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"Not a shred of archeological evidence"


mpschmitt

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:P

On one hand the Mormon apologists are crafting Maxwell Institute papers,

trying to limit the number of maps available before 1830, with NHM printed

on Yemen's uplands.

On the other hand the chapel Mormons are overjoyed that the BoM has been proven.

My question: When does this great LDS discovery finally get reported in

the peer-reviewed scholarly literature published outside of Provo? And will

the map citations be included or suppressed in that professional repoerting?

My prediction -- not in the next 100 years. No LDS "scholar" would dare

submit such a paper for publication for a non-Mormon readership -- precisely

because the map information would have to be included in the reporting.

UD

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So, there are geographical locations in the Book of Mormon

which everybody can agree is real.

Now, all the Mormons need do is to add a few more locations

to that list we all agree upon.

These ancient names have not been preserved into modern times, unlike the Bible. Even "Maya" and "Omec" are modern names. So, this is a job for historians and archeologists, not the Mormons.

However, it is interesting that one of the few ancient names preserved today is the city of Lamani in Belize (see wiki).

We find this same name in the BOM as the name of a Lamanite king. That is indeed a start.

If the Book of Mormon's geography is "true," then sooner or

later God should allow them to pinpoint their sacred spots

in the Americas. Joseph Smith found a Nephite tower or altar

not far from Kansas City. That's at least a start.

But he did not identify it with any location in the BOM. The Lord has no interest in satisfying our idle curiosity. That's a job for the archeologists to identify those ancient cities and sites.

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On one hand the Mormon apologists are crafting Maxwell Institute papers,

trying to limit the number of maps available before 1830, with NHM printed

on Yemen's uplands.

On the other hand the chapel Mormons are overjoyed that the BoM has been proven.

My question: When does this great LDS discovery finally get reported in

the peer-reviewed scholarly literature published outside of Provo? And will

the map citations be included or suppressed in that professional repoerting?

My prediction -- not in the next 100 years. No LDS "scholar" would dare

submit such a paper for publication for a non-Mormon readership -- precisely

because the map information would have to be included in the reporting.

UD

The prediction comes a bit late, given that Terryl Givens already published the finding in By the Hand of Mormon, from Oxford University Press for all the world to see.

And it's not just a matter of the name Nahom. It's the date going back to 600 BCE, the meaning of the name, and the relation to other points on the journey, and what the text describes at such locations in detail. It's the convergence of many points, not just Nahom cherry-picked from either a Dartmouth map, or a passage in the Book of Mormon.

My understanding of the process of science is that what makes science is ongoing criticism and discussion, not just pre-publication peer review, as though that by itself constitutes the final anointing as truth.

Kevin Christensen

Pittsburgh, PA

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Hyrum Smith, Dartmouth College campus student --

Ethan Smith, Dartmouth College graduate (known to have visited Palmyra)

Solomon Spalding, Dartmouth College graduate (lived in upstate NY)

Dale,

Here we are 150 years later still discussing the verified, authentic parallels between Lehi's journey and the various geographical features of Saudi Arabia. Were these details put in the book to increase its credibility among those NY farmers? And those Egyptian names -- Paanchi and Pahoran, and sheum? And, as mentioned in the previous post, it's not just NHM, but the context of the name. It is not just a name picked off a map. It is a multi-dimensional match with the BOM.

Who wrote the Book of Mormon with such authentic details, and who was the intended audience? Does this really make sense in the context of 1830 NY and New England?

Are you really serious about this? In order to make this work, you are forced to make breath taking contortions of logic and fact.

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The prediction comes a bit late, given that Terryl Givens already published the finding in By the Hand of Mormon, from Oxford University Press for all the world to see.

And it's not just a matter of the name Nahom. It's the date going back to 600 BCE, the meaning of the name, and the relation to other points on the journey, and what the text describes at such locations in detail. It's the convergence of many points, not just Nahom cherry-picked from either a Dartmouth map, or a passage in the Book of Mormon.

My understanding of the process of science is that what makes science is ongoing criticism and discussion, not just pre-publication peer review, as though that by itself constitutes the final anointing as truth.

