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  1. Hello all! I was recently having a discussion with my sister (who is an active member of the church) and we discussed the BoM. I let her know that I think the BoM contains some inspiring, faith-promoting verses; however, I consider it to be a fiction. She was visibly upset and said I can't be a faithful member without accepting that it actually took place. This made me think: - Can you be an active, faithful member in the church and still believe the BoM is a fictional book? - For those who consider the BoM to be fiction, how do you reconcile Moroni and other vital characters/individuals who participated in the restoration narrative? I'm generally interested to read your opinions about this subject.
  2. Today's Press Release: All kidding aside, if you haven't seen it yet, get out there and go see Moana.... It's phenomenal! And despite my lame attempt at humor, I smiled at how I caught myself thinking how many of the images of the film reminded me of elements of The Book of Mormon, The Testaments movie, etc. Especially the headdresses, clothes, ships, and other artifacts depicted when showing Moana's sea-faring ancestors. Funny how our culture influences how we can see the world!
  3. On a previous thread the idea of finding NHM inscriptions in the Arabian Peninsula is thought to be "not impressive" to one poster here. That thread lead into the idea of "wordplay" found within the Book of Mormon and in the context of it being used to relate the "place which was called Nahom" and NHM. NHM is an ancient Hebrew root word and one thing it does mean is "mourning". NHM discovered in the Arabian Peninsula is "the largest cemetery in the area" and therefore mourning, as one may imagine, would have been common in that place. Therefore, when Nephi, on educated in ancient Hebrew saw his sister-in-laws mourning at Nahom he included that detail within the Book of Mormon narrative and its existence is a very plausible spot to identify as an onomastic wordplay. By that I mean using proper names to relate to connected meanings of events. Before continuing, a big shout out to calm and Rev. Testament on this board for guiding me through the process of removing format on this forum so that when I cite portions of published works it remains compatible to the software this forum uses. I had previously attempted to cite Mathew (Matt as I know him on facebook) Bowen on the other thread only to have my posts deleted as soon as I clicked on "submit reply". I choose Bowen here for a few reasons. First, he is highly qualified to look for and present wordplays from ancient Hebrew and Egyptian literature. His academic resume at Mormon Interpreter reads, "Matthew L. Bowen was raised in Orem, Utah and graduated from Brigham Young University. He holds a PhD in Biblical Studies from the Catholic University of America in Washington, DC and is currently an Assistant Professor in Religious Education at Brigham Young University-Hawaii." on facebook this includes Egyptology at the Catholic University. Facebook also shows he is learned in Latin, Spanish, and Hebrew. Second, I choose Bowen because I am very interested in linguistics. I am hardly an expert but I enjoy reading into it and I have thoroughly enjoyed Bowens essays which identifies wordplays in the Book of Mormon and the Bible. Third, from my interaction with him on facebook he seems to be a very decent and pleasant person to associate with. He's a scholar and excellent family man (married with children). I will preset three essays from Bowen which identify wordplay situations in the Book of Mormon which reiterate specific doctrine with proper names used. They represent solid research and follow sound scholastic standards. in his essay, “O Ye Fair Ones” — Revisited, Bowen demonstrate how Nephi and Mormon use the meaning of Nephi to describe his people the Nephites. Nephi's identity as being "good" and 'fair" extended to his people the Nephites. Before their divine destruction Mormon, as Bowen outlines, laments: "O ye fair ones", and "O ye fair sons and daughters..." are definite references from Mormon to the Nephi people. Nephi, being likely derived from the Egyptian nfr, according to Bowen, "indisputably" means good, fair, beautiful, kindness, goodness, etc, to find those characteristics used to describe the Nephites is of no coincidence. Nephi, learned "in the language of the Egyptians", would make that word connection to describe his people who were "favored of the Lord". apparently this was carried throughout their common history as Mormon even used that wordplay to lament their spiritual downfall. Father Is a Man: The Remarkable Mention of the Name Abish in Alma 19:16 and Its Narrative Context is another essay Bowen wrote which demonstrates an onomastic wordplay by the Book of Mormon presenting ot its readers with the rare moment of mentioning a female by name. As Bowen writes: Bowen points to the use of the Hebrew ab as "father": With Abish we read the following: The wordplay on the ʼab– (“father”) element is readily recognizable. As Michael O’Connor notes, onomastic wordplay can be “incomplete, as puns, casual rhymes, and verbal echoes often are, in all literary texts of all types and times.”23 However, the ʼîš (“man”)-element, too, is present, albeit “tacitly”24 in the term “women” (cf. Heb. nāšîm). The singular form of Hebrew nāšîm is ʼiššâ, the masculine counterparts of which are ʼîš and the poetic form ʼĕnôš (both of which share the Hebrew plural ʼănāšîm). In other words, the proposed elements of “Abish” are juxtaposed with the name “Abish” in the text. During the conversion of King Lamoni we read, "12 And it came to pass that he arose, according to the words of Ammon; and as he arose, he stretched forth his hand unto the woman, and said: Blessed be the name of God, and blessed art thou.13 For as sure as thou livest, behold, I have seen my Redeemer; and he shall come forth, and be born of a woman, and he shall redeem all mankind who believe on his name. Now, when he had said these words, his heart was swollen within him, and he sunk again with joy; and the queen also sunk down, being overpowered by the Spirit." (Alma 19). "God" to the Nephites at the time Abish came onto the scene was known as the Father of Heaven and earth. (Alma 18:5; I Nephi 11:21 original manuscript reads, "& the angel said unto me behold the lam of god yea even the eternal father knowest thou the meaning of the tree which thy father saw"). This is God to be "born of a woman" according to King Lamoni. Abish meaning "father is a man" fits perfectly into the content of the conversion of King Lamoni and his house. Therefore, Abish is specifically mentioned in Alma 19 despite a female servant almost never being mentioned in any ancient scripture. The third and final essay I'll present here is called Place of Crushing: The Literary Function of Heshlon in Ether 13:25-31. Bowen later points out that it was at the place called Heshlon which the Jaredites destroyed ("crushed, subdued, broke into pieces") each other through civil war that their society never did fully recuperate. Robert F. Smith in the previous NHM thread simply explained that scholars look into wordplay when events "occur in proximity to a possible occasion for wordplay". All three essays and the several others Bowen wrote at Mormon Interpreter, the Hebrew and/or Egyptian meaning of a proper name is approximately close to an event related to that etymological meaning. These are wordplays. Very easy to identify and very easily supported as wordplays within the Book of Mormon text.
  4. http://www.mormonnewsroom.org/article/book-of-mormon-library-of-congress-christofferson I perked up at this: Nice to see an apostle quoting Bokovoy! Also nice to see the Book of Mormon getting some recognition.
  5. In the Book of Mormon discussion ensuing in another thread, I brought up the topic of intertextuality between the Ammon account and a couple of narratives in the New Testament, setting up Ammon as a type of Christ. Here is a partial but detailed overview. I apologize that some of the footnotes are incomplete placeholders. If anyone needs a source, just let me know. Intertextuality and the Doctrine of Divinization in the Ammon Narrative “Wherefore the fruit of thy loins shall write, and the fruit of the loins of Judah shall write. And that which shall be written by the fruit of thy loins, and also that which shall be written by the fruit of the loins of Judah, shall grow together unto the confounding of false doctrines and laying down of contentions and establishing peace among the fruit of thy loins and bringing them to the knowledge of their fathers in the latter days and also to the knowledge of my covenants, saith the Lord.” (2 Nephi 3:12)[1] Book of Mormon intertextuality with the Bible is a fairly well documented phenomenon and has been observed in various modes, including lengthy quotations and short phrasal allusion. It has also been observed that Book of Mormon intertextuality often has a clear theological purpose. For example, in Nicholas Frederick’s discussion of intertextuality between the Book of Mormon and the Prologue of John, of the many phrasal allusions he examined, he observed that the most common function was to reference specific theological content from John in elucidation of the doctrine shared between the two passages.[3] It has also been argued that narrative parallels, another type of intertextuality present in the Book of Mormon, serve to bolster doctrinal and theological expositions. For example, 1st Nephi’s contains narrative parallels, often supported by phrasal allusions, to the Exodus,[4] the story of Joseph from Genesis,[5] and the story of David and Goliath.[6] These intertextualities support the theological points of the text, such as depicting the Americas as a covenant promised land and demonstrating Nephi’s divinely-appointed leadership despite being the younger brother. Similar to the above examples, the Ammon narrative found in Alma 17-20 contains both phrasal allusions, largely to New Testament passages, and narrative parallels, the most striking of which are parallels to the raising of Lazarus in John 11. Intertextuality interlaced throughout the account helps to strengthen a doctrinal exposition on divinization, or a disciple’s ability to become similar to and one with Christ, which can be seen as one of the primary themes of the narrative when one considers both the surface text and the intertextuality. Methodology In the following analysis, I will use Frederick’s proposed methodology from his recent article, Evaluating the Interaction between the New Testament and the Book of Mormon: A Proposed Methodology.