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About Ntrw

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  1. Hey Robert, Definitely, thanks for the catch. We'll never know for certainty which of the Jaredite chronologies is correct. But we can try. Whether, Sorenson, Gardner or I have figured it out, the end date of 400BC makes the most sense. It would explain the attempted genocide on the eve of year 1.
  2. Disclaimer: the following post has very few original thoughts on my part. This post is a quick and dirty regurgitation of the work of Adam S. Miller and Bruno Latour, with my own little twist. They say that if you can't say something in your own words then you don't really understand it. So there; for further reading, I recommend anything by Adam S. Miller. Some DefinitionsTheology comes from two words: theos + logia, God + words. Theology is then the act of talking about God or Ultimate Reality. Theology is not to be confused with religion itself. Religion consists of practices(prayer, meditation, celibacy, polygamy, monogamy, pilgrimage, fasting) and objects(robes, bread, wine, beads, texts, amulets, relics, temples, cathedrals, shrines). Theology consists of words and thought forms ... or something like that. Of all the different religions, sects and cults of human history and the myriad of theologies each one employs, it seems that theologies can be broken down, oversimplified and classified into two primary types: sequential and non-sequential.Human beings perceive the passage of time as three main modes: past-present-future. The past consists of of what happened before what is happening now. The future consists of what will happen after this present moment becomes engraved in the past. The link that holds this chain of causation in place is the present moment, which is continually immanent and unconditioned. Sequential theologies see the present as a means to an end, the glorious future, because sequential theologies are based on stories and the physical/historical truth of those stories.The historical emphasis of sequential theologies focus the attention of the adherent on the past and the future, by first connecting his present to the past and then from the past, rocketing through the present, into the future. The present is then seen deriving it's value from it's function as a bridge between the past and the future. The present exists because of the past for the sake of the future. Religious texts and rituals gain their authority and power from the past, for the sake of creating the desired future. Eschatology and metaphysics, in sequential theology, are of primary concern. Sequential theologies view history as a straight line. If a sequential theology was a human watching a movie, he would watch all of act one, fast forward through act two and watch act three in it's entirety. Sequential theologies assume that everything scripture says is true but that what it talks about primarily is the past and the future. In sequential theologies, Adam and Eve are primarily those people who lived long ago. Sequential theologies speak of prophets, primarily, as fore-tellers of what will be. In sequential theologies, the dead sleep and the living are awake. Since sequential theology asks us to focus on the final goal, anything that deviates from that goal or the glorious past is sinful. Sequential theologies see religion as that which brings the transcendent, "out there" into clear view, whereas science is seen as what brings the immanent "right here" into clear view. Religion in sequential theologies saves us from near nearsightedness and science saves us from far farsightedness. Religion reveals what's hidden out there; science reveals what's hiding in plane sight. In sequential theologies, science explains "how", religion explains "why". Non-sequential theologies see the present moment as the end in itself; a glorious future or past are still important but remain in the background. Non-sequential theologies aren't based on stories but on the present moment, which is evet immanent and unconditioned. The non-historical emphasis of non-sequential theologies focus the attention of the adherent on the present moment, by disconnecting his present from the past. Rather than focusing on a future salvation or liberation from the present moment, by going to the transcendent, non-sequential theologies describe salvation or liberation from the past and the future by focusing our attention to the present moment, as it is. The present is then seen as inherently valuable for it's own sake, independent of it's relationship to the past and the future. Because the present moment is immanent, unconditioned and eternal in it's nature as continuous change, religious texts and rituals, derive their authority and power from their effectiveness in bringing our souls back to the present moment. In non-sequential theologies, ethics and phenomenology are of primary concerns. Non-sequential theologies view history as a circle. If a non-sequential theology was a human watching a movie, he would fast forward past act one, watch act two, ten consecutive times, fast forward through act three and then watch act two again. Non-sequential theologies assume that everything