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Most compelling evidence for/against the Book of Mormon?

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Hi all! In looking at the thread title I was wondering what you felt has strengthened or weakened your testimony of the BoM the most. I can start out by saying I have always found sheum to be a fascinating tidbit of evidence, in that it is an Akkadian word that was used in the text. I also could include neas in this as well. I could think of more but those stand out the most to me. Tell us yours!

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Stuff I like about the Book of Mormon:

Sorenson on the Book of Mormon as an E Source:

https://www.dialoguejournal.com/wp-content/uploads/sbi/articles/Dialogue_V10N04_33.pdf

which leads to subtleties like this from Ben McGuire:

http://publications.mi.byu.edu/fullscreen/?pub=1416&index=4

First Temple Judaism, Barker's work, for example:

http://publications.mi.byu.edu/fullscreen/?pub=1081&index=15

Narrative Techniques, Goff on Alter and such:

http://publications.mi.byu.edu/fullscreen/?pub=1378&index=5

Mosiah's discourse and Ancient Israelite Festivals:

http://publications.mi.byu.edu/fullscreen/?pub=1087&index=8

Comparison with the 40 Day accounts:

http://publications.mi.byu.edu/fullscreen/?pub=1112&index=21

Survivor Witnesses in the Book of Mormon:

http://publications.mi.byu.edu/publications/PreliminaryReports/Hawkins and Thomasson, I Only Am Escaped Alone to Tell Thee, Survivor Witnesses in the Book of Mormon.pdf

NDE Research and the Book of Mormon:

http://publications.mi.byu.edu/fullscreen/?pub=1382&index=2

The Narrative of Zosimus and the Book of Mormon:

http://publications.mi.byu.edu/fullscreen/?pub=1099&index=16

Larry Poulson on the Sidon:

http://www.fairmormon.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/2008-Larry-Poulsen.pdf

Brant Gardner on many things, such as this:

http://www.fairmormon.org/perspectives/fair-conferences/2001-fair-conference/2001-a-social-history-of-the-early-nephites

Lehi's Journey, for example this:

https://deseretbook.com/p/footsteps-lehi-new-evidence-lehis-journey-across-arabic-bountiful-warren-p-aston-8134

Seasonality for War, Sorenson here:

http://publications.mi.byu.edu/fullscreen/?pub=1108&index=21

And comparing such things to Alexander Campbell's 1831 commentary, dismissal  of the Book of Mormon, in which he misses all of it.

FWIW

Kevin Christensen

Bethel Park, PA

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Most compelling evidence for/against the Book of Mormon?

The Church, priesthood, and ordinances that followed after.

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50 minutes ago, Kevin Christensen said:

Stuff I like about the Book of Mormon:

Sorenson on the Book of Mormon as an E Source:

https://www.dialoguejournal.com/wp-content/uploads/sbi/articles/Dialogue_V10N04_33.pdf

which leads to subtleties like this from Ben McGuire:

http://publications.mi.byu.edu/fullscreen/?pub=1416&index=4

First Temple Judaism, Barker's work, for example:

http://publications.mi.byu.edu/fullscreen/?pub=1081&index=15

Narrative Techniques, Goff on Alter and such:

http://publications.mi.byu.edu/fullscreen/?pub=1378&index=5

Mosiah's discourse and Ancient Israelite Festivals:

http://publications.mi.byu.edu/fullscreen/?pub=1087&index=8

Comparison with the 40 Day accounts:

http://publications.mi.byu.edu/fullscreen/?pub=1112&index=21

Survivor Witnesses in the Book of Mormon:

http://publications.mi.byu.edu/publications/PreliminaryReports/Hawkins and Thomasson, I Only Am Escaped Alone to Tell Thee, Survivor Witnesses in the Book of Mormon.pdf

NDE Research and the Book of Mormon:

http://publications.mi.byu.edu/fullscreen/?pub=1382&index=2

The Narrative of Zosimus and the Book of Mormon:

http://publications.mi.byu.edu/fullscreen/?pub=1099&index=16

Larry Poulson on the Sidon:

http://www.fairmormon.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/2008-Larry-Poulsen.pdf

Brant Gardner on many things, such as this:

http://www.fairmormon.org/perspectives/fair-conferences/2001-fair-conference/2001-a-social-history-of-the-early-nephites

Lehi's Journey, for example this:

https://deseretbook.com/p/footsteps-lehi-new-evidence-lehis-journey-across-arabic-bountiful-warren-p-aston-8134

Seasonality for War, Sorenson here:

http://publications.mi.byu.edu/fullscreen/?pub=1108&index=21

And comparing such things to Alexander Campbell's 1831 commentary, dismissal  of the Book of Mormon, in which he misses all of it.