[7] Each phrasal allusion will be examined for the following criteria: · Shared Terminology – The more exact consecutive words the two passages share, the stronger the likelihood that one alludes to the other. When two passages share ideas, but not exact wording, I refer to them as similar or parallel concepts. Obviously, this latter relationship carries less weight. In my analysis I will underline shared terminology and bold parallel concepts. · Dissimilarity –The rarer the phrase in the Book of Mormon or Biblical text, the more likely it is a legitimate example of intertextuality. · Proximity – When one allusion occurs in close proximity to one or more other allusions, it increases the chance that the intertextuality is intended. · Sequence – When multiple phrasal allusions are present in a single segment of text and these allusions all reference the same general segment of text in the bible, shared sequence between the parallel elements increases the likelihood that the examples are legitimate. · Context – Shared context between the two passages also increases the likelihood that an example is valid. Frederick makes the point that context is the most flexible of the criteria and therefore the weakest. However, when examining allusions as part of a large-scale intertextuality, their context takes on increased importance as they need to reinforce the large scale intertextuality or be viewed as less meaningful. Narrative parallels will be analyzed using a set of criteria similar to Frederick’s methodology. The proximity and sequence of related parallel events are logical starting places for analysis. Shared terminology will also be considered, whether it be shared single terms or more significant phrasal allusions supporting the narrative parallel. Frederick also proposed that the term interaction be used to refer to examples of Book of Mormon intertextuality with New Testament passages. He indicates that this is a neutral term which does not make assumptions about which text is dependent upon the other. I agree that it is unclear by what process biblical language was carefully interwoven in the Book of Mormon text. However, I have chosen to use the word allusion to describe the intertextuality proposed in this paper for several reasons. First, the phrasal allusions in the Ammon account sometimes organize disparate biblical passages in impressive thematic fashion, which suggests dependence of the Book of Mormon on the New Testament. Second, like Book of Mormon quotations of the Old and New Testament passages, the phrasal allusions in the Ammon account appear highly reliant on the King James translation. Finally, examples of intertextuality examined below sometimes appear to purposefully reference doctrine or events found in the referenced biblical passage but not readily apparent in the shared terminology. All of this points to, at least in the English text of the Ammon account, Book of Mormon dependence on and reference to the New Testament. Book of Mormon Divinization Divinization in the Book of Mormon is most succinctly defined in Moroni 7:48, which states that “true followers” of Christ can “become the sons of God” and “be like him.” The phrase “become the sons of God” is likely an allusion to John 1:12,[8][9] which reads “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.” In the Book of Mormon, this power comes by the reception of the Holy Ghost. Perhaps, the strongest illustration of this doctrine is found in chapter 19 of Third Nephi, in which Christ’s chosen disciples receive the Holy Ghost. While praying to receive Following that event, Christ prays to the Father, thanks him that the disciples have received the Holy Ghost, and implies that this has resulted in him being “in them” as the Father is in him and that they are “one” (3 Nephi 19:23). This spiritual unity and likeness is then demonstrated. The text states, “And his countenance did smile upon them, and the light of his countenance did shine upon them. And behold, they were as white as the countenance and also the garments of Jesus. And behold, the whiteness thereof did exceed all whiteness; yea, even there could be nothing upon earth so white as the whiteness thereof” (3 Nephi 19:25). In other words, the disciples, through the reception of the Holy Ghost and the presence of Jesus Christ, reached a kind of apotheosis. In other places in the Book of Mormon, the reception of the Holy Ghost is presented with somewhat less blatant divinization, but the reception of divine power, knowledge, or likeness is still present. For example, chapters 31 and 32 of Second Nephi state that after a “baptism of fire” and reception of the Holy Ghost, one gains the ability to speak with the “tongue of angels,” by which the initiate can know “all things” he or she should do (2 Nephi 31:13; 32:2-3). Angels are most often a manifestation of the divine in the Book of Mormon, suggesting that this ability is an evidence of divinization. Angels also play a role in the divinization of Nephi and Lehi. In miraculous delivery from prison, Nephi and Lehi are surrounded by fire and ministered to by angels (Helaman 5:24, 36, 38-39), similar to events preceding the divinization of the disciples in Third Nephi (3 Nephi 19:13-14). As they speak with the angels, Nephi and Lehi’s faces “shine exceedingly, even as the faces of angels” (Helaman 5:36). The fire preceding the angels’ presences is most likely representative of the Holy Ghost, and fire’s association with the Holy Ghost is made explicit in verse 45.[10] The verse also states that the Lamanites are filled with the Holy Ghost and can speak “marvelous words.” Other examples of divinization in result of the Holy Ghost include Nephi’s shocking of Laman and Lemuel while being full of the “Spirit” and “power of God” (1 Nephi 17:47-48, 52-54), Abinadi’s shining face in result of the Spirit (Mosiah 13:5), the various gifts of the Spirit which come by the “Spirit of Christ” (Moroni 10:9-17), and the ability to learn all things through the Holy Ghost (2 Nephi 32:5, Moroni 10:5).[11] Ammon and Christ The Ammon account contains an exposition of divinization, which is also best explained through the reception of the Holy Ghost. At the beginning of the account, Ammon and his fellow missionaries receive instruction from “the Lord,” who is arguably Christ in Book of Mormon theology.[12] Part of that instruction states, “Yet ye shall be patient in long-suffering and afflictions, that ye may shew forth good examples unto them in me.” (Alma 17:11). The final prepositional phrase, “in me,” suggests that Ammon will be somehow unified with Christ or God in his service to the Lamanites. Later, Ammon fleshes out this idea when he states, “And a portion of that Spirit dwelleth in me, which giveth me knowledge and also power according to my faith and desires which is in God” (Alma 18:35). This passage invokes the prepositional phrases “in me” and “in God” in demonstration of Ammon’s unity with God, and the text makes it clear that it is the Spirit dwelling in him that gives him divine power.[13] Similarly, Ammon describes power “in” him as he prepares to defend Lamoni’s flocks (Alma 17:29). Ammon’s divinization is further evidenced by the effectiveness of his power, which is so great that Lamoni comes to believe that Ammon is the Great Spirit, the Lamanite’s all-knowing God-like being. While Ammon’s power is evidence of divinization, a primary aspect of divinization, as described in Moroni 7:48 and demonstrated in Third Nephi 19, is similarity to and union with Christ. Significantly, Ammon’s divinization is evidenced by a likeness to Christ that is realized through phrasal allusions. These allusions have Ammon speaking Christ’s words or fulfilling roles Christ ascribes to himself. An impressive example of Ammon speaking Christ’s words comes as Ammon assures the queen that Lamoni will awake. Alma 19:8-9 8 And he saith unto the queen: He is not dead, but he sleepeth in God; and on the morrow he shall rise again. Therefore bury him not. 9 And Ammon saith unto her: Believest thou this? And she said unto him: I have had no witness save thy word and the word of our servants. Nevertheless I believe that it shall be according as thou hast said. John 11:8, 23, 26-27 11 These things said he: and after that he saith unto them, Our friend Lazarus sleepeth; but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep. 23 Jesus saith unto her, Thy brother shall rise again… 26 And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this? 27 She saith unto him, Yea, Lord: I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world. Clearly, Alma 19:8-9 shares a fair amount of exact terminology with John 11. I will clarify that I have included the phrase “she saith/said unto him” only because of its direct proximity to “believest thou this?” In terms of the phrase’s dissimilarity to other phrases in the Bible or Book of Mormon, “believest thou this?” occurs only once in the New Testament and twice in the Book of Mormon.[14] The strength of this this particular allusion not only rests on the nearly unique combination of three words, but also on their inclusion of the same punctuation and independence as a phrase. The other use of the question is in Alma 22:10 with Aaron as speaker. However, the entire string, “Believest thou this? And she said unto him” is entirely unique to Ammon 19:9, and John 11:26 provides a near perfect match. “I believe that” only occurs twice in New Testament and three times in the Book of Mormon. One of the other occurrences is Alma 18:29 and is part of the Ammon narrative, and the other is notably from Alma 22:11 in response to Aaron’s use of the question “believest thou this.” “Shall rise again” is still somewhat uncommon with five occurrences in the New Testament and three in the Book of Mormon. Finally, “sleepeth” occurs seven times throughout the old and new testament. However, it only occurs once in the Book of Mormon. All of the phrases and the single word sleepeth prove to be at least fairly unique creating a strong case for biblical allusion. The correct sequence and proximity of these four phrases significantly increase the likelihood of allusion. Finally, the extreme similarity of context lends further support. Ammon and Jesus are both giving assurances to female character that their beloved male family member will rise from either death or near-death. “Believest thou this” is especially impressive as it comes at the same moment in the conversations as the male speakers end their assurances. Notably, Ammon’s words makes an additional allusion to Christ’s words in the verse directly following the above exchange. Alma 19:9-10 9 And Ammon saith unto her: Believest thou this? And she said unto him: I have had no witness save thy word and the word of our servants. Nevertheless I believe that it shall be according as thou hast said. 10 And Ammon said unto her: Blessed art thou because of thy exceeding faith. I say unto thee, woman, there has not been such great faith among all the people of the Nephites. Luke 7:2,7,9 2 And a certain centurion’s servant, who was dear unto him, was sick, and ready to die… 7 Wherefore neither thought I myself worthy to come unto thee: but say in a word, and my servant shall be healed… 9 When Jesus heard these things, he marvelled at him, and turned him about, and said unto the people that followed him, I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel. The shared terminology combined with clear parallel concepts, all in correct sequence, gives this example some serious teeth. Further, the phrase “so/such great faith” only occur twice in the Bible, the other occurrence being the parallel account in Matthew 8. It also only occurs twice in the Book of Mormon, the other being Christ’s words in 3 Nephi 19:35, which uses a similar formula. The single term, “word,” with its correct sequence, strengthens the above allusion. I chose Luke 7 over Matthew 8 because Luke’s context better matches that of Alma 18. In Luke 7:2 we are told that the sick servant is “ready to die,” making his healing all the more comparable to Lamoni’s promised awakening from near-death. One more example comes earlier in the narrative. After Ammon is assigned to shepherd and the flocks have been scattered, Ammon rallies the servants of King Lamoni to help protect the flock. He addresses them with what are readily seen as Christ’s words. Alma 17:28, 31 28 Now the servants … began to weep exceedingly, saying: Behold, our flocks are scattered already… 31 And it came to pass that he flattered them by his words, saying: My brethren, be of good cheer, and let us go in search of the flocks; and we will gather them together and bring them back unto the place of water. And thus we will restore the flocks unto the king and he will not slay us. John 16:32-33 32 Behold, the hour cometh, yea, is now come, that ye shall be scattered, every man to his own, and shall leave me alone: and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me. 33 These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world. I have included “scattered” from Alma 17:28 here because it perhaps clarifies the exact allusion. The primary shared terminology here is “be of good cheer,” a four word phrase that occurs seven times in the New Testament and twice in the Book of Mormon. Notably, this occurrence makes Ammon the only other Book of Mormon speaker to use the phrase besides Christ. In the New Testament, five of the occurrences are attributed to Christ, and two are attributed to Paul, both of which happen within a four verse span in Acts 27:22-25. It is the proximity of the the term scatter and the matching sequence of the two elements that makes this passage a likely allusion to John 16:32-33 specifically. The shared context of a spiritual shepherd comforting his metaphorical flock is also worth noting. Other allusions can be found that place Ammon is roles prescribed to Christ. For example, After Ammon has miraculously defended the flock and servants, King Lamoni, who now believes Ammon is the Great Spirit, is hesitant to ask Ammon about it. One of Lamoni’s servants requests that Ammon stay on Lamoni’s behalf, and the servant’s words potentially allude to multiple New Testament passages. All of these potential target passages are found in John, and all of them address Christ. Alma 18:13 And one of the king’s servants said unto him: Rabbanah, which is being