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A genuine, unbiased analysis of the Book of Mormon


Katherine Adams

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Has any reputable science group (Smithsonian, etc.) ever conducted a serious, independent analysis of the Book of Mormon, including history, geography, theology, writing styles, names, consistency, wars. etc.?

I would love to see such an analysis because I think the Book of Mormon commands respect.

What are your opinions for or against such a study?

(Note: Any preaching towards me will fall on deaf ears. I know that Mormons do not trust in secular evidence as the final authority. I know that Mormons believe that only a witness from the spirit constitutes a firm testimony. I'm not really talking about that. I would just like to see the Book of Mormon get more credit than it has. Granted, any study could only be made in light of limited amount of human knowledge available at time of study.)

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The Smithsonian issued two statements. The first I wouldn't have called "serious." It was retracted and replaced by a more neutral one basically saying they were ignoring it when it came to research, IIRC. Other than that, the only ones I know of are pro-LDS and anti-ministries.

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The Smithsonian issued two statements. The first I wouldn't have called "serious." It was retracted and replaced by a more neutral one. Other than that, the only ones I know of are pro-LDS and anti-ministries.

Yes, but was an analysis made? I know of the statement that merely says that the Book or Mormon has never been used by scientists as a credible historical document of the Americas.

I really ought to find the grants for this project and create a board. :P

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Guest The Headless Laban
The Smithsonian issued two statements.  The first I wouldn't have called "serious."  It was retracted and replaced by a more neutral one.  Other than that, the only ones I know of are pro-LDS and anti-ministries.

Yes, but was an analysis made? I know of the statement that merely says that the Book or Mormon has never been used by scientists as a credible historical document of the Americas.

I really ought to find the grants for this project and create a board. :P

The Smithsonian had a bullet point list of problems with the Book of Mormon vs. the conventional understanding of ancient america, but I don't know if they actually did any kind of in-depth reading and research into it. Probably since it is considered scripture by a religious group, the Smithsonian doesn't want to touch it (other than the letter they sent out).

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This is like asking why reputable science groups don't study Harry Potter books. They consider the BOM fiction and have seen nothing to encourage them to devote any time to it.

I woulnd't agree with this. The Book of Mormon and 'Harry Potter' fall into two completely different categories. If you were to deem the Book of Mormon fiction then you would have to throw every other religions document in there too. Including the Bible (a lot of which IS fiction folks) and the Koran.

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Smithsonian appears to have been slow to correct the Statement to reflect a more scholarly approach. They can't say a single word in favor of the Book of Mormon when they never used it in archeological research. They can't do the reasearch, and lack expertise to scientifically evaluate many aspects of the Book of Mormon.

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Guest The Headless Laban
This is like asking why reputable science groups don't study Harry Potter books. They consider the BOM fiction and have seen nothing to encourage them to devote any time to it.

The Potterites would be offended by this remark.

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This is like asking why reputable science groups don't study Harry Potter books.  They consider the BOM fiction and have seen nothing to encourage them to devote any time to it.

I woulnd't agree with this. The Book of Mormon and 'Harry Potter' fall into two completely different categories. If you were to deem the Book of Mormon fiction then you would have to throw every other religions document in there too. Including the Bible (a lot of which IS fiction folks) and the Koran.

Ditto.

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Archeology is one thing.

Story; writing style; internal consistency of prophecies and wars, etc.; the evidences of ancient warfare, epic story telling and lifestyle in Ether alone; currency; Hebraisms.

I'm not suggesting that they have to evaluate is as a measure of authenticiy. But rather as an interesting, rich read.

I'm telling you that in my opinion, as scripture (words to guide one's life), the Book of Mormon beats the bible.

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The Potterites would be offended by this remark.

I love the books myself...but I know they are fiction. It's sad. Like learning about Santa.

I woulnd't agree with this. The Book of Mormon and 'Harry Potter' fall into two completely different categories. If you were to deem the Book of Mormon fiction then you would have to throw every other religions document in there too. Including the Bible (a lot of which IS fiction folks) and the Koran.

Problems with this.

1. We CAN verify some of the history with the Bible. The further back you go, the less there is to find. But when the bible says Jericho - poof - we find Jericho. Egypt? Yep...there is such a country. Red Sea? Yeah - no doubt it exists. Compare that to the BOM and there's no comparison. The best you can do so far is a stream where you think a stream should be. And other such. Sorry, but that's not going to get a scientist excited.

2. The Koran is primarily advice oriented script. There's nothing to verify. It's not telling a story about some place that we can't seem to find any trace of.

No...the BOM is relatively unique. It purports to be another history book and yet we can find no evidence of such a history ever happening. Believe me, I've climbed quite a few Mayan temples dated to the time of the BOM. If the BOM happened in that same place the Mayans knew nothing of the Nephites.

Speaking of which - plug for my website. www.tommygalloway.com has some pictures of me and my wife and some mayan temples.

