21-year-old Philosophy student and I was raised in the LDS church before going 'inactive' when I was 18 or 19.

    Despite naturally embracing athiesm as a result of my general beliefs (which I won't go into here), I still have trouble understanding how the Book of Mormon was written and struggle to fully detach myself from how I was taught to think and believe and have faith as a child.

    I think many intelligent people could inconclusively debate many of the finer points of the Book of Mormon for a long time, and non-believers may have to accept that there is simply no damning evidence against the Book of Mormon to draw comfort from – just as there is no concrete evidence, conversely, that it is true. Just as Mormons ultimately must live by faith, so must non-Mormons.

    I don't know how Joseph Smith came up with the Book of Mormon, but there are enough contributing factors for general non-belief, for me, that I can simply disregard the importance of the question of where the Book of Mormon comes from. In my opinion, Mormons should base their belief system not on the authenticity of one claim (i.e. 'Was the Book of Mormon inspired by God?') but give an equal balance of attention to all claims of doctrine.

    The structure of gaining a 'testimony', for Mormons, is something like this:

    1. Read the Book of Mormon

    2. Ask if it is true

    3. If 'yes', all Mormon doctrine is true and nothing more needs to be questioned.

    Since – as I have already posited – logical arguments for and against the Book of Mormon's authenticity are inconclusive, wouldn't it make more sense to just let the Book of Mormon's truth be simply one more question that you should answer – rather than the all-important one that answers all others?

    To me, a 'true testimony' would consist of something more like:

    1. Is the Book of Mormon authentic?

    2. Did Adam and Eve live 6000 years ago (and if not, how do I explain this)?

    3. Is it beneficial for people to be thrusted with a dogmatic set of rules for life?

    4. Is evolution by natural selection (without Godly imput) implausible?

    5. Does a personal God that answers prayers fit with the laws of physics or our everyday experiences?

    6. Is a church right that has seemingly inconsistent doctrines that change with time (e.g. polygamy, blacks receiving priesthood)?

    7. ….

    8. ….

    Etc. – you get the idea.

    Those questions weren't rhetorical, they were just examples of valid questions that should surely be asked by any LDS member. If church members feel perfectly comfortable about the answers to all these questions, then great, and good luck to them. If they don't – and I know of some Bishops and Stake Presidents that wouldn't claim to know the answers to all of those questions – then I simply disagree with the notion of 'The Book of Mormon is true, so this fact trumps everything else.'

    My conclusion – we probably can't determine from debate whether the Book of Mormon is true, and LDS members should generally place less emphasis on this question if they are seeking truth. The truth, if there is such a thing, is a complex, multi-faceted thing, so claiming to derive all truth from one supposed particle of it (i.e. the Book of Mormon's authenticity) seems a strange way to find it. Sure, if the Book of Mormon is 'true' then it probably does follow that all other Mormon beliefs are true, but since you can't truly know the answer to the question, don't use it as a point of reference for all other beliefs. For those church members who say you can, in fact, 'know' that the Book of Mormon, and thus the church, is true, consider this: if you literally knew, you would have no point living any more; according to Mormon doctrine, this life is a testing ground where we prove our worth by faith, not knowledge. Why would God make us forget pre-mortal life if we can 'know' of its existence anyway after reading the Book of Mormon and finding out it's true? So – don't dwell on the Book of Mormon if you are a seeker of truth; ask the other questions too!

  134. The book of Mormon has proven to be a fraud over at http://WWW.pro.org Check it out….

  135. actually pro.org. bom

  136. The Book of Mormon is an unimpressive work of fiction. There is no independent evidence that any of the events in The Book of Mormon happened. Book of Mormon archaeology does not exist.

  137. Mr. Engelman,

    Don’t be so hasty in your judgments of other LDS members. Sure, there are good people and bad people, that is common in all races and religions. But to completely blind yourself to a worthy candidate in our government because of religion or race is not giving the individual a fair chance.

    – DHarris

    Every Mormon I have ever known has been a good person, and I have liked him or her. This includes the Mormon missionaries who have proselytized me.

    Nevertheless, I would not vote for a Mormon because Joseph Smith was a religious charlatan. That will become obvious to anyone intelligent person who makes a dispassionate examination of the religion he founded. I want politicians who are able to distinguish between what is true and what is not true.

  138. Anyone can receive salvation through Christ's works on the cross. Just live life. Someone who doesn't even know who Jesus Christ is can be eligible for salvation from his works. If you live according to your conscience and the right effort was made to know, love, and serve God then salvation shall be given.

    Have fun bashing each others religion :)

    Just serve got by living and make a positive effort :)

    Aloha

  139. I meant "Just serve "GOD" by living and make a positive effort" :)

    And for us who know of his name, Jesus Christ, it is through our RELATIONSHIP with him that matters most…Your RELATIONSHIP is with God….not a church :)

  140. This is an interesting topic. All religions boil down to one simple thing to which each are common. Faith believing in something that cant be proven or dispelled. I have read the book of Mormon and I have to say as I will say about each religion. In the book of Mormon there is a story where a man is told by god to go and take the life of another man. I will never believe that god would ever command a man to kill in his name. If you are able to take a life at the blink of an eye why would he ask you or I to take a life. A test of faith? I think not. The bible was written by man and things were left out etc. etc. If god wanted us to have a book of truth to follow and live by why would he have a man or men write it instead of just giving us a book. Moses was given the ten commandments of which one was that you must not kill. If god told you to kill someone is there a conflict. Evolution people there is one problem to the theory of evolution and the big bang theory. Where did it start. What created the object that went bang. God who created god. Was god created to deal with death or the fear of death. Good question. Every religion has a so called heaven. Or a place you go after you die. Did man make up god to ease the end result. ( death )

    I personally believe there is a god but as far as a set religion I have none. I have been to about every type of church there is and each one I have always had doubts or feeling that it was not the truth.

  141. Hi Jim, those are all great questions. I'd encourage you to keep an open mind about things, however. Maybe God can command in one place to not kill, and in another place command to kill. Maybe the apparent conflict isn't that God can't command both things, but that we are limited in our understanding of God. I think it's good and healthy to question God's purposes because this leads to learning, but once we decide we know something, then the learning stops. That's ok if what we know is true, but what if it isn't?

    Your other questions about why God would have men do what He could do himself are hard to answer unless you know what God's purpose was in putting us here on earth in the first place. His purpose is for us to become like him, that is, to become Gods. And part of that process is for us to be placed here on earth in a state of uncertainty and given our freedom to do as we choose. If God's purpose was to get us all to believe in Him, he could just send angels flying around doing all sorts of miracles and proving to us all day long that He exists. But then we wouldn't really be choosing, would we? We'd be forced to believe in Him, and then this life wouldn't be a test. We wouldn't really have the freedom to choose what we want to make of our lives. We wouldn't really have the opportunity to "grow up".

  142. There is no way I can see that god would tell someone to kill in his name. That would be like an extremist killing in god's name. Like for say a terrorist. That is the fault I see with most religions. Maybe I just hold myself to a higher standard. There is no reason to kill in his name if it is a test of faith maybe by killing in his name it a failure of the test. Or maybe satan told you and not god. We are all children of god and we are all taught to love one another. How can you kill someone you are suppose to love and forgive for their short comings. Everyone has the ability to repent for their sins how can they repent if you kill them for their short comings. There are people I don't like but because I don't like them because the choices they have made doesn't mean I hate them and surely I would not kill them.

  143. Hi all! I just stumbled upon this site today quite by accident. Today I attended the baptism of a good friend of mine who was baptized into the Mormon church! I have personally seen her go through a tremendous change in the past few months because of what the church has done for her. I was quite amazed to read all the posts here and many of them have answered some of my questions that I have always had about the Mormon Church.

    By the way, I would personally like to thank Mike Jones for his wonderful posts here! It made me realize what I hope I never become, and if anything made me have a whole different respect and appreciation for the Mormon church. I'm impressed that the Mormons who to the time to respond back to you so intelligently, managed to keep their composure, unless of course they were like me laughing themselves silly!! Talk about rude and ignorant.. Mike you take the cake there buddy! Thanks for showing me the way!! I'll choose a Mormon over you any day of the week.

    Anyhooooo, I've been contemplating my own faith of late and wonder if the Mormon Church may have something there for me. I'm considering going. My only issue is my husband who is a Methodist and may not agree with my decision, but I don't think he will stand in my way if this is what I sincerely want to do.

    I will go back through these posts again tomorrow and research out the evidence. I know if anyone lacks wisdom that God will give it to those who seek Him.

    Thanks for opening my eyes a bit more.

    Best,

    Jenny

  144. I am a lowly, inactive Mormon. I have come tithe following conclusions:

    1. The BOM is a work of fiction, plagiarized in part (errors and all) from the KJV.

    2. The Abraham translation is a complete hoax that serves as a piece of sandstone in the foundation of the LDS Church.

    3. That though both conclusions 1) and 2) are well known by LDS leadership, they are side-stepped to avoid looking foolish.

    4. To "know" one version of faith is superior in content is to believe one's own human evaluation to be infallible-a concept followed by tyrants, politicians and other forms of despot the world over.

    In spite of this,I truly believe that ANY amount of sorrow for one's wrong doing and a faith in a higher purpose and/or being than one's self will lead to salvation not only for one's self, but for all of mankind.

    I wish everyone would quit worrying about who is more right or wrong and get busy living right.

  145. Jenny, religion of any sort is not the answer, you think Jesus came here to institute and organization?

    tell me, when during his ministry on earth did he EVER officiate or run or pastor a church service? don't get sucked into a religion of man.

  146. Mr Blue, I'm not here to argue with you (or anyone for that matter), but I am curious to know your credentials since you seem to speak with so much authority on the subject. I don't see where the problem is with people assembling themselves together to worship, whether it be from house to house or inside a building called a church. I've seen too much of where lack of religion has been the demise in this country. We are becoming more and more Godless and the moral decline is at an all time high. I do remember a day when people went to church every Sunday, prayed and read their bibles and seemed none the worse for it. If by your standards church/religion is not the answer… then what is? I don't see anywhere in the bible where Jesus officiated over a congregation, but I also don't see where he opposed it either. In fact He said we should not forsake the assembling of ourselves together with unbelievers. Where I see He did speak out was with regard to specific religious hypocrite leaders who had their own agenda. They truly lacked Godly insight and did more harm to the church, but I don't see anywhere in the bible where He spoke out against ALL churches, in fact Jesus himself sat in the synagogues as a child and a young man as a student of the word. Where do you think Jesus received his religious training? I have seen bad religions and I have also seen the good they do in the community.

    Your last statement made me laugh.. I don't get "sucked" into anything by the way!

    Jenny

  147. Correction to my last post… I meant to say "… should not forsake the assembling of ourselves together with believers." Oops my bad… typing too fast!

    Jenny

  148. @Mr.Blue – The Bible record seems to make it fairly clear that there was an official religious organization both before Christ's life and afterward. If the Old Testament doesn't do a good job of describing an "organization" then we must have different understandings of what that word means.

    Likewise, Jesus did institute an organization. He called a certain number of apostles, he taught certain doctrines, and his followers, who were in communication with him after his death and resurrection and therefore can be assumed were doing his will, instituted other offices within that organization (teachers, priests, deacons, etc.). Certain people had certain assignments, there were "churches" in certain places where people met for regular meetings, there was a prescribed process for being admitted as a "member" of the organization, etc. Again, if that doesn't sound like an "organization" then I think we have to reexamine what the word means.

  149. All religions are cults. The hebrew were not and are not the brightest. not then and not now. Education, and a job and treat other well. is that so hard? Our English alphabet with 26 letters is only 380 years old. before that it had 19 letters. We do not translate names. the sound would stay the same. there was no alphabet in the world 2000 years ago to produce any of the names of the bible or book of Mormon. before 1630 there was no sound or symbols J,W,Y,H, or E. (see missing letter J part one and two). First grade basic english history.

    There is no item in either the bible or the book of Mormon that fits the time period. there was no one named Jesus, or christ. the ian in christian is a suffix, denoting place a person is from no people whom you follow. so no one is a christian. violating again First grade english theromes. the camel is from australia, the donkey is fron New Mexico. they were taken to the middle east in 1583 see the ships manifest records of the old navy. If you like the story fine. if not Fine. but to bother someone over a religion? admittily they are a good laugh, but we laugh at alot of things these days. The chinese will never allow anyone to say Jesus was because the name does not fit the time period. they may kill you for being dumb , being laught at can't be as bad as dead.

    • http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Australian_feral_c

      So this wikipedia entry is totally mistaken when it says camels were imported to Australia rather than from it?

    • And what's this about not translating names? Of course we do now, and of course people did then. Anytime someone travelled to a foreign country they would have said their name, and the local people would have used the letters they had that seemed to produce a sound closest to that name. It still happens today, despite our advancements. How much more so back then?

  150. Yeshua, spelled יֵשׁוּעַ (Yēšūă‘) or ישוע in Hebrew, was a common name among Jews of the Second Temple Period, and is thought by scholars and religious groups to be the Hebrew or Aramaic name for Jesus. In modern Hebrew, Yeshu (ישו) and Yeshua (ישוע) are the common transcriptions for Jesus —the two different names have different emphasis. Yeshu is used in most contexts in modern Hebrew to refer to Jesus of Nazareth. The name Yeshua is extensively used by Messianic Jews and Hebrew Christians and Rastafarians, as well as other Christian denominations who wish to use Jesus' Hebrew name.

    W,Y,H and E are all used here. As a translation from the original Aramaic. This is from Wikipedia as well but they are not correct about all theological studies.

  151. I have to post a queation to all. Have you ever seen these nut jobs on tv put thier hand on someones forhead and say you been healed and they walk away healed. Or so you would be lead to believe. If you where a follower of that faith and you wrote a book about the healer what would the book look like or how would it read. People who are guilable will believe just about anything. For an example David Keresh if I spelled his name right. People can be talked into anything and are a product of thier enviroment. If you were raised mormon,babtist,catholic etc more than likely you will follow the same faith. Have you ever wondered could Jesus have been another outspoken radical that questioned the known faith back then and his devoted followers wrote a book about him and adding some great facts or fictions to make it more of a read. Why would god make Mary carry a child of his when he could have simply gave them a baby? I would be kinda of pissed if I was Joseph and my wife was with child and it wasn't mine. Hey God where is the child support payment.. I'm not atheist because the bottom line is nobody can get past, not even scientist is if the big bang theory is correct. Where did the thing that went bang come from? Short of god coming down into my house and telling me I'm an idiot I will stick to the reasoning that religion was inacted to explain which we can't such as where did life come from, and where if anywhere do we go if we die? All faiths have one thing in common and are the most probable cause of oranized religion and that is, when we die there is another place to which we travel. It is the formation of mans fear of death that has pushed man into faith.

  152. WNQF,

    I think "gullible" is a relative term. Those with or without faith could be classed as such. Koresh is an extreme example of someone who had a sociopathic need to control those with weaker minds than his. He was a mad genius with a strong following. However, those who followed him were very devout, were willing to sacrifice everything they had on Earth, and questioned all rational human authority to do so.

    You ask about Mary. I am a former Catholic. I honestly cannot tell you why Catholics seem so eager to worship not only God and Christ, but Mary and the Saints. Why Mary had to carry Jesus is a matter left to Scripture and high debate.

    Jesus did not write the Bible. People chose to write those testaments about His greatness as followers.

    I do disagree with your idea that man's fear of death is the cause of religion. I think, at least in it's original form, religion was formed with the idea that Man needed to be held accountable for his deeds in life. You must remember that governmental law and order was usually based on religion and did not reach as far as religion on its own. I think Man created religion in an attempt to create order. The "carrot" of Heaven was a logical means to make it work. Quite frankly, I am disillusioned but still believe that in one way or another, we will be held accountable. Though I do not need the fear of fire and brimstone to do what is right. That. by all accounts is the goal of all Faiths-to have folks do what is right even though they are not being watched.

    The Big Bang Theory is just that. It is a theory. In one paragraph you try to debunk religion AND science. I think we are follish to reconcile the two when we are so ignorant and are light years away from understanding how to bridge the gaps betwen the two. To dismiss either without good reason is in of itself very ignorant. But, Man's drive to be ore right than his neighbor applies not only to the different religions, but to those of the scientific community as well. Some day, we will become enlightened…one way or another.

    Mormon faith is righteous in its design and purpose. I think it fails in execution-just like all others. It has more to do with the people who weave a religion around their own desires…not belief.

  153. 1-You must first understand What and Who Jesus is to understand why he was born of a human woman. There is more to find out.

    2-Joseph was pissed. He initially intended to divorce Mary quietly after he found out she was pregnant. Mathew 1: 18-21

    Both of these things transpired before the written word of the bible was compiled.

    Please research.

  154. I'm curious why it is supposed to be so unbelievable that Joseph Smith could've written the BoM. It reads like an amateur fairy tale written by intelligent, but uneducated 19th century man heavily influenced by the KJV of the bible. Which is exactly what it is. What I find EXCEEDINGLY hilarious is how IT CAME TO PASS that he even copied the spelling and translation mistakes in the parts of the KJV bible he plagiarized.

  155. Some pretty long post in here!

    If you believe in God then you must be tempted to believe in the Book Of Mormon. 90% is stuff that is good for you and there are some important differences from the KJ bible. But it is high time we examine and discuss the errors. 19th century folks new little about science and those that were discovering the origins of the new world were still suppressed by religion, this allowed the ideas and origin of the Book of Mormon to perpetuate. Now the facts are out and Book of Mormon supporters need to begin to rewrite their history and reconcile against overwhelming information. We all need to encourage this process so the Mormon church can reinvent itself and be a force for good in the years to come.

  156. 90% of the BoM is good for me? Really? 90% of the Harry Potter novels would be better for me, not to mention more plausible.

  157. Joshua, you exhibit the patience of a saint in your responses to Mike Jones. I applaud you for following the virtuous teachings of Christ found in the Holy Bible. It takes great discipline to follow the moral commands given to man in what many call scripture, so anyone who abides by these life principles has earned my respect.

    I will not publicly acknowledge that I affiliate myself with any specific congregation, because I believe moral values to be decided by the individual, and the individual's life will be carried on a journey based on the choices they make.

    That being said, I have read the Holy Bible, the Book of Mormon, several books published by the catholic faith about "the early years of the church", and many other historic documents pertaining to religion and faith from all different sects and philosophers throughout history. After all of that personal research, I can say without fear of reprimand that the Book of Mormon, whether a work of "cut and paste", a group of fictional fables, or a translation of historic records found on gold plates, can not possibly lead a person to do "evil" by following its teachings.

    I am not saying it is a true account. I am not saying it is a false account. I believe man may never know whether the statements the Mormon church has made about the books origins are true or false. All I know, is that the teachings of the book encourage a person to treat their fellow man in a moral and kind way. Also, considering that the Mormon church rarely spends the money it earns through tithes and offerings, and the church leaders live modestly, I find it very hard to believe that the church's underlying purpose is to defraud people out of greed.

    Whether a person believes in a God or not, in a Christ or not, or in good and evil or not, there is one fact can not be denied: The teachings of the Book of Mormon inspire individuals to treat one another with fairness, equality, and love.

  158. While I believe that Mormons do believe in Jesus Christ and his salvation, I cannot accept the book of Mormon and the angel Maroni because of Galatians Chapter 1 and verses 6 through 8. Therefore all other premises are thrown out and we have to return to the original Bible and Jesus Christ's Gospel.

  159. Thank you for your contribution, Fred.

    By your understanding, how does the gospel (meaning tidings or news) included in the New Testament differ from that which is reported in the Book of Mormon? If the gospel is the same (referring to the tidings that Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world and that man must come unto Him to be saved, which both books proclaim), does it not make the Book of Mormon exempt to the words in Galatians that you mentioned?

  160. Do you remember the story of the rich man and Lazarus? In this story there are key elements that people miss.

    Abraham said to the rich man, "They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them" and "If they will not hear Moses and the Prophets, they will not be persuaded even if one from the dead should rise."

    Jesus was talking about men who were long dead. But how could anyone listen to Moses or the prophets of old if they were long dead? Point is, Jesus was referring to the Scriptures that we call the Old Testament. Another name for the Old Testament is the Law and the Prophets. It is also referred to as the Law, Prophets, and Psalms. Yet, not everyone had the written Scriptures. They got their dose of God's Word as it was read to them, usually at the synagogues or the Temple.

    He was not talking about the BoM or Joseph Smith. If so, then the BoM would have been included with the OT and handed down throughout the years. But the BoM was never found anywhere , but the USA. Which was presented to mankind by a known fraud called Joseph Smith.

  161. Joseph Smith may been a fraud. I agree, but the Book of Mormon came from the golden tablets in New York. Because he found it in New York under the rock. Well, he was lucky and he found it. Just like any kid when they walk out and find a gem in the forests. Nothing hard or new. It may happen to you or me or anyone. Joseph Smith, found the golden tablets and he was a genius guy who translated into English from Hieroglyphics. Now, what I want to say that in Guatemala, they also have golden tablets where the German Scientist found it at the Lake of Izabal, in the land of Atlan. Well. what I can say that there is nothing new. There is a story that is traded by descendants that tells a history of the Indians that they went to a better place to leave Guatemala to another place. Well, the Indians left Guatemala to embark to Mexico unto United States. So, the Indians scattered from Guatemala to Mexico into United States. Well, I am not misinterpreting something about it. What I am saying that Joseph Smith may have been a fraud man, but the book of Mormon is real, because it comes from the golden tablets where the little Joseph Smith found this wonderful book. Well I suggest the German scientists, my brothers of blood from Guatemala may help me to find out about the golden tablets which is in the museum in New York and find out and read and translate the scriptures of the golden tablets. It may go well and the truth shall come forth and then it shall be clear. Let's see. Who knows. Maybe not. Perhaps, yes, or not. I do not know. Joseph Smith may be been a fraud man, but the book…? I do not know. I cannot say yes or not. But, what it is complicated that the golden tablets whom Joseph Smith found makes me perplexed because the golden tablets is real and they have kept in the Museum of New York of the Mormons.

  162. "But, what it is complicated that the golden tablets whom Joseph Smith found makes me perplexed because the golden tablets is real and they have kept in the Museum of New York of the Mormons."

    Funny, I thought the story was the golden plates were taken away from earth. Now the Mormons have it in a museum in New York. Wow! This keeps getting better all the time.

    Maybe they should take these "tablets" on a road show and call in outside translators to settle this once and for all. However, we know that won't happen because these tablets, or plates, do not exist. They never did. Just like Greek and Roman mythology.

    Maybe they also have ocean front property in Arizona. If you buy that I'm sure you'll get the Golden Gate for free.

  163. Joseph Smith and the book of Mormon were written the same way Mohammed wrote the Koran, they were visited by "Angels", really? I'm just saying. Again Galatians 1:8.

  164. I would not doubt that Mohammed or Smith were visited by angels. Lucifer, well known as Satan, is an angel. So which type of angel were these men visited by?

    I have to agree with you, Fred, on the passage from Galatians. If the BoM is truly a compliment of the Sanctified Scriptures then there wouldn't be contradictions. What we see is a case of the blind leading the blind.

    There is a wonderful saying that people should consider. It goes, "Who's more foolish, the fool or the one who follows the fool?"

  165. This is all nice and entertaining folks, but so far nobody has done a decent job of answering the principal question of the post, that is "If Joseph Smith was a fraud where did the Book of Mormon come from?" Some have tried, but the arguments they put forth have been put forth many times for over 150 years, and most were refuted 150 years ago.

    Also, there seem to be a tendency to get distracted from the intent of this post. The question is not whether the Book of Mormon conflicts with your interpretation of the Bible, although that is a viable discussion which is taking place on other posts here on this blog (you may all be interested in seeing what else has been posted on this blog and responding where you feel so inclined).

    Those of you who avoid the core question of this post don't do yourselves or your position any favors, since the more you avoid answering the question with a well thought out argument, the more you make it appear as though there is no good argument to make.

  166. The question could be where did the book Tom Sawyer come from, or where did Moby Dick come from. It's all fiction and by pretending to be words from God The Book Of Mormon is extremely dangerous to the author and the reader

    • We know where Tom Sawyer and Moby Dick came from. That is not in dispute. But there are some who say the Book of Mormon is fiction, and others who say it is not. Some say Joseph Smith wrote it, some say someone else wrote it, and Mormons claim that it was written by ancient prophets and translated by Joseph Smith using the power of God. While I do not go so far as to attempt to prove the last method is factual, my challenge is for anyone to prove that Joseph Smith or someone else wrote it, or to provide another alternative.

      If it cannot be proven that it was written by Joseph Smith or someone else, then how can it be claimed that the third option is not a possibility?

  167. Joshua, I think it's fair to say that by a combination of rational assessment and all the empirical evidence that is in the public domain, your question cannot be answered by a direct discussion of the events leading up to the publication of the Book of Mormon in 1830. It cannot be proven either way, directly, where the Book of Mormon came from. You seem to imply that only such a direct line of assessment could yield an answer to your question, but this is surely a mistake. Generally speaking, a direct enquiry would be the simplest route to an answer, but failing the success of a direct enquiry, indirect enquiries should be taken into consideration.

    Consider this analogy: there is a right-angled triangle in front of you and you know the length of two of the sides. You want to know the length of the final side but you think the only way to find this out is to measure it with a ruler. You don't have a ruler and don't know where to find one, but still demand for a ruler because you think it is the only way to determine the length of the side. Measuring the side of the triangle with a ruler would be the direct line of enquiry; the indirect enquiry, on the other hand, would be using Pythagoras calculations to work out the missing length. The indirect enquiry is less obvious and more complex, but it arrives at the truth just as validly as the direct enquiry does.

    Although this isn't fully analogous to the question you are asking, I believe the basic principles are the same. You say that people aren't answering your question by talking about their interpretations of the Bible, but they are simply using indirect enquiries to try to answer your question. An example of a typical such argument might be:

    1. Everything written in the Bible is true.

    2. Therefore, the claim made by the Bible that nothing should be added or taken away from it is true.

    3. The Book of Mormon is a an alleged canonical text which adds to the Bible.

    4. Therefore, if premise (2) is true, the Book of Mormon is false.

    5. Therefore, the Book of Mormon was not translated through the power of God.

    As it happens, I do not agree with this argument – nor do I agree with counter-arguments that the Book of Mormon is true (I believe that neither the Bible nor the Book of Mormon can be sources of truth, but that is irrelevant for this thread). My point is simply that you shouldn't discount the possibility of indirect approaches to your question yielding a meaningful answer.

    • Well put. If someone wants to make an indirect argument to point out that the Book of Mormon could not be what it claims to be, that's all well and good, since by ruling out a possible source of the Book of Mormon it limits the choices left. However, I'm not sure anyone is really focusing on that. It seems that the conversation has merely turned into one entirely different than what it was intended to be, and I am attempting to refocus things.

  168. What you are saying then is if we don't know who wrote it, then someone had to have written it and it's therefore true and it had to have been God. There's a job for you at MSNBC, you are a spin mater.

  169. Not quite. A lot of people claim the Book of Mormon is false. I am merely making the claim that it cannot be proven to be false as those people claim, and therefore may be true.

  170. "I’d be willing to bet that if you got 20 of the smartest people together with degrees in archeology, Meso-American culture, Hebrew studies, theology, and Central American geography, they might be able to write a book, but I bet it could be conclusively and obviously proven to be an invention within a matter of days."

    Joshua, since you should put this on the table and let's see where it leads. You may have to start a new thread.

    "If you don’t believe Joseph Smith was a prophet who translated the Book of Mormon from ancient plates with God’s help, where do you think the book came from?"

    There are people who do not believe that Joseph Smith is a prophet of God. Regardless, it is still believed that Joseph Smith wrote it. Joseph Smith must have believed he wrote it too. The link below is a picture of the first printing of the Book of Mormon. Please note the name and of who it's by and what is attributed to him.

    http://www.inephi.com/1.htm

    Another actual photograph of the original 1830 title page of the BoM can be found in THE RESTORED CHURCH, Twelfth Edition, C 1961, William Edwin Berrett, (pub. Deseret Book Company, Deseret News Press, no city listed, 1965, p. 40.

    In order to prove that Joseph Smith was a translator and not the author then we must prove the characters Nephi, Jacob, Enos, Jarom, Omni, Moromon, Mosiah, Alma, Helaman, Ethan, Moroni truly existed. We must compare their books to the timeline they mentioned. We must ask the Who, What, When, Where, Why, and How questions as we read the stories.

    If their writings match the events, people, culture, and technology of the time they claim to have taken place then it would put this to rest. It would be proven that these men existed, they wrote the books attributed to their names, and Joseph Smith brought it forth through translation. If what is written does not match up to history then it shows these men did not exist, these men did not write these books, and Joseph Smith authored a fictional story.

  171. Regarding the photo that shows Joseph Smith listed as the author and proprietor of the Book of Mormon, see Joseph as author and proprietor of the Book of Mormon. Here's the relevant portion:

    "Copyright law in 1830 in New York, where the Book of Mormon was first published, provided for the granting of copyrights to "authors and proprietors" but did not offer the same to translators. In order to secure the copyright, Joseph had to apply as the 'author and proprietor.'"

    But again, my intent is not to prove that Joseph Smith was the translator or that the Book of Mormon is true. I'm only showing that nobody can prove Smith's claims or the Book of Mormon to be false, and that therefore they may be true. My only intent is to help people keep an open mind so that they can take the steps to find out for themselves by asking God if the Book of Mormon is true and if Joseph Smith really was a prophet of God.

  172. In order to prove that Joseph Smith was a translator and not the author then we must prove the main characters of the BoM existed. We must compare their books to the timeline they mentioned. We must ask the Who, What, When, Where, Why, and How questions as we read the stories.

    If their writings match the events, people, culture, and technology of the time they claim to have taken place then it would put this to rest. It would be proven that these men existed, they wrote the books attributed to their names, and Joseph Smith brought it forth through translation.

    If what is written does not match up to history then it shows these men did not exist, these men did not write these books, and Joseph Smith authored a fictional story.

    http://www.josephsmithauthorbyproxy.com/Contents_

    The above link is beneficial to the argument.

  173. "In order to prove that Joseph Smith was a translator and not the author then we must prove the main characters of the BoM existed."

    I'm not trying to prove that Joseph Smith was the translator. I'm only saying you can't prove he wasn't.

    But for the sake of entertainment, I read one of the parts of that website you referenced. I skipped the first part because we've already debunked that one, so I read this one. In a nutshell, the author uses the following logic to make his point:

    1. The Book of Mormon (and Mormon commentary generally) claims that Lehi was a contemporary of the Biblical prophet Jeremiah.

    2. If they were contemporaries and Lehi was a man of God, then Jeremiah would have mentioned him in his writings.

    3. The writings of Jeremiah in the Bible do not mention Lehi, therefore Lehi did not exist, and the Book of Mormon must have been written by Joseph Smith and not Lehi, Nephi, or any of the people mentioned in the Book of Mormons as being its authors.

    There's just one problem with this logic–why should we accept the premise that Jeremiah would have written about Lehi?

    1. The writings of Jeremiah that are included in the Bible are rather short. It's highly likely that he wrote quite a bit more than what is in the Bible and for one reason or another it never got included.

    2. But let's suppose we found ALL the writings of Jeremiah, buried in a cave, and they never mentioned Lehi. Should they? Why would Jeremiah have written about Lehi at all? Surely Jeremiah was not alone as a spiritual leader of those are Jerusalem, but did Jeremiah write about other contemporaries of his?

  174. Timeline, Joshua, look at the timeline. Use the BoM as a reference.

    "Surely Jeremiah was not alone as a spiritual leader of those are Jerusalem, but did Jeremiah write about other contemporaries of his?"

    Jeremiah was sent by God to preach to the people. He was not a native of Jerusalem. Jeremiah, the son of Hilkiah, of the priests who were in Anathoth in the land of Benjamin, preached when Josiah the son of Amon, king of Judah, was in the 13th year of his reign. He preached also in the days of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah, king of Judah, until the end of the 11th year of Zedekiah, the son of Josiah, king of Judah, until the exile of Jerusalem in the 5th month.

    Lehi and his children lived when? Was it during the first or second invasion of the City of Salem?

    "For it came to pass in the commencement of the first year of the reign of Zedekiah, king of Judah, (my father, Lehi, having dwelt at Jerusalem in all his days): and in that same year there came many prophets, prhesying unto the people that they must repent, or the great city Jerusalem must be destroyed."

    Jeremiah was up and about preaching before Lehi showed on the scene. When we compare the scroll of Jeremiah to the print of Nephi things do not add up. If Jeremiah is true then the BoM is wrong. If Nephi is true then the Bible is false.

    You see, Joshua, people do pay attention to what is written.

    • Help me out, I still don't see what doesn't add up.

  175. "There’s just one problem with this logic–why should we accept the premise that Jeremiah would have written about Lehi?

    1. The writings of Jeremiah that are included in the Bible are rather short. It’s highly likely that he wrote quite a bit more than what is in the Bible and for one reason or another it never got included.

    2. But let’s suppose we found ALL the writings of Jeremiah, buried in a cave, and they never mentioned Lehi. Should they? Why would Jeremiah have written about Lehi at all? Surely Jeremiah was not alone as a spiritual leader of those are Jerusalem, but did Jeremiah write about other contemporaries of his?"

    You should read about what God told Jeremiah about the prophets, priests, and people of Jerusalem. Lehi is mentioned, though not by name. If Lehi did exist then he would have been grouped together with all those who were going to be judged by God through the Babylonians.

    But wait…that means you would have to believe that Jeremiah was a prophet of God.

    • Can you cite some specific scriptures? Otherwise I'll have to guess at which verses you're referring to in order to continue the conversation.

  176. Have you ever read Jeremiah? Ever read Habakkuk? Ever read Obadiah? As a matter of fact, have you even read Nephi?

    One of these things is not like the others,

    One of these things just doesn't belong,

    Can you tell which thing is not like the others

    By the time I finish my song?

    • I've read and studied the entire Bible and Book of Mormon. I do not see contradictions, although I can understand why others do, since each person can interpret the same verses of scripture differently. What I'm interested to know is which verses of Jeremiah you feel conflict with which verses in the Book of Mormon, and your interpretation of those verses that leads you to see a conflict. Then I will share my interpretation that leads me to believe there is no conflict. We may never convince each other that our interpretation is correct, but we will both learn something, and others who read what we say will have that much more information upon which to base their own opinions.

  177. Jeremiah 15. The whole chapter.

    Jeremiah 26 through 29. The whole chapters.

    • And your interpretations? Or are you going to make me guess? :)

  178. "Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth" 2nd Timothy 3:7 I admire what you are doing here Joshua. Not many are able to stand up for what they believe in. God will bless you kindly for wanting to be an ensign to the world and stand for your beliefs. But, those who will not reason, should not be reasoned with. The people here, who are trying to tear down our faith and our beliefs in this restored gospel, will never see any light in any truths. God be with you in your endeavors to enlighten those less fortunate to not know Christ's true church.

  179. "I can prove to myself it’s true, but I don’t pretend to be able to do the same for others. Everyone has to find out for themselves and the best I can do is remove some of the impediments."

    Josh, give us a refresher on how you determined that Joseph Smith was the translator and not the author of the BoM.

    How do YOU come to the conclusion that the BoM is fact and not fiction?

    How do YOU determine what is false?

    How do YOU determine what is factual?

    Do YOU look to outside sources, those outside of the LDS religion, on which to base your reasoning?

    • Read Moroni 10:3-5 in the Book of Mormon. That's how I know, and that's how anyone else can find out as well. The genius of the system God set up is that he made it easy for someone to find out the truth for themselves, and virtually impossible for anyone to prove what the truth is to someone else, ensuring that everyone is responsible for their own salvation and can neither blame nor credit anyone else.

  180. Would you say that the Moroni 10:3-5 test is for spiritual matters, physicals matters, or both?

  181. It has been argued that the taking away and adding to, noted in Revelation in the Bible, is in reference only to Revelation and not the whole Bible. I think many in the LDS religion hold this position.