FWIW

Kevin Christensen

Bethel Park, PA

 I really appreciate all the good insights you have as well as all the research you have done it has helped me see my faith much more deeply!

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45 minutes ago, JLHPROF said:

Most compelling evidence for/against the Book of Mormon?

The Church, priesthood, and ordinances that followed after.

 You know I actually think you have a very good point there in that if it was inspired fiction or made up it wouldn't make sense things turned out the way they did not to mention the efficacy of priesthood blessings.

Edited by boblloyd91

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6 hours ago, boblloyd91 said:

Hi all! In looking at the thread title I was wondering what you felt has strengthened or weakened your testimony of the BoM the most. I can start out by saying I have always found sheum to be a fascinating tidbit of evidence, in that it is an Akkadian word that was used in the text. I also could include neas in this as well. I could think of more but those stand out the most to me. Tell us yours!

Today in Sunday School we touched on the citation by Moroni of a non-biblical story of Joseph and the rent part of his garment (Alma 46:23-25), which was presumably on the Brass Plates.  I immediately thought of the discovery by Hugh Nibley so long ago of that very legend in Muslim apocrypha -- the legend of Kawe/Kavag and the recitation by Persian Thalabi of that Joseph story --  http://en.fairmormonevidence.org/Source:Nibley:CW06:Ch17:1:The_"Title_of_Liberty" .

Book of Mormon Central continues to present such astonishing correlates in its regular KnoWhy series online, including this very legend:  https://knowhy.bookofmormoncentral.org/content/why-did-moroni-quote-the-patriarch-jacob-about-a-piece-of-joseph’s-coat . 

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3 hours ago, Kevin Christensen said:

Stuff I like about the Book of Mormon:

Sorenson on the Book of Mormon as an E Source:

https://www.dialoguejournal.com/wp-content/uploads/sbi/articles/Dialogue_V10N04_33.pdf

which leads to subtleties like this from Ben McGuire:

http://publications.mi.byu.edu/fullscreen/?pub=1416&index=4

First Temple Judaism, Barker's work, for example:

http://publications.mi.byu.edu/fullscreen/?pub=1081&index=15

Narrative Techniques, Goff on Alter and such:

http://publications.mi.byu.edu/fullscreen/?pub=1378&index=5

Mosiah's discourse and Ancient Israelite Festivals:

http://publications.mi.byu.edu/fullscreen/?pub=1087&index=8

Comparison with the 40 Day accounts:

http://publications.mi.byu.edu/fullscreen/?pub=1112&index=21

Survivor Witnesses in the Book of Mormon:

http://publications.mi.byu.edu/publications/PreliminaryReports/Hawkins and Thomasson, I Only Am Escaped Alone to Tell Thee, Survivor Witnesses in the Book of Mormon.pdf

NDE Research and the Book of Mormon:

http://publications.mi.byu.edu/fullscreen/?pub=1382&index=2

The Narrative of Zosimus and the Book of Mormon:

http://publications.mi.byu.edu/fullscreen/?pub=1099&index=16

Larry Poulson on the Sidon:

http://www.fairmormon.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/2008-Larry-Poulsen.pdf

Brant Gardner on many things, such as this:

http://www.fairmormon.org/perspectives/fair-conferences/2001-fair-conference/2001-a-social-history-of-the-early-nephites

Lehi's Journey, for example this:

https://deseretbook.com/p/footsteps-lehi-new-evidence-lehis-journey-across-arabic-bountiful-warren-p-aston-8134

Seasonality for War, Sorenson here:

http://publications.mi.byu.edu/fullscreen/?pub=1108&index=21

And comparing such things to Alexander Campbell's 1831 commentary, dismissal  of the Book of Mormon, in which he misses all of it.