Kevin Christensen

Pittsburgh, PA

Since when does Oxford University Press peer review its books?

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Besides Spaulding never knew Rigdon. Rigdon never knew Spaulding and Rigdon according to historians (like Fawn Brodie)who would look better if they did know each other writes that Sidney on two occasions one being his deathbed bore testimony that the first time he laid eyes on the BoM was when Parley and Oliver was on their mission to Canada.

Dale you reach and reach and reach and by the time you finally grasp something you are so far away from history and have to use massive speculation and that is only to make it plausible...

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On one hand the Mormon apologists are crafting Maxwell Institute papers,

trying to limit the number of maps available before 1830, with NHM printed

on Yemen's uplands.

HA HA HA HA... I'm sure there were SO many maps of Nehom, a place that hadn't existed for a 1000 years in Saudi Arabia for Maxwell Institute to limit. Do you have any evidence that they need to limit ANY maps of NHM? Is there ANY evidence that any of the people you mentioned had a knowledge of Saudi Arabia? It's amazing how much "faith" you have that people would know about Nehom, that there would be a real motive to include that obscure and completely archaic piece of information in the BoMormon (as it's been pointed out, the target audience was not going to be tricked by this), that the other details included in the BoMormon would also be known, etc.

The convolution of a theory that the BoMormon is a hoax requires you to wear a tin-foil hat to believe it. If anyone knew of Nehom in New York (and that is EXTREMELY unlikely), there was no motive to add it to the BoMormon with so much accurate detail about the rest of Saudi Arabian geography. Did Hyrum or Solomon know Arabic, by the way? Could they have read such a map? If some person or another knew of Nehom, what are the chances that person(s) would help Joseph Smith craft an insanely complex and pain-staking hoax... for WHAT? WHY do something like that? And something that would require so much research and work, why didn't anyone take credit for it? No one took credit for the chiasmi as no one could see it was there! No one could see Nehom was a real place! No one knew the ancient names were officially ancient! If anyone put such a hoax together, how did they resist the urge to point that stuff out? Please. Seriously. Please.

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Besides Spaulding never knew Rigdon. Rigdon never knew Spaulding

Odd that you would say such a thing -- when Sidney Rigdon's widowed Aunt Mary Rigdon

and her children were living withing walking distance of Rigdon's cabin. Also within

walking distance of Rigdon's living uncle's nearby cabin. I'm sure that the Rigdons

visited and aided the poor Mary, from time to time -- and that she was a Baptist

just like they were. One of her sons ended up in Stark county, Ohio in the same

Baptist congregation as Sidney Rigdon's Reformed Baptist preacher cousins.

Why is that of any importance? Because in 1814, or 1815, or 1816, when Mary was

living in that tiny hamlet, it contained less than 200 adults -- two of which

were the hamlet's inn-keepers, Mr. and Mrs. Solomon Spalding. Solomon died in

1816, and his wife left soon after that, and the hotel passed into the management

of other people. Mary Rigdon either died before 1820 or moved with her children

to Stark County, Ohio -- leaving Sidney Rigdon with neither Spalding nor Rigdon

neighbors in Amity, Pennsylvania (still a tiny hamlet today).

But suppose that there was a family feud, and Sidney was forbidden from walking

over to Amity, to visit Aunt Mary and her kids -- his cousins. In that case,

can we say there was no connection between Rigdon and Spalding?

In fact, there was another connection. I mentioned that Mary Rigdon was a

Baptist -- but Amity was too small a cross-roads to support a Baptist church.

The nearest such congregation was a few miles to the north, at Ten-mile.

There the congregation pastored by the Baptist minister who baptized the

famous Alexander Campbell held their Sunday services, in the only chapel in

that area. Among the congregation (besides Mary Rigdon) was a certain Mr.

Hugh Wilson, of nearby Washington village.