    I would then argue that the Moroni test is to apply only to that specific book and not the entire compilation known as the Book of Mormon.

  182. I'm not sure I understand exactly what you're asking, so my answer may not be what you're looking for.

    I would say that Moroni 10:3-5 is specifically a test for the Book of Mormon, but it's basically just the scientific method, and so the method could work for anything, in theory. But I wouldn't necessarily presume to extend the promise given beyond it's specific context.

  183. Regarding the passage in Revelations vs. Moroni 10:3-5, there are some important differences. We know the statement in Revelations only pertains to that book because at the time Revelations was written there was no "Bible". The Bible had not been created yet. And John was not the person who put the Bible together, so he wouldn't have been speaking about "the Bible". Also, the book of Revelations was not the last book of the Bible to be written, so to apply that statement to the Book of Mormon would also necessitate throwing out a large chunk of the New Testament.

    By contrast, we know Moroni 10:3-5 was written last, and that the Book of Mormon was already put together as it is as Moroni was writing Moroni 10:3-5. Even if Revelations had been written last, John never held the Bible in his hands, nor would the Bible be created for many years after Revelations was written, but Moroni did hold the completed Book of Mormon in his hands and was in fact the last author in it.

  184. then if it as you say, then why is it called the Book of Mormon and not the Book of Moroni?

  185. Mormon was the "historian" who put it all together. Moroni just added a few final pages.

  186. Moroni's account would be counted as history. Therefore, he would have been the last historian. If Moroni added the few final pages then Moroni put it all together. If you can't count Moroni as the final historian and the one who pieced the book together in it's final form, then his words should not be included in any form of discussion.

    FYI: It's called Revelation and not Revelations. The book was one single revelation not many.

    • Who made up these rules?

  187. why are people wasting their time trying to 'prove' matters of faith. Look up the definition of faith and everyone quit fighting. Live and let live. Sheesh, why am I even writing on here? I'm as big a loser as the rest of you.

  188. Matthew 7: v 15-20

    Jesus said "Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves.

    By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles?

    Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit.

    A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit.

    Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.

    Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.

    that false prophet is Joseph Smith

  189. @nicolas, and everyone else who has been trying to make the point that Joseph Smith was a fraud (which isn't the question this post is asking). I've got a post where we can argue that point entitled Joseph Smith – A Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing? and I would love to debate this matter with you over there.

  190. “Copyright law in 1830 in New York, where the Book of Mormon was first published, provided for the granting of copyrights to “authors and proprietors” but did not offer the same to translators. In order to secure the copyright, Joseph had to apply as the ‘author and proprietor.’"

    The above words have been used to try and prove JS as a translator of truth and not the author of mythology. LDS leaders also try to compare a Study Bible composed by Benjamin Boothroyd in attemps to prove their point (see link below).

    http://books.google.com/books?id=Ob4VAAAAYAAJ&amp

    On the surface, it may seem like the Mormons have a good point. But that is only on the surface. Take a bit closer look at the title page, preface, and the rest pages of the Boothroyd Bible. Boothroyd, and the other contributors, didn't just translate the ancient texts, but wrote more. Boothroyd did author a study Bible, but he did not author the Bible.

    “Copyright law in 1830 in New York, where the Book of Mormon was first published, provided for the granting of copyrights to “authors and proprietors” but did not offer the same to translators. In order to secure the copyright, Joseph had to apply as the ‘author and proprietor.’"

    It's true that copyrights were not offered to translators in 1830. As a matter of fact, copyrights are not offered to translators in 2011. New York didn't have anything special involving copyright laws. The same law in New York was the same in all the states and territories at that time. Article 1 Section 8 of the US Constitution deals with this matter.
    http://www.senate.gov/civics/constitution_item/co

    Below is a link to the Federal Law at the time:
    http://www.copyright.gov/history/1790act.pdf

    Notable dates since 1790 (You will notice nothing is offered to protect translators):
    http://www.copyright.gov/history/dates.pdf

    So what does this mean? It means that JS could have simply PUBLISHED his name as Translator, but he didn't. He could have just filled out the paperwork as author, but he didn't. He had to add PROPRIETOR. If the statement used to justify him being the author in 1830 still applies to the second edition that was printed in 1837 that noted him as translator. Seven years later in Ohio the Federal law was still in place. FYI: the copyright laws, established at the Federal level, had rules on publishing. Yet, it had nothing to do how a person could label themself on a book.

    Any other meaning? Yes, there is. Registered Copyrights are used to protect original works. Translations are not original. Therefore, nobody can publish it exactly word for word unless the registered copyright owner gives permission. Yet, any one can publish their own translation of the Book of Mormon if they wanted to and get a registered copyright for it. They could call their works the Book of Moroni and claim that is superceeds the BoM.

  191. I think I'm missing something…are you saying that Joseph Smith didn't have to put himself down as being the author? If that's the case, then why would have have put himself down as the author? If the copyright law allowed him to list himself as "translator" rather than "author", the only plausible reasons I can think of for why he would have put "author" is that he was first publishing the Book of Mormon as a work of fiction, he was ignorant or confused regarding copyright laws, or somebody else put in "author" for him when the book was printed.

    It's not as though he would accidentally slip up and put in "author" when he was purporting to be merely a translator and thus give himself away. I guess you could make that case, but it seems pretty far-fetched. Crafting a book of any sort is a painstaking, detailed process, and while people do make mistakes, they're usually not of this nature. If Joseph Smith were a con man this is one of the last things you would expect him to get wrong.

  192. I guess I agree with the FAIRwiki conclusion on this matter, that "This complaint is not a serious issue, but merely an effort to find fault. Critics would do better engaging the text of the Book of Mormon…"

  193. You missed it. Registered copyrights do not protect translators. They protect only registered original works. That means if I write a book and get the copyright registered then you come along and publish or print my work without permission then I could sue you. I would win because having the registered copyright.

    You also miss the fact that copyright and publishing are two different things. A person can publish a piece of work without having their name on it. Pay attention to the copyright of the BoM and look at how it's published.

    In 1830 AND 1837, Joseph Smith did not need to list himself as author and proprietor on the published work. He did in 1830, but figured out to do something different in 1837.

    If he had to list himself as author and proprietor in 1830, as Mormons claim, then he would have to be listed as author and proprietor to this day. No law protects translators. They never did. Why do you think your King James Bible does not have an author listed?

    I guess I agree with the FAIRwiki conclusion on this matter, that “This complaint is not a serious issue, but merely an effort to find fault. Critics would do better engaging the text of the Book of Mormon…”

    All we want is one single shred of undeniable proof. Not of spiritual things, but only of physical things. Such as, show us what Reformed Egyptian is. Not what JS conjured up, but something from Africa or the Middle East. If the people in the BoM existed, then there should be evidence. Unless the "authors" were the only literate ones. Where are the other plates? Where are other writings? Where are the ruins? Where are the ancient graves? Where is the physical proof?

    The fault lies with Mormons who keep changing their story to fit their imagination. Yet, this is expected when someone wants to take mythology and present it as fact. This is similar to Evolution. It cannot be scientifically proven, but schools, media, and etc. spend millions of dollars to present this THEORY as fact.

    • What is the undeniable physical evidence that proves the Bible is true?

  194. Seriously? I hope you don't ever become a lawyer or judge.

    It's not like we are asking Jesus for a sign that he's the Messiah. We are asking for a shred of evidence to prove the physical things listed in the BoM are real.

    Anybody can go to Gettysburg and do some searching and sure enough you can find remnants of a battle that once took place during the 1800's. Anybody can go to certain states and do some searching and find remnants of the Civil War battles. Some remnants require digging. I can go to a certain state and find a stone on a plot of land that was supposed to be part of a temple for the Mormons (funny how other temples spread across the world, but that temple was never built).

    We can go to the City of Salem overseas and see remnants of the Jews' Temple. We can find the old parts of the city and uncover its history. We can go to China and dig through the Great Wall and find the bodies of people who once lived in the land.

    Where is the location of the Morman Temple built in the manner of Solomon's anywhere in North, Central, or South America? How about remnants of a battle between the waring factions listed in the BoM? What about cities? What about the skill in metalurgy? Where are the graves? Where is the physical evidence?

    Mormons claim the BoM is the most correct book on the face of the Earth. It's shameful and pathetic you can't prove it.

    • Allow me to clarify my question. Where is the physical evidence that the Bible is 100% factual, as opposed to historical fiction? Where is the physical evidence of the resurrection of Christ? Where is the physical evidence that our sins can be forgiven? Where is the physical evidence that there is life after death?

  195. Where is the physical evidence of Washington, D.C.? Where is the physical evidence of the Hopi Indians? Where is the physical evidence of the Dead Sea Scrolls? Where is the physical evidence that Native Germans live in Germany and speak German?

    • Using questions as answers to other questions works as a rhetorical device when the answers to the first questions are interchangeable with the second set of questions, but that is not the case here. For example, the physical evidence of the existence of Washington DC is in the physical presence of the city. But what good does that answer do when it comes to asking if the resurrection of Christ, as described in the Bible, really happened?

  196. What does the resurrection of Christ have anything to do with swords (3 Nephi 1:18), scimitars (Alma 2:12), chariots (Alma 18:12), large buildings (Ether 10:5), many highways (Helaman 14:24), forts (Alma 48:8), javelins (Alma 51:34), breastplates (Mosiah 8:10), hand plates (Alma 46:13), compasses (Alma 37:38,44), trumpets (3 Nephi 13:2), chains (2 Nephi 1:13), hoes (Ether 10:25), and harps (2 Nephi 15:12)?

  197. Information from the National Museum of Natural History Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C. 20560

    Statement Regarding the Book of Mormon

    1. The Smithsonian Institution has never used the Book of Mormon in any way as a scientific guide. Smithsonian archaeologists see no direct connection between the archaeology of the New World and the subject matter of the book.

    2. The physical type of the American Indian is basically Mongoloid, being most closely related to that of the peoples of eastern, central, and northeastern Asia. Archaeological evidence indicates that the ancestors of the present Indians came into the New World — probably over a land bridge known to have existed in the Bering Strait region during the last Ice Age — in a continuing series of small migrations beginning from about 25,000 to 30,000 years ago.

    3. Present evidence indicates that the first people to reach this continent from the East were the Norsemen who briefly visited the northeastern part of North America around A.D. 1000 and then settled in Greenland. There is nothing to show that they reached Mexico or Central America.

    4. One of the main lines of evidence supporting the scientific finding that contacts with Old World civilizations, if indeed they occurred at all, were of very little significance for the development of American Indian civilizations, is the fact that none of the principal Old World domesticated food plants or animals (except the dog) occurred in the New World in pre-Columbian times. American Indians had no wheat, barley, oats, millet, rice, cattle, pigs, chickens, horses, donkeys, camels before 1492. (Camels and horses were in the Americas, along with the bison, mammoth, and mastodon, but all these animals became extinct around 10,000 B.C. at the time the early big game (sic) hunters spread across the Americas.)

    5. Iron, steel, glass, and silk were not used in the New World before 1492 (except for occasional use of unsmelted meteoric iron). Native copper was worked used (sic) in various locations in pre-Columbian times, but true metallurgy was limited to southern Mexico and the Andean region, where its occurrence in late prehistoric times involved gold, silver, copper, and their alloys, but not iron.

    6. There is a possibility that the spread of cultural traits across the Pacific to Mesoamerica and the northwestern coast of South America began several hundred years before the Christian era. However, any such inter-hemispheric contacts appear to have been the results of accidental voyages originating in eastern and southern Asia. It is by means certain that even such contacts occurred; certainly there were no contacts with the ancient Egyptians, Hebrews, or other peoples of Western Asia and the Near East.

    7. No reputable Egyptologist or other specialist on Old World archaeology, and no expert on New World prehistory, has discovered or confirmed any relationship between archaeological remains in Mexico and archaeological remains in Egypt.

    8. Reports of findings of ancient Egyptian, Hebrew, and other Old World writings in the New World in pre-Columbian contexts have frequently appeared in newspapers, magazines, and sensational books. None of these claims has stood up to examination by reputable scholars. No inscriptions using Old World forms of writing have been shown to have occurred in any part of the Americas before 1492 except for a few Norse rune stones which have been found in Greenland.

    9. There are copies of the Book of Mormon in the library of the National Museum, of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution.

    SIL – 76 Rev. May 1980

    • None of this answers my questions. You say there is physical evidence that proves the Bible is true. Where is it? How do you know that every weird of the Bible is true? How do you know that Christ was resurrected?

  198. Did I say there was physical evidence that proves the Bible true? There are persons, places, and things in the Bible that can be proven physically.

    This thread is not about the Bible, but where the Book of Mormon came from.

    Where is the evidence of the swords (3 Nephi 1:18), scimitars (Alma 2:12), chariots (Alma 18:12), large buildings (Ether 10:5), many highways (Helaman 14:24), forts (Alma 48:8), javelins (Alma 51:34), breastplates (Mosiah 8:10), hand plates (Alma 46:13), compasses (Alma 37:38,44), trumpets (3 Nephi 13:2), chains (2 Nephi 1:13), hoes (Ether 10:25), and harps (2 Nephi 15:12)?

    Where are these PHYSICAL items?

    • The reason I ask the question is because while there is certainly more physical evidence of the Bible than the Book of Mormon, it is a matter of degree, and for neither book is there physical evidence of the core events. The same logic you use to invalidate the Book of Mormon can also be used, and is used, to invalidate the Bible and claim that events such as the resurrection never took place, and that the Bible is merely historical fiction.

      What I an getting at is that there is only one way to know the Bible is true, and that is by direct communication with God. This is also the only way to know the Book of Mormon is true. Relying on physical evidence or anything tangible is to put one's faith in man, rather than God, since the physical evidence changes depending on what man discovers. For example, nothing was used more as evidence of the falsity of the Book of Mormon than the claim that it was written on metal plates and contained a story about another book, originating in Jerusalem, written on plates, because there was no evidence that people in that part of the world ever wrote on metal plates, but now it has been proven that they did. As long as one relies on man they are ever learning but never arriving at a perfect knowledge of the truth.

  199. swords (3 Nephi 1:18), scimitars (Alma 2:12), chariots (Alma 18:12), large buildings (Ether 10:5), many highways (Helaman 14:24), forts (Alma 48:8), javelins (Alma 51:34), breastplates (Mosiah 8:10), hand plates (Alma 46:13), compasses (Alma 37:38,44), trumpets (3 Nephi 13:2), chains (2 Nephi 1:13), hoes (Ether 10:25), and harps (2 Nephi 15:12)

    Notice the item and the BoM reference. Where are they?

    • If all these things were found in Central America would you then believe the Book of Mormon is true and that Joseph Smith was a true prophet?

      If there was no physical evidence for the Bible would you believe it was false?

  200. If any of those things were found it will only prove that the BoM has physical facts. Even works of fiction have some facts. The idea of Joseph Smith being a true prophet…thank you for the joke! Seriously, a true prophet of what? False prophets are true prophets, but they are not truthful prophets.

    If Jericho never existed, if the Hittites never existed, if the Romans and their Empire didn't exist, if Jerusalem never existed, etc. then there would be doubts to the facts of the Bible.

    So far, it stands that Joseph Smith authored and copyrighted a work of fiction called the Book of Mormon.

  201. So if I understand correctly, no amount of physical evidence could prove to you that the Book of Mormon is true, but your belief in the Bible is based on physical evidence?

  202. This thread is so big, I have not seen the physical elements mentioned in the BofM that were discovered by archaeologists. What are some of them? Were any discovered from Iconoclast's list?

    If Smith were a true prophet, at least some of these have been discovered, haven't they?

    • If they had all been discovered would that prove to you that the Book of Mormon is true? Would you then become a member of the LDS Church? If not, then what's the point of talking about archeology?

      For the record, there is a bit of supporting evidence, with more being discovered all the time.

      But what I find interesting is that if people were to apply the same archeological tests to the Bible as they do to the Book of Mormon, I'm not sure any of then would believe in the Bible either. After all, what archeological evidence is there of the resurrection of Christ? What archeological evidence is there that we can be forgiven of our sins because of Christ's sacrifice?

  203. Physical evidence is supporting evidence.

    Archeology is used to prove works of fact and fiction. It's about PHYSICAL NOT SPIRITUAL!

    Do you get it?

    Physical!

    Physical evidence!

    You know…archeology, linguistics, etc.

    Let's first look at the physical, then we will look at the spiritual.

  204. I feel a bit like a broken record, but I'll keep asking the question in different forms until I get a satisfactory answer. Where is the physical evidence of:

    1. The resurrection of Christ.

    2. The divinity of Christ.

    3. The forgiveness that comes through Christ.

    If there is no physical evidence for those things, how do you know the Bible isn't a work of historical fiction? That is, a book for which there is physical evidence, since it is based on historical events, but which then incorporates fictional events?

  205. Here is the utmost, complete fact of all:

    It doesn't matter about the Bible. It is not correctly translated…in American…to Americans who happen to be LDS. No matter what American language it's translated in.

    It doesn't matter about the Book of Mormon. Even though it is supposed to be a book of history about a people in the Americas. Even though the last entry was made by someone called Moroni, but the book doesn't bare his name.

    It's not about the one called Joseph Smith, Jr. Forget his addition to the King James Bible that mainstream Mormons recognize, but then do not because the copyright is owned by the Fundamental LDS. Forget his prophecies. Forget the History of Joseph Smith. Forget the Doctrines and Covenants.

    The Pearl of Great Price does not matter. The Words of Wisdom…pathetic. The Book of Abraham…who cares?

    Forget the Moroni test.

    Why?

    None of the above matter as long as those who call themselves LDS look at these things. What only matters is they believe they have a living prophet.

    Wake up!

    When their living prophet speaks against a former living prophet what do you get?

    It's all about what the living prophet says!

    Don't worry FARMS will figure out a way to make sure all the words of past, present, and future LDS elect speak in harmony. Even if it means…

    • You're making me more and more curious. Why won't you answer my question?

  206. Josh, you said: For the record, there is a bit of supporting evidence, with more being discovered all the time.

    What is the supporting evidence? Please use another source other than FARMS, unless you use a supporting source. If the LDS is to keep gaining converts, they need to prove that at least most of the physical evidence – since it was presented in the Book of Mormon – existed and was not a figament of Joseph Smith's imagination.

    • Do a search for "book of mormon archeology" online, and ignore the anti-Mormon sources and you'll find some interesting things. Granted, you won't solid proof, but if you believe in the Bible then that shouldn't matter to you, since there is no physical evidence proving the Bible to be true either.

      As for the growth of the LDS Church, I think it will go forward just fine without physical proof just as it had for almost 200 years. People don't become members of the Church because of physical evidence, but rather because they ask God if these things are true and they get an answer.

      Anyway, it's not my intention with this website to prove that anything is true. I'm merely pointing out that nobody can prove that the Book of Mormon is false, and if it can't be proven to be false, then logically there must be a chance that it's true.

  207. I think its really pathetic that people buy into a cult that is highly questionable as to its origins. I would put Mormonism up there with Scientology as the masters of all religions when it comes to complete BS. Religion only serves to enslave humanity. Take some credit for your own actions and stop putting in on an external source.

  208. I've read on this thread for sometime now. I just don't understand to what end you are all seeking? People that don't want to believe in the LDS church, good, don't. We that do believe, will continue to do so. We're not here to force you into our "imaginative" mindsets or bash you with "proof".

    The argument here should not be what is true and what is hoax. Look at what the church does for the people of the world and tell me that it is not a shining light. We denounce no one and love everyone.

    Not part of the LDS church has negative affect on any association, person, place, or establishment. The negativity associated with the LDS church is purely outwards. At other peoples disgust or ridicule, but mainly their own mis-understanding. People will avoid members of our church their entire lives based on what they've heard or assumed. It really is sad, that they can't just once, listen. I mean really listen to what is being told to them. Not by someone like me on an bulletin board. But a real live member of the church, that has been invited into their own home to sit down an explain to them what we believe. It is much easier to know something is true, to gain the faith and testimony of the church when someone with a strong testimony is sitting with you in prayer. Whatever they pray about with their words. Know that secretly and silently, in the back of their minds they are praying to God that you might have some feeling or revelation to know that what he or she has talked to you about today is true. We want to share it with the world. I want everyone to feel peace and know that there is joy in THIS life! You don't have to wait for death or heaven or whatever. No matter your current strife or illness, depression, or grief. You can be happy and you can start today. That's what the church believes. The "rules" of our religion are more than to show obedience to the Lord. They are there to keep us as healthy in body and mind as humanly possible. No alcohol, smoking, slothfulness, idleness, perverse or unclean things. Slowly, these things will take away what is most important to you. Joy, family, health, etc… The sad thing is, it might take years and by then it may be too late. The church only wants what is best for us, mankind. God's kind… made in his image. God wants what's best for us.

    Anyway, I went from "Bible bashing" to preaching. I apologize, because I didn't want to really comment this much. But it kinda just poured out.

    P.S. The Kolob argument?? Come on guys. "There is no planet called Kolob na na na na" That sounds so dumb. Do you realize how many planets scientists even know of?…… How about how many we can even closely observe?…… SEVEN! We can look at distant stars much like our sun and see that there are gravitational forces pulling on them suggesting other planets. Or "transits" referring to a small blip passing in front of a star as a planet that is circling it would look like. One of these transits I read is even in the "habitable" distance from it's star. So we could essentially live on it. If it has water, atmosphere, vegetation, animals, etc. But really!?! Your going to denounce the existence of Kolob because WE, at this current lack of understanding of the universe, don't know about it….. out of the billions and billions times billions of masses that we can only get glimpses of. —-Besides Kolob is a star, not a planet. It is also prophesied to be the nearest star to God.

    There were prophets of old and now prophets today.

  209. The evidence points to the Book of Mormon as mainly a collaboration between Joseph Smith Jr. And Oliver Cowdery. However it was written, the book is a an obvious hoax as sophisticated people understood at the time and have known ever since.

    The commonly accepted story (even by mormons) is that the first draft of the book was lost or destroyed by Martin Harris’s wife Lucy. The truth may be that the stories about Lucy are true or it may be that Harris, perhaps with advice from unknown persons, was responsible for destroying/hiding the draft because the work was so obviously phony due to Smith’s poor writing (or dictating) skills.

    Smith renewed his work later and began to make significant progress when Oliver Cowdery joined him as his “scribe.” Cowdery was familiar with a book titled View of the Hebrews by Ethan Smith (no relation to Joseph) which tells about how ancient Hebrews came to North America and may have had a copy. The two men probably used the story in that book, adding a lot of material from their imaginations, to create the Book of Mormon. Joseph Smith may have tried at first to use Cowdery to transcribe his alleged “translations” and then let him in on the hoax after Cowdery figured out what was going on or the two men may have agreed on the plan before the collaborative writing began. Smith probably had the more fertile imagination but Cowdery had the literary skills. Cowdery had been a teacher and worked as a typesetter. Both men would have been familiar with the archaic English used in the King James Bible and emulated in the Book or Mormon.

    They were motivated to work hard and complete the writing as soon as possible because Smith had a good number of followers already and all they needed to launch the church was the “holy” scripture. Cowdery struggled with Smith for leadership of the church but was no match for the charismatic Smith and was eventually excommunicated.

    • So all those Mormons who are college professors, CEOs of Fortune 500 companies, ans nuclear physicists are unsophisticated?

      If Oliver Cowdery knew the Book of Mormon was false, why didn't he come out and day so after he was excommunicated? Why did he die as an active member of the church?

  210. Posted by: Joshua Steimle on April 5, 2011 at 7:05 pm

    Do a search for “book of mormon archeology” online, and ignore the anti-Mormon sources and you’ll find some interesting things. Granted, you won’t solid proof, but if you believe in the Bible then that shouldn’t matter to you, since there is no physical evidence proving the Bible to be true either…

    Anyway, it’s not my intention with this website to prove that anything is true. I’m merely pointing out that nobody can prove that the Book of Mormon is false, and if it can’t be proven to be false, then logically there must be a chance that it’s true.

    ——-

    The Bible refers to empires and nations that are known to have existed from independent sources. In the nineteenth century Egyptian, Assyrian, and Babylonian manuscripts were discovered and translated that made mention of Israel, Israelite kings, and events recorded in the Bible.

    There is no evidence outside of The Book of Mormon that any of the events recorded in that book happened, and that any of the nations and individuals mentioned ever existed.

    The Book of Mormon makes mention of crops, domestic animals, and technologies that it claims to have existed in the New World as soon as Lehi and his family reached the New World soon after 600 B.C. There is no evidence at all that any of these crops, domestic animals, and technologies existed in the New World prior to the European settlement that began in the sixteenth century.

    • If archeological evidence came to light for the Book of Mormon on par with the archeological evidence that supports the Bible narrative, would you then believe the Book of Mormon is true?

  211. Posted by: Joshua Steimle on April 26, 2011 at 6:07 pm

    So all those Mormons who are college professors, CEOs of Fortune 500 companies, ans nuclear physicists are unsophisticated?

    If Oliver Cowdery knew the Book of Mormon was false, why didn’t he come out and day so after he was excommunicated? Why did he die as an active member of the church?

    ——-

    The vast majority of Mormons of any distinction were born into the faith. They have learned not to question or think about certain things.

    The Mormon faith is appealing to many. It is like a beautiful Victorian mansion that people buy without investigating its foundations.

    Because Oliver Cowdery cannot be questioned, his motives should not be speculated about.

  212. "The vast majority of Mormons of any distinction were born into the faith. "

    Do you have some statistics to back up that claim?

    "They have learned not to question or think about certain things."

    Where's your evidence for this claim?

    "Because Oliver Cowdery cannot be questioned, his motives should not be speculated about."

    I guess that's a convenient way to dodge the debate, but doesn't it seem a bit odd that none of the witnesses to the physical reality of the Book of Mormon ever denied what they saw, despite many of them leaving the Church?

  213. Most of what I write here has been mentioned at least once or twice already on this thread, but here goes:

    a) Much of the BOM is a verbatim copy of the King James Version of the Book of Isaiah. What's really interesting, though, is that the translation errors in the King James that were undiscovered in the lifetime of Joey Smith are also in the BOM. So let me go over this really slowly for all the brainwashed out there…if the BOM was written by God or angels or whatever on golden plates or whatever, then why in the heck did He or they make translation errors…and the exact same translation errors as the King James writers in 17th century England? Or was it that this divinely inspired illiterate prophet just copied it all out of a motel Bible?

    b) Nope, no horses or cows or donkeys or any other such animals in Latin America till the Spanish. Going back a a bazillion years doesn't count. That's really reaching, geez! Of course, an unschooled simpleton like Joey Smith wouldn't know anything about the indigenous species of Latin America, so he might say a bunch of ignorant things in a cheezy fairy tale that he and some of his con-man buddies came up with. You silly folk can hold onto the silly hope that somehow these exceedingly valuable prairie animals managed to proliferate in a tropical region at the time of the arrival of some fake Jewish sect, but then which also somehow went completely extinct within 1000 years at the hands of those evil eco-terrorist Toltecs and Mayans, who apparently hated these animals so much and found absolutely no use for them that they made no record of them whatsoever in any archaeological evidence left behind…but you'd be, um, silly to do so.

  214. In response:

    a) Anyone who has done translation work knows there is no one right way to translate something. If you give a book to 20 different, highly talented people, and ask them to translate it, you'll end up with 20 different translations. The problem with scripture is because of its importance, and because the changing of a single word can affect meaning, if there were any difference between the books of Isaiah of the Book of Mormon and the Isaiah of the Bible, it would be assumed by most people that this was a meaningful change, worthy of extensive analysis. But what if the change isn't very meaningful? What if even an error isn't worth analyzing? What if the analysis and distraction of the changes would be more detrimental than just having the Book of Mormon included everything verbatim? In other words, it could make sense for God to give Joseph Smith the exact words, in the exact language, to put in the Book of Mormon as are contained in the King James version of the Bible.

    b) "Nope, no horses or cows or donkeys or any other such animals in Latin America till the Spanish." What proof do you have that these animals never lived in Central or South America? A lack of evidence does not mean something never existed. And the total number of such animals could easily have been small enough to leave no trace, or at least no trace that we've yet found. There are tens of thousands of known archeological sites in Central America that have yet to be excavated. Who knows what we might find?

    Remember, when the Book of Mormon was first published, the #1 criticism of it was that ancient people didn't write on metal plates. But within the past few years metal plates with writing on them have been found in the Middle East, and that criticism has faded away. What other criticism might fade away in the future as more discoveries are made that support the Book of Mormon narrative?

  215. Didn't have time for all 200+ replies, sorry if this is deja-vu.

    Book of Mormon came from Solomon Spalding.
    I've read the latest FARMS rebuttle by Matt Roper, and it's wrong. It relies on what-ifs. It doesn't bring any additional primary sources to the table.

    Short version/timeline:
    Solomon Spalding was an unemployed Dartmouth-educated minister and writer.
    He wrote, among other things, a story called Manuscript Found around 1812 in Conneaut, OH
    He moved to Pittsburgh.
    He tried to get it published, but died first, in 1816.
    The whereabouts of the manuscript are uncertain. It might have been returned to his survivors, or it might as well have simply been left behind at the printshop.
    Sidney Rigdon was a contractor/supplier for the printshop, and friends with an employee there. At the very least he is known by postal records to have lived in Pittsburgh at the time, a fact he denied in his later mormon years.
    By 1826 Rigdon is known to have had contact with Oliver Cowdery as his minister in NE OH, a fact they both denied in their later mormon years. In turn, Cowdery is known to have visited the Palmyra area years before he claimed he first met Smith there.
    By 1829 Smith and Cowdery were openly working together on the Book of Mormon translation, cleaning up after the 1828 lost 116 pages crisis. They pretended that they'd never met before. Smith already had a history of collecting money by claiming he could see treasure underground and the invisible spirits guarding it, but none was ever found. In other words, he was a con-man.
    They got the Book of Mormon published in 1830.
    In 1831, Pratt, a longtime associate of Rigdon and Cowdery, pretended to be miraculously led to Smith and the Book of Mormon, and hurried back to Rigdon with it. Rigdon pretended to be converted to mormonism and his congregation doubled the size of the church. He was almost immediately promoted to second-in-command in the church, and almost immediately began translating and scribing just as Cowdery had done, on the spot.
    Meanwhile, old friends and family of the 15-years deceased Spalding still living in Conneaut, told missionaries that they recognized their Book of Mormon as mostly Spalding's, but with many additions. These claims were circulated in newspapers that same year. Another newspaper unrelatedly named Rigdon as the likely author because the book contained teachings he had preached before the book was published.
    These accusations lay mostly uninvestigated until a disgruntled exmormon took the job in 1833. He collected affidavits from a dozen people and retrieved a Spalding manuscript from survivors, but it wasn't the one the Book of Mormon was based on.
    Even so, he sold his findings to a publisher and the first anti-mormon pamphlet was circulated in 1834.
    For the last 177 years mormons have easily dismissed the Spalding theory. It was promoted by a lying exmormon fornicator, the witnesses were all coached and recalling over 15-year-old memories, the one recovered Spalding manuscript wasn't nearly a match, and besides, Rigdon, Cowdery, and Smith denied it.
    In 2009 Elder Holland called it "pathetic".
    But, nothing he said and nothing FARMS has posted has refuted it, only called it names.
    Meanwhile the 2008 Jockers study at Stanford published a strong statistical Spalding and Rigdon signal in the Book of Mormon.

    • What are some online references for all these claims?

      Also, if all this is true, what's your explanation as to why Martin Harris, Oliver Cowdery, and others who said they saw the metal plates never exposed "the ruse" when they were kicked out of the church? And why would Joseph Smith kick them out if it were all a fake and they could ruin him in an instant?

  216. I read the book and it is poorly written. I've skimmed the first edition pre-edits and it is even worse. I've read the statement of the printer of the first edition who claims to have edited the text because the grammar and punctuation were so bad.

    Smith never set pen to paper since he had transcribers. His education was beyond elementary school but he writes like someone who never made it out of 3rd grade.

    God knows what a mess that book would be without the printer's edits and the subsequent fixes. Has anyone counted up the "and it came to pass?"

    • Tamara, can you give two or three examples from the Book of Mormon of what you mean by "poorly written"?

  217. Assuming that they had made untrue sworn statements, the damage to their reputations and possible criminal convictions for perjury outweighed any revenge factor. If I were them, I wouldn't say anything either.

    • @Brinson, I'm not sure I agree but I'll say those are at least somewhat plausible theories. So why do you think Martin Harris and Oliver Cowdery came back into the LDS Church in the end?

  218. 1. Even if your assertion were true, it’s a logical red herring: It is not necessary or even probable that criminal colluders who have a falling out will spill the beans on each other. What would you expect? Someone who was in a crime ring for a decade, and quits or gets kicked out, is just going to tell all? Think of all the ways it would backfire on himself. That’s like asking why Al Capone never admitted to his crimes. Actually it’s a wonder that they stayed together as long as they did, which in itself suggests a codependent relationship. Rigdon and Cowdery despised Smith’s sexual abuses, and quarreled about it, yet stuck around for years. But when they did part, they all still had to protect themselves. Rigdon expected to get the church back from Smith, so of course he’s not going to pull the plug. Cowdery became a lawyer. Not a good thing on your resume to have committed systematic fraud (but he did admit it to a confidant…see next). But not least of all is that any one of them admitting fraud would have ended up in prison, and they all knew they had that on each other.

    2. Even if the assertion were logically relevant, it’s a mormon myth that “none of the witnesses denied their testimonies”. That simply isn’t true. Actually most of them equivocated at some point, including Rigdon and Cowdery. They were on-again-off-again, as it seemed to suit their self-interest at the time, including Cowdery “returning” to the church in old age (it was his best financial prospect). But during his law years he told his partner that the Book of Mormon was plagiarized from Spalding.

    Read the book “Who Really Wrote the Book of Mormon, the Spalding Enigma”
    Then read FARMS’ rebuttal by Matt Roper. It’s almost as long as the book, and it’s only a Johnny Cochran style defense of casting any remotely possible doubt on the evidence, including defamation of the sources, and there’s ALLOT of evidence.

    I should save my opinion of FARMS for another day, but they are a well-funded propaganda cover. They resorted to personal defamation of Thomas Murphy to discredit his research. They are charlatans if not liars, the same you seem to think about anti-mormons, who, contrary to myth, make scant money compared to the church, and most of whom are motivated by a genuine belief that the church is false, whether it is or not. I personally know with certainty that the church is false and harmful. I know what it’s like to be a full-on believer, a missionary, a family man, and have the rug pulled out from under my feet.

    • I'll look into that stuff, Amos. So how do you know for sure that the church is false? Is there any particular silver bullet for you?

  219. Josh, you say that a lack of evidence doesn't prove the BoM false. On the other hand, the lack of evidence doesn't make it true either. This is considered argumentum ad ignorantiam.

    Josh, you stated, "The idea that Joseph Smith, or any other person or group of persons, could write such a book, even today, is hard to believe."

    Where is the proof in this statement? I find it easy to believe that one or more persons could write a book like the BoM. I believe that a person could write such a book in this day and age. Just because you find it hard to believe doesn't mean it doesn't happen. Ever thought of taking a trip to the library?

    You stated, "I’d be willing to bet that if you got 20 of the smartest people together with degrees in archeology, Meso-American culture, Hebrew studies, theology, and Central American geography, they might be able to write a book, but I bet it could be conclusively and obviously proven to be an invention within a matter of days."

    Considering argumentum ad ignorantiam, how do you confirm that a book is conclusively and obviously proven to be an invention within in a matter of days? Are not the arguments and other evidences against the BoM conclusive and obvious proof of a Joseph Smith invention?

    "But hey, give it your best shot. If you don’t believe Joseph Smith was a prophet who translated the Book of Mormon from ancient plates with God’s help, where do you think the book came from?"