interpreted powerful or great king—considering their kings to be powerful—and thus he said unto him: Rabbanah, the king desireth thee to stay. John 1:36-38 36 And looking upon Jesus as he walked, he saith, Behold the Lamb of God! 37 And the two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus. 38 Then Jesus turned, and saw them following, and saith unto them, What seek ye? They said unto him, Rabbi, (which is to say, being interpreted, Master,) where dwellest thou? John 20:16 16 Jesus saith unto her, Mary. She turned herself, and saith unto him, Rabboni; which is to say, Master. In both cases the shared terminology here is a long but inexact phrase. Alma 18:13 and John 1:39 clearly share the most terminology, making them a strong candidate for biblical allusion. The close match between Rabboni and Rabbanah and their dissimilarity to other words, excepting Rabbi, that occur in the Book of Mormon and New Testament suggest that the passage is also potentially alluding to John 20:16. [15] The similar concepts of Master/King that follows is simply a continuation of the original allusion, so there is no real case for proximity or shared sequence of multiple examples. Depending how the phrase is parsed, it lends different levels of dissimilarity. Using the tightest parameters, which is the entire phrase “said/saith unto him, Rabbi/Rabboni/Rabbanah, which is,” there are only the two above occurrences in the New Testament and the single occurrence in the Book of Mormon. Using the loosest set of parameters, looking for only the words Rabbi, Rabboni, or Rabbanah, there are seven passages in the New Testament that use one of these terms and only the single Book of Mormon passage in Alma 18. Of the seven New Testament passages, it is notable that all but one refer to Christ. The exception, John 6:25, refers to John the Baptist. Returning to the two strongest candidates given above, the context is clearly related in both instances. In John 20, Mary, after mistaking Christ for the gardener, realizes he is the risen Lord and calls him Rabboni. On the other hand, Lamoni mistakes Ammon for God, and his servant calls Ammon Rabbanah. In John 1:38, disciples of John the Baptist are addressing Jesus as Rabbi just following John’s declaration that Jesus is the Messiah. This passage, like John 20:16, is about recognition of Jesus identity, and both John 1:38 and 20:16 have an inversional contextual relationship with the misidentification of Ammon as the Great Spirit or God in Alma 18. It is possible that John 1:49 is also implicated by the above allusion. It reads, “Nathanael answered and saith unto him, Rabbi, thou art the Son of God; thou art the King of Israel.” In terms of shared terminology, of the seven New Testatament passages that use either the term Rabbi or Rabboni, this is the third strongest candidate for allusion and the only of the group to share the term “King,” which occurs in close proximity to and in correct sequence with the initial phrase. Several other allusions to passages in John 1 that occur in this part of the Ammon account will be explored later in the paper, and their proximity adds some merit to this potential allusion. The context of this example, like the two previously analysed, also addresses Christ’s identity. Another allusion that puts Ammon in a Christ-like role comes during Ammon and company’s preparation to split up and enter Lamanite lands. Ammon ministers to his fellow missionaries, and the text alludes to Christ’s words in Matthew. Alma 17:18, 25 18 Now Ammon being the chief among them, or rather he did administer unto them, he departed from them, after having blessed them according to their several stations, having imparted the word of God unto them, or administered unto them before his departure. And thus they took their several journeys throughout the land. 25 But Ammon saith unto him: Nay, but I will be thy servant. Therefore Ammon became a servant to king Lamoni. Matthew 20:26-28 26 But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister; 27 And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant: 28 Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many. Shared terminology here consists of an inexact single term, “minister/administer,” and an inexact three word string, “chief among them/you.” Impressively, the word string “chief among” occurs only once in the Old Testament, twice in the New Testament, and once in the Book of Mormon. However, only the passage in Matthew 20 shares the combination of the elements “administer” and “chief among” The appropriate proximity of the two elements and their correct sequence help establish the allusion. In terms of sequence, the first occurrence of “minister” in Matthew 20:26 is only bolded because here is a noun and not a verb as the later occurrence which matches the use in Alma 17:19. I also included the term “servant” as it is included in Alma 17 some verses later as a major plot point. The context here is rather different as Ammon is demonstrating actions and a role that Christ’s words recommend. However, a clear connection between Ammon and Christ is created through Christ indication he is the exemplary minister or servant. A final example can be found during Ammon’s defensive actions, where the text alludes to Mary’s words following angel Gabriel’s annunciation. Alma 7:37 …And he caused them to flee by the strength of his arm. Luke 1:51 He hath shewed strength with his arm; he hath scattered the proud in the imaginations of their hearts. The shared terminology is three words with the variable connector of/with. The shared terminology is not terribly impressive, but its dissimilarity creates a strong case. This three word combination is only used once in the Book of Mormon, once in the New Testament, and once in the Old Testament. The Old Testament example, Isaiah 53:12, does use the “of” like Alma 7. However, the example in Luke also shares the idea of causing a group to scatter or flee. The context does not appear to be shared. The allusion strengthens the connection between Christ and Ammon as the passage in Luke describes actions attributed to Christ. Mary is reacting to the announcement of Christ’s impending birth, and she specifies that she is speaking of her “God’ and “Savior” (Luke 1:47). The passage equates God and Christ, and so Christ can be seen as the person acting in verse 51. Lamoni’s Awakening and Lazarus’ Raising The above phrasal allusions place Ammon in Christ’s shoes, speaking his words or fulfilling roles prescribed to him. Narrative parallels also illustrate Ammon’s divinized Christ-like status. The strongest of these is a large scale intertextuality between Lamoni’s awakening and Lazarus’ rising from the dead. Following is a table outlining the narrative parallels between these two accounts. Alma 18:42-43 Lamoni falls to the ground as if dead. Alma 19:2-10 Ammon assures the queen that Lamoni will rise. The queen responds positively. Alma 19:11-16 Ammon's promise is fulfilled and Lamoni, who was mistaken for dead, rises from his sleep, but the experience is extended as he falls to the earth again along with others. Alma 19:16-18 Abish, the queen's servant, causes a multitude to assemble. Alma 19:19-24 Ammon's life is threatened and he is miraculously saved. Alma 19:25-33 Everyone rises. John 11 Lazarus is sick and dies. John 11:20-27 Christ assures Martha that Lazarus will rise. Martha responds positively. John 11:38-45 Christ raises Lazarus from the dead. John 11:28-35 (out of order) Mary, Martha's sister, comes and a group of Jews follow her. John 11:47-54 The chief priests plot to kill Jesus. He evades them. Looking at the two accounts in summary, there are striking similarities between each set of parallel events, and all events in this segment of the Ammon narrative have parallel events in John 11 with the exception of the final group awakening in Alma 19, for which there is no parallel equivalent. That being said, the group rising can be seen as a climactic repetition of Lamoni’s return from visionary sleep, so it still functions as a logical expansion of the intertextuality. In terms of proximity, the events in Alma take place over 35 verses and the events in John take place over 54 verses. In other words, both sets of events occur within relatively short and comparable lengths of text. Sequence also lines up well with the exception that the parallel between Abish and Mary is out of sequence with the other events in John 11. A closer examination of this set of narrative parallels also proves fruitful. There are more specific narrative allusions along with parallel concepts and shared terminology that support the intertextuality. For example, the queen’s conversation with Ammon lends several important details paralleled in John 11. In Alma 19:4, four she tells Ammon that she was told he is “a prophet of a holy God and that thou hast power to do many mighty works in his name,” inferring that he has power to help her husband. This is in parallel to John 11:21-22, where Martha infers Christ can raise Lazarus from the dead. She says to Jesus, “if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died. But I know, that even now, whatsoever thou wilt ask of God, God will give it thee.” The following verse in Alma 19 offers further details. Alma 19:5 5 Therefore if this is the case, I would that ye should go in and see my husband, for he has been laid upon his bed for the space of two days and two nights. And some say that he is not dead; but others say that he is dead and that he stinketh and that he ought to be placed in the sepulchre. But as for myself, to me he doth not stink. John 11:38-39 38 Jesus therefore again groaning in himself cometh to the grave. It was a cave, and a stone lay upon it. 39 Jesus said, Take ye away the stone. Martha, the sister of him that was dead, saith unto him, Lord, by this time he stinketh: for he hath been dead four days. The shared terminology, “he stinketh,” is unique, only occurring once in the Book of Mormon and once in the New Testament. The proposed sepulcher for Lamoni is paralleled by Lazarus’ cave tomb and stone cover,[16] and the phrase, “two days and two nights,” breaks what is otherwise a three day scheme into two units of two creating a possible allusion to the “four days” in John. While the sequence of presentation does not match,[17] the proximity of the two or three elements in both texts is notable. Alma 19:6 goes on to state that a “dark veil of unbelief” was “being cast away from [Lamoni’s] mind.” These concepts find parallels in John 11:44 in the “napkin,” which covers Lazarus’ “face” and Jesus commands to be “loose[d].” Alma 19:6’s subsequent description of “light” filling Lamoni’s mind and dispelling a “cloud of darkness” is paralleled by Jesus statement on spiritual light and darkness in John 11:9-10. He says, “If any man walk in the day, he stumbleth not, because he seeth the light of this world. But if a man walk in the night, he stumbleth, because there is no light in him.” The clear allusions in Alma 19:8-9 to John 11 have been discussed above, and they strongly support the overall narrative parallel. To quickly review, Ammon describes Lamoni as sleeping, matching Christ’s description of Lazarus in 11:8. Ammon promises that Lamoni “shall rise again” echoing Christ’s promise that Lazarus “shall rise again” in 11:23. Most signficantly, there is quite a bit of shared terminology surrounding and including Ammon and Christ’s questions, “Believe thou this?” and the phrase, “I believe that,” from queen and Martha’s responses (11:26-27). Later after Lamoni has risen the first time and the whole group, there are parallel concepts in the description of Abish gathering the people. Alma 19:17 describes Abish, saying she “ran forth from house to house.” Similarly, in John 11:29 Mary arises “quickly” and verse 31 comes “hastily” to the grave. As described in the overview both of their actions result in a group of people gathering at the scene of the action. In all of these actions a consistent set of character relationships can be established. Ammon’s fills the role of Christ, except in his own falling and rising, an exception that will be addressed later on. Lamoni clearly parallels Lazarus. The queen serves as Martha, and Abish serves as Mary. Gender is consistent in each of the pairs. Relationships between the characters also function in parallel. Lamoni is husband to the queen as Lazarus is brother to Martha. Both of these are familial relationships. Abish is the servant of the queen, a potentially close relationship in parallel to