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bluebell

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  1. I know that the topic of the accuracy of Dehlin's essays has been brought up before on the message board. I ran across this review and thought that some here would be interested. http://www.mormonstoriesessays.com/?fbclid=IwAR0tVmalwzEUQYVJOe5jraZJbVruDkU9jah1VNrF_MHpIcpBkaPtNfcVpd0 The topics that the review say Dehlin has gotten wrong so far include: Scimitar in the BOM "Principal Ancestors" vs "Among the Ancestors" Beekeeping as an Anachronism Egyptian Influence in Israel The Review goes on to talk about some other issues it has with the Dehlin's Essays as well, such as a comparison between the DNA articles written by the church and the one published by Dehlin, namely, the sources used to create each essay and which one has more peer reviewed scientific sources. Thoughts?
  2. bluebell

    Left Hand

    That instruction is not authoritative for the entire church though, is it. And yes of course, if his words were printed in the handbook they would be considered authoritative. The difference seems incredibly obvious. Think of all the things that have ever been taught by a first counselor to different groups in the church in the past decades. Now think about what makes them different than something that is printed in the handbook. Viola! You've answered your question. When something is printed in the handbook, we can assume that all of the apostles, including the Prophet, have agreed that it should be in there. That's obviously very different than a teaching that one apostle teaches that no other apostle or prophet has ever taught and that we have no evidence agrees with.
  3. bluebell

    Review of Dehlin's "Truth Claims" Essays

    Historical arguments are important, but just like science, the study of history has it's limits. Like I said before, history can serve as evidence of different things, but it can't prove anything to anyone. That's true even for those people who don't reject the historical view. When I was getting my degree in history my history professors enjoyed telling us stories about the different fights that historians would get into at conferences where they would argue their conclusions based on the evidence that was presented. One said that the fights over whether or not the feudal system ever existed or if it was a historical construct were legendary, for example. Another popular fighting topic was the existence of Troy. History rarely, if ever, produces proof. Historical arguments are often at best hypotheses that some historians agree with and others don't.
  4. bluebell

    Review of Dehlin's "Truth Claims" Essays

    Almost as easy as it is to frame a person's position in as unreasonable words as possible to make it seem like your position is the only reasonable one. No one has to reject a historical view in favor of a 100% faith-based view. A person just has to acknowledge how shoddy the historical record is for all but a tiny sliver in the middle east in the last couple thousand of years and take that into consideration. History can demonstrate that there were no followers who called themselves Christians in the middle east until the first century AD. It can't demonstrate much more than that though, and what it can demonstrate, as far as the world goes during the thousands of years before first century AD, is so insignificant that it's not very helpful when trying to weigh doctrinal claims.
  5. bluebell

    Review of Dehlin's "Truth Claims" Essays

    But not in a way that will prove anything to anyone.
  6. bluebell

    Review of Dehlin's "Truth Claims" Essays

    I think it's only a problem if the person who paid for the creation of and published the essays doesn't want to be affiliated with them. If the person or group expects the essays to represent them and their thoughts/beliefs then I don't see a need to know the specific author. If they don't expect that then yeah, that's really bad form.
  7. This is a cool change. It is sad that there will no longer be a written record of communication between missionaries and their families like the has been in previous years, but times change.
  8. bluebell

    Left Hand

    I'm sure he realized that his beliefs were not held by everyone in the quorum, but I think we can assume that he believed he was teaching 'fact' and not merely opinion when he said that people could write down what he said in their books because it was never going to happen. But I'm not saying that it's a straight across comparison. I'm saying that not everything that is said by a prophet or apostles turns out to be true, even when they firmly believe that they are speaking fact and not opinion. Pres. Oaks wasn't giving the standard procedure for taking the sacrament, he was teaching a standard that you can't find taught anywhere else in any authoritative source. Comparing what he taught to teaching procedure for performing a baptism is also a dissimilar comparison. How to perform a baptism is taught in many authoritative sources.
  9. bluebell

    Left Hand

    I actually mentioned that a couple days ago. I believe him. Many of us, especially teens, take the sacrament without thinking, without truly considering what we are doing. Thinking about what you are doing, how you are doing it, and why, would be incredibly beneficial to everyone when taking the sacrament. But I also think that the Spirit can tell us to do something and that we can be mistaken on why we are supposed to do it, even though we know we are. As I also said earlier, I don't think there is anything wrong with teaching the significance of the right hand. I like how Pres. Nelson taught it in 1983. Could the Spirit have told Pres. Oaks that he needed to teach the significance of the right hand to this set of Deacons? I absolutely believe it could. Could Pres. Oaks have added emphasis on only using the right hand that came from his personal beliefs and not from the Spirit. I think that could happen too.
  10. bluebell