About the time Solomon Spalding moved into the area, the Baptists in

Washington, Pennsylvania built their own chapel and divided off from

the Ten-mile folks, as a separate congregation. The Mr. Hugh Wilson,

mentioned above, could thereafter attend services closer to home. And

in his Washington home, during the winter of 1813-14, he hosted a

poor, former Calvinist preacher from Ohio, named Solomon Spalding. It

is reported that there, in the comfort of the Wilson home, Spalding

continued to write on his manuscript fiction. By 1814 he had moved out,

and was managing the hotel at Amity (mentioned above).

But Hugh Wilson's place in my account does not end with Spalding

moving out of his house -- down south to Mary Rigdon's village.

Hugh Wilson was a prominent Baptist and continued to be involved

in Baptists affairs and church politics, well into the 1830s. In

the year 1824 he attended the Redston Baptist Association's annual

meeting, in company with his friend and associate, Alexander Campbell.

Also present at the same meeting was one of Sidney Rigdon's Baptist

preacher cousins from Ohio. But Sidney himself was excluded --

even though the 1824 meeting was held on Sidney's own chapel, in

Pittsburgh. Hugh Wilson (Solomon Spalding's prior host) was

present on the first day of the meeting, when the Baptists voted

to expel Sidney Rigdon.

But of course Solomon was dead, by the time his host sat in the

same room with Sidney Rigdon in 1824.

So we need to go back in time, to find a closer association between

Solomon Spalding and Sidney Rigdon. We find a testimony of their

having crossed paths, in the statement of Rebecca Johnston, who

served as the mail clerk in the tiny Pittsburgh Post Office during

the 1810s -- when, she said, both Sidney Rigdon and Solomon Spalding

were living in that vicinity and came to the office for their mail.

Letter lists of mail waiting at the post office in 1812-1817

contain both men's names -- and one list, from about the time

Spalding was on his deathbed at Amity, contains both men's names,

printed within a couple of inches of each other.

Given all of the above, I think it is not unreasonable to believe

witnesses from the Amity area, from 1814-1816, who stated that

Saplding met Sidney Rigdon and accused Rigdon of reading his

writings, without permission. Also, Spalding's wife later tied

Sidney Rigdon to her late husband's writings -- directly, in

the period that Rigdon and Spalding were living within walking

distance of each other. Also, an associate of Spalding's, then

living in Ohio, later reported that Spalding and Rigdon were

acquainted in the 1812-1816 period, and that Rigdon had read

Saplding's fiction.

Of course you will not find the above information in Fawn Brodies'

book -- who goes out of her way to lie about Renecca Johnston, etc.

and Rigdon according to historians (like Fawn Brodie) who would

look better if they did know each other writes that Sidney on

two occasions one being his deathbed bore testimony that the

first time he laid eyes on the BoM was when Parley and Oliver

was on their mission to Canada.

Not everybody believed that Rigdon always told the truth. In

his 1844 excommunication trial at Nauvoo, several of his oldest

neighbors from the Kirtland area, came forth to testify of

Rigdon's record of lies -- extending even so far as lying in

the name of the Lord, and having his LDS Elder's license

revoked for such perfidy. Of course it was again revoked in

1844, when he was caught hatching secret plots to take over

the chutch, based upon false revelations and more lies.

Dale you reach and reach and reach and by the time you finally grasp

something you are so far away from history and have to use massive

speculation and that is only to make it plausible...

If it is only speculation, then all future discoveries regarding

Rigdon and Spalding will prove me wrong.

Do you have anything new to offer, along those lines?

UD

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If it is only speculation, then all future discoveries regarding

Rigdon and Spalding will prove me wrong.

Ha ha ha. So are you right until proven wrong? Or do you believe you are right without any evidence, until you are proven wrong? I kinda think it makes more sense to believe based on evidence rather than speculation.

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...If anyone knew of Nehom in New York (and that is EXTREMELY unlikely),

there was no motive to add it to the BoMormon with so much accurate

detail about the rest of Saudi Arabian geography.

Did Hyrum or Solomon know Arabic, by the way?

...

Detailed histories of Arabia were available in English during the period

that Hyrum, Solomon and Ethan were on the Dartmouth campus. Maps in

English and other European languages, showing details of Yemen were

then also available. Nobody need have been educated in Arabic, to have

simply strolled into the Dartmouth College Library and looked at

maps and books on Arabia.