scriptures says is true but what it talks about primarily is the present moment. In non-sequential theologies, Adam and Eve are primarily you and me, as we live right now. Non-sequential theologies speak of prophets, primarily, as describers of what is, right now. In non-sequential theologies, the dead are wide awake, free from thoughts of the past and future, and the living are asleep, wondering through life in fear or daydreams of the future and regret or nostalgia for the past. Since non-sequential theology asks us to focus on the present moment, anything that deviates from that goal is sinful. Non-sequential theologies see religion as that which brings the immanent into clear view, whereas science is seen as what brings the transcendent into clear view. Religion in non-sequential theologies saves us from farsightedness and science saves us from nearsightedness. Religion reveals what's hidden in plain sight; science reveals what's hidden "out there". In non-sequential theologies, science explains "why", religion explains "how". The Utility of Non-Sequential Theologies It would be tempting to over simplify things and say non-sequential theology belongs to the East and sequential theology belongs to the West. Though this might be true in very general terms, it is not necessarily true. Kabbalah, Sufism and the Palamism can all be seen as non-sequential-ish Jewish, Muslim and Christian theologies. Whereas non-sequential theologies in the West and Near East have tended to be hidden from the masses, the opposite has tended to be true in India and East Asia. The benefit of non-sequential theology is that it creates an atmosphere in which faith may flourish. I currently live in Japan and was an Asian Humanities major in college. Throughout my life I have read about and known about atheists and agnostics who lost their faith in Christianity, Judaism, Mormonism and Islam because their understanding of their religion was based on a sequential theology, which crashed head first into the brick wall of science or textual criticism. I have yet to see the same thing happen to an adherent of Shinto, Buddhism, Taoism or Hinduism. I have yet to see a Buddhist William Lane Craig, or a Shinto John Dehlin. I have yet to see a Hindu oppose Darwin on the grounds that turtles and elephants hold up the earth, rather than having evolved billions of years after it's formation. I have yet to see a Taoist throw it all away over the idea that Lao Zi probably didn't exist. The same can be true and will need to be true for followers of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. This isn't about reading scripture "figuratively" vs "literally"; no, we are passed all that. Both of those approaches to scripture are outdated oversimplifications. Way too many young people give up on God, or find excuses to rebel against God, because they have been pushed into an ideological corner by well meaning preachers and teachers, who unwittingly pushed the idea that sequential theologies are the only theologies that exist. Consequently they feel that they must choose between the transcendent and the immanent, what is "out there" vs what is "right here". Unable to find the transcendent through their religion, they throw away transcendence and seek the immanent by kissing the rings of the new priesthoods, science and scholarship, which provide transcendence abundantly, in the guise of immanence. All the while, both their past sequential theology and their new found faithlessness could never and will never allow them to find what will truly fill the hole in their souls, the immanent, grace.
  3. http://averroes2.blogspot.jp/2017/01/the-end-of-jaredites.html?m=1 Whenever the two sources or “witnesses” happen to converge in their testimony, a historical “datum” (or given) may be said to have been established beyond reasonable doubt. To ignore or to deny the implications of such convergent testimony is irresponsible scholarship, since it impeaches the testimony of one witness without reasonable cause by suppressing other vital evidence. (What Did The Biblical Writers Know and When Did They Know It?; William Dever, 2001, pg. 107) Unlike the Nephites, we don't have a start date or an end date for the Jaredites, in the Book of Mormon, thus we don't have a firm chronology with which to compare with archeology. Past proposals for a beginning date or end date for Ether's lineage history have tended to be too eager to see a connection between the Jaredites and Olmec or too hesitant, my own included. Any attempt to create a Jaredite chronology must begin with the king list provided by Moroni, in Ether 1; archeology should only be reffered to at the very end. The following king list also represents the Prophet Ether's patrilineal line: Ether Coriantor Moron Ethem Ahah Seth Shiblon Com Coriantum Amnigaddah Aaron Heth Hearthom Lib Kish Corom Levi Kim Morianton Riplakish Shez Heth Com Coriantum Emer Omer Shule Kib Orihah Jared Now we need the proper interpretive lens with which to read the king list, within the context of the Book of Mormon. Just as scholars of the Hebrew Bible study contemporary Ugaritic and Akkadian texts, to get a better understanding of the Hebrew Bible and it's sources, we need the