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Book Of Mormon Archaeology


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After careful prayer and study, I have come to the conclusion that we will never know the locations of the Book of Mormon.  Oh, there will be discoveries like on the Arabian Peninsula...where intelligent minds will disagree of its significance, but we will never uncover the exact location.

 

And that is exactly how it is supposed to be.  We should NEVER find it.

 

I know this sounds strange to anyone who knows me and my arguments in the past.

 

But, as I studied and prayed, I came upon this thought:

 

We can walk the streets of Jerusalem, but doing so does not PROVE the Bible.

 

However, if we EVER uncovered an ancient sign that said, "Welcome to the Town of Zerehemla" that fact, in and of itself, would PROVE...definitively, the Book of Mormon.  And then, there would be perfect knowledge and no need for faith.

 

And without Faith, there is no hope.  No refining.  No progression.

 

So, despite my vociferous arguments as a Non-Mormon, I admit my error as an LDS re-investigator.

 

If it served God's purpose for us to know...we would.  However, it better serves His purpose that we walk by faith, not by perfect knowledge.

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I agree totally.

 

But finding things on which scholars will disagree is not the same as finding anything absolutely definitive.....and that was my point.  We can joy in finding things that WE can point to in Faith as opposed to finding something on which all people will agree that would then take away our need for faith.

 

Is that was Jesus taught? That it would take away the need for faith? 

 

John 10:37 Do not believe me unless I do the works of my Father. 38 But if I do them, even though you do not believe me, believe the works, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me, and I in the Father.”

John 14:11 Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the works themselves.

John 20:29 Then Jesus told him [Thomas], “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

30 Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. 31 But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.

 

If Jesus thought that evidence or works would take away the need for one's faith, then it would logically follow that he wouldn't have offered these sentiments or evidence to Thomas for example. Clearly that conclusion is false. The fact remains that if it corresponds with reality, there will be evidence of that correspondence. Yes I am a proponent of the correspondence theory of truth. 

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Is that was Jesus taught? That it would take away the need for faith? 

 

John 10:37 Do not believe me unless I do the works of my Father. 38 But if I do them, even though you do not believe me, believe the works, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me, and I in the Father.”

John 14:11 Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the works themselves.

John 20:29 Then Jesus told him [Thomas], “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

30 Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. 31 But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.

 

If Jesus thought that evidence or works would take away the need for one's faith, then it would logically follow that he wouldn't have offered these sentiments or evidence to Thomas for example. Clearly that conclusion is false. The fact remains that if it corresponds with reality, there will be evidence of that correspondence. Yes I am a proponent of the correspondence theory of truth. 

 

Danielwoods:  I think you are confusing "spiritual fruit/knowledge" with intellectual/scientific "knowledge"--what CountryBoy has learned is that they are not the same thing:

 

"The things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. …But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned” (1 Cor. 2:11, 14).

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Danielwoods:  I think you are confusing "spiritual fruit/knowledge" with intellectual/scientific "knowledge"--what CountryBoy has learned is that they are not the same thing:

 

"The things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. …But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned” (1 Cor. 2:11, 14).

 

Exactly.

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Danielwoods:  I think you are confusing "spiritual fruit/knowledge" with intellectual/scientific "knowledge"--what CountryBoy has learned is that they are not the same thing:

 

"The things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. …But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned” (1 Cor. 2:11, 14).

 

 

Exactly.

 

Then maybe the title of the thread should be "Spiritual Book of Mormon Archaeology" because if the idea of finding actual evidence for the BoM diminishes the amount of faith one has, then clearly that is false. 

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Then maybe the title of the thread should be "Spiritual Book of Mormon Archaeology" because if the idea of finding actual evidence for the BoM diminishes the amount of faith one has, then clearly that is false. 

 

Is it?

 

Then you totally misunderstand the point.

 

And that is ok.  Not everyone will understand.