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I know of the statement that merely says that the Book or Mormon has never been used by scientists as a credible historical document of the Americas.

FYI, here's the letter I sent them:

Dear Smithsonian,

I was wondering if you had done any research into the Book of Mormon

regarding the validity of the Mesoamerican history recorded in it.

(The Book of Mormon is published by the Church of Jesus Christ of

Latter-day Saints.)  If you cannot answer via E-mail, here is my

address: [Wunna's mailing address]

And here's the form letter reply:

Your inquiry of January 24 concerning the Book of Mormon has been received in this office for response. 

The Book of Mormon is a religious document and not a scientific guide.  The

Smithsonian Institution has never used it in archeological research, and any

information that you have received to the contrary is incorrect.

Your interest in the Smithsonian Institution is appreciated.

PIMS/ANT01/4-1-98

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No...the BOM is relatively unique. It purports to be another history book and yet we can find no evidence of such a history ever happening. Believe me, I've climbed quite a few Mayan temples dated to the time of the BOM. If the BOM happened in that same place the Mayans knew nothing of the Nephites.

Might I introduce you then to some of these websites?

http://www.nephiproject.com

http://www.the-book-of-mormon.com

http://www.ancientamerica.org

http://frontpage2000.nmia.com/~nahualli/

http://www.lehistrail.com/

There's more evidence I think than you realize.

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This is like asking why reputable science groups don't study Harry Potter books. They consider the BOM fiction and have seen nothing to encourage them to devote any time to it.

And said reputable science groups don't include any Marminz, how could they by definition? Interesting thing, though, is how many non-Judeo-Christians are seriously involved in Biblical analysis; archaeological, theological, etc.? Know what I mean? Why is this ok for the BIble and not for the Book of Mormon? You do realize that the Book of Mormon is a focused religious text and thus people that do not believe the religion don't have much use for it or interest in investigating it. Similar with the Bible. Also, similar is those non-believers interested in examining such things are likely interested in disproving them; Bible, Book of Mormon, etc.

Or am I totally off base here?

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1. We CAN verify some of the history with the Bible. The further back you go, the less there is to find. But when the bible says Jericho - poof - we find Jericho. Egypt? Yep...there is such a country. Red Sea? Yeah - no doubt it exists. Compare that to the BOM and there's no comparison. The best you can do so far is a stream where you think a stream should be. And other such. Sorry, but that's not going to get a scientist excited.

In reading Gone with the Wind we find Atlanta exists and Shermans Army, also there definatly was a Civil War dividing the North and South in America at precisly the time the book claims, much of what is in the book however is fiction.

Just because Jerico, and Jerusalem and the Red Sea exist, does not mean that all the events portrayed as happening there, did in fact happen.

Just because 20th or 21st century Archeologists call the ruins of a city deep in the jungles of central/south America one thing, does not mean that the natives didn't call it something else

So in the famous words of Scarlett O'Hara "Fiddle-dee-dee"

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1.  We CAN verify some of the history with the Bible.  The further back you go, the less there is to find.  But when the bible says Jericho - poof - we find Jericho.  Egypt? Yep...there is such a country.  Red Sea?  Yeah - no doubt it exists.  Compare that to the BOM and there's no comparison.  The best you can do so far is a stream where you think a stream should be.  And other such.  Sorry, but that's not going to get a scientist excited.

Do you realize place names are about all there is to verify the Bible? How many of the characters have been "proven" to exist? Also, I've heard that Egypt has no record of the Israelites being there. How many stories from the Bible have been proven? How many stories are fairly commonly considered to be false?

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There's more evidence I think than you realize.

I've seen them all. Believe me. When I was searching I tried my darndest to find anything that was legit and not an obvious stretch.

Sounds like you went into it not expecting anything to be legit or not an obvious stretch. THat kind of approach is problematic, to say the least.

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Just because Jerico, and Jerusalem and the Red Sea exist, does not mean that all the events portrayed as happening there, did in fact happen.

Oh absolutely. I don't think all that much in the Bible really did. I'm just saying at least you have a base from which to look into things.

If someone wrote a civil war book like Gone with the Wind and passed it off as a true history we'd at least have the cities you mentioned to go off of. We'd have names and dates and such. And if they didn't match we'd know right off the bat there was a problem.

Just because 20th or 21st century Archeologists call the ruins of a city deep in the jungles of central/south America one thing, does not mean that the natives didn't call it something else

Well..the more we learn the more certain we are that they did indeed call it something else. I would encourage you all to go to Coba (south of playa del carmen). It's cheap and easy to get to and is still 80%ish unreclaimed from the jungle. Quite a site. It's one the places where research is uncovering a true Mayan city - one not ever conquered by others before the fall. It's a good place to go waaaay back in time to see what they thought and wrote and taught and built, etc. back in those days.

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