    Was Jules Verne a prophet? He wrote several books, in my opinion, that revolutionized the world. We have nuclear powered submarines, crafts that travel into space, and a woman who traveled around the world in a hotair balloon (this woman so happened to meet the author on one of her stops). Joseph Smith's title of prophet is only based on what an individual believes. To one person he is a true prophet, to some he is a false prophet, and others don't believe in either. Regardless, Joseph Smith wrote the BoM.

    Interesting that Jules Verne did more to help mankind than Joseph Smith.

  220. "On the other hand, the lack of evidence doesn’t make it true either."

    I agree with you. But I'm not trying to prove to anyone that the Book of Mormon is true. I'm only trying to prove that nobody else can prove it to be false, and that therefore we logically have to accept that it may be true.

    "Josh, you stated, 'The idea that Joseph Smith, or any other person or group of persons, could write such a book, even today, is hard to believe.'

    Where is the proof in this statement?"

    It probably wasn't worth it for me to say that. It's a subjective statement, and any opinion contrary to mine is also subjective, so there wasn't much point. I apologize for letting my emotions get the better of me :)

    "Are not the arguments and other evidences against the BoM conclusive and obvious proof of a Joseph Smith invention?"

    To those who are already inclined towards disbelief, perhaps.

    "Regardless, Joseph Smith wrote the BoM."

    Not Sidney Rigdon, Oliver Cowdery, or Solomon Spaulding? It seems most people who believe the Book of Mormon to be inauthentic believe someone other than Joseph Smith wrote it.

    "Interesting that Jules Verne did more to help mankind than Joseph Smith."

    I suppose that's a matter of opinion.

  221. In response to Joshua Steimle on May 12, 2011 at 4:19 pm

    Joshua wrote: "a) Anyone who has done translation work knows there is no one right way to translate something. If you give a book to 20 different, highly talented people, and ask them to translate it, you’ll end up with 20 different translations. The problem with scripture is because of its importance, and because the changing of a single word can affect meaning, if there were any difference between the books of Isaiah of the Book of Mormon and the Isaiah of the Bible, it would be assumed by most people that this was a meaningful change, worthy of extensive analysis. But what if the change isn’t very meaningful? What if even an error isn’t worth analyzing? What if the analysis and distraction of the changes would be more detrimental than just having the Book of Mormon included everything verbatim? In other words, it could make sense for God to give Joseph Smith the exact words, in the exact language, to put in the Book of Mormon as are contained in the King James version of the Bible."

    Tom writes: Ayyyyyyyy, huh? Really? You think God would deliberately misstate Himself just to keep people from getting unnerved? And the entire LDS cult hasn't gotten people unnerved?

    It is so sad you folks will deny your own nose to eulogize an illiterate, racist, sexually depraved con-man.

    • "You think God would deliberately misstate Himself just to keep people from getting unnerved?"

      As I said, translation is an imprecise science. The question is whether clarifying a point would lead to more confusion than leaving it as is. If God's objective were to provide as much clarity to us imperfect beings of limited understanding, then it is plausible that he might leave scripture as it is, rather than direct Joseph Smith to modify it if that would only lead to greater confusion than if nothing were done.

      As to your last comment, I can see how someone might call Joseph Smith illiterate, since he did lack much in the way of education, and the idea that he was sexually depraved is certainly not without credit, even if untrue, but racist? Where do you get that idea from?

  222. I see there has been a lot of discussion about "good" and "evil" and "this church" versus "that church" and so on, but to answer your question about the source of Joseph Smith's inspiration: The "inspirational source" was a book written by a local minister named Ethan Smith, approximately 7 years before Cowdery (who was acquainted with Ethan Smith) and Joseph Smith cojured up the book of whatever you want to call it. Ethan Smith actually said he translated tablets with the same type of seer stone glasses that Joseph Smith used. The book is a fraud. Joseph Smith is a fraud.

    Now, turning to archiological issues, let's make something really clear: The two civilizations were said to exist for a thousand years. Smith had them spread out from South America all the way to upstate New York. These two peoples should have more than maize to point to their existence. No language, no artifacts, no buildings, nothing. On the other hand, literally thousands of Mayan, Incan and Aztec artifacts have been found. Some of it predates the so-called civilizations created by Smith. None of it mentions the two peoples that Smith (either one) created.

    Let's face it. You and other Mormon believers are in the same category as "birthers;" people who believe 911 was a government plot, that don't believe we've been to the moon and, unfortunately, given how long your church has existed, that the world was flat and the sun circumnavigated the earth. You believe something because that's what you want to believe. Don't confuse that with the truth.

  223. A few years back, a Mormon I worked with gave me a copy of the Book of Mormon with the hopes I'd flip through its tissue-thin pages and find salvation within. I read it, assuredly, but there was no salvation to be found… just gut laugh after hilarious gut laugh.

    It is said Joseph Smith could not have written the Book of Mormon because he lacked a formal education. As some one who does have a formal education, I can personally attest that whoever wrote the Book of Mormon need not have had such an education himself.

    Allow me to illustrate.

    Let's all open our books to 1 Nephi 3:6-13. The phrase "And it came to pass" is repeated four times in eight paragraphs. The reason for this is simple: the phrase is used throughout the Bible with some regularity. Smith was essentially copying the Bible stylistically, using recurring phrases and themes and argot in his own work to give it a sense of antiquity and authenticity. In the end, Smith wound up recycling these words and phrases so often it approaches the point of parody.

    Then there's the part about Nephi sneaking back into Jerusalem to kill Laban. After beheading the big bad Laban, Nephi takes his clothes (which are apparently clean of blood… must be a miracle, right?) and then impersonates Laban to lure Laban's servant outside the city walls (as if Laban's servant, who had spent every waking hour of his adult life with Laban, wouldn't know the difference between the two). Once outside the walls, the servant is made aware of his master's true identity and then, after little persuasion, agrees to join Lehi's little summer camp in the wilderness outside Jerusalem.

    What's strange about this, you ask? Simple: it is so contrived. As Lehi took only his family outside the city gates, it became necessary for Smith to create a literary device which would allow for procreation further along in the story. The only purpose the duped servant served was to be the mechanism by which the sons of Lehi attained wives and begat children.

    Seriously. Faulker, this guy ain't.

    In seriousness, though, to say Joseph Smith couldn't have fabricated the Book of Mormon because he was not educated is to step into a serious fallacy of logic. Education does not necessarily make one intelligent, nor does lack of education necessarily make one stupid. Furthermore, the Book of Mormon is not exactly superb literature. Especially when one reads it alongside the Bible, it sounds like a cheap knockoff, like the Book of Mormon is the Go-Bots to the Bible's Transformers.

    • @germanator – I won't say your ideas aren't without logic or merit, but what proof do you have? Nothing of what you say proves the Book of Mormon to be false. At best, it merely proves that a reasonable person can read the Book of Mormon and remain unconvinced it is true. A thorough investigation of each of your points would reveal that there are plausible explanations for all of them. You may not feel motivated to make such an investigation, and I hardly blame you, but to pass judgment without making sure you have more than a superficial understanding of the issues is to put the cart before the horse.

      I couldn't help but giggle at your Go-bots vs. Transformers remark, however. When I was a kid my mom got me some Go-bots, and I was always jealous of the kids who had Transformers. Lucky punks.

  224. okay people. this article has been up fot about 2 and a half years. is it really that big a deal? the author has stated many times in one way or another that hes not trying to convert people to our religion. im 15 and what i see going on here is a useless debate on religion. so what its how we choose to live. you dont have to be a part of it if you dont want to. thats what mormonism is about. and if you cant see how big of a waste of time and useless this entire debate is (no offense to the author) then you clearly have problems. who cares. even if we are wrong, we still live a great life when we stick to the principles and ordinances of the gospel. if joseph smith was just blowin crap out of his butt, at least he started something that, though is potentially false, has helped millions of people correct problems in their lives, help them recover from natural disasters, and simply make the followers happy. if the BOM is incorrect doctrine or if the leaders of the church dont really receive revelations from god, at least we have been given a lifestyle that is centered around happiness and family, and what is more important than your family? if youre normal, then nothing. i think this article can be ended now for it has done exactly the opposite of what the church teaches. its best to just accept peoples beliefs no matter how far-fetched they may seem

    to be. its their choice let them go with it and you dont worry about it.

  225. God says that he is not an author of confusion.

    • Who's confused? Not me, so I guess the Mormon church must be true :)

  226. yeah really where did that "god says that he is not the author of confusion" come from i didnt say anything like that haha

  227. Posted by: Joshua Steimle on March 29, 2010 at 10:39 am

    Hi John, I figured that comment was worthy of its own post as a response, so here you go:

    Smithsonian Institute Statement Regarding the Book of Mormon
    http://www.mormondna.org/archaeology/smithsonian-

    ——————-

    The Book of Mormon contains no mention of other civilizations. It contains no mention of any humans in the New World before the entry of Nephi and his family.

    The Bible, even the Old Testament, makes reference to empires and individuals that are known to have existed from other sources. There is no evidence that any of the events in the Book of Mormon happened. The hieroglyphics of the Mayans has been deciphered. It makes no reference to any of the events and individuals in The Book of Mormon.

    By contrast, the cuneiform writings of the Assyrians and the Babylonians has been deciphered too. It does make reference to Israelite kings such as Jehu, Ahab, and Hezekiah.

    In the 1990s a stele was found in Northern Israel that mentioned "the house of David." It dates to the eighth century BC.
    http://israeltours.wordpress.com/2011/03/24/house

    In the nineteenth century the Merneptah Stele was discovered. This dates back to the thirteenth century BC, and mentions Israel in Egyptian hieroglyphs.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Merneptah_Stele

    This is what the National Geographic Society has to say about The Book of Mormon:

    The Society has never used the Book of Mormon to locate archaeological sites, and we do not believe that any of the places named in the Book of Mormon can be placed geographically by the evidence of archeology. So far as we know there is no archaeological evidence to verify the history of early peoples of the Western Hemisphere as presented in the Book of Mormon.
    http://www.rickross.com/reference/mormon/mormon15

  228. "The Book of Mormon contains no mention of other civilizations. It contains no mention of any humans in the New World before the entry of Nephi and his family."

    Actually a substantial portion of the Book of Mormon is dedicated to the Jaredite civilization, which pre-dates and overlaps the Nephite civilization. But leaving that aside, why should we expect the Book of Mormon to mention other civilizations? It is not a comprehensive history, and the book itself says that is is extremely limited in scope, containing a small amount of religious writings and very limited historical details. You might imagine that if someone tried to fit the last 1,000 years of European history into a 400 page book, there would be quite an outcry from historians as to what was left out. This wouldn't mean the book was false, merely that it's very limited in what's included.

    "There is no evidence that any of the events in the Book of Mormon happened."

    If you're looking for objective proof, you won't find it, but then again you won't find it for much of the Bible either. But there's plenty of supporting evidence. Here are some resources you can peruse:

    http://www.bmaf.org/ http://www.jefflindsay.com/BMEvidences.shtml http://www.fairlds.org/apol/ai024.html

    "The hieroglyphics of the Mayans has been deciphered. It makes no reference to any of the events and individuals in The Book of Mormon. "

    As far as we know the Mayans were an entirely separate people from the Book of Mormon people. It's easily possible that the two groups could have existed at the same time while never coming in contact with each other. It's also easily possible that they did come in contact with each other, but that no record of such contact was ever created. It's also easily possible that a record of such contact was made, but that it was destroyed or we haven't found that record yet. There is quite a bit of archeological work to be done in Mesoamerica, so who knows what we'll find during the next 200 years.

    "The Society has never used the Book of Mormon to locate archaeological sites, and we do not believe that any of the places named in the Book of Mormon can be placed geographically by the evidence of archeology. So far as we know there is no archaeological evidence to verify the history of early peoples of the Western Hemisphere as presented in the Book of Mormon."

    All this statement says is that there is no 100% positive archeological evidence…yet. It says nothing as to whether or not evidence will come to light in the future. The only way this statement would have any bearing on the topic at hand is if you assume that all archeological work in Mesoamerica has been completed and there is nothing left to discover. I know from firsthand experience this is nothing close to the truth, since there are tens of thousands of known archeological sites in Mesoamerica that have yet to be excavated. It will take decades, if not centuries, to do this work, and even when it is all complete we will still have an incomplete and imperfect idea of the history of Mesoamerica. I don't necessarily believe we will ever find definitive archeological proof of the Book of Mormon, but a lack of evidence does not prove something is false.

  229. "All this statement says is that there is no 100% positive archeological evidence…yet."

    Which makes it fiction until subjectional evidence is found. Faith and religion is one thing, but physical proof is another.

    The BoM by Joseph Smith reminds me of a certain individual named Christopher Paolini. Like, Smith it took a year to complete his first work before it was published. Unlike Smith, he began it at the age of 15. Like Smith, he traveled throughout the US to further its popularity. Like Smith, he had no formal education. Like Smith, he had certain popular influences in his time to write the book in the manner he did. Like Smith, both stated there was something wrong with the way certain books were written. Both authors works are popular amongst certain individuals. Like Smith's book, Eragon is a work of fiction.

  230. Someone once wrote: "Sunday, 28.–I spent the day in the council with the Twelve Apostles at the house of President Young, conversing with them upon a variety of subjects. Brother Joseph Fielding was present, having been absent four years on a mission to England. I told the brethren that the Book of Mormon was the most correct of any book on earth, and the keystone of our religion, and a man would get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts, than by any other book."

    Someone once wrote: "But when Joseph Smith said the Book of Mormon was the 'most correct of any book,' he was referring to more than just wording, a fact made clear by the remainder of his statement: He said 'a man would get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts, than by any other book.' When read in context, the Prophet's statement refers to the correctness of the principles it teaches."

    The same could be said about the story Aschenputtel written by the Brother's Grimm. The precept of the story is wickedness and falsehood leads to blindness.

  231. why should we expect the Book of Mormon to mention other civilizations? It is not a comprehensive history, and the book itself says that is is extremely limited in scope, containing a small amount of religious writings and very limited historical details…

    Mayans were an entirely separate people from the Book of Mormon people. It’s easily possible that the two groups could have existed at the same time while never coming in contact with each other.

    – Joshua Steimle

    ——–

    The Book of Mormon claims to be a detailed history of pre Columbian America from roughly 600 B.C. to 421 A.D. It is not the account of small, harried bands of Jewish refugees from the Babylonian conquest of Judah. It is the account of large nations and civilizations. Nevertheless, these nations and civilizations left no evidence in the archaeological record. That is because they did not exist.

    Since Joseph Smith wrote The Book of Mormon a great deal has been learned about what was really happening in the New World. By 500 B.C. the Olmec civilization had existed for nearly a thousand years. By the time The Book of Mormon comes to a close the Zapotec, the Mayan, and the Teotihuacan civilizations were in existence. The Book of Mormon makes no mention of any of these civilizations because Joseph Smith did not know about them.

    None of these civilizations can be identified with the Nephites and the Lamanites because they show nothing of the Semitic characteristics one would expect if they were founded by the descendants of Jewish refugees.

    This is an interesting and fairly short article from The New York Times about what was really happening when the events recorded in The Book of Mormon were supposed to have been happening:
    http://www.nytimes.com/learning/teachers/featured

  232. From the BYU Maxwell Institute: "The Book of Mormon mentions bows and arrows, swords, slings, scimitars, clubs, spears, shields, breastplates, helmets, and cotton armor—all items documented for Mesoamerica. Aztec swords were of wood, sometimes edged with stone knives. There are indications of wooden swords in the Book of Mormon—how else could swords become stained with blood? Wooden swords edged with sharp stones could sever heads and limbs and were lethal."

    From the Medical and surgical reporter, Volume 25. the excerpt dated October 28, 1871: "Professor Von Gorup gives the methods for deciding upon the origin and age of blood stains on metal, wood, stone, cloth, etc., and shows that, in judicial cases, these questions can be ascertained with absolute certainty."

    Metal swords are more lethal than wood and stone. Metal can be stained like wood and stone. Scimitars are a type of curved blade sword. The earliest known use of scimitars is from around the 8th century, when it was used among Turkic and Tungusic soldiers in Central Asia.

  233. @Iconoclast – "Which makes it fiction until subjectional evidence is found. Faith and religion is one thing, but physical proof is another."

    Where is the physical proof of the resurrection of Jesus Christ? Where is the physical proof that we can be forgiven of our sins through Christ's sacrifice? If there is no physical proof of these things, then by the same logic you use to say the Book of Mormon is fiction wouldn't you then have to admit the core story of the Bible is also fiction?

    "The same could be said about the story Aschenputtel written by the Brother’s Grimm."

    I'm not sure I understand what you're getting at–are you claiming that the statement "a man would get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts, than by any other book" applies to the story Aschenputtel?

    @john – "The Book of Mormon claims to be a detailed history of pre Columbian America from roughly 600 B.C. to 421 A.D."

    Where does the Book of Mormon make this claim?

    "It is the account of large nations and civilizations."

    The Book of Mormon does indeed claim that the Jaredite civilization will be a large one, and the numbers specifically mentioned lead us to believe the Jaredite civilization reached at least a few million. But there is no evidence provided in the Book of Mormon that the Nephite/Lamanite civilization was ever very large. From what I can tell, it's easily possible that the combined Nephites and Lamanites never numbered more than a few hundred thousand.

    "Nevertheless, these nations and civilizations left no evidence in the archaeological record."

    How can you make this claim when the vast majority of known archeological sites in Central America have still not been excavated? Have we excavated even 1% of the known archeological sites in Central America? And how many more sites are there that aren't even known yet?

    "By 500 B.C. the Olmec civilization had existed for nearly a thousand years. By the time The Book of Mormon comes to a close the Zapotec, the Mayan, and the Teotihuacan civilizations were in existence. The Book of Mormon makes no mention of any of these civilizations because Joseph Smith did not know about them."

    How does the Book of Mormon not mentioning these civilizations prove anything? The Book of Mormon is not a comprehensive historical record. It is highly summarized and abridged. The book itself claims to be nothing close to even a 100th part of the history of the people. There are parts of the book that cover hundreds of years in a few pages. Even a superficial reading of the book shows that Mormon, as the one doing the abridging, was highly selective about what he included. If his primary focus was religion–not history, economics, or social studies, then why would he have taken up valuable space to to say "By the way, there are these other civilizations we know of, but we don't have anything to do with them nor they with us, but I'm going to mention them anyway and give you some details about them just for the heck of it, even though I'm leaving tons of other really important stuff out."

    That article was quite interesting. How do we know the Olmecs aren't the Jaredite civilization mentioned in the Book of Mormon? After all, the dates conform, other details correspond, at least roughly, and as the article states "No one knows what the ancient Olmecs called themselves."

    @iconoclast again – What's your point with the scimitars? (no pun intended) I'm not sure what you're getting at.

    BTW, here's an interesting video on the topic of Book of Mormon archeological evidence.

    <iframe width="560" height="349" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/e6MVOV92cuA&quot; frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

  234. Joseph Smith had a very active vivid and creative immagination. He was also reasonably intelligent depite his lack of formal education. It is concievealble that he could have that he could have written the Book of Mormon. However there is strong evidence that Joseph plagarized that the Book of Mormon from multiple sources including but not limited to Veiw of the Hebrews by Ethan Smith and the King James Bible. There is also much controversy surrounding a stolen unpublished novel in connection with the Book of Mormon. The work in question is Manuscript Found by Solomon Spaulding. It is allegged that Sidney Rigdon a comrade of Smith worked at the print shop when and where this work dissappeared. The problem is that devoted followers of Joseph Smith ( The Mormons) are comepletly closed minded and refuse to consider any possibility other than the Book of Mormon being of "devine origin"

  235. Where is the physical proof of the resurrection of Jesus Christ? Where is the physical proof that we can be forgiven of our sins through Christ’s sacrifice? If there is no physical proof of these things, then by the same logic you use to say the Book of Mormon is fiction wouldn’t you then have to admit the core story of the Bible is also fiction?

    – Joshua Steimle

    ———

    Of course there is no physical evidence of that. There is an abundance of archaeological evidence that the description in the New Testament of the Roman Empire during the first century AD is accurate. This evidence is corroborated by surviving writing by pagan Romans and Greeks during the time.

    There is no evidence that the Book of Mormon is an accurate description of pre Columbian America. The civilizations that existed in the New World then were polytheistic and practiced human sacrifice. There is no mention in the Book of Mormon that even the Lamanites practiced human sacrifices.

  236. @john – “The Book of Mormon claims to be a detailed history of pre Columbian America from roughly 600 B.C. to 421 A.D.”

    Where does the Book of Mormon make this claim?

    – Joshua Steimle

    ——

    I own one volume that includes The Book of Mormon, The Doctrine and Covenants, and The Pearl of Great Price. The Copyright is 1981, by Corporation of the President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Salt Lake City, Utah, U.S.A.

    On the first page of The First Book of Nephi in the lower right hand side is written, "[About 600 B.C.]." On the last page of Moroni is written, "[About A.D. 421]."

  237. BTW, here’s an interesting video on the topic of Book of Mormon archeological evidence.

    – Joshua Steimle

    ———

    If there is an Arabic city with a name similar to Nahom, which is mentioned in 1 Nephi 16:34, that is an interesting coincidence that must be weighted against the fact that none of the names mentioned in the Book of Mormon as belonging to cities in the New World have been discovered.

  238. @dave – "It is concievealble that he could have that he could have written the Book of Mormon. "

    I suppose what is conceivable to one is not conceivable to another. Based on the research I've done, it is not conceivable to me for Joseph Smith to have written the Book of Mormon, with or without help, with or without plagiarizing.

    "there is strong evidence that Joseph plagarized that the Book of Mormon from multiple sources"

    Again, I suppose one man's "strong evidence" is weak tea to another. I've researched all the claims regarding plagiarism of the Book of Mormon, and they hold water up until the point where you actually read both texts…actually, they usually don't even hold water that far, but they're blown to pieces upon an actual examination of the alleged sources.

  239. @John – Perhaps with my first point I'm not approaching the issue as I should. In order to have a logical debate the two parties must agree on something, and I am not sure if you believe the Bible to be a true record, although I am discussing this matter as though you did. If you do believe the Bible to be true, and the resurrection of Christ and the forgiveness offered through Christ to be reality, then my point is that there is no more archeological or physical proof of such things than there are of the Book of Mormon narrative. If you don't necessarily believe in the Bible then of course this mode of discussion doesn't make much sense.

    With regards to “The Book of Mormon claims to be a detailed history of pre Columbian America from roughly 600 B.C. to 421 A.D.” my point wasn't that the book doesn't claim to span that date range, but rather that it doesn't claim to be a detailed history, nor a history of pre-Columbian America. There is nothing in the book to suggest it is anything but a highly summarized and abridge history, lacking in detail, that covers a small civilization in a very limited geography, and thus it would be simple for this civilization to exist without much interaction with the other civilizations that existed in Mesoamerica.

    "If there is an Arabic city with a name similar to Nahom, which is mentioned in 1 Nephi 16:34, that is an interesting coincidence that must be weighted against the fact that none of the names mentioned in the Book of Mormon as belonging to cities in the New World have been discovered."

    The discovery of Nahom is rather recent. Let's talk again in 100 years and see what else has been discovered. There has been more time for research in the Middle East, and research there is facilitated by a number of factors, including climate, terrain, etc.

  240. Joshua,

    I read this whole page from top to bottom, and I am seriously disturbed by your entire approach. Of course we can't prove that the Book of Mormon is not true, because you have an impossible definition of proof. All we can do is use reason to develop logical arguments, but you won't be convinced by them because you prefer to listen to the distorted, twisted ramblings of apologists who, like you, are not courageous enough to accept the likely possibility that you have been lied to, and worse, fell for it.

    Like you, I know many highly educated LDS people. When I was younger and dealing with the feeling that there was something fishy about Joseph Smith's stories, I would turn to the faith of the educated. I thought that if these smart people believed, it must be true. I have since found out that many intelligent, active LDS people do not actually believe the Book of Mormon is true. My father, highly respected Surgeon, does not believe but is unwilling to rock the boat because of the inevitable family repercussions. My neighbor, a respected Lawyer and spokesman in Salt Lake City, also does not believe, but would never let his family find out. Countless others of my family and friends are doing the same thing, but won't admit it to each other. They are only willing to tell me because they know I am apostate. As for LDS politicians, coming out and admitting to problems with the church would destroy them politically. Every Mormon has a lot too lose by opening his/her mind, then opening his/her mouth. Most just never find the courage to do the latter part.

    Sometimes I think the whole church is based on a house of cards, like The Emperor's New Clothes. Everyone is afraid to say that the Emperor is naked, because they each think they are the only one who can't see the clothes. I believe this exists at the highest levels of the church–even General Authorities, who still love all of the good things about the church, so they just do their best to gloss over the inconsistencies without ever acknowledging them. I feel for them. It must be so wrenching to have to perpetuate a lie because the truth would be too destructive.

    I have had doubts about the authenticity of the Book of Mormon ever since I was a child, but always did what Good Mormon Girls do–I pushed the doubts to the back of mind and performed complex mental gymnastics to keep them there, meanwhile praying (with real intent) for an answer. These doubts increased greatly while we were studying The Doctrine and Covenants and Church history in early morning seminary. We learned about so many prophecies that didn't come true, and prophecies that seemed so self-serving to JS. My B.S. alarm was going off on a regular basis, but I asked the same question that you asked, thinking a farm boy couldn't write something like that, so how else did it come about?

    I have since grown up a lot. I have learned that people intentionally deceive and manipulate for many reasons. I have read many great works of writing, and quite frankly, the Book of Mormon isn't one of them. It is really pretty silly reading once you take the blinders off. I can't believe that God would hold a book in reserve for 1500 years as another testament of his only son, and it would be such a lousy read.

    The last time I went to church, before I started reading up on "the real" Joseph Smith, was a Testimony meeting. The familiar "I know's" were coming from the speakers, and I had a moment of perfect spiritual clarity. The still small voice whispered to me, "None of this is true. You know that, right?" The answer that came from my heart was, "I know." I felt the most peace that I had felt for years, and I finally let go of all of the fear and uncertainty that made me keep going back to church.

    You seem to think that Occam's razor is ridiculous, that it doesn't work if you don't have all the information. You are correct about part of that. Back when I still did everything I was told to do, I didn't have all of the information–I only had the information that the church wanted me to have. The simplest answer at that time was that Joseph Smith was telling the truth. Since exploring other resources (you call them "anti-mormon", I call them them "opinions not influenced by LDS-propaganda") I have found a new simplest explanation. Joseph Smith was a fraud. It could not be any clearer to me. Difficult issues that never made sense to me before are now perfectly clear, and perfectly simple. I no longer have to perform complex mental gymnastics or make myself crazy trying to determine God's will for me. Back when I was LDS, I constantly had mood problems because of the constant pressure to be perfect and the cognitive dissonance I felt whenever Joseph Smith came into a conversation. Acknowledging the lie has made me free of all that. I now feel more spiritual peace than I did at any time in the church.

  241. Hi Heather, if you read all the comments on this post then you deserve some sort of award :)

    I don't doubt any part of your story, as I've heard it almost verbatim from many different people. It's interesting how many people bring up the same things as part of their stories about leaving the Church.

    As for my approach, here's the thing–I'm not trying to prove anything, other than that nobody can prove the Church is false, that the Book of Mormon isn't true, or that Joseph Smith wasn't a prophet. I'm not trying to prove that these things are true. My approach is entirely defensive in nature. The same cannot be said for the people who debate with me on this blog. They are claiming they know Joseph Smith was not a prophet. They claim the Book of Mormon is not true. They claim the Church is not the true church of God. And so my response is "What proof do you have?" The burden of proof rests on them because they are the ones putting forth the claims.

    I have all the proof I need that these things are true. I don't feel the need for mental gymnastics to accept any of it any more than I had to go through mental gymnastics to understand algebra. I don't feel the need to prove these things to anyone else, in part because I recognize this is impossible. We all believe what we want to believe, and we all resist evidence that conflicts with our desired worldview. If there is any good that can come from what I do here, I hope it is that honest truth-seekers will maintain an open mind about the LDS Church and the things we believe and keep looking into them, rather than closing their minds and moving on.

    If you feel at peace with your decision, then that's great! I think if we all did what brought us peace, the world would be a great place. My work is focused on those who are not at peace, who feel something is missing, or something is wrong in the world, and they're searching for something more.

  242. Thank you for being so open to honest dialogue. Please forgive me if I ask some earnest questions, because I can't ask my true-believing friends without them becoming really agitated. You are a rare exception.

    You seem to have read most of the "anti" arguments and all of the apologist rebuttals to them. When taken one issue at a time, it is easy to see that apologist rebuttals could be feasible, if not 100% convincing. However, when you add all of the "anti" arguments together, it seems like a preponderance of evidence against Joseph Smith, and the rebuttals seem weak in comparison to the evidence. You seem like an intelligent man, well-versed in logic; how can you not have some measure of dissonance with issues like DNA and the Book of Abraham, the lost 160 pages and the excuse for not re-translating them, and the multitude of anachronisms in the BOM, when all added together? Isn't there some small part of you that thinks it's really fishy? Isn't there some small part of you that doubts?

    I ask because I am having a hard time with certain family members and friends, who feel free to testify to me that they have this same"proof" from God, but discount the "proof" that I have received as being from Satan. I have not tried to convert them to my way of thinking, but find myself constantly having to take a defensive posture as they attempt to save my soul. I'm sure you can see the logical fallacy here. How can a feeling be "proof" of anything if two people receive different answers to the exact same feeling?

    In science, if the results of two experiments repeatedly contradict each other, we assume that there was some error in the method of testing, and we redesign the experiment. In religious matters, if results are contradictory, we arbitrarily decide that whoever did the experiment that doesn't match our own results must be mistaken, even if they keep getting the same results over and over again. Why is it OK for my LDS friends to assume that I am doing the tests wrong? Why can't they leave room for the possibility that there is something wrong with the test in the first place? Why does it seem that they would rather I just "fudge the data" so it matches theirs, to keep the peace? Why are they so threatened by open and honest dialogue?

  243. I guess I only become somewhat agitated, eh? :)

    "how can you not have some measure of dissonance with issues like DNA and the Book of Abraham, the lost 160 pages and the excuse for not re-translating them, and the multitude of anachronisms in the BOM, when all added together? Isn’t there some small part of you that thinks it’s really fishy? Isn’t there some small part of you that doubts?"

    Oh, I've had tons of doubts. I still often do. When I do, I start researching the issue at hand, and what I've found, over and over again, is that the arguments against the Church/BofM/etc. seem incredibly weak to me in light of the rebuttals. I keep finding myself looking at the cases made against the Church and thinking "Seriously? Is that the best you can come up with?" For example, the DNA case is terrible science, if it can be called that at all. It is based on assumptions which are faulty from the start, such as the idea that Mormons believe that every single Native American is a descendent of the Book of Mormon people and nobody else. Granted, there are some Mormons who believe this, but this is not Church doctrine.

    I find the reasons for Joseph Smith to not have re-translated the 116 lost page perfectly logical and credible.

    With these matters of "evidence" against the Book of Mormon, Joseph Smith, etc., I've found that one can choose to look at them in two ways; either as a believer, or as a skeptic. If one chooses to look at these matters as a believer, then the explanations seem logical, credible, and like common sense. If one chooses to look at things as a skeptic then the explanations seem weak, unbelievable, and it seems like common sense that they are false. Of course, regardless of whether things seem to be true or false, they are true or false. But since we don't have proof one way or the other, we have to choose what we want to believe. I think this shows the genius of how God works. He doesn't want us to follow him reluctantly, or because we feel forced to, or because it's the logical thing to do–he wants us to freely choose to do his will because it's what we really want. The only way this can happen is if we are not sure what is real and true and what isn't. It is only in the face of doubt that we are free to choose what we want to believe. Thus, when we are judged there won't be any pleading, explaining, etc. where we say "But I really wanted to do such and such…" because it will be clear we purposely chose something else.

    In other words, we are not forced to believe the Church is true, nor to believe it is false, but we choose whether we want it to be true, or whether we want it to be false.

    Of course things aren't quite that simple on a case by case basis. I know of people who have had heartbreaking experiences as members of the Church where they were treated cruelly, even abused, by leaders in the Church, and maligned and criticized by other members. I am convinced these situations are relatively small in number, but for the person experiencing them, they are all they know of the Church. In such situations, it's no wonder that someone would have negative feelings about the Church and have a hard time wanting the Church to be true.

    Similarly, there are others who have only a superficial knowledge of the Church and its doctrines and haven't made the effort to gain a testimony of much or any of it, and so are easily swayed if they suddenly confront what appears to be an unassailable amount of negative information regarding the Church, its teachings, and its history.

    Everyone's situation is unique, and I'm convinced God will judge everyone mercifully, based on the knowledge they have and their true intentions. I'm sure in the final judgment there will be people who have left the Church who will be in a better position than others who have stayed active in it. The judgment is not about a holy checklist of accomplishments (baptism…check, mission…check, temple marriage…check) so much as a matter of who one has become. That's not to say baptism and temple marriage aren't important or necessary, but one can have them and still lack the character traits they need, while if they are developing the proper character, baptism and temple marriage can be added later. Of course from my perspective baptism and temple marriage aren't things I have to do, rather blessings I am privileged to receive that make me happier.

    Now, as for your latter questions, I have been thinking about this a lot lately due to a close family member of mine leaving the Church, plus discussions with other family members and friends. I am planning on writing a separate post where I can put all my thoughts on this out there in more detail, but I haven't fully gathered my thoughts yet so I'm not quite ready to respond. If you want to click on "get email updates" at the top of this page, you can subscribe to get an email whenever a new post is created on this website, and you'll be able to see what I say as soon as I say it :)

  244. @John – Perhaps with my first point I’m not approaching the issue as I should. In order to have a logical debate the two parties must agree on something, and I am not sure if you believe the Bible to be a true record, although I am discussing this matter as though you did. If you do believe the Bible to be true, and the resurrection of Christ and the forgiveness offered through Christ to be reality, then my point is that there is no more archeological or physical proof of such things than there are of the Book of Mormon narrative. If you don’t necessarily believe in the Bible then of course this mode of discussion doesn’t make much sense.

    – Joshua Steimle

    ———

    I believe that much of the Bible is true, but I do not believe in the literal truth of the first eleven chapters of Genesis. That gets us from the Garden of Eden to the Tower of Babel. The earth and the universe are considerably older than the Genesis Creation Story indicates. There is not enough water to cover the earth during Noah's Flood. To believe otherwise is to abandon reason, and to believe whatever one wants to believe.

    As I have pointed out, there is plenty of archaeological evidence that from the time of David at least the Bible is an essentially historical record, although the miracles cannot be proven. There is archaeological evidence that anything in the Book of Mormon happened, and plenty of evidence that it did not.

    Also, how much do you know about the Book of Abraham? The manuscript that Joseph Smith claimed to have translated from has been found. It has been translated by reputable scholars. The real translation has nothing to do with what Joseph Smith claimed. Even more than the Book of Mormon, the Book of Abraham proves that Joseph Smith was a religious charlatan.

  245. The discovery of Nahom is rather recent. Let’s talk again in 100 years and see what else has been discovered. There has been more time for research in the Middle East, and research there is facilitated by a number of factors, including climate, terrain, etc.

    – Joshua Steimle

    ———

    I am skeptical of that story. If that is all the evidence you have of The Book of Mormon, it is very little. DNA evidence links the American Indians to people living in north east Siberia. There is no DNA evidence that links any American Indians to the Near East.

  246. I'm pretty much with you on the Bible and not taking some of the stuff literally, not so much because I think it's impossible but…I just think the traditional interpretations are incorrect. For example, like you, I don't think water covered the "whole earth" but perhaps the "whole earth" as far as Noah could see. Of course whether it's one way or the other doesn't really matter, so if I'm wrong, so be it.