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After careful prayer and study, I have come to the conclusion that we will never know the locations of the Book of Mormon.  Oh, there will be discoveries like on the Arabian Peninsula...where intelligent minds will disagree of its significance, but we will never uncover the exact location.

 

And that is exactly how it is supposed to be.  We should NEVER find it.

 

I know this sounds strange to anyone who knows me and my arguments in the past.

 

But, as I studied and prayed, I came upon this thought:

 

We can walk the streets of Jerusalem, but doing so does not PROVE the Bible.

 

However, if we EVER uncovered an ancient sign that said, "Welcome to the Town of Zerehemla" that fact, in and of itself, would PROVE...definitively, the Book of Mormon.  And then, there would be perfect knowledge and no need for faith.

 

And without Faith, there is no hope.  No refining.  No progression.

 

So, despite my vociferous arguments as a Non-Mormon, I admit my error as an LDS re-investigator.

 

If it served God's purpose for us to know...we would.  However, it better serves His purpose that we walk by faith, not by perfect knowledge.

 

I don't fully agree with your ultimate conclusion (that we "will never know the locations of The Book of Mormon"), but I do agree with the premise (""if we EVER uncovered an ancient sign that said, "Welcome to the Town of Zerehemla" that fact, in and of itself, would PROVE...definitively, the Book of Mormon" and that therefore "there would be perfect knowledge and no need for faith").

 

I have previously discussed this here and here.  I have called it the "Transmission Gap" theory.

 

Thanks,

 

-Smac

Edited by smac97
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However, if we EVER uncovered an ancient sign that said, "Welcome to the Town of Zerehemla" that fact, in and of itself, would PROVE...definitively, the Book of Mormon.  And then, there would be perfect knowledge and no need for faith.

 

 

Is that really how "knowledge" and evidence work for you?  One sign = "perfect knowledge"? 

 

Because if so, I would warn you that you are really opening up yourself to all sorts of deception and error.

 

It's also odd that you would come to this conclusion after "careful study and prayer", when as recently as 1975 an Apostle and member of the First Presidency had no reservations about standing in General Conference and saying "hey, the last battle of the Nephites took place in upper-state New York.

 

If a recent Apostle was comfortable stating his opinion of the location of major Book of Mormon events, I don't see why other Apostles might not do the same thing, and even better, they could do it with God's help.

Edited by cinepro
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Is that really how "knowledge" and evidence work for you?  One sign = "perfect knowledge"? 

 

Because if so, I would warn you that you are really opening up yourself to all sorts of deception and error.

 

It's also odd that you would come to this conclusion after "careful study and prayer", when as recently as 1975 an Apostle and member of the First Presidency had no reservations about standing in General Conference and saying "hey, the last battle of the Nephites took place in upper-state New York.

 

If a recent Apostle was comfortable stating his opinion of the location of major Book of Mormon events, I don't see why other Apostles might not do the same thing, and even better, they could do it with God's help.

 

One sign?  No.  But, since I ever heard of Zerehemla from ONE source, then, the discovery of THAT place would be perfect knowledge...right?

 

Jersusalem is not perfect knowledge.  Bethlehem is not.  The Arabian Peninsula is not.  But Zerehemla?

 

Of course, if other sources also mention a town called Zerehemla in the Americas, that point is moot.  I simply have only ever heard of that from one place...the Book or Mormon.  hence, my point.

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After careful prayer and study, I have come to the conclusion that we will never know the locations of the Book of Mormon.  Oh, there will be discoveries like on the Arabian Peninsula...where intelligent minds will disagree of its significance, but we will never uncover the exact location.

 

And that is exactly how it is supposed to be.  We should NEVER find it.

 

I know this sounds strange to anyone who knows me and my arguments in the past.

 

But, as I studied and prayed, I came upon this thought:

 

We can walk the streets of Jerusalem, but doing so does not PROVE the Bible.