the sisterhood of Mary and Martha. Abish is already converted already and the queen follows consistent with Mary’s early concern for spiritual things in contrast to Martha in Luke 10:39-42. Lastly, a parallel can be seen in Lamoni’s and Lazarus’ names. Both names are three syllables, start with the letters La, and are of comparable length. By itself, this similarity would not be notable, but in conjunction with the many other parallels, this similarity is worth mentioning. The evidence laid out above points convincingly towards an intertextuality between the raisings of Lamoni and Lazarus. The account of Lamoni’s awakening contains five distinct narrative allusions to events in John 11, all of which take place within convincing proximity in both texts and mostly in matching sequence. If Ammon’s question, “believe thou this,” and the queen’s response are broken into two separate allusions, which is justified as their target passages are separated, then there are four significant phrasal allusions, three of which happen in matching sequence with their target passages. There are also two notable shared single terms, one of which is completely unique in the Book of Mormon and Bible to Alma 19 and John 11, and eight parallel concepts. Significantly, all of the phrasal allusions, both shared single terms, and seven of the eight parallel concepts happen within a five verse span (Alma 19:4-9), creating a focused, strong, and obvious set. Beyond these, there are also four consistent character relationships that further establish the narrative intertextuality. Finally, this intricate set of allusions is accompanied by five other significant phrasal allusions in the surrounding text, which were outlined in the previous section, all establishing Ammon as a parallel to Christ. One of the more significant of these phrasal is found in the Alma 19:10, the verse directly following the previously mentioned five verse span rich with allusions to the Lazarus’ account, and the immediate proximity of these allusions strengthens the overall argument. The intentionality of all of this is rather undisguised, and it clearly depicts Ammon as a “true follower” or divinized disciple, who speaks Christ’s words and wields his power. Ammon as the Good Shepherd Another set of narrative parallels can be seen in Ammon’s role as a shepherd. The events surrounding the scattering of Lamoni’s flocks and Ammo’s defense of them can be seen as narrative allusions to Christ’s teaching about the true shepherd in John 10:1-18. The Lamanites who scatter the flock parallel both the stranger, the wolf, and the thief, and the servants who do not defend the flock parallel the hirelings who flee from the wolf (Alma 17:27, John 10:5, 10, 12-13). Ammon’s defense of the flocks, in which he risks his life, parallels the good shepherd or Christ, who lays down his life for the sheep (Alma 17:33-38, John 10:11, 15). The description of the attacking Lamanites contain a group of allusions that support the narrative intertextuality. Alma 17:35 35 Therefore they did not fear Ammon, for they supposed that one of their men could slay him according to their pleasure, for they knew not that the Lord had promised Mosiah that he would deliver his sons out of their hands, neither did they know any thing concerning the Lord; therefore they delighted in the destruction of their brethren, and for this cause they stood to scatter the flocks of the king. John 10:10, 12 10 The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. 12 But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep. The shared terminology here consists of an inexact three word string, an inexact shared term, and a single parallel concept. Despite the weakness of the shared terminology, the proximity of the elements and their matching sequence help to make the group more convincing. The dissimilarity of the phrase “scattereth the sheep” and the variation “scatter the flocks” also strengthens the group. Searching all combinations of ‘scatter/scattereth the flock/sheep’ lends four exact matches in the Book of Mormon and only one example in the Old Testament and one in the New Testament.[19] Of the two possibilities, John 10 is the more relevant passage due to the additional parallel concept of slay/kill and the additional narrative parallel between Alma 17 and John 10 of Ammon/Christ defending the flock, which there is no case for in the Old Testament example. Another aspect of the narrative creates further connections between the two texts. Though at first Lamoni’s servants appear to be the hirelings who do not defend the flock, they are quickly adopted as Ammon’s metaphorical flock. He both leads them and protects them in direct parallel to Christ’s description of the good shepherd.[20] A set of allusions help to support this narrative parallel. Alma 17:29, 32 29 …that I may win the hearts of these my fellow servants, that I may lead them to believe in my words. 32 And it came to pass that they went in search of the flocks; and they did follow Ammon… John 10:3 3 To him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out. 4 And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice. The shared terminology here is a pair of inexact two word phrases, and a similar concept. The shared terminology is fairly common. However, when the words “lead” and “follow” are combined there is only one New Testament passage that uses lead and follow together in direct correlation. The Book of Mormon uses the combination in two passages. The other is in the description of the Lamanites following the Nephites towards the land of Zarahemla (Alma 58:19, 24), and clearly, the context is very different. The proximity of the three elements help to establish this allusion to John 10:3, and the context is a closely related in the portrayal of the servants as Ammon’s flock. A Book of Mormon allusion outside of the Ammon narrative is worth mentioning here because of its strong similarity to previous examples. Alma 5:41 reads, “Therefore if a man bringeth forth good works, he hearkeneth unto the voice of the good shepherd and he doth follow him.” The concepts of good shepherd, listening to a voice, and the phrase “follow him” all point to a likely biblical allusion to the passages in John 10. The context of Alma 5 is fairly different, but the doctrine being developed here is highly relevant to the portrayal of Ammon as a type of Christ. It could also be noted that the phrase “I am come that they might have life” from John 10:10 is paralleled by Ammon’s general actions. While protecting the flocks of the king he is also protecting the lives of his metaphorical sheep, the king’s servants (Alma 18:16). Ammon’s actions not only save them from the Lamanite attackers but also from Lamoni’s punishment. Lastly, Ammon risks his own life somewhat similar to Christ’s declaration in John 10:15, “As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep.” Ammon and John the Baptist As if to clarify the doctrine of divinization, The Book of Mormon text makes it clear that despite Ammon’s powers, he is not God. After Lamoni has mistakenly identified Ammon as the Great Spirit, Ammon sets the record straight. In this section of narrative, the text also seeks to clarify Ammon’s role as subservient to Christ, and it does this through allusions which create a connection between Ammon and John the Baptist, one of which occurs directly within Lamoni and Ammon’s discussion about Ammon’s identity. Alma 18:18-19 18 Now when the king had heard these words, he marveled again; for he beheld that Ammon could discern his thoughts. But notwithstanding this, king Lamoni did open his mouth and said unto him: Who art thou? Art thou that Great Spirit which knows all things? 19 Ammon answered and said unto him: I am not. John 1:19-20 19 And this is the record of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, Who art thou? 20 And he confessed, and denied not; but confessed, I am not the Christ. [21] The shared terminology is two three word phrases. The phrase “I am not” is fairly common, but the phrase “who art thou,” while used many times throughout the Bible, is only used three times in the Book of Mormon. In combination, the two phrases only appear together once in the Book of Mormon and once in the Bible as cited above. Both proximity and sequence support the allusion. The context is also very clearly related. The Jews are questioning whether John the Baptist is the messiah in parallel to Lamoni’s question whether or not Ammon is the Great Spirit. A second allusion during the Ammon and Lamoni’s conversation also supports the connection between Ammon and John the Baptist. Alma 18:33-34 33 And king Lamoni saith: I believe all these things which thou hast spoken. Art thou sent from God? 34 Ammon saith unto him: I am a man… John 1:6 6 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. This example’s shared terminology is short, particularly with the text’s separation of the word man. However, the phrase “sent from God” is somewhat unique as it is only used two times in the New Testament and three times in the Book of Mormon. Of these uses, only the two passages cited here use the word “man” in conjunction with the phrase “sent from God.” Besides having appropriate proximity within these two verses, this passage’s proximity to other allusions to John 1 make it increasingly likely.[22] While the sequence does not support the allusion, the matching context does, which consists of men being questioned whether they are the text’s functional equivalent to God. The two examples discussed above help define Ammon’s role. Like John the Baptism, Ammon is an important and God-sent messenger. With Ammon’s commission comes divine power, and a unity with Christ that is demonstrated in Ammon’s words and actions. However, like John the Baptist, he is not the Christ; he is still just a man. A different rhetorical emphasis of this point seems to also be present in Ammon’s statement “I am a man.” This phrase, which he also says in Alma 18:17, appears to be a wordplay on his name. Combined, the two words, “a man,” closely resemble the name Ammon. It is also notable that the name Ammon can be substituted. The text then appropriately reads, “I am [Ammon].” Leading up to Ammon and Lamoni’s conversation, Ammon is referred to as a “man” four times (Alma 18:3, 8, 10), and in another instance, Lamoni states his assumption that Ammon is “more than a man” (Alma 18:2). Further uses of the term man give more definition to the relationship between God and man. Alma 8:34 states that “man was created in the image of God,” directly following and qualifying Ammon’s statement that he is a man. This idea is inverted into the condescension of God in Alma 19:13, which states that the Redeemer will “be born of a woman,”[23] adding another link in the relationship between man and God. In this manner the text builds part of the definition of divinization, both the boundary line between man and God and the connections between them, into Ammon’s name. An allusion found in Lamoni’s comments after rising from his vision add another layer of meaning to the relationship between God and man. Alma 19:13 …For as sure as thou livest, behold, I have seen my Redeemer, and he shall come forth and be born of a woman, and he shall redeem all mankind who believe on his name. John 1:12 12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name. The phrase “believe on his name,” an exact four word match, occurs a number of times in the Book of Mormon, but it only occurs once in the New Testament making the allusion clear.