    So, as far the Bible being a historical record, we seem to have enough evidence that it is this. But take away the miracles and Jesus Christ's resurrection and atonement for our sins, and what good is the rest of the Bible? It is then mere mythology and an interesting historical record. If we can't really be forgiven of our sins, what is the purpose of Christianity? And if there is no archeological evidence that Christ's sacrifice paid for our sins, then by the same logic that has been applied to the Book of Mormon, wouldn't we have to say that the very foundations of Christianity are mere fiction?

    "There is no archaeological evidence that anything in the Book of Mormon happened, and plenty of evidence that it did not."

    I won't dispute that there is certainly a lack of hard, physical evidence for the Book of Mormon, but what evidence is there that the Book of Mormon narrative is false?

    "Also, how much do you know about the Book of Abraham? The manuscript that Joseph Smith claimed to have translated from has been found. It has been translated by reputable scholars. The real translation has nothing to do with what Joseph Smith claimed. Even more than the Book of Mormon, the Book of Abraham proves that Joseph Smith was a religious charlatan."

    Not quite true. This has been thoroughly explained here. If you read all that and still find weakness in the logic, let me know.

    "DNA evidence links the American Indians to people living in north east Siberia. There is no DNA evidence that links any American Indians to the Near East."

    The "science" behind the claim that DNA proves the Book of Mormon to be false is amazingly flawed. You can start with my post on the matter, which will then lead you to more in-depth reviews of the matter.

  247. Not quite true. This has been thoroughly explained here. If you read all that and still find weakness in the logic, let me know.

    – Joshua Steimle

    ———-

    Explain the argument in your own words, and do so susccinctly. Convince me that you understand it yourself. I started reading it. Then I started skimming it. Then I lost interest. The argument could only be convincing to someone who wants desperately to believe that Joseph Smith was not a fraud.

    The author doubts that the manuscript for The Book of Abraham has been found. Well excuse me. I have seen photos of the manuscript that was discovered, and that is clearly The Book of Breathing, and the manuscript Joseph claimed to translate The Book of Abraham from. It does include the three facsimiles that Joseph Smith included with his presumed translation, except for the parts that had broken off before Smith got the document, and which he fraudulently filled in.

    I was proselytized by two Mormon missionaries when I was nineteen years old. I really wanted to become a Mormon. My attitude was that Mormonism lends itself to a rational evaluation in ways that the other religions do not. It is impossible to prove or disprove that Jesus died on the cross and rose again. It is impossible to prove or disprove that the Angel Gabriel dictated the Koran to Mohammed. Joseph Smith made assertions that are independently verifiable. If they can be independently verifiable Mormonism is true. If they cannot be Mormonism is a lie, and Joseph Smith is a lier. It is that simple.

    When I learned about The Book of Abraham and that the manuscript had been found I thought this settled it. Keep in mind, I wanted to become a Mormon. When I asked for some information about the manuscript the missionaries I was in contact with gave me several articles by Hugh Nimbley. I expected a triumphant tone from Nimbley, the assertion that here is the proof. The argument is over. What I discovered instead was a feeling of apprehension. Nimbley wrote grimly about, "the problem of the Book of Abraham," and so on.

    I wondered, "What problem? Here's the proof. Why aren't you jumping up and down with joy?"

    There was the proof, alright, but it was not the proof Nimbley wanted. Nimbley was fluent in many ancient and modern languages. He had to know the truth.

    In an earlier and fascinating comment Heather said that she had been raised as a Mormon, that she had doubts about the faith, but she consoled herself with the thought that many educated and intelligent people were Mormons, and that they had to know the truth. Then she discovered that many of these people had essentially abandoned belief in Mormonism, while continuing to practice the religion for the sake of friends and relatives. Hugh Nimbley had to be one of these people. He was far too intelligent to believe his own arguments.

    Years ago I attended a talk by a prominent Mormon who was also a prominent Washington lawyer. I think he graduated from Brigham Young University and Yale Law School. When his talk was over I mentioned that I had been proselytized by two Mormon missionaries, and that I liked Mormons. Then I asked, "What would you say that the Book of Abraham was not was not translated from a manuscript by Abraham, but from The Book of the Dead?' (I had not yet learned about the Book of Breathing, which is a more recent version of The Book of the Dead. I concluded on my own that Smith had a copy of The Book of the Dead based on my knowledge of the ancient Egyptian religion.)

    He said, "That will take a long explanation. We can discuss it later."

    When he obviously had no interest in discussing the matter afterwards I walked over to his table. He gave me a business card, and asked me to come to his law office. In other words, Joshua, he was running from me.

    Later on that week I heard a recording of his talk on National Public Radio. I noticed what I had not noticed earlier. When he answered my question he was audibly disturbed. This was because he suspected the truth, but tried to suppress it.

    I have talked to Mormon missionaries since. I am always polite. It is they who break off the conversation.

  248. As I understand it, the argument goes like this–Joseph Smith claimed to have gotten the book of Abraham from some ancient documents. We have those documents, and they have been verified to not contain the book of Abraham, therefore Joseph Smith made it up. But the key question here is do we have all the documents Joseph Smith had, or merely some of them? If only some of them, how do we know we have the documents from which the translation was made? If we do not have the original documents, then we are still not in a position where Joseph Smith's claims about the Book of Abraham can be independently verified.

    That's the current situation in a nutshell, at least as I understand it.

    Heather's experience is anecdotal. It is rather presumptuous to assume that because the 3-4 intelligent Mormons one knows have lost their testimonies, that therefore all other intelligent Mormons are merely faking it.

    Likewise, it would be presumptuous to assume that because one intelligent guy you met avoided you, that therefore the entire narrative about the Book of Abraham is false. Maybe he thought you were merely a heckler and was annoyed because perhaps he had answered the question 20 times during the previous month and didn't feel like going through it all one more time. There are an infinite number of reasons he could have responded as he did without the reason being the one you have concluded is correct.

    As for Mormon missionaries, they are young kids. I was one of them. Their extent of knowledge of the Book of Abraham is generally limited to it's name, its location in the scriptures, and some of the more widely quoted parts of it. Most missionaries don't know who Hugh Nibley is, nor are even aware of the arguments against the Book of Abraham. It's not their job to know such things, they are merely sent to share the basic tenets of the gospel, not to get into the finer points of debate.

    It seems to me you are finding the evidence you want to find in order to justify the conclusions you have already made. I do it too. Where there is a lack of hard proof one way or the other, and sometimes even then, we all choose what we want to believe, and we all see the proof we want to see. I suspect there will be no hard evidence objectively proving this matter one way or the other until the second coming of Christ. I think God has set all this up in a way to put us in limbo so that we are free to choose what we want to believe, and thereby be truly tested.

    However, while there is no way I can prove things to you, you can prove them to yourself. Just ask God. If you do so with sincerity and honest intention to live based on the answer you get, you'll know for yourself.

  249. But the key question here is do we have all the documents Joseph Smith had, or merely some of them? If only some of them, how do we know we have the documents from which the translation was made?

    – Joshua Steimle

    ———

    What follows is from part of the rediscovered manuscript:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Vignette1.jpg

    It is clearly what Joseph Smith used when he wrote Facsimile No. 1.

    In the rediscovered manuscript, even in the part Joseph Smith used in writing Facsimile No. 1 there is no mention of Abraham. There is no mention of any of the events written about in The Book of Abraham. Instead the manuscript describes the actions of ancient pagan Egyptian gods and goddesses.

    Anyone who wishes to learn more about The Book of Abraham can find a clear, brief account here:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Book_of_Abraham

  250. Likewise, it would be presumptuous to assume that because one intelligent guy you met avoided you, that therefore the entire narrative about the Book of Abraham is false. Maybe he thought you were merely a heckler and was annoyed because perhaps he had answered the question 20 times during the previous month and didn’t feel like going through it all one more time.

    – Joshua Steimle

    ——–

    If he had answered my question in a convincing manner twenty times during the previous month it would have been easy for him to do so one more time. Keep in mind his talk was recorded and broadcast on National Public Radio. He had the opportunity to explain to perhaps several hundred thousand listeners why The Book of Abraham proves the validity of Mormonism. He declined in ways that sounded like an evasion.

  251. As for Mormon missionaries, they are young kids. I was one of them. Their extent of knowledge of the Book of Abraham is generally limited to it’s name, its location in the scriptures, and some of the more widely quoted parts of it. Most missionaries don’t know who Hugh Nibley is, nor are even aware of the arguments against the Book of Abraham. It’s not their job to know such things, they are merely sent to share the basic tenets of the gospel, not to get into the finer points of debate.

    – Joshua Steimle

    ——-

    If this is true, their training is insufficient. I have read The Book of Mormon, The Doctrine and Covenants, and The Pearl of Great Price. I have all three in a leather bound volume that I show the Mormon missionaries who knock on my door.

    I do not mock them. I explain my respect for their courage in knocking on strange doors, and express my regret that many others are rude to them. I engage in a polite, informed conversation with them that they terminate.

    You see, I really do find Mormonism fascinating. I like Mormons. That is why I found your website, and why I have been contributing to it.

  252. It seems to me you are finding the evidence you want to find in order to justify the conclusions you have already made. I do it too. Where there is a lack of hard proof one way or the other, and sometimes even then, we all choose what we want to believe, and we all see the proof we want to see.

    – Joshua Steimle

    ——-

    I have already told you that I wanted to become a Mormon. I was terribly disillusioned when I discovered that Joseph Smith was a religious charlatan. Therefore I have a great deal of sympathy for Mormons who discover the same thing, perhaps after spending their lives in the faith.

    Mormonism is an appealing faith. It is natural for us to allow our likes and dislikes to influence our judgment of what is true and false. It is wise for us to try to prevent that from happening. I try, but I do not always succeed. I did succeed when I decided not to become a Mormon.

  253. 1. I'll let the folks at FAIR respond to the issues regarding Facsimile 1. I'm not sure it answers all your points/questions, but let me know.

    2. "If he had answered my question in a convincing manner twenty times during the previous month it would have been easy for him to do so one more time. Keep in mind his talk was recorded and broadcast on National Public Radio. He had the opportunity to explain to perhaps several hundred thousand listeners why The Book of Abraham proves the validity of Mormonism. He declined in ways that sounded like an evasion."

    Maybe, as he said, it would take a long time and he didn't have three hours to go into it. I'm sure a lot of people on this website think I'm avoiding them, when it's not that I'm avoiding them, but I simply can't dedicate the 20 hours per week it would take to keep up with everything on here.

    Also, the Book of Abraham does not prove the validity of Mormonism any more than the Bible proves the validity of Christianity. There will always be doubt, and faith is required to make any progress.

    3. "I was terribly disillusioned when I discovered that Joseph Smith was a religious charlatan."

    You have not shown me any proof of this. You must be exercising faith :) But seriously, it all goes back to the fact that we believe what we want to believe. If you wanted to believe Mormonism was true, you would find a way to believe it. Given how much you've looked into Mormonism and your non-belief in it without any rock-solid proof of it's falseness, how can we assume anything else but that you do not want it to be true?

  254. I’ll let the folks at FAIR respond to the issues regarding Facsimile 1. I’m not sure it answers all your points/questions, but let me know.

    – Joshua Steimle

    ——-

    It would be nice if you would present these arguments yourself, and indicate you understand them. Anyone can say, "Here's the truth. Click on it." There is plenty on the internet that proves that The Book of Abraham is fraudulent. I have read some of it. I am presenting the arguments in my own words, although I concluded that the manuscript was The Book of the Dead on my own back when I was nineteen years old.

    The author of the article you gave me claims that the lion couch scene in facsimile 1 is different from other lion couch scenes. Well, I am not an expert on this sort of thing, but it looks similar enough to me. Keep in mind that the ancient Egyptians did not have printing presses, so drawings like this will differ.

    You should also consider that those who make a professional study of the culture and writing of ancient Egypt are agreed that facsimile 1 is a typical Lion couch scene. As far as I know not one single Egyptologist has converted to Mormonism because of The Book of Abraham. Quite a few Mormons have left the faith because of it.

  255. Also, the Book of Abraham does not prove the validity of Mormonism any more than the Bible proves the validity of Christianity. There will always be doubt, and faith is required to make any progress.

    – Joshua Steimle

    ———

    As I have pointed out earlier, much in the Bible can be independently verified with non Biblical evidence. The miracles cannot be proven by archaeology, but we know that the empires and nations mentioned did exist.

    With the possible exception of Nahom, there is no independent verification that anything in The Book of Mormon happened.

    On several occasions you have said that the Jewish refugees were not the ancestors of all the Indians, and that the Indians already lived in the New World. Where in the Book of Mormon does it say that Nephi, his company, and their descendants encountered Indians who already lived here?

  256. Maybe, as he said, it would take a long time and he didn’t have three hours to go into it.

    – Joshua Steimle

    ———

    Earlier you suggested he had explained it twenty times before, and did not want to again.

    Why would it take three hours to explain? It is actually very simple. Joseph Smith acquired a manuscript that he claimed to be able to translate. The manuscript has been rediscovered. It has been translated by those who can really read ancient Egyptian writing. None of them have come up with the same translation as Joseph Smith's. That only took me a few minutes to write.

  257. You have not shown me any proof of this. You must be exercising faith But seriously, it all goes back to the fact that we believe what we want to believe. If you wanted to believe Mormonism was true, you would find a way to believe it. Given how much you’ve looked into Mormonism and your non-belief in it without any rock-solid proof of it’s falseness, how can we assume anything else but that you do not want it to be true?

    – Joshua Steimle

    ——–

    Mature people accept facts they wish were not true. They know how to evaluate evidence. I like to think I am one of them.

  258. I second that, John Engleman!

    ("Mature people accept facts they wish were not true. They know how to evaluate evidence. I like to think I am one of them.")

    ________________________________________________________________________

    Joshua, you say that people believe what they want to believe. I think this is very true of the weak-minded. Unfortunately, what I want to believe and what is realistic to believe are totally at odds with each other. I want to believe that the LDS church is true, that Joseph Smith was a prophet. I want to believe that I was taught the truth from birth. I want to believe that my TBM family, friends, and ancestors were not dupes. I miss the feelings of community and solidarity that came with being a TBM, I miss the feelings of purpose that I had then. I keep returning to your site in hopes that you will offer some nugget of wisdom that can allow me to believe as I once did, but instead I come away more and more perplexed by your bizarre arguments, more and more disenchanted.

    You see, my personal integrity keeps me from accepting the nonsense arguments of people like Jeff Lindsay, no matter how much I want to, no matter how much easier my life would be if I could. The Book of Abraham fraud can be described in a few short sentences, simple and clear. The apologist rebuttal takes page after page of convoluted warblings that are designed more to confuse and obfuscate the issue than to provide any real enlightenment. Jeff Lindsay should have been a defense attorney. A murderer could be caught on videotape plunging a knife into his victim, and Jeff Lindsay would say, "How do we know that this was the actual murder, and not a scene with a fake knife and fake blood, perhaps filmed the day before? How do we know that the victim is even dead?" There may be some in the jury gullible enough to believe it, but only because they were too weak-minded to understand reasonable doubt.

    We cannot prove that the BOM is untrue, because you do not accept proof beyond a reasonable doubt. You seek proof with no doubt whatsoever. That does not exist on this earth.

    You also comment that knowing 3-4 intelligent people who have lost their testimonies is anecdotal, that it doesn't prove that everyone is faking it. I never said it did. Although it is interesting to note that of the 7 ACTIVE LDS people I have talked to about my issues with the church, 4 of them have expressed similar disbelief. (That's more than half!) They did not lose their testimonies…they never had them to begin with. Every one of them had the same story…earnest study, earnest prayers, faithfully serving in callings, doing everything they were asked, but….NOTHING. No witness. No burning in the bosom. Heads full of real, legitimate doubts. In the end, they just keep doing the same thing over and over, hoping to get a different result. Oddly enough, they use these admissions in the hopes of trying to get me to come back to church! Its like they're saying, "Hey look, if I can live a lie, so can you!" It's a warped and twisted logic, but seems to fit right in with everything else in the church. You see, Joshua, you are wrong. Those who want to believe often don't believe, no matter how hard they try.

    I never would have known these people were doubting Thomas' if I hadn't brought up my issues first; every one of them perfectly played their role as faithful LDS, and still do to everyone else. It is anecdotal, but it is interesting enough to me that I would like to do a formal poll (but realistically how well do you think that would go over? I don't think the brethren would be willing to let that happen. Reason doesn't fear data, but religious hucksters do.) And even those who have told me they don't believe would be unlikely to put it into writing–there is far too much fear and uncertainty of the consequences. It makes me sad that so many in the church feel that they have to be dishonest, that there is something wrong with them because they don't believe.

  259. You claim that the church doesn't teach that the Native Americans are descended from the Lamanites. Were you just not paying attention? I was born in the mid 1970s and was taught that from the time I was a child. I was taught it in Primary, Sunday School, early morning seminary. The Lamanites were called "the principle ancestors" of the Native Americans, time and time again. It was a central part of the Book of Mormon story. If it isn't church doctrine today, that is because they have revised it. The church can revise its storyline, but can it so easily revise your memories? Try looking at some old issues of "The Friend" or "The New Era". You would be surprised at the things the church denies it teaches.

    Also, you have zero understanding of DNA if you can so easily claim that the DNA evidence does not apply. Try taking a class in genetics or cell biology or physiology or even basic biology and you will find that you and your apologists friends are talking out of your a$$e$. No reputable scientist could ever validate the claims you guys make (key word, reputable). If you stand by junk science just because it uses big words and succeeds in confusing you (so they MUST know what they are talking about!) , then please stop trying to engage in meaningful debate on those issues.

    One last thing. I love it how you try to point out everyone else's flaws in logic, but are completely blind to your own. It is an admirable level of hypocrisy. You do the LDS church proud!

  260. "Joshua, you say that people believe what they want to believe. I think this is very true of the weak-minded."

    It is certainly true of the weak-minded, but I'm not sure who isn't weak-minded, then. This is just my opinion, of course, but the older I get, the more people I get to know, the more experiences I have with people, the more I see that this seems to be the way things are. I fully admit I do this myself, but I do not see it as a weakness, merely the way things are. There is so much information in the world that it is virtually impossible for any of us to really "know" much of anything. Therefore we all make decisions based on "faith", that is, we make decisions based on what we hope is true, without knowing for sure whether it is or not. We make hundreds of these decisions each day, and those decisions occur with larger issues just as they do with the more mundane. What is weakness, or at least produces it, is when we don't admit we do this. This keeps us from reaching our full potential because if we think we are making most of our choices based on knowledge, rather than faith, then we are living a fantasy.

    "instead I come away more and more perplexed by your bizarre arguments"

    Out of curiosity, what is one of my arguments that you find bizarre?

    "the nonsense arguments of people like Jeff Lindsay"

    Likewise, what is one example of a "nonsense argument" from Jeff Lindsay?

    "The Book of Abraham fraud can be described in a few short sentences, simple and clear."

    I'd love to hear it. Every description of "fraud" with regards to the Book of Abraham I've read relies on misinformation and false assumptions.

    "We cannot prove that the BOM is untrue, because you do not accept proof beyond a reasonable doubt. You seek proof with no doubt whatsoever. That does not exist on this earth."

    I already have proof with no doubt whatsoever that the BOM is true. Why would I accept anything less from someone claiming it is false?

    "You also comment that knowing 3-4 intelligent people who have lost their testimonies is anecdotal, that it doesn’t prove that everyone is faking it. I never said it did. Although it is interesting to note that of the 7 ACTIVE LDS people I have talked to about my issues with the church, 4 of them have expressed similar disbelief. (That’s more than half!) They did not lose their testimonies…they never had them to begin with."

    That last line is quite interesting. In my talks with people who have left the LDS Church, or who have serious doubts, I've also been finding that they seem to never have had testimonies to begin with. They tell me they feel they've been faking it all along. I would be very curious to do a survey as well to find out how many people who have left the Church would say they never felt like they had a testimony, or that they felt like they were faking it. I have never felt like I was faking it. I've always felt like I had a testimony in some degree. Of course the next question would be why do some people feel one way, and other people feel the other way?

    "You see, Joshua, you are wrong. Those who want to believe often don’t believe, no matter how hard they try."

    If we can assume that they really want to believe. I am not convinced that because someone says they want to believe, or that because someone goes through certain motions, or even if they really think they want to believe, that this necessarily means they truly want to believe. Just look at all the people who say they want to lose weight and get in shape, who spend time at the gym, who try every fad diet, and who spend $20K to get surgery, and yet are still fat and out of shape. Having been one of those people, and having gone through the steps to change my life, I now do not believe people who say they do not want to be fat and out of shape, and yet haven't lost a pound. Likewise, I do not believe those who say they want to believe the Church is true, and yet are swayed by weak arguments against the Church. Perhaps I'm wrong, but as I said above, the more experience I get, the more certain I become of this.

    By the way, I've expounded more on this with a post dedicated to the topic We All Believe What We Want to Believe.

  261. "You claim that the church doesn’t teach that the Native Americans are descended from the Lamanites. Were you just not paying attention? I was born in the mid 1970s and was taught that from the time I was a child. I was taught it in Primary, Sunday School, early morning seminary. The Lamanites were called “the principle ancestors” of the Native Americans, time and time again. It was a central part of the Book of Mormon story. If it isn’t church doctrine today, that is because they have revised it. The church can revise its storyline, but can it so easily revise your memories?"

    It was taken for granted by many, if not most, in the Church, but it was never doctrine. It was never a defining aspect of the Church, or a "fact" upon which the truth of the Church was based.

    "You would be surprised at the things the church denies it teaches."

    Some examples?

    "Also, you have zero understanding of DNA if you can so easily claim that the DNA evidence does not apply. Try taking a class in genetics or cell biology or physiology or even basic biology and you will find that you and your apologists friends are talking out of your a$$e$. No reputable scientist could ever validate the claims you guys make (key word, reputable). If you stand by junk science just because it uses big words and succeeds in confusing you (so they MUST know what they are talking about!) , then please stop trying to engage in meaningful debate on those issues."

    I'm not standing by any science. But when someone says "DNA evidence proves the Book of Mormon is false because we haven't found any Semitic markers in DNA studies" then I already know that any details that come after are irrelevant, and that the DNA "research" is no good. Why? Because such research relies on the assumption that it is Mormon doctrine that ALL Native Americans are descendants of the people of the Book of Mormon. But this isn't Mormon doctrine, so the entire body of research can't be taken seriously because it's all based on a flawed premise. There are more weaknesses than this, but this is the big one.

    "One last thing. I love it how you try to point out everyone else’s flaws in logic, but are completely blind to your own."

    Can you show me a single example of a flaw in my logic? I'm sure there are, but if there are then I'd like to have the opportunity to correct them.

  262. “instead I come away more and more perplexed by your bizarre arguments”

    – Joshua Steimle

    Out of curiosity, what is one of my arguments that you find bizarre?

    – Joshua Steimle

    ———

    Most of them. The belief that millions of Semites could live in the New World before the time of Columbus and leave no evidence of their existence in the archaeological record seems pretty bizarre, as does the belief that they took absolutely no notice of the Indian civilizations that left plenty of evidence of their existence.

    Another bizarre belief is that when Joseph Smith clearly wrote in his preface to The Book of Abraham that he was translating from a document physically written by Abraham he meant that he was receiving revelations that had nothing to do with what was actually written on a manuscript that was created at least one and a half thousand years after the time of Abraham.

  263. The Book of Abraham fraud can be described in a few short sentences, simple and clear. The apologist rebuttal takes page after page of convoluted warblings that are designed more to confuse and obfuscate the issue than to provide any real enlightenment.

    – Heather

    ———

    This is really excellent, Heather! Please keep posting on this website.

    I was raised as an Episcopalian. After discovering that Joseph Smith was a religious charlatan I questioned my own faith, but I continue to practice the Episcopal religion. I hope that when you made the same discovery I made about Joseph Smith you did not lose your own faith in God.

    Joshua Steimle,

    I do love your website, and I like Mormons. I hope you continue to allow Heather and me to post here as long as we stay on topic and remain civil.

  264. "Most of them. The belief that millions of Semites could live in the New World before the time of Columbus and leave no evidence of their existence in the archaeological record seems pretty bizarre, as does the belief that they took absolutely no notice of the Indian civilizations that left plenty of evidence of their existence."

    See, this is an example of how criticisms of the Book of Mormon only work when misinformation is included. I don't believe there were millions of Semites in the New World before Columbus. This idea is not put forth anywhere in the Book of Mormon.

    And I don't believe the Nephites took no notice of the other Indian civilizations, I just don't see why they should have included such things in the Book of Mormon.

    "Another bizarre belief is that when Joseph Smith clearly wrote in his preface to The Book of Abraham that he was translating from a document physically written by Abraham he meant that he was receiving revelations that had nothing to do with what was actually written on a manuscript that was created at least one and a half thousand years after the time of Abraham."

    I don't have such a "belief". The idea was merely brought up as a possibility during our discussion. It is an idea to be considered, not a tenet of faith. Is it reasonable to believe such a thing? Maybe, maybe not. Is it reasonable to at least consider such a thing? Certainly, for without considering it we cannot evaluate whether it is worth believing or not.

    "I hope you continue to allow Heather and me to post here as long as we stay on topic and remain civil."

    Of course. The only comments I delete are those that are purely insulting with no intent of having a rational discussion, or when people copy and paste 10 pages of stuff from another website, or when people post a ton of stuff in the wrong place. I try to keep these discussions relevant and organized, but that's my only purpose in ever deleting things.

  265. See, this is an example of how criticisms of the Book of Mormon only work when misinformation is included. I don’t believe there were millions of Semites in the New World before Columbus. This idea is not put forth anywhere in the Book of Mormon.

    – Joshua Steimle

    ——–

    I have already quoted mention of hundreds of thousands of Nephites being killed in Mormon, Chapter 6, and millions of Jaredites being killed in Ether 15. If there were that many present to be killed at any one time, it is certain that millions lived in the New World during the centuries that Nephites and Jaredites are supposed to have lived in the New World, if we are to believe the Book of Mormon.

    There is, once again, no evidence that those millions ever existed.

  266. The Nephites were Semites, but there is nothing in the Book of Mormon to suggest there were ever millions of them, or to suggest that they were anything but a small civilization. There is nothing to suggest they ever built elaborate temples such as the Maya. We know some of them built dwellings of cement and stone, but these would have been small structures.

    We do not know what racial background of the Jaredites. Perhaps they were Semites, but perhaps they were Asian or Mongoloid. We don't know. The book of Mormon does claim they numbered in the millions and that they were in the New World for thousands of years. It is reasonable to assume that they should have left an obvious archeological record. It is not rational to assume to we should have already been able to match up the existing archeological record with the Jaredites as described in the Book of Mormon. Could the Olmecs be the Jaredites? The starting and ending dates of both civilizations seem to match up, and there are other interesting parallels.

  267. We do not know what racial background of the Jaredites. Perhaps they were Semites, but perhaps they were Asian or Mongoloid. We don’t know. The book of Mormon does claim they numbered in the millions and that they were in the New World for thousands of years. It is reasonable to assume that they should have left an obvious archeological record. It is not rational to assume to we should have already been able to match up the existing archeological record with the Jaredites as described in the Book of Mormon. Could the Olmecs be the Jaredites? The starting and ending dates of both civilizations seem to match up, and there are other interesting parallels.

    – Joshua Steimle

    ———

    Ether 1:6 – 33 traces the ancestry of Ether to Jared who lived in proximity to the Tower of Babel. Genesis 11:2 says that the Tower of Babel was built in the Land of Shinar. The Land of Shinar was in what is now Iraq. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shinar

    The Book of Ether says that Ether and his company came to the New World by crossing the Atlantic Ocean. The American Indians came to the New World over ten thousand years ago by crossing the Bering Strait. DNA evidence clearly links them to people currently living in north east Siberia.

    The Olmec civilization gives no evidence of being founded by Semites. There is nothing to suggest that the architecture of the Olmecs was inspired by the architecture of those living in Mesopotamia.

  268. It's interesting to see that some of the comments are asking what if different people are given different answers about the BOM. I read the BOM when I was in my late teens and prayed about it, but never got an answer that I could feel. It wasn't until I was nearly forty that I finally got the answer.

  269. Posted by: Elaine on July 9, 2011 at 5:08 am

    It’s interesting to see that some of the comments are asking what if different people are given different answers about the BOM. I read the BOM when I was in my late teens and prayed about it, but never got an answer that I could feel. It wasn’t until I was nearly forty that I finally got the answer.

    ——-

    What was the answer?

    The answer I got was that Joseph Smith was an engaging rascal. During the height of right wing televangelists during the 1980s and 1990s he would have had a huge mega church, a television ministry watched by millions of devoted followers every Sunday, and a lavish life style. Eventually he would have been ruined by a sex scandal.

  270. addendum: Joseph Smith's lavish life style would have been paid for with widow's mites. Most who contribute to televangelists are lonely, elderly, and lower income women. They would have found Joseph Smith to be irresistibly charming.

  271. I just watched the results of the Casey Anthony trial, including the arguments for the defense. The prosecution successfully proved that Casey LIED convincingly, repeatedly, and unabashedly about almost everything. There is video evidence as well as the statements of many witnesses that she was a liar. We have a lot of circumstantial evidence that she killed her own baby, but not enough to prove it (mostly because of the state of decomposition of the body). Members of the jury said that while they all thought she was most likely guilty, the prosecution hadn't been able to prove it.

    There is also a lot of evidence that Joseph Smith LIED convincingly, repeatedly, and unabashedly. There is a lot of circumstantial evidence that he made the whole thing up. But we can't prove it, despite the evidence.

    What is the difference here? The difference is that no one in their right minds would try to nominate Casey as mother of the year, donate 10% of his income to her cause, give up 2 years of their life trying to tell everyone else what a swell mom she was and that they should aspire to be just like her. No one would tell all of their doubting friends and family that if they don't believe a proven liar, that they are led by Satan.

    "But wait," you say, "Joseph Smith was different! He was a prophet!"

    "How do you know?" I ask.

    "Because he said so."

    You say you have other "proof". We will address that in the next post.

  272. It's called "the big lie".

    From wikipedia:
    The Big Lie (German: Große Lüge) is a propaganda technique. The expression was coined by Adolf Hitler, when he dictated his 1925 book Mein Kampf, for a lie so "colossal" that no one would believe that someone "could have the impudence to distort the truth so infamously."

    *and*

    His primary rules were: never allow the public to cool off; never admit a fault or wrong; never concede that there may be some good in your enemy; never leave room for alternatives; never accept blame; concentrate on one enemy at a time and blame him for everything that goes wrong; people will believe a big lie sooner than a little one; and if you repeat it frequently enough people will sooner or later believe it.[5]

    Remember this last part, "if you repeat it frequently enough people will sooner or later believe it."

    Take any absurd idea and spend the next several years of your life defending it, giving all that you have to it, teaching it to your children, reading about it, praying to know the truthfulness of that idea…sooner or later you will receive a burning in your bosom and be convinced that you have proof.

    The problem is that you start with an assumption that it must be true, and mold your behavior to that assumption.

    If I only read the defense arguments, ignored the prosecutor's evidence, and prayed daily to have the Lord reveal to me the truthfulness of Casey Anthony's B.S., sooner or later I would get what I asked for…an undeniable conviction that her words were truth. (Even if it took forty years of praying, of giving all I had to Casey Anthony's cause.) But why would any right-minded individual do that? What would we have to gain by it? Nothing. But what if Casey were offering us something very valuable?

    In the case of Joseph Smith, he promised something that we all want very badly…eternal life, surrounded by loved ones. Eternal happiness. These are the things that everyone wants. So more people pray. More people study only the defense's argument. More people give everything they have, and more people eventually become convinced of the rightness of it. This isn't because it's the truth, it's because they want to believe it.

  273. Many active LDS do not have testimonies. To me, this is not some weakness that they show. Instead it is reason prevailing over the absurd. Many TBM's like to dismiss the nonbelieving (whether active, inactive, or exmo) by saying, "they never had a testimony".

    Don't you think that a loving God would recognize the prayers and the sacrifices of devoted seekers by at least acknowledging them with an answer?

    It isn't so hard for someone who is omniscient and omnipotent, is it?

    How many years of ones life do they have to dedicate in prayer, study, and supplication before they get a result?

    How many times does the hot girl have to ignore your phone calls before you realize she has already given you an answer, and that answer is NO!

    At what point do you become a crazy stalker, bent on only one answer?

  274. There is also a lot of evidence that Joseph Smith LIED convincingly, repeatedly, and unabashedly. There is a lot of circumstantial evidence that he made the whole thing up. But we can’t prove it, despite the evidence.

    – Heather

    ———

    One can prove beyond the shadow of a reasonable doubt that Joseph Smith did lie again and again, and that Mormonism is an edifice built on a foundation of lies. The evidence has been presented right here on this website. It consists of the fact that there is virtually no rational reason to believe that any of the events written about in The Book of Mormon happened, and plenty of reason to believe that those events did not happen. The evidence consists of the manuscript from which Joseph Smith claimed to translate The Book of Abraham. The evidence would convict Joseph Smith in any court of law.

    It says bad things about human credulity that the Mormon religion has doubled its numbers since the discovery of the Book of Abraham manuscript in 1966. Nevertheless, I have read that the vast majority of converts to Mormonism are people with little education, and lets face it little intelligence. I have read that countries like Finland and Japan are bleak environments for Mormon missionaries. Those missionaries do much better in third world countries among those with little education, and reason to hope for more than the poverty that will follow them to the grave.

    Joshua Steimle is obviously intelligent. His sophisticated defense of what is palpably not true is fascinating from a psychological standpoint. He was almost certainly born into the faith as was nearly every Mormon with an IQ to the right of 120 on the bell curve.

  275. How many times does the hot girl have to ignore your phone calls before you realize she has already given you an answer, and that answer is NO!

    – Heather

    ——-

    Ouch! =(( :((

  276. How many years of ones life do they have to dedicate in prayer, study, and supplication before they get a result?

    – Heather

    ——

    No one needs to pray over the Book of Mormon. All they need to do is read this:

    PREPARED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF ANTHROPOLOGY
    SMITHSONIAN INSTITUTION

    STATEMENT REGARDING THE BOOK OF MORMON

    1. The Smithsonian Institution has never used the Book of Mormon in any way as a scientific guide. Smithsonian archeologists see no direct connection between the archeology of the New World and the subject matter of the book.

    2. The physical type of the American Indian is basically Mongoloid, being most closely related to that of the peoples of eastern, central, and northeastern Asia. Archeological evidence indicates that the ancestors of the present Indians came into the New World–probably over a land bridge known to have existed in the Bering Strait region during the last Ice Age–in a continuing series of small migrations beginning from about 25,000 to 30,000 years ago.

    3. Present evidence indicates that the first people to reach this continent from the East were the Norsemen who briefly visited the northeastern part of North America around A.D. 1000 and then settled in Greenland. There is nothing to show that they reached Mexico or Central America.

    4. One of the main lines of evidence supporting the scientific finding that contacts with Old World civilizations, if indeed they occurred at all, were of very little significance for the development of American Indian civilizations, is the fact that none of the principal Old World domesticated food plants or animals (except the dog) occurred in the New World in pre-Columbian times. American Indians had no wheat, barley, oats, millet, rice, cattle, pigs, chickens, horses, donkeys, camels before 1492. (Camels and horses were in the Americas, along with the bison, mammoth, and mastodon, but all these animals became extinct around 10,000 B.C. at the time when the early big game hunters spread across the Americas.)

    5. Iron, steel, glass, and silk were not used in the New World before 1492 (except for occasional use of unsmelted meteoric iron). Native copper was worked in various locations in pre-Columbian times, but true metallurgy was limited to southern Mexico and the Andean region, where its occurrence in late prehistoric times involved gold, silver, copper, and their alloys, but not iron.

    6. There is a possibility that the spread of cultural traits across the Pacific to Mesoamerica and the northwestern coast of South America began several hundred years before the Christian era. However, any such inter-hemispheric contacts appear to have been the results of accidental voyages originating in eastern and southern Asia. It is by no means certain that even such contacts occurred; certainly there were no contacts with the ancient Egyptians, Hebrews, or other peoples of Western Asian and the Near East.