 

However, if we EVER uncovered an ancient sign that said, "Welcome to the Town of Zerehemla" that fact, in and of itself, would PROVE...definitively, the Book of Mormon.  And then, there would be perfect knowledge and no need for faith.

 

And without Faith, there is no hope.  No refining.  No progression.

 

So, despite my vociferous arguments as a Non-Mormon, I admit my error as an LDS re-investigator.

 

If it served God's purpose for us to know...we would.  However, it better serves His purpose that we walk by faith, not by perfect knowledge.

My own searchng and prayer has led me to believe their is sufficient evidence of the BoM in the America's. That said, I do not need to prove where exactly the lands were or were not to validate my testimony in the book or in the church or in Joseph Smith. I have read through the BoM many times and each time I gain new insights and hidden treasures of knowledge that validate one thing and one thing only- that the Nephites, Lamanites, and Jaredites were real ancient people and that they did in fact communicate with God and his son Jesus Christ.

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My own searchng and prayer has led me to believe their is sufficient evidence of the BoM in the America's. That said, I do not need to prove where exactly the lands were or were not to validate my testimony in the book or in the church or in Joseph Smith. I have read through the BoM many times and each time I gain new insights and hidden treasures of knowledge that validate one thing and one thing only- that the Nephites, Lamanites, and Jaredites were real ancient people and that they did in fact communicate with God and his son Jesus Christ.

 

Yes..it is your FAITH that has taken you to that point.  There is nothing that can be proven.  THAT is my point.  

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Yes..it is your FAITH that has taken you to that point.  There is nothing that can be proven.  THAT is my point.

Yes, it is my faith in it that makes me a believer. Everything else, including archeology doesnt mean much, especially in light of mans feeble methods and proofs.

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After careful prayer and study, I have come to the conclusion that we will never know the locations of the Book of Mormon.  Oh, there will be discoveries like on the Arabian Peninsula...where intelligent minds will disagree of its significance, but we will never uncover the exact location.

 

And that is exactly how it is supposed to be.  We should NEVER find it.

 

I know this sounds strange to anyone who knows me and my arguments in the past.

 

But, as I studied and prayed, I came upon this thought:

 

We can walk the streets of Jerusalem, but doing so does not PROVE the Bible.

 

However, if we EVER uncovered an ancient sign that said, "Welcome to the Town of Zerehemla" that fact, in and of itself, would PROVE...definitively, the Book of Mormon.  And then, there would be perfect knowledge and no need for faith.

 

And without Faith, there is no hope.  No refining.  No progression.

 

So, despite my vociferous arguments as a Non-Mormon, I admit my error as an LDS re-investigator.

 

If it served God's purpose for us to know...we would.  However, it better serves His purpose that we walk by faith, not by perfect knowledge.

I agree with your premise that God's purpose is for us to walk by faith rather than by sight.  However, while it may not be relevant to a spiritual witness, we diverge in our thinking about whether any secular evidence tending to validate the Book of Mormon will be (or has been) discovered.  There are, to borrow a book title, "Echoes and Evidences," but how much weight any particular inquirer gives to each one of these (or to all of them taken together) is up to him.  If one is determined to believe, no amount of secular evidence is necessary; if one is determined to doubt, no amount of secular evidence ever will be sufficient.  

 

I believe a spiritual witness is most important (indeed, that it's indispensable), regardless what evidence ever is or is not found for the Book of Mormon, and I believe the Book of Mormon is true because I have applied the test given in Alma 32 and have found that its good seeds bear abundant good fruit in my life.  I believe that the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith are what they claim to be because, while such an experience is not reducible to purely logical terms, a witness of those facts has been imprinted upon my soul.