correct general area of the Americas, to find a similiar corrective lens when reading the Book of Mormon. As it stands, Mesoamerica is the best place to find such a lens. Mesoamerica has two things that North, South and Insular America lack, for the times mention in the Book of Mormon: literature and the right population density. As John E. Clarke reminds us: Could millions of people have lived in the area proposed as Book of Mormon lands? Yes, and they did. Mesoamerica is the only area in the Americas that sustained the high population densities mentioned in the Book of Mormon, and for the times specified. When reconstructing a Jaredite chronology, we are essentially dealing with time thus mesoamerican systems of time keeping and notions of history come into play. The Book of Ether was written by Moroni, the last of the Nephite prophet-historians, based on Mosiah II's translation of the found Jaredite plates. So we should look at how Moroni and other Nephites looked at and measured time, through a Mesoamerican lens. One of the intriguing features of the Book of Mormon is the use of the baktun, or 400 year cycle, as it is attested several times in the text (Alma 45:10; Helaman 13:5,9; Mormon 8:6). It also appears that the baktun and the katun are both attested in Moroni 10:1, when Moroni states that "more than four hundred and twenty years have passed away since the sign was given of the coming of Christ". What's most interesting in this verse is that Moroni specifically says he wants his brethren the Lamanites to know that it had been four hundred and twenty years, because that number would carry much more meaning to the Lamanites than it would to the Gentiles. The Maya "Long Count" records the elapsed number of periods of 400 years + periods of 20 years + years + periods of 20 days + days since the "creation" day of 13 August 3114 BC (although it's unclear exactly what happened on that day; the accounts differ from site to site). Moroni is basically giving an abbreviated Long Count date of 1.1 (1 period of 400 years + 1 period of 20 years). In her book, The Indian Christ, the Indian King: The Historical Substrate of Mayan Myth and Ritual, Victoria R. Bricker has noted the following: The Maya believed that history was repetitive, that the events in one cycle would be repeated in all successive cycles as they had been repeating since time immemorial. Therefore, the calendar could be used to predict events in the future (i.e.. in succeeding cycles), and the people had no control over their fate. This cyclical repetition of history is illustrated in the Book of Chilam Balam of Chumayel(Roys 1933), which records the count of the katuns since the first settlement was established at Chichen Itza. Below is the historical account for each Katun 8 Ahau in one chronicle. The First Katun 8 Ahau It was in 8 Ahau That Chitchen Itza was destroyed. Thirteen fold of the katun[256 years] had passed When Chakanputun began; They were in their homes For that katun period The Second Katun 8 Ahau It was in 8 Ahau That the people of Chakanputun were destroyed By the Itza people. The Third Katun 8 Ahau It was in 8 Ahau That the Itza people were destroyed In their homes again Because of the treachery of the Hunac Ceel As ancient Mesoamericans, the Nephites and Lamanites appear to have the same basic cyclical view of history, where the type of events that occur one year are expected to be repeated when the date of that year is repeated: Omni 1:4-5 And now I, Amaron, write the things whatsoever I write, which are few, in the book of my father. Behold, it came to pass that *three hundred and twenty years had passed away, and the more wicked part of the Nephites were destroyed. 4 Nephi 1:48 And it came to pass that when *three hundred and twenty years had passed away, Ammaron, being constrained by the Holy Ghost, did hide up the records which were sacred—yea, even all the sacred records which had been handed down from generation to generation, which were sacred—even until the three hundred and twentieth year from the coming of Christ. The Nephites had three different calendars. The first calendar marked time from the year Lehi left Jerusalem. The second calendar marked time from the first year of the judges. The third calendar marked time from the day the sign was given of Christ's birth, making His birth the beginning of year one. Long before the Nephites were wiped out, their fall had been prophesied as happening 400 years after the birth of Christ(Alma 45:10; Helaman 13:5,9; Mormon 8:6). Between 327-421 AD, the Nephites engaged in protracted warfare with the Lamanites, abandoning their cities and fleeing northward, only to meet their demise in 400 AD(Mormon 8), four hundred years after Christ's birth. This would explain why the day before the first day of the next baktun cycle was the "day set apart by the unbelievers" to kill, all the believers in Christ, effectively wiping out a people, as had happened four hundred years later, with the Nephites(3 Nephi 1:9). But the planned destruction doesn't happen, instead we get a day and a night and a day with continual daylight, as had been prophesied by Samuel the Lamanite. This miracle left the would be genocidal mob in shock and