[24] This phrase appears again in Alma 19:36 with a similar sentiment, and the repetition helps rhetorically emphasize its importance and the author’s purposeful use of the allusion. Its proximity to other allusions to the Gospel of John just a few verses prior is also notable. In terms of context, the theology is the common thread. As explained above, John 1:12 teaches that all those who believe in Christ can become “sons of God.” This elevated status is a type of divinization, and the repeated allusion helps clarify and emphasize the idea that man can fulfill the potential of his own creation, becoming more like God. This nuanced relationship between God and man plays an integral role in one of Joseph Smith’s unpublished revelation dating to 1832. The revelation gives names for God, the Son of God, man, and angels in the “pure language.” They are Awman, Son Awman, Sons Awman, and Awmans Anglo-men. Each name is given further definition. Awman is “the being which made all things in all its parts.” Son Awman is “the greatest of all the parts of Awman which is the God-head, the firstborn.” Sons Awman are “the human family, the children of men the greatest parts of Awman, Save the Son Awman.” Finally, Awmans Anglo-men are “Awman’s ministering Servants sanctified who are sent forth from heaven sent forth from heaven to minister for or to Sons Awman, the greatest parts Awman save Sons-Awman Son-Awman.” Similar to the Ammon narrative, all of these parts are connected, so much so that they each bear the name Awman. Bruce R. Mckonkie related the name Awman to Moses 6:57, a verse dictated in 1830. The pertinent segment reads, “in the language of Adam, Man of Holiness is his name, and the name of his Only Begotten is the Son of Man.” This connection is likely relevant as there is a similar though partial list structure, similarities in the names,[25] and reference to the language of Adam. The pure language and the Adamic language are one and the same in the early church.[26] If Moses 6:57 is directly related to the revelation on pure language, the name Ahman’s association with the title Man of Holiness would be closely related to the wordplay in Ammon’s declaration that he is “a man” and that “man was created in the image of God.” The clear similarity between the names Ammon and Ahman is also significant. More particularly, Ahman contains the word man while Ammon contains the syllable “mon,” which the text imbues with the meaning man. Lastly, relevant to the doctrinal exposition in the Book of Mormon, mankind or sons Ahman are defined as both distinct from and part of God, somewhat similar to the definition fleshed out in the Ammon narrative. Significantly, similar word play incorporating the word man can be seen in Abish’s name. Matthew Bowen’s article, “Father is a Man: The Remarkable Mention of the Name Abish in Alma 19:16 and its Narrative Context,” convincingly lays out Abish’s role as a counterpart to Ammon... (I haven't finished writing this section so I'll sum this up.) Basically, the hebrew meaning of Abish means "Father is a man", which according to Bowen, and he argued convincingly, the text uses to create wordplay with the fact that she had been converted on account of a vision of her father and to be the spiritual counterpart to Ammon, who clarifies twice "I am a man," in the conversion of the Lamanites. I would take it a step further and point to the wordplay I've already acknowledged in Ammon's name (Ammon = A man). Finally, I would also argue that her name's hebrew meaning points to the doctrine being rhetorically unfolded in the Ammon account, which is that God is the "Man of Holiness" or that the "Father is a man" and that man is his creation in a father/son relationship with potential for divine growth. [1] Joseph Smith and Royal Skousen. The Book of Mormon: The Earliest Text (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2009), Kindle Edition. All Book of Mormon quotations will be taken from Skousen’s edition of the Book of Mormon. [3] Nicholas Frederick, “Line Within Line: An Intertextual Analysis of Mormon Scripture and the Prologue of the Gospel of John,” (PhD diss., The Claremont Graduate University, 2013), 138. [4] Mark J. Johnson, “Notes and Communications: The Exodus of Lehi Revisited,” Journal of Book of Mormon Studies 3/2 (1994): 123–26, accessed April 3, 2016, https://ojs.lib.byu.edu/spc/index.php/JBMRS/article/viewFile/19728/ 18295; Terrence L. Szink. “Nephi and the Exodus,” in Rediscovering the Book of Mormon, ed. John L. Sorenson et al. (Provo, UT: FARMS, 1991), accessed April 3, 2016, http://publications.mi.byu.edu/fullscreen/?pub= 1111&index=6; George S. Tate, “The Typology of the Exodus Pattern in the Book of Mormon,” in Literature of Belief: Sacred Scripture and Religious Experience, ed. Neal E. Lambert (Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 1981), accessed April 3, 2016, https://rsc.byu.edu/archived/literature-belief-sacred-scripture-and-religious-experience/13-typology-exodus-pattern-book; Ryan Thomas, “Nahom and Lehi’s Journey through Arabia: A Historical Perspective, Part 1,” Faith Promoting Rumor, September 14, 2015, accessed April 3, 2016, http://www.patheos.com/blogs/ faithpromotingrumor/2015/09/nahom-and-lehis-journey-through-arabia-a-historical-perspective/. [5] [6] Ben Mcguire [7] Nicholas J. Frederick, “Evaluating the Interaction between the New Testament and the Book of Mormon: A Proposed Methodology,” Journal of Book of Mormon Studies 24 (2015), accessed April 3, 2016, http://publications.mi.byu.edu/fullscreen/?pub=3592&index=1. [8] Frederick, “Line Within Line: An Intertextual Analysis of Mormon Scripture and the Prologue of the Gospel of John,” 128-137. [9] The other Book of Mormon use of the phrase, “Become the sons of God,” is in 3 Nephi 9:17, and the connection between this passage and John 1:12 is so strong that Frederick labels it as a quotation. See Ibid., 117-118. [10] Explicit association between fire and the Holy Ghost is also made in 3 Nephi 19:13 and 2 Nephi 31:13. [11] Knowing all things an attribute of God recognized in the Book of Mormon. See Words of Mormon 1:7, Alma 18:18, and Moroni 7:22. [12] ?? [13] In an earlier verse Ammon plans to show his power, or the power that is “in” him, in defending the kings flocks and servants (Alma 17:29). [14] If the Old Testament is not mentioned specifically there are no occurrences of that phrase. [15] Rabonni is emphatic form of the word Rabbi, and Jesus as resurrected Lord in John 20:16 certainly merits the emphasis. [16] A common definition for sepulcher is a stone burial chamber. [17] The sequence is actually inverted. [19] The example in the Old Testament comes from Jer. 23:1-4, and it is possible that Jesus is expanding this passage in John 10. Verse 1 reads, “Woe be unto the pastors that destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture! saith the Lord.” The metaphor is people to sheep is the same, and the warning against false shepherds is similar. The shared terminology of destroy and scatter is important. It is notable that these two terms are shared between both Jeremiah and John and John and Alma. [20] Ammon’s defense of Lamoni’s servants is made explicit in Alma 18:16. [21] John the Baptist’s response uses the phrase “I am,” which shares the source Greek phrase, “ego eimi,” with John 8:58. These passages also share the initial question “Who are thou” (John 8:25). Christ’s use of “I am” has long been identified as a possible allusion to the name of God given to Moses in Exodus. I think it is possible, when considering the shared elements between John chapters 1 and 8, that the Baptist’s use of “I am” could be an inversional intratextuality with Christ’s use, emphasizing the point that John is the forerunner and Christ is “I am”. [22] Examples of proximate allusions to John 1 include Alma 18:13/John 1:36-38 and Alma 18:18-19/John 1:19-20, both discussed above. Another proximate possibility is Alma 18:34/John1:1-4. [23] Bowen [24] Frederick, “Line Within Line: An Intertextual Analysis of Mormon Scripture and the Prologue of the Gospel of John,” 90-92. [25] Ahman contains the word man, and similarly, Son Ahman is a close match to Son of Man.
  6. Christ in The Book of Mormon

    I love The Book of Mormon and to me it is an absolutely beautiful book. I love the things that it teaches and it is always amazing to read. However, my testimony in it has been wavering in it for a while with a lot of doubts. For me one of the most difficult things concerning the historicity of The Book of Mormon is the belief that the people in it have of Christ. In the Bible nobody knows about the coming of a savior that will Atone for their sins. They don't really have a belief in an Atoning Messiah or in the Atonement in the time period of the Old Testament. But in the Book of Mormon they do. Can somebody help me with how they have worked through that issue?
  7. According to what I read about the Hopewell (nephites) were skilled with the use of Iron. They fashioned axes heads out of meteoric iron. I'm sure the iron ax heads were great for cutting down timbers and the building of cities made out of wood mentioned in the Book of Mormon. What I want to know how were the able to fashion ax heads out of chunks of meteoric iron without smelting. Have scientist figured that out. They were not able to figure out how they made copper breastplates without smelting. Another item that can be checked off the list.
  8. I have made my own book of Mormon map that I would like to get critical feed back for. I can't post images maybe because I'm a newbie of sorts. In my research I have found the narrow pass mentioned in the Book of Mormon is not between the west sea and the east sea its between the east sea and the sea east. The narrow neck is between the sea west and the sea east. The land desolation is between the east sea and sea west But I would like to get constructive criticism of what works and what doesn't. If you see a discrepancy explain the discrepancy with the backing verses. The link is to my map I will be posting chapters and more research as I go. I have a lot that can be posted. https://bookofmormonevidence.blogspot.com/2016/09/alma-chapter-22-bom-map.html
  9. I'm not sure if the map will show up but if not you can see the map here http://bookofmormonevidence.blogspot.com/2016/09/archeological-evidence-of-fortified.html http://bookofmormonevidence.blogspot.com/2016/09/alma-chapter-22-bom-map.html Archeological Evidence of the Fortified Cities by the East Sea I will be using the Hopewell mound fortifications found in New York State and Pennsylvania for archeological evidence for the fortifications described in Alma Chapter 50 and refortified in Alma Chapter 52. E.G Sqiuer and Charles Whitney described these fortifications before many of the sites were destroyed by farmers and settlers in the 18th and 19the century. First is a visual description of as described in the Book of Mormon and a comparison between Charles Whitney and E.G Squiers descriptions. Moroni needs to prepare the Nephite territories from consistence attacks by the Lamanites. One area in particular needs particular attention that would be the east wilderness. Through the Niagra isthmus the Lamanites would have access to the Land Northward Bountiful and Jershon. Moroni (Alma Chapter 50) clears out the Lamanites from the east wilderness and has the Nephites occupy the land and build fortifications. Moroni (Alma Chapter 52) refortifies the area from attack. 7 And it came to pass that Moroni caused that his armies should go forth into the east wilderness; yea, and they went forth and drove all the Lamanites who were in the east wilderness into their own lands, which were south of the land of Zarahemla. 9 And it came to pass that when Moroni had driven all the Lamanites out of the east wilderness, which was north of the lands of their own possessions, he caused that the inhabitants who were in the land of Zarahemla and in the land round about should go forth into the east wilderness, even to the borders by the seashore, and possess the land. 10 And he also placed armies on the south, in the borders of their possessions, and caused them to erect fortifications that they might secure their armies and their people from the hands of their enemies. Alma 52 9 And he also sent orders unto him that he should fortify the land Bountiful, and secure the narrow pass which led into the land northward, lest the Lamanites should obtain that point and should have power to harass them on every side. These are the descriptions of the fortifications that the Nephites built Concerning this line of fortifications Charles Whittlesey said: That they formed a well occupied line, constructed either to protect the advance of a nation landing from the lake (Lake Erie) and moving southward for conquest; or, a line of resistance for a people inhabiting these shores and pressed upon by their southern neighbors. (Quoted in R. Silverberg, Mound Builders of Ancient America, p. 116.) E.G Sqier stated: System of Defenses extending from the sources of the Allegheny and Susquehanna in New York, diagonally across the country, through central and northern Ohio, to the Wabash. (Ancient Monuments, p. 44.) Charles second description for the reasoning behind these fortifications matches the reasoning for Moroni to build these fortifications. The Lamanites attacked from the areas south of these fortifications or the lower part of New York state. Moroni secured the land northward and a second entry in the land Bountiful.