FWIW

Kevin Christensen

Bethel Park, PA

For me there is no "smoking gun," no "object or fact that serves as conclusive evidence of a crime or similar act."  This holds true regardless of whether the question is "Is The Book of Mormon what it claims to be?" or "Is The Book of Mormon not what it claims to be?"

Rather, it is the cumulative effect of evidence which has persuaded me.  First and foremost, the "evidence" which forms the foundation for my testimony is a witness of the Holy Spirit.  The process I used (in greatly summarized/truncated from), involved reading The Book of Mormon quite a bit, thinking about it quite a bit, trying to live according to its precepts, and praying about it.  As a result of that process, I felt the Spirit tell it it is what it claims to be.  This process has been ongoing, and has been strengthened and enhanced over time, as long as I continue to read and study and ponder and pray and do good works.

But a witness from The Spirit is not, I think, what you are requesting.  Well, as noted above, there is no single piece of evidence for (or against) the Restored Gospel which is conclusive.  I think that is part of the Plan.  "For we walk by faith, not by sight" (2 Cor. 5:7).  Conclusive evidence of this type would impede our use of the gift of agency.  So I surmise you are instead interested in what I could call "secondary" or "supplemental" evidences of the Restored Gospel, which collectively/cumulatively result in a quantum of evidence which I have found to be very helpful in confirming what I have accepted on faith to be true.

If you are looking for a compendium of these evidences, I think the two best places to start are compilations by FairMormon (see here) and by Jeff Lindsay (see here).

Thanks,

-Smac

Edited by smac97

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29 minutes ago, smac97 said:

For me there is no "smoking gun," no "object or fact that serves as conclusive evidence of a crime or similar act."  This holds true regardless of whether the question is "Is The Book of Mormon what it claims to be?" or "Is The Book of Mormon not what it claims to be?"

Rather, it is the cumulative effect of evidence which has persuaded me.  First and foremost, the "evidence" which forms the foundation for my testimony is a witness of the Holy Spirit.  The process I used (in greatly summarized/truncated from), involved reading The Book of Mormon quite a bit, thinking about it quite a bit, trying to live according to its precepts, and praying about it.  As a result of that process, I felt the Spirit tell it it is what it claims to be.  This process has been ongoing, and has been strengthened and enhanced over time, as long as I continue to read and study and ponder and pray and do good works.

But a witness from The Spirit is not, I think, what you are requesting.  Well, as noted above, there is no single piece of evidence for (or against) the Restored Gospel which is conclusive.  I think that is part of the Plan.  "For we walk by faith, not by sight" (2 Cor. 5:7).  Conclusive evidence of this type would impede our use of the gift of agency.  So I surmise you are instead interested in what I could call "secondary" or "supplemental" evidences of the Restored Gospel, which collectively/cumulatively result in a quantum of evidence which I have found to be very helpful in confirming what I have accepted on faith to be true.

If you are looking for a compendium of these evidences, I think the two best places to start are compilations by FairMormon (see here) and by Jeff Lindsay (see here).

Thanks,

-Smac

Thanks for your contribution! I am aware of those wonderful resources. I was asking more people's personal opinions and I would certainly include spiritual experiences 

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1 hour ago, Robert F. Smith said:

Today in Sunday School we touched on the citation by Moroni of a non-biblical story of Joseph and the rent part of his garment (Alma 46:23-25), which was presumably on the Brass Plates.  I immediately thought of the discovery by Hugh Nibley so long ago of that very legend in Muslim apocrypha -- the legend of Kawe/Kavag and the recitation by Persian Thalabi of that Joseph story --  http://en.fairmormonevidence.org/Source:Nibley:CW06:Ch17:1:The_"Title_of_Liberty" .

Book of Mormon Central continues to present such astonishing correlates in its regular KnoWhy series online, including this very legend:  https://knowhy.bookofmormoncentral.org/content/why-did-moroni-quote-the-patriarch-jacob-about-a-piece-of-joseph’s-coat . 

Wow I didn't know about that that's a new one to me!

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8 hours ago, boblloyd91 said:

Hi all! In looking at the thread title I was wondering what you felt has strengthened or weakened your testimony of the BoM the most. I can start out by saying I have always found sheum to be a fascinating tidbit of evidence, in that it is an Akkadian word that was used in the text. I also could include neas in this as well. I could think of more but those stand out the most to me. Tell us yours!