unable to carry out their murderous plans. And there were many, who had not believed the words of the prophets, who fell to the earth and became as if they were dead, for they knew that the great plan of destruction which they had laid for those who believed in the words of the prophets had been frustrated; ... (3 Nephi 1:16). From the view of the long count, that particular day, for the killing of an entire subculture, would make the most sense if a similiar genocidal event had happened 400 years prior, in or around 400 BC. The only other account of a genocidal event recorded in the Book of Mormon is that of the Jaredites, in the concluding chapters of Ether; thus the best candidate we have for an end date for the Jaredite history is 400 BC. A basic cycle of history in the Book of Mormon thus looks like this: With a date for Jaredite collapse, we are now free to count backward in time but by how many intervals? The Jaredites, whose history is recorded in Ether's lineage history, practiced ultimogeniture, the practice of the youngest son inheriting everything, a practice with exists in modern Mesoamerica and may be of pre-Hispanic origin. Jaredite kings were unusually long lived, fertile and almost certainly polygamists; the lineage founder, Jared, had 31 sons and daughters. As Mark Wright has noted: Keep in mind that the Nephite record keepers were from the ruling lineage, and anciently elites tended to have longer life spans because they had access to better quality food and they didn't wear their lives out with physically taxing work the way non-elites did. We only have data for both the birth dates and death dates of 17 Classic period Maya rulers, and their average age at death is 64.7 years. Some of the longest lived Maya kings were Itzamnaaj B'alam II of Yaxchilan was between 94.8 and 98.5 years old when he died, Calakmul's king Yukno'om the Great lived to be 85, Chan Imix K'awiil of Copan was about 83 when he died, a ruler of El Cayo named Chak Lakamtuun lived to 82, K'inich Janaab' Pakal from Palenque was 80, Aj Wosal of Naranjo was at least 78, and K'an Joy Chitam (also from Palenque) lived until he was 74. With an end date in mind and a rough estimate of years per royal generation, we get the following results for Jaredite dates, followed by the current chronology for Olmec apogee and decline: Jaredite Dates 2350 BC: Jaredites land in New World. 1310 BC: King Lib builds a "great city" by the narrow neck of land, by the place where the sea divides the land(Ether 10:19-21). 855 BC: Civil war "and contentions in all the land, and also many famines and pestilences, insomuch that there was a great destruction, such an one as never had been known upon the face of the earth"; the king, Shiblom, is killed and his son, Seth, lives out his days in captivity(Ether 11:4-9). 400 BC: End of the Jaredites. Olmec Dates 2500-1500BC:The first farming villages in Mesoamerica appear. Settlers raise maize, chili peppers, squash and cotton. 1500-1200BC:Olmec build San Lorenzo; fully developed Olmec culture, represented typically by gigantic basalt sculptures fashioned in a distinctive style. 1100BC:By this time, La Venta becomes a major Olmec site. 900BC:The Olmec site of San Lorenzo is destroyed. Olmec monuments are attacked, defaced and buried. 400BC:The Olmec site of La Venta is destroyed. This paradigm has four convergances, all four of which are productive. The Jaredites are said to have arrived in the New World, from Mesopotamia, during the building of "the great tower". The start date of 2350 BC fits with the building of the first ziggurats in the Early Dynastic(2900-2350). The Olmec abandonment of La Venta and the Jaredite collapse is also convergant. More importantly, Lib builds his "great city" on the narrow neck of land, where the sea divides the land, at the same time the Olmecs build San Lorenzo, on the Strait of Tehuantepec, near the Coatzacualcos River. Also, the great pestilences and civil war, in the days of Shiblom, happened at the same time San Lorenzo was abandoned, with it's monuments defaced and buried. This is a productive convergance, where archeology possibly illuminates details of the Book of Ether. San Lorenzo is a candidate for the "great city" of Lib. The Jaredite collapse coinciding with the abandonment of La Venta also explains why Coriantumr would head south-ward to Zarahemla, or, as Sorenson proposes, the Central Depression of the Grajalva river basin. Cities in the Central Depression had trade relations with La Venta and their inhabitants had Olmec heritage. Coriantumr would have known about these cities and naturally sought refuge there. It seems to me, that the Book of Ether and Olmec archeology are telling the same story. This is not to say that the Olmec are the Jaredites but rather that the Jaredites were Olmec. No, this can't be proven with certainty. As far as I know, we don't know the name of one Olmec. We don't even know what they called themselves. Finally, none of this "proves" the Book of Mormon is true or that Joseph Smith Jr. is a Prophet of God. What this demonstrates is that the Olmec are a candidate for being the Jaredite host culture and that San Lorenzo is a candidate for the city of Lib. Do with that what you will.