    7. No reputable Egyptologist or other specialist on Old World archeology, and no expert on New World prehistory, has discovered or confirmed any relationship between archeological remains in Mexico and archeological remains in Egypt.

    8. Reports of findings of ancient Egyptian, Hebrew, and other Old World writings in the New World in pre-Columbian contexts have frequently appeared in newspapers, magazines, and sensational books. None of these claims has stood up to examination by reputable scholars. No inscriptions using Old World forms of writing have been shown to hare occurred in any part of the Americas before 1492 except for a few Norse rune stones which have been found in Greenland.
    http://www.godandscience.org/cults/smithsonian.ht

  277. "I’m not sure I understand what you’re getting at–are you claiming that the statement 'a man would get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts, than by any other book' applies to the story Aschenputtel?"

    Yes, it does. If you believe that for the BoM, then it can be believed about Aschenputtel (a.k.a. Cinderella).

    All the same arguments used to say the BoM is true can be said about any book on the face of the earth. The difference is a person's perception. Some people perceive the BoM as a religious book therefore it must be true. These same people may look at the Grimm stories as fiction therefore they cannot be the religious.

    "[First Man:] I think, I think I am, therefore I am, I think.

    [Establishment:] Of course you are my bright little star,

    I've miles

    And miles

    Of files

    Pretty files of your forefather's fruit

    and now to suit our

    great computer,

    You're magnetic ink.

    [First Man:] I'm more than that, I know I am, at least, I think I must be.

    [Inner Man:] There you go man, keep as cool as you can.

    Face piles

    And piles

    Of trials

    With smiles.

    It riles them to believe

    that you perceive

    the web they weave

    And keep on thinking free."

    -"In the Beginning" – The Moody Blues

  278. This is quite incongruous:

    hi

  279. If the Book of Mormon stood on trial it would be quickly used as toilet paper by all the convicted and jailed Mormon liars with it.
    I always compare it with a business. The LDS deal is a huge business that sells a spot in the Kingdom of Heaven for 10% of your money…end of story.
    To argue against it is ridiculous…all the evidence is there. It takes the ''apologist'' an enormous amount of time and effort to bend straight whatever came in crooked.
    No true intellectual, forensic scientist has ever been able to prove any of the Jo. Smith data to be true, nor has any LDS scientist delivered real, hard evidence to claim Jo Smith was anything but a clever swindler.
    If the goal of Jo Smith was to offer people a tool to become better and happier than all he needed to do is
    offer them Vipassana Meditation…it is free and really gives you inner peace, respect for nature and your fellow man and woman and harmony with those who innitially oppose you.
    But, rather than offering them truth and wisdom he, the sharlatan, philandering freak that he was, gave them a sack of lies that has no equal and yet we have desperate souls who can't let go and twirl them self in pseudo intellectual, archoligal, theological and psychological…unlogicalities to prove otherwise….only because they want it to be true, not because it is.

  280. I love to communicate with people who see the parallels between the mormon deal and the MLM industry.
    I am writing a book on the matter and love to speak to those who have made or lost money in MLM.
    Nu Skin in particular….
    It would be great to hear your story and perhaps, if your's good, it could end up in the book or on the web site with your permission.

    Like the Mormom deal, MLM sells a hoax, a dream based on lies while only one quarter of one-tenth- of-a percnt makes any money…that is one out of four thousand!
    So, yes, your story could be very helpful to shut these deals down through a huge class action suit we are working on.

  281. Joseph Smith is a FALSE PROPHET I think GOD warned us about that in the REAL BIBLE ! Good Grief I could take 2 stones an make up a story like he did. I simply can't believe people fell for it an followed him around an actually think LUCIFER is JESUS'S brother ! an that Joseph actually had sex with MARY who is called the VIRGIN MARY. Really I think the MORMON is a cult of evil doers. The first statement of Joseph Smith bragging how grand he is an better than JESUS even holy cow ! you can tell from that statement he is EVIL an LIAR ! with some rocks he made up a story an got some STUPID PEOPLE TO FOLLOW HIM wow it amazes me people are this dumb !

  282. Rhonda,

    You DO realize non-Christians say basically the same thing about us believing somebody could actually rise from the dead and ascend into heaven? While I am not Mormon, I do not think there is a place on here to call Mormons "evil-doers." I would hardly think that being proponents of pro-life laws, the sanctity of marriage, etc. are evil.

    I have a good friend that is Mormon, although I hope he attends my church one day. Rhetoric like yours will keep him out forever.

  283. Read "Rough Stone Rolling," a biography on Joseph Smith. I have concluded that, while not an evil man, Smith did have some major issues. But I remember reading an early chapter about him approaching a Methodist preacher with his beliefs. Instead of being polite in his disagreement, the pastor tore into Smith and scalded him like a boiled egg. Sometimes I can't help but wonder what might have happened had the pastor used a little more tact in his disagreement.

    Methodists and Baptists, in particular, acted like imbeciles toward each other during Smith's time, coming up with stupid camp songs trying to entice "non-believers" to their camps. If they had acted a little more Christian, there's a chance we would not have the LDS today because maybe – just maybe – Smith would not have made up a whole new religion.

  284. Rhonda, are you calling the members of the LDS church stupid? Your post was unbelievably unintelligent. Please, if you would like to "convince" a Mormon that they're wrong, provide us with some credible sources of your claims. Anglomethodist has the spirit of Christianity. Christ taught with love, and that's how he gained his followers. Don't you think it would be wise to do the same?

  285. Rhonda, are you calling the members of the LDS church stupid? Your post was unbelievably unintelligent. Please, if you would like to “convince” a Mormon that they’re wrong, provide us with some credible sources of your claims.

    – DHarris

    —————

    When I provide Mormon missionaries with credible sources of my claims, they smile without evidence of comprehension, remember previous engagements, and leave. The few Mormons I have encountered who are intelligent enough to understand my arguments find them disturbing.

    I am always polite to Mormons. I actually like them.

  286. I don’t have time to read this whole blog right now, but there are so many narrow minded opinions just in the first few posts. Yeah other christians can point the finger at mormons and say THEIR religion looks silly and claim everything in the bible is based on facts… Like Noah’s ark (no geological evidence) or the talking snake in the garden of eden (impossible and quite silly) or any of God or Jesus’ miracles. The point is, I think they’re both doing incredible mental gymnastics to force consensus reality to their worldview, when it’s much more liberating to begin viewing the religion you grew up with as the creation myth of your own particular culture and divorce, in your mind, the culture and myth you were indoctrinated with as a child from a model of reality based on something other than fairy tales.

    Now, to address the original post. Yes, it makes sense that even though Joseph smith was an “unschooled bumpkin” as the church would have you believe, that he WAS literate and DID study the bible. And in much the same fashion and James Joyce wrote ‘Ulysses’ with the Homer’s ‘Odyssey’ as a nucleation point and general straw man plot to adhere to, Joseph Smith COULD have possibly parroted the bible into a new plot line for his vision of american-christianity. The smoking gun is the tone with which the book of mormon and the bible are both written, something like ‘early modern english’. Joe Smith lived at the beginning of the 19th century (207 years ago) and William Shakespeare at the end of the 17th (447 years ago) and yet the BOM is written in precisely the same ‘early modern english’ tone as the bible and Bill Shakespeare. Thee, Thou, mayest etc… Again people will use mental gymnastics to try and force an explanation through their cookie cutter brains as to why God speaks early modern english instead of talking straight to your being, in plainest terms (and why he never provides us with pertinent information like how to cure diseases or create electricity for that matter). But the easy answer, and to me the most likely, is that Joe assumed when writing a new religious text as a companion to the bible, that God came with thees thous and mayests.

    • Actually Brian no mental gymnastics are necessary to understand why the Book of Mormon sounds like the Bible. The explanation is quite simple and straightforward. Joseph Smith was a translator. He translated the Book of Mormon from its original language into the language that was familiar to him and seemed proper, which was the language of the Bible. That’s all.

  287. As far as Joseph Smith being too uneducated to write the Book of Mormon, he had more schooling than Abraham Lincoln.

    As far as Joseph Smith being a translator, The Book of Abraham proves that he was not. The Book of Mormon certainly indicates that he was not, because it describes animals, crops, and technologies that did not exist in the New World until the coming of the Europeans. It describes those animals, crops, and technologies as existing in the New World from 600 BC to 421 AD.

  288. DHarris,

    I have read the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price. As works of fiction the Book of Mormon and the Pearl of Great Price compare unfavorably with The Hobbit, and The Lord of the Rings, by J. R. Tolkien.

    The Book of Mormon claims to be a detailed history of pre Columbian America from 600 BC to 421 AD. There is no independent evidence that any of the events in the Book of Mormon happened, and much evidence that none of the events happened. Book of Mormon archaeology does not exist.

    Mormons like to identify the events in the Book of Mormon with remains of Indian civilizations. Since Joseph Smith wrote the Book of Mormon we have learned quite a bit about what was actually happening at the time. The Indian civilizations were polytheistic and practiced human sacrifice. They give no evidence of any Near Eastern influences.

    The Book of Abraham is an obvious fraud. That was clear from the facsimiles copied by Joseph Smith. It has now been proven with the discovery of the manuscript from which he claimed to translate has been found.

  289. So where did the Book of Mormon come from then? You still haven’t answered that question yet John. I think it came from God, through Joseph Smith. I don’t give a **** whether he was educated or not because the Lord will make his servants great in order to do His purposes.

    As far as claims to technologies, animals, and so on, if you read the Book of Mormon, a lot of formation has occurred to the new world. You’ll find that cities were buried under the sea, valleys made into mountains, mountains into valleys, and so on. Sure archeology is a great way to compliment one’s testimony but spiritual knowledge should come from God, through his Holy Spirit (John 14:26).

    Besides, how would Isaiah describe our day? What would he call an automobile? A chariot? I don’t know, but I’m sure Joseph, while translating, came upon a lot of unfamiliar things which he did his best to describe for us to understand.

    Read the Book of Mormon, it really is scripture.

  290. I came across this site tonight and have read almost every comment from the beginning of this blog to the end. I genuinely appreciate the honest and open discussions between a few people and Josh. Much respect to you Josh for putting yourself out there and doing an admirable job defending your faith.

    A common theme throughout this blog has been people finding fault in Joseph Smith or Brigham Young or some prophet of the LDS faith. Finding fault in any man is easy. It takes little effort. I admire Josh for his defense of the prophets. Loyalty, despite the faults of a man, for the sake of a just cause, is honorable, if not noble. The cause has always been and will continue to be bringing souls closer to Christ.

    An author in this thread commented that when we pass through the judgement bar of Christ he will not ask us to recite doctrine or prove our knowledge of something. I agree. His judgment is not a sum total of all our acts, good or bad, but rather the condition of our heart, or who we have become. If we can agree that the "by their fruits ye shall know them," the best and most accurate measure of that statement is the condition of the heart. I have found nothing in LDS faith that leads me to believe in anything other than coming closer to Christ. It "invites and entices" me to do good, to "hope for a better world" to "feel after" the things of Christ. It teaches me to love my family and serve my fellow man. It teaches me to "love my neighbor," to "be a little kinder," more gentle, more patient, more loving. It teaches me to follow Christ, to become more like him. I learn that from reading both the Bible and the Book of Mormon. I love them both.

    Find fault in the men…or…"cast ye the first stone", that's easy. Find fault in a faith that teaches people to follow the Savior…that's impossible. At least for a Christian.

  291. SeattleSaint,

    The case against Mormonism does not rest on the fact that Joseph Smith was a womanizing rascal, but on the facts that The Book of Mormon and The Book of Abraham make assertions that are easy to disprove. In other words, Joseph Smith was a lying, womanizing rascal.

  292. “Easy to disprove” to those who are inclined to not believe in the first place. We all see what we want to see, and believe what we want to believe.

    – Joshua Steimle

    ———

    This is an obvious example of projection.

    I very strongly wanted Mormonism to be true. My reasoning was simple: if Mormonism is true, God exists and there is life after death; if Mormonism is not true God's existence, and that life are uncertain.

    When I learned the truth about The Book of Abraham, it came as quite a shock, as it has for many Mormons who are rational enough to evaluate evidence. Mormon efforts to argue around the obvious fraud of The Book of Abraham are fascinating from a psychological standpoint. Nevertheless, I would not want a Mormon to use that kind of reasoning on my behalf when knowing the difference between truth and falsehood meant the difference between success and failure.

    • So if someone doesn't accept the evidence you say obviously proves the Book of Abraham is false then they are automatically irrational? I guess that's a convenient way to get out of having to engage in a logical debate, but not very convincing.

  293. Joshua Steimle,

    I have engaged in logical debates over the Book of Abraham ever since I learned what a fraud it is. The Mormon missionaries I discuss it with do not know anything about it, so I have to explain it to them. Sometimes they smile politely without evidence of comprehension. Sometimes they come up with arguments like the real Book of Mormon was written on manuscripts not yet discovered, or that the manuscript that is clearly the Book of Breathings somehow has two meanings.

    No one who does not want desperately to believe in Mormonism can find those arguments convincing.

  294. "No one who does not want desperately to believe in Mormonism can find those arguments convincing."

    I don't find those argument convincing either. There isn't an argument out there I find convincing. But I'm not looking for something convincing, I'm looking for something plausible/possible. Is it possible that the Book of Abraham was translated from documents other than what we have? Sure. Are there other possible explanations? Sure. They may or may not be the real explanation, and perhaps we won't have that explanation in this life, but as long as there is a possible explanation, that's all I need to leave the door open, which allows me to exercise faith and ask God, and that's where the ultimate answer on the matter comes from.

    On the other hand, you claim the book is false. But what proof do you have? You only cite a lack of evidence, but this is not proof of anything. I would posit that no one who does not want desperately to believe Mormonism is false can find that argument convincing.

  295. So what you are saying is that the transcript that Mark Hofman presented to the Mormon church was not a forgery, but rather a different explanation?

    So rather than Hofman being an apostate he was in fact another translator/prophet that was denounced by the unbelievers in the church?

    What proof is there that the documents he provided were really forgeries?

    However, where in the World has there been a discovery of reformed Egyptian as provided by Joseph Smith? Mind you, I am looking for physical proof, not anything spiritual. Joseph Smith brought forth what Reformed Egyptian is supposed to be. Where in any archeological discovery has there been the use of this so called language? I know the Mormon story/excuse of it being limited to a particular family. Yet, did not this family go forth to multiply the earth too? Did they not carry the language of their family with them?

    What about other Hebrews who lived or traded with the Egyptians? Would they not have been exposed to the same combination of the Hebrew/Egyptian language? If so, then there would be proof of its existence. There would be proof in Africa, Europe, and Asia; and by Mormon standards, proof in the Americas.

    • I'm not saying anything about Hofman.

      For everything else, what responsibility do I have to provide you with physical evidence? If you want it to be true, you can get your own evidence from God. If you don't want it to be true then you can ignore it or you can attack it, but you won't be able to prove it to be false, nor do I understand why you would want to. I don't feel a desire to prove to those of other faiths that what they believe isn't true. Do people do this with other faiths?

  296. I am just saying the same ideology that is given to JS as a translator/prophet can be applied to another individual. Both have much in common. The question is who or what is one going to believe?

    I like to look at facts. I would like to see the discovery of this language that JS said he translated. I like to see archeological discovery of the language that he drew up and showed the world saying, "Here it is! This is the language and writing of the people in the BoM."

    Until then we can safely conclude that JS wrote a fictional book.

    FIC'TION, n. [L. fictio, from fingo, to feign.]

    1. The act of feigning, inventing or imagining; as, by the mere fiction of the mind.

    2. That which is feigned, invented or imagined. The story is a fiction.

    (For example, So also was the fiction of those golden apples kept by a dragon, taken from the serpent which tempted Eve.)

    FACT, n. [L. factum, from facio, to make or do.]

    1. Any thing done, or that comes to pass; an act; a deed; an effect produced or achieved; an event. Witnesses are introduced into court to prove a fact. Facts are stubborn things. To deny a fact knowingly is to lie.

    2. Reality; truth; as, in fact. So we say, indeed.

    The above definitions are taken from the 1828 Noah Webster Dictionary.

    • "I am just saying the same ideology that is given to JS as a translator/prophet can be applied to another individual. Both have much in common. The question is who or what is one going to believe?"

      The first question is what do you want to believe? I have no desire to believe anything Mark Hofman said, so I've never looked into him much. If someone could give me a reason to look into him more, I might, but so far I haven't seen any reason beyond idle curiosity. Joseph Smith, on the other hand, was presenting something quite different than Mark Hofman. People hear a tidbit about Joseph Smith or what he said, and they think "Hmm, that sounds interesting, I'd like to learn some more." They learn a little more, they become more or less interested, and if they continue to be interested, it may lead to them to become members of the LDS Church. People may join the LDS Church for lots of reasons. My personal experience is that for most people, it's not an easy decision, and some sort of evidence or proof is needed. The evidence/proof that is offered comes from direct communication with God. If God tells me the Book of Mormon is true, that Joseph Smith was a true prophet, and that the LDS Church is where I'm supposed to be, then those are facts. That's why I believe what I believe. But it all starts with desire, and some people desire one thing and other people desire something different. If someone does not want to believe the LDS Church is true then they'll find evidence against it. If one wants to believe the LDS Church is true, they'll find evidence for it. I'm fairly convinced that even if every proof anyone has ever asked for with regards to the Book of Mormon, Joseph Smith, etc. were provided, many people would still not believe they were true. They would find some way to convince themselves that they don't need to change their lives and live the gospel, because that isn't what they really want.

      "I like to look at facts. I would like to see the discovery of this language that JS said he translated. I like to see archeological discovery of the language that he drew up and showed the world saying, “Here it is! This is the language and writing of the people in the BoM.” Until then we can safely conclude that JS wrote a fictional book."

      Well, I suppose perhaps you can safely make that conclusion. I have no idea if you're rejecting the truth or not, not because I don't know what is true myself, but because defining what constitutes "rejection" is a bit complicated for a mere mortal. That will be between you and God, and for all I know, you might be more open-minded than I am. I have no idea where I would be or what I would believe if I hadn't been born into the Church. I could have been a rabid anti-Mormon for all I know, although I'd like to think otherwise.

      So, if you're take on things is that it all seems hokey and you don't see any reason to look into it any further because it sounds crazy, fair enough, I can't blame you for that. That's a logical perspective to have. Where I don't see the logic is in why you're convinced it's all false, and why you devote the time you do to arguing against it. There is no proof that Mormonism is false, merely a lack of physical evidence that it is true. As such, you are dedicating your time to an effort for which you have no proof, either objective or subjective, whereas I at least have subjective proof of that to which I dedicate my time. From that perspective, you are exercising considerably more faith than I am. This is curious to me. Why would someone dedicate any time, let alone so much time, to something for which there is so little evidence, and no proof of any sort?

  297. TRUE, a.

    1. Conformable to fact; being in accordance with the actual state of things; as a true relation or narration; a true history. A declaration is true, when it states the facts. In this sense, true is opposed to false.

    2. Genuine; pure; real; not counterfeit, adulterated or false; as true balsam; the true bark; true love of country; a true christian.

    3. Faithful; steady in adhering to friends, to promises, to a prince or to the state; loyal; not false, fickle or perfidious; as a true friend; a true lover; a man true to his king, true to his country, true to his word; a husband true to his wife; a wife true to her husband; a servant true to his master; an officer true to his charge.

    4. Free from falsehood; as a true witness.

    5. Honest; not fraudulent; as good men and true.

    If king Edward be as true and just–

    6. Exact; right to precision; conformable to a rule or pattern; as a true copy; a true likeness of the original.

    7. Straight; right; as a true line; the true course of a ship.

    8. Not false or pretended; real; as, Christ was the true Messiah.

    9. Rightful; as, George IV is the true king of England.

    "There is no proof that Mormonism is false, merely a lack of physical evidence that it is true."

    Lack of evidence does not make something true. You say this book lacks physical evidence, and therefore true, though it cannot be proven. I say since no physical evidence has been proven then it is fiction.

    HYPOTH'ESIS, n. [L. from Gr. a supposition; to suppose.]

    1. A supposition; a proposition or principle which is supposed or taken for granted, in order to draw a conclusion or inference for proof of the point in question; something not proved,but assumed for the purpose of argument.

    2. A system or theory imagined or assumed to account for what is not understood.

    THE'ORY, n. [L. theoria; Gr. to see or contemplate.]

    1. Speculation; a doctrine or scheme of things, which terminates in speculation or contemplation, without a view to practice. It is here taken in an unfavorable sense, as implying something visionary.

    2. An exposition of the general principles of any science; as the theory of music.

    3. The science distinguished from the art; as the theory and practice of medicine.

    4. The philosophical explanation of phenomena, either physical or moral; as Lavoisier's theory of combustion; Smith's theory of moral sentiments.

    Theory is distinguished from hypothesis thus; a theory is founded on inferences drawn from principles which have been established on independent evidence; a hypothesis is a proposition assumed to account for certain phenomena, and has no other evidence of its truth, than that it affords a satisfactory explanation of those phenomena.

    "There is no proof that Mormonism is false"

    The religion of Mormonism exists. This religion is based on a man who said something and presented a book to induct followers.

    The question is not about the existence of the religion. The question is about the book. If you want to throw the Book of Breeding's in the mix we can. However, the Mormon apologists figured out a way to dismiss the facts on that JS translation as being "a different meaning." The guy could not translate actual Egyptian. How then could he translate a language that is supposed to exist when no one in any part of the world has found anything similar to what he presented as being "reformed Egyptian"? You'd think that Mormons of all people would look more into this rather than coming up with some excuse.

    This idea to dismiss facts and claim something as true without facts is like wishful thinking. There was a saying as I grew up. It is, "Wish in one hand and poop in the other. Tell me which fills first?"

    "As such, you are dedicating your time to an effort for which you have no proof, either objective or subjective, whereas I at least have subjective proof of that to which I dedicate my time. From that perspective, you are exercising considerably more faith than I am. This is curious to me. Why would someone dedicate any time, let alone so much time, to something for which there is so little evidence, and no proof of any sort?"

    Here's your problem, Josh, you say I dedicate my time to which there is little evidence. It was Mormon missionaries who made the claims of something being true, just like you are doing now. In ignorance you say that there is no objective or subjective proof. You admit of taking a subjective stand. I admit to objective evidence. Then why do you spend your time defending something as true when there is so little evidence, and no proof of any sort?

    What's the problem here? Can't any shred of physical evidence be produced?

    • "Lack of evidence does not make something true. You say this book lacks physical evidence, and therefore true, though it cannot be proven. I say since no physical evidence has been proven then it is fiction."

      I never said any such thing. I merely said there is no proof that it is false. A lack of evidence that something is true does not automatically prove it to be fiction. From an objective standpoint it exists in a state of limbo, waiting for the evidence that proves it to be fact or fiction.

      "The guy could not translate actual Egyptian. How then could he translate a language that is supposed to exist when no one in any part of the world has found anything similar to what he presented as being “reformed Egyptian”?"

      To my understanding Smith wasn't very good at reading or writing English, and even at the time of his death would have had little ability to translate anything on his own. The Book of Mormon and Book of Abraham were not translated by Smith working under his own faculties but with God's help.

      Reformed Egyptian, as far as I know, was a language unique to the people of the Book of Mormon. I believe the people of the Book of Mormon to have been a relatively small group living in a limited geography. Writing on metal plates, or anything that would last thousands of years in a tropical climate, would have been extremely rare. And the vast majority of archeological sites in Central America have not yet been excavated. If one accepts these premises as being logical/factual, then it's no stretch to reach the conclusion that is not at all unusual to not yet have found any instance of this writing at archeological sites.

      "This idea to dismiss facts and claim something as true without facts is like wishful thinking. "

      God told me the Book of Mormon is true. What more of a fact do I need? What other fact could I depend on more than that? If you don't want to believe God has told me any such thing that's fine, but you'll never be able to prove it. We don't dismiss other facts, but I haven't yet seen any facts that prove the Book of Mormon or Book of Abraham to be false. I see a lot of misinformation and misunderstanding of the facts, but no one using the actual facts to prove their point.

      "Then why do you spend your time defending something as true when there is so little evidence, and no proof of any sort?"

      Because I do have proof. I know these things are true. My proof is subjective, but that's all an individual needs. If I walk outside and the sun is shining in my eyes I don't need to confirm it with someone else to know it's true. The difference here is that the proof can only be received on an individual basis, or rather God has set it up that way, and so while an individual may know these things are true, he cannot "share" that proof with someone else. He can tell them how to get the proof for themselves, but he cannot provide the proof himself.

      "What’s the problem here? Can’t any shred of physical evidence be produced?"

      There are all sorts of shreds of evidence for the Book of Mormon, but no smoking gun, no absolute proof. But again, there are clear steps by which people can get their own proof, not merely from archeological evidence, but directly from God, and many do every day.

  298. you claim the book is false. But what proof do you have?

    – Joshua Steimle

    ———-

    Here is the proof:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hcyzkd_m6KE

    This video has destroyed the faith of many Mormons, and dissuaded many others from converting. I anticipated the findings of the video myself when I was proselytized by two Mormon missionaries.

    Even before the rediscovery of the manuscript from which Joseph Smith claimed to translate the Book of Abraham, competent Egyptologists exposed the three facsimiles printed with The Book of Abraham as "an impudent fraud."

    The video takes up nearly an hour. The following essay explains much the same thing. It is easy to understand. It takes only minutes to read:
    http://www.utlm.org/onlineresources/fallofbookabr

  299. Posted by: Joshua Steimle on August 24, 2011 at 5:49 pm

    For everything else, what responsibility do I have to provide you with physical evidence? If you want it to be true, you can get your own evidence from God. If you don’t want it to be true then you can ignore it or you can attack it, but you won’t be able to prove it to be false.

    ———-

    After failing to produce any rational arguments in favor of what is clearly an elaborate scam you retreat to the redoubt that everyone believes what they want to believe. Can't you do any better than that? It is obviously untrue. Many people are mature enough to recognize unpleasant realities.

    Also, when making decisions pertaining to your business, are you swayed by what you want to believe, or by what the evidence clearly indicates?

  300. God told me the Book of Mormon is true.

    – Joshua Steimle

    ———-

    God told me that the Book of Mormon was written by a lying, womanizing fraud. Before God told me that, however, I figured it out on my own.

  301. I didn't watch the video, but I read the webpage. Is there any criticism on that webpage that isn't addressed at http://fairmormon.org/Book_of_Abraham/Joseph_Smit…? It seems to me that the Book of Abraham can only be "proven" false when you make certain assumptions (i.e. that the papyri found represent all the papyri Joseph Smith had in his possession, that Joseph's use of the words "translation" and "translate" matches the dictionary definitions of those words, etc.). But what if those assumptions are inaccurate?

    "After failing to produce any rational arguments in favor of what is clearly an elaborate scam you retreat to the redoubt that everyone believes what they want to believe. Can’t you do any better than that? It is obviously untrue. Many people are mature enough to recognize unpleasant realities."

    I haven't produced rational arguments in favor of any of these things because it's not my intent to prove that these things are true. Whether these things are "clearly an elaborate scam" is a matter of subjective opinion, but I will say that the use of the words "clearly" and "obvious" tend to be the resort of one who is not sure of his arguments. If something is obvious, you don't have to state that it is, you just show the evidence. You still have not shown me any objective proof that these things are false. As far as I can tell, for every argument you have against the Church, Book of Mormon, etc. there is an answer that refutes it and leaves the door wide open for these things to be true. Granted, you have the harder case to make, since I am not trying to prove these things are true, I'm merely trying to show that they cannot be proven to be false, and therefore may be true.

  302. I haven’t produced rational arguments in favor of any of these things because it’s not my intent to prove that these things are true.

    – Joshua Steimle

    ———-

    Then why did you create this website? You seem to have thought that the presumed complexity of the Book of Mormon proved that it could not have come from the imagination of Joseph Smith. That has been thoroughly refuted in this thread. No one denies that Joseph Smith was intelligent and creative. The problem is that unlike novelists and play writes who are more intelligent and creative, he claimed that his fabrications were true.

  303. It seems to me that the Book of Abraham can only be “proven” false when you make certain assumptions (i.e. that the papyri found represent all the papyri Joseph Smith had in his possession, that Joseph’s use of the words “translation” and “translate” matches the dictionary definitions of those words, etc.). But what if those assumptions are inaccurate?

    – Joshua Steimle

    ———–

    There is no reason, other than your desire to believe a hoax, that they are inaccurate. The meaning of the word "translate" has not changed. Joseph Smith knew perfectly well the difference in definition from "translate" and "revelation." If he received a revelation when looking at a manuscript that obviously has a very different meaning from the Book of Abraham, he would have said so.

    ———–

    Although the noted Mormon apologist Dr. Hugh Nibley later proposed some fantastic theories in an attempt to divorce the Egyptian papyri from the Book of Abraham, at a meeting held at the University of Utah on May 20, 1968, he frankly spoke of "the fact that, the very definite fact that, one of the fragments seemed to supply all of the symbols for the Book of Abraham." This was the little 'Sensen' scroll. Here are the symbols. The symbols are arranged here, and the interpretation goes along here and this interpretation turns out to be the Book of Abraham."…

    Since the original papyrus contains nothing about Abraham, some Mormon apologists have suggested that Joseph Smith may have obtained the Book of Abraham by way of direct revelation and not from the papyrus. Those who try to use this escape will find themselves trapped by the words of Joseph Smith himself. At the beginning of the handwritten manuscript, Joseph Smith asserted that it was a "Translation of the Book of Abraham written by his own hand upon papyrus and found in the catacombs of Egypt." The introduction to the Book of Abraham still maintains that it was "Translated From The Papyrus.

    http://www.utlm.org/onlineresources/fallofbookabr

  304. "Then why did you create this website?"

    To help people keep an open mind so they will continue researching Mormonism.

    "You seem to have thought that the presumed complexity of the Book of Mormon proved that it could not have come from the imagination of Joseph Smith. That has been thoroughly refuted in this thread."

    Oh, I suppose it could have come from his imagination, but I think it highly unlikely. In my opinion that matter has been weakly refuted at best.

    "No one denies that Joseph Smith was intelligent and creative."

    Actually Joseph Smith has been called an idiot by quite a lot of people over the years, including by many of his contemporaries. His wife said he couldn't create a well-written letter to save his life. He may have been intelligent and creative, but it seems to me someone would have to be the most amazing genius the world has ever seen to produce something like the Book of Mormon in his early 20s, build a religion around it, get people to walk across the plains and die for the sake of it, and then have the religion endure and flourish over a 180 year period with millions of adherents. These things don't prove the LDS Church is true, but it should at least give someone pause to wonder how a backwoods, 14-year old boy with a 3rd grade education from the early 1800s who could barely write ended up creating all this.

  305. Joshua Steimle,

    I am sorry if I sometimes appear to be sarcastic. I like you, and appreciate this website. I have always liked Mormons. When I talk to Mormon missionaries, I am aware that they are much younger than you are, so I am careful how I talk to them. I always treat them with courtesy and respect. I tell them that it takes a lot of courage to go around knocking on strange doors the way they do, especially in dangerous neighborhoods.

  306. Joshua,

    I have a question for you. How does the French word "Adeui", a word that does not exist until mid 1300's, show up in the book of mormon (jacob 7:27)? The way I understand it, the process of "translation" went something like this – joseph smith put the "seer stones" into his hat, placed his face into the hat to the point where no light could pass between his face and the hat, the character would appear followed by the "translation". He would then speak the words aloud to his scribe, who was on the other side of a curtain. The scribe would repeat what was spoken to ensure it's accuracy and the it would be written down. So how does it happen that a character that was supposedly etched on a gold plate has a direct translation to a word that would not exist for over 1800 years? It is interesting to note that title page of the first printing of the book of mormon has joseph smith credited as "Author and Proprietor" while it currently states "Translated by joseph smith, jun.". This is merely one of more than 3000 changes to the book since 1830, making one wonder what the author's motives were when he stated that the book of mormon was "…the most correct of any book on earth" (lds church official website, http://lds.org/scriptures/bofm/introduction?lang=….

    • Regarding "adieu" the Book of Mormon was translated into Joseph's language. None of the words in our copy of the book existed when the original text was written. Translation means you take something in another language and find the best words in your own language to try and communicate the same information and ideas. Apparently "adieu" fit the meaning of a word on the plates better than anything else.

    • Regarding the "author" vs "translator" question, my understanding is that the laws of the time were that someone had to be listed as the author in order to secure the copyright and prevent others from copying the book. Since Joseph had to keep control over the book he had to list himself as the author.

    • As for the 3,000 changes, the vast majority fall into a few different areas:

      1. Errors made by Joseph's scribes, that is, they didn't write down what he actually said.

      2. Errors by the printer when he was typesetting the book.

      3. Changes due to changes in the English language.

      4. Somewhat related to the last one, changes in order to clarify meaning.

      That's a highly summarized explanation. There are plenty of sites out there that go into quite a bit of detail.

  307. Joshua,

    Thanks for the quick response. Do you happen to have a reference to the law of which you are referring to? If it was a legal maneuver why did it read differently in the second printing?

    As for your explanations regarding the 3000 changes, if the scribes commonly or regularly did not write down exactly what joseph smith said how would anyone know which parts are accurate and which are not. Here is a qoute from B. H. Roberts:

    "That errors of grammar and faults in dictation do exist in the Book of Mormon (and more especially and abundantly in the first edition) must be conceded; and what is more, while some of the errors may be referred to inefficient proof-reading, such as is to be expected in a country printing establishment, yet such is the nature of the errors in question, and so interwoven are they throughout the diction of the Book, that they may not be disposed of by saying they result from inefficient proof-reading or referring them to the mischievous disposition of the 'typos' or the unfriendliness of the publishing house. The errors are constitutional in their character; they are of the web and woof of the style, and not such errors as may be classed as typographical. Indeed, the first edition of the Book of Mormon is SINGULARLY FREE FROM TYPOGRAPHICAL ERRORS." (Defense of the Faith, by B. H. Roberts, pp. 280-281; reprinted in A New Witness For Christ in America, by Francis W. Kirkham, Vol. 1, pp. 200-201)

    As for potential mistakes made by the printer, these were noticed and brought to smith's attention. The printer was told to print it as is.

    A photograph of the original manuscript of the Book of Mormon which is published in the book, A New Witness For Christ In America, Vol. 1, page 216, proves that the printer was not responsible for the grammatical errors which appeared in the first edition A second handwritten manuscript known as the printer's manuscript also confirms this. Photos of the printer's manuscript can be seen at the University of Utah Library Special Collections. George Reynolds quotes the following from an interview with John H. Gilbert:

    "'Hyrum Smith always brought the manuscript to the office; he would have it under his coat and all buttoned up as carefully as though it was so much gold. He said at the time that it was translated from plates by the power of God, and they were very particular about it. We had a great deal of trouble with it. It was not punctuated at all. They did not know anything about punctuation, and we had to do that ourselves.'

    "'Well; did you change any part of it when you were setting the type?'

    "'No, Sir; we never changed it at all.'

    "'Why did you not change it and correct it?'

    "'Because they would not allow us to; they were very particular about that. We never changed it in the least. Oh, well; there might have been one or two words that I changed the spelling of; I believe I did change the spelling of one, and perhaps two, but no more.'. (http://www.utlm.org/onlinebooks/3913intro.htm)

    Finally, Here is another couple of questions for you. In one of your initial postings you mention that there have been "quite a few" archaeological discoveries that support the book of mormon. What discoveries are you reffering to?  The lds church teaches that the lamanites (the indigenous native Americans) are a remnant of the house of Isreal while all genetic evidence unequivocally points to a central Asian origin.  Do you believe the genetic evidence is wrong?

    • Joseph Smith as author rather than translator

      This document is not where I got my information, but I'm not sure where I did get my information. Nevertheless, the first 3 pages of the aforementioned PDF do address the matter.

