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  1. While I'll assume no one in this board is unfamiliar with this subject, I'll still offer a short synopsis just in case. Back Story: In 1985 the family of B.H. Roberts allowed a collection of his personal papers, still in the private hands of family members, to be published into book form. The collection was published as "Studies of The Book of Mormon" In his papers were discovered notes of a special meeting that was held in early 1922 involving all member's of the First Presidency, The Quorum of the Twelve as well as the 7 Presidents of the Seventy, of which Robert's was a member. Robert's had been given the assignment by Heber J. Grant to answer questions that had been sent in a letter to the church from a member seeking answers. The questions were quite straight forward: when the Jews landed in the New World (600 B.C.) is not enough time to explain the diversity of native Indian languages. Horses were introduced to the Americas by the Spaniards, thus their appearance in the Book of Mormon is an anachronisms. The use of steel in the Book of Mormon is an anachronism. The use of scimitars (an arabian sword) in an anachronism. The use of silk was unknown to the Americas. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Studies_of_the_Book_of_Mormon Roberts concerns went unanswered by church authorities which caused him to try and resolve the difficulties himself. The book represents his attempt to resolve those questions, he was unsuccessful in doing so. Now a new master thesis has been written exploring secret meetings that took place following Robert's failed attempt to find satisfaction from his fellow church authorities. Robert's formed this band of LDS intelligentsia in a further attempt to resolve his concerns and find answers to Book of Mormon problems. While I've only just started to read it, this thesis is a fascinating behind the scenes look into the pre-correlation church. https://scholarworks.unr.edu/handle/11714/6712 Despite his failures to resolve his concerns, we owe much to Roberts attempt, for it was from many of these questions that much of today's apologetic theories of a limited footprint, duel Cumorah's and acknowledgement of a pre-populated Asian immigrant America, to name just a few, have emerged. Since the emergence of the internet, modern day apologetics has completely re-framed how the Book of Mormon is viewed from how it was interpreted in 1922. The problem is that much of the church still views the book in much the same way as it was seen in 1922. Mormon historians have debated whether the manuscript/book reflects Roberts's doubts or was a case of his playing a devils advocate. One interesting fact remains, per his instructions, his headstone has a Christian Cross on it, which was even unusual for that time and even more so for a former General Authority of the Church.
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