I'm not sure if any of these are the "biggest" evidences. But I've been impressed by the details that match up with ancient warfare. Hugh Nibley said a long time ago that when you would expect all sorts of outrageous nonsense (potpourri is what he used I believe) if the book were made up. But when you read ancient history (what he called "checks and controls" I believe) you find that the small details of the BoM actually conform to items that you didn't even know existed until you researched, and those details enhance your understanding of the text a great deal. For example, I started reading about logistics in my grad school program, and I noticed scriptures like Alma 56:28-  And also there were sent two thousand men unto us from the land of Zarahemla. And thus we were prepared with ten thousand men, and provisions for them, and also for their wives and their children.

 

The last clause at the end was pretty revealing about the composition of armies and how they were supplied. It also matched up to research I had been doing on logistics by the top scholars in the field.  That and so many other details from the arguments in my book, and form the bulk of what has strengthened by testimony in the BoM. https://www.amazon.com/Bleached-Bones-Wicked-Serpents-Ancient/dp/1456622862/ref=as_sl_pc_ss_til?tag=legsavnin-20&linkCode=w00&linkId=DFU3R5J6R56UAF4L&creativeASIN=1456622862

 

If you want to read some free stuff you can find my FAIR presentation. It doesn't focus so much on evidence, but on a more nuanced way of reading the text (which is what Grant Hardy described): http://www.fairmormon.org/perspectives/fair-conferences/2016-fairmormon-conference/climbing-tree-find-fish

Edited by morgan.deane

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No evidence for or against it is what makes me personally know the truthfulness of it. At the time I gained my testimony of it, I had read so much anti-Mormon literature that I couldn't see how it could possibly be true, based off of the so called evidences I had read about. Heck I didn't even know if God existed or not. I took up a challenge presented to me to just read it and pray about it, both day and night, as part of a daily prayer routine and to ask if it was true or not, and to ask anything else I wanted to as well. I pretty much expected to never receive any type of answer whatsoever, and that would be an answer in and of itself.

It didn't come right away, but when I finally received my answer, it left me with the inability to deny it's truthfulness ever again! Even when I went inactive for a number of years, later down the road. The conversation with God went kind of like this: Are you really there God? Yes! Is the Book of Mormon true? Yes! But what abo..... (Cut off mid thought) Don't worry about it! I'm God and I'm telling you it's true! ..... But... Don't worry about it! I'm God! I'm telling you it's true and this is why you need to study, ponder and pray about the scriptures everyday, for your whole life! ....But.... If you study, ponder, and pray eventually you will understand why! For now just know that I'm God, and I'm the one telling you it's true!

That was only a little bit of what went on in that conversation, but it wasn't any evidence as presented by anyone else that made me believe it, it was God himself who made me believe it.

P.S. since then I have seen each and every lie and twisted truth within all the anti-Mormon stuff I had read that led me to believe it was false before that most amazing prayer. I choose to listen to God, not lies who come from the father of all lies.

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31 minutes ago, waveslider said:

No evidence for or against it is what makes me personally know the truthfulness of it. At the time I gained my testimony of it, I had read so much anti-Mormon literature that I couldn't see how it could possibly be true, based off of the so called evidences I had read about. Heck I didn't even know if God existed or not. I took up a challenge presented to me to just read it and pray about it, both day and night, as part of a daily prayer routine and to ask if it was true or not, and to ask anything else I wanted to as well. I pretty much expected to never receive any type of answer whatsoever, and that would be an answer in and of itself.

It didn't come right away, but when I finally received my answer, it left me with the inability to deny it's truthfulness ever again! Even when I went inactive for a number of years, later down the road. The conversation with God went kind of like this: Are you really there God? Yes! Is the Book of Mormon true? Yes! But what abo..... (Cut off mid thought) Don't worry about it! I'm God and I'm telling you it's true! ..... But... Don't worry about it! I'm God! I'm telling you it's true and this is why you need to study, ponder and pray about the scriptures everyday, for your whole life! ....But.... If you study, ponder, and pray eventually you will understand why! For now just know that I'm God, and I'm the one telling you it's true!