  4. The Book of Mormon is fascinating. The English translation of an ancient metal codex, this book comes to us via the dictation of an unschooled, 23 year old farm boy, as he buried his face in the blackness of a hat, staring into a seer stone. One of the interesting themes of the book is a promise from God, to Lehi. Parts of this promise are quoted in numerous places through the book but a version of it, composed of two interdependent clauses, declares that if Lehi's descendants obey the commandments of God then they will prosper; if they disobey then they will be cut off from His presence. The promise was originally made to Lehi but is most alluded to by Alma and quoted only one time by Mormon. Lehi gave at least three renditions of this prophesy, hereafter reffered to as the Lord's promise or the promise: a complete version in the, now lost, Book of Lehi, taken from the Large Plates of Mormon, which were an abridgment of the Large Plates of Nephi, and two shorter versions found on the Small Plates of Nephi. In this post, I will show that Alma quoted or paraphrased from both versions of the Lord's Promise; he, and Mormon, alluded to and quoted from the longer form found in the Book of Lehi when addressing people who were both intimately distant from them and in spiritual peril; Alma alluded to the version on Small Plates when dealing with his sons, near the end of his mortal life, in imitation of Lehi. In other words, Alma was familiar with both versions of the promise, in the Large Plates and the Small Plates, and chose which version of the promise he would use based on who his audience was. ... http://averroes2.blogspot.com/2015/07/translating-book-of-mormon-almas-use-of.html?m=1
  5. The Jaredites are a dynastic lineage described in the Book of Mormon and not a unique nation or civilization. In my view, some Jaredites were "Olmec"; but almost no Olmec were Jaredites. I believe this is the case because, in my mind, Jaredite history and Olmec archeology seem to converge upon each other. The following post is based on the work of John L. Sorensen and Brant Gardner; there is little original thought of my own. To know when the Jaredite kings lived, we must first deduce an end date for the dynastic lineage, look at the Jaredite lineage history and then count backward, from Ether to Jared. The ominus prophesies in the days of Coriantor(Ether 11:20-21, were declared before the arrival of Mulek's group for it speaks of people coming in the future. The last Jaredite king, Coriantumr, was warned that he would live to see the prophecies fulfilled(Ether 13:21), this would have him dying at around 600 B.C. The following, are the generations of a Jaredite dynastic lineage, from Ether down to Jared, as found in Ether 1:6-32. Ether* Coriantor Moron Ethem Ahah Seth Shiblon Com Coriantum Amnigaddah Aaron* Heth Hearthom Lib Kish Corom Levi Kim Morianton* Riplakish Shez Heth Com Coriantum Emer Omer Shule Kib Orihah Jared Now, some Jaredite kings lived very long lives. Several kings are described as being "exceedingly old" and having children in their old age, with at least one king living past 100 years(Ether 7:7 and Ether 9:23,24). So, how many years were in 30 generations? There is no way of knowing for sure because we don't have a solid start date nor do we know how many generations seperated Riplakish and Morianton(Ether 10:8-9). We will have to approximate; assuming the Jaredites came at around 2500 B.C. and lasted until 600 B.C. then counting back, at minimum, 30 generations, we get 63 years for each generation in the Jaredite dynastic lineage. Since Coriantmr, stumbled upon the "people of Zarahemla", hereafter reffered to as Mulekites, the Mulekites must have originally lived near Jaredite territory(Omni 1:14-17). Relative to the Nephite heartland, Mulek landed in the land northward(Alma 22:30) but settled in the north(Helaman 6:10), while the Jaredites lived "northward" thus the Mulekites landed in Jaredite territory then settled just outside of it, presumably to avoid the volatility of that region. The more numerous Mulekites "had many wars and serious contentions, and had fallen by the sword from time to time". By about 226 B.C. they are in the more southern land of Zarahemla. If we average out the dates of 600 B.C. and 226 B.C. then that means the serious contentions that caused the Mulekites to fall by the sword, happened at around 413 B.C. The Mulekites were by then, almost certainly, a Jareditish people for it isn't until they merge with the Nephites, led by Mosiah I, that Jaredite names suddenly appear in the Nephite record(A Permanent Heritage). Interestingly, Morianton, a Nephite with a Jaredite name, had a desire to possess the land northward(Alma 50:29). JAREDITE DATES 2500BC:Jaredites land in New World. 1482BC:King Lib builds a great city by the narrow neck of land, by the place where the sea divides the land(Ether 10:19-21). 