    Left Hand

    I don't think he thought that he was expressing an opinion. This is what he said at a conference at Honolulu: "We will never get a man into space. This earth is man's sphere and it was never intended that he should get away from it. The moon is a superior planet to the earth and it was never intended that man should go there. You can write it down in your books that this will never happen."
  11. bluebell

    Left Hand

    If he taught it over the pulpit at GC I would but in this kind of venue, no. Like I said before I think it’s a reminder that not everything that a prophet or apostle says in a random meeting is the Word of God.
  12. bluebell

    Review of Dehlin's "Truth Claims" Essays

    I agree that if an author isn't listed, then it's even more reasonable to refer to them as Dehlin's essays.
  13. bluebell

    Left Hand

    He wasn't offering commentary, he was teaching something about God that he believed to be true, but that actually wasn't. I don't have a problem with that; i do think it's a great example of why we can't just assume that everything that a GA teaches to a small group is something that God wants the entire church to accept.
  14. bluebell

    Review of Dehlin's "Truth Claims" Essays

    Probably because proving that your theological and doctrinal critique of a religious doctrine, item, or church, is valid is really really hard. Science can't really do it.
  15. bluebell

    Left Hand

    I'm not saying it should be, only that things that are taught only to select people do not automatically apply to the whole. I'm also thinking of the time that Pres. Joseph Fielding Smith (IIRC) taught at a regional conference that mankind would never land on the moon because God has decreed that this earth was our sphere and we would never be allowed to leave it? That was never taught to the church as a whole so the church was no obligated to find out if it was a true teaching (and it obviously wasn't).
  16. bluebell

    Left Hand

    Can we see the reference(s) where it was authoritatively taught? You'd have to first prove that it was ever authoritatively taught before you can try to argue that it would need to be authoritatively rescinded.
  17. bluebell

    Review of Dehlin's "Truth Claims" Essays

    If he commissioned the Essays and paid someone to write them and authorized them to be placed on his site then I don’t personally see a problem with that label. It’s kind of like saying “Disney’s Star Wars,” from my perspective.
  18. bluebell

    Left Hand

    I’d be interested in what Scott means by past leaders. Being taught something at sacrament or in Sunday school is different than being taught it at GC. I remember being taught that the Catholic Church was the church of the Devil by my leaders at church for example, despite it not actually being church doctrine.
  19. bluebell

    Left Hand

    Yes, I agree we’ll have to wait and see. I do wonder if maybe Pres. Oaks believes that he taught nothing unusual, given the way he described it to the deacons (specifically where he said that the deacons have seen the correct hand usage modeled by mothers holding babies). I’ve never seen a mother move a baby to the other hand so she wouldn’t have to take the sacrament with her left. As a mother of four kids I’ve never done that myself. Perhaps Pres. Oaks believes that the membership has been actively teaching use of the right hand for decades and that’s why he called out the deacons for not doing what, in his belief, they have observed should be done?
  20. bluebell

    Left Hand

    I agree. I love Pres. Oaks, he's one of my favorites. That doesn't mean everything he teaches is without error of course. But he wasn't speaking to me. He wasn't speaking to anyone but that group of boys. And according to Bernard, it's not even right that we should know what he told them. This source was not meant for the church as a whole.
  21. bluebell

    Left Hand

    What if one hasn't heard it at all? How is someone supposed to know that it's doctrine under that circumstance?
  22. bluebell

    Review of Dehlin's "Truth Claims" Essays

    I thought that Dehlin claimed that his essays would be better than the churches? So far, has that been the case? If not, then I can understand why some would be 'up in arms' (whatever that means). He set up a specific standard and it's not hypocritical for anyone to hold him to that standard or criticize if he fails to reach it.
  23. bluebell

    Left Hand

    Your "fruit of the poisoned tree" answer was not at all clear then. Could you clarify what you meant by saying it?
  24. bluebell