  10. Peppermint Patty's thread, "Grant Hardy's Presentation on The Book of Mormon" got shut down before salgare's question to Scott Lloyd ("can one claim the BoM is inspired fiction and still be exalted?") could be clearly & concisely answered--so I thought I'd turn it into a poll. What do you think? --Erik
  11. Professor Peterson posted some interesing information about Grant Hardy's recent FAIR presentation. From what I can gather, Brother Hardy talked about members not needing to believe in a historical Book of Mormon in order to have saving faith. Can anyone who was in attendance elaborate further on Brother Hardy's presentation? This sounds like it was a very interesting presentation. Any idea when the transcript will be available?
  12. There have been many studies about word patterns in the Book of Mormon to try and establish the existence of multiple authors for each of the books. And there has been some success with this approach. There is of course the fact that Mormon (Mosiah to 4th Nephi) and Moroni (Ether and Moroni) abridged most of the books, so it's sometimes hard to know which are the actual words of the original various prophets. I have personally looked at the patterns of usage of certain words and phrases. For example, the phrase "it came to pass" occurs approximately 1297 times in the Book of Mormon. There are actually no sentences or verses that begin with this phrase by itself. The introductory phrase "And it came to pass" in some form, accounts for 1068 of the instances of this phrase, used as an introductory for a sentence or verse. I have combed through the Book of Mormon and found 18 variances of this phrase in different books of the Book of Mormon. One interesting variant is the use of the word "now" in some form of the phrase (eg "and now it came to pass", "Behold, now it came to pass", etc.) occurs 164 times in almost all books in the Book of Mormon, but nowhere in the book of Ether. Out of 153 times the phrase "it came to pass" occurs in the Book of Ether; nowhere is the word "now" associated with any forms of the phrase. In fact most of the Book of Ether only uses the exact phrase "and it came to pass" and only a couple other of the 17 variants of the phrase. For a book as large as Ether is, this difference tends to suggest that the Book of Ether had a different author than the rest of the Book of Mormon. There may be other patterns I haven't noticed yet. There are no forms of the phrase "it came to pass" found in the Book of Moroni; although this might be expected since the Moroni scriptures are more instructional rather than historical writings. That or Moroni got tired of his father using the phrase so much. I realize that the characters used to represent the different forms of "and it came to pass" may be so similar that it might have been up to the translator to decide on what the exact translation should be. Another interesting find regards the use of the words "whoso" and "whosoever". Whosoever is found 73 times in the Book of Mormon; 53 of those times in the books of Alma and Mosiah; whereas the word "whoso", is not found at all in these two books, but it is found 40 times in other books. The book of Ether uses "whoso" (8 times) exclusively, but not "whosoever" at all. "Whoso" is also used 8 times in 1st and 2nd Nephi, but "whosoever" is not used at all in these books. See chart below.
  13. K'àak' Chi'

    Awesome find; loving Astronomy as I do. Would like to see these Mayan cities on a map overlaid with the Mayan constellations if anyone can find something like it.
  14. Greetings. I'm working on a new piece about what battle was like for the average Nephite soldier. This is a face of battle approach somewhat common to military history but relatively lacking in regards to the Book of Mormon. (I can send a copy of the current draft to interested readers.) I remember reading somewhere about an article that compares Moroni (or Mormon) and his writings to a survivor of the holocaust, or somebody that shows he went through trauma or suffers from PTSD. Does anybody know about this piece and where I can find it? I know my description is somewhat vague, but I've only heard about this from an off hand comment at a conference. I've done my best but can't seem to find it. I appreciate any help you could offer. Thanks.
  15. Does anyone know who this guy is? He talks about DNA evidence supporting the Book of Mormon, claiming it matches up with ancient native Americans living in North America.
  16. Why Lead Lehi to the New World?

    As I've been studying the BoM this year for Gospel Doctrine I have a nagging question I can't fully itch. We are taught that Lehi and his family are led from Jerusalem to the new world to establish a righteous people. But there is no discernible remnant of Lehi's people in America. So I wonder if the purpose is to raise up the BoM for the people of this day. But I still have to wonder why Lehi would have been necessary. Why wouldn't Christ have established his church among the people who were already here? It's kind of like Raiders of the Lost Ark. If you take Indiana Jones completely out of the story the Nazi's still accomplish their aim and open the ark of the covenant and get their faces melted off. Take Lehi and his family out of the story and we have the same outcome and evidence of their existence as if they had really been in the Americas. There was no righteous posterity to connect his day with ours. There was no lasting Christian tradition that survived after Moroni. The only "evidence" of the value of Lehi's involvement is the BoM which just as easily could have been written by the American natives.
  17. Recently, several posters here have claimed that academics are unlikely to accept archaeological evidence for the Book of Mormon as that would involve giving credence to the supernatural claims claims of how the book was discovered and translated. Other posters have challenged this pessimistic assessment. I hate to say it, but the first group is largely correct. Sure, there might be exceptions, but here is an example of why I think that they are right. Tomer Persico, an Israeli scholar of religion, wrote a blog post on phenomenology of religion and mysticism. The piece practically drips disdain for any approach which is not severely rationalistic (I'd go as far as saying logical positivisit), and uses several examples of what Persico considers ludicrous religious claims. "If we wish to understand any given phenomenon, we should think about it very seriously. It is reasonable to assume that more than any other approach a rationalistic interpretation Merkabah mysticism will bring us closer to understanding what truly happened there: their ascents were purely internal - that is what really happened - and were never physical ascents to heaven. If we do not rule out possibilities through critical thinking then we will be forced to conclude that Elijah truly ascended to heaven in a fiery storm, that Muhammad truly flew to al-Aqsa on the back of the steed al-Buraq, and that Joseph Smith truly decrypted upgraded Egyptian found on gold plates with the help of Urim and Thumim rocks. Where does it end? We must place limits on what can be learned from primary sources, and these limits should be established by rational thought." http://tomerpersico.com/2012/03/04/pardes_inner_religion/ (In Hebrew, translation mine)
  18. It would be a pity to miss a great discussion just because Savedwheat's gotcha was clumsy and inept. The question raised was why does the risen Christ quote a paraphrase from Peter in the KJV New Testament in 3 Nephi. Of course, we don't have to stick to just this scripture passage and can discuss the presence of the KJV in the BoM more generally, but I would like it if we started with this one to keep discussion more focused. What does such a passage tell us about the translation process or of Josephas translator? How would a pre-Jacksonian and Jacksonian-era American respond to quotes and phrases that he or she would have readily recognised as originating in the NT? Given the probable dates and composition process of the gospels, what does inclusion of some of their passages tell us about the historical reliability of the BoM? If this is an example of expansion, what might the original have looked like? How could this linking of scriptures inform our theology? These are just some of the possible questions to be discussed, so feel free to raise whatever question you would like.
  19. Greetings everybody. I don't comment too much here, but thats in large part because I'm working on so many great things. A part of that is my newest book focusing on military history. I think I have a great product but I need some qualified reviewers to help me out. In seven chapters I explore the history contained within the Book of Mormon and offer a bold reassessment of events that should change our view on the text. In even simpler terms, think of this as the story of the three little pigs as told by the wolf. The first chapter offers insights into the actions of Gideon. As one of the early leaders in the church he had a decisive legacy of strength that. After comparing his actions as a leader to those by Moroni there are definite similarities that suggest an influence and connection between the two, but there are important differences that suggest Moroni and later Nephites became more militarized and aggressive. (This aggressiveness would cause its own set of problems as I detail in chapter 4.) The second chapter uses three stories from history, to offer additional interpretations about the text that often go missed. For example, Moroni's actions in Alma 43-45 resemble the tactics used by the Vandal King Gelimer. But his enemy, Belisarius, was actually welcomed by the people more than their own king. My argument ends up being similar to the argument from Daniel Belnap in the Journal of Book of Mormon Studies as I use the conflict between Arian rulers and Catholic subjects to suggest the Nephites were more heavy handed leaders than the narrative suggests. And that their actions likely alienated many of their subjects. Chapter three takes a deeper look at Alma 47 and Amalickiah's long journey to power. Nobody every comes out and says, "Hello, my name is Amalickiah and I'll be your next dictator for life. Please leave your daughters at the door." So I looked at the possible arguments that he made and why there were so convincing. For example, Amalickiah was in a tough spot. He was appointed commander of the part of the army loyal to the king and had to storm the rebel faction's mountain outpost. He could easily be used as a scapegoat by the king, and had the disadvantageous tactical position. So he likely made an argument to Lehonti that explained that disadvantageous position, and offered his loyalty to the rebel faction in exchange for sparing his life and being second in command. He might have even made an argument that he was preserving Lamanite lives and keeping the peace. On top of this, as a dissenter from the Nephites he would have had a great deal of dirt real, exaggerated, or made up, but convincing nonetheless that would have made his calls for military action seem necessary and defensive to the Lamanites. (For example, Amalickiah defected in Alma 46, and contemporaneously in chapter 50 the Nephites seized Lamanite territory.) Moving back to the big picture, I end the chapter by pointing out the often backward logic of warfare. As explained by noted strategist Edward Luttwak, roads that are less traveled because they are poor, become very good military roads precisely because they are poor and are more likely to be unguarded and achieve surprise. Amalickiah likely gained power through promises of peace which caused one of the biggest wars in the BoM. Moroni in contrast was often bellicose and straight forward in his desires, but worked to preserve peace and almost preemptively captured Amalickiah and ended the threat before it started. I mentioned preemptive war which means half of you probably felt a surge of anger. But don't worry, chapter four details the negative consequences of the great war. The genesis for this chapter came as I was teaching American history. After the 7 Years War in 1763 the British stood triumphant over much of North America. But their victory actually caused more problems than it solved. In terms of financing the war, trying to prevent conflict with both Catholics in French Canada and Indians in the Ohio River Valley, the British ended up with more problems from their victory. So I looked at what changed during the war. I saw four factors there were vital in Nephite victory, increased use of heavy armor, reliance upon fortifications, preemptive warfare, and the seizing of territory in the east wilderness. Instead of analyzing the war itself, I wanted to see if these things affected the book of Helaman. And they did! Things like heavy armor and fortifications require more money. More money means more taxes, and rapacious taxation easily fuels an insurgency. The "getting gain" in the Book of Helaman, and the