That was only a little bit of what went on in that conversation, but it wasn't any evidence as presented by anyone else that made me believe it, it was God himself who made me believe it.

P.S. since then I have seen each and every lie and twisted truth within all the anti-Mormon stuff I had read that led me to believe it was false before that most amazing prayer. I choose to listen to God, not lies who come from the father of all lies.

Thanks! I agree there are some pretty silly criticisms out there.

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The 12 witnesses to the book of mormon, which includes Mary Whitmer. I would find it rather difficult to imagine that Joseph would find 12 people to lie for him throughout their lives. Not to mention Emma who would have known it was a fraud from the beginning. Her not coming out of the closet when Brigham became church leader tends to support that she believed her husband and knew it was true.

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4 hours ago, Robert F. Smith said:

Today in Sunday School we touched on the citation by Moroni of a non-biblical story of Joseph and the rent part of his garment (Alma 46:23-25), which was presumably on the Brass Plates.  I immediately thought of the discovery by Hugh Nibley so long ago of that very legend in Muslim apocrypha -- the legend of Kawe/Kavag and the recitation by Persian Thalabi of that Joseph story --  http://en.fairmormonevidence.org/Source:Nibley:CW06:Ch17:1:The_"Title_of_Liberty" .

Book of Mormon Central continues to present such astonishing correlates in its regular KnoWhy series online, including this very legend:  https://knowhy.bookofmormoncentral.org/content/why-did-moroni-quote-the-patriarch-jacob-about-a-piece-of-joseph’s-coat . 

Elements of Mormonism (that aren't necessarily found in the Christianity of Joseph Smith's day) are found scattered in cultures, traditions, rites, etc all over the world and all throughout time.
There is no way it could all have coalesced to form Mormonism without sharing a common origin.  There are things that became part of restored Mormonism that are only found in Mormonism and in random places that Joseph would have know nothing of.

This story is just yet another great example of this.

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Against: that FAIRMORMON has speakers at their conference asking the question: "Can members view the Book of Mormon as non historical and still be exalted?"   That this question is even being asked by church apologists does not bode well for the books claims.  It's a sign that the traditional worldview is losing out to the nuanced view.

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8 minutes ago, Johnnie Cake said:

Against: that FAIRMORMON has speakers at their conference asking the question: "Can members view the Book of Mormon as non historical and still be exalted?"   That this question is even being asked by church apologists does not bode well for the books claims.  It's a sign that the traditional worldview is losing out to the nuanced view.

Or, maybe it just means that LDS apologists are not afraid of asking hard questions, trying to look at the issues from different perspectives.

Glenn

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Glenn, I find it refreshing that they're becoming more willing to accept reality...it's a good thing...but why even ask the question if it really was historical?

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No other religion is able to "come out of the swamp" in explaining what transpired in the Garden of Eden, the purpose of this Creation, and the awesome Plan of Happiness.

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It would be difficult to point out a single, conclusive argument that alone compels someone to reconsider their view. Since seeing this thread, I've thought about it and if it's possible to answer it in such a concise manner?

To offer perhaps a meager point but in the vein of attempting to not throw open an entire book of arguments, I would first contextualize the question as contrasting one of two theories. The faithful position being that the Book of Mormon is of ancient origin. The counter position being that it is of the 19th Century.

My meager first point would be that at it's very core the premise of the Book of Mormon is built on an incredibly unfortunate prejudice from the 19th century. That being, when the newly minted Americans looked to their frontiers and found artifacts of native american cultures around them, they could not imagine that the Native Americas or their ancestors were capable of such civilization. The mythology that arose and predates the LDS church regarding members of the lost tribes settling in the Americas is built on this biased perspective. 

In contrast, and with time, even the faithful apologetic explanations for the Book of Mormon have had to move away from this as it becomes more and more clear how independently sophisticated the pre-Columbian inhabitants of the Americas were and have direct ancestry to the tribes present in the 19th century and today. Yet the content of the Book of Mormon contains this 19th century prejudice at it's core.