      This page also addresses the matter, and may be where I got my information originally, although it seems there was another source. Ah well, hopefully these two sources will give you the information you're looking for.

      3,000 changes in the Book of Mormon

      Here's a much more thorough response to the matter than mine.

      Archeology

      "Here is another couple of questions for you. In one of your initial postings you mention that there have been “quite a few” archaeological discoveries that support the book of mormon. What discoveries are you reffering to?"

      I don't mean to, and have never meant to, suggest that there is any archeological proof of the Book of Mormon, only that there are many things discovered within the last 100 years that match up with the Book of Mormon. I've seen some of these things firsthand as I've traveled in Central America. One example has to do with the system of weights and measures described at the beginning of Chapter 11 of Alma in the Book of Mormon. In parts of Mexico and/or Guatemala (I can't remember which or if it was both) the natives use a system of weights and measures that matches this description exactly. Of course this doesn't prove anything, it could just be a coincidence, but it's an interesting one.

      For more information on this topic, Jeff Lindsay probably has the best summary and collection of links on Book of Mormon archeology.

      Here are some links if you want to dig in:
      http://www.bmaf.org/node/323 http://fairwiki.org/Book_of_Mormon/Archaeology http://www.fairlds.org/apol/ai024.html

      DNA/Genetics

      " The lds church teaches that the lamanites (the indigenous native Americans) are a remnant of the house of Isreal while all genetic evidence unequivocally points to a central Asian origin. Do you believe the genetic evidence is wrong?"

      The LDS Church actually does not teach that all native Americans are descendants of the Nephite/Lamanite civilizations, although it is a very popular urban legend amongst Mormons and even among Mormon leaders has often been regarded as a given. It's not difficult to see how this assumption was made in the early years of the Church when archeological knowledge was extremely limited, and then was never questioned, it not being a matter of much importance. Only in recent decades has the matter drawn much attention, and although it will probably take several decades for the popular perspectives to change (again, most Mormons simply don't see why they should care about the matter), it is changing and the dominant view seems to be trending towards the idea of the people of the Book of Mormon having been fairly small in number and their civilization quite limited in geographical reach. The internal evidence of this view is, in my opinion, quite strong. One example; the wars in the Book of Mormon generally describe armies with 30,000 to 50,000 men. That is the kind of army a civilization with perhaps 100,000 to 200,000 total individuals might be expected to produce, and a civilization with 200,000 individuals could hardly fill a continent, let alone be expected to have any reason to go to war with another civilization roughly equal in size that lived on another continent.

      If the people of the Book of Mormon were a small civilization amongst many larger ones, then the matter of testing DNA becomes a bit more complicated, since we don't know who might be a descendant of those people and who wouldn't be.

      But perhaps the larger challenge with the DNA matter is that we don't know the DNA markers that would have been present in Jews of 600 BC. There aren't any Jews from 600 BC from whom we can take DNA samples. Even if there were, we don't know if their DNA would contain the same markers as the people of the Book of Mormon, since for all we know Lehi and Sariah, the principal ancestors of the Book of Mormon people, may have had ancestry with all sorts of other races and peoples mixed in.

      So, between not knowing who to test today, and not knowing what markers to look for, it is quite the challenge for anyone to make the claim that DNA evidence proves the Book of Mormon to be inauthentic. 100 times the amount of testing that has been done could be done with no positive results, and such proof would still be lacking. The best we could say is that if we tested every single person with native American ancestry, we would undoubtedly have half of the information we need to prove things one way or the other, but without knowing the other half, we still could not come to any conclusion.

      In other words no, I don't believe the genetic evidence is wrong, but I believe the conclusions that have been drawn based on that evidence are.

  308. Joshua,

    Thanks again for your quick response. I guess I should have been more specific regarding the DNA evidence of which I spoke. I am referring to evidence based on mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) and Y chromosome analysis, a body of literature that is sizable at present but growing rapidly. The reason mtDNA and Y chromosome studies are valuable is that, in both cases, they involve regions of mitochondrial and nuclear DNA that do not change from ancestor to descendent. Therefore they are excellent materials to use for the elucidation of definitive ancestral relationships to modern populations. One examines the maternal lineage (mtDNA studies) and the other the paternal lineage (Y chromosome studies). Both of these analyses have been done for indigenous Native American populations and the concludsion is that all Native American populations share a central Asian ancestry. One such study that you may want to take a look at is "The Dual Origin and Siberian Affinities of Native American Y Chromosomes" from the American Journal of Human Genetics (for a comprehensive list of these studies simply go to http://scholar.google.com and do a search for "mtDNA studies on native American origins" you will get over 16,000 matches).

    Studies such as these have been gone on worldwide populations in an attempt to determine how, when, and by whom all the land masses were on earth were populated. So, they actually do know what markers to look at as well as what was present in 600 BC. In fact, these types of studies have been done repeatedly on populations that are known to be much older than that.

    Your claim that the lds church does not teach that the lamanites are descendants of the people from the book of mormon is contradicted on the official church website. The exerpt below is from a 1975 article entitled "Who and Where are the Lamanites" which includes a map of of the western hemisphere with the phrase "Worldwide Distribution of Lamanites" added to the title. Interestingly enough it says right below the map "Descendants of the Book of Mormon peoples (Population density)". It is rather long because I decided not to paraphrase the excerpt but rather provide it verbatim so I could not be blamed for picking out only that which supported my understanding. Anyway, here it is:

    "Within this broad picture we find the people of the Book of Mormon, which is a partial record of some of those who were, at various times, led out of the Old World by the Lord to become established in the American continents: the Jaredites, who were led away at the time of the Tower of Babel and were, therefore, a part of the earliest dissemination of the descendants of Noah; the Lehi colony, led out of Jerusalem during the reign of Zedekiah, just prior to the captivity of Judah by Nebuchadnezzar; and the colony of Mulek, the youngest son of Zedekiah, who departed Jerusalem eleven years after Lehi.

    The term Lamanite was first applied to the literal family of Laman, Lehi’s eldest son. This name very soon took on a broader application, however, when Laman, Lemuel, and some of the sons of Ishmael rebelled against and sought to kill Nephi, in whom the Lord had vested his authority. At that time the Lord cut them off from his presence and caused a darker skin coloring to come upon them. (See 2 Ne. 5:19–21.) Thereafter the name Lamanite referred to a religious/political faction whose distinguishing feature was its opposition to the church. (See Jacob 1:13–14.) Lineage became an increasingly minor factor, and later there are many examples of Lamanites becoming Nephites and Nephites becoming Lamanites.

    For nearly 200 years after the coming of Christ to the Americas, there were no Lamanites “nor any manner of -ites; but they were in one, the children of Christ, and heirs to the kingdom of God.” (4 Ne. 1:17.) Soon, however, a part of the people fell away and took upon them the name of Lamanites; “therefore there began to be Lamanites again in the land.” (4 Ne. 1:20.) Clearly, Lamanite in this case again refers to the state of righteousness of a political/religious group, presumably a composite of the descendants of many of the original colonists in the New World. The Lamanites of this definition survived beyond the close of the Book of Mormon record, and it is these people from whom the Lamanites of today descended. That is to say, they are the descendants of Lehi, Ishmael, and Zoram (see D&C 3:17–18); they are the descendants of Mulek and the others of his colony (see Hel. 6:10; Omni 1:14, 15); and they may also be descended from other groups of whom we have no record. Certainly they have mixed with many other lineages at the far reaches of their dispersal in the Americas and most of the islands of the Pacific since the time when Moroni bade them farewell in A.D. 421.

    In this composite group is the blood of Israel, for we know that Lehi was of the tribe of Manasseh (see Alma 10:3), that Ishmael was of Ephraim (see JD 3:184), and that Mulek was of Judah, being a descendant of King David through Zedekiah. Therefore, the Lamanites of today—all the mixed descendants of the Book of Mormon peoples—have a legitimate claim to the blessings of the Abrahamic covenant and, in turn, the duty to now carry these blessings to those nations of the earth who yet remain in darkness, the remainder of the descendants of Noah."

    This does not sound like an "urban legend" to me and 1975 certainly would not be considered within "the early years of the church". To me it says that 1) the people of the book of mormon were all descendants of the house of Israel, 2) the people of the book of mormon were the original colonists of the New world, and 3) that "…the Lamanites of today [are] all the mixed descendants of the Book of Mormon peoples".

    I am a little confused regarding the "discoveries" you mentioned. In your post from February 20, 2009 you wrote "2. Not much archeological work on the Book of Mormon was done until the last few decades, and there are quite a few discoveries that have been and continue to be made that lend credence to the Book of Mormon narrative. To say no one has found anything is patently false." Then, in response to my inquiry, you write "I don’t mean to, and have never meant to, suggest that there is any archeological proof of the Book of Mormon, only that there are many things discovered within the last 100 years that match up with the Book of Mormon."

    If there had been even one thing that had been "…discovered within the last 100 years that match(ed) up with the book of mormon…" surely the world would have heard about it. The truth is that extensive work has been done and foundations have been organized, staffed and funded, all in an attempt to find something…anything…that might support the authenticity of the book of morman. But so far it has all been to no avail. Perhaps someday something will be found to lend support. Who knows, I certainly don't and anyone who claimed otherwise would only demonstrate their ignorance. What I don't understand is why people choose not to believe something that has been discovered or proven because it contradicts their religious beliefs.

  309. Joshua,

    I need to make a minor a clarification to a statement in my second post which was somewhat ambiguous. At the end of the post I wrote …the lamanites (the indigenous native Americans) are a remnant of the house of Israel while all genetic evidence unequivocally points to a central Asian origin.

    The second to last word in that sentence should have been "Siberian" rather than "Asian". So, the genetic evidence reveals that all Native American populations (past and present) are of an Asian descent which has been traced geographically to a central Siberian origin, the Trans-Baikal region of central Siberia to be more specific.

    So, are you saying that it is of no consequence that Native American populations (past and present) come from central Siberia and are of Asian ancestry? It seems to me that, with no archaeological evidence AND no living (or dead) descendants of people who supposedly came to the New World from Jerusalem, that the book of mormon is nothing more than an moderately entertaining story. And not a unique one either (see Studies of the Book of Mormon by B.D. Madsen, B.H. Roberts, and S.M. McMurrin [paperback] http://www.amazon.com/Studies-Book-Mormon-Brigham….

  310. I'm not an expert in genetics nor do I play one on TV, but it seems to me use of the word "all" in the statement "the concludsion is that all Native American populations share a central Asian ancestry." might be a bit beyond the current research, but let's take it as fact for the sake of argument. A question then…what would happen if a relatively small group were injected into the Native American population, not of Asian ancestry, never comprising more than perhaps 1% of the total population, and then integrated with the pre-existing population? Would the existence of such an "injection" into the local population be obvious in the DNA record? Could the markers from such a population injection be erased over time?

    One other question, if there are DNA traits that don't change from one generation to another, then why do these markers change at all from any human to any other human? If we all descended from Adam and Eve a few thousand years ago, wouldn't those markers be the same for the entire human race? Even if we are the product of evolution, it seems likely that all humans would have descended from a common ancestor, as opposed to human races evolving independent of each other, and therefore wouldn't those DNA traits that don't change still be identical for all humans?

    "So, they actually do know what markers to look at as well as what was present in 600 BC. In fact, these types of studies have been done repeatedly on populations that are known to be much older than that."

    I still don't understand how can anyone know what the DNA of someone from Jerusalem in 600 BC looks like? How would we get sample material, and how would we know that the sample material is generally representative? Most importantly, how would we know if the sample material matched the DNA traits specific to the people of the Book of Mormon, about whom we have only limited information as far as what their ancestry was? Is there any reason why the Book of Mormon people couldn't have had some Asian ancestry of their own?

    "Your claim that the lds church does not teach that the lamanites are descendants of the people from the book of mormon is contradicted on the official church website."

    If I might clarify, when I use the word "does" I mean it in the present tense. Personally, I have never heard or read that all Native Americans were descendants of the people of the Book of Mormon. But I was born in 1975, and perhaps it was a more popular thought before my time. But it has never been the doctrine of the Church. You won't find anywhere in the scriptures a statement that all Native Americans are descendants of the people of the Book of Mormon. Sure, Presidents of the LDS Church have spoken as though it were a given that most or all Native Americans were descended from the people of the Book of Mormon, but as far as I know that was their personal opinion, which, perhaps due to such an idea being promulgated since the early days of the Church, they never thought to question.

    Now that the matter is being questioned seriously for the first time, those who look into the matter seem to be saying "Hey, that's funny, we used to think all the Native Americans were descendents of Lehi, but obviously that couldn't be the case. Ok, so what is the real story?" No Mormon I know of is irrevocably attached to the idea of all Native Americans being descendants of the Book of Mormon people. I don't think the matter keeps many Mormons up at night. For me it's a curiosity. I'm sure there's an explanation, and I'm interested in figuring out what it might be, but if I can't figure out what it is it's not going to shake my faith or anything. Heck, for all I know God performed a miracle and changed the DNA of all the Book of Mormon people to match the DNA of the other people here just to trip people up and keep them exercising faith rather than having a concrete answer.

    "If there had been even one thing that had been “…discovered within the last 100 years that match(ed) up with the book of mormon…” surely the world would have heard about it."

    Perhaps we have different definitions of "matched up". I told you about a system of weights and measures used in present-day Central America that "matches up" with a systems of weights and measures described in the Book of Mormon. Does this prove the Book of Mormon is true? Of course not, it could just be a coincidence. Does it lend some credence to the Book of Mormon? Sure, it's a piece of supporting evidence that can be made part of a case. What about the timeline of the Olmec civilization roughly matching that of the Jaredite civilization in the Book of Mormon? Proof? No. Supporting evidence? Sure. Use of cement described in the Book of Mormon and archeological evidence of the use of cement in Mesoamerica–proof? No. Supporting evidence? Absolutely. There are scores of such items that "match up" with the Book of Mormon, things that not Joseph Smith nor anyone else of his time could have predicted, and had Joseph Smith been a fraud it would have been incredibly risky for him to include such things in the Book of Mormon when he could have easily left them out.

    "The truth is that extensive work has been done and foundations have been organized, staffed and funded, all in an attempt to find something…anything…that might support the authenticity of the book of morman. But so far it has all been to no avail."

    We may also have different ideas about what "extensive" and "staffed and funded" mean. To me, extensive work would mean 50 years, 1,000 people, and tens of millions of dollars. It takes a lot of money and time to excavate a single site, let alone the hundreds of thousands of sites in Central America. It can take decades and millions of dollars to excavate a single site that is a few hundred feet square. I've traveled there, I've seen the work, and I don't believe we've discovered 1% of what we will ultimately discover in that area. 100 years from now I doubt we'll be able to say we're 50% of the way through it. Who knows what else we'll find. What we know today is that there is no archeological evidence proving the Book of Mormon to be false, but there are many pieces of archeological evidence that match what the Book of Mormon says.

    Here's some more interesting Book of Mormon archeology stuff, although the guy doesn't cite his sources too well so I'm not sure how credible it all is.

  311. It is not a matter of what the mtDNA looks like but rather what the haplogroup the mtDNA belongs to. All (yes, all) Native A American populations belong to one of five haplogroups. These same haplogroups are found in the Trans-Baikal region of central Siberia. Again, mtDNA and Y chromosome analyses examine regions of DNA that do not change from parent to offspring, and by extension, from ancestor to descendant. Mitochondrial DNA is found in the mitochondria of all cells. So, in each of your cells in your body there are varying numbers of mitochondria. These are the parts of the cell that provide ATP to the cell they reside in. It is the energy from the spitting of ATP molecules that drive all the energy- dependent processes of the cell. The first great thing about mitochondria is that they have their own DNA which is completely independent from the DNA within the nucleus of each cell. The second great thing is that all the mitochondria a person has arise from the mitochondria within the ovum (sperm cells do not pass mitochondria to the ovum at fertilization) meaning they are passed from mother to offspring. Since the region on the mtDNA important for determining what the haplogroup it belongs to does not change when the mitochondria divide that region is a reliable indicator of maternal lineages. The same concepts are true for Y chromosome analysis with male lineages. The only difference is paternal lineages are assigned to distinctive specific haplotypes (whereas in maternal lineages are assigned to specific haplogroups) although they are also be referred to as Y-haplogroups.

    Therefore, if you look at all the people who are of Jewish ancestry, no matter where the live now or how many generations have passed, the haplogroups will reveal their maternal lineage and The haplotype will reveal their paternal lineage. So, my haplogroup would be the same as my mother's, grandmother's, great grandmother's, and so on. Likewise with my haplotype (or Y-haplogroup), mine is the same as my father's, grandfather's, great grandfather's, and so on.

    The haplogroups that are associated with Native American populations are different than those found in people of Middle-Eastern descent but they are the same as those who descend from the Trans-Baikal region of central Siberia. As I said in an earlier post, mtDNA studies have been done worldwide. Because of these studies we have a pretty good idea as to how, when and by whom all land masses have become populated.

  312. Your second question:

    If we all descended from Adam and Eve a few thousand years ago, wouldn’t those markers be the same for the entire human race? Even if we are the product of evolution, it seems likely that all humans would have descended from a common ancestor, as opposed to human races evolving independent of each other, and therefore wouldn’t those DNA traits that don’t change still be identical for all humans?

    You are correct. All humans are derived from a common ancestor. Ancient DNA (aDNA) studies have revealed that all modern human haplogroups originate from a single haplogroup lineage from Africa just over 200,000 years ago.

  313. Joshua,

    I am looking at a book of morman right now and the last sentence in second paragraph of the Introduction it states:

    "After thousands of years, all were destroyed except the Lamanites, and they are the principal ancestors of the American Indians."

    This seems to be pretty clear about the relationship between the Lamanites and the Native Americans.

  314. You state "Therefore, if you look at all the people who are of Jewish ancestry, no matter where the live now or how many generations have passed, the haplogroups will reveal their maternal lineage and The haplotype will reveal their paternal lineage. So, my haplogroup would be the same as my mother’s, grandmother’s, great grandmother’s, and so on. Likewise with my haplotype (or Y-haplogroup), mine is the same as my father’s, grandfather’s, great grandfather’s, and so on. "

    and then:

    "All humans are derived from a common ancestor. "

    If we all had a common ancestor, and haplogroups don't change from mother on down, wouldn't that mean your haplogroup would be the same as this common ancestor way back when? And if that's the same common ancestor that all humans have, wouldn't all humans be part of the same haplogroup all the way back, and therefore there we would all be from the same haplogroup and haplotype?

    “After thousands of years, all were destroyed except the Lamanites, and they are the principal ancestors of the American Indians.”

    They actually changed that in more recent editions. It no longer says the Lamanites are the principal ancestors of the American Indians.

    As I said I wasn't a DNA expert by any means, here is an article addressing the DNA issue from someone who apparently is.

  315. All haplogroups are a subset of one large group, called Macro-haplogroup. At the oldest part of the mtDNA, all humans are linked to one of these Macro-haplogroups. Think about it like this:

    L
    |___________L0__________
    | |____L0A_____
    | |
    |__L1___ |____ L0B______
    |____ L1A______
    |
    |____ L1B______

    – L is the macro-haplogroup that is ancestral to all descendants.
    – L0 is the most recent common haplogroup for L0a and L0B, which are both living populations.
    – L1 is the most recent common haplogroup for L1A and L1B, which are both living populations.

    So, on the oldest part of the mtDNA there are alleles common to all. Examination of the intermediate alleles show that there was divergence at a specific time in history creating two unique subgroups, L0 and L1. The most recent alleles show another divergent event in both subgroups which give rise to living groups, L0A, L0B, L1A, and L1B. And so forth. Realize that I am greatly simplifying the explanation otherwise I will be up until 4:00 AM like last night!

    I too am somewhat of an expert as both my Masster's thesis work and my Ph.D. dissertation focused on the genetic analysis of a prehistoric Native American population and their suspected ancestors. I will say this one last time, NO NATIVE AMERICAN POPULATIONS ORIGINATE FROM THE MIDDLE-EAST! THERE ARE NO EXCEPTIOMS TO THIS!

    FARMS is one of those organizations supported by the lds church. Don't worry about ever hearing the whole truth from them. Once I saw it was FARMS I didn't even bother to read it, I don't have to because I already know what they will say. It will validate all the claims I have made then there will be an opinion thrown in which either attempts to discredit the scientific work or it will bend the information just enough to show that it really could still be the way the church said it was. It is all about how they can spin the information.

    It is clear that when looking for objective, impartial information one cannot turn to the lds church or any organization associated with it. Every time contradictory information comes to light they just change what they believe. Whether it be polygamy, blacks holding the priesthood, or the origin of modern Native Americans (see excerpt from previous posts copied at the bottom of this post). They make a change and all of the sudden the previously held beliefs are an urban legend! What a joke!! I suppose that polygamy was really about providing for widowed women and their fatherless children! That is why they practiced it in secret all those years, even after the Manifesto, right? Right!

    ==========================================================

    Posted by: Sean on September 4, 2011 at 8:37 pm

    Joshua,

    I am looking at a book of morman right now and the last sentence in second paragraph of the Introduction it states:

    “After thousands of years, all were destroyed except the Lamanites, and they are the principal ancestors of the American Indians.”

    This seems to be pretty clear about the relationship between the Lamanites and the Native Americans.

    _________________________________________________________

    Posted by: Joshua Steimle on September 4, 2011 at 10:21 pm

    They [the lds church]* actually changed that in more recent editions. It no longer says the Lamanites are the principal ancestors of the American Indians.

    *Bracketed phrase added by me to create clarity as to who is responsible for change.

  316. Sorry, my flow cart didn't turn out. Just look up Macro- haplogroup and it should explain it. Imagine the line |_______L0A________

    |

    so thebtwo vertical lines line up with the vertical line between___L1___ and ____ L0B_____.

  317. I broke down and read the article from FARMS, which is an acronym for the Foundation for Ancient Research Mormon Studies (yep, that's right, an lds funded organization). I am a scientist and could not really know whether the claim made by its author were reliable or garbage until I read it for myself.

    Not only did I read it I also read all the references that cited scientific works (wasn't too bad because there were only two of them were from credible scientific journals). I have also read Crawford's book, which is one of the two books cited in the references, though it was a couple of years ago. While I have not read Relethford's book, I am familiar with ALL his scholarly work, my advisor saw to that! John is a good friend of the Chairman of my Supervisory Committee for my Ph.D.

    The scientific references he lists that are now almost a decade old. It is an easy task to find scientific papers that downplay ancient DNA studies. All you need to do is find journal articles that came out when the science was in its infancy, which is the case here. The analytical methods get better every year in this field of study so, citations regarding methods as well as results are discouraged if they are more than two years old. Older references are okay if they are in there for historical purposes or because results are being challenged with new methods. This probably why it is a FARMS report rather than a journal article.

    I encourage everyone to read it. It is a great example of how a topic can be twisted and manipulated to be anything the author (or whoever is providing the funding) wants it to be.

  318. "Once I saw it was FARMS I didn’t even bother to read it, I don’t have to because I already know what they will say."

    I've never taken a debate class, but I'm guessing that attacking the messenger rather than debating the message on its merits wouldn't earn one an "A". Perhaps it is my ignorance in the subject matter, but it seems to me the author of the article brings up some valid points, some of which had already occurred to me to ask above and which I do not understand to my satisfaction. They are:

    1. If haplogroups and haplotypes don't change, how can we have more than one of each?

    2. How do we know what the DNA traits of Lehi and his group from 600 BC looked like?

    3. Could a small population be absorbed into a larger one and have their identifiable DNA traits effectively washed out over time?

    I did some more searching and found a more recent article on the matter of DNA and the Book of Mormon. If you want to ignore it or insult it because it's from FARMS, that's your prerogative, but that just makes it looks like you can't come up with a good response to the content of the article, so instead you seek to undermine the legitimacy of the source. That might work fine for those who already hold your opinion, but if you're trying to convince any Mormons to see things your way you'd do well to adopt a more scientific and unbiased attitude.

    "Every time contradictory information comes to light they just change what they believe."

    I can see why rational people might be inclined to see things this way, but the truth is otherwise. The core doctrines of the Church don't change, although new doctrines may be added. Laws, rules, commandments, practices, policies, etc. may change, depending on circumstances. This does not mean that the core of what Mormons believe has changed, only that the behavior has changed in order to produce the best results possible. Of course when we talk about "what Mormons believe" the matter is complicated by the fact that Mormons believe all sorts of conflicting ideas. When I use the words "what Mormons believe" I mean "what the doctrines of the LDS Church are". The idea that all Native Americans descended from the Book of Mormon people was never doctrine. It wasn't even put at the front of the Book of Mormon until 1981. But it was a commonly accepted and seldom questioned opinion. It seemed to make sense at the time. It was even believed by many of the leaders of the Church. But it's easy to believe things that don't matter, and that nobody is questioning. As archeological evidence has come forth, opinions have changed, and what once seemed like a reasonable fact no longer seems to make sense. When I call the idea of all Native Americans having descended from the Book of Mormon people an urban legend, I mean according to this definition: "An urban legend, urban myth, urban tale, or contemporary legend, is a form of modern folklore consisting of apocryphal stories believed by their tellers to be true."

    As Jeff Lindsay puts it, "What the critics are attacking in showing that Native Americans have predominant Asian roots is not the Book of Mormon, but a sloppy yet popular old misinterpretation of the text. Drop that error and we are left with a recognition that evidence for Lehi's and Sariah's genes from 600 B.C. are simply impossible to find since (a) we don't know what their DNA was like and (b) it was a tiny fraction of the DNA in the Americas that very likely was not preserved in mitochondrial DNA or Y chromosomes. So is the inability to find that needle in a haystack a logical reason to abandon the Book of Mormon? Really, it's not."

  319. “What the critics are attacking in showing that Native Americans have predominant Asian roots is not the Book of Mormon, but a sloppy yet popular old misinterpretation of the text. "

    What is truly amazing to me is that any morman can honestly say that the lds church does not teach that Native Americans are descendents of the lamanites. And to go as far as saying that anyone who thinks that the lds church does teach this has a "sloppy yet popular misinterpretation of the text.". Wow!

    The following excerpts (most of which are from the doctrine and covenants, which, ironically enough, mormans believe to be a collection of revelations directly from god!) clearly demonstrate that, up until the DNA evidence contradicting their belief about the origin of the Native Americans had been discovered, the church taught that Native Americans were the descendants of the Lamanites. After reading these and realize that this doesn't even scratch the surface, how could anyone say that it is a misinterpretation of the text, or even more absurdly, an urban legend, to believe the lds church is taught that the lamanites are the ancestors of the American Indians. Read for yourself!

    We believe that the existing Indian tribes are all direct descendants of Lehi and his company, and that therefore they have sprung from men all of whom were of the house of Israel."
    – Apostle James E. Talmage, The Articles of Faith, p.293

    D&C 28: 8
    And now, behold, I say unto you that you shall go unto the Lamanites and preach my gospel unto them; and inasmuch as they receive thy teachings thou shalt cause my church to be established among them; and thou shalt have revelations, but write them not by way of commandment.

    D&C 28: 9
    And now, behold, I say unto you that it is not revealed, and no man knoweth where the city Zion shall be built, but it shall be given hereafter. Behold, I say unto you that it shall be on the borders by the Lamanites.

    D&C 28: 14
    And thou shalt assist to settle all these things, according to the covenants of the church, before thou shalt take thy journey among the Lamanites.

    D&C 30: 6
    And be you afflicted in all his afflictions, ever lifting up your heart unto me in prayer and faith, for his and your deliverance; for I have given unto him power to build up my church among the Lamanites;

    D&C 32: 2
    And that which I have appointed unto him is that he shall go with my servants, Oliver Cowdery and Peter Whitmer, Jun., into the wilderness among the Lamanites.

    D&C 49: 24
    But before the great day of the Lord shall come, Jacob shall flourish in the wilderness, and the Lamanites shall blossom as the rose.

    D&C 54: 8
    And thus you shall take your journey into the regions westward, unto the land of Missouri, unto the borders of the Lamanites.

    D&C 10:45,48
    "Behold, there are many things engraven upon the plates of Nephi which do throw greater views upon my gospel; therefore, it is wisdom in me that you should translate this first part of the engravings of Nephi, and send forth in this work. Yea, and this was their faith—that my gospel, which I gave unto them that they might preach in their days, might come unto their brethren the Lamanites, and also all that had become Lamanites because of their dissensions.

    D&C 19:26-27
    "The Book of Mormon, which contains the truth and the word of God – which is my word to the Gentile, that soon it may go to the Jew, of whom the Lamanites are a remnant, that they may believe the gospel, and look not for a Messiah to come who has already come.

    D&C 57:Heading, Verse 4
    "Revelation given through Joseph Smith the Prophet, in Zion, Jackson County, Missouri, July 20, 1831. HC 1: 189–190. In compliance with the Lord’s command (Section 52), the elders had journeyed from Kirtland to Missouri with many varied experiences and some opposition. In contemplating the state of the Lamanites and the lack of civilization, refinement, and religion among the people generally, the Prophet exclaimed in yearning prayer: “When will the wilderness blossom as the rose? When will Zion be built up in her glory, and where will thy Temple stand, unto which all nations shall come in the last days?” To which the the Lord answers the Prophet by telling him to buy up the land "between Jew (Lamanite) and Gentile."

    D&C 109: Heading, Verses 65-66.
    The Lord identifies Native-Americans as "the remnants of Jacob"

    Preaching to Native-americans, the Prophet Joseph Smith declared: "The Great Spirit has given me a book, and told me that you will soon be blessed again. The Great Spirit will soon talk with you and your children. This is the book which your fathers made. I wrote upon it (showing them the BoM). This tells you what you have to do. Do not kill white men; it is not good; but ask the Great Spirit for what you want, and it will not be long before the Great Spirit will bless you, and you will cultivate the earth and build good houses like white men."
    The Prophet Joseph Smith, Official Church History, Vol 5, p. 381

    • Hmm, you do make a good point with done of those scriptures. I'll get back to you on that.

  320. Well, I found some responses, I don't know how well they'll satisfy you.

    http://pt.fairmormon.org/Utilizador:InProgress/La… – The relevant part here is "the FARMS DNA argument is that there was MUCH admixing, and that the dominant native DNA swamped the Lehite DNA so that the descendants of Lehi appear identical to the larger native group. If Lehi has ANY living descendants among today’s American Indians, they likely all have him as an ancestor. Therefore, the Joseph Smith usage of Lamanites (and, more importantly, GOD’s usage of Lamanites) is perfectly legitimate regardless of whether it is actually pinpointing a Lamanite community or just a generic name for American Indians."

    That question I thought of on my own seems to be more and more relevant as this discussion progresses. Could a small population be absorbed into a larger one and have their identifiable DNA traits effectively washed out over time? Is it possible that many, if not virtually all, Native Americans could count Lehi as an ancestor, and yet this not show up in the DNA?

  321. I am…. I just don't know confused, I have young elders come to my house once a week. I've had them over three times now. I wanted someone to come into my house who loved God and wanted to share the word of God with me. I was kind of turned off after being told that "God and Jesus" appeared before Joseph Smith in the forest. Yet, no man has ever looked upon the face of God and lived. So, why was only Joseph Smith allowed to see the God? Moses when he received the 10 commandments did not see God face. I read some where were Moses only saw God's back. I wanted to share a scripture with them from the Bible from the book of psalm, psalm 91. I felt like they did not want to me to read this scripture with them and pulled out their book of Morman. I was told that the book of Morman is the icing on the Bible. I don't want to put down or condem anyones beliefs, but I am totally confused. After reading and researching Joseph Smith, I believe this is just my opion he was a false prophet. One of the commandments "do not commet adultry", yet Joseph Smith excepted this…I don't know I am confused. I cried when we said a prayer, I told them I felt empty and lonely, like I need to do more. I am confused.

  322. I heard from someone that many if not all Christian churches like I heard Evangelical Protestant and Catholic churches do not recognize Mormon baptisms? I know they believe in Jesus Christ in some form but many traditional Christian denominations don't even consider them Christians, like many who feel the same about Jehovah Witnesses? Is the baptism thing true?

  323. joseph smith plagerized the book of mormon from several other books

  324. @gail – You've brought up a good question about "no man has ever looked upon the face of God and lived". It can be a bit confusing since the Bible appears to contradict itself:

    Exodus 33:11 – And the LORD spake unto Moses face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend.

    Deuteronomy 34:10 – And there arose not a prophet since in Israel like unto Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face.

    Acts 7:56 – And said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God.

    Those scriptures seem fairly clear, but then we read the following:

    Exodus 33:20-23 – Thou canst not see my face: for there shall no man see me, and live.

    And the LORD said, Behold, there is a place by me, and thou shalt stand upon a rock:

    And it shall come to pass, while my glory passeth by, that I will put thee in a clift of the rock, and will cover thee with my hand while I pass by:

    And I will take away mine hand, and thou shalt see my back parts: but my face shall not be seen.

    What the freak?! What now? How can these scriptures be reconciled? The Bible doesn't do it for us, but luckily we have modern-day prophets.

    First of all, Exodus 33:20 was not translated correctly. The JST reads:

    20 And he said unto Moses, Thou canst not see my face at this time, lest mine anger be kindled against thee also, and I destroy thee, and thy people; for there shall no man among them see me at this time, and live, for they are exceeding sinful. And no sinful man hath at any time, neither shall there be any sinful man at any time, that shall see my face and live.

    Ok, that adds a little something. Here's some more:

    The Lord explained in an 1831 revelation, "no man has seen God at any time in the flesh, except quickened by the Spirit of God" (DC 67:11)

    Then, in the Pearl of Great Price it is recorded that Moses "saw God face to face, and he talked with Him, and the glory of God was upon Moses; therefore Moses could endure His presence" (Moses 1:2). Moses confirmed that it was because he was transfigured by the glory of God that he did not die when he saw the Lord's face while in mortality (see Moses 1:11).

    So, no man can see God's face while in a worldly or sinful state. When Moses saw God and talked to him face to face he was taken from a worldly or "manly" state and put into a spiritual state of being. But evidently in Exodus 33:20 Moses wasn't in the right state of mind to be able to be transfigured, thus he couldn't see God at that time.

    If this seems a little complex, hey, that's life, isn't it? Sometimes explaining every day events gets complicated, and here we're talking about something that was written thousands of years ago and which has been translated and transcribed a few times in between then and now. Every play the telephone game? You can see how a simple message can get garbled after going in between just a few people in a few minutes. Try many people across thousands of years while speaking different languages.

    As for committing adultery, yes, Joseph Smith had more than one wife at the same time, but so did Abraham. Was Abraham an adulterer?

    In addition, there is, as of yet, no evidence that Joseph Smith ever consummated his relationships with any of his other wives. We know Joseph Smith was fairly virile given the number of pregnancies his wife Emma had, so one would assume that if he had sexual relations with 25 other women there would have been a fair number of other kids running around with Joseph's DNA, and yet to date no DNA testing of potential progeny has found any relationship to Joseph. This doesn't prove he never did consummate any of the other marriages, nor am I admitting that if he did it was adultery, but I think it's an interesting fact.

    @charles – I am not aware of any Christian church that recognizes Mormon baptisms as valid, although there may be some out there. I don't have a problem with this. We Mormons don't recognize their baptisms as valid either, so I think they can hardly be blamed for not recognizing ours. It's a question of authority. Mormons believe that authority is required to perform baptisms, as is supported by the Bible in Acts 19:1-6:

    1 And it came to pass, that, while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper coasts came to Ephesus: and finding certain disciples,

    2 He said unto them, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed? And they said unto him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost.

    3 And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye baptized? And they said, Unto John’s baptism.

    4 Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.