unrighteousness of Nephite society could refer to unscrupulous tax collectors. I point out how military gains usually require military expenditures to keep. On top of that, soldiers can easily develop a sense of corporate identity and strike out violently (such as killing a prophet like Nephi) when their interests are threatened. This results in a weird feedback look where the military is needed to hold the cities, and those cities are taxed to the hilt to fund the military. This can lead to civil unrest and insurgency, which needs more soldiers, which requires more taxation. In short, I look at the political fragmentation, desire for money, insurgency, and impotency of the army in the Book of Helaman and see a straight line from the military innovations by Moroni. Again, as Luttwak pointed out, the strange logic of war is that sometimes victory can be the worst thing for a nation. Because in victory every unexamined assumption, regardless of its contribution to victory, becomes enshrined as untouchable doctrine, and needed reforms become harder to implement. While defeat brings truth that much faster and discredits opponents of reform. The next chapter looks at the letter of Giddianhi in 3 Nephi 3. I examine the subtle rhetoric contained in the letter and argue the Giddianhi borrows and adapts Nephi's arguments to assert his legitimate right to rule. Looking back upon the consequences of the great war and political fragmentation, as well as the medium in which he wrote, suggests that Giddianhi was not a traditional toothless highway robber, but a sophisticated elite with a claim to ruling. I point out how even righteous Nephites had to use spies and assassination to keep power (Helaman 2), rulers in Nephite cities beat confessions out of their prisoners (Alma 14) so having a righteous ruler in the midst of a long period of decline suggests they were as skilled as Amalickiah in gaining power. Once in power, the logic of war and defeat allowed them to implement the needed reforms. Their opponents were likely annoyed at how they didn't let a crisis go to waste. The final chapter examines numbers and logistics in the BoM. This was in part driven by the standard anti Mormon narrative about millions of soldiers and how ridiculous that is. I've written about it enough on my blog and thought the arguments were always silly and ignorant, thus I thought it was time it got a chapter. I examine historical antecedents for large numbers and large numbers people killed in ancient societies. Given that much of Nephite history including their denouement suggest political fragmentation, I also look at the scholarly studies of inaccurate numbers. Starting with Hans Delbruck and others there is a sophisticated body of literature that suggests wrong numbers are rather common in historical accounts. Sometimes this results from scribal errors, inaccurate reporting by primary authors, use of numbers as a colloquial, and deliberate exaggeration. I go over a number of examples, but in Chinese history the new dynasty often commissioned and wrote the history of the previous dynasty. So the military failures would be exaggerated to amplify the loss of that emperor's right to rule. Scholars also use things like logistics, or the number of people that can be reasonably fed, and the military participation ratio to calculate ancient armies. The mpr is the number of soldiers compared to the population that a society could field, and 25% was the upper limits for any society and the normal about 15%. The final number at Cumorah was listed as about 230,000 and 15% of that ratio is 35,000, right in between the numbers listed in Mormon 2:9 (42,000) and 2:25 30,000). (See Mormon 6:7 as well, which suggests women and children were in the order of battle and strengthens the idea that the final number is total.) Even then, that total number might be unit names and not numbers, and provide historical examples. A Roman century for example only had 80 soldiers at full strength. Finally, I conclude with a case study of Moroni 9. The most brutal in the BoM, I show how logistics and a wider military study effect spiritual principles. The widows at the tower of Sherrizah, starved because the army took the food. And I suggested, again based on ample historical study, that cannibalism wasn't just the result of spiritual decay but a practical effect of armies that act like locusts. If the numbers were accurate, or accurately repeated the mistakes of ancient historians, the BoM is thoroughly consistent with ancient texts. I also include a short introduction and conclusion that explain my methodology reinforce my main points. I know many of you are busy, but I'm doing this on Thanksgiving Eve because I know you might want something in between your turkey induced sleep and pie produced coma. Or you might just need to keep your sanity with the inlaws. The book is short, and the hour reading it and a few minutes spent providing your feedback would help me a great deal. Plus, you essentially get the beta copy of the book for free. If you're interested, please send me a private message here with your email address, or you can contact me on my blog at http://mormonwar.blogspot.comSerious reviewers only please. If we truly accept that the Nephites existed in a time and place, then they must exhibited all the foibles of other countries, including the ancient kingdom of Israel that adopted pagan practices and power politics of their neighbors. Yet when we read the BoM, we don't ask how the Nephite rulers were naturally concerned over their self interest, and perhaps unaware of the negative consequences their decisions could have. Its time we start reassessing Nephite leadership and ask if maybe the wolf had a point. Thanks for reading this, and hopefully my manuscript!
  20. I've hemmed and hawed about whether I should post this. I acknowledge its a controversial topic, but oh well, some might find it interesting enough. Disclaimer: For me, the real potential of the Malay model is in demonstrating the consistency of the Book of Mormon as a historical document. Every geographical point, physical object and group of people mentioned in the Book of Mormon has a plausible historical equivalent in Peninsular Siam and the Malay Archipelago. If critics might dismiss the Book of Mormon text as a fantasy, the Malay model could be applied to demonstrate that there is nothing terribly absurd about it. I'm not well versed in LDS revelations on the matter of BOM geography, my interest is in the text as published in 1830. Hopefully this does not disqualify me from weighing in here. As a Mormon, I'm always surprised when people ask me if I'm joking, or trolling with this. I suppose it does look like a parody, but no doubt its been the single most useful tool to expand my understanding of the Book of Mormon. I don't mind the chuckles if someone else also finds it useful. -------- The map (attached) is big, but I want to allow for some resolution. I've overlaid John Clark's internal map over the region I believe to be related to the Book of Mormon text. I've made only a few modifications, such as moving the River Sidon to the west so that it would line up with the Ta Pi River in Thailand. I feel the move is justified as John Clark's map has the Sidon running uphill through a wilderness. It would be more likely that the Sidon was west of the elevated wilderness between Zarahemla and Sidom. If you want to compare to Clark's original maps I've included them in white boxes in the corners. The locations in larger white font are existing locations with their proposed BOM equivalent in parentheses. It would be annoying to post everything out at length, so I'll start with only the map. A lot of interesting detail surfaces as the Book of Mormon is compared to the historical accounts of Rammana, Mro, Mon, Funan, Khmer, Karen, Zabaj, Zhenla, Zoram, Kumararupa and other ancient kingdoms/tribes in the region. Iron-age archaeological sites on the Peninsula date back to 600-500 BC. Chinese accounts (240 AD) report hundreds of walled cities with wooden towers. If anyone is interested I'd happily post more.
  21. Putting this out there for discussion. I know this is a long post, but I say that anyone who believes the Bible and believes in Jesus Christ, and who carefully reads this post, will know that the Bible proves the Book of Mormon is the word of God. (If you are a faithful Latter-day Saint, you will really like this post.) In the Bible, 1 John, chapter 4, we can clearly read the criteria for true prophets and false in verses 1-3: “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God because many false prophets are gone out into the world. “Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: “And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.” Now that we know God’s criteria for knowing true prophets from false prophets, let’s see if the Book of Mormon prophets confess that “Jesus Christ is come in the flesh.” 600 years before the coming of the Savior, a Book of Mormon prophet named Nephi wrote that the Messiah of whom the prophets had spoken was the Son of God, and he declared, “The way is prepared for all men from the foundation of the world if it so be that they repent and come unto him.” Lehi, another prophet, told his son Jacob, “There is no flesh that can dwell in the presence of God save it be through the merits, and mercy, and grace of the Holy Messiah, who layeth down his life according to the flesh and taketh it again by the power of the Spirit, that he may bring to pass the resurrection of the dead, being the first that should rise. “Wherefore, he is the firstfruits unto God, inasmuch as he shall make intercession for all the children of men; and they that believe in him shall be saved.” Nephi prophesied to his people, “Behold, they will crucify him; and after he is laid in a sepulchre for the space of three days, he shall rise from the dead with healing in his wings; and all those who shall believe on his name shall be saved in the kingdom of God. Wherefore, my soul delighteth to prophesy concerning him, for I have seen his day and my heart doth magnify his holy name. “For according to the words of the prophets, the Messiah cometh in six hundred years from the time that my father left Jerusalem; and according to the words of the prophets, and also the word of the angel of God, his name shall be Jesus Christ, the Son of God. “And now behold, I say unto you that the right way is to believe in Christ and deny him not; and Christ is the Holy One of Israel; wherefore ye must bow down before him and worship him with all your might, mind, and strength, and your whole soul; and if ye do this, ye shall in nowise be cast out.” We read in the Book of Mormon that a King named Benjamin foretold the coming of the Savior about 120 years before his birth: “For behold, the time cometh and is not far distant, that with power, the Lord Omnipotent who reigneth, who was and is from all eternity to all eternity, shall come down from heaven among the children of men, and shall dwell in a tabernacle of clay, and shall go forth amongst men, working mighty miracles, such as healing the sick, raising the dead, causing the lame to walk, the blind to receive their sight, and the deaf to hear, and curing all manner of diseases. “And he shall be called Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Father of heaven and earth, the Creator of all things from the beginning; and his mother shall be called Mary.” After King Benjamin finished his lengthy talk putting forth the precepts of eternal salvation, the people responded: “We believe all the words which thou hast spoken unto us; and also we know of their surety and truth because of the Spirit of the Lord Omnipotent, which has wrought a mighty change in us, or in our hearts, that we have no more disposition to do evil but to do good continually.” Abinadi, another prophet, testified to wicked King Noah and his priests, “I say unto you that salvation doth not come by the law alone, and were it not for the atonement, which God himself shall make for the sins and iniquities of his people, that they must unavoidably perish, notwithstanding the law of Moses. “For behold, did not Moses prophesy concerning the coming of the Messiah and that God should redeem his people? Yea, and even all the prophets who have prophesied ever since the world began—have they not spoken more or less concerning these things? “Have they not said that God himself should come down among the children of men and take upon him the form of man and go forth in mighty power upon the face of the earth? “And have they not said also that he should bring to pass the resurrection of the dead and that he, himself, should be oppressed and afflicted? “I would that ye should understand that God himself shall come down among the children of men and shall redeem his people.” Abinadi prophesied that the Lord would suffer temptation “and yieldeth not to the temptation but suffereth himself to be mocked, and scourged, and cast out, and disowned by his people. “And after all this, after working many