Just a start, anyway. From there, I suppose it's difficult to see any branch of any science that is moving towards the Book of Mormon's traditional explanations for history while it's easy to see the movement away from the earliest views among the saints towards the state of the science. I guess I'm a sucker for such simplistic explanations over nuanced arguments like potential parallels found in obscure middle eastern legends if squinted at just so. I'm kinda irrational like that, I know. ;)

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13 hours ago, Honorentheos said:

It would be difficult to point out a single, conclusive argument that alone compels someone to reconsider their view. Since seeing this thread, I've thought about it and if it's possible to answer it in such a concise manner?

To offer perhaps a meager point but in the vein of attempting to not throw open an entire book of arguments, I would first contextualize the question as contrasting one of two theories. The faithful position being that the Book of Mormon is of ancient origin. The counter position being that it is of the 19th Century.

My meager first point would be that at it's very core the premise of the Book of Mormon is built on an incredibly unfortunate prejudice from the 19th century. That being, when the newly minted Americans looked to their frontiers and found artifacts of native american cultures around them, they could not imagine that the Native Americas or their ancestors were capable of such civilization. The mythology that arose and predates the LDS church regarding members of the lost tribes settling in the Americas is built on this biased perspective. 

While it is certainly true that the New England colonists saw first-hand a stone-age culture of Amerinds (the noble savages of the frontier), which could certainly not be directly related to any biblical source or heritage, it does not follow that the BofM is built on that realization.  Indeed, it was precisely when Joseph Smith and his contemporary Mormons read the Stephens & Catherwood volumes that they got the message that there was any high civilization in the Western Hemisphere.  You seem to be suggesting a devolution of Amerind culture in New England, and there were such legends preceding 1830.  Problem is that anthropological reality forces us to face the lack of literacy and true high civilization anywhere but in Mesoamerica -- and that at just the time when first the Jaredites and then the Nephites arrived and began their spectacular activities.  Nothing comparable anywhere else in the Western Hemisphere.  Is that just coincidence and luck, or are we creating an even greater difficulty with such irrational notions?

Quote

In contrast, and with time, even the faithful apologetic explanations for the Book of Mormon have had to move away from this as it becomes more and more clear how independently sophisticated the pre-Columbian inhabitants of the Americas were and have direct ancestry to the tribes present in the 19th century and today. Yet the content of the Book of Mormon contains this 19th century prejudice at it's core.

Just a start, anyway. From there, I suppose it's difficult to see any branch of any science that is moving towards the Book of Mormon's traditional explanations for history while it's easy to see the movement away from the earliest views among the saints towards the state of the science. I guess I'm a sucker for such simplistic explanations over nuanced arguments like potential parallels found in obscure middle eastern legends if squinted at just so. I'm kinda irrational like that, I know. ;)

I agree.  Does sound very irrational to me, and certainly counter to all scientific evidence of which I am aware.  Since 1830, the logical, historical, and archeological evidence supporting the BofM has progressed by leaps and bounds.  You seem to be suggesting just the opposite, but based on a completely false assumption about the nature of the internal contents of the BofM.

Edited by Robert F. Smith

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3 hours ago, Robert F. Smith said:

While it is certainly true that the New England colonists saw first-hand a stone-age culture of Amerinds (the noble savages of the frontier), which could certainly not be directly related to any biblical source or heritage, it does not follow that the BofM is built on that realization.  Indeed, it was precisely when Joseph Smith and his contemporary Mormons read the Stephens & Catherwood volumes that they got the message that there was any high civilization in the Western Hemisphere.  You seem to be suggesting a devolution of Amerind culture in New England, and there were such legends preceding 1830.  Problem is that anthropological reality forces us to face the lack of literacy and true high civilization anywhere but in Mesoamerica -- and that at just the time when first the Jaredites and then the Nephites arrived and began their spectatular activities.  Nothing comparable anywhere else in the Western Hemisphere.  Is that just coincidence and luck, or are we creating an even greater difficulty with such irrational notions?