1041BC:There began to be wars and contentions in all the land, and also many famines and pestilences, insomuch that there was a great destruction, such an one as never had been known upon the face of the earth; and all this came to pass in the days of Shiblom(Ether 11:5-7). 789BC:The Jaredite ruling lineage is deposed(Ether 11:18-23). 600BC:End of the Jaredite ruling lineage, the arrival of Mulek. 413BC: Mulekites have "many wars and serious contentions, and had fallen by the sword from time to time". OLMEC DATES 2500-1500BC:The first farming villages in Mesoamerica appear. Settlers raise maize, chili peppers, squash and cotton. 1500-1200BC:Olmec build San Lorenzo; fully developed Olmec culture, represented typically by gigantic basalt sculptures fashioned in a distinctive style, proved to date back to 1400BC. 1100BC:By this time, La Venta becomes a major Olmec site. 900BC:The Olmec site of San Lorenzo is destroyed. Olmec monuments are attacked, defaced and buried. 400BC:The Olmec site of La Venta is destroyed. So we see that the Jaredite history converges with Olmec archaeology. This isn't to say that the Olmecs are the Jaredites or that this proves the Book of Mormon true. What it does say is that the idea that the Jaredites were to the Olmec what Mormons are to Southern California is plausible, that the Jaredites probably participated in Olmec culture.
  6. http://averroes2.blogspot.com/2015/01/the-book-of-mormon-as-modern-expansion.html?m=1 Thoughts? Do not use links for OPs. Explain a topic you want to discuss not a link.
  7. Few things offend the sensibilities of modern readers more than the blatant polytheism of the Book of Abraham(Abraham 4). When the Prophet Joseph Smith first taught this doctrine publicly, some of his fellow Mormons called him a fallen prophet. While learning Hebrew in Kirtland, Joseph learned that elohim has a plural ending. This opened up new spiritual vistas, reflected in the Book of Abraham. However, the rest of the world is catching up. The earliest Israelite religion was polytheistic and so is the Book of Abraham. From the perspective of this older theology, "Yahweh did not belong to the top tier of the pantheon. Instead, in early Israel, the god of Israel apparently belonged to the second tier of the pantheon; he was not the presider god, but one of his sons"(Mark S. Smith, pg. 68, Abraham 1:16, Doctrine and Covenants 110:3-4). "A generation ago, when I was a graduate student, biblical scholars were nearly unanimous in thinking that monotheism had been predominant in ancient Israelite religion from the beginning—not just as an "ideal," but as the reality. Today all that has changed. Virtually all mainstream scholars acknowledge that true monotheism emerged only in the period of the exile in Babylon in the 6th century B.C.E., as the canon of the Hebrew Bible was taking shape"(William G. Dever, pg. 294–95). The Book of Abraham is clear that the geocentric astronomical model is intended for the ancient Egyptians. The Egyptians, like the ancient Semites, had a geocentric view of the cosmos and so does the Book of Abraham. Nothing is described below the earth, the moon rotates above the earth, the stars above the moon, and each celestial body travels a longer circuit than those bodies which travel under them. The greatest and highest star is Kolob and is described as being nearest to the Throne of God. However, the Book of Abraham explicitly equates the stars with the Gods. The Book of Abraham's equation of Gods with stars is ancient and outside the scope of radical monotheism. The Book of Abraham equates God's family with the stars and so do the Ugaritic texts, which were unearthed in the 1920's. “The Ugaritic texts hint that El’s family was understood as astral in character, although the texts rarely stress this feature. To begin, a category of divinities called 'star gods' is attested... evidently with their own “house”(bt ilim kbkbm)"(Mark S. Smith, pg. 82). The "intelligences" of the Book of Abraham are Gods in their own right(Abraham 3:22-25, Abraham 4). The stars are governing ones and great ones(Abraham 3:2-3). The intelligences are rulers, noble and great ones(Abraham 3:22-23). There is a hierarchy of stars and a hierarchy of intelligences(Abraham 3:16-19). The "intelligences" or Gods are none other than the sons of God(Abraham 3:22-23, Abraham 1:17, D&C 132:20,29). “The later religion of Israel may have known a cult of El that included a minimum number of astral deities. Job 38:6-7 may reflect a witness to this notion: Who set it’s cornerstone when the morning stars sang together And all the divine beings(bene elohim) shouted for joy? In this verse Yahweh the creator-god(like old El?) asks Job if he was present when Yahweh set the cornerstone of the world’s foundations an ancient event celebrated by the divine beings, here specified as stars. In this passage, the morning stars are clearly parallel to bene elohim"(Mark S. Smith, The Origins of Biblical Monotheism, pg. 82).