    Review of Dehlin's "Truth Claims" Essays

    Here are two of the reviews. The Review's points are in Green with Dehlin's Essay quotes in Blue. My words are in Black. On the use of the word Scimitar: "While there certinaly are legitimate issues worth discussing about the Book of Mormon and archaeology, Dehlin’s essay on the subject is full of things that simply are not true. Take, for instance, this paragraph about the cimeter (more commonly spelled scimitar today): Dehlin's Essay claims: Cimeter: The curved, bladed weapon, mentioned 3 times in the Book of Mormon, originated with the Ottoman empire in the 9th Century. Not only is it an Asian word for blade, it’s also made of anachronistic steel. It remains unknown how Lehi would be aware of it, as the word was unused in any contemporary Hebrew literature. The Review's Counter to that claim: The Origins of Curved, Bladed Weapons Curved, bladed weapons—which scholars freely call scimitars—have been known since the Bronze Age. Some scholars believe such weapons were known in the ancient Near East as early as the 3rd millennium BC.1 It’s certainly attested by the 2nd millennium BC. Describing weapons from the Later Bronze Age (ca. 1550–1200 BC), archaeologist Amihai Mazar wrote, “Sickle-shaped scimitars are known both from actual finds and from Egyptian artistic depictions.”2 Mazer shows an illustration of the Egyptian weapon, which he captions as “a scimitar.” In Canaan, “the curved sickle-sword, r scimitar” is known even earlier, in the Middle Bronze Age.3 An Egyptian text written in the early 2nd millennium BC mentions the plundering of weapons, including scimitars, from Canaanite towns: “copper-cum-wood [weapons]: (battle)-axes, 10; scimitars, 33; daggers, 12; knives (?), 11.”4 There’s even evidence that Israelites specifically used curved-bladed swords. Boyd Seevers, an expert in Old Testament warfare, said, “Likely the typical early Israelite sword was a sickle-sword, which had a handle attached to a straight shaft that continued into a curved blade.”5 The only known artistic depiction of Israelite swords, from Assyrian reliefs dated to ca. 700 BC, illustrates them as curved-bladed weapons.6 For what it is worth, curved weapons that leading Maya scholars Mary Miller and Simon Martin have described as “scimitar-like” are also known in Mesoamerican art going back to the early pre-Classic period (ca. 1500–900 BC).7 So the existence of curved-bladed weapons, which scholars have freely referred to as scimitars, is well attested long before the Ottoman empire or the 9th century AD. Asian Word for Blade First, what’s an “Asian” word? This generalization is unhelpful, and also pretty racist. Asia is a huge continent, with literally hundreds of different languages and cultures—which includes the Middle-East, where Israel is. So technically a “Hebrew” word is an “Asian” word. I assume that what they mean is it’s a Persian word, but even that is not really accurate. Scimitar is an English word—and there’s no problem with it showing up in an English translation. As quoted above, Egyptologist Donald Redford used “scimitar” in his English translation of an Egyptian word referring to curved-bladed weapons from around 2000 BC.8 So again, not clear what the problem is. As for the origins of the word, its etymology goes back to 15th century French (cimeterre) and Italian (scimitarra). It’s origins beyond that are uncertain. Some think it comes from the Persian shimshir, but others think that connection is unsatisfactory.9 Anachronistic Steel There’s a whole section on steel elsewhere in the essay, which I or one of my compatriots might decide to deal with in detail later. For now, I’ll just say three things: 1. Steel is definitely not anachronistic for Lehi’s time. Tests performed on iron objects from the early Iron Age proved that nearly all of them were technically made of steel.10 What’s more, a steel Israelite sword has specifically been found dated to the 7th century BC.11 2. The Book of Mormon never says what their “cimeters” are made out of (Enos 1:20; Alma 27:29; Alma 44:8). 3. Scimitars needn’t necessarily be made out of steel. As noted, sickle-shaped swords referred to as scimitars by scholars are known from the Bronze Age, and where made out of bronze, and sometimes even wood. In Mesoamerica, scimitar-like blades were made out of flint.12 The Word Unused in Contemporary Hebrew Literature Obviously, the Englishword scimitar is not used in any Hebrew literature from Lehi’s day. But as noted, words translated as “scimitar” by scholars are known in the ancient Near East, going back to well before Lehi’s day. Obviously, since Israelites had curved swords (as noted above), they probably had a word for such swords as well. And indeed, there is just such a Hebrew word: kidon (כידון), defined as “javelin or short curved sword.”13Roland De Vaux explains: [Kîdôn] is usually translated ‘javelin’, … [m]ore probably, however, the kîdôn was a scimitar … like those shown on monuments discovered in excavations.14 In 1 Samuel 17:6 and 45, P. Kyle McCarter translates kidon as “scimitar,” and defines it as “a heavy, curved, flate-bladed, Oriental sword with a cutting edge on the outer (convex) side of the blade.”15 Significantly, the term kidon shows up twice in Jeremiah (6:23; 50:42), a contemporary prophet with Lehi—so it is used in “contemporary Hebrew literature.” Conclusion I honestly can’t imagine someone writing a single paragraph with more factual errors than this one. And