I admit, I did not expect such a clear example of both conditions I mentioned to be offered. The cultural appropriation that the Book of Mormon imposes on Native American culture is egregiously scrubbed away by modern anthropology and archeology, and generally LDS Book of Mormon apologetics focus on find a place for the Nephite and Lamanite traditions among the pre-existing and rather sophisticated inhabitants. Yet we get to see both the relic of the 19th century view in your post, even offering to tie it to biblical heritage tied to an approach that interlaces the appropriated culture narrative with acknowledgement of at least one sophisticated non-Biblical culture. One need not look far in LDS writings among the Saints of the early period of LDS history to find example upon example of their describing the remains of Native American cultures as that of the Book of Mormon peoples not directly attributable to the ancestors of the then-present day Native American tribes. So, thank you. :)

As to the rest, the body of liguists are not going to affirm the story of the Tower of Babel central to the Book of Ether, nor are they going to affirm derivation of Native American languages from Hebrew from the 7-6 Century BCE. One is not going to find cultural anthropology confirming the likelihood of pre-Columbian proto-Christians in the Americas, nor will you find archaeologists confirm evidence of success old world technologies (agricultural, military, engineering, or theological) brought over by some 2500 years ago which successfully supported a distinctive cultural presence in the Americas. One will not find the science that fills in the Nephite-shaped hole anywhere in any setting or time proposed for the Book of Mormon stories. The sciences aren't moving in those directions. The apologetics over the years have been moving at pace towards distancing the Book of Mormon from the original sin of cultural appropriation and to find ways to align the text with the science.

So, I guess I'm irrational. ;) 

Edited by Honorentheos

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23 hours ago, boblloyd91 said:

Hi all! In looking at the thread title I was wondering what you felt has strengthened or weakened your testimony of the BoM the most. I can start out by saying I have always found sheum to be a fascinating tidbit of evidence, in that it is an Akkadian word that was used in the text. I also could include neas in this as well. I could think of more but those stand out the most to me. Tell us yours!

I'm unclear what you're asking. Do want the best evidence of the book's message, of its historicity, or something else?

If you want evidence of the message, the best I can offer is the lived experience of those who read and follow it. Most all of the book's teachings make people better. Christ's, Benjamin's and Nephi's teachings in particular. The book does have some erroneous teachings as well, such as racism, but they are in the clear minority.

On the other hand, if you want evidence of the book's historicity, the best I could offer would that the book is far too complex for Joseph to have written on his own, and there simply is not a strong counter-narrative to the book's creation that Joseph as author/dictator. I don't think it worthwhile to tick through points such as Nahom and Sheum because (i) they are are open to interpretation and disagreement, and (ii) there are at least as many counter-proofs such as horses and steel. Personally, that's why I've chose to be agnostic on the issue. I just don't get any value out of arguing the issue of historicity. 

That said, if you want the strongest possible evidence of historicity that doesn't yet exist, I would love to see a non-LDS archeologist stumble across an jar in Israel containing the verbatim writings of Zenos that are found in Jacob 5 (a reference to Zenock in the same jar would also be great). Historical evidence in the new world has the fundamental problem of interpretation; e.g., we wouldn't know how to read a sign saying "this way to Zarahemla" even if we found one. But the non-LDS world could read and agree on hebraic writings of Zenos.

 

Edited by Buckeye

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7 minutes ago, Honorentheos said:

I admit, I did not expect such a clear example of both conditions I mentioned to be offered. The cultural appropriation that the Book of Mormon imposes on Native American culture is egregiously scrubbed away by modern anthropology and archeology, and generally LDS Book of Mormon apologetics focus on find a place for the Nephite and Lamanite traditions among the pre-existing and rather sophisticated inhabitants. Yet we get to see both the relic of the 19th century view in your post, even offering to tie it to biblical heritage tied to an approach that interlaces the appropriated culture narrative with acknowledgement of at least one sophisticated non-Biblical culture. One need not look far in LDS writings among the Saints of the early period of LDS history to find example upon example of their describing the remains of Native American cultures as that of the Book of Mormon peoples not directly attributable to the ancestors of the then-present day Native American tribes. So, thank you. :)

As to the rest, the body of liguists are not going to affirm the story of the Tower of Babel central to the Book of Ether, nor are they going to affirm derivation of Native American languages from Hebrew from the 7-6 Century BCE. One is not going to find cultural anthropology confirming the likelihood of pre-Columbian proto-Christians in the Americas, nor will you find archaeologists confirm evidence of success old world technologies (agricultural, military, engineering, or theological) brought over by some 2500 years ago which successfully supported a distinctive cultural presence in the Americas. One will not find the science that fills in the Nephite-shaped hole anywhere in any setting or time proposed for the Book of Mormon stories.