Read what the FARMS people are saying in this exact subject. They

admit the possibility -- though not the likelihood.

If they are going to publish NHM papers proving the BoM "true"

in the professional, peer-reviewed journals, those LDS scholars

will have to admit these facts.

Therefore, I predict they will continue to publish only in

literature printed in Provo, and not in the world-wide scholarly

literature ---- they wouldn't dare.

UD

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Therefore, I predict they will continue to publish only in

literature printed in Provo, and not in the world-wide scholarly

literature ---- they wouldn't dare.

UD

No one in the scholarly world would be foolish enough to wildly speculate the way you do here. A history of Saudi Arabia would not involve Nehom as Nehom is too obscure. Also, CFR that they had maps of ANCIENT Saudi Arabia that included obscure locations as opposed to modern maps that would include only historically relevant locations. There is nothing historically relevant about Nehom except for those interested in the BoMormon. Scholars say it is unlikely because the idea that they knew of Nehom at Dartmouth and that someone that knew Joseph Smith and wanted to produce an intricate hoax would conspire to do so is wildly speculative. Whoever wrote 1st Nephi knew a great deal about ancient Saudi Arabia. That's not Hyrum nor Spaulding nor anyone else in your silly conspiracy theory.

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Therefore, I predict they will continue to publish only in

literature printed in Provo, and not in the world-wide scholarly

literature ---- they wouldn't dare.

UD

Here is a post you must have missed.

The prediction comes a bit late, given that Terryl Givens already published the finding in By the Hand of Mormon, from Oxford University Press for all the world to see.

Kevin Christensen

Pittsburgh, PA

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Here is a post you must have missed: Oxford University Press

And where is the critical response?

Just because the publisher is a University, does not

mean that a critical peer-review process was followed.

And where does Givens say that NHM proves (or tends to prove)

the BoM to be an authentic ancient document?

Let's see him present his evidence in a real peer-reviewed journal.

But, I must admit, that paper for that book did not go through

the press in Orem.

Mormons: 1

Dale: 0

UD

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And where does Givens say that NHM proves (or tends to prove)

the BoM to be an authentic ancient document?

If it is an authentic ancient document, clearly Joseph Smith was a prophet. That's pretty tough to prove absolutely, even with apparently concrete evidence like NHM.

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If it is an authentic ancient document, clearly Joseph Smith was a prophet. That's pretty tough to prove absolutely, even with apparently concrete evidence like NHM.

I agree that NHM is the best proof for the BoM and I can appreciate why apologists would jump all over this to show Joseph Smith was a prophet.

As a critic, though, it's not impressive evidence to show the possibility that Lehi may have traveled down to the Arabian peninsula. The incredible part of the story is that indiviuals of that time actually made a journey from the Arabian peninsula to somewhere in the Americas. NHM doesn't help.

Lamanai = Lamanites might though.

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Joseph Smith could find a Nephite tower on Lyman Wight's farm in a matter

of a few hours. Joseph Smith could find Zelph's bones in an equally short

period of time. He knew from whence Enoch's city departed the earth, and

he knew where Noah built his ark. He knew where Adam and Eve were created

and he knew where to send Oliver Cowdery and Parley Pratt, to locate some

Lamanites to preach to in 1830.

Fascinating. I'd like to study these. What are the references?

Thanks

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Fascinating. I'd like to study these. What are the references?

Thanks

Some RLDS faith-promoting book from the 1950s.

But I think that a few minutes doing Google searches

should turn up most of the same references.

Another one I always liked with that the earth was

hollow -- or at least had a huge depression at the

North Pole, and that Israelites lived there.

Here's a start on that one:

http://www.sidneyrigdon.com/dbroadhu/SO/miscsout.htm#070931

UD

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Whoever wrote 1st Nephi knew a great deal about ancient Saudi Arabia.

I challenge that statement. I find the writing stultifying and bereft of any important details, specific or understandable travel times or distances (8 years to go from Nahom to Bountiful
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Since when does Oxford University Press peer review its books?