    5 When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.

    6 And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied.

    What happened here? Why were these disciples required to be re-baptized? Because once Paul asked them about their baptism and about the Holy Ghost and they responded that they had never heard of the Holy Ghost, Paul realized that they had been baptized by someone who baptized them after the manner which John the Baptist did, but if this person had not told them about the Holy Ghost then he could not have been authorized to perform baptisms. Thus the re-baptism and subsequent laying on of hands for the Gift of the Holy Ghost. If authority didn't matter, there would have been no need for re-baptism. The question today is who has authority. We Mormons believe it exists only within the LDS Church, other faiths believe differently.

    @dave – Yes, that theory has been around pretty much since the Book of Mormon was published, but it doesn't hold much water. A reading of the Book of Mormon and any other book written before it might yield some similarities, but if the BofM were truly plagiarized it would be plainly obvious, and there would be hundreds or thousands of easy to understand examples to point to. These do not exist. To believe the plagiarism claim is to not have read the books from which the BofM was supposedly plagiarized.

    On a related topic, there is a good little article in the paper today about consistency and complexity in the Book of Mormon.

  325. @gail You know people aren't perfect the same is for elders. The reason for them seeming like they didn't want to read the scripture is because they come across so many people with the same concern. Most try to bring up that concern to start an arguement. And I'm sure they really don't want to argue. So I'm sure they invited you to pray about the book of mormon because God is the only one that will convince you.

  326. Posted by: Joshua Steimle on September 6, 2011 at 1:14 am

    Could a small population be absorbed into a larger one and have their identifiable DNA traits effectively washed out over time? Is it possible that many, if not virtually all, Native Americans could count Lehi as an ancestor, and yet this not show up in the DNA?

    ———-

    No.

    Any human whose ancestral group developed outside Africa has a little Neanderthal in them – between 1 and 4 per cent of their genome, Pääbo's team estimates. In other words, humans and Neanderthals had sex and had hybrid offspring. A small amount of that genetic mingling survives in "non-Africans" today: Neanderthals didn't live in Africa, which is why sub-Saharan African populations have no trace of Neanderthal DNA.
    http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn18869-neand

    Modern humans who are not 100 percent African Negroes have a very small amount of Neanderthal ancestry from about fifty thousand years ago, but it is detectable in the human genome. If most American Indians had Lehi as an ancestor genetic markers of him would exist in their genomes.

    According to Jewish legend Jews whose last name is Cohen or similar are directly descended from Aron. DNA evidence has indicated that at least half of men whose last name is like this have a genetic marker that indicates a common male ancestor who lived three thousand years ago.

    A similar marker indicates that as many as fifteen million men in the Far East are directly descended from Genghis Khan.

    • So what if not most native Americans had Lehi as an ancestor, but just a few? Also, how do we know what Lehi's DNA was?

  327. Ever read The Lord of the Rings books? How on earth did Tolkien come up with such an elaborate story? What about Muhammad, how did he come up with the Koran? Seriously? Come on, that can't be your only reason for believing The Book of Mormon.

    Joseph Smith was completely capable, he wasn't dumb as you try to portray him. He was extremely imaginative and told numerous stories as is documented by those who knew him. There are books from his time that it's been speculated Smith got a hold of and plagiarized which have similar stories as the BOM, along with all of the plagiarisms of the Bible. Who couldn't take some ideas, expand upon them, and add your own ideas and stories? People do it all the time. And with no archaeological evidence to back up his stories, at this point it has to be considered fiction, just like the Lord of the Rings. Interesting reads, they make you feel good, but not the word of God.

  328. advertising and *********** with Adwords. Well I?m adding this RSS to my e-mail and could look out for much more of your respective fascinating content. Make sure you update this again very soon..

  329. Posted by: Joshua Steimle on November 23, 2011 at 7:20 pm

    So what if not most native Americans had Lehi as an ancestor, but just a few? Also, how do we know what Lehi’s DNA was?

    ——–

    We know it was not Mongoloid.

    Come on Josh, are you still as confident of Mormonism as you were when you started this website?

  330. Joseph smith wasn't dumb or illiterate He participated in bible class and study, which would have given him a founding base for any type of religious book he wanted to write. If he's not a fraud where's the gold plates and the seer stones and how come no one else can read the tablets?

  331. 1 and in that time, the order of things will come into question; sons hearts will harden against their fathers, great strife and rumors of conflict will cause a mighty fear to those not reborn of the spirit

    2 take heart, for the lord is with thee, he pours out his mercy upon the faithful, and though the transgressions of the day will touch the faithful, the blessed promise of salvation will be the gift of those who are steadfast,

    3 beware the ancient persian foe, lo the dragon rises out of the east, a great thirst for energy will fuel the strife of nations,

    book of greg

    took me 5 minutes, and I just predicted china will become a superpower, will take oil to fuel its rise, and Iran will be a major player in the conflicts to come. Also, the apocrapha is NOT divenly inspired, and very similar. The Koran is NOT divine either…and mohammad was illiterate, yet he still was able to do what you say 20 of the smartest men alive today could not. If you want to know where the BOM came from, then the simple answer is from the imagination of Joe Smith. If one insists smith was inspired then I would counter with, perhaps, but not by heaven.

    Facts are, Joe Smith is not a prophet, he is a charlaton! The BOM contradicts the bbile in many places, most notably in the nature and person of Jesus. The bible John 1: 1-14, that Jesus is God eternal, always has been always will be. BOM says Jesus earned his way to diefication and was mortal before divine. BOM also allows for the faithful to earn divinity, and become their own Gods of their own world…Bible says (the lord)…is the only true God John 17:3.

    Common sense and science offer powerful and compelling to contradict the BOM as well. There is no such thing as new egyptian, and the source that "verified" the authenticity, despite LDS protestations, nevr gave his approval, in fact he warned of the con he smelled in mormonism! Smith is the sole source of proof for the existense of moroni and the lost tribe in N.America. Not one shred of evidence, archeological, biological, literary (except the BOM), historically, or any other discipline has found anything that supports the LDS claim of ancient jewish habitation in america.

  332. Not to mention that JS had 7 years from the time he started telling everyone about an ancient record he had found to the time when he actually produced the Book of Mormon. For 7 years he was putting that book together, and that is ample time to produce a plagiarized/made up fraud based in biblical and early American themes.

  333. Greg,

    Who is the "Father" that Christ prayed to in the Garden and spoke directly to (via verbal phrase) while on the Cross? "Father forgive them for they know not what they do?"

    I'd like someone who believes Jesus is "God the Father" to explain that to us all.

  334. That is called Modalism, so I suggest you find a website that is run by a modalist and ask them about their beliefs.

    Since this is a website for people who have questions about Mormonism, I'd like to know how you as a Mormon reconcile your polytheism to all the teachings in the Bible about not believing in many gods as the pagans do? Polytheism is condemned throughout the Bible and punished as sin, so tell me why are you a polytheist?

  335. And please, no spin on how you "only worship one god so you are not polytheistic."

    Get a dictionary, if you believe that there are many gods and YOU might become one, you ARE a polytheist. Also believing that God the Father is a god and Jesus is also a god and you worship both, than you do worship more than one god.

    You can't be monotheistic, worship 2 gods, and believe there are thousands of gods. Doesn't fit the definition, sorry!

  336. I worship my Heavenly Father and my Elder Brother Jesus Christ and marvel at the abilities of the Holy Ghost.

    Mormon's do not worship many gods like the Greeks, Romans or Egyptians.

    I guess the easiest way to explain/express is that we believe in a Paternal/Familial "Godhead."

    When Jesus prayed to "The Father," I take Him at His word……..Why would Jesus call Him anything else if IT WERE NOT TRUE?

    When Jesus COMMANDED us to "Be ye therefore PERFECT, like your Father in heaven is perfect" I assume Jesus….. 1) Is not leading us down a false path…. 2) Meant what He was saying…..to be "perfect" ….3) Again was referring to His Father and our Father in heaven…..4) Wouldn't tell us to do something we were not capable of (lie to us).

  337. The perfection he speaks about is your ability to love, if you keep the passage in context it talks about loving your friends AND your enemies, for if you only love people who already love you, there's no reward to get back, and if you only love your brothers, your no different from anyone else. Raise to perfection and love everyone as our father loves us all.

    “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighborh and hate your enemy.’ 44But I tell you: Love your enemiesi and pray for those who persecute you, 45that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

    It does NOT say anything about becoming god like or even trying to attain gods statues. In genesis it is pointed out we were meant to be a happy ignorant people, content with our meager lives until we tasted of the forbidden fruit. In the story of babel people are trying to build a tower to the heavens, and god realizes that with everyone speaking the same language, anything they desire will be attainable. To prevent mankind from having more than they're meant and lusting for more, he confuses them with language, and they leave the tower un-built and scatter across the earth.

    This specifically shows that we are meant to be mortal and be simply content with our lives and live loving peaceful consistences, striving to become a god would fall under lust, or a craving for power. Even Christians who are Christians because the bible tells them to be and because they want to enter into the gates of heavens fall into this category. People should want to be christians because it leads onto a path of better life. A life full of love and peace of body/mind/ and heart, regardless of whether there are rewards or not.

    As for Joseph Smith, if he wasn't a fraud why did he fake the papyri which has now been translated properly by actually egyptologist. Their findings showed the papyri to be funeral notes, not the book of Abraham.

    http://carm.org/book-abraham-papyri-and-joseph-sm

    • "It does NOT say anything about becoming god like or even trying to attain gods statues."

      As you say, it's all about having the right context. Unfortunately, if all you have is the Bible you have limited context. We Mormons have additional scripture God has given us, as well as ongoing revelation through living prophets, so we see these scriptures in a different context than you do. I understand your perspective, it's just a different one than we have because we are basing each of our perspectives on different information.

      "In genesis it is pointed out we were meant to be a happy ignorant people, content with our meager lives until we tasted of the forbidden fruit."

      We Mormons would disagree with this. We believe we were intended to live the lives we are living now one way or another.

      "In the story of babel people are trying to build a tower to the heavens, and god realizes that with everyone speaking the same language, anything they desire will be attainable. To prevent mankind from having more than they’re meant and lusting for more, he confuses them with language, and they leave the tower un-built and scatter across the earth."

      We would also disagree with you on this lesson from the Tower of Babel. The people were scattered because they were wicked. The language issue was a means to an end, the end being to scatter everyone. This is God's pattern throughout history; the wicked are scattered, the righteous are gathered. But it had nothing to do with them trying to attain more than God wanted them to, except in the sense that they were trying to attain happiness by being wicked.

      "This specifically shows that we are meant to be mortal and be simply content with our lives and live loving peaceful consistences, striving to become a god would fall under lust, or a craving for power."

      Despite disagreeing with your premises, I actually agree with your conclusion, at least somewhat. I agree that if someone is lusting after power and striving to become a god for the sake of power then they're way out of line. I also agree that we shouldn't be seeking rewards for being good, or at least that this is not the best reason for doing good, although I won't way it's a bad reason. The best reason for being good and striving to be perfect is because that's simply who we want to be.

      As for the papyri, you've got some studyin' to do:
      http://www.jefflindsay.com/LDSFAQ/FQ_Abraham.shtmhttp://en.fairmormon.org/Book_of_Abraham

  338. I think we can see, hear, read from the New Testament, that Jesus is constantly trying to get the people at that time (and those of who read it today) to improve our lives and in particular folow his example.

    That example was PERFECT. Christ was PERFECT. His life, deeds, words, actions, thoughts, desires, results, etc etc etc was PERFECTION.

    When Christ was baptised, what was the purpose? To cleanse ourselves of sin(s). When he commnaded us to repent, he was telling us to work on our perfection.

    Over and over and over and over again and again and again He was directing, counseling, encouraging us to reach perfefction…….not that we could here.

    I know of now Mormon church member or leader who has ever said anything close to "I want to become a God." I know my own mind and life and I HAVE NEVER THOUGHT THAT, This "I wanna be a God" crap is the usual assumption from those who seek to tear down the LDS faith.

    And on your final dig at Joseph Smith, I will state this. I don't have complete faith in everything he said or wrote. I do know that some of what what said and written by "primitive LDS Church leaders" was not inspired. That does not shake my faith in the Gospel of Jesus Christ per LAtter-Day Saint prophets…….since the "fruits of the LDS church" lead me to a belief that it is the most advanced form of Christianity available.

    Since ONLY the Mormons have a plan for anyone who was born and died before the ministry of Christ, it sets them apart from all the rest.

    Also, the obvious, eternal principal of eternal progression is another logical, unique tenent of the Church…….Why else would Christ have spent so much time trying to shape our lives and actions than to improve them to a point approximating his? If it simply was a case of we have sinned, we need redemption and that was it, then a few miracles and the Getheseme/Calvary actions would be enough.

  339. "As you say, it’s all about having the right context. Unfortunately, if all you have is the Bible you have limited context. We Mormons have additional scripture God has given us, as well as ongoing revelation through living prophets, so we see these scriptures in a different context than you do. I understand your perspective, it’s just a different one than we have because we are basing each of our perspectives on different information."

    If the character of Nephi was a really good Jew then you got a problem. Where is the existence of any Jewish Scripture in North or South America prior to European settlement? Apparently Nephi left the Old World and Came to the New World around 590 B.C.

    Nephi, if he existed and was a good Jew, would have had copies of Genesis, Job, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, Samuel, Chronicles, Psalms, Kings, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon, Joel, Jonah, Amos, Hosea, Isaiah, Micah, Nahum, and Zephaniah.

    He may have had copies of Habakkuk, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Obadiah, Daniel, and Ezekiel; he might have had some of those, but not all since they were written from 605 to 540 B.C. Remember, Nephi left in 590 B.C.

    Nephi definitely would not have Ezra, Haggai, Zechariah, Esther, Nehemiah, Malachi, and anything from the New Testament.

    Therefore, the BoM could not possibly compliment the Holy Scriptures because it is missing many plain and precious things. On a stand alone basis the BoM would fall. If the BoM would have been truly from God and Nephi existed mortally then he would have included earlier parts of Scriptures.

    So the ball is in your court. Produce early manuscripts of the BoM and it would be more believable. Produce the brass plates, since we can agree the gold plates don't exist. The Jews and Christians have early manuscripts of their Scriptures that anybody can go see. Their Scriptures have been translated to prove what they have today is the same as they had thousands of years ago.

    If you cannot produce any early writing other that what JS wrote in the 1800's then the book is still classified in the realm of fiction.

  340. @A Questioning Mormon. I hate to burst your bubble, but God's plan of salvation predates the BoM. As a matter of fact God's plan of salvation began in Bereshit. We commonly reference it by the Book of Genesis.

    Throw out the NT if you want, but don't ignore the Tanakh. Apparently, Nephi and Joseph Smith did.

  341. I read some of Jeff Lindsay's page "explaining" the Book of Abraham, and it is all conjecture! In fact he uses the words "in my view" and "in my opinion" and "in my perspective" many times! He makes it clear it is all his conjecture. Worthless.

    As for the Fair page, I haven't got through all of it yet, but I'm sure it's more of the same…how come Mormons cannot come up with a simple, precise, explanation of the Book of Abraham's origins, translation, etc? There always has to be pages and pages and videos upon videos of fluff and conjecture? Where are the facts?

    The OTHER side, in contrast, had Egyptologists look at the writings and say the translation was false. And not just one Egyptologist, many! And they said JS's renderings were BOGUS. Now that is refreshing, clear answers. Are there many Egyptologists who have said JS's translation was correct and if so where are they? It shouldn't be that difficult and require hours and hours of study to answer the question "was JS's translation right or wrong?' If you have the evidence and the scholars to prove it, where are they? Was the translation right or wrong, yes or no? If all you have are LDS opinions, views, and perspectives…well then the Book of Abraham has to go into the realm of fiction along with the BOM.

  342. A Questioning Mormon: "I know of no Mormon church member or leader who has ever said anything close to “I want to become a God.” I know my own mind and life and I HAVE NEVER THOUGHT THAT, This “I wanna be a God” crap is the usual assumption from those who seek to tear down the LDS faith"

    Remember, God judges the heart of man, not just outward appearances. He knows what is in LDS hearts…and I have spoken to LDS men who do strive to be gods, that is their main objective. There was a guy on this blog I spoke to who said he was worried about failing and not becoming a god! So just because they don't preach those exact words from the rooftops, everything they do and work for is because they desire to be a god in their heart, and God knows it.

    For any Mormon to say it is not in the hearts of most LDS men is either lying or being duplicitous. It is what they are groomed for, it is a doctrine of their faith. It is not anti-Mormon "I wanna be a god" crap. it's actually your own "I wanna be a god" Mormon crap.

  343. All I can say is ..currently there are only 14 million Mormons and 2,5 BILLION CHRISTIANS out there, I'll stick to the majority, Mormons are the ravenous wolves in sheeps clothing praying on the meek and mild, those are thye only people they can find to join them !! Mormons you really all suck !!

  344. "revenous wolves?" R U kidding? Get a grip. Why not stop by Sunday and see for yourself. Go to our meetings and see if the men and women and kids are "ravenous wolves."

    PS…… Which of the THOUSANDS of sects of Christianity do you follow? Which one is the Lords Church? Which one is the closest one to the New Testament?

  345. Leah…… do not mistake our ideals with vanity. Was it not Christ himself who COMMANDED that …"Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect?"

  346. Iconoclast…… The Book of Mormon does not contain the sole source of information for our salvation. Never said that. Never will. ALL scripture is necessary to guide us through this life into the next one.

  347. While I think the BoM is fiction, and that Smith's translation of the Book of Abraham pretty much proved that the LDS is not the One True Church, I can't believe anybody would call Mormons "ravenous wolves." Fighting against abortion, supporting traditional marriage – yeah, real evil, those Mormons.

    Yeah, they have the wrong idea of Christ. But they love Christ just as much as we do. If God sent ALL people guilty of heresy to The Pit, then there are many that will bite the dust. I personally think Calvinists are heretics, but many love Jesus Christ just as much as myself. I believe the Roman Church has had so much go wrong inside its doors it's a wonder they are still functioning. Yet there are many good Catholic Christians. Joseph Smith may have been a charlatan and John Calvin might have been totally clueless in his theology, but there are many God-fearing people who took their path – God-fearing people that we need SO badly in the world to fight evil that has crept into our society.

    So let's stop this stupid name-calling and keep the debate on the subject – prove that the BoM is false. My answer – no need. If you can't produce the brass plates or early manuscripts, then it's game over.

  348. "PS…… Which of the THOUSANDS of sects of Christianity do you follow?"

    Which sect of Mormonism do YOU follow? That argument holds absolutely no water, because Mormonism has hundreds of sects that broke off, and you don't know if the Brighamites are really the true church, they just had the most money and power. Joseph Smith prophesied that his son would be the prophet of the church, and he was…of the RLDS off shoot! So how do you know you got the right sect of Mormonism? Please. Come up with a valid defense, like something to do with your doctrine instead of silly things like how many denominations there are. It proves NOTHING. We are all diverse as God made us, and have liberty in Christ to worship how and where we may. Don't you have an article of faith stating you believe that too?

  349. Leah,

    You have ONE conversation with SOME GUY on this blog about his inner feelings……and he claims he knowingly wants to be a god……THEN……you generalize and state that ALL LDS MEN want to be gods and that's all they think about.

    When you can read my mind and tell me how many fingers I'm holding up, then you are qualified to say you know what is on the minds of ALL LDS men.

  350. It is Mormon doctrine. It is a fact that Mormonism teaches you can become a god, its in your own doctrine and a core belief of the religion of Mormonism, so it doesn't take "mind reading" to figure out that it is something LDS men strive for. If you aren't one of them, maybe you should consider a different religion.

  351. Every piece of information you look up about the mormon religion states the ascendance to godhood. If you don't share these beliefs that's fine and better on your part, but we're arguing the validity of the BoM not your own personal views. That goes in line with whoever was calling the mormons ravenous wolves. They may be misguided through a false prophet, but they are still "generally" all in all good people.

    As for the BoM not being your sole source of salvation, that may be true but apparently it's your most important. You take scripture for the BoM and hold it higher than the scripture you find in the old and new testaments.

    And again the MAJORITY of the sects of Christianity take their beliefs and views from actually existing scripture. Not the word of ONE guy. The bible specifically warns us against false prophets using flashy tricks. For instance maybe pretending to be able to read a gold tablet with a magic stone?

  352. This is why the LDS church encourages its members to go online and defend their faith, because they know the individual members can say whatever they want and claim to have different beliefs, and it muddy's the waters of what real Mormonism is. Then the church can turn around and say "they aren't official representatives of the church" so it means nothing. If its church doctrine and the church teaches it, it IS part of the religion.

    And Joseph Smith never really looked at the "plates" to translate them, he put the rock in a hat and put his face in it and dictated what he "saw." The "plates" were always covered or not present during "translation." One wonders why he needed them in the first place?

    I think the "ravenous wolves" comment was drawn from Jesus' own words, where he warned in Matthew 7:15 "Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves." He was warning that even though some people are very nice people and vote against evils (in sheep's clothing) if they are teaching false doctrine and misleading souls, the end result is the same thus making them "ravenous wolves." It can be applied to any false belief system no matter how nice and clean on the outside, the way of it leads to death. While that seems harsh, it did come from Jesus' own mouth and I'm sure the Mormons believe it as well, just not of themselves…

  353. @A Questioning Mormon. You missed the point. There exists no early writings of the Tanakh. It did not show up until the Americas were settled by the Europeans. Surely, had the events in the BoM taken place then we would find evidence of the Tanakh prior to 1400's.

  354. Leah…….

    1) I'm not a spokesperson for the Church. I in fact think the Church is in need of reform….about it's history. So don't think the Church would be happy to have me here saying what I'm saying.

    2) I don't understand what happeded….how it occured…..all I know is that while it's easy to claim Joseph Smith wrote the Book of Mormon, it's tests the limits of human ability, AND HIS IN PARTICULAR, to have dictated it. If he really did make it up, he would be the most significant "fiction" writer in history.

    There is no way he could have conjured it all up. No writer could.

    AND…..the question of WHO WROTE IT is what brought me to this website in the first place.

    3) I would like you to specifically point out which principle, belief, doctrine, etc of the LDS Church has a negative effect on Christianity? Temples? Eternal Progression? Nature of Satan? etc…..etc……etc………?

  355. Iconoclast…….Let me tell you that I'm frustrated with the absolute lack of evidence of Book of Mormon cities, peoples, battles, etc etc etc.

    I wonder why there is none.

    But……even if I developed a belief that it's all BS……The Mormons are still the most Christian of churches……the Church adheres to the NT……it mirrors the intent of the Lord Jesus Christ.

    So…. if it's all bull, then it's still the best life path.

  356. Questioning Mormon:

    1. I know you aren't, which is why the church doesn't mind you going online telling others what Mormons do or do not believe, because you aren't an official spokesperson so you can say whatever you want without it affecting them. That was my point, and I know the church has encouraged its members to go online and defend the faith for this very reason. It muddies the water and makes it even harder to discern what true Mormon doctrine is for those asking questions at sites like these.

    2. Joseph Smith had 7 years from the time he told people about the "plates" to the time he actually produced the Book of Mormon. Do you really think no one could come up with that stuff after 7 years? There are many theories, and many different sources believed that JS pulled from, including View of the Hebrews and the Bible. For you to say there is "no way he could have conjured it all up" shows you have not researched just how possible it was. 7 years isn't exactly "conjuring" things up, it could have been done with lots of research, plagiarisms, and elaborations which JS was known for doing with his stories with plenty of time to do it in. Go to utlm.org and do some research. I assure you its very possible.

    3. YES. All of the above. If you would like to know what I personally think is the most unChristian of your doctrines I will give you a few I feel are most important.

    -The nature of God (saying he was a man)

    -Tearing down the Bible as being translated incorrectly and not reliable (first red flag of a false religion is when they say the Bible is not reliable, but THEY have a book that IS! Just like the Muslims with the Koran, Mary Baker Eddy of the Christian Scientists, etc. They ALL have to denigrate the Bible to get people to doubt it and listen to THEIR writings.)

    -The nature of Jesus (that he was our spiritual brother putting him on an equal playing field with us and Satan)

    -Eternal progression to godhood/multiplicity of gods

    These beliefs are not Christian and are not biblical. You cannot find these doctrines in the bible AT ALL. Christians view the Bible as the infallible word of God, they do not believe in the possibility of becoming a god or in many gods, we do not think Jesus is brothers with Satan or with us, and God has been God from all eternity and was NEVER a man. You can keep your temples and your weirdo underwear because they are useless anyway…but you need to understand who God really is and who the Jesus of the Bible really is. And its in the BIBLE!

    "So…. if it’s all bull, then it’s still the best life path."

    Listen, if you shut out the importance of truth, you will follow any counterfeit that seems right…which part of the LDS church do you find follows the NT? The 13 year old boys pretending to hold a Holy Priesthood while they laugh and fool around up there?? The part where you take LEAVENED BREAD and WATER for sacrament?? The doctrines I just pointed out that are NO WHERE to be found IN the NT? Seriously, you gotta take off the Mormon goggles and really read your NT, because you are deluding yourself. I pray for you to keep asking questions and ask God to show you His truth, not pray about some book if its true or not. God never asks you to do that in the NT either. Ask God to show you His truth, and I assure you He will.

  357. @A Questioning Mormon. It is obvious you are ill informed. You wonder why there is no evidences. The answer is in front of you. There is no evidence because none exists. How can anyone be more of a Christian by following a book of imagination? By practicing the LDS religion contradicts the NT.

    Please study the Scriptures to see the differences. Here's one thing to look at: Elders. Who are called Elders in the LDS religion that is founded on the BoM? What is an Elder as defined in the NT?

  358. I encourage anyone who has questions about how JS could've come up with the BOM to study the origins of Islam. The beginnings of Mormonism and Islam are so similar its astounding! Muhammad and Smith both claimed to be visited by angels, both had new books revealed to them, both claimed to be uneducated, both claimed their new revealed books are the most correct books on earth over the bible, both change the nature of Jesus…it blows my mind how similar they are. How do you explain Muhammad coming up with the Koran? The same way Smith came up with the BOM.

    When I visited the LDS church last week every time I heard "I know Jesus is the Savior and I know Joseph Smith is a true prophet" it reminded me of how the Muslims say "there is no god but Allah and Muhammad is his prophet (or messenger)." Kind of creepy.

    • For my part, I actually believe the story about the origins of Islam to be mostly true. The similarities lead me to believe the Islamic narrative stems from real occurrences.

  359. "But……even if I developed a belief that it’s all BS……The Mormons are still the most Christian of churches……the Church adheres to the NT……it mirrors the intent of the Lord Jesus Christ.

    So…. if it’s all bull, then it’s still the best life path."

    If you adhere to the parts of the BoM that are supported by the bible, and avoid the parts that are obvious contradictions, than yes. It is the best life path. It also wouldn't be the Mormon path and instead you'd merely be christian.

  360. Leah,

    1) I've never received a notice, letter, email from SLC about getting online and defending the Church. Actually, I think the Church would rather not have loose cannons rolling around firing defensice shots.

    I grew up inthe Church….now I'm 50. I think I can explain what the Church "believes."

    2) Have you actually read the Book of Mormon? I'm not saying it isn't possible for one man to have written it….I'm saying when you look at the circumstances, but more importantly, it's content, it's 99.9% improbable that a backwoods hick like Smith could have written it.

    3) Nothing about the LDS Church is un-Christian…..btw….which church do you attend? At least our has Christ's name on it….one of the few in all of Christianity.

    Personally, I find the belief that my Heavenly Father has an origin that is conceivable, to be comforting. It is a lot easier to relate to God when one thinks of him as being a true father rather than just some Mt. Olympus diety.

    I don't know of anyone in the Church that "tears down" the Bible. We accept the King James version.(The only one denigrating anything is you.)

    No one I know in the Church puts themself on the same level as Christ, with the exception of thinking of Him as our elder Brother……..no harm in that? (Unless you believe in some amorphous three-in-one Godhead where the Father is the Son who is the Spirit when He's not the Father while the Son is the Spirit but also the Father and Son.)

    I think eternal progression is the most positive aspect of the church….along with eternal marriage. Why not imagine one not just sitting around on a cloud playing a harp singing praises to God forever and ever…..personally, I would be bored to death. Oblivion would be preferable than to "exist" like that forever.

    Try our Psalms 82:6 ""Ye are gods; and all of you are children of the most High."…..just what the hell does that mean? It's in the "infallable" word of God…..The Bible….please explain. Try on John 10:34

    YOU SAID " You can keep your temples and your weirdo underwear because they are useless anyway…but you need to understand who God really is and who the Jesus of the Bible really is. And its in the BIBLE!"

    I SAY …….. Your description of the garments we wear is a give away. I don't call what the devout Jews or Muslims wear "weird." I accept their efforts to follow their beliefs. Wearing LDS garments is a sign of commitment to Christ. We are not a Sunday only religion.

    "Listen, if you shut out the importance of truth, you will follow any counterfeit that seems right…which part of the LDS church do you find follows the NT?"

    If you accept that the Bible (NT in particular) is so infallable and critical for us…..What about everything else Christ said and did during his THREE YEAR ministry? The NT contains enough to cover maybe a day of what he said. What about all the rest? I dont' find ANYTHING in the LDS Church dogma that DETRACTS from Christ's message. If the LDS Church is guilty of anything, it's doing more in Christ's name, not less. A good Mormon by ANYONE'S HONEST definition lives a Christian life based on acceptance of Christ as their Savior.

    " The 13 year old boys pretending to hold a Holy Priesthood while they laugh and fool around up there?? " Understand, but other than the Catholics, which Christian sect claims ANY AUTHORITY? At least the LDS Church claims what Christ had, held and gave to his Apostles.

    "The part where you take LEAVENED BREAD and WATER for sacrament??" So what? At least we believe and serve the sacrament…..How many "main stream" Christian churchs do not have any form of a sacrament service?

    PS….. Who are the other sheep that Jesus said he had to go visit? If you believe there is no record of that, then what did He say to them?

  361. Iconooclast……… The LDS Church is not guilty of taking anything away from Christianity…..Assuming the LDS Church is wrong, it only adds to the basics…..thus…..not really taking anything away.

    The most fundamental beliefs are found inthe 13 Articles of Faith. Nothing there takes anything away.

  362. Leah…… your comment about what you heard calling it "creepy" is something I actually agree with. I don't think it's creepy as much as I think it's repetitive and one step down from brain washing.

    If kids in the Church start saying "That I know Joseph Smith was a prophet" over and over and over and over again, they will not just believe it, it's deep planted in their minds.

    BUT…….. I appreciate you pointing out the sequence of what you heard…..Christ first, Smith second…..the right order and the order that Mormons rank the two.

  363. That sequence was from 2 of the 4 who bore their testimonies, the other 2 bore testimony of the church being true and of Thomas Monson being a living prophet before they ever mentioned Jesus.

    If anyone has ever been to an LDS church they know Jesus is not always mentioned first in testimonies, but sometimes he is, depends on who's giving their testimony. I was merely pointing out that they ALWAYS mention a prophet along with Jesus just like the Muslims always mention Muhammad as a prophet too. It is essential to both of their mantra's to mention the prophet who started the religion.

  364. Yes, I have read the BOM. Joseph Smith was very intelligent, creative, and well versed in the Bible. His teacher parents home schooled him and his mother in particular made sure he studied his Bible. The "backwoods hick" notion you have is propaganda you have been fed from a whitewashed church history telling you the things the church wants you to know. Go to utlm.org and get the full history, from your church's sources.

    There are beliefs/doctrines that are unChristian in the Mormon church whether you choose to accept it or not, I just listed a few for you. Those beliefs are not found in the Bible nor do the billion or more other Christians on this earth subscribe to any of those beliefs about Jesus or the Bible. So that makes those beliefs/doctrines NOT Christian. If I say I am Muslim but I think there is more than 1 God, then newsflash, that's not a Muslim belief and I cannot claim it to be!

    I have attended a few different denominations but currently attend a non denominational Bible church, but I am not a member of ANY church. I have a relationship with Jesus and what ever church I decide to worship him publicly in does not define it. Thanks to being burned by the whole "one true church" thing from the Mormons I do not "join" any church in membership. It's NOT necessary for my salvation.

    "Personally, I find the belief that my Heavenly Father has an origin that is conceivable, to be comforting. It is a lot easier to relate to God when one thinks of him as being a true father rather than just some Mt. Olympus diety"

    You have made several statements on various posts showing you are not interested in the truth, you are more interested in what you like, what you find comfortable, whats conceivable to you, or "easier to relate." If it's not true what does it matter? In the end, the way of it leads to death. Please read your Bible and find God's truth, not what you find more "conceivable" or what is packaged up to make you feel more comfortable. Truth matters, not earthly comfort which can be taken from you.

    "At least our has Christ’s name on it….one of the few in all of Christianity…Understand, but other than the Catholics, which Christian sect claims ANY AUTHORITY? At least the LDS Church claims what Christ had, held and gave to his Apostles…So what? At least we believe and serve the sacrament…..How many “main stream” Christian churchs do not have any form of a sacrament service?"

    Ok you gave no facts at all to defend these things, just defensive attacks against other Christian churches. Does tearing down the rest of Christianity make you feel better too? Newsflash again, just because your church has Jesus' name in the title means nothing. Where in the Bible does it say it is a requirement to have Jesus' name in the title? Pray tell, because the church's Jesus wrote letters to in Revelation where titled by what city they were in, and Jesus himself did not rebuke them for it. Straw man argument! What does it matter if your church claims authority, if it is a false claim?

    MOST importantly, if you followed the Bible and were so concerned with being "true," you'd know that leaven represents SIN, and the puffing up that sin does, and you put SIN in the bread that is suppose to represent Jesus' sinless body, and replace the grape juice or wine that is to represent his blood. This was never used in the Bible or by Jesus for the Passover, Jews couldn't even have leaven in their households at the time of the Passover, that was how serious it was to not have leaven in the bread! But you say "SO WHAT?" It's a mockery.

  365. The Bible verses you gave, if just cherry picked out and not read in context, will not make any sense to you. You must read the Bible in it's context, not just take the verses the church picks out and feeds you to back up their doctrines. I have been asked about those same exact verses numerous times just on this site so I know its something that goes around in Mormon circles. Anyone can cherry pick a verse to back up their own beliefs, you must read at least a few verses before and a few after to understand what the writer is talking about.

    Have you ever read the Bible all the way through? Have you prayed to know it it was true? Not that you are told too by God His word stands on its own merits, I just think its amazing how Mormons read and pray to know the BOM is true but not the Bible…

  366. Have you been born again? Jesus said to enter the kingdom of God you MUST be born again. I have even heard a Mormon say they don't need to be born again, they did it right the first time. This is against what Jesus said! Nicodemus didn't get it at first either, and questioned what Jesus was talking about. (John 3) But those who are born again understand it perfectly. You must be born again! You are not commanded to read a book to know if it is true or not, you are to receive the Spirit by spiritual rebirth.

    Then you will be able to read the Bible with spiritual eyes and will understand it. My prayer for all Mormons is that they become born again, it is a personal request that a person must go to God and ask for, it cannot be forced by mere men through a water baptism. God gives His Spirit to those who ask through faith in the one whom He has sent. (John 6:40) The water has no power in itself. I know at age 8 I had no clue what I was doing and thought the water would magically cleanse me of all sin. It's the heart that must receive the Spirit through genuine faith and Jesus' blood that covers sin, and at 8 I didn't understand any of it. I can now say that I AM born again, and Jesus promised those who were born again would see the kingdom of God. He doesn't break His promises so my faith and trust are in Him completely, not based on anything I have done. Praise God for His righteousness and faithfulness!

    Here's some cherry picking for YOU: John 3:13. Jesus clearly says there was no preexistence, but you believe it. There's another unChristian belief not found ANYWHERE in the Bible. If it's not in the Bible and you believe it, that makes it a MORMON doctrine not a Christian one.

  367. "I SAY …….. Your description of the garments we wear is a give away. I don't call what the devout Jews or Muslims wear "weird." I accept their efforts to follow their beliefs. Wearing LDS garments is a sign of commitment to Christ. We are not a Sunday only religion."