 

Conversely, to quote Farrer, "While argument does not create conviction, lack of it destroys belief."  While, ultimately, no amount of secular evidence ever will form an adequate basis for a testimony, it still can provide room for belief in the mind of someone who is of a more logical, analytical bent.  I don't know if any road signs such as, "Now Approaching Zarahemla City Limits" or "Zarahemla 10 km," ever will be discovered.  Still, it seems to me that God and His servants have gone to an awful lot of trouble to create ad hoc (but ultimately unnecessary) artifacts such as plates, a sword of Laban, holograms of an Angel Moroni and of other purportedly-Heavenly messengers, and so on if physical and historical evidence supporting the Book of Mormon is now (and forevermore will be) totally irrelevant.  

 

Personally, once the Book of Mormon's purpose of persuading us to walk by faith has been accomplished, I look forward (eventually) to some really cool historical, archaeological, and other discoveries supporting it.  Several of its writers were not only crystal clear, but also were very pointed in telling their readers, "Someday, you're going to stand before me, and at that day, you will be held accountable for your reaction to what I wrote."  As strong as my spiritual witness of the Book of Mormon is, I also believe those folks were real people who lived real lives, with all of the history, archaeology, and so on, that such living entails.

 

Where so many people err is at the elementary misstep where they say, "No evidence of [x] ever has been discovered; thus, [x] does not exist."  Au contraire!  Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.  (We've had that discussion before, you and I. ;))  Line upon line and precept upon precept, here a little and there a little, I believe that at least enough historical, archaeological, and other evidence has been (or will be) found to provide room for belief, if not to make a definitive case.  Were it otherwise, at least some historians, archaeologists, and other professionals would (unfortunately) have wasted an awful lot of time. :)

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Yes..it is your FAITH that has taken you to that point.  There is nothing that can be proven.  THAT is my point.  

 

.

All I know is that my priesthood teachers assured me that

there was once a "Golden Age of Peace," when, from the

southernmost tip of South America, all the way up to the

Arctic coasts of Canada, and "from sea to sea," there were no

other inhabitants than Nephites in all the western hemisphere.

 

Now, that doctrine may have been wrong -- and in the 20th and

21st centuries, I hear that even Mormons no longer make such

claims. But the reason I cite that old teaching is because I was

told that during the Christian "Golden Age of Peace," all the pagan

remnants of the past were destroyed -- buried - forgotten.

 

Even the pre-Christian, Jewish synagogues and other artifacts

were left to decay into ruin. Only the continents-wide Christian

civilization remained. And it was pointless to try and search now,

for what had existed during Lehite and Mulekite days.

 

Besides which, I was also taught that at the time of Christ's arrival

in America that most of the old civilization was buried under the sea

and under mountains -- such that even the "narrow neck of land"

passable by a Nephite walking from sea to sea in a day and a half,

was so drastically altered as to be unrecognizable today.

 

None of which was probably true doctrine -- and for years I was

deceived by the very teachers I depended upon to possess a

degree of spiritual discernment and wisdom far superior to my own.

 

Does even a single shred of evidence from before the "Golden Age"

still exist, waiting to be dug up?

 

I guess the answer (no matter how we look at it) must be "no."

 

UD

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CountryBoy, I was of the very same opinion about finding Book of Mormon lands for a long time. I still agree that there will not be definitive, incontrovertible proof. However, I have also learned enough in the last 20-30 years to believe that we have enough of the general contours of Book of Mormon lands that we can enhance our understanding of the Book of Mormon with external information similarly to how understanding the world of the New Testament can deepen our understanding of the New Testament.

 

That doesn't mean that we cannot learn much without that background. Again, many read the New Testament without any real historical background at all and can learn important principles from it. However, for those who wish a deeper understanding of the human interactions in the text and the reasons behind the actions, the history provides important background that make sense of actions that otherwise might have no explanation. 

 

Now that you have learned that you don't need to know about Book of Mormon lands, you can take your time to learn more about what has been found and more patiently understand what is good and bad about the multiplicity of theories that abound. There is good information available, but it might take you a while to understand why certain arguments are more valuable or consistent than others. It might take you a while to see how the background can add to the spiritual testimony that really is more important.