  8. Nothing much, I just thought this was really interesting. I meam, the BoM really does look more ancient the more we know about the ancient world. That OP could not have been writen in 1850.
  9. Lehi's vision of the Tree of Life can be read as an allegorical snapshot of the religious climate of Jerusalem in 600 B.C.E. During this time, the official state religion of Jerusalem was not the Israelite religion. The real religions of ancient Judah consisted largely of everything the biblical writers condemned(Dever). "One of the dominant motifs in shaping their epic history in the Book of Kings was the centrality of the Royal Temple in Jerusalem as the exclusive dwelling place of Yahweh"(Dever). "Such attempts were, however, not only doctrinaire but also largely unsuccessful. In the countryside, people worshiped as they always had, and they almost certainly did not regard their practices as 'non-Yahwistic'. Theirs was simply an alternative approach, another way of expressing their beliefs"(Dever). Likewise, Lehi's religion was not the official state religion of Jerusalem. Lehi's religion consisted of things the writers of Deuteronomy condemned: he and his descendants have a priesthood that is not Levitical(Alma 10:3,1 Nephi 2:7, Jacob 1:18, 1 Kings 12:31, Deutoronomy 10:8-9); Lehi's descendants also have multiple temples outside of Jerusalem despite the biblical injunction not to(2 Nephi 5:16, Mosiah 2:6, 3 Nephi 11:1, Deuteronomy 12:1-14). His son, Nephi, was familiar with Jerusalem and the countryside, but he rejected the ways of Jerusalem(1 Nephi 2:13, 2 Nephi 25:2, 2 Nephi 25:6). Having fled Jerusalem for the wilderness, Lehi has a dream in which he is led to the Tree of Life(Asherah), in a large and spacious field. He is ridiculed by people who are in an urban setting, wearing fine clothing, in the great and spacious building. Since alternative approaches to Yahwism had their strongest persistence in the countryside, these views would have stood in contrast to the official views of the more urban king and priests in Jerusalem thus making the Tree a source of shame for some(1 Nephi 8:25). This dovetails nicely with the views of Laman and Lemuel, who in the vision did not partake of the fruit(1 Nephi 8:14-18). Laman and Lemuel believed "the people who were in the land of Jerusalem were a righteous people; for they kept the statutes and judgments of the Lord, and all his commandments, according to the law of Moses"(1 Nephi 17:22). The official state religion of the Bible is that of the Deuteronomists, therefore, Laman and Lemuel were defending what would become Jewish orthodoxy. Laman and Lemuel had good reason to view themselves as members of Jerusalem's high society(1 Nephi 17:21, 1 Nephi 3:22). Rather than being heretics, they defended the people of Jerusalem; Nephi considered them wicked(1 Nephi 3:17).
  10. Does anyone have this? "Abraham, Isaac, and Osiris-Michael: The Use of Biblical Figures in Egyptian Religion," in Galina A. Belova, ed., Proceedings of Achievements and Problems of Modern Egyptology (Moscow: Russian Academy of Sciences, 2012), 246–259.