My essay in the the Joseph Smith Jr. book out from Oxford University Press went through peer review. Perhaps the most prestigious academic press in the world only made an exception in my case, and took the unusual step of having a peer review just to make sure.

And from Uncle Dale.

Just because the publisher is a University, does not

mean that a critical peer-review process was followed.

Thanks for that Uncle Dale. A good laugh to start of the day on the right foot. :P

But seriously, having gone through peer reviews on many occasions, on having provided a peer review for a Dialogue essay that was completely ignored by the editors with the consequence that Brant Gardner was later able to publicly disembowel the same essay for the same fundamental methodological error that I pointed out before publication, having read many articles in peer-reviewed journals that struck me as highly questionable, being aware that many of the most important scientific papers were never peer-reviewed before publication, and being aware that journal or book publication is an invitation for criticism, not evidence of immunity from criticism, I think this fuss over pre-publication peer review as though it were some magical truth anointing misses the point. Its a rhetorical appeal to authority as a way to avoid confronting the substance of the processes that provide authority, such as it is when omniscience and infallibility have never been recognized as human qualities.

According to Thomas Kuhn, the most important things that make a paradigm persuasive are the accuracy of key predictions, the ability to generate meaningful puzzles, the comprehensive explanatory power, the internal consistency, the coherence with external theories, the fruitfulness in actual practice, the simplicity and aesthetics, and the future promise.

Appeal to, or reliance on authority also plays a major factor for some, but that reliance ultimately depends on the assumption that those authorities actually have identified key predictions, have explored the puzzles, have provided a comprehensive explanation, have examine the internal consistency, have weighed the consistency with external theories (not just reflexively rejected out-of-hand on those grounds), have actually tested the fruitfulness, evaluated the simplicity and aesthetics, and pondered the future promise (John Clark's presentation at the Library of Congress on trends in resolution of Book of Mormon criticisms is good example).

All of this involves process. In many cases I have seen, the Book of Mormon has been rejected without examination, without due process, appealing to the appearance of authority without the demonstrated presence of the process that ultimately bestows meaningful authority. Coe's dismissive comments on the PBS series on Mormons is a good example of authority without substance behind it for the specific case, as is Harold Bloom's dismissal of the Book of Mormon as not worth a close reading, despite his admission to student that he had never actually read it.

Kevin Christensen

Pittsburgh, PA

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...

All of this involves process.

...

OK, then -- where is the "process?"

Where is the learned Gentile response to the assertion that NHM proves

the Book of Mormon to be an authentic ancient document?

What professional journals or professional papers read before scholars' societies

might I consult, in order to learn the non-LDS response to Givens' book?

Take any other valid thesis on scripture, history and geography and

we'll find a body of literature devoted to discussing, criticizing,

expanding, modifying, etc. , the original reporting.

A good starting point for an example of this sort of scholarly literature

can be found by consulting the bibliographies at the ends of some of the

major articles published in the Anchor Bible Dictionary.

Gather together copies of the sources from such a bibliography and

you'll find quoted and cited in those sources, still more books and

articles on the subject. This constitutes "the literature" for that

topic -- sometimes reaching hundreds of contributions from hundreds

of scholars of varied religious and academic backgrounds.

Now -------------------------------> do the same thing for Givens

and his educated Mormon brethren writers. They sometimes do cite

and quote the scholarly literature and various scriptural, or

historical or geographical subjects. BUT THE DIRECTION OF CITATION

IS ALMOST ALWAYS ONE-WAY!

Mormon "scholars" quote and cite the world's experts.

The world's experts do not quote and cite Mormon "scholars."

There is no body of literature on NHM or on Givens' arguments.

And there never will be.

You've heard of "junk science?" It is never cited in Nature

and other reputable professional journals.

You're heard of "junk scholarship?" It is never cited in

The Journal of Biblical Literature and other reputable

professional journals.

The NHM contributions from Givens' and his brethren is

JUNK SCHOLARSHIP.

UD

.

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Much like Spalding and Rigdon stuff?

As thus far articulated in the scholarly literature?

Yes.