The sciences aren't moving in those directions. The apologetics over the years have been moving at pace towards distancing the Book of Mormon from the original sin of cultural appropriation and to find ways to align the text with the science.

So, I guess I'm irrational. ;) 

How can the Tower of Babel story be central to the Book of Ether if Ether never mentions the tower of Babel?  There were, it happens, many great towers being built from the time and place of the Jaredite departure. 

Why would linguists affirm that Native American languages derive from Hebrew from the 7-6 century BC if it happens that there were millions of people speaking a wide range of languages when Lehi and company arrived, as was obviously the case?   What the linguist who has done the most work has affirmed is Hebrew influence on specific language groups, not that those languages were derived from Hebrew originally. 

http://publications.mi.byu.edu/fullscreen/?pub=1403&index=7

One cannot define a Nephite shape to consider without some contextualizing to determine the shape, and just who does that and how and why always makes a difference.  That is the attempted lesson of 2 Nephi 15:1-5.  And the parable of the Sower.  And that shape is what John Clark claims is persuasive to him. 

It seems pretty clear to me that the early readers of the Book of Mormon were influenced by local ideologies concerning Native Americans when they first encountered the Book of Mormon.  Some later readers never read closely enough to figure out the contextual mistake, Harold Bloom's claim in The American Religion that the Book of Mormon was about the Lost 10 Tribes is a sad but telling example, best understood in light his admission to a student that he had not bothered to read the book, but went on his assumptions regarding what the Book said.

What is irrational is to confuse a supposedly objective interpretation of a self-interpreting text with the actual results of close reading and appropriate contextualizing a text to find the best interpretation.

If you don't acknowledge your ideological position upfront, you cannot consider the critical implications of that position.

Kevin Christensen

Canonsburg, PA

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16 minutes ago, Kevin Christensen said:

How can the Tower of Babel story be central to the Book of Ether if Ether never mentions the tower of Babel?  There were, it happens, many great towers being built from the time and place of the Jaredite departure. 

Why would linguists affirm that Native American languages derive from Hebrew from the 7-6 century BC if it happens that there were millions of people speaking a wide range of languages when Lehi and company arrived, as was obviously the case?   What the linguist who has done the most work has affirmed is Hebrew influence on specific language groups, not that those languages were derived from Hebrew originally. 

http://publications.mi.byu.edu/fullscreen/?pub=1403&index=7

One cannot define a Nephite shape to consider without some contextualizing to determine the shape, and just who does that and how and why always makes a difference.  That is the attempted lesson of 2 Nephi 15:1-5.  And the parable of the Sower.  And that shape is what John Clark claims is persuasive to him. 

It seems pretty clear to me that the early readers of the Book of Mormon were influenced by local ideologies concerning Native Americans when they first encountered the Book of Mormon.  Some later readers never read closely enough to figure out the contextual mistake, Harold Bloom's claim in The American Religion that the Book of Mormon was about the Lost 10 Tribes is a sad but telling example, best understood in light his admission to a student that he had not bothered to read the book, but went on his assumptions regarding what the Book said.

What is irrational is to confuse a supposedly objective interpretation of a self-interpreting text with the actual results of close reading and appropriate contextualizing a text to find the best interpretation.

If you don't acknowledge your ideological position upfront, you cannot consider the critical implications of that position.

Kevin Christensen

Canonsburg, PA

This is an example of the "can't have your cake and eat it too" apologetics that those who want to preserve historicity employ.  The best apologetics for why we have NT phrases, Deutero-Isaiah, Sermon on the Mount, and KJV language and Old English in general, is that the Book of Mormon was meant to be a companion to the Bible, integrated in its text and language.  Every page of the BOM has some kind of grammar style, phrase, idea, or direct quote from the KJV.  The reference to the great tower is very clear and obvious reference to the Tower of Babel.  To argue against that, is to totally reject this well established notion that the BOM is referencing the KJV text so often.  If you want to argue against the Tower of Babel, I think you need to identify which tower they're talking about.  Because without any other evidence, it's pretty clear to everyone that it's the Tower of Babel.

 

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