BFP,

I struggle reading the BOM, it does not seem to be an "inspired" work at all to me. 3rd Nephi to me sounds like a poorly embellished copy of the Gospels.  However, when I read the Bible it seems as though God is talking to me (especially the NT).  When I finally get through the BOM (i've never fully made it cover to cover) what should I be looking for that is not found in the Bible?

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CountryBoy:

You raise good points.

However, as much as I decry and criticize Dr. Sorenson's methods, I am not ready to say he has reached the wrong conclusion. Nor am I willing to think that secular support for the Book of Mormon is incompatible with faith.

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After careful prayer and study, I have come to the conclusion that we will never know the locations of the Book of Mormon.  Oh, there will be discoveries like on the Arabian Peninsula...where intelligent minds will disagree of its significance, but we will never uncover the exact location.

 

And that is exactly how it is supposed to be.  We should NEVER find it.

 

I know this sounds strange to anyone who knows me and my arguments in the past.

 

But, as I studied and prayed, I came upon this thought:

 

We can walk the streets of Jerusalem, but doing so does not PROVE the Bible.

 

However, if we EVER uncovered an ancient sign that said, "Welcome to the Town of Zerehemla" that fact, in and of itself, would PROVE...definitively, the Book of Mormon.  And then, there would be perfect knowledge and no need for faith.

 

And without Faith, there is no hope.  No refining.  No progression.

 

So, despite my vociferous arguments as a Non-Mormon, I admit my error as an LDS re-investigator.

 

If it served God's purpose for us to know...we would.  However, it better serves His purpose that we walk by faith, not by perfect knowledge.

Let´s see if I understand you correctly. God doesn´t want us to have confirmation of our beliefs because that would nullify our need to believe. Does this god watch over tourists and or researcher who might stumble upon BofM sites, and put them in a fog so they walk right past actual proofs? Do proofs already exist in museums that would prove BofM details but everyone is blinded to their true significance? Can you think of other examples of this God who purposefully hides evidence, to protect our need to believe?

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I can't get behind this idea at all.

It just seems like such a clever cop-out.

On the one hand we have the likes of John Sorenson and the very balanced and reasonable Brant Gardner (among many others) who present dozens of "convergences" but never any hard, indisputable evidence of Nephite/Lamanite existence.

It's not just Archaeology. Any new evidence for the BoM is celebrated... To the point where nonsense about 16thC grammatical syntax becomes the most exciting discovery of the last few years.

And then on the other we undermine that evidence by saying nothing will ever be proven because it all needs to be taken on faith. Nonsense. If Mormon apologists found a "Here be Zarahemla" signpost they would hoist it to the top of a flagpole and celebrate it for a week.

The (now debunked) Stella 5 Lehi's dream stone was among the best available for a while and was toted all round the circuit. When I taught the home study Seminary for a while a few years ago, the BoM seminary manual dedicated an entire lesson to the stone.

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Let´s see if I understand you correctly. God doesn´t want us to have confirmation of our beliefs because that would nullify our need to believe. Does this god watch over tourists and or researcher who might stumble upon BofM sites, and put them in a fog so they walk right past actual proofs? Do proofs already exist in museums that would prove BofM details but everyone is blinded to their true significance? Can you think of other examples of this God who purposefully hides evidence, to protect our need to believe?

Also, isn't it the Lord's goal to have everyone hear the gospel and become a member of the church?  Just imagine what a missionary tool it would be if the locations of the Book of Mormon lands became known and proof was found of the civilizations that we read about there.  It makes no sense that God would want to hide the proof from us.  I'm still hoping someone discovers it.

Edited by ALarson
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under your theory, God should just come down and perform a ton of miracles, then everyone would believe.  Wouldn't that work?

Not what I stated.  I believe it is important to have faith in many things.  However, the evidence for the Book of Mormon  (the foundation of our church) would be an incredible thing to advance missionary work.  That's all I meant.  I don't believe that God would hide this evidence and hope it's still going to be discovered.  

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