So far as I can discern, where the world's historians, biographers

and theologians have formed any consensus regarding Book of Mormon

origins, they rely upon the reporting of James H. Fairchild,

I. Woodbridge Riley, and Fawn M. Brodie. Until something additional

is brought into the scholarly literature, that will remain the

de facto consensus.

But a de facto consensus is one of non-response. I say that a certain

drug will cure cancer, despite previous denials of that possibility --

but, if no scientist bothers to read my reporting, the de facto consensus

amounts to saying I am wrong. Since there has been no examination of

my cancer cure, and no discussion of it, that de facto consensus is

actually susceptible to radical alteration, almost overnight.

Mormons would probably agree with my last sentence. --- Since there has

been no expert discussion on the location of Zarahemla or the significance

of NHM, the de facto consensus (that such stuff is based on fiction) is

actually susceptible to radical alteration, almost overnight.

And this is what the Mormons keep telling us -- that until archaeologists

have looked under every rock in Meso America, we cannot say there are no

Nephite artifacts there.

Matt Roper and Matt Jockers have each attempted to penetrate the scholarly

literature, with recent contributions to the Spalding-Rigdon authorship

theory. So far, the rest of the world has ignored them.

Just as it has ignored the NHM proof for BoM antiquity.

Perhaps Givens, Roper and friends should submit their best efforts to

the world-wide scholarly literature, and blow Jockers out of the water,

in THAT forum, and not just in the mens' room banter of quaint Provo.

UD

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OK, then -- where is the "process?"

Where is the learned Gentile response to the assertion that NHM proves

the Book of Mormon to be an authentic ancient document?

What professional journals or professional papers read before scholars' societies

might I consult, in order to learn the non-LDS response to Givens' book?

SNIP

Until the Gentiles bother to become learned on the topic, no matter how learned in their fields, they are not, by definition, learned here. The situation is directly comparable to the situation that Brant Gardner mentioned, about Maya decipherment being delayed for 20 years because article that provided the key information was ignored. That the authorities ignore the important evidence says nothing whatsoever about the quality of that evidence.

And, just for clarification, the LDS scholars involved do not talk about NHM as coercive proof, a stick to pound skeptics into submission, but as good evidence from 600 BCE in the right place that fits the proposition of historicity and does do amid an elaborate set of interconnected geographic and cultural details for the whole New World portion of the text. It is consistent and meaningful in complex set of convergences. If you want to explain it away, fine. But your explanations are just as subject to review and criticism as ours.

And do you notice the interesting resemblance between this general line of argument--demanding approval from "authorities" without personal, serious evaluation of the actual evidence--and this passage: "Are ye also deceived? Have any of the rulers or of the Pharisees believed on him?" (John 7:47).

Is there any evidence in the New Testament that the rulers and Pharisees in question would, or could, dispassionately examine the evidence for Jesus' claims, and would unfailingly follow that evidence, not matter the personal and public commitments and costs? Or is it not possible to recognize that personal and public commitments do, in fact, enter into such confrontations of world view?

The Book of Mormon comes dragging scandals much the same way that a gaudily painted newlywed's car drags tin cans. The assumption that outside authorities will unfailingly approach our claims with dispassionate objectivity, and would carefully examine and follow the evidence where it leads, no matter how contrary to their own personal religious and social and professional commitments, is not supported by my observations. In the cases of Coe and Bloom, for example, or the essays in The New Mormon Challenge, for example, I see notable superficiality, and a tendency to leap to conclusions.

And regarding the "authorities" in any given field, I've also been impressed at the steady increase in the quality and number of LDS authorities, and the range of their publications in a variety of fields, from DNA, population statistics, ancient languages, Mesoamerican studies, etc.

If you think you need permission someone besides Given's editors as Oxford University press, or the blurb writers they brought in, I suppose you could go to your local library, and find a searchable index of academic journals, and see what people have said. My editors at FARMS provided such a collection of reviews in response to Margaret Barker's work for my Paradigms Crossed Occasional paper. But frankly, I never delved deeply into it. I felt like I didn't need anyones permission or approval to explore the evidence myself.

Kevin Christensen

Pittsburgh, PA

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