mighty miracles among the children of men, he shall be led, yea, even as Isaiah said, as a sheep before the shearer is dumb, so he opened not his mouth. “Even so, he shall be led, crucified, and slain.” Abinadi continued, “And thus God breaketh the bands of death, having gained the victory over death; giving the Son power to make intercession for the children of men. “And now if Christ had not come into the world, speaking of things to come as though they had already come, there could have been no redemption. “And if Christ had not risen from the dead, or have broken the bands of death, that the grave should have no victory and that death should have no sting, there could have been no resurrection. “But there is a resurrection, therefore, the grave hath no victory and the sting of death is swallowed up in Christ. “He is the light and the life of the world; yea, a light that is endless that can never be darkened; yea, and also a life which is endless that there can be no more death. “And now, ought ye not to tremble and repent of your sins, and remember that only in and through Christ ye can be saved?” Alma the elder, who believed the words of Abinadi, went among the people of King Noah teaching the words of Abinadi. He taught them about the resurrection of the dead and the redemption that would be brought to pass through the power, and sufferings, and death of Christ and his resurrection and ascension into heaven. In due time, Alma returned to the land of Zarahemla and organized the Church of Christ among the Nephites throughout the land, and all those who desired to take upon them the name of Christ joined themselves to the Church. Not long afterwards, the Lord spoke unto Alma these words: “Blessed is this people who are willing to bear my name; for in my name shall they be called; and they are mine.” The Lord also said to Alma, “Thou art my servant; and I covenant with thee that thou shalt have eternal life; and thou shalt serve me and go forth in my name and shalt gather together my sheep. “And he that will hear my voice shall be my sheep; and him shall ye receive into the church and him will I also receive. “For behold, this is my church; whosoever is baptized shall be baptized unto repentance. And whomsoever ye receive shall believe in my name and him will I freely forgive. “For it is I that taketh upon me the sins of the world; for it is I that hath created them; and it is I that granteth unto him that believeth unto the end a place at my right hand. “For behold, in my name are they called; and if they know me, they shall come forth and shall have a place eternally at my right hand. “And it shall come to pass that when the second trump shall sound, then shall they that never knew me come forth and shall stand before me. (That would include all those who have rejected the true gospel of Jesus Christ that he has restored in these latter days.) “And then shall they know that I am the Lord their God, that I am their Redeemer; but they would not be redeemed.” Alma the younger, after having gone about with the sons of Mosiah seeking to destroy the church of God, and after having had an angel appear unto him to admonish him of his iniquity, and after having been racked with the pains of eternal torment for three days, testified to the people, “I have repented of my sins and have been redeemed of the Lord; behold I am born of the Spirit. “And the Lord said unto me: Marvel not that all mankind, yea, men and women, all nations, kindreds, tongues and people, must be born again; yea, born of God, changed from their carnal and fallen state to a state of righteousness, being redeemed of God, becoming his sons and daughters; “And thus they become new creatures; and unless they do this, they can in nowise inherit the kingdom of God.” Alma explained, “Unless this be the case, they must be cast off; and this I know, because I was like to be cast off. “Nevertheless, after wading through much tribulation, repenting nigh unto death, the Lord in mercy hath seen fit to snatch me out of an everlasting burning, and I am born of God. “My soul hath been redeemed from the gall of bitterness and bonds of iniquity. I was in the darkest abyss; but now I behold the marvelous light of God. My soul was racked with eternal torment; but I am snatched and my soul is pained no more. “I rejected my Redeemer and denied that which had been spoken of by our fathers; but now that they may foresee that he will come and that he remembereth every creature of his creating, he will make himself manifest unto all. “Yea, every knee shall bow, and every tongue confess before him. Yea, even at the last day, when all men shall stand to be judged of him, then shall they confess that he is God; then shall they confess, who live without God in the world, that the judgment of an everlasting punishment is just upon them; and they shall quake, and tremble, and shrink beneath the glance of his all-searching eye.” King Lamoni, a Lamanite who found salvation thru the preaching of Ammon, proclaimed, “Behold, I have seen my Redeemer; and he shall come forth and be born of a woman, and he shall redeem all mankind who believe on his name.” Aaron taught the Lamanites “concerning the coming of Christ, and also concerning the resurrection of the dead, and that there could be no redemption for mankind save it were through the death and sufferings of Christ and the atonement of his blood.” Aaron also expounded unto Lamoni’s father that “since man had fallen, he could not merit anything of himself; but the sufferings and death of Christ atone for their sins through faith and repentance and so forth; and that he breaketh the bands of death, that the grave shall have no victory, and that the sting of death should be swallowed up in the hopes of glory.” In Mormon’s narrative, he wrote, “Thus we see the great call of diligence of men to labor in the vineyards of the Lord; and thus we see the great reason of sorrow, and also of rejoicing—sorrow because of death and destruction among men, and joy because of the light of Christ unto life.” Alma taught the Zoramites to “believe in the Son of God, that he will come to redeem his people, and that he shall suffer and die to atone for their sins; and that he shall rise again from the dead, which shall bring to pass the resurrection, that all men shall stand before him to be judged at the last and judgment day.” Alma instructed his son Helaman to bring the message of salvation to the Nephites, stating, “Preach unto them repentance and faith on the Lord Jesus Christ; teach them to humble themselves and to be meek and lowly in heart; teach them to withstand every temptation of the devil with their faith on the Lord Jesus Christ.” Just prior to the birth of the Savior, the Lord spoke to Nephi, this Nephi being the son of Nephi, who was the son of Helaman, and the Lord said, “Lift up your head and be of good cheer; for behold, the time is at hand, and on this night shall the sign be given, and on the morrow come I into the world to show unto the world that I will fulfil all that which I have caused to be spoken by the mouth of my holy prophets.” After his resurrection and ascension into Heaven, the risen Savior appeared to the Nephites and the first thing he said was: “Behold, I am Jesus Christ, whom the prophets testified shall come into the world. “And behold, I am the light and the life of the world; and I have drunk out of that bitter cup which the Father hath given me and have glorified the Father in taking upon me the sins of the world, in the which I have suffered the will of the Father in all things from the beginning.” And after the Nephites fell to the earth in astonishment, the Savior said: “Arise and come forth unto me that ye may thrust your hands into my side, and also that ye may feel the prints of the nails in my hands and in my feet, that ye may know that I am the God of Israel and the God of the whole earth, and have been slain for the sins of the world.” All of these scriptures and more are in the Book of Mormon. The Book of Mormon truly is a testimony of Jesus Christ written by prophets of the Lord Jesus Christ. Again, the Biblical criteria for true prophets and false prophets is in 1 John, chapter 4, verses 1-3. “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God because many false prophets are gone out into the world. “Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: “And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.” Anyone who believes in Jesus Christ and believes what the Bible says will believe the Book of Mormon, and they will know that it is the word of God. Give heed to the words of Nephi, a Book of Mormon prophet who wrote, “And if they are not the words of Christ, judge ye—for Christ will show unto you with power and great glory that they are his words at the last day; and you and I shall stand face to face before his bar; and ye shall know that I have been commanded of him to write these things.” If you have carefully read every word of this post, then I ask do you agree that the Bible proves the Book of Mormon is the word of God?
  22. TheSkepticChristian has asked me to post this new topic based on the extensive debunking by FAIRMORMON at http://debunking-cesletter.com/ of the ever-changing "Letter to a CES Director." TheSkepticChristian finds that that letter "is full of bad arguments and patternicity," and calls particular attention to what the FAIRMORMON debunking says at the end: "By academic standards, The CES Letter is inadequate. It makes numerous non-peer reviewed claims that ignore what the actual peer-reviewed literature has said on these matters. Due to their biases and incomplete representations of the topics they address, such publications are often classified as spin or propaganda by scholars" Does FAIRMORMON do an adequate job in this case, or do you find it lacking in some way?
  23. Posting this even before I get a chance to read it (dinner bell just rang and I missed it conference time) . That is how much I like you guys: http://www.fairmormon.org/perspectives/fair-conferences/2015-fairmormon-conference/history-and-historicity-in-the-book-of-mormon
  24. In preparation for the upcoming semester, I'm trying to compile a list of articles or books that responsibly apply the standard methods of biblical exegesis to the Book of Mormon. Some of the readings I may require, others I may simply recommend (and others I may ignore). Do any articles stand out that effectively use one or more of the approaches listed below (or other approaches that I may have missed)? Obviously, multiple exegetical methods are often used within a single work, so for each piece you recommend it would be extremely helpful if you would tell me which methods you see the author relying on. I also wouldn't mind hearing your opinion on what might be some egregious examples where the methods were clearly misapplied or poorly executed. I have my own mental list, of course, but I'm curious to hear others' top picks to see if there's any kind of consensus, not only on what's best, but on how to label the different approaches that are used. To be clear, I'm not asking that anyone go through this list and find examples for each and every one of them, I'm asking for recommendations for one or two articles on the Book of Mormon that you think are best, and also asking you to identify which exegetical method you think most accurately describes the approach that was used in your recommended articles. Literary CriticismNarrative CriticismRhetorical CriticismLexical, Grammatical, and Syntactical AnalysisSemantic or Discourse Analysis Social-Scientific CriticismTextual CriticismHistorical LinguisticsForm CriticismTradition CriticismSource CriticismRedaction CriticismHistorical Criticism Theological ExegesisCanonical CriticismIdeological Criticism/Liberationist Exegesis
  25. I converted the word document to a pdf. This will be much easier to read. Pictures of the artifacts are also included. As far as Hopewell artifacts. Modern archeologist confirmed the Hopewell Indians had copper and iron breastplates and head plates, tools, jewelry mentioned by accounts of early settlers. The have also confirmed the Hopewell Indians had woven artifacts. I have posted pictures of these items in the pdf file. Since early accounts of copper and iron breastplates and tools have been confirmed I have no reason not to believe the many account settlers finding swords in Hopewell graves next to skeletons and mounds. In fact Cyrus Thomas who worked for the Smithsonian Institute found a sword he found in a Hopewell mound. All the artifacts, linguistic, cultural,and geographical evidence found in North America is undeniable. In the next couple years all those who continue to support the Central America model will become irrelevant. The 19th, 18th, 17th, 16th century books about Native American culture and beliefs are used by all of academia. Todays historian and anthropologist use and continue to use these sources to write about the history of the Native American people. Book of Mormon Geograph Part 1.pdf Book of Mormon Geography Part 2.pdf