    Don't get offended because I think the underwear are weird. To me, they ARE. Lots of people, including Mormons, think they are weird. Jesus didn't wear them and it is not required in the Bible that you should wear them. Jesus didn't ask you to wear underwear to commit to him. The priestly garments are described in detail in the law, and they were not underwear and were not worn all the time by everyone. Read your bible. Jesus said to give him your life as a living sacrifice, and what is in your heart is what matters to him not what kind of underwear you wear. It is not the outward appearance that matters to him…

  368. Joshua:"For my part, I actually believe the story about the origins of Islam to be mostly true. The similarities lead me to believe the Islamic narrative stems from real occurrences."

    Well I guess you have to come to one of 2 conclusions, either what Muhammad and Smith had revealed to them was from God, or it was from an "angel of light" we are warned about in the Bible.

    Since the 2 are in COMPLETE contradiction of one another, I would say it is NOT of God. The Muslims completely change the Bible from Isaac and Ishmael on…they even have Abraham taking Ishmael to the mountain to sacrifice him instead of Isaac! They have a "savior" coming (the Mahdi) who will usher in 7 years of peace in the end times! Are you kidding me? The religions have completely different scripture and you think they both came from God? And if you say the Muslims just corrupted what God said, you now have to say that God has never been able to choose the right person to give His message too until Joseph Smith. Why should we just trust Smith's word? Have you read the Koran and asked if it was true? We have manuscripts of the Koran from the same time period that it was written in, how do you suppose it's been corrupted?

  369. Leah, you have not responded to my points. You throw in "your" interpretation of the Bible….but don't respond to the parts of the Bible that point to Mormonism.

    Let me give you my wife's "proof" for the LDS concept of work for the dead….temples, etc. And thus, a significant boost to the Mormon way of looking at Christianity.

    "There once was a man named Ugga Bugga. He was born, lived and died on Bora Bora. He died 500 years before Christ's ministry, atonement and crucifixon……….Ugga Bugga never heard about Jesus Christ……WHAT HAPPENS TO HIM?

    If Ugga Bugga is going to "burn in hell for eternity" because he never heard of Jesus and thus never was "born again," then that would make God a very cruel and abusive Entity.

    If there is some path for Ugga Bugga to be "saved," after death, then please explain it to me.

    What happens to Ugga Bugga for eternity?

  370. What did the parable of Lazarus and the rich man tell us? What does the Scriptues say if one does not know God or obey Him?

    The answer is they go to a place of torment, but in the end it is the eternal lake of fire and brimstone

    You can be like one who searches the Scriptures to see if it so. Or you can pay attention to myths and old wives tales.

  371. Iconoclast…..Are you responding to my last comment? Are you saying pre-Christ people are ALL in hell?

    How Christian of you……and I'm glad I'm a Mormon (and I'm sure all those pre-Christ folks are glad there are Mormons around too!)

  372. Posted by: Joe on December 30, 2011 at 9:29 pm

    Joseph smith wasn’t dumb or illiterate He participated in bible class and study, which would have given him a founding base for any type of religious book he wanted to write. If he’s not a fraud where’s the gold plates and the seer stones and how come no one else can read the tablets?

    ———–

    We do have the manuscript from which Joseph Smith claimed to translate The Book of Abraham. Guess what? The real meaning of the manuscript is in no way similar to Joseph Smith's presumed "translation."

    The arguments against the claims of Joseph Smith are clear, plausible, and easy to understand. Mormon efforts to refute these arguments are so turgid I doubt most Mormons understand them, but they mistake density for profundity.

    Brilliance illuminates. It is like turning on a light in a dark room. Suddenly, what was barely perceived becomes obvious.

  373. Joseph Smith was a brilliant, charismatic rascal. If he was alive today he would have a megachurch, a television ministry, and a lavish life style financed by the contributions of lonely, elderly widows and spinsters. Eventually he would be ruined by a sex scandal involving underage girls who gave him their virginity in return for his promises of an elevated place in Heaven.

  374. Excellent observation John, I agree completely. People who suggest JS was an ignorant, uneducated hayseed have only read the propaganda their church feeds them and have never done any kind of real examination of the historical facts on his life. It is even available to them through their OWN church's historical records, they just do not bother to even search. It is blind faith placed in the institution of the "church" and they believe what they are told.

    A Questioning Mormon: You are not so much a questioning Mormon as a defending one. I see no evidence in your arguments that you assume your church could be false, or at least you are so comfortable and satisfied with the notions they have fed you, you see no reason to believe in anything else even if it is biblical truth. You have shut out argument that makes you uncomfortable or does not fit your idea of what God should be like. There is a way that seems right to man, but its end leads to death. (Proverbs 14:12) You were even willing to take my word or Iconoclasts word on all of your "questions" without searching the scriptures for yourself to see what they say! (Acts 17:11) You have no interest in the truth, you just want justification for your beliefs so you feel you haven't wasted the last 50 years of your life devoted to a false religion that has consumed your time, money, faith, and trust. Search the BIBLE for TRUTH and the REAL answers to your questions, if you really want TRUTH! Or just stay believing what you are told because it makes sense to you and makes you feel good…but earthly comfort is all you will receive from any lie.

    If you think that YOU yourself and your fellow Mormons actually hold the keys to other people's salvation, you are one step away from insanity. You, mere men, think you can offer the choice of SALVATION through your baptisms? Where does God fit into this? Where in the BIBLE does it say that one can be saved after they are dead by other men doing rites and baptisms FOR them? This is another bad fruit of the godhood progression doctrine. You fool yourself into making yourself more important than you really are, and think you have more godly power than you really do. God alone can save, and faith in Him alone to save you is the only hope for the human race. Otherwise no one would go to heaven.

    As for the answer to "where did people go before Jesus," the answer is in the Bible. But you must actually read it instead of letting leaders at your church feed you what they want you to know or even listening to people on a website! People did not have to hear the name "Jesus" to be saved, his name isn't even Jesus, it's Yeshua or Joshua in Hebrew. People were and are saved the same way as they are today, by FAITH in GOD to save them. Faith in God alone to save them! Not of their works, so no man may boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9) Once a person relies on God, and stops thinking they are "good" enough to stand in the presence of an ALL holy God, they trust Him and receive His Spirit in them (born again) and God gives them the power and strength to be obedient to Him. Now when you don't believe Jesus is God, I see the problem you would have with thinking Christ alone can save you. That is why you need to understand who Jesus REALLY is like I said before. Faith in your spirit brother who was equal to you in some preexistence doesn't sound like sufficient grounds for salvation. But when you realize Jesus is the manifestation of God in the flesh, realizing faith in God/Yeshua/YHWH as the same God who was the only God who ever existed before the earth was created, it will make more sense. God was God before he manifested himself in the person of Yeshua, so the same faith saved those before He came to make His saving sacrifice. Until you understand who Yeshua is you will never get it. Read your New Testament, Christ claimed to be God himself, I am not making this up. That is how His sacrifice is sufficient to save us. It was God's plan, not mine. Take it up with Him if you don't get it. BUT YOU ARE GOING TO HAVE TO GET INTO THE ACTUAL BIBLE AND LOOK UP THESE VERSES ON YOUR OWN! Don't take my word for it.

    We know it is not of our own works or sacrifices, here are some verses for clarification:

    Ephesians 2:8-9

    Romans 3:20

    Isaiah 64:6

    Hebrews 10:4

    Here are verses in the Bible showing the understanding of faith in God to save you and the faith they had that God was going to come and prepare the way for salvation:

    Job 19:25-26

    Hab 2:4

    John 8:56

    Hebrews 11:26

    Ezekiel 36:25

    Genesis 3:15

    Genesis 15:6-This verse (you should read the few verses before and after all of these as always to get context!) show that Abraham's belief and faith was what was counted to him as righteousness. Job and Abraham were both before Jesus, yet they were saved by their faith in God and knew God was going to save them through His Redeemer. God is a just and merciful God and His judgments are holy and righteous.

    The Bible also teaches there was a type of spirit prison before Jesus came, one that had a hell side of it and a paradise side of it. They went there awaiting the New Covenant. Some suggest Jesus went to it and preached to spirits there after He was crucified to open the way for them, and I think there are verses for it, but I have already done enough research for you and I am not sure completely. We don't know everything there is to know about the afterlife, and I am fine with not knowing everything that God knows, others can't handle it and look to people like Smith to answer the questions God didn't. The point is the way is open now AFTER Jesus' sacrifice and people now go directly to hell or directly to heaven after Jesus. The veil was torn, IT IS FINISHED, God kept His promise and the way is open now in the New Covenant. There is no more spirit prison, and those who went to "paradise" go to heaven and those who went to the "hades" side go to hell. You will need to look up those verses yourself too, google it or something, but you can't just make up what you want to believe and fill in the blanks that the Bible doesn't explain completely. Or do useless baptisms trying to fill in the gaps to make yourself feel like you are doing something to save people. It's in vain if it's not true.

    Now there are many more places in the Bible to study this, I only scratched the surface to show the clear teaching throughout the Bible that faith in God/Jesus is what alone can save you. This isn't even the topic of the discussion, and I'm sure you will pop up with a "well what about this!" or "what about that!" question, it is the same with every Mormon when their questions are sufficiently answered through the Bible, they have to keep throwing what they see as "curve balls" to try to justify their beliefs so they can sleep at night. But you need to read your bible yourself and ask God for understanding. Tell Him you want to know HIS TRUTH, no matter what it may be, and He is faithful and will reveal it to you. But you must read His word!

  375. Yikes I wrote a book! I'm having to do a bible study on here, geez. Can we get back to the BOM topic now? :)

  376. Leah,

    Back to the OT discussion of "ye are gods and the children of the most high"……. response?

    Also, the nature of the Godhead……Who is the Father? Is the Son the Father too? Who/what the heck is the Spirit? Basics. Fundamantal.

    What about this…….. Those who died post-Christ. Columbus didn't "discover" the New World until 1492. Almost 1500 hundred years of no news about Christ……worship of many gods…..human sacarfices….etc.

    You apply the standard of "if it's not in the Bible it's not true" to LDS faith points….BUT…..you know claim it's OK not to understand/know how salvation works for those who died before Christ.

    Apparently there is a process for those who never heard of Christ to have benefit of his atonment, crucifixion and resurrection. Again, if you don't know the details, but accept the process, then how can you claim the Mormons are wrong?

  377. PS.. thanks for :"the book" I know it took a lot of time.

  378. Just to prove I'm a questioning Mormon, I have great personal objections to what was said and written during the "primitive LDS period."

    I will go so far as to say I think a significant part of what Joseph Smith said/wrote, is wrong and not "revelation" but his own thinking. I think he may have thought it was revelation.

    I too question where is the historocity of the Book of Mormon times……archaeology…..records…..remains of battles…..cities…..etc. I also wonder about the location of the "gold plates." It is understood that 2/3 of it was sealed…..I guess they are to remain that way.

    I will also say that I don't believe Joseph Smith was martyred as much as he was killed. I think he, at that time, had gone so far afield of the Gospel that he was "terminated." I think if he had lived, who know what would have happened to the Church.

    All that said, I find great comfort in ALL the theology of the LDS church. When I think about God, Christ, The Spirit, life after death, eternal progression, etc etc etc……I like the Church! I think it is closest to the New Testament Church….with additional principles that build on, NOT TEAR DOWN, Christianity.

  379. You're welcome. But I am not going into any other discussion or question answering until you look up the verses (ALL of the verses) I gave, read them in context, and then tell me you reach the same conclusion. Since you think all of this is just "my interpretation," I want you to read it in context and tell me if you come up with different "interpretations," or if we agree that the Bible is clear on the matter.

  380. And I do know what happened to those before Jesus from the Bible, I said that I wasn't sure if Jesus actually went to the spirit prison and taught them or not. But they did go to "sheol" and were judged by their faith. That is why the thief on the cross was with Jesus in paradise when he didn't do anything to deserve it except have faith that Jesus was who he said he was.

  381. "Again, if you don’t know the details, but accept the process, then how can you claim the Mormons are wrong?"

    Of course no man knows all the details! We would be gods ourselves if we were omniscient. But how I know the Mormons are wrong is because their doctrines COMPLETELY CONTRADICT the BIBLE! If you want to make a crap shoot and fill in the blanks about what you think exactly happens in the afterlife with NO such details given by God, go ahead. Even a broken clock is right twice a day, so maybe some of the imaginings of your mind or Smith's might be right. But I am not going to call it God's truth and put it into scripture just to ease my mind like Joseph Smith did. And when it contradicts God's word, we can be for sure that it is false. If you want examples, here's a few, but I am not going to go round up all the verses, you can search the Bible yourself:

    Jesus says no marriage in heaven, JS says there is.

    JS says temple rites are required to live with God, Jesus says faith in Him is all that is required to see the kingdom of God and live with Him.

    JS says baptisms for the dead are required for their salvation, Jesus does not. (not even in BOM)

    Jesus claims to be Eternal God, JS says he is a spirit brother and was created by the Father and his wife.

    The Bible or Jesus NEVER teach we have a Heavenly Mother (except that the pagans believed in one and she was a false god), JS says there is one.

    JS says God was a man before on another planet and still has a tangible body, Jesus and the Bible say the opposite and say He is a spirit, invisible, eternal, an all consuming fire, from everlasting to everlasting, and NOT A MAN in those exact words.

    Jesus never says Satan is his spirit brother, JS does.

    And these are just a few! This is what was meant about not adding to God's word: The several warnings in the Bible about not adding to God's word do not refer to adding to the actual book of Revelation or Deuteronomy, but adding to the teachings and revelations of God from Himself about Himself! And JS did JUST THAT! Yes God did not reveal everything there is to know about Him, our finite minds could not comprehend it, but it is a SIN to add and fill in the blanks about God based on our own understanding! God did not reveal those things to JS or it would complement His Word, not contradict and add different things to it and confuse us. If you want to believe in JS's fairy tales with NO proof and ALL of these contradictions, you go ahead, but then you must have the faith that can move mountains placed in JS for that and not in Jesus! I choose to believe God and what He revealed to us about Himself through His Son and the Bible.

  382. So why does Jesus call His Father "Father?"

    Just who was Jesus praying to in the Garden……and…..on the Cross?

    If Jesus (and us) have a "Father in Heaven" then doesn't that mean we have a Mother?

    I think sometime even Jesus assumes that we can understand without being spoon fed………He prayed to His Father…..He spoke of His Father……He commanded us to be perfect like our "Father in Heaven."

    So the real question is…….Do we take Jesus at His word(s) which are contained, without challenge, in the Bible, which you say contains everything.

  383. And I would ask you to review and answer my questions, which I put to you first.

    I'll be happy to discuss your particular scriptures, but you have to look and discuss my "cherry picked" ones first. If they are in fact so dubious, it should be easy for you to refute them.

  384. "If Jesus (and us) have a “Father in Heaven” then doesn’t that mean we have a Mother?"

    WHAT?

    Seriously, what are you talking about? Dude, you are so far into your humanistic thinking I don't know if there is any way out for you…are you kidding me? You need to have Proverbs 14:12 tattooed on your forehead. So this is how you determine what is correct about God, if it makes sense to you in your finite human brain than it has to be true? You reduce God to your level.

    We will never see eye to eye on any of this, because we believe COMPLETELY DIFFERENT things about who God is. Just that you would even say the statement above shows that the God you believe in and the God I believe in are two distinctly different beings. My God is an everlasting, eternal all consuming fire that created ALL things, He did not just manipulate matter, nor does He need a "wife" to create ANYTHING! He speaks things into being out of nothing, that is how awesome my God is.

  385. Leah's right on this one. One of the attractive things about Mormons is that they have many explanations that our finite minds can grasp – like the nature of the Godhead (three separate persons), descriptions of the afterlife, eternal marriage, etc. But God is a mystery who has stated that his ways are not our ways. In the end, NONE of us have all the answers, whether we are toting a Bible, the BoM, the Pearl of Great Price, or whatever.

  386. As for your other questions, I answered one of them, and in quite a bit of detail I might add, and it can take a bit of time on my part. I ask that you read the scriptures I gave you and lets deal with one question at a time and get each one settled and behind us before we move on to the next. Mainly because you need to get into the Bible yourself and search if these things are so, because honestly with the things you say I don't think you have ever cracked it open on your own. There are no Bible questions that are "dubious" just people who don't actually read the word of God to see what it has to say…Did you even take my advice and read the chapter in Psalms that you cherry picked the "gods" verse out of? Its a short chapter and if you would just read it in its context, you will understand what it means. But if you insist, I will explain it after we reach a conclusion on the first matter I researched for you.

    Second reason is you are just throwing out all these questions that require ME to study my Bible without you doing any of the work which suggests you don't really want a Biblical perspective, you are just trying to "stump" someone. Trust me I study my Bible daily and love every minute, I just don't know how on a website asking questions about MORMON DOCTRINE I am now being put to the test having to prove my faith and my understanding of the bible…how did that happen?? How about you tell me how you would answer ALL of your own questions and give ME Bible verses to back up YOUR claims? What are YOUR answers to what those verses mean? You probably had someone in a sunday school class feed those verses to you, because I have had the SAME EXACT questions from my own Mormon mother and other Mormons as well…so again, I don't think you are really interested in finding biblical answers, you are really just trying to find justification for your beliefs. And if other people of other faiths can't answer a question, it makes you feel vindicated that YOUR religion can answer the question so you stick with it. Whether its true or not…better yet, how do you answer all the contradictions to the Bible that are in JS's teachings that I listed? Mormonism is the religion in question on this site, so YOU explain those I listed!

  387. "Are you saying pre-Christ people are ALL in hell?"

    -No. The Scriptures tell us otherwise. Not all who died before the establishment of the New Covenant went to the place of torment. Why do you think the Anointed spoke of Abraham's bosom? Enoch, David, Elijah, Joshua, and the other faithful were not kept in a place reserved for judgment.

    "How Christian of you"

    -Thank you for the compliment. It's the Lord's doing.

    "…and I’m glad I’m a Mormon (and I’m sure all those pre-Christ folks are glad there are Mormons around too!)"

    -If Hezekiah were here today he'd give that statement a good run for its money.

    FYI, if the flock were the fabled people in the BoM then the Gentiles have a big problem. The promise of Abraham was so that all the nations would be blessed through the Anointed. Salvation through Jesus was proclaimed to the Jew first then to the Gentiles. The Gentiles are the sheep that were not of the fold (Jews) the Anointed spoke the words to. Through the salvation of the Shepherd Jesus both Jew and Gentile have become one flock.

    Examine the Scriptures.

  388. "fire"……God is fire? Sound more like a Viking god.

  389. Anglo…….. so you can only worship a God who/what is amorphous and incomprehensible?

    I want to understand my Father in Heaven. (That's what Christ called Him and tell us.)

  390. Examine the Scriptures? OK…..which version/translation? What about all those other books? Did Jesus act as editor of the Bible? Who decided what was in and what was out? BTW…..when were those books written?

    The reason there are THOUSANDS of sects of Christianity, with mutually exclusive doctrines is why we are having this discussion. No one sect has all the answers….everything is based on acceptance and faith.

    Never said ANYONE had all the answers….there continue to be mysteries. I just find it funny that any sect or individual can rule anyone in or out…..so much left for each of us to agree with or dismiss…….like baptism……Jesus on one hand would lead us to believe that all we need is faith in Him and we are saved…..BUT…..he went way out of his way to be baptised by John…..WHY?

    One thing I've learned is that I as a Republican CAN NEVER convert a Democrat to becoming GOP.

    Thus, those of you who think the LDS church doctrine is false, can not be convinced….much like I can't be disuaded becaue I read things differently. I want to. I want my Heavenly Father to be Someone I can reltate to. You keep your pillars of fire and He's everywhere and nowhere….He's the Son and the Spirit but not all the time……. Keep it simple and comprehensible.

  391. If you are fluent in American English any version would work that is written in English. The NASB is a good literal translation.

    Examine the evidence of the BoM. What does that say to you? Examine the archeology. Examine the zoology and metalurgy. Examine the years it took for JS to find the plates to the time they were published.

  392. "Thus, those of you who think the LDS church doctrine is false, can not be convinced….much like I can’t be disuaded becaue I read things differently. I want to. I want my Heavenly Father to be Someone I can reltate to. You keep your pillars of fire and He’s everywhere and nowhere….He’s the Son and the Spirit but not all the time……. Keep it simple and comprehensible."

    You can't just want your own doctrine that you're comfortable with. Otherwise you might as well be part of a separate religion all together. The bible is our source of history for Christianity. To toss aside aspects of it because it inconveniences you is ridiculous. Everything the bible says of god he appears in a non-human aspect. The burning bush, the voice from above, shows he's everywhere and nowhere.

    If god was man, he would have died of oxygen loss when he was creating the world…

    You want simple and comprehensible? Our universe is constantly expanding into nothing. Literally growing bigger with nowhere for it to grow to. This is accepted science. You have trouble believing our god can be everywhere at once? Also I'm not sure why you keep bringing up the godhead. Jesus never claims he is god or tells us to worship him as such.

    Your statement about just needing faith in Christ is incorrect as well, making me believe you've never actually read the original bible your faith is based on.

    15 “If you love me, keep my commands. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be[c] in you. 18 I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. 19 Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. 20 On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. 21 Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.”

    I suggest you read all of John 14, nothing in the bible out of context is worth reading. He tells us salvation is through faith in his commands, not him personally. You can believe in Christ, disobey his commands and you're not going to receive salvation.

    23 Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. 24 Anyone who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.

    John was baptizing people to cleanse them of their sin. We baptize at birth so that we may have a fresh start, but the act of baptizing is merely symbolic. If a christian truly wants to turn their live around and repent their sins, all they need to do is be truthfully sorrowful and obey Christs commands. If they turn their life around in this way, they will be saved through Jesus Christ.

    I find a lot of facts your grabbing at are different doctrines from different religions. Catholics are much more stern on their godhead approach and the need for baptizing, but again neither are supported by the bible and again I don't agree with a lot of their doctrine either.

    In the end though I'm not here to tear down your religion. The question was asked merely about Joseph Smith being a fraud, and nothing was ever really mentioned in his defense. Every other prophet was given what they needed to share either directly through the voice of god or an angel. And they spoke with such conviction that they needed no tricks or magics or golden fancy plates to pass along their message.

    Deuteronomy 18

    9When you enter the land the Lord your God is giving you, do not learn to imitate the detestable ways of the nations there. 10Let no one be found among you who sacrifices his son or daughter ina the fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, 11or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead. 12Anyone who does these things is detestable to the Lord, and because of these detestable practices the Lord your God will drive out those nations before you. 13You must be blameless before the Lord your God.

    Seer stones fall into the category of divination no? A prophet who directly disobeys God's wishes doesn't seem like much of a prophet to me.

    http://niv.scripturetext.com/leviticus/19.htm

    Mentions again the restriction on magics or divination.

  393. Joe,

    I read John 14 all the way through. Some would think that Jesus, as usual, was speaking metaphorically. Some say it is hard to imagine Him going through the song and dance of being the Father and then praying to Himself,….rather vain. Some would say that He is making my point that He was saying….the Father is just like me…..we are physical….my Father is physical, etc.

    What is more interesting is His emphasis on keeping the commandments….not simply accepting Him. If you say "Jesus come into my life…..take it over" and then go out and sin, you are not saved….according to Him.

    Again, reading the Bible (and any scripture for that matter) leads to interpretation. Thus, why we have thousands of DIFFERENT Christian churches.

  394. Joe,

    If baptism is for removing sin and is symbolic, then why was Christ, the only perfect "man" baptized?

    He had no sin. Must have been for a different purpose.

    Also, by what authority did John baptize?

  395. Joe,

    Funny you should mention that I shoudl be part of a separate religion……the thought has crossed my mind. That is the reason I'm very frustrated with early LDS church history….and even modern history covering the 1978 revelation. (I think the policy was bogus in the first place.)

    So you are definitely talking to a skeptic…..but one who see/feels that logic of LDS doctrines…..most of them.

  396. Joe,

    I wonder about Joseph Smith and the whole founding story. If I have see God & Jesus, together, the first human to see God the Father, I would have mentioned it. The current canonized "First Vision" was not the first version.

    I don't think of Joseph Smith as defined by your quote from Deuteronomy. Seer stones would be a very logical form of translating.

    The bottom line remains the Book of Mormon. It lifts me. It sounds awsome. There is NOTHING in it that takes away from Christ, just the opposite. And again, I can't imagine ANY single human or even a small group, puting it together.

  397. Iconoclast……I saw he could not have written it. If he did, he would rank among the greatest "fiction" authors in the history of the world…….all from some backwoods farm guy?

  398. say not saw…..too early.

  399. HE WAS NOT SOME BACKWOODS FARM GUY!!!! STOP PARROTING MORMON PROPAGANDA! You have proven through your posts you are not truly questioning, you are defending your beliefs and looking for more justification, you yourself said your mind would not be changed, even with FACTS. The only thing you know about JS is what your church has told you. Go to UTLM.ORG and read from your own church history how JS was home schooled and was well studied in the bible taught by his mother. He also had a brilliant knack for telling intricate stories with so much detail it boggled people's minds, his mother said so in her book! He was very intelligent, creative, and charismatic according to those who knew him! READ HISTORY, GET A LIBRARY CARD, SEARCH THE INTERNET, DO SOMETHING OTHER THAN SPIT OUT YOUR MORMON FED PROPAGANDA LIKE IT'S TRUTH! Oy vey! Every Mormon says the exact same things about JS and asks the exact same questions, its scary the level of brainwashing that has been done to them! Smith was a con man and you've been punked by an institution that wants your 10%! It's the same as the indulgences sold by the Catholic Church in the 1500's.

  400. There's my early morning rant…now I'm spent.

  401. "I want to. I want my Heavenly Father to be Someone I can relate to"

    If you are just going to believe whatever you want about God anyway, then just throw the Bible out your window and stop pestering people then! The level of your delusion is astounding. You want to put God in a box, you want him to be what YOU want him to be whether its true or not!? This is why Mormons don't revere the Bible, they actually admit they don't like what it has to say about God! They'd rather make up their own god that satisfies their "wants" and illusions about Him.

    Listen to me carefully, I say this with love from the bottom of my heart….YOU ARE INSANE.

    I will keep my God thank you, the one the BIBLE tells us about and describes Him in all the details I listed above. You can keep your made up mormon god that has a body like yours, a wife like you, makes babies like you can…and is no more glorious than mere man…as long as it makes you "comfortable." Unfortunately your god can only bring you comfort in this life…

  402. "1) I’ve never received a notice, letter, email from SLC about getting online and defending the Church. Actually, I think the Church would rather not have loose cannons rolling around firing defensice shots."-A "Questioning" (Defending) Mormon

    In 2007, M. Russell Ballard of the LDS Church's Council of the Twelve challenged Church members to "join the conversation by participating on the Internet to share the gospel and to explain in simple and clear terms the message of the Restoration."

    Sorry you didn't get the memo…

  403. Leah,

    You credibility is shot……you resort to name calling and continue to avoid specific responses.

    You read the Bible your way, I'll read it my way. That's why there are thousands of Christian sects…..nothing new…..just differences of opinion.

    Just because you believe the way you do does not make me "insane."

    PS…..one day we will all know who was right and who was wrong….I'll be happy to compare notes then.

  404. You ARE insane if you read anywhere in the BIBLE that it says we have a Mother in heaven. Delusional, insane, tomato, tomoto…either way its crazy.

    My credibility is not shot, I have answered one of your questions in detail and asked you to look up the verses I provided and have a discussion with me about it before we move forward. You want to throw out 5 different questions at once without discussing or resolving each one, and it only shoots down your credibility and shows your motive is NOT to find biblical truth. It is to prove Mormonism to yourself so you can sleep at night. Why are you so against actually cracking open your Bible and studying what it says? I'll tell you why…it's so you can make ridiculous statements that the way "you read your Bible" gives you the impression we have a Mother in heaven. I'd say that kills your credibility on any biblical knowledge whatsoever and shows you don't read it at all.

  405. If anyone says they read in the Bible that God has a wife and we have a mother in heaven they had better give some verses to back up that claim, otherwise it's not an opinion derived from biblical teaching: IT'S A FAIRY TALE MADE UP IN YOUR HEAD! Here in reality we call that delusional.

  406. THERE ARE HUNDREDS OF LDS SECTS! HELLO WARREN JEFFS! RLDS, FLDS, all the sects that broke off even when Smith was alive from his actual chosen apostles!! What does that prove?? You just keep parroting what you hear from your leaders and refuse to answer or listen to FACT! Many denominations and churches proves NOTHING! Take off the blinders!

  407. "We do not indorse the teachings of any so-called Mormons or Latter Day Saints, which are in conflict with the gospel of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, as taught in the New Testament and the Book of Mormon. They have departed in a great measure from the faith of the Church of Christ as it was first established, by heeding revelations given through Joseph Smith, who, after being called of God to translate his sacred word–the Book of Mormon–drifted into many errors and gave many revelations to introduce doctrines, ordinances and offices in the church, which are in conflict with Christ's teachings." – David Whitmer (an elder in the Church of Christ), 1887

    You are just a part of a sect of Brighamites who had the most money and power, does that make your sect of Mormonism true??

  408. http://4mormon.org/mormon-splinter-groups.php

    Here is an extensive list of Mormon sects for you, so take off the blinders and have a look so you can stop with your ludicrous repetitive arguments.

  409. David Whitmer, Hyrum Page, and Sidney Rigdon all broke off and started their own sects, not to mention William Law whom you will find in YOUR OWN SCRIPTURE spoken of by Joseph Smith and was a member of his FIRST PRESIDENCY! D&C 124. Hmmm…you would have thought God would have seen it coming that Smith was going to try and steal Law's wife making him leave to start his own sect??

    AND THE TRUTH SHALL SET YOU FREE! Oh how I love facts!

  410. Leah,

    First, I'd suggest some meds. You clearly are getting close to the edge. If you drink, take a shot or two….you need to relax.

    Second, why is it that you turn every point I make into an attack on teh LDS church. I say "There are thousands of sects of Christianity" and your response is to talk about schisms in the LDS church(es). You further prove my point.

    Third, for some reason you look right past my skepticism of my own Church and further attack. Your only defense seems to be attack….attack…attack. I guess you had a rough experience within the Church…I'm sorry.

    Fourth, the reason I talk about the thousands of sects of Christianity, is to highlight the many ways thousands of sects READ THE SAME BIBLE…..DIFFERENTLY. Just because someone does not come to the same conclusion that you do, doesn't make them bound for Hell……..The same fiery darts you lob at the LDS Church could be lobbed at ANY of the other THOUSANDS OF SECTS.

    Again, get some help with your level of anxiety.

  411. A Questioning Mormon and Leah,

    I think it would be wonderful to get together to have in depth conversations.

    However, I want to know from AQM, based on all evidence who wrote the BoM? As the opener asks, if JS is a fraud who wrote the BoM?

    A) Joseph Smith

    B) Joseph Smith and his witnesses

    C) One or more of the witnesses

    D) The persons whose names head the books in the BoM

    E) Someone else [one or more persons] (if so, who do you think?)

  412. I made a mistake.

    It is asked not who wrote the BoM, but where did it come from.

    Now that throws into:

    A) Action Comics

    B) animal

    C) fish

    D) plant

    E) earth

    F) wind

    G) fire

    H) water

    I) European ( I'm a…Everbody's a…)

  413. I know in the LDS community "meds" are the first thing you turn too judging from Utah having the highest use of anti-depressants in the NATION, but no thanks I am fine.

    What you call "anxiety" is merely passion, emotion, and speaking my mind. I am passionate about my beliefs, I love the truth and am excited to share it, I don't need alcohol or drugs. Do you think if a woman doesn't sit quietly with their arms folded like good little Mormons they need alcohol or drugs? I am not afraid to speak my mind, and if you are going to talk to non Mormon women you need to be ready for that. Run and talk to some sisters if you are looking for meek, demure, quiet women who won't argue with you. Saying I need alcohol or drugs does not refute any of my arguments, so nice try.

    "Which of the THOUSANDS of sects of Christianity do you follow? Which one is the Lords Church? Which one is the closest one to the New Testament?"

    Here is your above direct quote. Sounds like you are attacking Christianity, not merely "saying we read the Bible differently." If that is all you meant by repeatedly bringing it up, than I stand corrected. But even if that was your intent, we could ask the same question…which of the hundreds or possibly thousands of sects of Mormonism do you follow? Which one is the Lords Church? Which one is closest to the New Testament?

    If you want to call taking the Bible and showing how Mormonism contradicts it "attacking" your church, than yes, that is what I do and will always do. The truth of the Bible needs to be shared with Mormons because most of them don't have a clue what is in it, you have shown that clearly.

  414. And do you then admit that Mormonism is NOT one of the sects of Christianity? If it's not, you need to admit Mormonism is its own religion and not a Christian one. If you say it is, then you have to admit its just another one of the THOUSANDS of Christian denominations and how do you know its the only one that is right about everything??

  415. Leah…..let me be clear. There is no evidence in the New Testament, no matter what translation you chooseto read, that DIVERGENT, MUTUALLY EXCLUSIVE, 180 degrees apart opinions, interpretations, etc constitute the "Gospel of Jesus Christ." I thought that was the main task of the Apostles after Christ's ascension into Heaven…….to GO AROUND PUTING OUT DISPUTES, MISINTERPRETATIONS, ETC in the "primitive" Christian church?

    So while you stridently attack the Mormons for their "interpretation" of Christianinty. you turn your jaundiced, blind eye away from ANY OTHER DIFFERENT SECT.

    Why attack just the Mormons? I assume it's got to do with your troubled past within the LDS Church?

  416. Because I was raised Mormon so it is what I know! Why would I talk about what Catholics believe when I have never been one? Doesn't it make sense for me to talk to Mormons about Mormonism?? Surely you can see that. Also a lot of my family is still Mormon and I reach out to them to show them Biblical truth. I don't have a "troubled" past with the church, everyone there is usually nice as pie…I have just come to know the truth of the Mormon church, its past, JS's real history, and the doctrines that are no where near biblical, so I am on a mission to open the eyes of other Mormons who are in the dark like I was. I don't like to be lied to and manipulated into believing half truths and white washed versions of things, do you? My vendetta is more against the leaders for spreading propaganda and keeping its members in the dark so they can stay in power and keep spending 3.5 billion dollars on malls. I hate that my Mormon family and friends are under their deceptions! I want them to know the truth. It's been placed on my heart, call it personal revelation, that it is my duty. I am a representative for a Mormon outreach ministry also, it is my life's passion to help Mormons find the real Jesus of the Bible and experience true freedom in Christ.

  417. Posted by: Leah on February 27, 2012 at 9:06 am

    Excellent observation John, I agree completely. People who suggest JS was an ignorant, uneducated hayseed have only read the propaganda their church feeds them and have never done any kind of real examination of the historical facts on his life. It is even available to them through their OWN church’s historical records, they just do not bother to even search. It is blind faith placed in the institution of the “church” and they believe what they are told.

    ———–

    I have read a number of books about Mormonism. Although they were not written by Mormons, they were respectful, and discussed how free of bad habits Mormons are, how they have picture perfect families, and so on.

    Does anyone know of a good expose of Mormonism? Something that digs up the dirt about Joseph Smith for everyone to see: his lies, his venality, his womanizing, and so on?

    Awhile I read an account by someone who converted to Mormonism, learned the truth about it, and got out. He said conversion to Mormonism is like buying a beautiful Victorian mansion without examining its foundations. Then one day you go down into the cellar for the first time, turn on the lights, and see a lot of stuff you don't want to see.

  418. Leah,

    Thank you for finally letting us all know what your real agenda is….. an Anti-Mormon Messenger.

    Obviously there is no way for any member of the Church to convince you. There is no way for you to take down some of the basics of the Church. We are at a standstill.

    You refuse to accept the general fact that thousands of Christian churches have differeing views of what the Bible says on many fundamental Christian doctrines. The LDS Church is one of