  11. The OP was problematic, so I took it down. Thanks Robert F. Smith.
  12. That post was problematic. Deleted.
  13. Before I answer the question posed at the title, I will point the reader's attention to my previous posts on the historicity of Adam and Eve(Darwin, Adam and Apsu), the Prophet Joseph Smith's opinions on geography(Joseph Smith's Earliest Opinions Regarding Book of Mormon Geography) and, most importantly, this video. I firmly believe Adam-Michael is a historical figure and the events at Adam ondi Ahman did physically happen; God physically appeared to His people at that place. I also believe Adam-Michael will return to the earth(Sons of Michael, He Approaches). However, I don't believe that a physical Garden of Eden was located in Jackson County, Missouri; I don't believe that the events described in Genesis took place on American soil. The Book of Genesis and Book of Moses tell us that God planted a Garden, eastward in Eden. A river flowed into the garden and it split into four heads: the Pison, Gihon, Hiddekel and Euphrates. The Pison river hasn't been positively identified but the Hiddekel is identified with the Tigres. The Tigres and Euphrates surround Mesopotamia. Gihon is the natural spring that flows into Jerusalem(2 Chronicles 32:30). So both the Bible and Pearl of Great Price both situate the Garden of Eden in the ancient Near East. The Book of Ezekiel identifies the Garden of Eden with the Holy Mountain of God: Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God; every precious stone was thy covering, the sardius, topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle, and gold: the workmanship of thy tabrets and of thy pipes was prepared in thee in the day that thou wast created. Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so:thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire(Ezekiel 28:13-14). The holy mountain of God is none other than the temple(Joel 3:17, Ezekiel 20:40). The mountain-temple, like Eden, is where man dwelt in the presence of God(Ether 3:1-13, Isaiah 6). Ezekiel identifies the Garden of Eden with the temple and the king as an anointed cherub. Solomon was anointed king at the Gihon, one of the rivers of Eden(1 Kings 1:45). Adam was taken from the dust of the ground(Genesis 2:7). King Jehu was also exalted out of the dust(1 Kings 16:2). Adam was the primordial gardener as was Hammurabi(Genesis 2:15, Bokovoy). Like the Adam, the King was perfect in the day he was created and then fell(Ezekiel 28:15). Even the early brethren of the Church identified Adam as "first man or first king"(GAEL). The identification of the Garden of Eden as temple and the Adam as king is attested in the scriptures, as is it's ancient near eastern setting. The Doctrine and Covenants describes a concluding episode of Adam's life, not found in the Bible: Three years previous to the death of Adam, he called Seth, Enos, Cainan, Mahalaleel, Jared, Enoch, and Methuselah, who were all high priests, with the residue of his posterity who were righteous, into the valley of Adam-ondi-Ahman, and there bestowed upon them his last blessing. And the Lord appeared unto them, and they rose up and blessed Adam, and called him Michael, the prince, the archangel(Doctrine and Covenants 107: 53-54). In the Doctrine and Covenants, Spring Hill is named by the Lord Adam-ondi-Ahman, because, said he, it is the place where Adam shall come to visit his people, or the Ancient of Days shall sit, as spoken of by Daniel the prophet(Doctrine and Covenants 116:1). Spring Hill is now named Adam ondi Ahman because of what has yet to happen there, because Adam-Michael will visit his people there, in the future. Spring Hill is not named Adam ondi Ahman because it is the place where Adam-Michael introduced his posterity to the Lord, in ancient times. Spring Hill is not far from Jackson(Google Maps); therefore because of it's naming in revelation, the Garden of Eden is assumed, by the earliest Mormons, to be nearby. We see a similar thing happening with the Hill Cumorah. The Hill Cumorah is the site of the final Nephite battle. However, the location of that final battle is not the same site as where Joseph discovered the gold plates(Roper,Hamblin, Clarke). The hill the plates were hidden in was not the Nephite Cumorah but has since borne it's name. Both sites called Cumorah are connected to Moroni; both sites called Adam ondi Ahman are connected with Adam-Michael. Why Specifically Jackson County, Missouri? Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball and others said that Joseph Smith identified Jackson County, Missouri as the location for a historical Garden of Eden(Ensign). I believe them and I believe that is probably what Joseph actually believed. Genesis, Book of Moses and archaeology point to the Garden of Eden being the Jerusalem temple. The identification of a physical Eden with Jackson County, Missouri is not factual but it is true in an allegorical sense. The Garden of Eden is the temple and the temple is to be built in Jackson County, Missouri(Doctrine and Covenants 84). Through this identification, the Prophet Joseph Smith connected two things most people never knew were one.