while I’ve made it a point to cite mainstream academic sources here, it’s not like Mormon scholars have not pointed this out—in response to this very criticism—before.16 So why does critical literature, including here Dehlin’s essays, keep repeating this nonsensical claim over and over and over? Perhaps it’s because they did nothing more than read the Wikipedia article on “scimitar”—a shallow and superficial research method if ever there was one. Or perhaps it’s because they know for many who lose faith over articles like this, it’s the cumulative effect of the arguments. Piling on one claim after another—no matter how tenuous—can overwhelm the unsuspecting reader who does not know any better, and doesn’t have the means to factcheck the information presented. If this is the case, it’s easy to see why critics might continue to repeat old claims long since debunked, since reducing the number of arguments does not ultimately serve the cumulative effect very well. But it’s also extremely unethical. So let’s give Dehlin the benefit of the doubt and just assume that he really just didn’t know any better—his understanding of the topic too superficial. This still seriously undermines the credibility of the essays. Author Alexander CampbellPosted on February 13, 2019Categories Archaeology and the Book of Mormon, UncategorizedTags anachronisms, archaeology, Book of Mormon, cimeter, scimitar, steel." On the Honey Bee: Dehlin's Essay says: The Mormon Stories essay on “Archaeology and the Book of Mormon” argues that the mentioning of Jaredite beekeeping is anachronistic: “The Jaradites are described in Ether as having carried honey bees to the New World, while ignoring the improbability of transporting bees in a totally enclosed submarine for a year. The honey bee is not native to North America.” To support this claim, the article hyperlinks to a 2006 article from ScienceDaily. The Reviews counter to that claim: The only reference to honeybees in the Book of Mormon is in the book of Ether: “And they did also carry with them deseret, which, by interpretation, is a honey bee; and thus they did carry with them swarms of bees, and all manner of that which was upon the face of the land, seeds of every kind.” Ether 2:3 Ignoring for now the arguably ancient etymology of deseret, it must be pointed out that the text actually does not describe the Jaredites taking honeybees with them across the ocean. It rather describes them carrying honeybees before they cross the ocean in the “valley of Nimrod” as they went “forth into the wilderness” (Ether 2:4–5). It might be assumed that the Jaredites took honeybees with them to the New World, but when the text catalogues New World Jaredite fauna (Ether 9:18–19), honeybees are absent. Apiculture in ancient Egypt is documented as early as the third millennium BC.1 It is striking that the Jaredite word for honeybee, deseret, has a plausible Egyptian etymology (dšrt).2 It seems probable that Jaredite apiculture was imported from ancient Egypt, since evidence for beekeeping in Mesopotamia (the supposed homeland of the Jaredites) is scant, with the clearest data for Mesopotamian apiculture coming long after Jaredite times.3 A plausible reading of the Book of Mormon text could argue that the Jaredite honeybees did not survive the group’s pan-Mesopotamian (and pan-Eurasian?) migration.4 The claim made by Dehlin that there is no native pre-Columbian apiculture is demonstrably wrong. “Yucatan was a thriving center of apiculture from pre-Columbian times, persisting, little changed, to the present,” and there are several known native North American honeybee species.5 The Spanish described native honey-producing beekeeping upon their arrival in the Yucatan,6 and Michael D. Coe, whom Dehlin has interviewed and often cites as an authority on Book of Mormon archaeology, has discussed native Mesoamerican apiculture and specifically speaks of the “stingless honeybee” as a domesticated New World animal.7 Other scholars have also discussed the significance of apiculture in ancient Mesoamerican history and culture.8 Most recently, an article published in the journal Latin American Antiquity in June 2018 documents the existence of pre-Columbian beekeeping among the pre-Classic Maya. While the Jaredites are usually associated by Book of Mormon scholars with Olmec culture,9 which is older than Maya culture, the attestation of pre-Columbian Mesoamerican apiculture refutes Dehlin’s sweeping claim that “the honey bee is not native to North America.”10 In fact, the species Melipona beecheii is native to Mesoamerica, and was used for collecting honey. As were the species Partamona bilineata and Tetragonisca angustula, to name just two others. The “honey bee . . . not native to North America” spoken of in the ScienceDaily article cited by Dehlin is referring to is a different, more common species (the European honeybee or Apis mellifera). So even if the Jaredites did manage to bring honeybees to the New World (which the Book of Mormon never actually explicitly claims happened), there is abundant archaeological and zoological evidence for their domestication and use in pre-Columbian North America. As in most matters related to archaeology and the Book of Mormon, Dehlin is out of date, uninformed, and demonstrably wrong.
  25. bluebell

    Left Hand

    We are demeaning Pres. Oaks, just by posting in this thread and disagreeing with him. Is that what you are saying?
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